2008-06-03

 

Auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant

In the not-productive-but-sidetrack-distraction-of-the-moment I spent some time (please don't ask how much) translating two sentences from Tacitus' Agricola from Latin into English using an online Latin-English dictionary and what Latin roots I can glean out of English words.

It wasn't a completely blind translation since I already had a translation for the above line: To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace..

However, I wasn't completely captivated by the English and it didn't quite seem to match the Latin.

After some searches for alternate translations, I came up with a fuller quote, Raptores orbis, postquam cuncta vastantibus defuere terrae, mare scrutantur: si locuples hostis est, avari, si pauper, ambitiosi, quos non Oriens, non Occidens satiaverit: soli omnium opes atque inopiam pari adfectu concupiscunt. Auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant., that looked really good. However, none of the English translations convinced me - only bits of them did. So I decided to do the only sensible thing and translate it myself.

Some words I could guess at the meanings and the Latin-English dictionary easily translated some words, however words did not translate well.

atque did not translate well. Eventually, I decided it is roughly equivalent to meaning and.

scrutantur was a word I could get no translation for. In the end, I decided it is probably related to the English word scrutinize and extrapolated its meaning to be seek / search / inspect.

My final translation is:

Universal plunderers, after ravaging all the lands, they turn to the sea: if the enemy is rich, they are rapacious; if he is poor, they lust for dominion; neither the East nor the West has been able to satiate them. Alone among all, wealth and poverty alike they covet. Under the facade of lawful authority they rob, slaughter, and plunder. They give the name peace to the desolation they leave behind.

Other translations include:
Robbers of the world, having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; neither the east nor the west has been able to satisfy them. Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace. [rr: I used the bolded text in my translation because I thought it was a really good translation - after modernizing the use of be to is]

Brigands of the world, they have exhausted the land by their indiscriminate plunder, and now they ransack the sea. The wealth of an enemy excites their cupidity, his poverty their lust of power. East and West have failed to glut their maw. They are unique in being as violently tempted to attack the poor as the wealthy. Robbery, butchery, rapine, with false names they call Empire; and they make a wilderness and call it peace. [rr: I also like the way the bolded text was rendered and considered using it in my translation, but decided against it].

These plunderers of the world, after exhausting the land by their devastations, are rifling the ocean: stimulated by avarice, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor; unsatiated by the East and by the West: the only people who behold wealth and indigence with equal avidity. To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.

My penultimate (sort of) translation pass was:

Global robbers, after ravaging the land, they search the sea: if the enemy is rich, they are avaricious, if poor, then ambitious. Neither East nor West has satiated them. Alone among all, wealth and poverty alike they covet. They rob, butcher and plunder under the false name of authority. When they have rendered it desolate, they call it peace

Image nabbed from here.

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Comments:
I can't believe you actually translated something from Latin to English, I often struggle to translate from English to Lithuanian! You're genius. I like the first version of yours best.
 
carra: Remember, I had some translations to consult. I also only translated 2 sentences (and that took hours). Had I to translate any significant text, it would have taken me forever.
 
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