De platano

Platanus, ut dicit Ysidorus, arbor est a latitudine foliorum dicta: platos enim Greci latum vocant. Alta arbor est et ramis diffusa, foliis tenerrimis ac mollibus foliis vitis similis. Plinius dicit: Quis non miretur arborem umbre gratia, ex alieno petitam orbe? Ab insula Dyomedis primum advecta est. In Lycia platanus est gelidi fontis socia, que circumquaque octaginta pedum spatium longis obtinet umbris. Hiis tantum honos fuit antiquitus, ut mero infuso in regum atriis nutrirentur.  

The plane tree, just as Isidore says, the tree has been called a plane tree from the width of the leaves: for in fact the Greeks call wide “platos”.  The tree is tall and spread out with branches, with very delicate leaves and similar to the soft leaves of a grape vein. Plinius says: who may not wonder at the tree on account of its shade, having been sought from the foreign territory?  It was first brought from the island of Diomedes. In Lycia the plane tree is the companion of an icy spring, and all around occupies the length of 80 feet with long shadows. Formerly, the reputation for these trees was so great that in the atriums of kings they were nourished with wine having been poured.

adveho, advhere, advexi, advectus 3 to bring; carry

antiquitus adv. formerly

circumquaque adv. on every side; all around

gelidus, -a, -um adj. icy; ice cold

honos, honoris m. reputation; honor

infundo, infundere, infudi, infusus 3 to pour

latitudio, -inis f. width; extent

miro, mirare, miravi, miratus 1 to be amazed; surprised

nutrio, nutrire, nutrivi, nutritus 3 to nourish; raise; tend

obtineo, obtinere, obtinui, obtentus 3 to maintain; occupy

platanus, -i f. plane tree

ramus, -i m. branch

socia, -ae f. companion; partner

vitis, vitis f. vine; grape vine

ut dicit Ysidorus: Refers to Isidore of Seville, who makes two mentions of the plane tree in his works. The first is in his Etymologies, Book XIV (De Terra et Partibus) in the section De Europa, line 15, in which he says that Achaea, a part of Arcadia, is shaped like the leaf of a plane tree. The second mention is in Book XVII (De Rebus Rusticis) in the section De Propriis Nominibus Arborum, line 37, where he states the same information as here. In addition he quotes a mention of the plant in Ecclesiasticus 24:19.

foliis tenerrimus…foliis: Ablatives of description to describe the leaves. Author uses two similar words (tenerrimus, mollibus) to describe the vine leaves for poetic language.

platos: The Greek word for wide, comes directly from these plane trees.

umbre: Take as genitive umbrae because ae is written as just e in medieval texts.

gratia: used here as a preposition, when preceded by the genitive umbrae translated as “on account of”

miretur: A third person plural present active subjunctive form of miro, mirare, maravi. It is a subjunctive in a jussive question.

petitam: gerundive, modifying umbre gratia.

ab insula Dyomedis:  In his Historia Naturalis, Book XII, Chapter 3, Pliny the Elder discusses the plane tree. He repeats what Isidore of Seville says about the plant’s wide leaves and its name stemming from a Greek root. He then states that the tree first made its way across the Ionian Sea to the Island of Diomedes to be planted outside Diomedes’ tomb. The plane tree then was brought to Sicily and further into Italy. Pliny also notes that he has heard mention of the tree’s presence in Spain. In Book III, Chapter 30, he again mentions an island off Apulian coast named Diomedia, known for its monument to Diomedes. This references the present day archipelago on the Adriatic Sea, Isole di Tremiti.

in regum atriis: The comment may reference Pliny’s statement in his Historia Naturalis, Book XII, Chapter 3, that the Sicilian tyrant, Dionysius the Elder (432-367 BCE), brought them to his palace in Rhegium.

Lycia: A geopolitical region in Anatolia on the southern coast of Turkey. One of the last regions on the Mediterranean coast to be added to the Roman Empire. The climate is hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters; good for plane trees.

que: The nominative/singular/feminine relative pronoun, quae, which refers back to platanus.

Hiis: A dative of possession with honos.

ut… nutrirentur: A result clause, as signified by the tantum in the main clause.

mero infuso: An ablative absolute.