Columbae olim cum Milvo haud incruentum gerebant bellum et, ut Milvum penitus expugnarent, delegerunt sibi regem Accipitrem. Qui rex factus, hostem agit, non regem. Nam, non segnius ac Milvus, Columbas rapit laniatque. Paenitebat igitur Columbas incepti, satius fuisse putantes bella pati Milvi quam Accipitris subire tyrannidem.Columbae olim
= We meet the main characters of the story here in the opening words: the doves.
cum Milvo haud incruentum gerebant bellum
= The phrase haud incruentum bellum wraps around the verb. The double negative, haud incruentum, creates a positive: a not un-bloody war, i.e., a bloody war, with the kite, a notorious avian predator.
et, ut Milvum penitus expugnarent,
= In response to this situation, the doves come up with a purpose, and their purpose is expressed with an ut clause. Be careful with penitus - although it might at first look like a noun, it is an adverb.
delegerunt sibi regem Accipitrem.
= The nouns regem and accipitrem are a double predicate: “the doves chose the hawk (as) their king.”
Qui rex factus,
= The referent of the relative pronoun is accipitrem in the previous sentence: qui (accipiter) rex factus.
hostem agit, non regem.
= The word agere here means “to play the role of, act as.”
Nam, non segnius ac Milvus,
= This is comparative form of the adverb, segniter.
Columbas rapit laniatque.
= The implied subject of these verbs is the same as the subject of the previous sentence: King Hawk.
Paenitebat igitur Columbas incepti,
= Note the postpositive particle in second position, as you would expect. The impersonal verb paenitebat takes an accusative complement for the ones feeling regret, columbas, and a genitive complement for the cause of the feeling, incepti.
satius fuisse putantes
= The infinitive fuisse is part of an indirect statement with the participle putantes: “thinking (that) it would have been more satisfactory. . .”
bella pati Milvi
= The deponent infinitive pati is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative.
quam Accipitris subire tyrannidem.
= The word quam coordinates a comparison, introduced by satius, with the infinitive phrases as the things being compared.
There is no illustration of this fable in Barlow, but here is an illustration from the 1479 Steinhowel edition of Aesop's fables:
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