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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you please help me with the following (all from de Senectute)
(1)“… cuius dictatoris iussu magister equitum C. Servilius Ahala Sp. Maelium regnum adpetentem occupatum interemit.” (56)
Why “occupatum” and not “occupavit”, just like “interemit”? Also do we need a word like “et” or “-que” between the two verbs?  

(2)“… quod hominum generi universo cultura agrorum est salutaris, …” (56)
Can you give a literal translation of this clause.
(3)“Conditiora facit haec supervacaneis etiam operis aucupium atque venatio.” (56)
What are the meanings of these words: “haec supervacaneis etiam operis”?

(4)“quos legite, quaeso, studiose, ut facitis.” (59)
How to translate “ut facitis”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1)In “… cuius dictatoris iussu magister equitum C. Servilius Ahala Sp. Maelium regnum adpetentem occupatum interemit” (Cicero, De Senectute,56) the word “occupatum” is a past participle  agreed with  the accusative masculine singular  Sp. Maelium .

In this context “occupatum” is an attributive participle just used as attributive,since  the Present and Perfect Participles are sometimes used as attributives,i.e. nearly like adjectives.

In short, “occupatum” literally means:” having been anticipated/caught”, in the sense that Servilius Ahala  was able to forestall  the intentions of Spurius Maelius who attempted to get  regal power.

So, here’s the literal translation of “...C. Servilius Ahala Sp. Maelium regnum adpetentem occupatum interemit”:
“C. Servilius Ahala killed (INTEREMIT) Spurius Maelius (SP.MAELIUM) who had been anticipated /caught  (OCCUPATUM), while attempting  to get( ADPETENTEM) regal power (REGNUM).

As you can see, the attributive participle must be translated as a subordinate clause that can be a relative clause, a causal clause,  a time clause, according to the context.

As for your question about  “occupavit” as in e.g. “occupavit et interemit”  (anticipated/ caught  and killed), it would have been correct, but Cicero has liked more to use the past participle attributive OCCUPATUM together with the present  participle attributive ADPETENTEM.



(2)The passage “… quod hominum generi universo cultura agrorum est salutaris, …” (56) literally translated as follows:
”since (QUOD. Causal conjunction)  agriculture (CULTURA AGRORUM, literally, “the cultivation of the fields”) is (EST) beneficial (SALUTARIS)  to the entire (UNIVERSO) human (HOMINUM, literally, “of men”) race (GENERI).



(3)“Conditiora facit haec supervacaneis etiam operis aucupium atque venatio” (56) means:
”Bird-catching (AUCUPIUM) and hunting (VENATIO) make (FACIT in the singular as agreed with only one subject) these things (HAEC. Neuter plural, direct object)  more  savoury (CONDITIORA.Comparative of CONDITUS.Neuter plural agreed with HAEC), even (ETIAM) through the toils(OPERIS. Ablative plural of OPERA) done at leisure hours (SUPERVACANEIS. Ablative plural of SUPERVACANEUS, agreed with OPERIS)”, i.e.: “Bird-catching  and hunting  make  farmer’s life more  savoury, even  through the toils  done at leisure hours / in leisure times “.

Therefore, “haec” literally means “these things”(i.e. farmer's life) and  “ supervacaneis etiam operis” means “through the toils done at leisure hours”.

In short, Cato is saying that both bird-catching  and hunting  make  farmer’s life more  savoury, even  if the farmer gets tired when he goes hunting  in his leisure times.



(4)In “quos legite, quaeso, studiose, ut facitis” (59) the parenthetic  sentence  “ut facitis” means : ”as you do/as you are doing”.

In short, the relative clause “quos legite, quaeso, studiose, ut facitis.” literally  translates as :”Read ( LEGITE) them  (QUOS –literally, “whom” - related to “libri” in the previous phrase), please (QUAESO, interjection used  as a polite expression of entreaty), carefully, as (UT. conjunction introducing the parenthetic clause) you do/are doing (FACITIS. 2nd.person plural. present indicative of FACIO) ”.

As you can see, the relative pronoun QUOS refers to LIBRI that appears in the sentence “multas ad res perutiles Xenophontis libri sunt, quos ...” meaning “Xenophon's writings are very instructive on many subjects and thus read them, please, carefully, just as you are doing”.

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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