Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you help me with the following (all from de senectute)
(1)“vivere arbitror, et eam quidem vitam” (77)
Is “vivere” understood before “eam”?
(2)“tot artes, tantae scientiae, tot inventa” (78)
Is “tantae” used instead of “tot” because “scientiae” is innumerable, whereas, for example, “artes” is numerable?
(3)“et, cum simplex animi esset natura, neque haberet in se quicquam admixtum dispar sui atque dissimile, non posse eum dividi; quod si non posset, non posse interire;”(78)
From the sentence itself, it seems to me that the subject in the cum clause, “animi natura”, also serves the subject of “haberet”, the subject of the “si” clause as well as the subj. in “non posse interire”. The “eum” in “non posse eum dividi” also refers to “animi natura”. But, from the meaning of the sentence, it seems to me that the subject  of “haberet”, the subject of the “si” clause,  the subj. in “non posse interire” as well as the “eum” in “non posse eum dividi” should be “animus” (“the
soul”), rather than “animi natura” (“the nature of the soul”).
(4)“etiamsi nullum videbitis” (79);  “si nihil eorum ipsorum animi efficerent”, (80)
Is it correct to understand that “nullum” and “nihil” are both nouns: “nullum” is the obj. of “videbitis” and “nihil” the obj. of “efficerent”. Sometimes, however, they seem to be equivalent to “not”.

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

(1)In “vivere arbitror, et eam quidem vitam quae est sola vita nominanda” (Cicero, De Senectute, 77) the  infinitive “vivere” is understood before “eam quidem vitam”, just as you say.

(2)In “tot artes, tantae scientiae, tot inventa” (78) the adjective  “tantae” (nominative feminine plural agreeing with “scientiae”) is  used instead of “tot” because it means “so great” (in  extent), not because  “scientiae” is innumerable, nor because the noun “scientia” is a “plurale tantum nomen”, i.e . a noun that appears only in the plural form and does not have a singular variant for referring to a single object.

In short, “tantae scientiae” means “so great sciences” in “since (CUM)  so great (TANTA) is (SIT) the rapidity (CELERITAS) of the souls (ANIMORUM), so great (TANTA) the memory (MEMORIA) of past things (PRAETERITORUM) and (-QUE) foreseeing (PRUDENTIA) of the future things (FUTURORUM), so many (TOT) the arts(ARTES), so great (TANTAE)the sciences (SCIENTIAE), so many (TOT)the  inventions (INVENTA), it is my conviction (...MIHI PERSUASI ) I believe that, ...SENTIO) ...”


(3)In “et, cum simplex animi esset natura, neque haberet in se quicquam admixtum dispar sui atque dissimile, non posse eum dividi; quod si non posset, non posse interire..”(78) there is a “concordatio ad sensum”, i.e. a grammatical connection according to sense, so that the masculine noun “animus” (see “animi ...natura”) prevails on the feminine noun “natura” and thus becomes the subject of  “haberet” as well as of “non posse .. dividi”, of the “si” clause and  “non posse interire”.
So,  you are right in thinking that the “eum” in “non posse eum dividi” refers to “animus” (“the soul”),  rather than “animi natura” (“the nature of the soul”).
Please note that the reasoning behind this  “concordatio /constructio ad sensum” (aka “synesis”) in this context   is that it is just the “animus” the main concept in “animi natura”.


(4)In “etiamsi nullum videbitis” (79) and   “si nihil eorum ipsorum animi efficerent”, (80) “nullum” and “nihil” are  not nouns, though  “nullum” is the obj. of “videbitis” and “nihil” the obj. of “efficerent”.

In fact, “nullum” (accusative masculine singular of the adjective “nullus” related to “animum” in “animum  meum videbatis”) literally means “no” in: “even though (ETIAM SI)  you will see (VIDEBITIS) no (NULLUM) [soul/ANIMUM].

Similarly, in “si nihil eorum ipsorum animi efficerent”, “nihil” is a pronoun meaning “nothing” in : “if (SI) the souls (ANIMI) of  those very men (EORUM IPSORUM) would cause (EFFICERENT) nothing (NIHIL) so that (QUO) we  retain (TENEREMUS) longer (DIUTIUS)  the memory (MEMORIAM)  of them (SUI)...”.

To conclude, it is true that sometimes both the adjective “nullus” and the pronoun “nihil”  seem to be equivalent to “not” in a free translation.

Hope all is clear enough.

Best regards,

Maria

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