Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you help me with the following (all from de senectute).
(1)“Fructus autem senectutis est ante partorum bonorum memoria et copia.” (71)
Does “ante partorum bonorum” only modify “memoria” and not “copia”? If so, the meaning of the sentence is: the fruits of old age are (a) memory of previously obtained blessings and (b) wealth (copia). Since there are two fruits, why “est”?
(2)“… sunt habenda in bonis.” (71)
Is “in bonis” some kind of idiom?
(3)“Senectutis autem nullus est certus terminus” (72)
Does “senectutis” go with “terminus” and they are the subj. of the sentence? Does “nullus”  modify “certus”? But my dictionary says that “nullus” is adj.
(4)“Sed vivendi est finis optimus, cum integra mente certisque sensibus opus ipsa suum eadem quae coagmentavit, natura dissolvit” (72)
(a) Does the gerund “vivendi” modify “finis”, meaning “the end of living”?
(b)Is my literal translation of “opus ipsa suum eadem quae coagmentavit, natura dissolvit” correct?  “the same [eadem] nature dissolves her own [suum] very [ipsa] work that she has put together”. The Latin words I’m not quite sure are in square brackets.
Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

(1)In “Fructus autem senectutis est ante partorum bonorum memoria et copia.” (Cicero, De Senectute,71) the words “ante partorum bonorum” refer to “memoria”  as well as to  “copia”.

So, the literal meaning of the sentence is as follows:
“So (AUTEM) the fruit (FRUCTUS) of old age (SENECTUTIS) are (EST.Copula, i.e. connective, which agrees with the nearest subject MEMORIA, since  the two subjects MEMORIA ET COPIA are considered as a single whole, and thus  the verb is singular) the memory (MEMORIA) and abundance(COPIA) of good deeds (BONORUM. Genitive plural of the neuter noun BONUM)previously (ANTE) done (PARTORUM. Past participle of the verb PARIO. Genitive plural agreeing with BONORUM)”, i.e.
“So, the fruit of old age is the comforting and abundant memory of good deeds previously done”.



(2)In “Omnia ...quae secundum naturam fiunt sunt habenda in bonis.” (71)  the indirect object “in bonis” is not some kind of idiom, but an Ablative of Place Where literally meaning “ in/among goods”, i.e.:
“All things (OMNIA) that (QUAE)  happen (FIUNT) in accordance with (SECUNDUM) nature (NATURAM) must be numbered (HABENDA SUNT) among (IN)  goods (BONIS. Ablative plural of the neuter noun BONUM ))”


(3)In “Senectutis autem nullus est certus terminus” (72) the genitive  “senectutis” goes with  “terminus” which is  the subj. of the sentence.

As for the adjective  “nullus”, it is the attributive adjective of “terminus”, while “certus” is the predicate adjective which goes with the copula “est”.
To sum up:”No (NULLUS) term (TERMINUS) of old age (SENECTUTIS) is (EST) certain (CERTUS)”, i.e. “old age has no certain term”.


(4)Note that in “Sed vivendi est finis optimus, cum integra mente certisque sensibus opus ipsa suum eadem quae coagmentavit natura dissolvit” (72):

(a)the gerund “vivendi” depends on “finis optimus”, meaning “the best end of living/of life”.

(b)the  literal translation of “opus ipsa suum eadem quae coagmentavit natura dissolvit” is  as follows:  
“the same (EADEM) nature  (NATURA) that (QUAE) has put [“it” related to “opus”] together (COAGMENTAVIT) destroys  (DISSOLVIT) by herself (IPSA agreeing with NATURA) her own (SUUM) work  (OPUS) ”, i.e. “Nature herself  destroys the work which she herself has put together”.


Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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