ἦλθον, εἶδον, ἐνίκησα –> I came, I saw, I conquered (Plutarch, "Life of Caesar" 50.3.3)

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spiros

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ἦλθον, εἶδον, ἐνίκησα –> I came, I saw, I conquered

« Last Edit: 10 Nov, 2012, 19:48:35 by billberg23 »


billberg23

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Upon reflection, I'm pretty well convinced that Caesar, or at least Plutarch, was actually and intentionally quoting Democritus here (https://www.translatum.gr/forum/index.php?topic=331398.0: ἦληες, εἶδες, ἀπῆλθες), giving his own personal twist at the end.  The two quotations represent two different world views:  for Democritus, life means coming, seeing, and departing;  for Caesar, it means coming, seeing, and overcoming.  Caesar was himself a learned man of letters, an intimate of Hellenized intellectuals like Pollio, Catullus, and Cicero;  of course he conversed in Greek privately with his friends, and of course he was familiar with the sayings of Democritus.  I suspect that he said the famous veni, vidi, vici  first in Greek, intentionally echoing Democritus, but also found that it sounded even better in Latin.  Plutarch, immediately after quoting Caesar, remarks Ῥωμαϊστὶ δ' αἱ λέξεις, εἰς ὅμοιον ἀπολήγουσαι σχῆμα ῥήματος, οὐκ ἀπίθανον τὴν βραχυλογίαν ἔχουσιν (Life of Caesar 50.4):  "In Latin, these words possess an unaffected brevity, and they all rhyme." 
« Last Edit: 15 Dec, 2012, 18:50:33 by billberg23 »



 

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