Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Suetonius, The Grammarians

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


[1] Grammatica Romae ne in usu quidem olim, nedum in honore ullo erat,
[At one point, the study of grammar in Rome was indeed not a common thing, nor associated with any degree of honor,]

 rudi scilicet ac bellicosa etiam tum civitate,
[especially at that time when our city was crude and particularly fixated on fighting its wars,]

 necdum magnopere liberalibus disciplinis vacante.
[and it still greatly lacked experience with fields of higher learning.]

Initium quoque eius mediocre extitit,
[And even the beginning of this field came about rather in mediocre fashion,]

 siquidem antiquissimi doctorum, qui iidem et poetae et semigraeci erant,
[even when the very oldest examples of our wise men, who were, one and the same, poets and still linked to Grecian heritage,]

(Livium et Ennium dico,
[I speak of Livius Andronicus and Ennius,]

 quos utraque lingua domi forisque docuisse adnotatum est)
[about whom it is quite familiar knowledge that they had taught in Latin and Greek in their homes and in public]  

 nihil amplius quam Graecos interpretabantur,
[they, by no greater degree, understood anything in Greek,]

aut si quid ipsi Latine composuissent praelegebant.
[nor even these men had wrote anything in Latin, did they read it at length.]

Nam quod nonnulli tradunt duos libros de litteris syllabisque,
[You see, as to the fact that some people pass down two books on the subject of letters and syllables,]

item de metris ab eodem Ennio editos,
[and other publications by Ennius concerning meters, after that point in time,]

 iure arguit L. Cotta non poetae sed posterioris Ennii esse,
[while Lucius Cotta, by rights, argued that they did not belong to any poet prior to Ennius,]

 cuius etiam de augurandi disciplina volumina ferantur.
[whose scrolls also make a summary about the discipline of augury.]

[2] Primus igitur, quantum opinamur,
studium grammaticae in urbem intulit Crates Mallotes,
[Therefore, the first man who brought the study of grammar to the city, as I understand it, was Crates Mallotes,]

 Aristarchi aequalis,
[a contemporary of Aristarchus,]

 qui missus ad senatum ab Attalo rege inter secundum ac tertium Punicum bellum sub ipsam Ennii mortem,
[who, once he had been sent to the Senate by King Attalus between our second and third wars against Carthage, right before the death of Ennius himself,]

 cum regione Palatii prolapsus in cloacae foramen crus fregisset,
[when he had broken his leg on the Palatine Hill, having fallen into the opening of a sewer,]

 per omne legationis simul et valitudinis tempus plurimas acroasis subinde fecit
[and from then on, he spent all of his time in recovery teaching and holding a great deal of auditions,]

 assidueque disseruit,
[and spoke in public at an incessant rate,]

 ac nostris exemplo fuit ad imitandum.
[and gave us an example to model ourselves after.]

 Hactenus tamen imitati, ut carmina parum adhuc divulgata vel defunctorum amicorum vel si quorum aliorum probassent,
[And yet enough people took his example, so that they had praised his poems that had not been widely circulated, even if they belonged to his deceased companions or someone else,]

diligentius retractarent
[and they would more diligently draw them back]

ac legendo commentandoque etiam ceteris nota facerent;
[and would also make them well-known by allowing others to read and comment on them;]

ut C. Octavius Lampadio Naevii Punicum bellum,
[such was the case when Gaius Octavius gave Naevius' account of the Punic War to Lampadius,]

quod uno volumine et continenti scriptura expositum divisit in septem libros:
[which, although it was published in a single volume and unsegmented prose, he divided into seven books:]

ut postea Q. Vargunteius annales Ennii,
[likewise, after that, when Quintus Vargunteius managed Ennius' Annales,]

quos certis diebus in magna frequentia pronuntiabat;
[which he gradually published in large quantities over a fixed period of days;]

ut Laelius Archelaus Vettiasque Philocomus Lucilii satyras familiaris sui,
[and likewise when Laelius Archelaos and Vettias Philocomos handled the satyr plays of their familiar, Lucilius,]

quas legisse se apud Archelaum Pompeius Lenaeus, apud Philocomum Valerius Cato praedicant.
[which Pompeius Laenaeus claims that he had read directly to Archelaos, but Valerius Cato says, directly to Philocomos.]

Instruxerunt auxeruntque ab omni parte grammaticam L. Aelius Lanuvinus generque Aelii Ser. Clodius,
[Lucius Aelius Lanuvius and the son-in-law of Aelius, Servius Clodius, taught and expanded the field of grammar in every respect,]

uterque eques Ro. multique ac varii et in doctrina et in re p. usus.
[both of whom were Roman knights who were experienced in many different ways on the subjects of their teaching and their state.]

Aelius cognomine duplici fuit;
[Aelius was a man with two nicknames;]

nam et Praeconinus, quod pater eius praeconium fecerat, vocabatur,
[you see, he was also called Praeconinus, because his father had been a town criar,]

et Stilo, quod orationes nobilissimo cuique scribere solebat;
[and Stilo, because he used to write his speeches with the noblest type you can imagine.]

tantus optimatium fautor,
[he was such a supporter of the aristocrats,]

ut Metellum Numidicum in exilium comitatus sit.
[that he accompanied Metellus Numidicus in exile.]

Servius cum librum soceri nondum editum fraude intercepisset,
[When Servius had intercepted his father-in-law's book, which had been published, by act of fraud,]

et ob hoc repudiatus pudore ac taedio secessisset ab urbe,
[his reputation had been dashed on account of this, and he had to leave the city in a state of burden,]

in podagrae morbum incidit; 
[he then was stricken with gangrene of the foot;]

cuius impatiens veneno sibi perunxit pedes
 [and he, unable to cope with this, smeared poisoned upon his feet,]

et enecuit ita, ut parte ea corporis quasi praemortua viveret.
[and so he died, as if living with this condition of his body was de facto death sentence.]