Grex Latine Loquentium
Latinitatis Recentioris Exempla
Quinque loci in Latinum conversi
Oxonii, MDCCCXCV nec non Cantabrigiae, MDCCCXCIX
Dionysius Silvanus Humberto et sodalibus plurimam dicit salutem.
Cum nuperrime his in paginis de historico praeclarissimo Eduardo Gibbon fusius disputaverimus, amici, iuvat nunc exscribere unum ex octo locis Gibbonianis in Latinum concinne a viris doctis saeculi undevicesimi conversis (Latin Prose Versions contributed by Various Scholars..., Oxonii: e prelo Clarendoniano, anno MDCCCXCV). Eodem loco inveni epistulam quam dedit philosophus David Hume Eduardo Gibbon de huius rerum gestarum scriptoris libris.
[De leni diminutione imperii Romani]
Vix quidem fieri potuit ut ab iis qui illorum temporum essent aequales futuri semina exitii discernerentur quae sub tanta omnium felicitate latebant. Attamen tamquam lene et occultum venenum pax illa diuturna tenorque perpetuus dicionis Romanae in medullas imperii et viscera instillabant. Paullatim enim factum est ut, restinctis ingenii igniculis, nulli inter cives ob indolem eminerent, exolesceretque etiam studium militare. Provinciarum ex incolis, fortitudine validisque corporibus militiae aptissimis, explebantur legiones, quod verum imperii erat tutamentum. Civibus quidem singulis non deerat animus, evanuerat tamen illa virtus quae in tota civitate amore libertatis, periculo communi, usuque imperandi nutritur. Imperatoris ex arbitrio et leges et praefectos acceperunt; armis mercenariis suam salutem committebant. Atque adeo iam loco civium privatorum contenti fuerunt qui originem a ductoribus fortissimis traxerunt; gloriae si quis erat studiosior, ad aulam aut vexilla imperatoris se contulit. Itaque cum provinciis, desertis et inter se disiunctis, nihil virium esset relictum, apud cives qui in rebus privatis versabantur hebescebat cura rei publicae. [tr. John Harrower, p. 22]
["It was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay. This long peace and the uniform government of the Romans introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated. The natives of Europe were brave and robust; Spain, Gaul, Britain, and Illyricum supplied the legions with excellent soldiers, and constituted the real strength of the monarchy. Their personal valour remained, but they no longer possessed that public courage which is nourished by the love of independence, the presence of danger, and the habit of command. They received laws and governors from the will of their sovereign, and trusted for their defence to a mercenary army. The posterity of their boldest leaders was contented with the rank of citizens and subjects. The most aspiring spirits resorted to the court or standard of the emperors; and the deserted provinces, deprived of political strength or union, unsensibly sunk into the languid indifference of private life." – Gibbon, p. 21]
Bene valere vos opto multis annis.
Dabam a.d. V Kal. Ian. a.s.n. MM e Britannia.
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Dionysius Silvanus Humberto, Victorio, Ioanni, ceteris sodalibus plurimam salutem.
Ut iam promisi – et cum de Alarico deque Gothis recens his in paginis agatur – locum quendam describam Gibbonianum aptum fortasse et congruentem. Cuius loci interpres fuit Rev. Alfred H. Cruickshank "Assistant Master at Harrow School, Fellow of New College, Oxford" (ex eodem libro Latin Prose Versions... quem edidit George G. Ramsay, Oxonii: anno MDCCCXCV):
Ad regem adducti asseverabant superbius fortasse quam afflictos decebat, se statuisse dignitatem suam vel in Marte vel in pace tueri; proinde, si condiciones aequas et honestas recusaret, bellicum caneret, et decertare cum populo pararet innumerabili, assueto armis, spe deposita securo. Quibus rex barbarus breviter respondit quo densius faenum eo facilius demeti, adiecto sententiae tam agresti cachinno contumelioso quo significabat quantum minas hominum ignavorum sperneret, non modo fame confectorum sed luxu iam antea diffluentium. Tum demum ei placuit pretium constituere quo expenso urbem relinqueret: omne scilicet aurum et argentum quod in urbe esset, et publicum et privatum, supellectilem omnem pretiosam et divitem, servos denique omnes qui barbarorum originem sibi asserere possent. Tum legati a senatu voce demissa et supplici rogare ausi, quid sibi tot tantisque rebus exactis relinqueret. Ille autem, ‘Vitas,’ inquit, ‘vestras’: nec plura superbiens. Illi tremebundi facessere. [tr. Alfred H. Cruickshank]
["When they were introduced into his [Alaric’s] presence, they declared, perhaps in a more lofty style than became their abject condition, that the Romans were resolved to maintain their dignity, either in peace or war; and that, if Alaric refused them a fair and honourable capitulation, he might sound his trumpets and prepare to give battle to an innumerable people, exercised in arms, and animated by despair. ‘The thicker the hay, the easier it is mowed,’ was the concise reply of the Barbarian; and this rustic metaphor was accompanied by a loud and insulting laugh, expressive of his contempt for the menaces of an unwarlike populace, enervated by luxury before they were emaciated by famine. He then condescended to fix the ransom which he would accept as the rpice of his retreat from the walls of Rome; all the gold and silver in the city, whether it were the property of the state or of individuals; all the rich and precious moveables; and all the slaves who could prove their title to the name of Barbarians. The ministers of the senate presumed to ask, in a modest and suppliant tone, ‘If such, o king, are your demands, what do you intend to leave us?’ ‘YOUR LIVES,’ replied the haughty conqueror: they trembled and retired." – Gibbon]
Dabam prid. Id. Ian. a.s.n. MMI e Britannia.
"Balaenae nobis conservandae sunt."
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Dionysius Silvanus Humberto cunctoque Gregi salutem dicit plurimam.
Fortasse de impudicitia deque impietate iam satis audivistis, sodales. Praeterea optimum nobis exemplum proponit Eduardus Gibbon ad imitandum...
Alexander Severus [imp. 221-235 p. Chr. n.]
Prima luce e thalamo Alexander, quasi cum sole exortus, se deorum observantiae dabat; immo apud se in porticu quadam simulacra eorum virorum qui vel commoda vel nova virtutis exempla exhibendo ceteris profuerant et digni qui summa gratia colerentur visi erant, plurima posuerat. Cum vero hominum commodis inserviendo deos optime coli arbitraretur, quod temporis antemeridiani supererat, id in consilium cum suis capiendum insumebat, et causis cum publicis tum privatis secandis, mira et maturiore quam pro aetate patientia et prudentia, operam dabat. Litterarum etiam studiis rerum molestias levabat, tempore aliquantulo iis, quibus ipse favebat, poetarum scilicet, et historicorum et sapientium, operibus perlegendis cotidie seposito; itaque Maronis et Flacci versibus, et Platonis et M. Tulli De Re Publica libris ediscendis, iudicium subtilius, intelligentiam probatiorem, summum denique et nobilissimum erga homines studium et summam in imperio liberalitatem consecutus est. Inde mentis disciplinae successit corporis exercitatio; in qua Alexander, ut qui grandis esset et agilis et robustus, aequales fere excellebat. Mensae minime sumptuosae; quibus, ubi sibi tantum satisfacere liceret, amicos paucos, doctrinae et virtutis exempla, et in iis praecipue Ulpianum, adhibebat. [tr. Edmund D. A. Morshead Oxoniensis anno MDCCCXCV]
["Alexander rose early; the first moments of the day were consecrated to private devotion, and his domestic chapel was filled with the images of those heroes, who, by improving or reforming human life, had deserved the grateful reverence of posterity. But, as he deemed the service of mankind the most acceptable worship of the gods, the greatest part of his morning hours was employed in his council, where he discussed public affairs, and determined private causes, with a patience and discretion above his years. The dryness of business was relieved by the charms of literature; and a portion of time was always set apart for his favourite studies of poetry, history, and philosophy. The works of Virgil and Horace, the republics of Plato and Cicero, formed his taste, enlarged his understanding, and gave him the noblest ideas of man and government. The exercises of the body succeeded to those of the mind; and Alexander, who was tall, active and robust, surpassed most of his equals in the gymnastic arts. His table was served with the most frugal simplicity; and whenever he was at liberty to consult his own inclination, the company consisted of a few select friends, men of learning and virtue, amongst whom Ulpian was constantly invited." – Gibbon]
Opto bene valeatis omnes.
Datae a.d. VII Kal. Feb. a.s.n. MMI e Britannia.
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Dionysius Silvanus Humberto et sodalibus salutem.
Hunc locum Gibbonianum de Ioviano deque Mesopotamia conscriptum (cap. XXIV) et saeculo undevicesimo a quodam doctissimo Cantabrigiensi nomine J. E. Nixon in sermonem Latinum conversum in libro inveni qui inscribitur: Cambridge Compositions: Greek and Latin, ediderunt R. D. Archer-Hind et R. D. Hicks, Cantabrigiae: e Prelo Academiae, a. 1899:
Tum vero primores civitatis, qui ad id locorum Romani Imperatoris praesidio confisi erant, provoluti ad pedes eius orare et obsecrare ne coloniam fidelem destitueret vel saltem ne barbaro regi traderet, cuius iram tres deinceps clades sub moenibus urbis acceptae exacerbavissent; superesse et animos et arma quibus hostem fines suos ingressum repellerent; liceret tantum iis pro sua ipsorum salute uti, quo facto statim vindicata sibi libertate deprecaturos ut in ius dicionemque eius reciperentur. Nihil tamen vel rationes vel facundia vel lacrimae apud Iovianum valebant; cui, regiis intra paucos dies moribus indutis, displicebant et veritas et libertas. Cum vero praesentiret, quod veri simile erat, populum aegre haec ferentem libentius in Persarum dicionem concessurum, edixit, poena mortis intentata, ut omnes intra triduum ex urbe exirent. Quae deinde secuta sunt mala, omnibus in omnium rerum desperationem versis, lucide in historia sua depinxit Ammianus. Vias frequentare trepida fugentium turba, nullo, ut in communi calamitate, vel dignitatis vel aetatis vel sexus discrimine; quisque pro se agere ut aliquid e rei familiaris naufragio servaret et secum deportaret; sed inopia iumentorum et plaustrorum, quantum ad praesentes usus sufficeret, pretiosissima quaeque magna ex parte dereliquerunt.
["The principal citizens, who, till that fatal moment, had confided in the protection of their sovereign, threw themselves at his feet. They conjured him not to abandon, or, at least, not to deliver, a faithful colony to the rage of a barbarian tyrant, exasperated by the three successive defeats which he had experienced under the walls of Nisibis. They still possessed arms and courage to repel the invaders of their country; they requested only the permission of using them in their own defence; and, as soon as they had asserted their independence, they should implore the favour of being admitted into the rank of his subjects. Their arguments, their eloquence, their tears, were ineffectual. Jovian, who in a few weeks had assumed the habits of a prince, was displeased with freedom, and offended with truth; and as he reasonably supposed that the discontent of the people might incline them to submit to the Persian government, he published an edict, under pain of death, that they should leave the city within the term of three days. Ammianus has delineated in lively colours the scene of universal despair which followed. The highways were crowded with a trembling multitude; the distinctions of rank, and sex, and age, were lost in the general calamity. Every one strove to bear away some fragment from the wreck of his fortunes; and as they could not command the immediate service of an adequate number of horses or waggons, they were obliged to leave behind them the greatest part of their valuable effects." – Gibbon, Ch. XXIV]
Curate ut bene valeatis omnes.
Dabam a.d. IV Id. Feb. a.s.n. MMI e Britannia.
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Dionysius Silvanus Humberto et sodalibus plurimam salutem.
Hunc locum de Iuliano (a. 360-363 p. Chr. n. – ei vero successit Iovianus de quo iam apud Eduardum Gibbon legimus) deque exercitu suo Gulielmus Wyse linguae Graecae professor apud Londinienses in collegio Universitatis et olim praelector in collegio Sanctae et Individuae Trinitatis apud Cantabrigienses anno MDCCCXCV Latine – et (mea quidem sententia) alio scribendi genere quippiam contortiore et difficiliore - reddidit:
Ad nuntios iam propinquantis exercitus egressus in campum Caesar structo ante portas tribunali consedit. Ac primo, ut quisque centurionum et manipularium praecipua dignitate aut factis notabilis, id commendationibus insignitum: dein conversus ad vulgum et circumfusos compositam iniit orationem, mixta rerum gestarum gratulatione laudibusque, et adhortatus agnoscerent alacres decus in commilitium asciti principi valido et liberali; nec tarde aut segniter obtemperandum iussis Augusti. Haec atque talia disserens pervicaci silentio exceptus, metu offensionum si obturbassent, et ne plausus venalis ludibrio voluntatem dissimularent: itaque brevi spatio in castra remittitur miles. Tribuni praefectique ad epulas acciti: ubi Caesar in speciem flagrantissimi studii conquestus negatum votis suis tam forti, tot victoriarum socio exercitui merita rependere, dimisit convivas luctum inter metumque trepidos, et fatum insectantes si a duce dilecto patriaque divellerentur. Atque unum iam huius rei remedium palam sermonibus iactari, comprobari: coalescere sensim in vim coniurationis castrorum indignatio. Et iustas querimonias ira, iram temulentia accendebat, concesso discedentibus lascivire. [tr. William Wyse]
["As soon as the approach of the troops was announced, the Caesar went out to meet them, and ascended his tribunal, which had been erected in a plain before the gates of the city. After distinguishing the officers and soldiers who by their rank or merit deserved a peculiar attention, Julian addressed himself in a studied oration to the surrounding multitude: he celebrated their exploits with grateful applause; encouraged them to accept, with alacrity, the honour of serving under the eyes of a powerful and liberal monarch; and admonished them that the commands of Augustus required an instant and cheerful obedience. The soldiers, who were apprehensive of offending their general by an indecent clamour, or of belying their sentiments by false and venal acclamations, maintained an obstinate silence; and after a short pause were dismissed to their quarters. The principal officers were entertained by the Caesar, who professed, in the warmest language of friendship, his desire and inability to reward, according to their deserts, the brave companions of his victories. They retired from the feast full of grief and perplexity; and lamented the hardship of their fate, which tore them from their beloved general and their native country. The only expedient which could prevent their separation was boldly agitated and approved; the popular resentment was insensibly moulded into a regular conspiracy; their just reasons of complaint were heightened by passion, and their passions were inflamed by wine, as on the eve of their departure the troops were indulged in licentious festivity." – Gibbon]
Curate ut bene valeatis omnes.
Dabam a.d. XIV Kalendas Martias a.s.n. MMI seu MMDCCLIII a.u.c. e Britannia Superiore.