I’ve settled back down to translating the Life of St Nicholas by John the Deacon. The new and improved Google Translate for Latin has made it a far easier task. The word order was exotic, and I had to crawl through each sentence, one by one, decrypting each word. This was tedious and time-consuming. Now at least I have a very decent guide to each sentence, and can concentrate on individual points.
As happens sometimes, I have ended up translating the chapters – or readings, for I think these are probably readings for church services – in reverse order. I have done chapters 15, 14 and 13, and am now wading through chapter 12.
The later chapters are of dubious authenticity. Chapter 12 is the first – starting from the end – to have transliterations of Greek words in it, for proper names. This reflects the fact that the Life was translated from the Greek Methodius ad Theodorum, in Naples in the 9th century.
The text is the 1751 edition of Falconius, which is fairly dodgy. At points I think it must be corrupt. Curiously this does not bother Google Translate at all, which laughs at spelling mistakes etc. One word didn’t feature in any dictionary that I have, but it did not stop Google. I would guess that Falconius has printed some odd medieval spelling.
Once I have a complete draft translation, I think that I shall have to look at manuscripts. It is really curious that no critical edition exists. I believe that several manuscripts are online, and it might be useful to look at these.
I also need to follow up whatever bibliographical hints I can get from the Bibliographia Hagiographica Latina. Simply googling the BHL references will probably lead me to a few sources.
I think there is a full Italian translation of the text by Pasquale Corsi in La traslazione di San Nicola: le fonti, Bari: Biblioteca di San Nicola: Centro Studi Nicolaiani (1987) Series: Studi e testi / Centro Studi Nicolaiani 8. But much Italian scholarship is ridiculously hard to access here, and little of it is online, or has attracted the attention of the PDF pirates. However I gather that book might be available from the Centro Studi Nicolaiana, so I have just popped them an email to enquire.
Now back to John the Deacon!