Preliminary note

It was suggested I could split the question into several questions. If the community thinks this is a better approach, do let me know in the comments, and I will split it into two or three parts: Sentence one (before the listed works), sentence two (‘The famous work … experienced teacher’), and sentence three and four (‘The work … in 1614’).


I am working (again) on a translation for someone: a short dictionary entry on an Ottavio Durante by Prosperio Mandioso in his Bibliotheca Romana, sue Romanorum scriptorum centuriae […] volumen secundum, published in Rome in 1692. It is a dictionary with loads of biographies on various people from antiquity till his own day; the author himself born before 1590 and died after 1618. Thanks to Google Books, the book is available in its entirety. The quote I have been tasked with translating, can be read on page 134.

The text and translation

The following transcription has replaced ſ with s and u with v where applicable. I have added numerals for ease of reference. All accents are as in the original. (This could probably be asked in another question: Why the grave accents, which appear to especially be used for adverbs/ablatives in -e?) The person requesting the translation is looking for a translation that follows the original text as closely as possible; for that reason, some of the phrasing in the English text is a bit old-fashioned, one could say. I have added numerals for ease of reference.

The difficult passages have been set in bold type.

➀ Octavius Durantes, humanis, & divinis disciplinis expolitus, lepidissimè, ➁ præstantique ingenio elaboravit volumina, quibus utilem præsentibus, ➂ futurisque notum se reddidit, scilicet:
Combattimento dell’ huomo con gli inimici dell’ umana natura.
Arie Devote, le quali contengono in se la maniera di cantar con grazia, l’imitazione delle parole, & il modo di scrivere passaggi, & altri affett.
Il Prencipe Virtuoso.
➃ Opus celebre, non solùm christianam redolens pietatem, & catholicam fidem sapiens, sed etiam multam authoris peritiam, ➄ & exercitationem circa omnium doctorum scripta aptissimè demonstrans: ➅ documenta namque tradit eleganti stylo, ex quotidiana rerum magistra experientia ingeniosè collecta. ➆ Quod volumen elucubravit ➇ occasione qua villam suam prope Viterbium sitam petijt, ➈ ubi moram trahens totus sese studijs bonarum literarum, ac pietati tradidit, ➉ ob infortunium quod ei accidit; sclopi¹ etenim ictu vulneratus per errorem fuit. ⑪ Florebat anno 1614.

My attempt looks as such:

➀ Octavius Durantes, [well] versed in the fields of humanities and theology, very pleasant, ➁ and with an excelling mind diligently created a book, with which the utility was presented, ➂ and new [volumes] which by him in the future he would restore [?], namely:
Combattimento dell’ huomo con gli inimici dell’ umana natura.
Arie Devote, le quali contengono in se la maniera di cantar con grazia, l’imitazione delle parole, & il modo di scrivere passaggi, & altri affett.
Il Prencipe Virtuoso.
➃ The famous work, not only reminiscing a Christian dutifulness; and a wise Catholic faith, but also much experience in the author; ➄ and exercise – of which is written by all doctors – it is most elegantly demonstrating: ➅ For indeed the treatise teaches in an elegant style, collected ingeniously from the everyday matters of an experienced teacher. ➆ The work [which] he produced toiling by the lamplight – ➇ on the occasion on which he requested his villa be situated by Viterbo³ – ➈ where, dragging out a delay, he surrendered himself entirely to the studies of natural philosophy and the letters, and of theology, ➉ due to the misfortune which had befallen him; in fact, he was wounded by a rifle’s blow by accident. ⑪ He had his blossoming⁴ in 1614.

The question

The Old Italian will be translated by the writer, so I will not need any help on that. The most important question is of course: Is my translation a good representation of what he wrote? Secondly, the one spot where I am the most unsure, is ‘collected ingeniously from the everyday matters of an experienced teacher.’ I found that section very difficult. Any insights on this section especially will be most helpful. Thirdly, I interpreted the quod in quod volumen as an article; is this correct? And finally, in the first sentence, what would be a better translation of ‘reddidit’?

So, in short: What works? What doesn’t work? And thank you so much to any of you who are able to take the time and help me here.


  1. Presumably from sclopētum, -ī.
  2. [Not relevant here.]
  3. The provincial capitol of Viterbo, Lazio, Italy.
  4. Which in Mediæval Latin gained a much more … interesting, euphemistic meaning.
  • 1
    What's the euphemistic meaning behind florebat (earlier floruit)? – cmw Mar 24 at 1:37
  • Wiktionary claims a mediaeval usage meaning ‘to ejaculate’, but upon checking the references, I cannot find it (though my French is too poor to tell for sure with regards to Gaffiot). Though, truth be told, older Latin dictionaries are pretty much useless on the sexual vocabulary. Checking Adams’s The Latin Sexual Vocabulary renders no hits either, though Mediaeval Latin is beyond the purpose of that book (considering p. 2 ll. 27ff and generally all the writers referenced in chapter 1). Maybe it is untrue. – Canned Man Mar 25 at 23:02
  • 2
    I don't see it under Gaffiot either. It might be a thing, I have no idea, but it doesn't seem sourced from Wiktionary, which is one of the many reasons I always cautioned my students from using that resource. – cmw Mar 26 at 3:16

Is it posible that Quibus are the Volumina 'by means of which (volumes)' ?

and the other two would then be datives "by means of which he rendered himself useful to the present (generation) and well-known to the those about to be."

Ainsworth in the classical section gives scloppus, or sclopus as 'a sound made with puffing of the cheeks'
---Nec scloppo tumidas intendis rumpere buccas' Pers.5.13
But in his "Late and Corrupt" section, he charmingly translates sclopus as 'a harquebuss, a pistol, a snapchaunce, a popgun.' Ap. Rec. ( popgun referring to a boy's small-bore shotgun)

re. the third book, Il Prencipe Virtuoso.
"A famous work, not only redolent of Christian piety, and wise in the catholic faith, but also demonstrating most appropriately the considerable expertise of the author and his skill with respect to [circa +Acc] the writings [scripta] of all the Doctors.

  • Quibus: Ah, I didn’t even consider that option! Thanks so much, it makes much more sense. Scloppus: ‘late and corrupt’ – one can not hold back a slight chuckle (‘Cicero’s Latin is the only true Latin, I say!’) Circa: It goes all the way back there. I see! Oh, dear me. – Canned Man Mar 24 at 12:48

I agree with all Hugh's comments, but there are a few other small points in your translation that could be changed a bit. Here's a full translation:

Octavius Durantes, distinguished in humane and theological subjects, labored with extraordinary skill and in most beautiful [style] on volumes by which he rendered himself useful to his contemporaries and renowned to future [generations], namely:

  • The combat of man with enemies of human nature
  • Religious Songs, which contain within the means of singing with grace, the imitation of words, the manner of writing passages, and other endearments/passions
  • The Virtuous Prince: A celebrated work, not only marked by Christian piety and wise in the Catholic faith, but also most aptly demonstrating the author's abundant skill and experience with regard to the writings of all the learned. For he communicates his teachings with an elegant style, skillfully collected from his daily teaching experience of these things. He spend his nights on this volume on the occasion when he sought [betook himself?] his villa located neared Viterbo. There, making a delay, he totally gave himself to his studies of fruitful subjects and to [acts of] piety, on account of an unfortunate event that happened to him. For he was injured accidentally by a pistol shot. He flourished in the year 1614.

The "florebat" sentence at the end is commonly used in biographies to indicate when an author's best work was coming out. I don't think there's anything euphemistic about it, now or later.

  • The first line I had been fooled by the commas. Thanks for clearing that up! I have a question, though. How do you arrive at ‘studies of fruitful subjects and to [acts of] piety’? My reason for interpreting bona litera as natural philosophy, was based on la.wikipedia.org/wiki/… which in English is rendered as ‘The State University of Leuven counted upon the creation the Faculties of Law, Medicine, Science and Mathematics and of the Natural Philosophy and Letters.’ – Canned Man Mar 26 at 0:31

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