I'm translating the text:

Pluto, qui de Hercule famam acceperat, eum benigne excepit

(Fabulae Faciles, 53)

I chose to translate it as "Pluto, who had heard stories about Hercules, received him kindly". But I realize this is a loose translation.

A more literal translation would be, "Pluto, who had heard of the reputation concerning Hercules, received him with kindness".

Since I assume that the phrase "famam acceperat" is repeated a lot in Latin literature, I'm curious, what are some popular ways of translating it?

1 Answer 1


First I must object to this horrible story. My abduction to your overworld by Hercules was illegal, and I am still angry at Pluto for it!

That said, I think your translation "heard stories about" is fine, although "stories" sometimes suggests something a bit more exciting or adventurous than fama does: it may be an account of something or someone, a story, or someone's reputation. Depending on context, "stories" may fit. "Who had heard about Hercules's reputation" is also fine.

The expression is indeed used by classical authors:

Vespasianus in Italiam resque urbis intentus adversam de Domitiano famam accipit, tamquam terminos aetatis et concessa filio egrederetur... (Tacitus, Historiae IV.51)

Church & Brodribb (1873) translate this as "heard an unfavourable account of Domitianus", which I think is a very good translation. In your case, "had heard of Hercules" is possible, although the context seems to suggest something a bit stronger and more favourable.

nam Romae neuter animi habitus satis dici enarrarique potest, nec [habitus animi] quo incerta exspectatione euentus ciuitas fuerat nec [habitus animi] quo uictoriae famam accepit. (Livius, Ab Urbe Condita XXVII.50.3)

Roberts (1912) translates this as "the enthusiasm which the report of the victory aroused". Translated a bit more literally, it would be "the state of mind in which they received the report of the victory". This is a bit different from Tacitus and from your story, in which it is about merely hearing news: Livius is describing accipere as a kind of action, as listening to a message and reacting to it, together comprising accepit. "Hear a report" or "receive a report" are good basic translations in such a context.

  • 2
    Still, he did take you back - how is life in the Underworld? ;)
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 0:50
  • 1
    @TheHonRose: Fair enough! He probably missed me. Being back is a dark and infernal blessing!
    – Cerberus
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 0:55
  • 1
    @Cerberus I think you fully answered my question. Thanks for your helpful words and delightful humor.
    – ktm5124
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 0:15
  • 1
    @ktm5124: Welcome to the site!
    – Cerberus
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 12:01

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