Saturday, June 8, 2013

Back to Isidore

After a little diversion, I am back to my loose translation of Isidore of Seville's History of the Kingdom of the Goths, Vandals and Suevi. I must say, quite a bit of his Latin, or the way he spells Latin words, does not appear in any of my dictionaries. This makes it frustrating to translate because I am guessing to some degree.

The history begins.

1 That the Goths are a very ancient people is certain. In fact their ancestor is Magog, son of Japhet. They (Gog and Magog) are assumed to be joined together more by the prophet Ezekiel than by the similarity in their last syllables, but they are called Getas by the learned more than they are called Gog and Magog. This strongest of peoples will be recorded as having set foot even in the land of Judea.

2 Moreover a translation of their name has been uncovered in our language which means 'strength' and this is true because there was no people on this earth who have vexed the might of Rome so long as these have. For indeed, these people (the Goths) are those who even Alexander (the Great) proclaimed must be avoided, Pyrrhus (a Greek general whose life is recorded in Plutarch's Lives, "Some of his battles, though successful, cost him heavy losses, from which the term "Pyrrhic victory" was coined.")  feared them greatly, Caesar (Julius) dreaded them. {from Orosius's history} For many generations back, they were accustomed to be lead by dukes, afterwards by kings. Of whom it is necessary to quickly set forth the succession and the times, and they reigned in name and deed, to unravel a little about the histories.

You got to be curious about a people so fearsome that some of the biggest warmongers in history shuddered at the mention of their name.

2 comments:

Anachronist said...

Small wonder Goths conquered the feeble and crumbling Roman empire after a time.

The Red Witch said...

LOL, I was being facetious about the ferocity of the Goths. The Romans were doomed because those at the top were so invested in their own self interest and greed to the detriment of the society that made their wealth possible. Collapse was inevitable. The Goths were the lucky ones who were in a position to loot the remains.