Adorable Dominicans

Adorable and Dominicans (as in the holy order), probably do not often appear in the same sentence. At least not when talking about how cute the Dominicans are. More about the adorableness later on. I finally finished the transcription on Thursday night…or so I thought. When I sat down to work on translating yesterday, I discovered that I had missed a significant number of abbreviations. I finished them up and then headed out for First Friday Festivities,

Two of my favorite things: Shoefly Pie and Porter

which in Lancaster County include Shoefly Pie Porter at Lancaster Brewing Company.

I had a meeting this morning and after discovering that I could, in fact, stream Scary Movie on Amazon I started the translation process. As I began translating I remembered all of the reasons why I simultaneously love and hate Latin. Word order is not all that important in Latin. Sentences have verbs, but often esse is implied. Also, as we have already discussed this text has some typos. Translating this text has become more of a translation and editorial adventure.


I’ve managed to come up with an extremely rough translation of approximately the first twenty-five lines of the text. I feel comfortable with about the first eight. There is a strange section where it seems that someone was trying to write about the four chapters (books) that Augustine wrote for DCD except there are twenty-two books in DCD. Isn’t Latin fun?!?!

Below you will find my transcription of the first eight lines and my translation of them (the translation stops after the first word of line 8).


1 Sacre pagine professorum ordinis prae

2 dicatorum Thome Valois et Nicolai Triveth

3 in libros beati Augustini de civitate de com-

4 mentaría felíciter inchoant

5 Luminis impetus laetifi/

6 cat ciuítatem dei · In praes· Fons

7 sapientie verbu dei resides in ex

8 celis per dona sua proceeds – in

(These are) the sacred page(s) of the dedicated Thomas Waleys and Nicholas Trivet of the order of preachers the comments into the copious books of Augustine’s City of God happily commence.

An attack of light cheers the city of God, because a spring of the wisdom of the word of God resides in the highest.

How did I come up with my translation?

I tried to keep my process clean, for the sake of this blog and photographs, but anyone who has studied a language with me knows that my notes are all over the place. I tried and failed to have a neat translation.

It’s a mess, but a beautiful mess.  Verbs are circled in red. Conjunctions are circled in pink and I forgot to color code the rest and started writing and circling things. 

Because word order is fluid in Latin, translating word for word won’t get you very far. My process goes something like this:
1. Circle and identify anything you can identify. Try to color code this.
2. Look up what is left. If all else fails use Google.
3. Turn your word for word translation into something that makes sense in English. This is not always the easiest thing to do.

A Word for Word Translation 

Because while it might sound cliché things really do get lost in translation. You will probably have to do this a few times. Note, you will not ever be truly satisfied with your translation.

Repeat process till you cry (joking…maybe)

While I was translating I was reminded of why I love Latin. It’s beautiful. Often, that beauty is lost in translation. I wanted to do my best to convey the beauty of the text in the English. I had to make decisions regarding translation. An example of this was when I decided that commentaría felíciter inchoant is best translated as the commentary happily commences. It sounds so much better than the commentary abundantly commences, which it could easily say. My heart mushed a little bit when I translated it as happily commences, thus the adorable Dominicans.

For those of you that have been following this project, here’s a brief update on Zoe: She doesn’t belong on the kitchen table! She is very fond of sleeping on the kitchen table.
20171003_095514.jpgI’m starting to understand why monks cursed the cats that messed up their transcribing of texts (before the printing press). Cats are jerks. Cute but jerks nonetheless.

That’s all for tonight. I’m off to bed. If I’ll sleep over the noise of my neighbor’s party is another story. Tomorrow is a day of teaching, bell choir, more teaching, translating, and cleaning.



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