Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fable 77: Ranae et Earum Rex

Here's the next fable with a kind of running commentary that is not entirely possible within the confines of the forthcoming book from Bolchazy-Carducci. This will be Fable 77 in the book: De Ranis et Earum Rege. For more information about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Gens Ranarum supplicabat sibi regem dari. Iupiter deiecit trabem, cuius moles cum ingenti fragore quassabat fluvium. Territae, silebant Ranae. Mox regem venerantur et tandem accedunt propius; omni metu abiecto, iners rex lusui et contemptui est. Lacessunt igitur Iovem rursus, orantes regem sibi dari qui strenuus sit. Iupiter dat Ciconiam, quae, perambulans paludem, quidquid Ranarum obviam fit, vorabat. De cuius tyrannide questae sunt, sed frustra. Nam Iupiter non audit; decrevit enim ut, quae regem clementem sunt deprecatae, iam ferant inclementem.
Gens Ranarum
= As often, we meet one of the main characters in the opening words of the fable: the frog clan!

supplicabat sibi regem dari.
= The reflexive pronoun refers to the subject of the main verb, the frogs: they asked that a king be given to them (i.e., to them, the frogs).

Iupiter deiecit trabem,
= We now learn just who they asked for a king: they went to the king of the gods himself, Jupiter.

cuius moles
= The referent of the relative pronoun is the log, trabem.

cum ingenti fragore
= Note that this is the preposition cum, not the adverb.

quassabat fluvium.
= Although frequentative verbs are usually formed with -tare or -itare in Latin, some frequentative verbs are formed with -sare as you can see here, with the verb quassare formed from the root verb, quatere which has quassus as its perfect participle (compare also cursare from currere, which has cursus as its perfect participle).

Territae, silebant Ranae.
= You might want to translate the Latin participle with a finite verb clause in English: The frogs were terrified and made not a sound. (Given that frogs are proverbially noisy, their silence is quite remarkable!)

Mox regem venerantur
= The deponent verb venerantur is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative.

et tandem accedunt propius;
= The word propius is the comparative form of the adverb, prope.

omni metu abiecto,
= Ablative absolute construction.

iners rex lusui et contemptui est.
= The predicate datives express the purpose to which the frogs put their king: he was an object of amusement and contempt.

Lacessunt igitur Iovem rursus,
= Note the postpositive particle in second position, as you would expect.

orantes regem sibi dari
= Notice that regem sibi dari repeats their original request - but now they are going to add a relative clause that provides further specifications!

qui strenuus sit.
= The subjunctive, introduced by the relative pronoun qui, explains the result the frogs would like to see in response to their request for a king.

Iupiter dat Ciconiam,
= In the classical Latin version of this story, Jupiter sends a water snake, but here he sends a water bird.

quae, perambulans paludem,
= The relative pronoun is feminine singular, agreeing with ciconia.

quidquid Ranarum obviam fit,
= The phrase quidquid ranarum is a partitive genitive: "whatever (of) frogs." The phrase obviam fieri means “to run into, get in the way of."

= The subject of this verb is the stork: she devoured whatever frogs she ran into!

De cuius tyrannide
= The referent of the relative pronoun cuius is ciconia in the previous sentence: de cuius (ciconiae) tyrannide.

questae sunt, sed frustra.
= The implied subject of the verb is the frogs, ranae - hence the feminine plural form, questae sunt.

Nam Iupiter non audit;
= The nam indicates here that an explanation is coming - that is, an explanation of why it was that the frogs' complained frustra, "in vain."

decrevit enim
= Note the postpositive particle in second position, as you would expect.

= This ut is going to introduce a subjunctive verb as you would expect - but you'll have to wait until after the relative clause to find out what the verb is.

quae regem clementem sunt deprecatae,
= The deponent verb sunt deprecatae is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative. The referent of the relative pronoun is the implied subject of the main verb of the sentence, ferant.

iam ferant inclementem.
= The subjunctive here goes with ut (preceding the relative clause).

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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