Dear Maria,
Can you help me with the following grammar questions (from Allen and Greenough):
(1)   Facile me paterer, … pro Sex. Roscio dicere. (521 a).
         Question:  What is the meaning of “paterer”?
(2)   Nam nos decebat domum lugere ubi …  (522 a)
         Question: I thought after decebat we need to use dat (nobis) not acc.(nos).
(3)   Etiam si quod scribas non habebis, scribito tamen (527 c)
Question: can we say “non aliquod habebis scribere? Why “scribas”?
Thank you.

Dear Robert,

Here are my answers:

(1)In “Facile me patĕrer, … pro Sex. Roscio dicere" (Cicero, Pro Sexto Roscio Amerino, 85, AG 521a) the meaning of “paterer” is :“I would suffer /permit/allow”.
In fact,“patĕrer” is the 1st person  singular, imperf subjunctive of the deponent verb “patior”.
So, “Facile me patĕrer,... … pro Sex. Roscio dicere” means:
”I would willingly/ without hesitation suffer/allow myself.... to speak on behalf of  Sextus  Roscius... “.

(2)In “Nam nos decebat..... domum lugēre ubi … “ (Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 1.115 in AG.522 a) we find the accusative “nos” simply because the impersonal verb “decet” (whose indicative imperfect is “decebat”= "it was") takes the accusative case, like other impersonal verbs such as fallit, fugit, latet, iuvat, praeterit.
Therefore “me decet” means “it is fitting for  me” /”It is suitable for me”  and “decebat” in “Nam nos decebat..... domum lugēre..” means :
“In fact/For it was/were fitting for mourn the house..”, as this is "the apodosis of implied conditions, either future or contrary to fact”.

(3)In “Etiam si quod scribas non habebis, scribito tamen”  (Cicero,Epistulae  ad Familiares,16,26 in AG. 527 c) the concessive conditional conjunction “etiam si “( also written “etiamsi”), meaning “even if”, is constructed with  the future indicative “habebis”(literally, “you will have”).
So, “Etiam si quod scribas non habebis, scribito tamen” literally means:
”Even if  you will not have anything that you can write, still write".

As for “non aliquod habebis scribere”, it would sound strange in Latin, first because one would say  “nihil” (nothing) instead of “non aliquod”,  second because  the pronoun “aliquod” (=something) is used preferably in affirmative sentences or sometimes in particular negative sentences where however it does not stand immediately after the negative “non”.

Lastly, with regard to “scribas” (2nd.person singular, present subjunctive of “scribo”), such a subjunctive in the relative clause “quod scribas” expresses the possibility of the action of the verb, as in English:”even if (etiam si) you shall not have (non habebis) anything that (quod) you can write (scribas), still (tamen) scribito(write)".

Note that :

1)“quod scribas” is a relative clause depending on “habebis”;

2)"quod" stands for "aliquod" (anything)that drops "ali" as it is preceded by the particle "si".[See one of my previous answer about SI,NISI,NE,etc. before "aliquis/aliqui"];

3)"quod" is either "aliquod"(anything) or the neuter relative pronoun "quod" (that), for in Latin the relative pronoun (here:quod) often incorporates the pronoun that comes before it (here:aliquod).

Hope I made myself understood.
Best regards,


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




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


Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 All rights reserved.