Ancient Languages/Grammar


Dear Maria,

Please help me understand the sentences below (Catullus 1, 5-10).

​Iam tum, cum ausus es unus Italorum
omne aevum tribus explicare chartis
doctis, Iuppiter, et laboriosis.

- What's the meaning of 'iam tum'?
- 'unus Italorum' is in apposition with the implied subject 'You'?
- Both 'doctis' and 'laboriosis' modify 'chartis'?
- What's the meaning and the case of 'Iuppiter' here? vocative?

​Quare habe tibi quidquid hoc libelli
qualecumque, quod, o patrona virgo,
plus uno maneat perenne saeclo.

- Can you explain the usage of 'tibi' and 'libelli'?
- Can you explain the structure of 'qualecumque, quod .. plus'?

Thank you.


Dear John,

Note that in Catullus, Carmina, Poem 1, lines 5-10):

-the meaning of “iam tum” is  “already then/ at that time”;  

-“unus Italorum” (alone of Italians)  is in apposition with the implied subject 'You';

-Both "doctis" and "laboriosis" modify “ tribus...chartis”.

-“Iuppiter” is a vocative meaning:”o Jupiter”

-"tibi" is a dativus ethicus, i.e. the ethical dative used to show a certain interest felt by the person indicated. Therefore “tibi” literally means “ for you” in “habe tibi”(= have for you).
See AG 380.

-"libelli" is a genitive singular depending on the neuter pronoun “quidquid” so that “quidquid ...libelli” literally means:”whatever of the booklet “

-the neuter pronoun  “qualecumque” refers to “quidquid..libelli” and means “such as it is “, i.e. “have for you  this booklet, such as it is “.

-the relative neuter pronoun “quod “ means “which” and is the subject of the phrase “plus uno maneat perenne saeclo“,so that “ uno maneat perenne saeclo” literally means:”which (quod, related to “booklet”) may last/endure/remain (maneat) perennial (perenne) more (plus) than one century (uno saeclo, ablative of comparison).

Best regards,


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