Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you please help me with the following (all from de Senectute)
(1)“nonne vobis videtur is animus, qui plus cernat et longius, videre se ad meliora proficisci” (83)
Why infinitive “videre”? It is not acc + infinitive structure, is it?

(2)“Equidem efferor studio patres vestros, quos colui et dilexi videndi” (83)
Can we use gerundive and say “…studio partrum vestri quo colui et dilexi videndae”?

(3)“quo quidem me proficiscentem haud sane quid facile retraxerit,” (83)
What is the meaning of “quid”?

(4)Quod si in hoc erro, qui animos hominum inmortalis esse credam, (85)
Is “hoc” the antecedent of “qui”? What grammatical role (subj., obj, etc) does “qui” play in the “qui” clause?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

(1)In “nonne vobis videtur is animus, qui plus cernat et longius, videre se ad meliora proficisci...?” (Cicero, De Senectute , 83) the infinitive “videre”  depends on “videtur” which is used in its personal construction so that the literal translation would be:” that (IS.Demonstrative pronoun) soul (ANIMUS), which (QUI) sees (CERNAT) more (PLUS)  and  further (LONGIUS), does not (NONNE)  seem (VIDETUR) to you (VOBIS) to see (VIDERE) that it (SE) is leaving (PROFICISCI. Infinitive clause composed of the acc. SE and the infinitive  PROFICISCI) to (AD) better places (MELIORA) ...”, i.e. :
“Is it not apparent to you that the soul, which has a keener and wider vision, sees that it is leaving to a better place...?”.

In short, ANIMUS is the subject of VIDETUR  whose personal construction is in the nominative + the infinitive, as in “Mihi videor esse bonus “(I seem to me to be good/kind)


(2)In “Equidem efferor studio patres vestros, quos colui et dilexi videndi” (83) you could   use the  gerundive and say “efferor studio patrum vestrorum  quos colui et dilexi videndorum” where the gerundive VIDENDORUM in the genitive masculine plural  agrees with the genitive  masculine plural PATRUM VESTRORUM, for -when changing from the gerund to the gerundive- the direct object PATRES VESTROS retains its gender and number, but takes the case of the gerundive and thus becomes PATRUM VESTRORUM in the genitive, while the gerundive takes the gender and number of the direct object (VIDENDORUM).

In fact, when the Gerund has an object in the Accusative, the Gerundive  is generally used instead.
In this case the gerundive retains the case of the gerund (i.e. the genitive. See VIDENDI), but agrees in gender and number with the direct object which in turn agrees with the gerund in the case.

In short, the direct object PATRES VESTROS becomes PATRUM VESTRORUM (genitive) while VIDENDI becomes VIDENDORUM as it must agree in gender and number with PATRES VESTROS, so that the literal translation of “efferor studio patrum vestrorum   ...videndorum” would be “I am carried away (EFFEROR)  by the desire (STUDIO) of  your (VESTRORUM) fathers (PATRUM) to be seen (VIDENDORUM)” i.e. "I am carried away by the desire of seeing your fathers ...”-
For the use of the gerundive instead of the gerund  see AG 503.Feel free however to ask me about this matter which is not so easy.


(3) In “quo quidem me proficiscentem haud sane quid facile retraxerit,” (83) the meaning of “quid”,  which stands for the indefinite pronoun  “aliquid” without  the first part ALI- , as it is preceded by SANE, is “anything”/ ”nothing”.
In fact, “haud sane quid facile retraxerit” literally means “ anything (QUID) not (HAUD) certainly (SANE) will draw me back (RETRAXERIT) easily (FACILE)”, i.e. “nothing will easily draw me back...”.


(4)In “Quod si in hoc erro, qui animos hominum inmortalis esse credam,...” (85) the antecedent of “qui” is the implied subject of ERRO, i.e. I, while  the grammatical role of “qui”  in the “qui” clause is that of the subject.

In fact, “quod si in hoc erro, qui animos hominum immortalis esse credam,  libenter erro” literally means:
”Since (QUOD) if (SI) I err (ERRO) in this one (IN HOC), I who (QUI) believe (CREDAM) that the souls (ANIMOS)  of men (HOMINUM) are (ESSE)  immortal.(IMMORTALIS/IMMORTALES), I gladly err (LIBENTER ERRO)”, i.e. "And if I err for I believe that the souls of men are immortal, I gladly err...".


Hope I made myself understood.

Kind 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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