BESTIARIA LATINA BLOG - Latin Via Fables - Zoo - Legenda


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The story of The Beaver is a poem written by Phaedrus. It is written in iambic trimeter.

You can find this poem, Phaedrus App. 30, along with other poems by Phaedrus, at the website. The Perry number for this fable is Perry 118.

This story is also found in the Latin bestiaries. For more information about the beaver, visit the Castor in the Zoo.

You can find a translation of this story in Aesop's Fables, by Laura Gibbs (Oxford University Press, 2003).

   Use this Study Guide to organize your learning activities.

Here is the poem (click "play" icon for brief audio sample):

Canes effugere cum iam non possit fiber
(Graeci loquaces quem dixerunt castorem
et indiderunt bestiae nomen dei,
illi qui iactant se uerborum copia),
abripere morsu fertur testiculos sibi,
quia propter illos sentiat sese peti.
Diuina quod ratione fieri non negem;
uenator namque simul inuenit remedium,
omittit ipsum persequi et reuocat canes.
Hoc si praestare possent homines, ut suo
uellent carere, tuti posthac uiuerent;
haud quisquam insidias nudo faceret corpori.

The following version puts the words in a more prose-like order so that it will be easier for you to read:

Cum iam non possit
canes effugere

possit: subjunctive introduced by cum

effugere: complementary infinitive with possit

(quem Graeci loquaces
dixerunt "castorem"
et nomen dei indiderunt
illi qui iactant se
verborum copia),

quem: relative pronoun, antecedent is fiber

fiber is the Roman word for beaver, castor is Greek

castorem: the o is long, so penultimate stress

nomen dei: the god Castor is the twin brother of Pollux

qui: relative pronoun, antecedent is illi

testiculos sibi abripere

sibi: dative used in reference to body parts

abripere: complementary infinitive with fertur

quia sentiat
sese peti
propter illos.

sentiat: subjunctive of attributed thought

peti: infinitive in indirect statement (introduced by sentiat, subject of the infinitive is se)

Non negem
quod fieri
divina ratione;

negem: potential subjunctive ("I would not deny...")
quod = hoc
fieri: infinitive in indirect statement (introduced by negem)

divina: the i is long, so penultimate stress

nam et venator
simul invenit remedium:

invenit: short e, because present tense (long e in perfect)

omittit persequi ipsum
et canes revocat.
persequi: complementary infinitive with omittit
Si homines
possent hoc praestare,
ut suo vellent carere,
tuti posthac viverent;

praestare: complementary infinitive with possent
: subjunctives in conditional statement
vellent: subjunctive introduced by ut
tuti: adjective used as adverb
("they would live safely...")

haud quisquam
insidias faceret
nudo corpori.

faceret: following subjunctives possent and viverent above

© The segmented texts, annotations and audio files at
are copyrighted by Laura Gibbs, 2007. No copyright is claimed for any images.