Latin/Grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,

Please help me understand sentences below (Ars Amatoris 1,181-190)

Ultor adest, primisque ducem profitetur in annis,
Bellaque non puero tractat agenda puer.
1)What's the subject of 'tractat'? ultor or puer?

Parcite natales timidi numerare deorum:
Caesaribus virtus contingit ante diem.
1) Who are 'Caesaribus' here?
2) 'ante diem' means 'before their birthdays'?

Ingenium caeleste suis velocius annis          
Surgit, et ignavae fert male damna morae
1) 'suis annis' means 'than their ages'?
2) What's the meaning of 'damna morae'?

Parvus erat, manibusque duos Tirynthius angues
Pressit, et in cunis iam Iove dignus erat.
1) Tirynthius(adj.) is used here as a noun?  

Nunc quoque qui puer es, quantus tum, Bacche, fuisti,
Cum timuit thyrsos India victa tuos?
1) Could you be more specific about the description that Bacchus defeated India with his thyrsus?

Thank you.

J

p.s. Both 'quid agis' and 'quid facis' can be also translated as 'What are you doing?'? Or other expressions in order to avoid any confusion?

Answer
Dear John,

1.In “Ultor adest, primisque ducem profitetur in annis, /Bellaque non puero tractat agenda puer” (Ovid, Ars amatoria, 1, 181-182) the subject of "tractat" is  “puer” .
Here’s the literal translation:
”An avenger (ultor) is here (adest), and  declares  himself (profitetur)  as a  leader (ducem) from his infancy (primisque in annis) and [this] boy (puer) manages (tractat) wars (bella) that should not be managed (non agenda.Gerundive agreeing with “bella”) by a boy (puero. Dative of Agent)”, i.e.:
“An avenger is here, the one who already from his infancy appears a a leader and, though he is a boy, is able to manage wars that a boy should not  manage”.


2.in “Parcite natales timidi numerare deorum:/Caesaribus virtus contigit ante diem” (183-184) the ablative plural  "Caesaribus"  refers to  the heirs/descendants  of Caesar such as Octavianus Augustus, foster son of Caius Iulius Caesar assassinated by Brutus and Cassius in 44 BC.

As for  "ante diem", it  means "before [its] time”, just to emphasize  the precociousness of  Caesar’s descendants  who behave as if they are  much older than they are, so that their “courage flowers before its time”( Caesaribus virtus contigit ante diem” literally meaning: “courage came to  Caesar’s descendants before [its] time”).



3. in “Ingenium caeleste suis velocius annis / Surgit, et ignavae fert male damna morae” (185-186)  the ablative of comparison "suis annis" means "than its years" related to “ingenium caeleste” (Divine genius) in “Divine (caeleste) genius (ingenium) grows (surgit) faster (velocius)  than its (suis) years (annis)”
As for  the meaning of "damna morae", it is “ the injuries of a delay”, as “et ignavae fert male damna morae” literally means:” and  suffers (et ...fert) badly (male) the harms (damna, in the plural) of a cowardly (ignavae) delay (morae)”.


4.in “Parvus erat, manibusque duos Tirynthius angues/ Pressit, et in cunis iam Iove dignus erat” (187-188) the epithet Tirynthius (adj. literally meaning “the Tirynthian”, i.e. “of Tiryns”, city of  the region of Argolis, in Greece) is used here as an appellation of Hercules, meaning:”Hercules of Tiryns” as Tiryns was the early home of Hercules.



5.As for  “Nunc quoque qui puer es, quantus tum, Bacche, fuisti,/Cum timuit thyrsos India victa tuos?" (189-190), learn  more specific about the description that Bacchus defeated India with his thyrsus at: http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/DionysosMyths3.html#India

Please note that before he took his place at Olympus, Bacchus (Greek, Dionysos/Dionysus) with his thyrsus, a staff twined round with ivy and vine-branches, wandered the world for many years, going as far as India to teach people how to grow vines.

Best regards,

Maria
__________________________________________________________________________________________
P.S. Both 'quid agis' and 'quid facis' can be also translated as 'What are you doing?".

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