Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you please help me with the following (all from de Senectute)

(1)“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” (42)

You have already given me a literal translation. (Thank you!) I just want to make sure my understanding of the following is correct: Is “haec” the object of locutum, which means “uttered [locutum] those words [haec] when he was with [cum] Samnite”?
Also, is there supposed to be a comma behind "Archytam"?

(2)“Vixerat M'. Curius cum P. Decio, qui quinquennio ante eum consulem se pro re publica quarto consulatu devoverat, …” (43)

From Falconer’s translation, “eum” and “se” refer to Curius and Decio, respectively. But I wonder how we can tell this just from the sentence suppose we don’t know the history.

(3)“quae sibi nullo exemplo privatus sumpserat,” (44)
  Could you please give a literal translation of this clause?

(4)“Quod est, eo decet uti, …”(27)
  Is “quod” the obj. of “uti”. If so, why is it not in abl.?

Thanks.

Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

(1)In my literal translation of the  passage “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 Plato Atheniensis, quem Tarentum venisse L. Camillo Ap. Claudio consulibus reperio” (Cicero, De Senectute, 41) I’ve used “had conversed (LOCUTUM [ ESSE]) just to say that “(Architas ) had uttered [locutum] these words [haec.Neuter plural="these things"] when he was with [cum] Caius  Pontius the Samnite [C.Pontio Samnite]”.

Therefore be sure that your  understanding is correct, for “haec”(“these things/words”) is just the object of “locutum” ( “had uttered “).

Note that, when Cicero uses HAEC at the beginning of this passage, he wants to refer to what it has been  said in the previous passage where Cato tells  of the carnal pleasure and  says that “a man, while in the midst of this enjoyment, is incapable of any mental action”, just as Architas had said while conversing with Caius  Pontius the Samnite.

As for a comma behind "Archytam", it would have been helpful (maybe!), but there is not in the Latin text’s transmission.


(2)In Falconer’s translation of  “Vixerat M'. Curius cum P. Decio, qui quinquennio ante eum consulem se pro re publica quarto consulatu devoverat", (43)the pronouns  “eum” and “se” refer just to Curius and Decio, respectively.

As for how we can tell this just from the sentence  suppose we don’t know the history, please note that:

a) in the relative clause “...qui quinquennio ante eum consulem se pro re publica quarto consulatu devoverat “  the subject pronoun QUI -related to Q.Decius (See “Vixerat M'. Curius cum P. Decio qui”)- is connected  with the verb DEVOVERAT which has SE  as a reflexive pronoun that in Latin  is used ONLY when it  refers to the SUBJECT of the sentence where it stands (See AG 144). Therefore QUI...SE...DEVOVERAT means:” who (QUI, i.e. Decius) had consecrated  (DEVOVERAT) himself (SE.Reflexive pronoun just related to the subject of the relative clause)".

b)instead, the demonstrative  pronoun EUM in “ante eum consulem” refers to M'. Curius which is not the subject of the relative clause and thus literally means “him” (not ”himself”) in “before (ANTE) him (EUM. i.e. Curius) being consul ( consulem), i.e. “before Curius was consul”.

As you can see, we can tell that  the pronouns  “eum” and “se” refer just to Curius and Decio, respectively, even if we don’t know the history.

Anyway, here’s the literal translation:” Manius Curius had lived (VIXERAT) with Publius Decius (CUM P.DECIO) who (QUI) five years (QUINQUENNIO.Ablative of time when= in the quinquennial) before (ANTE) him (EUM. i.e. Curius) being consul ( consulem) had consecrated (DEVOVERAT) himself (SE) to the State/Republic (PRO RE PUBLICA) during his fourth consulship(QUARTO CONSULATU. Ablative of time when= in the fourth consulship)”, i.e.:
"Manius Curius had lived with Publius Decius, who five years before Curius was consul had offered up his life for his country's safety, during his fourth consulship".



(3)The passage “delectabatur cereo funali et tibicine, quae sibi nullo exemplo privatus sumpserat..” (44) literally means:” he was delighted (DELECTABATUR) by a wax-torch (CEREO FUNALI) and a flute player(ET TIBICINE), things that (QUAE.Accusative neuter plural) he had taken (SUMPSERAT) up himself (SIBI.Reflexive pronoun), as a private citizen  (PRIVATUS, nominative used as a predicate related to the subject of the sentence), [being]no (NULLO) example(EXEMPLO.Ablative absolute with the verb SUM implied)”, i.e.:
“Gaius Duilius was delighted with  a torch-bearer and flute-player, which ostentation he had assumed as a private citizen,  though there was no precedent example”.



(4)In “Quod est, eo decet uti, …”(27) the relative neuter pronoun “quod” is not the obj. of “uti”, but the subject of “est” in the relative clause.

In fact, “Quod est, eo decet uti” literally means:” It is seemly(DECET)to use(UTI)that(EO.Ablative of the demonstrative pronoun IS depending on UTI) what (QUOD.Relative neuter.Subject of the relative clause) there is (EST)...” , i.e.:
“We need to use the strength that we have”, as this sentence is  related to what has been said before about the strength of youth that an old man has lost and then he must behave in proportion to his current strength.

Hope this helps.

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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