Thursday, January 15, 2009


It's too cold to do much of anything today, so I spent most of the day doing... very little. We got less than an inch of snow last night, so I was astonished to see that the university opened late and that the school board cancelled school. O.o It's not cold enough that your neighbors' dogs vaporize when they sneak out for a bathroom break, either, so that probably wasn't it. Are snowdays now of the use-or-lose variety?
I didn't knit today, which is unusual. Of course, since most of the projects on my list are of the UFO variety (two sweaters each missing a sleeve and in need of blocking, a pair of socks, and the pompom for a hat), you'd think I'd hop to it and actually do them. Later, maybe.
Today (gasp!) is my birthday, so I've been opening presents one at a time. So far, I've found a package of striped tabi socks and a collection of biographies of the Caesars written by Seutonius, starting with Julius and ending with Domitian (The Twelve Caesars, or for the Latin buffs among us De Vita Caesarum). Dad's present arrived a couple days ago, so it was opened early; I didn't know he hadn't wrapped the stuff inside the cardboard, otherwise I would have waited. Sorry, dad! He sent me sock blockers and some fluffy roving in a variety of interesting colors. A friend of mom's appeared bearing a balloon shaped like a lobster (much giggling ensued; it's very cute) and a birthday cake.
The rest of the afternoon was spent reading and trying to get rid of a headache; the headache had absolutely nothing to do with what I was reading. I didn't feel like reading Icelandic poetry today... it's too cold! And I didn't realize it, but it turns out the book of Russian chronicles I got from the library is the very same one we used in my History of Pre-Modern Russia class... which I still have. Oops.
Rachael: Do you think older translations are less accurate? The translation of Caesar's Commentaries On the Gallic Wars turned out to have been written in 1918; it's one of those one-line-of-Latin-one-line-of-English ones where the type looks a bit like fleas jumping about on the page. I'm enjoying it so far, and find myself chuckling over some of the sentence constructions. My favorite phrase thus far is that Caesar is complaining to the Aedui because the grain he was promised hasn't been provided; the translation is given as something like "he complained more bitterly because he was left destitute of corn".
I took a peek at the first part of the biography of Julius Caesar and had another giggle. WHY don't people talk like this anymore? It's tragic. Example: Julius Caesar was captured by pirates and kept in a state of great indignity with only one personal physician and two servants. I love it. Once I'm more awake after the dose of antihistimine, I must read more. And find a magnifying glass. After I finish these two, it's on to Livy, Cicero, and the omnibus volume of Greek and Latin stuff, and then the Russian chronicles and Icelandic poetry.

I'm also still working on The Dark Is Rising and Foreign Correspondence. The former is just as enjoyable as it was when I read it as a child; the latter is a delightful treat. Ahhh.. so many books, so little time.


Rachael said...

*gigglesnorts at your 'hic-haec-hoc'*

I think schools are more cautious now about things like snow and hurricanes. I know when I was little, we'd be in school when tropical storms came through the area, and now, they cancel school for the same type of weather just in case to prevent any bus accidents. Don't want to get sued and all that...

*is totally jealous of your sock blockers... nevermind that I've never needed them before...* Also, awesome book!

About the translations: It's probably hit or miss just like any translation as to how accurate it is. And by that I mean, some translations will be good and some will be bad irrespective of age. I would think a line-by-line translation would be on the more literal side of things, which has the advantage of being literal, so you get what was actually being said, but the potential disadvantage of not having the idioms put in such a way that the contemporary meaning behind the words is conveyed. And you are so right! It is tragic we don't talk like this any more, although I've tried to work some of their common sentence contructions into my prose. I'm so glad that you're enjoying your reading! :D

La Duchesse said...

I am getting the sense that the translation is pretty literal, which makes reading it sort of funny-ha-ha. Reading it aloud is even funnier because the syntax is off and the parenthetical suggestions make more sense than the actual translation. It's hard for me to read even a paragraph aloud without giggling... :P