Happy New Year. Now it's back to work on the Roman frontier.

North & Hillard Ex. 218:

An Indian Chief was taken prisoner by the Spaniards, and because he was a man of influence among the tribes they cut off his hands, with the intention of disabling him from fighting any more against them.

In the footnotes N & H advise the student to translate "disabling him" as "that he might not be able":- giving, I think: "ut non posset" (a consequence, as opposed to a purpose; though, an argument may be made for both).

The Answer Book:

"...utramque manum desecuerunt eo consilio ut eum rursus in se arma ferre prohiberent."

So, either the Spaniards OR the having-been-cut-off-hands prevent him (eum) from carrying weapons against them (in se), again (hesitated to translate "rursus" as "on-the-other-hand").

However erudite, this is a long way from "ut non posset"—why would N & H issue this advice and ignore it themselves—or, have I missed something?

  • As phrased, this question is primarily opinion-based. I've voted to close. If you can rephrase, I'll remove the 'close' vote.
    – cnread
    Jan 7 '18 at 20:32

You should read the instruction in a broader sense: Translate "disabling" with a subordinate clause (perhaps with ut), not with a participle or gerund. The instruction could have been worded more clearly, but in this reading it makes sense.

Secondly, a se or suus in a subordinate clause often refers to the subject of the governing clause. It can also be used like in a main clause, but you should be actively aware of this behavior in subordinate clauses. There are almost always (at least) two ways to translate the reflexive pronoun, for example:

Iulia sperat, ut Marcus se amet.
Julia hopes that Marcus loves himself.
Julia hopes that Marcus loves her.

Only context will tell which one is correct, but the second one (se referring to Iulia) is a good first guess. And this is precisely what happens in your example: se refers to the subject of the governing clause, the Spaniards.

The translation in the solution key is not unique. I would have done something simpler, like:

… desecuerunt, ne iam in se arma ferret.
Literally: … [they] cut off [the hands], so that he would no longer carry arms against them.

In my opinion "with the intention of" is sufficiently translated by using a final clause. Using consilium adds emphasis to the point, but it's hardly necessary. The subject of the subordinate clause is implicit, but it's fairly clear that it has to be the chief. You can use rursus for "again", but I find it more natural to use non iam, "not anymore".

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