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

(1)“Nemo me lacrumis decoret neque funera fletu faxit." (72)
You have given me a literal translation for this sentence, but I am still not clear about the following: why use pl. “funera” for “funus” instead of “funum”? The pl seems to have a different meaning.

(2)“Sunt extrema quaedam studia senectutis” (76)
Do both “extrema” and quaedam” modify “studia”, which is neuter pl.? I thought “quaedam” means “a certain one” and therefore can only modify a singular noun.

(3)“Ego vestros patres, P. Scipio, tuque, C. Laeli, …”(77)
Why  “tuque” and not “tuumque”?

(4)“quae est sola vita nominanda...”(77)
Does this clause mean “which should be called the only life”? But then I would expect “sola vita” to be acc.

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

1)In  Ennius line “Nemo me lacrumis decoret neque funera fletu faxit" quoted by Cicero in De Senectute, 72,  the word FUNERA, which is the accusative  plural of FUNUS (neuter, 3rd.declension),  is used  instead of the accusative singular  “funus” [NOT “funum” which is wrong as FUNUS is a neuter noun whose accusative is the same as the nominative ] simply because Latin often uses the plural FUNERA to  mean “funeral rites”.

In short, “funus” (nominative/accusative neuter  singular) means “funeral” in the singular, while “funera” (nominative/accusative neuter plural) means “funeral rites” in the plural as well as “funeral” in the singular (See my literal translation).

(2)In “Sunt extrema quaedam studia senectutis....” (76) both  the neuter plural adjectives “extrema” and “quaedam” modify  the neuter plural “studia” which is the subject of "sunt".
Therefore the literal translatin of “Sunt extrema quaedam studia senectutis....” would be: ” There are (SUNT) some (QUAEDAM)  last  (EXTREMA) desires (STUDIA) of old age..”, i.e. “The old have some special desires that are the last ones......”.
Such a sentence is placed in a context where Cato /Cicero is saying that all the ages have desires, but when such desires fall away, then satiety of all pursuits causes satiety of life.

(3)In “Ego vestros patres, P. Scipio, tuque, C. Laeli, viros clarissimos mihique amicissimos, vivere arbitror …”(77) there is  “tuque” and not “tuumque” simply because “tuque”, i.e. “et tu”, is a nominative case, not an accusative.
In fact, here’s the literal translation:
”I do believe (ARBITROR), P.Scipio (P. Scipio.Vocative) , and (-QUE) you (TU.Vocative), Laelius (C.LAELI.Vocative), that your (VESTROS)  fathers ( PATRES), most illustrious (CLARISSIMOS) men (VIROS) and (-QUE) very dear (CARISSIMOS)  to me (MIHI), are living [yet] (VIVERE)...”.

(4)The relative clause “quae est sola vita nominanda...”(77) literally means “which (QUAE) is  (EST) the only one (SOLA) that must be called (NOMINANDA)  life (VITA)”, i.e. “which is the only one life that deserves to be called life”

Please note that you are wrong in expecting   “sola vita” to be acc. since both “sola” and “vita” are predicates related to the feminine subject “quae”  with  which both “sola” and “vita” agree.

Best regards,



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