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uva uvam vivendo varia fit

English translation: see explanation below

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22:03 Oct 12, 2002
Latin to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary
Latin term or phrase: uva uvam vivendo varia fit
This phrase is in the book "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtrey (not the correct spelling of his last name)
Bill Graves
English translation:see explanation below
Explanation:
HTH


Sheila

 What does the phrase uva uvam vivendo varia fit mean?

The Latin phrase that appears on the Hat Creek Cattle Company sign in "Lonesome Dove" is a garbled corruption, and there's no direct translation. Novelist Larry McMurtry probably intentionally misused the Latin, perhaps to make a point about Augustus McCrae's tenuous understanding of the language.

Many scholars have weighed in on the subject over the years, and most agree that the phrase generally means something along the following lines: A grape changes color (i.e.,ripens) when it sees another grape.

From there, any number of interpretations have arisen to explain why McMurtry chose to communicate that particular idea. Probably the soundest theory is that the phrase serves as a metaphor for the group's journey, as many of the story's characters go through a process of personal maturation and development. Much like grapes ripen in the presence of others.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-12 22:13:56 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------


> The text, however, is misquoted; and as written is meaningless. It
> derives from the scholia to Juvenal 2.81 which cites the proverb \"uva
> uvam videndo varia fit\" (see Courtney\'s commentary to Juvenal). This
[i.e. vivendo is misspelled vivendo in LD]
> means something like \"a grape changes color (i.e., ripens) when it sees
> (another) grape\"; this in turn goes back to a Greek proverb \"botrus pros
> botrun pepainetai\", \"a bunch of grapes ripens in the presence of (another)
> bunch of grapes\". This is first attested, I think, in Oration 7. 225b
> of the emperor Julian (4th cent.).

> The line from Juvenal that prompts the scholiast is \"uvaque conspecta
> livorem ducit ab uva\" - \"a grape assumes a sickly hue from a nearby
> grape (i.e., one that it has seen)\". This is something along the lines
> of \'one bad apple spoils the barrel\', and thus is rather the opposite
> of what the scholiast\'s proverb is getting at (that a bunch of grapes
> is spurred on to ripen more rapidly at the sight of nicely ripened,
> neighboring bunch of grapes). Not being a viniculturist, I cannot attest
> to the truth or falsehood of any of this!

I quote this for the context of the last question, on the accuracy of
the proverbs as biology, which appears to have been ignored in other
postings on the topic. I\'m no viniculturist either, but I would like
to recall what I believe is well-known: if you want your bananas, apples
or pears to ripen faster, you put them together in a closed container
(paper bags seem to be the standard; all goes faster outside the
refrigerator of course). Perhaps the scholiast knew the technique --
I imagine that fruit was often, for various reasons, harvested immature.

What the scholiast did not know is that fruit has a chemical signal to
undergo a final spurt of activity, particularly including conversion of
some complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, that we call ripening.
The chemical (hormone, if you like) is ethylene (C2H2 -- a gas at
ordinary conditions, now called ethene by chemists). Ripening fruit
emits ethene, and ethene triggers or accelerates ripening, so closed
storage causes a kind of positive feedback. As far as I am aware, all
flowering plants use the same chemical. Hence, apples and kiwi fruit
can ripen each other, etc. There is also a reverse effect: high
concentrations of ethene can abort flower bulbs. Various studies show
that (some) fruit under attack releases ethene at higher rates,
presumably because there is an evolutionary advantage in having fruit
ripen quickly if the options are now or never.

That said, some flowering plants are more sensitive than others to ethene
concentration. Apples and carnations are more sensitive, grapes less.
(So much less that the main atmospheric intervention in grape transport is
the use of SO2 to prevent mold growth. Zeolites are used to keep ethene
concentration low in transporting ethene-sensitive fruits and flowers.)
It would be interesting to know if there is an earlier version of the
videndo varia fit proverb for flowers or other fruit. (All of the above
applies, of course, to those vegetables that happen -- as a matter of
biological, if not linguistic, fact -- to be fruits as well.)

It may be that the scholiast\'s observation is more accurate than the
text in Juvenal. For molds, of course, J. is right: a grape near a
moldy grape is endangered by spores. However, another spoilage problem
with grapes is waterberry, which depends on growth conditions, and
may not be contagious.


http://omega.cohums.ohio-state.edu:8080/hyper-lists/classics...


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-12 22:16:34 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------


I must begin this list with the one that took me more than a year to have translated. I often wonder if anyone else pursued this with as much fervor as I. I insisted on discovering the meaning behind the scarred wooden engraving that Captain Carl chose to use at Gus\' gravesite in the movie, \"Lonesome Dove.\" This translation is the best approximation my scholar friends could devise:

Uva uvam vivendo varia fit -- The changing vine becomes the living vine.

http://members.aol.com/katydidit/ktscrols.htm
Selected response from:

Sheila Hardie
Spain
Local time: 01:07
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement. KudoZ.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +3see explanation below
Sheila Hardie
2A grape, by living the vine, changes hue.Joseph J. Brazauskas


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
see explanation below


Explanation:
HTH


Sheila

 What does the phrase uva uvam vivendo varia fit mean?

The Latin phrase that appears on the Hat Creek Cattle Company sign in "Lonesome Dove" is a garbled corruption, and there's no direct translation. Novelist Larry McMurtry probably intentionally misused the Latin, perhaps to make a point about Augustus McCrae's tenuous understanding of the language.

Many scholars have weighed in on the subject over the years, and most agree that the phrase generally means something along the following lines: A grape changes color (i.e.,ripens) when it sees another grape.

From there, any number of interpretations have arisen to explain why McMurtry chose to communicate that particular idea. Probably the soundest theory is that the phrase serves as a metaphor for the group's journey, as many of the story's characters go through a process of personal maturation and development. Much like grapes ripen in the presence of others.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-12 22:13:56 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------


> The text, however, is misquoted; and as written is meaningless. It
> derives from the scholia to Juvenal 2.81 which cites the proverb \"uva
> uvam videndo varia fit\" (see Courtney\'s commentary to Juvenal). This
[i.e. vivendo is misspelled vivendo in LD]
> means something like \"a grape changes color (i.e., ripens) when it sees
> (another) grape\"; this in turn goes back to a Greek proverb \"botrus pros
> botrun pepainetai\", \"a bunch of grapes ripens in the presence of (another)
> bunch of grapes\". This is first attested, I think, in Oration 7. 225b
> of the emperor Julian (4th cent.).

> The line from Juvenal that prompts the scholiast is \"uvaque conspecta
> livorem ducit ab uva\" - \"a grape assumes a sickly hue from a nearby
> grape (i.e., one that it has seen)\". This is something along the lines
> of \'one bad apple spoils the barrel\', and thus is rather the opposite
> of what the scholiast\'s proverb is getting at (that a bunch of grapes
> is spurred on to ripen more rapidly at the sight of nicely ripened,
> neighboring bunch of grapes). Not being a viniculturist, I cannot attest
> to the truth or falsehood of any of this!

I quote this for the context of the last question, on the accuracy of
the proverbs as biology, which appears to have been ignored in other
postings on the topic. I\'m no viniculturist either, but I would like
to recall what I believe is well-known: if you want your bananas, apples
or pears to ripen faster, you put them together in a closed container
(paper bags seem to be the standard; all goes faster outside the
refrigerator of course). Perhaps the scholiast knew the technique --
I imagine that fruit was often, for various reasons, harvested immature.

What the scholiast did not know is that fruit has a chemical signal to
undergo a final spurt of activity, particularly including conversion of
some complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, that we call ripening.
The chemical (hormone, if you like) is ethylene (C2H2 -- a gas at
ordinary conditions, now called ethene by chemists). Ripening fruit
emits ethene, and ethene triggers or accelerates ripening, so closed
storage causes a kind of positive feedback. As far as I am aware, all
flowering plants use the same chemical. Hence, apples and kiwi fruit
can ripen each other, etc. There is also a reverse effect: high
concentrations of ethene can abort flower bulbs. Various studies show
that (some) fruit under attack releases ethene at higher rates,
presumably because there is an evolutionary advantage in having fruit
ripen quickly if the options are now or never.

That said, some flowering plants are more sensitive than others to ethene
concentration. Apples and carnations are more sensitive, grapes less.
(So much less that the main atmospheric intervention in grape transport is
the use of SO2 to prevent mold growth. Zeolites are used to keep ethene
concentration low in transporting ethene-sensitive fruits and flowers.)
It would be interesting to know if there is an earlier version of the
videndo varia fit proverb for flowers or other fruit. (All of the above
applies, of course, to those vegetables that happen -- as a matter of
biological, if not linguistic, fact -- to be fruits as well.)

It may be that the scholiast\'s observation is more accurate than the
text in Juvenal. For molds, of course, J. is right: a grape near a
moldy grape is endangered by spores. However, another spoilage problem
with grapes is waterberry, which depends on growth conditions, and
may not be contagious.


http://omega.cohums.ohio-state.edu:8080/hyper-lists/classics...


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-12 22:16:34 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------


I must begin this list with the one that took me more than a year to have translated. I often wonder if anyone else pursued this with as much fervor as I. I insisted on discovering the meaning behind the scarred wooden engraving that Captain Carl chose to use at Gus\' gravesite in the movie, \"Lonesome Dove.\" This translation is the best approximation my scholar friends could devise:

Uva uvam vivendo varia fit -- The changing vine becomes the living vine.

http://members.aol.com/katydidit/ktscrols.htm



    Reference: http://www.library.swt.edu/swwc/ld/ldex081a1.html
Sheila Hardie
Spain
Local time: 01:07
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 20
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement. KudoZ.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  senesino83
46 mins
  -> thanks, Flavio:)

agree  Chris Rowson: That last translation is really dubious though, the Latin with "vivendo" really doesn´t mean anything.
4 hrs
  -> thanks, Chris - yes, I agree with you:-)

agree  xxxcmk
139 days
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
A grape, by living the vine, changes hue.


Explanation:
uva = first grape, in an individual, concrete sense, and then vine ,in a metaphorical, typological sense; if vivendo is the correct reading, then uvam may be a cognate acc., and an unsual one, while fit varia, (lit., is made variegated [in colour]), might naturally be translated simpley as changes hue, i.e., ripens.

Alternatively, varia may mean that the cluster of grapes (uva), by living (i.e., by maturing), as grapes are wont to do, has become changeable, fickle (i.e., alcoholic, intoxicating).

I have little faith in either rendering.



Joseph J. Brazauskas
United States
Local time: 19:07
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in pair: 400
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




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