Dear Maria,
Could you help me with the following (all from de Officiis)

1. a doctoribus atque doctrina instructi ad eam et ornati accessimus. (155)
Could you give a literal translation?

2. studiosos discendi (156)
Does this mean “eager learners”? Can you explain the grammar?

3. ut dictu quoque videantur turpia (159)
What does “dictu quoque” mean?

4. ex quibus, quid cuique praestet, intellegi possit, ut prima dis immortalibus, (I, 160)
(a)Is “quid cuique praestet” the subj. of “possit” or the obj. of “intellegi”?
(b)Why f. “prima”?

Thank you,

Dear Robert,

1.”….. nosque ipsi, quicquid ad rem publicam attulimus……., a doctoribus atque doctrina instructi ad eam et ornati accessimus” (Cicero, De Officiis, I, 155) literally means:” …and we ourselves (nosque ipsi, frequently used instead of “ego”), whatever thing/service (quicquid)  we have rendered (attulimus) to our State (ad rem publicam)..., we came (accessimus) to  it (ad eam, referring to the feminine noun “res publica”= the State), having being   trained/instructed (instructi, agreeing with "nos ipsi") by [our]teachers (a doctoribus) and being provided (et ornati) with  instruction (doctrinā)”, i.e.: “…and I myself, whatever service I have rendered to my State…..I came to it trained by my teachers and provided with their instructions”.

2. “….studiosos discendi…” (I, 156) literally means:”the desirous (studiosos, accusative masculine plural depending on “erudiunt atque docent”) of learning (discendi, gerund genitive)”, i.e.:  “they teach (erudiunt) and train (docent) those who are desirous (studiosos) of learning (discendi)”.

In short, “studiosos” (accusative masculine plural of the adjective “studiosus”)  is the direct object of the verbs “erudiunt and docent”, while “discendi” is the gerund genitive of the verb “disco” (= I learn).

3. In “…..ut dictu quoque videantur turpia…” (I, 159)  “dictu quoque” means :”even (quoque) to be mentioned (dictu, passive supine used as an  Ablative of Purpose/Specification depending on the adjective “turpia”)”.

In short, “…..ut dictu quoque videantur turpia…” means: ”so that they ( i.e. some acts/things, see “quaedam… ita foeda" ) seems (videantur) infamous(turpia) even (quoque) to be mentioned (dictu)”, just to point out that some actions are so indecent that it seems immoral even to mention them.
See AG 510 for the supine in -u.

4. In “…..ex quibus, quid cuique praestet, intellegi possit, ut prima dis immortalibus,…”  (I, 160) the Indirect Question  clause  “quid cuique praestet” is not the subj. of “possit” nor the obj. of “intellegi”, but simply an Indirect Question  sentence depending upon the impersonal construction “intellegi possit” literally meaning:” it can (possit)  be understood (intellegi)”, i.e. “we can understand…”.

As for  “prima” (literally, “the first ”), it is the nominative neuter plural of the adjective “primus” which refers to the neuter noun  “officium”  that you can read in “In ipsa autem communitate sunt gradus officiorum..”.

To sum up, “In ipsa … communitate sunt gradus officiorum, ex quibus, quid cuique praestet, intellegi possit, ut prima dis immortalibus, secunda patriae…… debeantur” literally means:
”Even in the social community (in ipsa communitate) there are (sunt) gradations  (gradus) of duties (officiorum) from which (ex quibus) it can (possit) be understood (intellegi) what [duty] (quid) is superior (praestet) to whatever /any other [duty](cuique), so that (ut) the first duties (prima) are due (debeantur) to the immortal gods (dis immortalibus), the second (secunda) to country (patriae)….”.

Best regards,



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