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Re: orion Pliny /Hirschfeld/etc.

According to Dunnlaw:
> The discussion about the best translation of Pliny is interesting.  Can I ask
> a question?  I am using Rackman as a translation.
> Book V. xv. 73 begins: "Ab occidente litora Esseni . . . ."  This is
> translated: "On the west side of the Dead Sea, . . . is the solitary tribe of
> the Essenes."
> The next paragraph begins: "Infra hos Engada . . . ."  This is translated:
> "Lying below the Essenes was formerly the town of Engedi."
> The word Essene(s) does not appear in this second sentence.  Why isn't the
> correct translation something like: "Lying below that part of the west side of
> the Dead Sea . . . ."

You are correct that the word for Essenes does not appear in "Infra hos
Engada oppidum fuit" ("Below these was the town En-Gedi").  

The word "hos" ("these") is the masculine, accusative, plural form of
"hic, haec, hoc" (the proximal demonstrative pronoun and adjective

Because "hos" is masculine in gender, its antecedent is most probably the
"Esseni" ("Essenes").  The reference would not be to the shores (because
"litora" is neuter) or to the palm trees (because "palmarum" is feminine).
Grammatically, another possible antecedent would be the "other men" of
"aliorum", but the "other men" live everywhere else and so it makes no
sense to say "below the other men". Pliny never explicitly says anything
like "that part of the west side," but "that part" would be singular.  

If we translate "these" in English, the pronoun could refer to the shores
or the palms.  In my opinion, Rackham's English translation supplies "the
Essenes" to make clear in English what is already clear in Pliny's Latin. 


Jay C. Treat
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