PART ONE OF RITCHIE's FABULAE FACILES. PERSEUS 01 - THE ARK - with notes and interlinear translation
Acrisius, an ancient king of Argos, had been warned by an Oracle that he would be killed by his grandson. When he discovered, therefore, that his daughter Danae had given birth to a son, Acrisius endeavoured to escape his fate by putting both mother and child in a wooden ark and setting them adrift on the sea.
THE PICTURE ABOVE IS OF PERSEUS AND HIS MOTHER DANAE BEING PUT INTO THE ARK BEFORE BEING CAST ADRIFT AT SEA.
They were saved, however, with the help of Jupiter;
and Perseus, the child, grew up at the court of Polydectes,
king of Seriphos, an island in the Aegean Sea. On reaching
manhood, Perseus was sent by Polydectes to fetch the head
of Medusa, one of the Gorgons. This dangerous task he
accomplished with the help of Apollo and Minerva, and on
his way home he rescued Andromeda, daughter of Cepheus,
from a sea-monster. Perseus then married Andromeda,
and lived some time in the country of Cepheus. At length he
returned to Seriphos, and turned Polydectes to stone by
showing him the Gorgon's head; he then went to the court of
Acrisius, who fled in terror at the news of his grandson's
return. The oracle was duly fulfilled, for Acrisius was
accidentally killed by a discus thrown by Perseus.
1. THE ARK
Narrantur, is present tense, third person plural passive = they are told. The present tense is often used for dramatic effect when telling a story’.
A poetis and de Perseo: 'a' and 'de' are followed by the ablative case. Also 'in', as 'in sinu' in the last line and 'cum' as in 'cum matre'.
filius … Iovis: son (nominative case) Iovis (genitive case = of Juppiter); matris in the last line is also in the genitive case ‘of (his)mother’. Latin doesn't put in possessive adjectives (his, her etc)when it is obvious; here it is obvious Perseus is on 'his' mother's lap.
maximi ‘greatest’ is a superlative adjective.
avus eius appellabatur: his grandfather was called (passive).
nepotem suum: his grandson, suum is used here because it is the subject of the verb to kill: he wanted to kill = same subject.
Danae is a name borrowed by Latin from Greek.
Igitur often comes second in the sentence as does enim (see below) and autem in the last line.
turbabat and dormiebat are in the imperfect tense because they describe the state of things existing at a past time and are not reporting a completed action.
Haec nárrantur á poétís dé Perseó.
These things are told by the poets about Perseus
Perseus fílius erat Iovis, máximí deórum;
Perseus was the son of Juppiter, the greatest of the gods;
avus éius Acrisius appellábátur.
his grandfather was called Acrisus.
Acrisius volébat Perseum nepótem suum necáre;
Acrisius wanted to kill Perseus his grandson;
nam propter óráculum puerum timébat.
for, on account of an oracle, he feared the boy
Comprehendit igitur Perseum adhúc infantem,
He therefore seized Perseus, when still an infant,
et cum mátre in arcá lígneá inclúsit.
and with his mother closed him up in a wooden ark.
Tum arcam ipsam in mare coniécit.
Then that same ark, he hurled into the sea.
Danaé, Perseí máter, mágnopere territa est;
Danae, Perseus’ mother, was very frightened;
tempestás enim mágna mare turbábat.
for a great storm was stirring up the sea.
Perseus autem in sinú mátris dormiébat.
Perseus however, on his mother’s lap, was sleeping.
Haec narrantur a poetis de Perseo.
Perseus filius erat Iovis, maximi deorum;
avus eius Acrisius appellabatur.
Acrisius volebat Perseum nepotem suum necare;
nam propter oraculum puerum timebat.
Comprehendit igitur Perseum adhuc infantem,
et cum matre in arca lignea inclusit.
Tum arcam ipsam in mare coniecit.
Danae, Persei mater, magnopere territa est;
tempestas enim magna mare turbabat.
Perseus autem in sinu matris dormiebat.