8

In one of Saint Augustine's letters, numbered Carta 10 [CSEL 34/1,22 ] (PL 33,73) in "Obras Completas de San Agustin VIII – Cartas (1.º) 1-123", we see the phrase:

Mittaturne ad te accommodissimum tibi vehiculum?

The translation in the book, in Spanish, is:

¿Te enviaríamos un vehículo cómodo?

Which translates to English as:

Should we send you a suiting carriage?

Or, more wordy, from CatholicLibrary:

Shall such a conveyance as may best suit your state of health be sent from us to you?

My question is, what is "mittaturne"? Clearly it is from the verbo mittō, and it seems like the future participle active suffix, but for mitto the future participle is missurus. And the only way I can justify the -e at the end is that it is either the participle turned adverb, the shortened female plural, or a vocative — only the first makes slight sense.

2
  • The Latin accommodissimum corresponds rather closely to the English "accommodating" - going via Spanish seems to have lost something! It does make one think about how anyone, especially in poor health, travelled in those days. Commented Jun 12 at 9:25
  • @MichaelKay Accommodating is used for people, while accomodus is general. English accommodating will match French accommodant in meaning, unsurprisingly. Which is why Lewis gives fitting, suitable for accommodus. There is Spanish acomodador, but it feels inelegant against cómodo.
    – Elederete
    Commented Jun 12 at 12:06

1 Answer 1

9

Mittaturne is the verb mittatur + the -ne enclitic, which turns the sentence into a question. Mittatur should then be easier to parse: 3rd person, singular, present, subjunctive passive.

The reason for the wordiness is because it's a passive sentence with the subject being vehiculum: "shall a vehicle be sent to you [by us]?" But the translators opted to translate it as active, perhaps to cut down on that wordiness: "shall [we] send you a vehicle?", three words shorter.

1
  • That makes a lot of sense. The suffix flew over my head.
    – Elederete
    Commented Jun 11 at 11:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.