Dear Maria,
Can you help me with the following grammar questions:
(1)   A small point often confuses me. In “without (sine) your help (auxilio)”, should I use tui, or te, vestri or vobis for “your”?  The confusion to me is because “sine” requires abl. and in the meantime “your” is gen. (“your” refers to sing.) For that matter, what if I want to say “without your kind help”? Should I use gen. or abl. form for “kind”?

(2)   non est igitur amici talem esse in eum, qualis ille in se est (De Amicitia 59)
I found this sentence quite hard. Can you please explain to me in some detail?
Thank you.

Dear Robert,

please note that:

1)If you want to translate  “without  your help ”, you must  use  the Latin adjective “tuus”  agreed with the ablative “auxilio” and then say:”sine tuo auxilio”.
In fact, Latin does not use the pronouns “tui” (genitive), “tibi”(dative),  “te” (accusative/ablative) for the English adjective “your” in the 2nd.person singular, and “vestri”(genitive ), “vobis “ ( dative/ ablative), “vos”(accusative) for the English adjective “your” in the 2nd.person plural, but the Latin adjectives “tuus” (= “your” related to a 2nd.person singular) and “vester” (= “your” related to a 2nd.person plural) that must be agreed with the noun they refer to.
For example:”sine tuo auxilio” (related to a 2nd.person singular ) or “sine vestro auxilio” (related to a 2nd.person plural), both meaning in English "without your help" as in English the adjective "your" refers either to a 2nd.person singular or to a 2nd.person plural.

(2) The passage  “non est igitur amici talem esse in eum, qualis ille in se est” (Cicero, De Amicitia 59) literally  means :” Therefore (IGITUR) it is not (NON EST) the part of a friend/the friend’s part /the duty of a friend (AMICI) to be  (ESSE) such (TALEM) towards (IN) him(EUM) , as (QUALIS) he (ILLE) is (EST) towards (IN) himself (SE)”, i.e. “Therefore a friend must not behave with him such as this friend behaves with himself” or “Therefore, it is not the duty  of a friend to have the same estimate of another that the other has of himself”.

This passage in fact is in a context where Cicero says that it is not correct that  “whatever value a man places upon himself, the same value should be placed upon him by his friends. For often in some men either the spirit is too dejected, or the hope of bettering their fortune is too faint. Therefore, it is not the duty  of a friend to have the same estimate of another that the other has of himself, but rather it is his duty to strive with all his might to arouse his friend's prostrate soul and lead it to a livelier hope and into a better train of thought” (William Armistead Falconer).

As for the genitive AMICI depending on the verb EST, I have to point out that “an infinitive or a clause, when used as a noun, is often limited by a genitive in the predicate” ( AG 343 c) as in e.g. “Est hominis errare” (it is any man's  to err), “Sapientis est pauca loqui”( it is the part of a wise man to say little), etc.
In short, such a genitive is a kind of genitive of pertinence/competence.

Hope this is clear enough.
Best regards,


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