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Latin Online

Lesson 9

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

Einhard, author of the biography of Charlemagne, was closely involved with the church. Born about 770 and died on 14 March 840, he was singled out for his capabilities by his abbot, Baugulf, and sent to the school in the palace of Charlemagne. The head of the school was Alcuin, who was also an adviser to Charlemagne. In this way Einhard became a member of the court, and upon the entry of Alcuin to a monastery he became his successor in the school. He remained close to Charlemagne until his death in 814, and then continued as adviser to the following rulers until he, too, entered a monastery around 820. While his Vita Karoli Magni is his most highly regarded work, other writings of his have survived, among them many letters.

Reading and Textual Analysis

This selection is from the second part of Einhard's brief biography, which deals with the personal qualities of the emperor. In the first part he described Charlemagne's military and diplomatic undertakings. These were highly successful, leading to the expansion and establishment of the Frankish state. While the first part is of interest for the history of the period, the second provides interesting information about Charlemagne's capabilities and more general activities, such as his support of the indigenous language. Among other contributions, he devised Frankish names for the months, such as Uuintarmanoth for January, Ostarmanoth for April, and so on. He also identified twelve winds in place of the earlier four, and gave them names as well. The work ends with a lengthy account of his will.

Erat eloquentia copiosus et exuberans poteratque quicquid vellet apertissime exprimere.

  • erat -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <sum, esse, fui> I am -- He was
  • eloquentia -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <eloquentia, eloquentiae> eloquence -- in eloquence
  • copiosus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <copiosus, copiosa, copiosum> rich -- outstanding
  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- and
  • exuberans -- defective verb; nominative singular masculine of present participle of <exubero, exuberare, -, -> be abundant -- superb
  • poteratque -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <possum, posse, potui> be able + conjunction <-que> and -- and could
  • quicquid -- indefinite pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <quisquis, quaeque, quicquid> whoever, whatever -- whatever
  • vellet -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect subjunctive of <volo, velle, volui> wish, determine -- he wished
  • apertissime -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of superlative of <apertus, aperta, apertum> open -- very clearly
  • exprimere -- verb; infinitive of <exprimo, exprimere, expressi, expressum> express -- express

Nec patrio tantum sermone contentus, etiam peregrinis linguis ediscendis operam impendit.

  • nec -- adverb; <nec> neither ... nor -- And not
  • patrio -- adjective; ablative singular masculine of <patrius, patria, patrium> paternal -- with ...native
  • tantum -- adverb; <tantum> only -- only
  • sermone -- noun, masculine; ablative singular of <sermo, sermonis> language -- language
  • contentus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <contentus, contenta, contentum> content -- satisfied
  • etiam -- adverb; <etiam> also, even -- also
  • peregrinis -- adjective; ablative plural feminine of <peregrinus, peregrini> foreign -- foreign
  • linguis -- noun, feminine; ablative plural of <lingua, linguae> tongue, language -- languages
  • ediscendis -- ablative plural feminine of gerund(ive) of <edisco, ediscere, edidici, -> learn, memorize -- in learning
  • operam -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <opera, operae> work, service, attention -- effort
  • impendit -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect of <impendo, impendere, impendi, impensum> expend, devote -- expended

In quibus Latinam ita didicit, ut aeque illa ac patria lingua orare sit solitus, Graecam vero melius intellegere quam pronuntiare poterat.

  • in -- preposition; <in> in, on -- Among
  • quibus -- relative pronoun; dative plural feminine of <qui, quae, quod> who, which, what, that -- which
  • Latinam -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <Latinus, Latina, Latinum> Latin -- Latin
  • ita -- adverb; <ita> thus -- so (well)
  • didicit -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect of <disco, discere, didici, -> learn -- knew
  • ut -- conjunction; <ut> that, so that -- so that
  • aeque -- adverb; <aeque> equally -- to the same extent
  • illa -- demonstrative pronoun; ablative singular feminine of <ille, illa, illud> he, she, that -- it
  • ac -- conjunction; <ac> and -- and
  • patria -- adjective; ablative singular feminine of <patrius, patria, patrium> paternal -- (his) native
  • lingua -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <lingua, linguae> tongue, language -- language
  • orare -- verb; infinitive of <oro, orare, oravi, oratum> speak -- to speak
  • sit -- verb; 3rd person singular subjunctive present of <sum, esse, fui> I am -- he was
  • solitus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <solitus, solita, solitum> accustomed -- accustomed
  • Graecam -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <Graecus, Graeca, Graecum> Greek -- Greek
  • vero -- adverb; <vero> truly, but -- but
  • melius -- adverb; <melius> better -- better
  • intellegere -- verb; infinitive of <intellego, intellegere, intellexi, intellectum> understand -- understand
  • quam -- adverb used as conjunction; <quam> than -- than
  • pronuntiare -- verb; infinitive of <pronuntio, pronuntiare, pronuntiavi, pronuntiatum> pronounce -- speak
  • poterat -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <possum, posse, potui> be able -- he could

Adeo quidem facundus erat, ut etiam dicaculus appareret.

  • adeo -- adverb; <adeo> so, so much -- so
  • quidem -- adverb; <quidem> in fact, even -- in fact
  • facundus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <facundus, facunda, facundum> fluent, eloquent -- eloquent
  • erat -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <sum, esse, fui> I am -- He was
  • ut -- conjunction; <ut> that, so that -- that
  • etiam -- adverb; <etiam> also, even -- rather
  • dicaculus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <dicaculus, dicacula, dicaculum> effusive -- effusive
  • appareret -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect subjunctive of <appareo, apparere, apparui, -> be visible, seem -- seemed

Artes liberales studiosissime coluit, earumque doctores plurimum veneratus magnis adficiebat honoribus.

  • artes -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <ars, artis> skill, art -- arts
  • liberales -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <liberalis, liberalis, liberale> liberal -- (the) liberal
  • studiosissime -- adverb; superlative of <studiosus, studiosa, studiosum> eager, studious -- very studiously
  • coluit -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect of <colo, colere, colui, cultum> dwell in, cultivate -- He cultivated
  • earumque -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive plural feminine of <is, ea, id> him, her, this + conjunction <-que> and -- and ... of them
  • doctores -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <doctor, doctoris> teacher -- the instructors
  • plurimum -- adverb; <plurimum> very much, especially -- especially
  • veneratus -- deponent verb; perfect participle passive of <veneror, venerari, veneratus sum> honor, venerate -- venerating
  • magnis -- adjective; ablative plural masculine of <magnus, magna, magnum> great, large -- with great
  • adficiebat -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <adficio, adficere, adfeci, adfectum> afflict -- he treated
  • honoribus -- noun, masculine; ablative plural of <honos, honoris> honor, distinction -- honors

In discenda grammatica Petrum Pisanum diaconem senem audivit.

  • in -- preposition; <in> in, on -- For the purpose of
  • discenda -- verbal adjective; ablative singular feminine of <disco, discere, didici, -> learn -- learning
  • grammatica -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <grammatica, grammaticae> grammar -- grammar
  • Petrum -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Petrus, Petri> Peter -- Peter
  • Pisanum -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <Pisanus, Pisana, Pisanum> Pisan -- of Pisa
  • diaconem -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <diaco, diaconis> deacon -- deacon
  • senem -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <senex, senis> aged -- the aged
  • audivit -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect of <audio, audire, audivi, auditum> hear -- he was taught by

In ceteris disciplinis Albinum cognomento Alcoinum, item diaconem, de Brittania Saxonici generis hominem, virum undecumque doctissimum praeceptorem habuit, apud quem et rethoricae et dialecticae, praecipue tamen astronomiae ediscendae plurimum et temporis et laboris impertivit.

  • in -- preposition; <in> in, on -- In
  • ceteris -- adjective; ablative plural feminine of <ceteri, ceterae, cetera> other -- the other
  • disciplinis -- noun, feminine; ablative plural of <disciplina, disciplinae> discipline, education -- disciplines
  • Albinum -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Albinus, Albini> Albinus -- Albinus
  • cognomento -- noun, neuter; ablative singular of <cognomentum, cognomenti> surname -- with the surname
  • Alcoinum -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Alcuinus, Alcuini> Alcuin -- Alcuin
  • item -- adverb; <item> also -- also
  • diaconem -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <diaco, diaconis> deacon -- a deacon
  • de -- preposition; <de> from, about -- from
  • Brittania -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <Brittania, Brittaniae> Britain -- Britain
  • Saxonici -- adjective; genitive singular neuter of <Saxonicus, Saxonici> Saxon -- of Saxon
  • generis -- noun, neuter; genitive singular of <genus, generis> kind, class -- race
  • hominem -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <homo, hominis> man, human -- a human
  • virum -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <vir, viri> man -- man
  • undecumque -- adverb; <undecumque> from every side -- in all respects
  • doctissimum -- adjective; accusative singular masculine superlative of <doctus, docta, doctum> learned -- the most learned
  • praeceptorem -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <praeceptor, praeceptoris> teacher -- as teacher
  • habuit -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect of <habeo, habere, habui, habitum> have -- he had
  • apud -- preposition; <apud> among, with -- with
  • quem -- relative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <qui, quae, quod> who, which, what, that -- whom
  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- both
  • rethoricae -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <rhetorica, rhetoricae> rhetoric -- rhetoric
  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- and
  • dialecticae -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <dialectica, dialecticae> logic -- logic
  • praecipue -- adverb; <praecipue> chiefly -- chiefly
  • tamen -- conjunction; <tamen> nevertheless, but -- however
  • astronomiae -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <astronomia, astronomiae> astronomy -- astronomy
  • ediscendae -- verb; genitive singular feminine gerund(ive) of <edisco, ediscere, edidici, -> learn, memorize -- for learning
  • plurimum -- adjective used as substantive; accusative singular neuter superlative of <multus, multa, multum> many -- a great deal
  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- both
  • temporis -- noun, neuter; genitive singular of <tempus, temporis> time -- of time
  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- and
  • laboris -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <labor, laboris> labor, effort -- of effort
  • impertivit -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect of <impertio, impertire, impertivi, impertitus> devote -- devoted

Discebat artem computandi et intentione sagaci siderum cursum curiosissime rimabatur.

  • discebat -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <disco, discere, didici, -> learn -- He learned
  • artem -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <ars, artis> skill, art -- the art
  • computandi -- verb; genitive of gerund(ive) of <computo, computare, computavi, computatum> compute -- of computing
  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- and
  • intentione -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <intentio, intentionis> effort -- effort
  • sagaci -- adjective; ablative singular feminine of <sagax, sagacis> keen, sagacious -- with ... keen
  • siderum -- noun, neuter; genitive plural of <sidus, sideris> constellation, heavenly body -- of the heavenly bodies
  • cursum -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <cursus, cursus> course -- the course
  • curiosissime -- adverb; superlative of <curiosus, curiosa, curiosum> diligent -- most diligently
  • rimabatur -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <rimor, rimari, rimatus sum> search, explore -- he explored

Temptabat et scribere tabulasque et codicellos ad hoc in lecto sub cervicalibus circumferre solebat, ut, cum vacuum tempus esset, manum litteris effigiendis adsuesceret.

  • temptabat -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <tempto, temptare, temptavi, temptatum> attempt -- He tried
  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- also
  • scribere -- verb; infinitive of <scribo, scribere, scripsi, scriptum> write -- to write
  • tabulasque -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <tabula, tabulae> tablet + conjunction <-que> and -- and ...tablets
  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- and
  • codicellos -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <codicelli, codicellorum> notebook -- notebooks
  • ad -- preposition; <ad> to, towards -- for
  • hoc -- demonstrative pronoun; ablative singular neuter of <hic, haec, hoc> there, this -- this (purpose)
  • in -- preposition; <in> in, on -- (to have) in
  • lecto -- noun, masculine; ablative singular of <lectus, lecti> bed -- bed
  • sub -- preposition; <sub> under -- under
  • cervicalibus -- noun, neuter; ablative plural of <cervical, cervicalis> pillow -- the pillows
  • circumferre -- verb; infinitive of <circumfero, circumferre, circumtuli, circumlatum> carry around -- to carry around
  • solebat -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <soleo, solere, solitum> be accustomed -- he was accustomed
  • ut -- conjunction; <ut> that, so that -- so that
  • cum -- conjunction; <cum> since, when -- when
  • vacuum -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <vacuus, vacua, vacuum> empty, free -- free
  • tempus -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <tempus, temporis> time -- time
  • esset -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect subjunctive of <sum, esse, fui> I am -- there might be
  • manum -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <manus, manus> hand -- (his) hand
  • litteris -- noun, feminine; ablative plural of <littera, litterae> letter -- letters
  • effigiendis -- verb; ablative plural feminine of gerund(ive) of <effingo, effingere, effinxi, effictum> form -- at forming
  • adsuesceret -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect subjunctive of <adsuesco, adsuescere, adsuescevi, adsuescetum> accustom -- he tried

Sed parum successit labor praeposterus ac sero inchoatus.

  • sed -- conjunction; <sed> but -- but
  • parum -- adverb; <parum> too little -- very little
  • successit -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect of <succedo, succedere, successi, sucessum> enter, succeed -- had ... success
  • labor -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <labor, laboris> labor, effort -- (his) effort
  • praeposterus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <praeposterus, praepostera, praeposterum> unseasonable -- at the wrong time
  • ac -- conjunction; <ac> and -- and
  • sero -- adverb; <sero> too late -- too late
  • inchoatus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <incohatus, incohata, incohatum> begun -- begun

Lesson Text

Erat eloquentia copiosus et exuberans poteratque quicquid vellet apertissime exprimere. Nec patrio tantum sermone contentus, etiam peregrinis linguis ediscendis operam impendit. In quibus Latinam ita didicit, ut aeque illa ac patria lingua orare sit solitus, Graecam vero melius intellegere quam pronuntiare poterat. Adeo quidem facundus erat, ut etiam dicaculus appareret. Artes liberales studiosissime coluit, earumque doctores plurimum veneratus magnis adficiebat honoribus. In discenda grammatica Petrum Pisanum diaconem senem audivit. In ceteris disciplinis Albinum cognomento Alcoinum, item diaconem, de Brittania Saxonici generis hominem, virum undecumque doctissimum praeceptorem habuit, apud quem et rethoricae et dialecticae, praecipue tamen astronomiae ediscendae plurimum et temporis et laboris impertivit. Discebat artem computandi et intentione sagaci siderum cursum curiosissime rimabatur. Temptabat et scribere tabulasque et codicellos ad hoc in lecto sub cervicalibus circumferre solebat, ut, cum vacuum tempus esset, manum litteris effigiendis adsuesceret. Sed parum successit labor praeposterus ac sero inchoatus.

Translation

He was outstanding in eloquence and could express excellently whatever he wished. And not satisfied with just his paternal language, he also expended effort in learning foreign languages. Among these he knew Latin so well that he could speak it with the same control as his native language. But Greek he could understand better than speak. He was in fact so eloquent in speech that at times he seemed effusive. He cultivated the liberal arts very studiously, and in the instruction of these he treated his teachers with great honor. In learning grammar he was taught by the aged deacon, Peter the Pisan. In the other disciplines he had as teacher Albinus, with the surname Alcuin, also a deacon, a Saxon from Britain, a very learned man in all respects. With him he devoted effort and time to learn rhetoric and logic, but chiefly astronomy. He learned the art of computing and with keen effort he explored the course of the heavenly bodies. He also tried to write, and was accustomed to carry about tablets and notebooks to have under his pillow for this purpose, so that when there might be time he could apply his hand to writing letters. But he had very little success since his work was at the wrong time and begun too late.

Grammar

41. Simple Sentences.

In the basic word order of Latin the verb stands last in the sentence, as was noted in Grammar section 1. A fuller example than that given there is:

Aeneas a nomine uxoris Lavinium appellat.
Aeneas calls it Lavinia from the name of his wife.

If, as here, a subject is included, it typically stands initially. Adverbial expressions and objects follow it. The same order is found in coordinate sentences, as in this sentence from Lesson 5:

Agriculturae non student, maiorque pars eorum victus in lacte, caseo, carne consistit.
They do not practice agriculture, and the major part of their food consists of milk, cheese and meat.

We have also noted that the extensive inflection of nouns and verbs enables authors to modify the basic order, as for indicating emphasis on specific words; the final placement of laudem in the next example provides an illustration.

42. Complex Sentences.

As modifiers of a basic sentence, relative clauses may precede them, as in the following example from Lesson 5:

Qui diutissime impuberes permanserunt, maximum inter suos ferunt laudem.
Those who remain chaste longest have the greatest praise among them.

When modifying specific nouns, on the other hand, relative clauses may follow, e.g.

Nam neque druides habent, qui rebus divinis praesint.
For they do not have Druids who preside over religious matters.

Subordinate clauses introduced by conjunctions also may follow the basic clause, e.g.

Cuius rei nulla est occultatio, quod et promiscue in fluminibus perluntur.
Nothing of this matter is hidden, because they bathe promiscuously in rivers.
43. The Use of Infinitives.

Infinitives may stand as complements to verbs, as in English, as in this example from lesson 6:

Solent et subterraneos specus aperire.
They are also accustomed to open up underground caves.

In such uses, they may correspond to subordinate clauses, as in this example from Lesson 8:

Hoc autem eos velle, ex motu corporis aperiabatur.
But that they wished this was apparent from the motion of their body.

A favorite construction in Latin is made by using accusatives as subjects of infinitives, in the so-called accusative with infinitive construction, e.g. Lesson 5:

Hoc ali staturam, ali vires nervosque confirmari putant.
Some think that height, others that sinews are strengthened by this.
44. Uses of Participles.

Participles are used as substantives, chiefly as adjectives. Since the perfect passive forms consist of the perfect participle passive with forms of esse 'be', such participles may be used alone, in view of the fact that forms of esse are often elided, as in this example from Lesson 1:

Inde foedus ictum inter duces.
Then a treaty was struck by the leaders.

Participles are also used frequently with nouns as abbreviations of subordinate clauses in the ablative absolute construction, as in the following examples from Lesson 1:

cremata patria
their fatherland had been burned
dextra data
(right hand given) He gave him his right hand.
45. Lengthy Sentences.

Sentences may be long and complex, especially in the writings of the historians. Caesar writes more succinctly. For understanding the complex sentences, one must simply identify individual clauses and interpret them in turn, as in the following example from Lesson 1:

Postquam audierit multitudinem Troianos esse, ducem Aeneam, filium Anchisae et Veneris, cremata patria domo profugos sedem condendaeque urbi locum quaerere.

After the initial clause, Postquam audierit, there is a construction of the accusative with infinitive: multitudinem Troianos esse. This is followed by a clause in which the verb is lacking, and that in turn by an appositive clause: ducem Aeneam, filium ... The next two words make up an ablative absolute construction: cremata patria. These are followed by two clauses in which the verbs are participles. And finally there is another infinitive clause introduced by the verb audierit.

As edited in Lesson 1, this is treated here as a complete sentence; but strictly speaking it is actually a subordinate clause introduced by postquam, that stands before the basic clause: fidem ... sanxisse 'he enacted a pledge'. That in turn includes a number of subordinate clauses or their variants. Once again, the key to understanding such complex sentences is provided by the inflections.