[SOLVED] Latin Translation Help

3 posts / 0 new
Moderator der Fragenfinder
Joined: 16.09.2014
Pending moderation

I just need help with this phrase, which is supposedly from Pliny (I don't know which one).

"apparebat eidolon senex"

This is taken from the novel "It" by Stephen King. It appears at the base of a public bird bath, which may have formerly have been the statue of a soldier.

I've found a few translations online but was looking for more input.

Thanks in advance.

Super Member
Joined: 23.08.2016

Apparently, this is a fragment of a letter written by Pliny the Younger (Ep VII, 27, 5).
"Erat Athenis spatiosa et capax domus sed infamis et pestilens. Per silentium noctis sonus ferri, et si attenderes acrius, strepitus vinculorum longius primo, deinde e proximo reddebatur: mox apparebat idolon, senex macie et squalore confectus, promissa barba, horrenti capillo; cruribus compedes, manibus catenas gerebat quatiebatque".

This is an approximate translation to English:
"There was a spacious and large house in Athens, yet infamous and perilous. Through the silence of the night (there was) a clanging sound, and if you listened closely, a sound of rattling chains was emitted far away, at first, and then closer: suddenly a phantom appeared, an old man consumed by hunger and misery, with a long beard and bristling hair; he wore fetters on his legs and chains on his hands and was shaking them".
So, here there's the general meaning, but if I had to analyze the phrase itself out of a context I guess it would mean something like "the old phantom/ghost/spectre appeared", due to the fact that both "eidolon" (which is another form for "idolon") and "senex" are in nominative case and "apparebat" is just a past tense of the verb "appareo" (to appear).
Hope this helps! (and oddly enough, I've just finished reading Misery today Teeth smile )

Moderator der Fragenfinder
Joined: 16.09.2014


A lot of time when Stephen King throws a random quote in there it is more to sound spooky than it having a direct meaning on the text.

Add new comment