Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On Vorenus and Pullo

If you are still in doubt of the amazing research behind HBO's Rome, I have a super special little-known (as far as I can tell) fact for you. This one is courtesy of the ever-brilliant, Rome-obsessed Homo Edax (now he's going to regret telling me to post about him!).

In 5.44 of Caesar's De bello Gallico, we have this passage (stolen from Perseus):

XLIV. Erant* in ea legione fortissimi viri, centuriones, qui primis ordinibus* appropinquarent, Titus Pullo et Lucius Vorenus. [2] Hi perpetuas inter se controversias habebant*, quinam anteferretur, omnibusque annis de locis summis simultatibus contendebant. [3] Ex his Pullo, cum acerrime ad munitiones pugnaretur, "Quid dubitas," inquit, " Vorene? aut quem locum* tuae probandae virtutis exspectas ? [4] Hic dies de nostris controversiis iudicabit." Haec cum dixisset, procedit extra munitiones quaque pars hostium confertissma est visa irrumpit. [5] Ne Vorenus quidem tum sese vallo continet*, sed omnium veritus existimationem subsequitur. [6] Mediocri spatio relicto Pullo pilum in hostes immittit atque unum ex multitudine procurrentem traicit; quo percusso et exanimato hunc scutis protegunt, in hostem tela universi coniciunt neque dant regrediendi facultatem. [7] Transfigitur scutum Pulloni et verutum in balteo defigitur. [8] Avertit hic casus* vaginam et gladium educere conanti dextram moratur manum, impeditumque hostes circumsistunt. [9] Succurrit inimicus illi Vorenus et laboranti subvenit. [10] Ad hunc se confestim a Pullone omnis multitudo convertit: [11] illum veruto arbitrantur occisum. Gladio comminus rem gerit Vorenus atque uno interfecto reliquos paulum propellit; [12] dum cupidius instat, in locum deiectus* inferiorem concidit. Huic rursus circumvento fert subsidium Pullo, [13] atque ambo incolumes compluribus interfectis summa cum laude sese intra munitiones recipiunt. [14] Sic fortuna in contentione* et certamine utrumque versavit, ut alter alteri inimicus auxilio salutique esset, neque diiudicari posset, uter utri virtute anteferendus videretur.

For an English translation (that butchers their names, but you can figure it out), click here.

Homo Edax, we bow to your brilliance. He actually pointed this out to our class a couple weeks ago, but I got busy and forgot to post about it. Oops. Better late than never!

So yeah. I'm truly impressed that they actually bothered to pull real names for Vorenus and Pullo! Yay them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I already knew that and I'm not even a classics person.

Have you seen the season finale yet? Vorenus!!! *sob* And I totally want Cassius/Brutus slash. Though I'm a bit freaked that I seem to do so much slashing of Guy Henry's characters.

Mme B

4:47 PM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

Hunh. I haven't seen anybody *else* mention the passage. HE found it quite accidentally.

And I haven't seen the finale, because my stupid INTERNET is STILL DOWN. RARR.

11:03 AM  
Blogger David said...

Hmmm ... clearly not enough rc being read in the NE:


... note the date of the post

5:02 AM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...


I'm not sure how I missed that one. Well, except that I've been reading things rather quickly lately.

Although, in fairness to Homo Edax, he found it on his own about the same time. I just got busy and forgot to post it.

6:07 PM  
Blogger David said...

I bet he got it from the same source I did 8^)

What was interesting about this was when Rome first came on, I did google around for Pullo and Vorenus to see if they had ancient roots, but all the translations online have the 'variant readings', so nothing showed up! When the story did 'air', I was skeptical and figured someone had fiddled with the 'variant' to make it fit, but I checked the Loeb and the Latin Library and there it was!

Now that report cards are done, I can catch up myself on the episodes I missed ...

8:28 PM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

Yeahhhh. I just checked the Latin on Perseus. I was really confused when I saw the variant spelling in the English translations. What's up with that anyway?!

And actually, Homo Edax doesn't browse the Classics lists and such, as far as I know. He was actually just actually reading Caesar one night when he found it.

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think that 'variant readings' equals 'variant spellings of the english names'. I think it means that the latin manuscipt is suspect and different editors do different things with it. The online versions, I think David is saying, are not from editions where the editors read 'Vorenus' and 'Pullo', but somethings else entirely.

Not having seen the translation you're talking about, I can only guess that the variant name spellings in translation come from differences in tradition -- which happens more with Greek names sometimes being Latinized, then Englishized (how's that for a word?), and sometimes kept more faitful to the original language (cf. Aeschylus; Aisculos).

2:46 PM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

Hrmmm, could be that too. Perseus has it as Vorenus and Pullo actually in Latin, though, and something very, very different in English. Both of these are linked in the post.

Although, I'm not really sure, if it's just a matter of Englishizing (don't know if it's a word, but I use it all the time!) the name, I don't really see why anyone would turn "Pullo" into "Pulfio" and "Vorenus" into "Varenus." There's not really a good excuse for that.

Wish I had a hard copy, not just Perseus. Well, thelatinlibrary agrees with Pullo and Vorenus too: http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/caesar/gall5.shtml

I'll have to see if I can find any other print editions.

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