Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you please help me with the following:
(1)“praesertim si utrique vestrum, ut dicis, gratum futurum est. Laelius. Volumus sane, nisi molestum est” (6)
Why use neuter form for all these adj. “gratum”,”futurum”, and molestum”?
(2)Is the following correct?
Ante me/eum (acc)  consulem   (before I/he was consule)
Cum me/eo (abl) consule (when I/he was consule)

(3)“illo exstincto fore” (11)
How does “fore = futurus esse” fit in the abl.abs. “illo exstincto”?  
(4)“… similesque sunt ut si qui gubernatorem in navigando nihil agere dicant” (17)
Is “eorum” (understood and to match “similes”) the antecedent of “qui”?  What is the literal meaning of “ut si”?

Thank you.
Robert.

Answer
Dear Robert,

(1)In “praesertim si utrique vestrum, ut dicis, gratum futurum est. Laelius. Volumus sane, nisi molestum est” (Cicero, De Senectute,6) the  neuter forms “gratum”, futurum “ and “molestum ” are used substantively  as they imply the noun “thing” that in Latin is omitted while the adjective is used in the neuter.
For example:”  ...gratissimum nobis..... feceris “(6)  meaning “..you will do (FECERIS) a thing most agreable (GRATISSIMUM) to us (NOBIS)..” or  “Honesta” meaning “honorable things”, etc.

So, “praesertim si utrique vestrum, ut dicis, gratum futurum est. Laelius. Volumus sane, nisi molestum est” literally means:
”... especially (PRAESERTIM ) if (SI) this thing will be agreable (GRATUM FUTURUM EST) to each (UTRIQUE. Dative of UTERQUE) of you (VESTRUM.Genitive 2nd.person plural pronoun), as (UT) you say(DICIS). Laelius. We really (SANE) wish (VOLUMUS) [it], if (NISI= if...not) this thing is (EST)  not  troublesome (MOLESTUM that implies “thing”) ..”, i.e. :

“...especially if this will be agreable to you both, as you say. LAELIUS:”We really do wish it, if this is not troublesome to you”



(2)Both “Ante me   consulem” (before I was consul) and “Ante eum consulem” (before he was consul) are correct.
As for “Cum me/eo (abl) consule (when I/he was consule), they are wrong as you should use the ablative absolute “Me consule” (when I was consul)  or “Eo consule”(when he was consul) without the preposition “cum” followed by an ablative of accompaniment that has no reason for being here.



(3)In “quasi iam divinarem, id quod evenit, illo exstincto fore unde discerem neminem” (12) the future infinite  active  “fore “ stands for “futurum esse” which agrees in the accusative masculine singular  with “neminem” (subject of the infinitive clause) and therefore has nothing to do with  the abl.abs. “illo exstincto”.

Here’s the literal translation:
" .. as if (QUASI) I already (IAM) foresaw (DIVINAREM)  what (ID QUOD)  happened (EVENIT), that, when he (ILLO) has died(EXSTINCTO), there will be (FORE or FUTURUM ESSE) no one (NEMINEM) from whom (UNDE.Adverb) I could learn (DISCEREM)”, i.e. :
“..as if I already foresaw what really happened, that, when he had passed away, I should have had no one from whom to learn”.


(4)In “nihil igitur afferunt qui in re gerenda versari senectutem negant, similesque sunt ut si qui gubernatorem in navigando nihil agere dicant” (17)”) the antecedent of “qui....dicant”  is “qui ...negant”, while the literal meaning of “ut si” is “ as if”.

Here’s the literal translation of “nihil igitur afferunt qui in re gerenda versari senectutem negant,… similesque sunt ut si qui gubernatorem in navigando nihil agere dicant”:
”Therefore(IGITUR) who (QUI) deny (NEGANT) that old age (SENECTUTEM) can be employed (VERSARI) in  conducting (IN GERENDA.gerundive)  affairs (RE) adduce (AFFERUNT) nothing (NIHIL) and (-QUE)  are (SUNT) like ( SIMILES) as  if (UT SI ) they (QUI) would say (DICANT) that the pilot( GUBERNATOREM) does (AGERE)  nothing (NIHIL) in sailing (IN NAVIGANDO (gerund) ...”, i.e.:
“Those, therefore, who deny that old age can be employed  in useful activity adduce nothing to the purpose, and are like those who say that the pilot does nothing in the sailing of the ship...”

Hope all is clear enough.

Best regards,

Maria

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