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Dear Maria,

The following are my new questions in my second and more careful reading of De Senectute.

(1)“re experti” (85)
Does “experti” come from “expertus”? Does it match “re”?
(2)When used as nouns, what is the difference between “iste, ista, istud” and “istic, istaec, istuc”?
(3)“eisque eum respondentem.” (3)
Why acc. for “eum” and “respondentum”.
(4)“tamquam in arborum bacis terraeque fructibus maturitate tempestiva quasi vietum et caducum, quod ferendum est molliter sapienti.” (5)
Can you give a literal translation of the phrase “tamquam in arborum bacis terraeque fructibus maturitate tempestiva quasi vietum et caducum”? Does “quod” refer to the idea contained in the phase before it or to a particular word?

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

(1)In “ut ea, quae ex me audistis, re experti probare possitis!"(Cicero, De Senectute, 85)  the nominative masculine plural  “experti” comes from “expertus” which governs the ablative singular “re” and thus literally means: ”["You" as a 2nd.person plural] [having become] expert (EXPERTI)  in this thing (RE.Ablative of Sphere) can (POSSITIS) prove (PROBARE) these things (EA) that (QUAE) you have heard (AUDISTIS) from (EX) myself (ME)”.

In short, Cato tells his friends that he hopes that they attain old age and thus are able to prove by their experience (RE EXPERTI) of old age  the truth of what they have heard from himself.

Note that “expertus” is used either as a past participle or an adjective followed by an Ablative of Sphere (Ablativus limitationis,  i.e. an ablative which delimits the sphere to which it refers).

(2)Actually there is no significant  difference between “iste, ista, istud” and “istic, istaec, istuc” , both  used as pronouns (not “nouns”) .
They both, in fact, mean :”this,  that man/woman, such/this thing”, though “istic, istaec, istuc”, composed of “iste, ista, istud” and the epideictic particle –ce that drops the final –e, has an emphasized sense  as a strong demonstrative pronoun.

(3)in “....eisque eum respondentem.” (3) the acc.  “eum”  is the object of the present indicative "facimus" in the main clause,  while the present participle “respondentem” is an attributive participle agreed with “eum”.

In short, here’s the literal translation “..omnem .... sermonem tribuimus ...M. Catoni seni....apud quem Laelium et Scipionem facimus admirantis... eisque eum respondentem...”:
”We have ascribed (TRIBUIMUS) the whole (OMNEM) speech (SERMONEM) to the old (SENI) M.Cato (M. CATONI), near (APUD which takes the accusative) whom  (QUEM.Related to Cato) we represent (FACIMUS) Laelius and Scipio (LAELIUM ET SCIPIONEM) expressing  wonder (ADMIRANTIS/ES) .....and (-QUE) him (EUM. i.e. Cato)  replying (RISPONDENTEM) to them (EIS-)..”, i.e.:
“We have ascribed the whole speech to the venerable  M.Cato  and we represent Laelius and Scipio, while at his house, expressing wonder that he bears his age so well, and Cato replying to them....”.

(4)Here’s the literal translation of “.... sed tamen necesse fuit esse aliquid extremum et tamquam in arborum bacis terraeque fructibus maturitate tempestiva quasi vietum et caducum, quod ferendum est molliter sapienti”(5):

”...but (SED) however (TAMEN) it was (FUIT)  necessary (NECESSE) that there was (ESSE) something (ALIQUID) final (EXTREMUM), and (ET), as (TAMQUAM) in the berries(IN... BACIS)  of the  trees (ARBORUM)  and in the fruits ( -QUE FRUCTIBUS) of the earth (TERRAE-) [there is something] almost (QUASI)  withered (VIETUM)  and (ET) inclined  to fall (CADUCUM)  because  of  the  seasonable (TEMPESTIVA)  ripening ( MATURITATE), that which (QUOD. Relative pronoun ) is to  be endured ( FERENDUM EST.Second/Passive Periphrastic Conjugation)  with resignation (MOLLITER) by the wise man (SAPIENTI. Dative of Agent with Gerundive).....”, i.e.:

” And however  there had to be  something final, and — as in the case of orchard fruits and products of the land in their process of ripening which comes with time— something almost withered  and prone to fall: that which the wise man must endure with resignation”.

As for QUOD in the passive periphrastic “quod ferendum est molliter sapienti” , it refers to the idea contained in the phrase before it, i.e. the fact that there is always something final (such as death, the final act of life) that the wise man has to accept with resignation.

For the Dative of the Agent  used with the Gerundive to denote the person on whom the necessity rests se AG 374.

Hope all is clear enough.
Feel free however to ask me again in your second reading of De Senectute.

Best regards,



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