In John-Buchan's book, "Augustus" p.120, Mark Antony is desccribed thus:

"He had remarkable talents, but they were ill-co-ordinated, and his tempestuous soul was in perpetual disequilibrium. Each of his virtues--and they were many--was nullified by some rampant vice. With the steady resolution and the cool, steeled courage of Octavian his flamboyant and spasmodic qualities could not compete. In him (Octavian) he found his eternal anti-type, and the soothsayer in Shakespeare's play warned him truly:

'Thy demon--that's thy spirit which keeps thee--is

Noble, courageous, high, unmatchable,

Where Caeser's (Octavian's) is not; but near him thy angel

Becomes a fear, as being o'oerpowered.'

He is the classic instance of the second-rate man who is offered a first-rate destiny, and who, in stumbling after it, loses his way in the world."

The most significant part, for me, is the last sentence. In Latin (indirect speech) this could be:

Buchan, in suo libro, dixit, de Marco Antonio, eum rem insignem fuisse peioris viri cui magnum fatum offerebatur quod secutus est crasse itaque ab terra aberravisse." =

Buchan, in his book, said, concerning Mark Antony, he was the remarkable case of a lesser man to whom was offered a magnificent destiny, which, he pursued clumsily and thus failed to keep his feet on the ground (literally: 'lost his way from the world').

Is this translation correct?

EDIT 19/11/2022:

Thanks to cmw for suggesting the relative clause of characteristic, which might give:

"Buchan, in suo libro, de Marco Antonio, dixit eum virum peiorem fuisse cui magnum fatum offerebatur, sed qui erat id crasse sequeretur, ut ab terra aberraret." =

"Buchan, in his book, concerning Mark Antony, said that he was a lesser man, to whom was offered a magnificent destiny, but he was of such a kind that he pursued it clumsily, with the result that he lost his way from the world.".

Is this translation correct?

  • 2
    I think a relative clause of characteristic would have been more appropriate than using rem.
    – cmw
    Nov 3, 2022 at 13:07
  • 1
    I think you want peiorem rather than peiorum, and cui not quo.
    – Figulus
    Nov 19, 2022 at 22:19
  • 1
    I would contrast peiorem with melius rather than magnum. Or, if you really want magnum, I would contrast it with minorem, rather then peiorem.
    – Figulus
    Nov 19, 2022 at 22:22
  • 1
    @Figulus: Thanks. Because these are exact opposites? Understood. TKR has come up with a most succinct interpretation of Buchan's original sentence.
    – tony
    Nov 20, 2022 at 11:21
  • 1
    Because they form natural pairs. First rate and second rate are a natural pair, so are peior and melior, minor and maior, parvus and magnus, and primus and secundus (or alter). I guess you could use a genitive: gradus primi and gradus secundi, instead of these adjectives.
    – Figulus
    Nov 21, 2022 at 4:11

1 Answer 1


I think your structure is good but could be compressed a little, for example:

Buchan M. Antonium insigne exemplum fuisse dixit peioris viri qui summum fatum inepte secutus se ipsum perdiderit.

We can arguably leave out the "destiny was offered" bit (which is rather vague as the agent of the passive is unclear) since it's implied by his seeking it. And the fact that sequor is deponent allows us to use a participial clause, which Latin usually prefers to a finite clause when given the choice. I'm not totally sure what Buchan means by "lost his way in the world", but se ipsum perdiderit "destroyed himself" seems to capture the sense reasonably closely.

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