Discussion:
Help in interpreting a Latin text
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Carl-Henry Geschwind
2020-05-30 18:32:01 UTC
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One of my ancestors is a Günter Reinhold, who died 1617 in Saalfeld (Thuringia). His son, a Lutheran minister, that year published a funeral oration in very florid Baroque Latin. I suspect this oration asserts that Günter was the son of Erasmus Reinhold (1511-1553), a well-known astronomer of Saalfeld (but who, according to the standard account based on a city chronicle compiled in the 1670s, had only one son, an Erasmus the younger who was a Doctor of Pharmacy).

My Latin is not very good to begin with, and this text is not only florid, but probably also littered with typos, so Google Translate is of no use. So I'd like to ask those of you with a better grasp of Latin whether I am at least getting the gist here.

The relevant passage begins on this page: http://diglib.hab.de/wdb.php?dir=drucke/p-631-4f-helmst-29s&pointer=6

Most of the page seems to discuss the various astronomical achievements of the elder Erasmus Reinhold. Then, in the fifth line from the bottom, the orator seems to start listing the children of Erasmus, starting with the younger Erasmus ("qui nomine eodem/ Gaudet") who became a Doctor. On the next page (http://diglib.hab.de/wdb.php?dir=drucke/p-631-4f-helmst-29s&pointer=7) in the fourth and fifth lines, I think he is saying that there were two (or three?) further sons, Wolfgang and Erhard (and Abave? - but that is not a German name), who died in infancy. And then finally, in lines 7 and 8, Gunterus (i.e., Günter), who is said to have been worthy of his grandfather ("Gunterus, magnorum haud unquam indignus avorum.") - Günter, like his (putative?) grandfather Johannes Reinhold, had been a mayor of Saalfeld.

So, am I getting this right, that Günter is in fact being claimed to be a son of Erasmus the astronomer? Does the text give any indication of order of birth (that is, was Günter born after the two or three dead infants)? And on the bottom of the first page, what is the reference to "jungam Trilleros atq. Boneros" (Erasmus's first wife was a Boner, and a cousin had married a Triller - but is this saying that Erasmus's daughters also married Trillers and Boners?)?

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can give me with this!

--Carl-Henry
Peter Stewart
2020-05-31 06:03:01 UTC
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Post by Carl-Henry Geschwind
One of my ancestors is a Günter Reinhold, who died 1617 in Saalfeld (Thuringia). His son, a Lutheran minister, that year published a funeral oration in very florid Baroque Latin. I suspect this oration asserts that Günter was the son of Erasmus Reinhold (1511-1553), a well-known astronomer of Saalfeld (but who, according to the standard account based on a city chronicle compiled in the 1670s, had only one son, an Erasmus the younger who was a Doctor of Pharmacy).
My Latin is not very good to begin with, and this text is not only florid, but probably also littered with typos, so Google Translate is of no use. So I'd like to ask those of you with a better grasp of Latin whether I am at least getting the gist here.
The relevant passage begins on this page: http://diglib.hab.de/wdb.php?dir=drucke/p-631-4f-helmst-29s&pointer=6
Most of the page seems to discuss the various astronomical achievements of the elder Erasmus Reinhold. Then, in the fifth line from the bottom, the orator seems to start listing the children of Erasmus, starting with the younger Erasmus ("qui nomine eodem/ Gaudet") who became a Doctor. On the next page (http://diglib.hab.de/wdb.php?dir=drucke/p-631-4f-helmst-29s&pointer=7) in the fourth and fifth lines, I think he is saying that there were two (or three?) further sons, Wolfgang and Erhard (and Abave? - but that is not a German name), who died in infancy. And then finally, in lines 7 and 8, Gunterus (i.e., Günter), who is said to have been worthy of his grandfather ("Gunterus, magnorum haud unquam indignus avorum.") - Günter, like his (putative?) grandfather Johannes Reinhold, had been a mayor of Saalfeld.
So, am I getting this right, that Günter is in fact being claimed to be a son of Erasmus the astronomer? Does the text give any indication of order of birth (that is, was Günter born after the two or three dead infants)? And on the bottom of the first page, what is the reference to "jungam Trilleros atq. Boneros" (Erasmus's first wife was a Boner, and a cousin had married a Triller - but is this saying that Erasmus's daughters also married Trillers and Boners?)?
This is far outside the literary waters that I have ever dabbled in, but
for what it's worth my reading of it differs from yours.

I think the author, the pastor Erasmus Reinhold, who acknowledged
Triller and Boner relatives ("propinquos"), was son of Günter who was a
grandson not unworthy ("haud unquam indignus") of the greatest of
grandfathers ("magnorum ... avorum"), the astronomer Erasmus - whose own
grandfather was Wolfgang ("ave" is the vocative of "avus") and
great-grandfather Erhard ("abave" ditto for "abavus").

But it's hard to make sense of the astronomer's father not being named
in this context, so I may have the wrong end of the stick.

Peter Stewart
Carl-Henry Geschwind
2020-05-31 14:38:55 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
This is far outside the literary waters that I have ever dabbled in, but
for what it's worth my reading of it differs from yours.
I think the author, the pastor Erasmus Reinhold, who acknowledged
Triller and Boner relatives ("propinquos"), was son of Günter who was a
grandson not unworthy ("haud unquam indignus") of the greatest of
grandfathers ("magnorum ... avorum"), the astronomer Erasmus - whose own
grandfather was Wolfgang ("ave" is the vocative of "avus") and
great-grandfather Erhard ("abave" ditto for "abavus").
But it's hard to make sense of the astronomer's father not being named
in this context, so I may have the wrong end of the stick.
Peter Stewart
Hi Peter:

Thank you very much - this is very helpful, especially the interpretation of ave and abave.

There is one additional constraint here - the Saalfeld city chronicle, when it reported the death of Günter in 1617, said he had not quite completed his 78th year. This implies a birth around 1539, which would make it a bit difficult to be the grandson of the astronomer Erasmus (born October 1511).

The father of astronomer Erasmus was Johannes Reinhold, who was first scribe for an abbot with many properties around Saalfeld and then, after secularisation of the monastery in 1526/27, bailiff of the new lord (the Elector of Saxony) and also mayor in Saalfeld. This person is alluded to (though not named) a couple of pages earlier in the funeral oration at http://diglib.hab.de/wdb.php?dir=drucke/p-631-4f-helmst-29s&pointer=5 - about eight lines from the bottom as "Secretarius olim/ Abbatis" and then "jussu Electoris amico/ Quaestoris munus, simul & cum laude subivit/ Consulis officium".

Johannes in turn (at least according to the Saalfeld city chronicle) had been the son of a Hans Reinhold, a smith in nearby Leutenburg. No idea where Wolfgang and Eberhard might have appeared in the ancestry - I have also checked the known genealogies of the Triller and Boner families, and those names do not occur there either. Hmm.

Again, thank you for your help!

--Carl-Henry
Carl-Henry Geschwind
2020-05-31 14:56:15 UTC
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I guess I am going to have to bit the bullet and have this whole oration (all 32 pages!) professionally translated.

Does anybody on this list have a translator versed in Baroque Latin they can recommend?

Thanks!

--Carl-Henry
Peter Stewart
2020-05-31 21:42:58 UTC
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Post by Carl-Henry Geschwind
I guess I am going to have to bit the bullet and have this whole oration (all 32 pages!) professionally translated.
Does anybody on this list have a translator versed in Baroque Latin they can recommend?
The difficulty with this text is not so much that it is written in
Baroque Latin as that it is written in verse - and not very well. The
author was imitating Virgil, whose works can be tricky even for
specialists, and literal translation is not necessarily helpful.

He should have provided a marginal gloss if he anticipated readers who
didn't already know of the relationships, as it isn't clear whose
deceased grandfather and great-grandfather he is speaking of (and
literally to) in Wolfgang and Erhard. Also his scansion is not good
enough to excuse his convoluted word order, as it always is in Virgil.

I doubt that you will find anyone prepared to devote much time and
effort to this pious effusion without payment. Good luck.

Peter Stewart
Carl-Henry Geschwind
2020-06-01 15:20:21 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
The difficulty with this text is not so much that it is written in
Baroque Latin as that it is written in verse - and not very well. The
author was imitating Virgil, whose works can be tricky even for
specialists, and literal translation is not necessarily helpful.
He should have provided a marginal gloss if he anticipated readers who
didn't already know of the relationships, as it isn't clear whose
deceased grandfather and great-grandfather he is speaking of (and
literally to) in Wolfgang and Erhard. Also his scansion is not good
enough to excuse his convoluted word order, as it always is in Virgil.
I doubt that you will find anyone prepared to devote much time and
effort to this pious effusion without payment. Good luck.
Peter Stewart
Haha! Yup, bad pseudo-Virgilian verse sounds about right for this.

I have now sat down with Wiktionary (which allows me to look up conjugated or declined Latin words) and tried to parse out some of these passages. I have also found a reference in the literature to an Erhard Reinhold - an uncle of the astronomer (brother to the astronomer's father Johannes, who was born 1479). It works chronologically for this Erhard Reinhold to have been the great-grandfather of the pastor Erasmus Reinhold, author of this bad verse (whose father Günter was born about 1539), and thus I think the apostrophes to the departed "grandfather Wolfgang" and "great-grandfather Erhard" may be to the grandfather and great-grandfather of the poet. If this is the case, then Günter was not the son of the astronomer Erasmus, but rather of the astronomer's cousin Wolfgang. This then also agrees with the standard account, which states that the astronomer had only one son, the doctor of pharmacy Erasmus the younger.

Sigh, there goes my shot at a famous ancestor.

--Carl-Henry
Peter Stewart
2020-06-01 23:36:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carl-Henry Geschwind
Post by Peter Stewart
The difficulty with this text is not so much that it is written in
Baroque Latin as that it is written in verse - and not very well. The
author was imitating Virgil, whose works can be tricky even for
specialists, and literal translation is not necessarily helpful.
He should have provided a marginal gloss if he anticipated readers who
didn't already know of the relationships, as it isn't clear whose
deceased grandfather and great-grandfather he is speaking of (and
literally to) in Wolfgang and Erhard. Also his scansion is not good
enough to excuse his convoluted word order, as it always is in Virgil.
I doubt that you will find anyone prepared to devote much time and
effort to this pious effusion without payment. Good luck.
Peter Stewart
Haha! Yup, bad pseudo-Virgilian verse sounds about right for this.
I have now sat down with Wiktionary (which allows me to look up conjugated or declined Latin words) and tried to parse out some of these passages. I have also found a reference in the literature to an Erhard Reinhold - an uncle of the astronomer (brother to the astronomer's father Johannes, who was born 1479). It works chronologically for this Erhard Reinhold to have been the great-grandfather of the pastor Erasmus Reinhold, author of this bad verse (whose father Günter was born about 1539), and thus I think the apostrophes to the departed "grandfather Wolfgang" and "great-grandfather Erhard" may be to the grandfather and great-grandfather of the poet. If this is the case, then Günter was not the son of the astronomer Erasmus, but rather of the astronomer's cousin Wolfgang. This then also agrees with the standard account, which states that the astronomer had only one son, the doctor of pharmacy Erasmus the younger.
Wll done - I don't have the grit to try reading the text again, but the
title page says that the tribute was made "from filial affection" by
Erasmus, pastor of Ermsleben, and a namesake son (ex affectu filiali ...
conservata a M[agistro] Erasmo Reinholdo, Ermslebiensium pastore, &
huius filio homonymo).

Peter Stewart
Carl-Henry Geschwind
2020-06-02 00:27:25 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Wll done - I don't have the grit to try reading the text again, but the
title page says that the tribute was made "from filial affection" by
Erasmus, pastor of Ermsleben, and a namesake son (ex affectu filiali ...
conservata a M[agistro] Erasmo Reinholdo, Ermslebiensium pastore, &
huius filio homonymo).
Peter Stewart
Thank you for drawing my attention to the title page. The son was Erasmus Reinhold (1606-1663), who ended up as pastor of Abbehausen near Bremen in far northwestern Germany (far from his native Saxony, probably as a result of the Thirty Year's War), and is the person through whom I descend. He contributed verses both for his grandfather Günter Reinhold (signed at http://diglib.hab.de/wdb.php?dir=drucke/p-631-4f-helmst-29s&pointer=41) and his other grandfather Elias Lagus (a Latinization of the German "Hase," meaning rabbit), who had died in late 1616 (signed at http://diglib.hab.de/wdb.php?dir=drucke/p-631-4f-helmst-29s&pointer=54). Given that his father had not married until November 1605, the son cannot have been more than 11 years old when he wrote these - so I shudder to think what the quality of the Latin is like (though still much better than what I could have done at 11!).

--Carl-Henry
Peter Stewart
2020-06-02 00:53:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carl-Henry Geschwind
Post by Peter Stewart
Wll done - I don't have the grit to try reading the text again, but the
title page says that the tribute was made "from filial affection" by
Erasmus, pastor of Ermsleben, and a namesake son (ex affectu filiali ...
conservata a M[agistro] Erasmo Reinholdo, Ermslebiensium pastore, &
huius filio homonymo).
Peter Stewart
Thank you for drawing my attention to the title page. The son was Erasmus Reinhold (1606-1663), who ended up as pastor of Abbehausen near Bremen in far northwestern Germany (far from his native Saxony, probably as a result of the Thirty Year's War), and is the person through whom I descend. He contributed verses both for his grandfather Günter Reinhold (signed at http://diglib.hab.de/wdb.php?dir=drucke/p-631-4f-helmst-29s&pointer=41) and his other grandfather Elias Lagus (a Latinization of the German "Hase," meaning rabbit), who had died in late 1616 (signed at http://diglib.hab.de/wdb.php?dir=drucke/p-631-4f-helmst-29s&pointer=54). Given that his father had not married until November 1605, the son cannot have been more than 11 years old when he wrote these - so I shudder to think what the quality of the Latin is like (though still much better than what I could have done at 11!).
Composing Latin verse was a torture that I try to forget from schooldays
- it was hard enough trying to understand the great poets.

Virgil was one of the greatest masters of language who can ever have
written, but the more forthright communication of Catullus would make a
better model for anyone wanting to write a eulogy - there is nothing
finer in this vein than his tribute to a dead brother ("Multas per
gentes...").

Peter Stewart

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