Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you please help me with the following (all from de Senectute):
(1)“Avaritia vero senilis quid sibi velit, non intellego” (65)
Could you give a literal translation of the sentence? Why does the quid clause not have the accusative and infinitive structure after “intellego”?

(2)“si aliquo eum deducit, ubi sit futurus aeternus” (66)
What is the subj. in the ubi clause? I guess “sit futures” is the subjunctive first periphrastic conjugation. Could you explain to me the difference between the first periphrastic conjugation and the regular future tense?

(3)“… tu in exspectatis ad amplissimam dignitatem fratribus, …” (68)
What is “exspectatis”? Is it from “exspectatus”?

(4)Pisistrato tyranno a Solone responsum est, cum illi quaerenti qua tandem re fretus sibi tam audaciter obsisteret, … (72)
Could you please give a literal translation of the above? I’m a bit confused about the cum clause.

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

(1)“Avaritia vero senilis quid sibi velit, non intellego” (Cicero, De Senectute,65) literally translates as follows:
”But indeed (VERO)I do not understand (NON INTELLEGO. Main clause) what (QUID.Direct object, neuter accusative,Interrogative pronoun introducing the indirect question clause) senile (SENILIS. adjective agreed with AVARITIA) avarice/greed (AVARITIA.subject of the Indirect Question clause that takes the subjunctive ) wants (VELIT. 3rd.person singular, present subjunctive of VOLO) for itself (SIBI.Dative related to AVARITIA)”, i.e.:“But indeed  I do not understand  what   purpose senile greed has  for itself”  just in the sense that it is absurd that the old  who near their journey's end accumulate wealth.

Note that  the quid clause is an indirect question clause which is introduced by the interrogative pronoun QUID and depends in this case on the verb INTELLEGO, but can also depend on any verb implying uncertainty, question or doubt.
Such an Indirect Question clause takes its verb in the Subjunctive, according to the Sequence of Tenses(Consecutio temporum), not the accusative and infinitive structure which is typical of the infinitive clauses.


(2)In “....si aliquo eum deducit, ubi sit futurus aeternus” (66) literally meaning:”if(SI) it [death, MORS.See the previous phrase] conducts(DEDUCIT) it (EUM related to ANIMUM, soul, which is in the previous phrase) to some place (ALIQUO, adverb of place)  where (UBI.subordinate conjunction)  it [ANIMUS, the soul] is (SIT.Subjunctive denoting possibility)about to  live (FUTURUS-first periphrastic agreed with the implied ANIMUS) endless/forever (AETERNUS agreed with the implied ANIMUS)”, i.e. “...if death conducts the soul to some place where it(the soul)  is destined to live forever”.
Note that:
a)the subj. in the ubi clause denotes a possibility, while the indicative is  the mood of direct assertions;
b)“sit futurus”  is just the subjunctive first periphrastic conjugation;
c)the difference between the first periphrastic conjugation and the regular future tense is that the Future Participle (ending in -ūrus) is oftenest used to express what is likely or about to happen (see "futurus" meaning: ”about to be”/ about to live”,  “to be destined to”, whereas  the regular future tense indicates an action which certainly will happen.
Anyway, I have to point out that  the use of the first periphrastic instead of the future often  depends on the writer's choice.



(3)In “… tu in exspectatis ad amplissimam dignitatem fratribus, …” (68) “exspectatis” (literally, “expected” or better “who were expected to” ) is the ablative plural of  “exspectatus”, attributive past participle of EXSPECTO used as an adjective agreed with FRATRIBUS.
In short, “...sensi ego in optimo filio, tu in exspectatis ad amplissimam dignitatem fratribus, Scipio, mortem omni aetati esse communem” literally means:
”I (EGO) realized (SENSI) in [my] dearest son (IN OPTIMO FILIO), and you (TU) in [your ] brothers (IN FRATRIBUS)  who were expected (EXSPECTATIS agreed with FRATRIBUS) to [arrive ] (AD) at the highest (AMPLISSIMAM)dignity (DIGNITATEM),[I and you realized]  that death (MORTEM.subject of the infinitive clause) ) is (ESSE) common (COMMUNEM)  to every (OMNI) age (AETATI)”, i.e. :
“I myself  in the loss of my dearest son, you yourself in the loss of your brothers who were expected to arrive at the highest dignities of the state, we realized that death is common to every age”.


(4)In “....Pisistrato tyranno a Solone responsum est, cum illi quaerenti qua tandem re fretus sibi tam audaciter obsisteret, … (72) the cum clause is a subordinate  temporal clause with  the indicative DICITUR and its personal construction with with nominative and infinitive mood.

As for the literal translation, here it is:
”To the tyrant (TYRANNO) Pisistratus (PISISTRATO.Dative depending on “responsum est”) it was answered (RESPONSUM EST.perfect passive tense) by Solon (A SOLONE) when to him (ILLI.i.e. Pisistratus) who asked (QUAERENTI. Attributive present participle of QUAERO, agreed with ILLI) what thing (QUA... RE. Ablative depending on FRETUS) trusting to (FRETUS .Adjective relatus to the implied subject) he [Solon] then (TANDEM) opposed (OBSISTERET. Subjunctive of the indirect interrogative clause) himself (SIBI.Dative depending on OBSISTERET) so (TAM) boldly(AUDACITER), it is said(DICITUR. Personal construction with nom. and inf.=  it is said that) that he (i.e. Solon) replied (RESPONDISSE.Past infinitive depending on DICITUR) [had trusted on FRETUS implied, i.e. trusting on] "On old age" (SENECTUTE.ablative depending on FRETUS which is implied)”.

In short, the passage “hoc illud est, quod Pisistrato tyranno a Solone responsum est, cum illi quaerenti qua tandem re fretus sibi tam audaciter obsisteret, respondisse dicitur “senectute” means:
”This is what was  answered by Solon  to the  tyrant Pisistratus when he (i.e. Pisistratus) asked what he  (i.e. Solon) relied  upon in opposing him so boldly and Solon is said to have replied, “Upon old age.”

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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