Latin/Grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,

Parthe, dabis poenas: Crassi gaudete sepulti,
Signaque barbaricas non bene passa manus.(Ars Amatoria 1, 179-180)

Further to your answer I'd like to ask you if 'Crassi sepulti'
can also be translated as 'Crassus and his son buried'?  

Thank you

J

Answer
Dear John,

In “Parthe, dabis poenas: Crassi gaudete sepulti, /Signaque barbaricas non bene passa manus./ Ultor adest...” (Ovid, Ars Amatoria 1, 179-181)  meaning:” O Parthian, you will pay the penalty: rejoice, o buried  soldiers of Crassus, and you military standards  that  have suffered the shame of being captured by barbarous hands. / The avenger is here..”  the expression "Crassi... sepulti"  cannot be translated as "Crassus and his son buried" , first because there is no son of Crassus, second because “sepulti” followed by the genitive “Crassi” is a vocative plural (literally, “o buried”), finally because the vocative plural “sepulti”  goes with the other vocative plural “signa” (military standards) to which "sepulti" is grammatically  connected by the enclitic -”que”, so that both "sepulti" and "signa" go with the imperative “gaudete" (2nd  person plural).

To conclude, there is no reason why "Crassi... sepulti"  must be translated as “Crassus and his son buried", though Publius  Licinius Crassus, son of Marcus Licinius Crassus, died in the battle with Parthians (See Plutarch, Life of Crassus, 25 ff)

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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