Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you please help me with the following (all from de Senectute)
(1)“ut nullum offici aut omnino vitae munus” (35)
Is munus modified by two adj. “offici” and “vitae”? i. e. are we talking about two types of munus: offici munus and vitae munus?

(2)“Quid mirum igitur in senibus …”(35)
Is mirum adj or noun?

(3)“Haec cum C. Pontio Samnite, … locutum Archytam Nearchus Tarentinus,...se a maioribus natu accepisse dicebat, cum quidem ei sermoni interfuisset Plato Atheniensis,” (41)
I am confused about who said/did what. Could you please give a literal translation. (To save your time I have taken out the parts that I undertsand.)   
(4)“Hic Tito fratre suo censore, qui proximus ante me fuerat, elapsus est; mihi vero et Flacco neutiquam probari potuit tam flagitiosa et tam perdita libido, quae cum probro privato coniungeret imperi dedecus.” (42)
Questions: (a) why Tito and not Titus? Does Hic has to agree with Tito?
         (b) Is “fratre suo censore” abl. absolute? If so, is Tito part of the abl. abs?
         (c) Could you please give a literal translation of the last clause, starting with quae?
Thank you very much.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

(1)In “ut nullum offici aut omnino vitae munus exsequi possint” (Cicero, De Senectute, 35) literally meaning :”so that (UT) they (i.e. old men) can (POSSINT) perform (EXSEQUI) no (NULLUM) function (MUNUS) of [their]  duty/employment or (AUT) even (OMNINO) of life (VITAE)”, the neuter noun MUNUS is  specified  by the two genitives “offici” and “vitae”,for the speaker is  talking about two types of munus: “offici munus” and “vitae munus” just to say that old men are so feeble that they can perform no function that their duty/employment or even life itself can demand.


(2)In “Quid mirum igitur in senibus, si infirmi sunt aliquando... …”(35), literally meaning:” What’s (QUID) strange (MIRUM), then (IGITUR), in the old men(IN  SENIBUS), if (SI) they are (SUNT) sometimes (ALIQUANDO) weak (INFIRMI) ..” , the word MIRUM (neuter agreed with QUID) is an adjective, not a noun.



(3)Actually it is impossible to give you a literal translation without quoting  the full passage:So, “Haec cum C.Pontio Samnite, patre eius, a quo Caudino proelio Sp.Postumius T. Veturius consules superati sunt, locutum Archytam Nearchus Tarentinus hospes noster, qui in amicitia populi Romani permanserat, se a maioribus natu accepisse dicebat, cum quidem ei sermoni interfuisset PlatoAtheniensis, quem Tarentum venisse L. Camillo Ap. Claudio consulibus reperio”  literally means:
“Our(NOSTER) host (HOSPES) Nearchus of Tarentum(NEARCHUS TARENTINUS), who had remained steadfast (PERMANSERAT)in his friendship (IN AMICITIA) to the Roman people (POPULI ROMANI), told me (DICEBAT) that he had learned (SE... ACCEPISSE) from his ancestors ( A MAIORIBUS NATU) that Archytas (ARCHYTAM) had conversed (LOCUTUM [ ESSE]) with(CUM) Caius  Pontius the Samnite (C.PONTIO SAMMNITE), father (PATRE) of that man (EIUS) by whom (A QUO) the consuls Spurius Postumius and Titus Veturius ( SP.POSTUMIUS   TITUS VETURIUS CONSULES) were defeated (SUPERATI SUNT) at the Caudine Forks (CAUDINO PROELIO), when (CUM) Plato the Athenian (PLATO ATHENIENSIS), whom (QUEM) I find REPERIO) to have come (VENISSE) to Tarentum (TARENTUM) Lucius Camillus and Appius Claudius [being] consuls(L.CAMILLO APPIO CLAUDIO CONSULIBUS), was just present (QUIDEM...INTERFUISSET) at that discourse (EI SERMONI).

So, M. Porcius Cato the elder, one of the protagonists of “De Senectute”, says that his host Nearchus has told him that Archytas, a Pythagorean philosopher of Tarentum, had conversed with Caius  Pontius the Samnite and that Plato the Athenian was then present as he had come  to Tarentum in the consulship of Lucius Camillus and Appius Claudius.


(4)In “Hic Tito fratre suo censore, qui proximus ante me fuerat, elapsus est; mihi vero et Flacco neutiquam probari potuit tam flagitiosa et tam perdita libido, quae cum probro privato coniungeret imperi dedecus” (42) literally meaning:” This man (HIC, i.e. Lucius Flamininus ) during the censorship (CENSORE) of his (SUO) brother (FRATRE) Titus (TITO), who had been (FUERAT) my immediate  predecessor (PROXIMUS ANTE ME), escaped punishment (ELAPSUS EST);  but to me (MIHI)  and Flaccus (FLACCO)  his libidinousness ( LIBIDO) so (TAM) shameful(FLAGITIOSA)  and corrupt ( PERDITA), that (QUAE) added (CONIUNGERET) to (CUM)  his private ( PRIVATO) crime (PROBRO) the dishonour (DEDECUS) of the state’s authority(IMPERI), could (POTUIT) by no means (NEUTIQUAM) be approved (PROBARI)”.

Please note that:

(a)there is the ablative “Tito”( and not 'Titus') because this name is a part of the Ablative absolute “Tito fratre suo censore”.
As for the masculine demonstrative  pronoun “Hic” (This man), it is the subject of the sentence and refers to above mentioned Lucius Flamininus. Therefore it has not to agree with  “Tito”.

(b) As you can see, “fratre suo censore” is an abl. absolute and “ Tito” is  part of the abl. abs.

(c) Here’s  the literal translation of the last clause, starting with quae: “that (QUAE) added (CONIUNGERET) to (CUM)  his private ( PRIVATO) crime (PROBRO) the dishonour (DEDECUS) of the state’s authority(IMPERI)”.
Note that the last clause, starting with “quae” is a consecutive clause where the relative pronoun”quae” related to the feminine nominative “libido” stands for the conjunction “ut” connected with the adverb “tam” before “flagitiosa”.

Best regards,

Maria

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