Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you help me with the following (all from de senectute).
(1)“de tuenda re familiari” (59)  “studium agri colendi,” (59)
These two phrases are both from section 59. Is the following understanding correct: “tuenda” is gerundive, abl. to match “re”. “colendi” is gerund gen. Its obj. is “agri”. “agri colendi” modifies “studium”. My questions is in the above two phrases, why we have to use gerundive in the 1st phrase and gerund in the 2nd phrase?  Can we use gerund in the 1st and gerundive in the 2nd phrase?
(2)“Ita, quantum spatium aetatis maiores ad senectutis initium esse voluerunt, tantus illi cursus honorum fuit” (60)
Why gen. “illi” but not gen. of “spatium”? I’m also not sure about the literal meaning of “quantum …tantus”.”
(3)“atque huius extrema aetas hoc beatior quam media …” (60)
What is the meaning of “hoc” here?
(4)“ut quaeque optime morata est, ita diligentissime observantur.” (63)
What is the literal meaning of “ut … ita…”? Does it have the same meaning as “ita … ut…”? In other words, the positions of “ut” and “ita” can be interchanged.

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

(1)Actually both “de tuenda re familiari” (59) and  “agri colendi” (Cicero, De Senectute,59) are in the gerundive: “tuenda” is a gerundive abl. to match “re”, while “colendi” is a gerundive genitive to match “agri”, which is its object as “agri colendi” depends on “studium” (literally, “the zeal(STUDIUM)  of the growing(COLENDI)the field (AGRI)” .

So, as you can see, Cicero has used  the gerundive in the 1st phrase as well as  in the 2nd phrase, though in the 2nd phrase he could have used the gerund, i.e. “agrum colendi”, whereas in the 1st phrase he needed to use the gerundive.
In fact, the gerund must become a gerundive which must retain the case of the gerund (i.e. the ablative in “de tuenda” or the genitive in “colendi”), if the gerund - when it is followed by a direct object- is in Ablative +  preposition, in Dative, and in Accusative + preposition.
But, if the gerund -when it is  followed by a direct object- is in the genitive, it can become a gerundive or can remain a gerund.
See for example:

-“de re familiari tuenda” must be a gerundive because the gerund ablative is preceded by the preposition “de”.

-“agri colendi” can also be a gerund, i.e. “agrum colendi” where “colendi” is the gerund and “agrum” is the direct object.

Finally,when a gerund becomes a gerundive, the gerundive  agrees with its noun, which takes the case that the gerund would have had as in “de tuenda re familiari” where the gerund ablative “tuendo” agrees with the feminine”rem” and becomes "tuenda" which in turn  agrees with the gerund in the case, and then the hypothetic “de tuendo rem familiarem”(which is wrong, of course)  becomes “de tuenda re familiari” as well as “agrum colendi” (which is correct) becomes “agri colendi” in “studium agri colendi” .
[See AG 503].

To conclude, “in eo libro qui est de tuenda re familiari” literally means “in that book (IN EO LIBRO)  which tells (QUI EST ) of (DE) the management (TUENDA) of family affairs(RE FAMILIARI)”, while “studium agri colendi” literally means “the zeal(STUDIUM)of the growing(COLENDI) the field (AGRI)”

I do know that this matter is not so easy, but hope I made myself understood.



(2)In “Ita, quantum spatium aetatis maiores ad senectutis initium esse voluerunt, tantus illi cursus honorum fuit” (60) “illi” is a Dative, not a Genitive, as the genitive of the pronoun “ille” is “illius”.

Here’s  the literal meaning of “Ita, quantum aetatis maiores ad senectutis initium esse voluerunt, tantus illi cursus honorum fuit” :”Therefore (ITA), so much (QUANTUM) space (SPATIUM.direct object depending on ESSE VOLUERUNT) of time (AETATIS) [our] ancestors(MAIORES) wanted (VOLUERUNT) to be (ESSE) for (AD) the beginning (INITIUM) ) of old age (SENECTUTIS), so great (TANTUS agreeing with the nominative CURSUS) was (FUIT) to him (ILLI. Dative related to Marcus Valerius Corvinus) the course (CURSUS)  of his public honours (HONORUM)”, i.e.:
“Thus, so much space of time as by our forefathers' reckoning marked the beginning of old age, just that space was the course of his public honours” (Falconer)


(3)In “atque huius extrema aetas hoc beatior quam media  quod auctoritatis habebat plus…” (60) the meaning of “hoc”, which is the correlative of “quod”, is “in this that/ for this reason” as in “for this reason because...”.
In fact the phrase literally means:”and (ATQUE) his (HUIUS) last (EXTREMA) period  of life (AETAS) [was] happier( BEATIOR) in this /for this reason (HOC) that/because (QUOD) he had (HABEBAT) more (PLUS)  influence (AUCTORITATIS. partitive genitive depending on PLUS) ..”

Please note that HOC with QUOD or QUIA  is often referring to a thought that follows and which may be expressed by a causal sentence.


(4)In “quae....., ut quaeque optime morata est, ita diligentissime observantur.” (63)  the literal meaning of of “ut … ita…” is “ as...as”.

“Ut ...ita” has  the same meaning as “ita … ut…”.
In other words, the positions of “ut” and “ita” can be interchanged.

In short, here’s the literal translation :” As (UT) this thing/ custom(QUAEQUE) is (EST) most (OPTIME) widespread / characteristic (MORATA. Adjective agreeing with QUAEQUE), as  most scrupulously they (QUAE which is a nominative neuter plural related to the previous infinitives “salutari, appeti, decedi, assurgi, deduci,reduci, consuli” ) are observed”, i.e.: “...civilities most scrupulously observed ..... in proportion as its morals are good”(Falconer).

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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