Translation from the Classical Languages in the Second Half of the 19th Century


  • Matej Hriberšek Oddelek za klasično filologijo Aškerčeva 2 SI-1000 Ljubljana



translation, classical languages, literary translation


In addition to affecting the Slovene education system, the Austrian denationalising policy in the second half of the 19th century had a direct impact on translation. Most of the already scarce Slovene philologists were appointed to posts outside the Slovene national territory. The conditions only began to improve in the 1860s, with the translation activity taken up by the first students of the newly established philology courses at the University of Vienna (Ladislav Hrovat, Matija Valjavec, etc.). More often than not, however, the translators were not philologists.

The first longer classical texts published in Slovene were individual books of the Homeric epics, Xenophon’s Memorabilia, Plato’s dialogues Apology and Crito, Virgil's Georgics, and Sophocles' Ajax (the complete Bible, of course, had been translated much earlier, but it holds a special place in the history of translation). The translations published as books represent the first Slovene book-format editions of the ancient classics, but most appeared in magazines and newspapers .

Many translations met with the same fate as a number of contemporary Slovene classical-language textbooks: they remained in manuscript because of insufficient funds (the publishers were unwilling to run the risk of such enterprises, for fear that their investment would not pay), and also because of the national-awakening emphasis on Slovene, which was accompanied by a preference for translating from other modern languages, particularly Slavic ones. A noteworthy example of these unpublished translations is Caesar’s De Bello Gallico as prepared by the Franciscan Ladislav Hrovat.

From the beginnings to the present, Slovene translations of the Greek and Latin classics have displayed a marked predominance of poetry, with prose works remaining in the minority.


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15. 07. 2007



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How to Cite

Hriberšek, Matej. 2007. “Translation from the Classical Languages in the Second Half of the 19th Century”. Keria: Studia Latina Et Graeca 9 (1): 73-117.

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