I've been trying to translate the following phrase into Latin:

Hunt deer with bows, with snares: rabbits.

With my limited grasp of Latin, I have come to this result:

Vēnāre cervas arcubus, dēcipulīs leporēs 
[<imp> <acc>  <abl> ]<<[<abl>    <acc> ]
hunt   deer   bow    , snare     rabbit

I've mainly used Wikipedia: Latin declensions to decide which form to use, Wordhippo and Google translate to decide which words to use, and Wiktionary to find the proper declensions and conjugations of the words.

Now my question is, is it okay and proper form, and is it clear what is meant if the verb is implicitly reused by tacking on another clause without a predicate, or is that more of a Germanic thing?

  • 1
    (1) decipulum / decipula is a snare in a metaphysical sense, I think seldom used for the physical device used for catching either hare (lepus) or rabbit (cuniculus). (2) Why the fem. cervas, when the masc. includes both genders? (3) And a bit too pedantic, maybe, but isn't it the sagitta that brings down the prey, not the arcus? But yes, the translation with these provisos is perfectly good.
    – Tom Cotton
    Aug 15, 2017 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


Your translation is excellent Latin. The chiasm and ellipsis are very natural and good style. The only thing I might change is the location of the imperative. This change is optional. I would put it at the very end:

Cervas arcubus, decipulis lepores venare.

With small changes the phrase can also be turned into a pentameter line:

Cervam agita arcubus et decipulis lepores.
or perhaps
Cerva arcu capitur, decipulo lepores.

I prefer the second one, but I will leave them both in case they are of interest to someone. Since pentameter is rarely seen alone, this should probably be completed into an elegiac couplet. For example (with prose translation):

Apte sic animal varium varie capiatur:
Cerva arcu capitur, decipulo lepores.

Varying animals should be captured in various ways like this:
A deer is caught with a bow, rabbits with snares.

The other option would have been "Hunt deer with bows and rabbits with snares." for the second line.


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