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Category: lit

03/13/06 10:56 - ID#33886

Randomness, Latin-style

Okay...so as some of you may or may not know, I'm a bit of a geek. Okay...so really I'm a big geek. Some of you also may know that I took five years of Latin. But what most people don't know is that I still work on translations to this day....for fun. Yes, translating from Latin to English for fun. And it really can be. To take something that is already "perfect" in the original language, to then "break" it into a literal translation, and then to "refine/reperfect" it into the new language. At least I've found that to be the most productive way of translating from a classical language. (Not like translating from Spanish etc, where you can be very literal and only substitute for colloquialisms) The hardest part is trying to maintain both flow/feel while also preserving meaning. It's that "art" of translation that really draws me to it.

So then..without further ado...a quick little translation I've spent a little time on lately:

vitam quae faciunt beatiorem,
iucundissime Martialis, haec sunt:
res non parte labore sed relicta;
non ingratus ager, focus perennis;
lis numquam, toga rara, mens quieta;
vires ingenuae, salubre corpus;
prudens simplicitas, pares amici;
convictus facilis, sine arte mensa;
nox non ebria sed soluta curis;
non tristis torus et tamen pudicus;
somnus qui faciat brevis tenebrus;
quod sis esse velis nihilque malis;
summum nec metuas diem nec optes.
-M. Valerius Martialis, Epigrams X, 47


The things which make for a happy life, my dearest son, are these:
property not earned but inherited;
fruitful land, a hearth where there is always a flame;
a life free from litigation, few official duties, and an untroubled mind;
a hearty constitution, a healthy body;
strong character, friends who are you equals;
good company, plain meals;
nights not spent drunk, yet free from cares;
a good love-life, but one that is also virtuous;
do not seek to be anyone but who you are;
and to neither fear, nor wish for, death.


There you have it...a little sage advice from Martial. The translation still isn't perfect, and there are a few things I'd like to tweak...but overall, I don't think it's half-bad.










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