Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Suetonius, Life of Galba

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus [Suetonius]
69-130 AD
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Imperial Era)


I. Progenies Caesarum in Nerone defecit; quod futurum,
[The descendents of Caesar's family went extinct by the end of Nero's reign, and this was something that was destined to happen]

 compluribus quidem signis,
 sed vel evidentissimis duobus apparuit.
[even, on top of a great many omens, but finally it became apparent from two of the clearest possible.]

Liviae, olim post Augusti statim nuptias Veientanum suum revisendi, praetervolans aquila gallinam albam ramulum lauri rostro tenentem, ita ut rapuerat, demisit in gremium;
[Once upon a time, an eagle, clutching a white hen that had a small twig of laurel in its beak, which it had previously snatched up, dropped it into Livia's lap, while she was visiting her family in Veii after immediately after her wedding to Augustus, ]

 cumque nutriri alitem, pangi ramulum placuisset,
[and after she had it feed and nurtured, and the little branch put on display,]

tanta pullorum suboles provenit,
[such a great mass of feathers sprout out from it,]

 ut hodieque ea uilla ad Gallinas vocetur,
[that even today this village is said to belong to the "Hens"]

 tale vero lauretum,
[and in fact, it was that very laurel branch,]

ut triumphaturi Caesares inde laureas decerperent;
[that caused the Caesars to pluck down laurel boughs on triumphal occasions, from then on;]

 fuitque mox triumphantibus,
[and soon, it became the case for those celebrating triumphs,]

 illas confestim eodem loco pangere;
[to spread these things as often as possible in that very same location.] 

et observatum est,
[and it was observed as law,]

sub cuiusque obitum arborem ab ipso institutam elanguisse.
[that death should be the price for anyone who decided to lie under the tree that had been planted there.] <rough translation -- suggestions???>

 Ergo novissimo Neronis anno et silva omnis exaruit radicitus,
[and so, in the very last year of Nero's reign, the entire wood burned down, to the very roots,]

 et quidquid ibi gallinarum erat interiit;
[and whatever chickens that had been there, died;]

 ac subinde tacta de caelo Caesarum aede,
[and thereafter, when the palace of the Caesars was struck by lightning,]

 capita omnibus simul statuis deciderunt,
[the heads fell off all the statues, all at one time,]

Augusti etiam sceptrum e manibus excussum est.
[and even the scepter in Augustus' hands had been knocked out of place.]

II. Neroni Galba successit nullo gradu contingens Caesarum domum,
[Galba succeeded Nero, though never treading a single step in the house of the Caesars,]

 sed haud dubie nobilissimus
[but without a doubt, he was one of the most highly born members of society]

magnaque et vetere prosapia,
[from a great and time-honored family lineage,]

 ut qui statuarum titulis pronepotem se Quinti Catuli Capitolini semper ascripserit,
[so much that he was a man who always wrote upon the placards of his statues that his forefather was Quintus Catulus Capitolinus,]

 imperator vero etiam stemma in atrio proposuerit,
[and in fact, even as emperor, he set out garlanded statues in the atrium,]

 quo paternam originem ad Iovem, maternam ad Pasiphaen Minois uxorem referret.
[that suggested that his paternal lineage came from Jove, and his maternal one from Minos' wife Pasiphae.]

III. Imagines et elogia universi generis exsequi longum est:
[It's a lengthy endeavor to draw out all the images and explanations of his entire family tree:]

 familiae breviter attingam.
[I shall only touch briefly upon his family.]

 Qui prius Sulpiciorum cognomen Galbae tulit, cur aut unde traxerit, ambigitur.
[It's not exactly clear who was the first of the Sulpicians to take the nickname Galba, or why, or from where name comes from.]