Alter remus aquas, alter biti radat harenas

English translation: Let one oar skim the water, the other the sand (stay close to the shore)

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Latin term or phrase:Alter remus aquas, alter biti radat harenas
English translation:Let one oar skim the water, the other the sand (stay close to the shore)
Entered by: Charles Davis

06:44 Nov 16, 2013
Latin to English translations [PRO]
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / Poetry
Latin term or phrase: Alter remus aquas, alter biti radat harenas
Same background as last question.
Gad Kohenov
Israel
Local time: 20:46
Let one oar skim the water, the other the sand (stay close to the shore)
Explanation:
"biti" should be "tibi". This is from Propertius, Elegies, Book III, 3, line 23. The translation given above is that of H. E. Butler (1912) from the old Loeb edition, but it's perfectly reliable:
https://archive.org/stream/propertiuswithen00propuoft#page/1...

I've added a paraphrase to suggest the sense of it as a maxim: do not venture too far out to sea; play safe. Something similar is suggested here (though it should be "tibi" not "mihi": you, not me):
http://books.google.es/books?id=rAXHv7KlHxMC&pg=PA228&lpg=PA...

alter... alter means "the one... the other".
remus: oar (nominative)
aquas: waters (accusative)
tibi: to you (dative), here implying possession, in effect
radat: 3 p sing present subj of radere, literally "scrape"; i.e. "let it scrape".
harenas: sands (accusative)

So:
Alter remus [tibi radat] aquas: [Let] one [of your] oar[s scrape] the waters
alter [remus] tibi radat harenas: Let the other of your [oars] scrape the sands
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 19:46
Grading comment
Thanks a lot!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +5Let one oar skim the water, the other the sand (stay close to the shore)
Charles Davis


  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +5
Let one oar skim the water, the other the sand (stay close to the shore)


Explanation:
"biti" should be "tibi". This is from Propertius, Elegies, Book III, 3, line 23. The translation given above is that of H. E. Butler (1912) from the old Loeb edition, but it's perfectly reliable:
https://archive.org/stream/propertiuswithen00propuoft#page/1...

I've added a paraphrase to suggest the sense of it as a maxim: do not venture too far out to sea; play safe. Something similar is suggested here (though it should be "tibi" not "mihi": you, not me):
http://books.google.es/books?id=rAXHv7KlHxMC&pg=PA228&lpg=PA...

alter... alter means "the one... the other".
remus: oar (nominative)
aquas: waters (accusative)
tibi: to you (dative), here implying possession, in effect
radat: 3 p sing present subj of radere, literally "scrape"; i.e. "let it scrape".
harenas: sands (accusative)

So:
Alter remus [tibi radat] aquas: [Let] one [of your] oar[s scrape] the waters
alter [remus] tibi radat harenas: Let the other of your [oars] scrape the sands

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 19:46
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
Grading comment
Thanks a lot!
Notes to answerer
Asker: Now I see. Remus is rame in French and not the brother of Romulus. radat means to graze in passing or scrape and harena (sand) became arena in modern Spanish. Thank you!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Péter Jutai
29 mins
  -> Thank you, Péter!

agree  Jennifer White
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Jennifer!

agree  Veronika McLaren
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, Veronika!

agree  Stephen C. Farrand
6 hrs
  -> Thanks, Stephen!

agree  Pierre POUSSIN: That's it!
7 hrs
  -> Thanks, irat!
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