Extending Lore on Love and Passion [12:60] (Latin)

Abstract
Translation
Recordings
Repetition Leading to Implication
Word Woes: Overcome?
Closing

{Words upon words – some to be lost between languages. Image found on the blog Thoughts on Books.”}

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Abstract

Isidore further expounds on the theory and lore of good animal husbandry.

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Translation

[60] “Then are those which have the heavy mares look at no animal of deformed appearance, such as dog-headed apes and gorillas, such faces are not made visible to those looking like they are pregnant. Truly this is natural for females that is if such is seen or if the mind conceives of it in the extreme heat of passion, that is conception, such will be in the children that they create. As a matter of fact, animals in the enjoyment of Venus transfer their outside to the inside, and they seize their fill of such a figure of their types in appropriate quality. Among animals those born of diverse kind are called two-kinded/mutts such as mules from mares and donkeys; hinny from horses and female donkeys; mongrels/half-breeds from boars and pigs; sheep-goat (tityrus) from ewes and he-goats; raidos [from ram + IE *ghaidos] (musmo) from she-goats and rams. On the other hand, these are truly the leaders of the herds.”
(St. Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae 12:60)

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Recordings

Latin:

{Forthcoming}

Modern English:

{Forthcoming}

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Repetition Leading to Implication

While he repeats much of what was written in paragraphs 58 and 59 here, Isidore seems to be expanding to all women the reproductive lore from those paragraphs. Otherwise he would have gone with a different phrase than “…this is natural for females” (“Hanc enim feminarum esse naturam”) to describe the practice of keeping ugly things away from pregnant women.

Unfortunately, this is just a matter of implication, since Isidore jumps right back to the animal after he has finished getting into some titillating descriptors (the “extreme heat of passion” (“in extremo voluptatis aestu”) and the “enjoyment of Venus” (in usu Venerio) both being polite euphemisms for orgasm and sex respectively).

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Word Woes: Overcome?

When he settles back on animals, Isidore rounds off the first part of his book about animals with some of the different two-kinded and hybrid mixtures that people have come up with.

Now, either English breeders have been put to shame here, or Latin simply has a far greater depth of expression, since “burdo” translates easily enough into hinny, but “tityrus” and “musmo” remain untranslatable to varying degrees (as far as I can tell).

It’s not as satisfying as a portmanteau of the two, but sheep-goat is the result of a sheep/goat cross-breeding, though these are apparently rare in nature (and referred to as geeps when created in labs). So sheep-goat is the closest translation of “tityrus” that English has to offer.

On the other hand, “musmo” is apparently entirely untranslatable, since even a satisfactory compound English name isn’t available. Yet, if mules and hinnies are different based on the gender of the horse or donkey in the pairing, so too should the result of a she-goat and a ram and a ewe and a he-goat be different.

So, to remedy the untranslatable malady of “musmo,” a little digging was done and the word “raidos” was created. It’s a combination of “ram” and the reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European word for sheep – *ghaidos. It sounds kind of like “Raiden,” and so is appropriate, given the sentence that Isidore ends with: “…these are truly the leaders of the herds” (“Est autem dux gregis”).

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Closing

This Thursday, Beowulf continues his speech, talking about his time as king and making a very curious statement.

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