11 November 2022

Martinus, nunquam vincendus, contra Lupos victor!

I love these special days when our brilliant and gracious Church of the Latin Rite asks us to use the Sunday psalms at Lauds ... and encourages this by providing 'proper' antiphons for those psalms. I expect that, at some point in its exemplary ministery, NLM has explained the history of this.

And November 11, Feast of S Martin, thoroughly deserves such a distinction. Few saints as superbly mark the transition from the Roman Empire to the Christianity-based institutions in which civilisation was recovered and enhanced and perpetuated.

Two completely different questions, but both arising from today's 'lauds' antiphons.

(1) The reference to lupi rapaces. So reminiscent of the words, perhaps a self-warning, uttered by Benedict XVI during the Inauguration of his Petrine Miniistry. Was that a far-sighted prophecy of what that particular Roman Pontiff saw as an imminent threat in his own time? Or is it true, in every age and every pontificate, that the wolves are already circling the encampment and howling; always ready to snatch and to devour; to wound and to destroy?

I wonder if Benedict XVI realised that the identity of his own 'wolves' would be so ineluctably bound up with the character and particular corruptions of his own successor!

(2) The use in today's Office of the gerundive vincendus. For decades, I have had a nagging suspicion that some writers, in both 'Classical' and 'post-Classical' Latin, used the gerundive, when it suited them, as a future passive participle

I expect reference to standard grammatical handbooks would afford me instruction, but with age I am getting lazier. Perhaps the same will happen to you.

Lupos vincere et debellare valeamus!


Christophorus said...

completely off the subject (so feel free not to make public) but there's

pax et bonum

william arthurs said...

Any questions to do with wolves and grammar I try and avoid as I don't want Dr Arnold to box my ears!.

william arthurs said...

The official Ordinariate YouTube clips about how to use Divine Worship: Daily Office, where to put the ribbons, etc. were filmed in the Slipper Chapel. In the background you can just see the altar frontal HIC VERBO CARO FACTVM EST, to which I would venture to make a conjectural emendation.

The Ancient Professor said...

Why is it debellari instead of debellare?

Stephen v.B. said...

Concerning your second question: yes, that is quite right. There is a paragraph in K├╝hner-Stegmann on the use of the gerundive as a future passive (without the idea of necessity): Vol. I, p. 733-734. It seems that this phenomenon can be traced back as far as the late third century A.D.: the authors cited include Ammianus, Sidonius, Eutropius, and the author(s) of the Historia Augusta. (The same passages are cited by Ernout-Thomas in their Syntaxe Latine.)

Moreover, in the 4th-century Ars Minor of Donatus - which was the grammar par excellence throughout the Middle Ages - the gerundive is actually *called* the participle of the future passive!

Fr John Hunwicke said...

AP: Correxi!!