Dear Maria,
Can you help me with the following grammar questions (from Allen and Greenough):

(1)   Nil tam difficilest quin quaerendo investigari possiet (559)
Questions: (a) is “difficilest” the same as “difficile est”?
         (b) Is “quaerendo” gerund abl. of means?
         (c) What is “possiet”? Is it some kind of form for “posse”?

(2)   Si erat Heraclio ab senatu mandatum ut emeret (566)
Question: Why Heraclio and not Heraclius? It seems to me the Heraclius is the subject, who was instructed.

(3)   Quae perfecta esse vehementer laetor (572 b)
Question: What is the exact meaning of “quae”?

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

(1) In AG.559  that quotes the  passage “ Nil tam difficilest quin quaerendo investigari possiet” from  Terence, Heautontimorumenos (The Self-Tormenter), Act 4, scene 2 , line 8, the  contracted expression “difficilest”  is just the same as “difficile est” (=is difficult).
As for  “quaerendo”, this gerund  is exactly an  ablative  of means (=by seeking).
Finally,  “possiet”  is the archaic form for “possit”, 3rd.person singular, present subjunctive of  “posse”.
In fact, “possiet” is the contracted form for the old Latin “potis siet”.

(2) In  AG 566 that quotes  the passage “Si erat Heraclio ab senatu mandatum ut emeret “ we read in Cicero, In Verrem (Against Verres), 3, 88 ,  “Heraclio” is in the dative case as it depends on the impersonal form “mandatum erat” which is the pluperfect indicative, passive voice, of the verb “mandare” used as an impersonal construction and then in the passive, 3rd.person singular.

So, “Si erat Heraclio ab senatu mandatum....” literally means:” If  by the senate had been  entrusted  to Heraclius  the  task ...”, i.e. “if Heraclius had been instructed by the senate to...”, where Heraclius is the subject  who was instructed, whereas in Latin “Heraclio” is the dative (= to Heraclius) depending on “erat...mandatum ”.

(3) In AG 572 b  that quotes  the passage  “Quae perfecta esse.... vehementer laetor “ from Cicero, Pro Sexto Roscio Amerino” (For Sextus Roscius of Ameria), 136, the literal  meaning of “quae” is “ these things that” as in “...I greatly rejoice....that these things that [I’ve just mentioned]  have been done .....".

In short, the relative neuter plural accusative “quae”, which  is used because it refers to what it is said before ( hence the Latin relative, as in English:” he passed the test, WHICH  delighted us all”) , is the subject of the infinitive clause whose verb “perfecta esse” (have been done)is the past infinitive, passive voice, of "perficio", depending on the verb of feeling “laetor” (I rejoice) which takes just the accusative and infinitive.

Hope I made myself understood.Feel free however to ask me again.
Best regards,


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