Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you help me with the following (all from de senectute)
(1)“stupra vero et adulteria et omne tale flagitium nullis excitari aliis illecebris nisi voluptatis” (40)
“voluptatis” is gen. So I wonder whether an abl. such as “illecebris” supposed to be after nisi, but omitted?
(2)“quodque spreta et contempta voluptate optimus quisque sequeretur.” (43)
I think “spreta et contempta voluptate” is abl. abs. I don’t understand why we need to use the abl. of “spretus” and “contemptus” and not the abl form of present participles?

(3)“qui Poenos classe primus devicerat” (44)
How to translate “primus”, which is an adj. and what does it modify? What kind of an abl. is “classe”? abl. of manner?
(4)“minuta atque rorantia” (46)
I assume “rorantia” comes from “roro”. Is it some kind of participle?
Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

(1)In “stupra vero et adulteria et omne tale flagitium nullis excitari aliis illecebris nisi voluptatis” (Cicero, De Senectute, 40) the word “voluptatis” is  just a genitive which implies an ablative  such as “illecebris” after “nisi”.
Here’s the literal translation:”.... [Archytas of Tarentum] said (DICEBAT) that indeed (VERO) rapes(STUPRA), adulteries(ADULTERIA)  and all (OMNE) similar (TALE) offence (FLAGITIUM) are produced (EXCITARI) by no (NULLIS) other (ALIIS) enticements (ILLECEBRIS) but (NISI) [ by the enticements] of pleasure (VOLUPTATIS)”.

(2)In “quodque spreta et contempta voluptate optimus quisque sequeretur.” (43) “spreta et contempta voluptate” is an ablative absolute.
As for the  use of the abl. of the past passive participles “spretus” and “contemptus” and not the abl form of present participles,  please note that the ablative absolute “spreta et contempta voluptate” literally means:”the pleasure having been despised and disdained”, where the subject of the ablative absolute is pleasure (VOLUPTATE)  that all good men(OPTIMUS QUISQUE)  must contempt.
Instead, the present participle is an active form which is used in the Ablative absolute with an active meaning as in e.g. “eo repugnante” whose literal translation would be as  “He (EO) opposing (REPUGNANTE) ”, i.e. “because he opposed” or “Though he opposed” as a subordinate clause with an active meaning.


(3)In “qui Poenos classe primus devicerat” (44) “primus”, which  is a masculine  adjective  in the nominative case related to QUI, i.e.  the subject of the relative clause, is used here as a  Predicate Adjective meaning “first”, while  “classe” is  abl. of  Instrument as it literally means “with the fleet”.
In short, “who (QUI) first (PRIMUS) had won (DEVICERAT) the Carthaginians (POENOS) with the fleet (CLASSE)”, i.e. “who was the first Roman to win a naval victory over the Carthaginians”.

(4)In “ pocula...minuta atque rorantia” (46) “rorantia” comes from the verb “roro” and is a present participle, neuter plural, agreeing with the nominative plural “pocula” in “Me...delectant....pocula minuta atque rorantia” meaning “...small (MINUTA) and yielding wine drop by drop (RORANTIA) cups (POCULA) delight (DELECTANT)  me (ME”, i.e “I enjoy cups that are small in size and yield the wine drop by drop “.

Hope all is clear enough.

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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