Dear Maria,
Could you please help me with the following (all from de Senectute)
(1)“Nec me solum ratio ac disputatio impulit, ut ita crederem” (77)
Why singular “impulit” since the subj. “ratio ac disputatio” is pl.?

(2)“Demonstrabantur mihi praeterea, quae Socrates supremo vitae die de immortalitate aminorum disseruisset,…”(78)
Is the “quae” clause the subj. of  “Demonstrabantur”?

(3)“tanta memoria praeteritorum futurorumque prudentia,”(78)
Is “praeteritus” used here as a noun, and hence the gen. “praeteritorum”?

(4)“quia se ipse moveat” (78)
Is “ipse” the subject and “se” the object? And the clause means “because [quia] it [ipse] moves itself [se].” The reason I ask you this question is that I always thought that “ipse”  means “itself” and “se” means “it” (acc. or abl.), opposite to the meaning here.

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

(1)In “Nec me solum ratio ac disputatio impulit, ut ita crederem” (Cicero, De Senectute, 77) there is “impulit”(3rd.person singular, perfect tense, indicative mood) because the two subj. “ratio ac disputatio” (reason and argument) are abstract nouns and are considered as a single whole. (See AG 317)

(2)In “Demonstrabantur mihi praeterea, quae Socrates supremo vitae die de immortalitate animorum disseruisset…”(78) the  relative pronoun “quae”  in the nominative neuter plural is  the subj. of  “Demonstrabantur”, i.e. “Moreover (PRAETEREA) the things  that (QUAE) Socrates  on the last  (SUPREMO)  day (DIE) of [his] life (VITAE) had debated (DISSERUISSET)
about (DE) the immortality (IMMORTALITATE) of the souls (ANIMORUM)  were shown (DEMONSTRABANTUR ) me (MIHI)”, that is to say:” Moreover  the arguments that Socrates  has said, on the last day of his life, about the immortality of the soul,  occurred to me”.

(3)In “tanta memoria praeteritorum futurorumque prudentia,”(78) the adjective “praeteritus” is  used  as a neuter plural noun (“praeterita”) that implies the word “things”: hence the gen. “praeteritorum”, literally meaning ”of the past things”, i.e. “of the past”.

(4)In “quia se ipse moveat” (78) the pronoun  “ipse”, in the nominative masculine singular agreed with the previous noun “animus”, is the subject  of the verb “moveat”  and “se” is  the object of the verb “moveat”.
So, the clause  literally means “because [quia] it itself [ipse] moves itself [se]”, i.e. "because the soul itself moves itself".

As you can see,in this sentence the nominative masculine “ipse”, which usually means “he himself ”, becomes “itself” in English as it refers to “soul”,  and the accusative  “se” which usually can mean “himself, herself, itself, themselves” translates as "itself"  as it refers to “soul” again.

Best regards,



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