Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
I have difficulty with the grammar and meaning of some parts of the following sentence (from de Senectute). It would be very helpful to me if you could give me a literal translation of the sentence.

“quod propter studium cum rem neglegere familiarem videretur, a filiis in iudicium vocatus est, ut, quem ad modum nostro more male rem gerentibus patribus bonis interdici solet, sic illum quasi desipientem a re familiari removerent iudices.” (22)

Thanks a lot.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

here’s the literal translation of “....quod propter studium cum rem neglegere familiarem videretur, a filiis in iudicium vocatus est, ut, quem ad modum nostro more male rem gerentibus patribus bonis interdici solet, sic illum quasi desipientem a re familiari removerent iudices” (Cicero, De Senectute, 22 ):

“ .., for (QUOD), since (CUM) because of (PROPTER) the study (STUDIUM) [Sophocles]  seemed (VIDERETUR) to neglect family (FAMILIAREM)  affairs (REM), he was summoned (VOCATUS EST)  before court (IN IUDICIUM)by (A)  his sons ( FILIIS), so that (UT),  just as,  (QUEM AD MODUM) according to our (NOSTRO) usage (MORE) it is customary (SOLET)  to be forbidden(INTERDICI) to the fathers/ heads of families(PATRIBUS) managing(GERENTIBUS)  badly (MALE)  family affairs(REM)  [the use of ]their possessions (BONIS), in the same way (SIC)  the judges (IUDICES) could  remove (REMOVERENT ) him (ILLUM) from the control of (A)  family (FAMILIARI) affairs ( RE ) as (QUASI)a mentally incapable man( DESIPIENTEM)”.

This is the literal version, of course, just as you asked me, but it would be better to say :”.... since, because of his absorption in literary work, Sophocles seemed to neglect his family affairs,  he was summoned before court by his sons, so that  the judges  could  remove  him  from the control of family affairs  as a  mentally incapable man, just as, according to our  usage, it is customary  to forbid the heads of families, who manage badly familiar affairs, the use of their possessions“.

Please note that:

-QUOD  = for

-PROPTER (preposition which takes the accusative)= because of

-STUDIUM (neuter accusative)= the study

-CUM....VIDERETUR (causal clause.Personal construction of VIDEOR) = since....he seemed

-REM (direct object.accusative depending on NEGLEGERE) = affairs

-NEGLEGERE (infinitive depending on VIDERETUR) = to neglect

-FAMILIAREM (adjective agreed with REM)= family  

-A  FILIIS ( ablative of Agent) =by the sons

-IN IUDICIUM = before court

-VOCATUS EST (past tense, passive)= he was summoned

-UT (final conjunction + the subjunctive REMOVERENT) =so that

-QUEM AD MODUM ( adverb) = just as

-NOSTRO MORE (ablative of manner composed by the ablative of NOSTER+ the ablative of MOS)= according to our usage

-MALE (adverb)= badly

-REM ( direct object.accusative depending on GERENTIBUS)= family affairs

-GERENTIBUS(dative plural, present participle of GERO)....PATRIBUS (dative  plural of PATER, depending on INTERDICI)  = to  the fathers /heads of family

-BONIS (ablative plural of BONUM) = their possessions.

-INTERDICI (infinitive present passive of INTERDICO, I forbid) =  to be forbidden .Note that “interdicere alicui aliqua re” means “ to forbid one the use of something” where "one" is in the dative and

-SOLET ( from SOLEO) = it is customary  

-SIC =  in the same way

-ILLUM (direct object, accusative masculine of ILLE, depending on REMOVERENT) = him

-QUASI = as

-DESIPIENTEM (accusative of DESIPIENS agreed with ILLUM) = a mentally incapable [man]

-A RE FAMILIARI ( ablative of separation ) = from [the control of ] family affairs  

-REMOVERENT (3rd.person plural, imperfect subjunctive of REMOVEO.Final clause) = could remove

-IUDICES (subject of the final clause UT...REMOVERENT) = the judges.

Hope all is clear enough.

Best regards,

Maria  

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Maria

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I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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