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Wheelock's Latin

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Another question [Feb. 15th, 2007|11:01 pm]
Wheelock's Latin

wheelocks_latin

[phantastes]
"Nihil igitur mors est, quoniam natura animi habetur mortalis"- Lucretius.

I haven't been able to make much headway with this one. The first clause is clear enough: "Death, therefore, is nothing," but I'm still not certain how to interpret the second. I'm guessing "natura animi" is nominative and genetive- "the nature of the soul," but I'm not 100% sure about this. The closest I can come up with as a translation is "Death, therefore, is nothing, since the nature of the soul is held to be mortal," but even that doesn't make a tremendous amount of sense, and the "to be" part seems like a bit of a stretch. What I'm left with, literally, is "the nature of the soul is had, or is held, mortal." Am I misconstruing this somehow? Could anyone shed some light on this?

Gratias,
-Nick
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: earthsprite
2007-02-18 03:02 am (UTC)
I often had a lot of trouble with translation like this. Something I did was first write down the super-literal translation in the same order as the Latin, then rearrange for English much like you would a puzzle. It takes a lot longer, I know, but it was hard for me to keep track of everything in my head.
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[User Picture]From: slayerwitchnz
2007-06-19 11:13 am (UTC)
My Latin is very rusty, so I cannot at this time help with your translation per se, but would like to suggest that your suggestion of:

"Death, therefore, is nothing, since the nature of the soul is held to be mortal"

may in fact make more sense than you are giving yourself credit for - to interpret the English in this a different way, it seems logical to me that what what you said was like saying:

"Death, therefore, is to not exist, since the nature of the soul is that it is held to be mortal".

A mere statement, if you like, that there is no afterlife.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-01-28 12:38 am (UTC)
Your translation "Death, therefore, is nothing, since the nature of the soul is held to be mortal," is absolutely correct. Lucretius was an Epicurean and one of his reasons for writing the De Rerum Natura was to remove the fear of death by showing that there is no afterlife. By bthe way, I have been teaching Latin for several years.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-12-07 07:42 pm (UTC)
habere can be used to mean "to consider, to hold (an opinion)," so the second clause is "since the nature of the soul is held to be mortal." Lucretius is a materialist, ie he believed that when we die, that's it. No afterlife, nothing. "Therefore, death is nothing because the soul is thought to be mortal" (ie nothing happens after death).

dr. dean-jones
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