videns inimicus homo

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Novanas

Senior Member
English AE/Ireland
Hello, to all! I've come across the above phrase in William of Tyre, XVII, 13, and I can make nothing of it. It occurs in the following sentence which I think is more or less clear. The Kingdom of Jerusalem (regni orientalis) is enjoying a quiet spell, but the County of Edessa (comitatus Edessanus) has been lost to the Turks and the Principality of Antioch is suffering seriously from their inroads.

Inter haec, dum satis prospero cursu regni orientalis negotia procederent et quasi quadam tranquillitate gauderet; eo minus, quod comitatus nobis deperierat et in hostium nostrorum cesserat potestatem Edessanus, regio quoque Antiochena frequentibus hostium insidiis fatigabatur; videns inimicus homo, qui solet superseminare zizania, et nostrae invidens prosperitati, intestinis nos tentans concutere seditionibus, quietem nostram perturbare aggressus est, cujus periculi haec fuit causa et origo.

As regards "inimicus homo", both of the translations I have access to agree that this is "the enemy of man" (hominis?), that is, the Devil. But regarding "videns", I cannot see what to connect this with. I thought perhaps it could be connected with "quod comitatus nobis . . ." and "regio quoque Antiochena. . .", but neither of the translators make this connection. So I frankly don't know what to do with this phrase. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 
  • Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Greetings again Novanas and everyone else.

    The first thing that occurs to me is that the implied object of videns is the entirety of the circumstances described in the foregoing sentence, in other words the loss of Edessa and the raids on the kingdom of Antioch.

    I have never previously met the expression inimicus homo, or hominis, for the Devil, but perhaps elsewhere in William's work there is a similar turn of phrase. I'll check on whether this crops up anywhere else in mediaeval Christian literature next time I have a chance.

    Σ
     

    Novanas

    Senior Member
    English AE/Ireland
    Many thanks for your reply. I had thought about trying to connect "videns" to the first part of the sentence. Logically, I think that would make sense, but grammatically, I find it hard to make the connection.
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Hello again, Novanas

    In Blaise's 1954 Dictionaire Latine-Française of Christian authors there are several citations for inimicus = the (or 'a') Devil—I put it like this because several ancient or mediaeval authors, including Danté (and indeed, a bit later John Milton) envisaged an infernal demonarchy, a sort of mirror image of Heaven, with God on his throne attended upon by numerous angelic 'courtiers'.

    I still cannot improve on your suggestion that hominis should be read in the passage you asked about.

    Σ
     

    Novanas

    Senior Member
    English AE/Ireland
    OK. Thank you for your observations here. As far as "inimicus" goes, I've been remembering, "But still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe." So the idea isn't completely unfamiliar to me.
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Quite. And in Milton's Paradise Lost, Satan is often 'The Adversarie'. Milton was so steeped in both Classical Literature and Theology that he can almost be regarded as an authoritative source.

    Σ
     

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    The passage is a riff on the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13,24-28. WT likens the situation of the Latin principalities to the situation described in the parable:
    24 aliam parabolam proposuit illis dicens simile factum est regnum caelorum homini qui seminavit bonum semen in agro suo

    25 cum autem dormirent homines venit inimicus eius et superseminavit zizania in medio tritici et abiit

    26 cum autem crevisset herba et fructum fecisset tunc apparuerunt et zizania

    27 accedentes autem servi patris familias dixerunt ei domine nonne bonum semen seminasti in agro tuo unde ergo habet zizania

    28 et ait illis inimicus homo hoc fecit servi autem dixerunt ei vis imus et colligimus ea

    29 et ait non ne forte colligentes zizania eradicetis simul cum eis et triticum
    Note the verbal similarities, especially the inimicus homo in verse 28.
     
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