Wednesday, April 17, 2013

More Isidore

I am not going to do a literal translation but the next 'chapter' states that

"Nature has enriched Spain as a reward with lots of things that grow. Rich fruit trees, full of vigor, happy harvests, innumerable olive trees, great show of life. You have flowering fields, leafy mountains, shores full of fishes. You have been placed on the most blessed region on earth. You do not burn with the flame of the summer heat, nor do you decline with strong blasts of ice, but you are encircled with a sky of moderate airs, western breezes will nourish the happy ones. The fields are so fertile, the land full of precious metals and beauty of living things and good pastures. Nor are the rivers to be neglected, which render famous the bright fame of the handsome flocks."

In short, Spain is the land of milk and honey according to Isidore. I don't know if the trouble is the Latin Library copy of the latin. More likely it is Isidore's latin. I have no footnotes so I am not sure how to take some of the parts that don't make sense which is why I am winging it.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

History of the Kingdom of the Goths, Vandals and Suevi

      Isidore of Seville, bishop and saint, wrote a book called Etymologiae in which he tried to sum up all the 'knowledge' of the time, quoting extensively from many Roman authors. He also wrote a history of the Germanic tribes that conquered his part of Europe, Spain (whatever size or shape Spain was at the time). The Visigothic kingdom of Alaric (who conquered Rome in 410 a.d.) was still going strong although it was converting to Catholicism from Arianism. It had also been defeated by Clovis and had its capital looted of its Roman treasures.  Isidore does not seem to be a popular writer. His history has only been translated into English in the mid 1960's and googling some of the latin terms he used yielded nothing. Although he wrote a book called Etymologiae, his latin was not the best and is challenging to decipher but I feel like giving it a shot.

      Since I used up a bit of space taking about Isidore, I will do only the first chapter of the Prologue today. Isidore loved Spain since he starts off with this little bit:

 Of all the lands, which are from the west all the way to India, you are the most beautiful. O  holy, and always happy mother of the best of peoples, Hispania. I swear (though the form jure doesn't support a first person singular interpretation) you are the queen of all provinces, from which not even light of the setting sun or the rising sun can alter. You are the glory and the jewel of the earth, the brighter part of earth: in which many of the people of the Goths rejoice and what's more flourish for the most part  in glorious abundance.

Since Canada was not a country yet, I won't pause now to point out his error.