Key to Reading Unit 20

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Unit Key 21

Unit 20

  1. Not ignorant of trouble I learn [how] to help the wretched (Dido is the speaker, hence ignara). (Vergil, Aeneid, I, 630)

  2. Already father Aeneas and already the Trojan youth assemble and they recline on purple [cloth which has been] spread out. (Vergil, Aeneid, I, 699f.)

  3. Money saved rules or serves each person. (Horace, Epistles, I, 10, 47)

  4. You assign guards to your husband, Polla, you do not take them yourself. This, Polla, is a wife taking her husband as a wife (Latin has two verbs meaning marry; duco is used if a man is subject, nubo if a woman). (Martial, X, 69)

  5. A long space of time (lit. day) has taught lions to obey a man, a long space of time has eaten away rocks with gentle water. (Tibullus, I, 4, 17f.; Tibullus (d. 19BC) is one of the three surviving Latin elegiac poets - see note above on 12.1)

  6. In this passage, as often elsewhere, it is sometimes necessary for the sake of clarity to translate Latin pronouns with nouns

    In all Gaul there are two classes of men who are held of some account and respect since (lit. for) the common people are considered almost as (lit. in the place of) slaves; most, when they are weighed down by debt or the large amount of taxes or the injustice of the more powerful, assign themselves into slavery to the nobles, who have all the same rights over them as masters over slaves. But concerning these two classes, one is [that] of the druids, the other [that] of the knights. The former (illi) are concerned with divine matters, they attend to public and private sacrifices, [and] they interpret religious practices. To them a large number of young men come for instruction, and the druids are [held] in honour among them (i.e. the young men); for they make decisions about almost all public and private disputes, and if some crime has been perpetrated, if a murder has been committed, if there is a dispute about an inheritance [or] boundaries, [these] same men make a judgement [and] fix rewards and punishments; if any private person or people has not abided by their decision [the druids] debar [them] from sacrifices. This is the most serious punishment among them. Those who have been so debarred (lit. to whom it has been debarred in this way) are regarded as ungodly and criminal (lit. in the number of the impious and criminals), everyone gets out of their way [and] avoids their approach and conversation; nor is justice accorded them when they seek it nor is any honour shared with them. But in charge of all these druids is one person who has the highest authority among them. When this man dies, either one of the remaining druids who is pre-eminent in rank succeeds him (lit. if anyone from [those] remaining excels in rank he succeeds) or if there are several (lit. more) equal [the successor is appointed] by vote of the druids; sometimes they even contend for the leadership with arms. At a fixed time of the year the druids hold a court (consido is used here in the special legal sense of a judge presiding over a court) in a sacred place in the territory of the Carnutes. All who have disputes meet here and obey the decisions and judgements of the druids. Their order (disciplina can be applied to a philosophical school or sect; here it refers to the institution of the druids) is thought to have been founded (lit. discovered) in Britain and transferred from there to Gaul, and at present those who wish to get a fuller knowledge of the subject (lit. get to know this thing more carefully) generally depart for there in order to learn. (Caesar, de Bello Gallico, VI, 13 adapted)

  7. The Germans differ much from this practice; for they do not have druids nor do they concern themselves with sacrifices. As gods (cf. use of numero in the previous passage) they only consider those whom they see and by whose aid they are openly helped, [namely] the sun and Vulcan and the moon; of the others they have not learnt even by report. All their lives (Latin idiom requires the singular vita) are taken up in hunting and the pursuits of soldiering; from early childhood (lit. from very small [children]) they concern themselves with work and toughness (i.e. becoming tough). Those who have not reached puberty (lit. remain impubic) for the longest time receive the greatest praise among their people; they believe that stature and strength are fostered by this and that muscles are developed. To have had [sexual] knowledge of a woman before one’s twentieth year is considered among the most disgraceful things; there is no secrecy in this matter (i.e. the relations between the sexes) because they both bathe without distinction in rivers and use hides or small coverings of reindeer skin with a great part of the body naked. (Caesar, de Bello Gallico, VI, 21 adapted)

  8. To rule oneself is the most important [form of] rule.

  9. What pleases many is guarded with the greatest danger.

  10. That mortal who wants very little is in need of very little.

  11. He who spares the guilty threatens the innocent.

  12. To be deceived for the first time is a nuisance, for a second time stupid, for a third time disgraceful (quidem emphasises primo but need not be translated).

  13. It is in the interest of the state that there should be an end to lawsuits (i.e. that lawsuits should not go on indefinitely).

  14. The property of others [is more pleasing] to us, our property is more pleasing to others.

  15. A liar should have a good memory (lit. it behoves a liar to be good-at-remembering; i.e. if he wants to be believed, a liar must, in order to be consistent, remember what he has said).

  16. Each person delights in his own pursuit.

  17. A wise man will command his mind, a fool will be a slave to it.

  18. Those who possess much lack much (i.e. they always want more).

  19. We must believe anyone experienced in his profession.

  20. The life of a human being lacking trouble cannot be found.

  21. There is need not for words but for deeds.

  22. Riches do not always fall to the best people.

  23. He who does an injury to one person threatens many.

  24. A slave should know more than he says.

  25. He who seeks gain must spend money (lit. make expenditure).

  26. No-one who is slave to his body is free.

  27. Whatever is allowed is desired less.

  28. Not to take precautions for oneself and to give advice to others is stupid.

  29. It has always been considered [the mark] of a wise man to yield to circumstances.

  30. Laws help those awake and not those asleep.

  31. Like takes delight in like.

  32. Potter is jealous of potter and smith of smith (i.e. those in the same profession or trade are jealous of each other; this is an adaptation of a line from the Greek poet Hesiod).

  33. It is better to cure the beginning than the end (e.g. of a disease).

  34. All things obey money.

  35. A leader should not sleep the whole night.

  36. Not even Jupiter pleases everyone.

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(c) Gavin Betts 2000