Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pompeius Magnus, Cato Maior, Fabius Maximus

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Pompeius Magnus, Cato Maior, Fabius Maximus
Maximus hic Magno minor est, Maiorque maior;
Quis fuit istorum maximus ergo trium?

This great’st, less than the great, greater than he
The Greater: which is greatest of the three?

Source: John Owen (c.1564-c.1628), Epigrammata, 2.170. The English version is by Thomas Harvey. Meter: Elegiac. The poem refers to Pompey the Great, The Elder Cato, and Fabius Maximus.

The vocabulary is keyed to the DCC Latin Vocabulary list. All the words in this poem are on that list. The Latin wordplay is hard to render in English:

This Maximus (hic Maximus) is less (minor est) than the Great (Magno), and the Elder/Greater is greater (Maiorque mairo). Who therefore was the greatest (quis ergo fuit maximus) of those three (istorum trium)?

ergo: therefore
hic haec hoc: this; hōc: on this account
iste ista istud: that, that of yours; adv. istīc or istūc: over there; istinc: from over there
māgnus -a -um great
māior -ius: greater, older; maiōres -um: ancestors
māximus -a -um: greatest; māximē: most, especially, very much
minus -oris n.: a smaller number or amount, less; (adv.) minus: to a smaller extent, less
que (enclitic) - and
qui quae quod: who, which, what / quis quid: who? what? which?
sum, esse, fuī: be, exist
trēs tria: three