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Secundo firmamentum caeli in medio libravit aquarum, ipsis aquis ac terra cum caelo superiore ac virtutibus, quae in ea conditorem laudarent, ante horum sex dierum exordium creatis.

This sentence is from Matthew Paris's Chronica Majora and I am struggling to make sense of it.

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    Welcome to the site! That looks like an interesting text, a kind of paraphrase of Genesis? But we have a special requirement for questions that request a translation: the asker is supposed to explain what she has tried, possibly show a partial translation, or at least tell us what aspects of the text proved problematic. – Cerberus Apr 2 at 13:54
  • Sorry Cerberus♦ , I've jumped the gun. But don't let that stop Sarah posting earlier attempts. – Hugh Apr 2 at 14:16
  • It looks as though Matthew Paris has copied this passage straight from Bede, The Venerable Bede; at least that's what turned up when I fed a few words into Google. – Hugh Apr 3 at 11:07
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The main sentence is

Secundo firmamentum caeli in medio libravit aquarum 'On the second day he poised the firmament of the Sky in the middle of the waters

Matthew Paris now begins to back-track by inserting an enormous ablative absolute:

ipsis aquis creatis 'those same waters having been created (past)'

He then elaborates by describing what else was created at the same time:

ipsis aquis ac terra cum caelo superiore ac virtutibus -all of them Ablative, all jointly Subject of the Ablative Absolute.

And when they were created:"Before the...

ante horum sex dierum exordium

And what the superior heavens and the virtues (and the waters) were doing before the Six Days:

quae in ea conditorem laudarent, ante horum sex dierum exordium

Thanks to cnread re: libro

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    I think you're misreading libravit as liberavit. Libravit should be about poising, suspending, or balancing, not freeing up space. – cnread Apr 2 at 16:28
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    @cnread 'divide equally' is given in Ainsworth, but not supported by L&S. You are definitely right; I shall emend. – Hugh Apr 2 at 16:48

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