De caco

Cacus monstrum est in Archadia. Hoc animal totum setosum est quasi porcus. Et sicut scribit Adelinus philosophus, flammas de pectore suo eructuat, id est anhelitum et spiritum flammeum. Facit autem hoc maxime, cum ira permotum fuerit. Sed queri potest, quomodo flammas aut spiritum flammeum de ore suo possit evomere et ipsas flammas esse efficaces ad comburendum proxime contrectata, et non ipsum corpus animalis flammis absumi. Respondere possumus, quia, cum anhelitus adhuc in visceribus animalis per membra multa ac diversa late diffusus est, tepidus usquequaque non extuberatur in flammas; sed eructuatus continuatur ac multiplicatur in obiectum aliquod corpus virtutemque recipit comburendi, verbi gratia sicut videmus per medium berilli lapidis solare lumen multiplicare radios et in supremo unitionis acumine radiorum ignis virtutem suscipere in subiectam materiam et ignem effici violentum. Horum animalium similia fuerunt illa, de quibus in libro Sapientie scriptura testatur divina, quod ignes de ore suo spirabant. Igitur monstrum cacus in antris super flumen Tyberim commoratur. Hoc animal invadit subito vaccarum et taurorum greges, nec unum ei de grege animal sufficit, sed per caudas tauros tres aut quatuor apprehensos vi fortitudinis sue in antrum trahit occulte gressu retrogrado, ne scilicet investigari possit de facili. Est autem non solum infestum animalibus hoc animal, verum etiam ipsi homini gravissime insidiatur, cum tamen ipsum hominem plurimum timeat. Cacus signat quosdam iracundos, qui quidem ad modicum primum irasci sibi videntur interius, sed cum se ipsos ira crescente refrenare non possunt, quasi flammas in proximum contumelias et probra eructuant adeo, ut non solum se, verum etiam plures ad odium secum ira victos inflammant. Sicque occasione sue nequitie multos ad inferni claustra trahunt, et hoc gressu retrogrado, quia nullum rectum vel iustum odium esse potest. Iracundus igitur non solum infestus est brutis hominibus, ut eos ad iracundiam provocet, verum etiam aliquando rationabilibus et religiosis hominibus, quia quidem valde perfectus est, quem quandoque ira non deicit.

Concerning the Cacus. The cacus is a monster in Arcadia. This entire animal is bristly just like a pig. And just like the philosopher Adelinus writes, he gushes forth flames from his chest, and it is a puffing and a fiery breathing. Also he does this especially, when he may be stirred up by anger. But one is able to question, in what way might he be able to vomit out flames or fiery breath from his mouth and in what way those flames are effective for burning away things having been touched nearest, and the body of the animal not to be consumed with flames. We are able to respond, because, since the breath, thus far is spread widely in the innermost part of the animal and through many diverse organs, warm in every conceivable way does not explode into flames; but having gushed forth it is joined and it is multiplied and it guarantees that it is to be burned away in any opposing body and strength, as an example, just like we see, through the middle of a sapphire stone, light to soothe and rays to increase and in the highest peak of united rays the flame to take up power in the exposed fuel and violent fire to be brought about. These things had been resembling of those animals, of which the divine writing in the book of Wisdom testifies, that breathe fire from their mouths. Thus the monster Cacus abides in caves above the River Tiber. This animal suddenly attacks herds of cows and bulls, and one animal from the herd is not sufficient for him, but he drags three or four bulls by their tails, having been seized, into the cave with his own strength of valor, secretly, with a backwards step taken, lest certainly he may be able to be tracked down with ease. Moreover this animal is dangerous not only to animals, but also he lies in ambush even for that gravest man, while still he greatly fears those men. The Cacus represents certain kinds of angry people, who indeed seem to themselves first to grow angry little by little within, but when they are not able to restrain their own selves from their increasing anger, just like flames they belch forth insults and disgraces in this way, so that not only themselves, but also they inflame many people having been conquered by their own anger approaching hatred. And thus with the opportunity for his own wickedness he draws many people toward the gates of Hell, with his backwards step, because no hatred can be noble or just. Therefore the angry one is dangerous not only to brutish humans, in that he may provoke them to irascibility, but also sometimes with rational and religious men, because indeed he must be very excellent, the one whom anger does not overthrow at any time.

absumo, absumere, absumpsi, absumptus consume; use up

acumen, -inis n. point; peak

adhuc adv. thus far; hitherto

aliquando adv. sometimes

anhelitus, -us m. panting; puffing; gasping

antrum, -i n. cave

apprehendo, apprehendere, apprehendi, apprehensus seize

Archadia, -ae f. Arcadia/Arkadía; one of the regional units of Greece, takes its name from mythological character Arcas, home of the god Pan in Greek mythology, celebrated in European Renaissance arts as an unspoiled, harmonious wilderness

berillus, i m. beryl; sapphire

brutus, a, um adj. brutish

cauda, ae n. tail

claustrum, i n. gate; door

comburo, comburere, combus(s)i, combustus burn away

commoror, commorare, commoravi, commoratus 1 abide

continuo, continuare, continuavi, continuatus 1 join; connect; unite

contrecto, contrectare, contrectavi, contrectatus 1 touch; feel

contumelia, ae insult

deicio, deicere, deieci, deiectus overthrow; fell

diffusus, a, um adj. spread out

efficax, acis adj. effective; capable of filling some function

efficio, efficere, effeci, effectus bring about; cause

eructuo, eructuare, -, – 1 gush forth; belch forth

evomo, evomere, evomui, evomitus vomit out

extubero, extuberare, extuberavi, extuberatus 1 explode; swell

flammeus, a, um adj. flaming; fiery

fortitudo, inis n. strength; courage valor

gradior, gradi, gressus sum 3 walk; step

gravis, e adj. serious; grave

grex, egis n. herd

infestus, a, um adj. dangerous

inflammo, inflammare, inflamavi, inflamatus 1 set on fire; inflame

insidior, insidiari, insidiatus sum 1 lie in ambush

interius adv. within

invado, invadere, invasi, invasus 3 attack

investigo, investigare, investigavi, investigatus 1 track down

iracundia, ae f. irascibility; passion

iracundus, a, um adj. angry; hot-tempered

irascor, irasci, iratus sum grow angry

iustus, a, um adj. just; fair; equitable

lapis, idis m. stone; milestone; jewel

late adv. widely

liber, bri m. book

materia, ae f. wood; fuel; material

membrum, i n. organ; limb

multiplico, multiplicare, multiplicavi, multiplicatus 1 multiply; increase

nequities, ae n. wickedness

objectus, a, um adj. opposite

occasio, onis n. opportunity

occulte adv. secretly

odium, i n. hate

perfectus, a, um adj. perfect; excellent

permoveo, permovere, permovi, permotus stir up

plus, uris adj. more; several, many (comp. of multus) 

porcus, i m. pig; hog

probrum, i n. disgrace

provoco, provocare, provocavi, provocatus 1 call forth; provoke

quandoque adv. whenever; at whatever time

quasi conj. as if; just as

queror, queri, questus sum 3 question; complain

quia conj. because

radius, i ray

recipio, recipere, recepi, receptus 3 guarantee; accept

rectus, a, um adj. right; proper; noble

refreno, refrenare, refrenavi, refrenatus 1 curb; check; restrain

sapientia, ae f. wisdom

scilicet adv. certainly; of course

scriptura, ae writing; scripture

setosus, a, um adj. bristly; shaggy

sicut conj. as; just as; like

signo, signare, signavi, signatus 1 signify; represent

solor, solari, solatus sum 1 soothe; console

spiritus, us m. breath; breathing

subicio, subicere, subieci, subiectus 3 expose

sufficio, sufficere, suffeco, suffectus 3 be sufficient; suffice

supremus, a, um adj. highest

suscipio, suscipere, suscepi, susceptus 3 take up

taurus, i n. bull

tepidus, a, um adj. warm

testor, testari, testatus sumtestify; bear witness

traho, trahere, traxi, tractus 3 draw; drag

Tyberim c. Tiber river

usquequaque adv. in every conceivable situation; wholly

vacca, ae n. cow

valde adv. very

vinco, vincere, vici, victus 3 conquer; defeat

virtus, utis f. strength; power

vis, is n. strength; power; might

viscer, eris n. entrails; innermost part of the body

fuerit: perf. active subj. with permotum in a potential subjective clause, “he may be stirred up

potest: with queri, “one is able to question“. In this case the subject is the reader.

ipsas flammas…absumi: indirect discourse

comburendi: fut. passive. part. “guarantees that it is to be burned away

verbi gratia: “as an example

verbi gratia…violentum: The author is comparing the way in which the monster’s flames expand outward to the way that a gem will refract a beam of light exponentially, while leaving the gem itself unaffected by the light.

in supremo…acumine: abl. in prepositional phrase “in the highest peak

unitionis…radiorum: genitives with acumine “peak of united rays

gressu retrogrado: supine within an abl. absolute “with a backwards step taken“. The Cacus drags the cows and bulls with a backwards step to his cave because the tracks will look as though the animals are walking forward in the opposite direction, away from the Cacus. Hermes used a similar trick to steal some cows from Apollo in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes.

non solum…verum etiam: “not only…but also

Cacus signat quosdam iracundos: The Cacus is a metaphor for the deadly sin of anger.

ad modicum: prepositional phrase “little by little“, literally “by a small time

se ipsos: the two intensify each other “restrain their own selves

ut…provocet: result clause with a pres. active subj. “as a result of his backwards step