Latin/grammar

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

1. Quibus ex rebus breviter disputatis intellegi potest non solum id homines solere dubitare, honestumne an turpe sit, (I, 161)
Is “id” the subj. of “sit”? They are kind of far away from each other.

2. Atque utinam res publica stetisset, quo coeperat, statu (II, 3)
Could you translate this? Is “quo coeperat” a relative clause after “statu”? I have difficulty with “quo” and “statu”. Does “quo” serve as subj. or obj. in the relative clause?

3. deinde ipsis scriptis non ea, quae nunc, sed actiones nostras mandaremus, (II. 3)
Could you give a literal translation?

4. Occuritur autem nobis, et quidem a doctis et eruditis quaerentibus, satisne constanter facere videamur, qui, (II. 7)
(a)Why not “Occurimur” to match “nobis”?
(b)Does “quaerentibus” mean “those who ask”? But then how to understand “a doctis et eruditis”?
(c)Is the antecedent “I” of “qui” understood?

Thank you,
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “Quibus ex rebus breviter disputatis intellegi potest non solum id homines solere dubitare, honestumne an turpe sit,..” (Cicero, De Officiis, I, 161) the neuter pronoun  “id” is  either the direct object  of  “dubitare” in the infinitive clause  or the subject of “sit” in the Double Question clause "honestumne an turpe sit".

Note that “….intellegi potest …. id homines solere dubitare, honestumne an turpe sit” literally means:”….it can (potest)  be understood (intellegi)  that men (homines) use (solere) to have doubts (dubitare, which takes the acc. “ id”) about this /something (id), whether (the enclitic -ne) it (id) is (sit) honest/morally right (honestum-) or (an) dishonest /wrong(turpe)…”.


2. “Atque utinam res publica stetisset, quo coeperat, statu…” (II, 3) literally means:” Would that / if only (utinam, a particle expressing wishing) the State/republic (res publica) had stood /remained (stetisset, optative subjunctive.AG 442) in the position (statu) in which (quo) it had begun (coeperat)…”.

As you can see,  “quo coeperat” is a relative clause after “statu”, for  “quo” in the relative clause  serves as an ablative of Place Where as it refers to “statu”  which is also an ablative of Place Where.



3. Here’s the literal translation for “….deinde ipsis scriptis non ea, quae nunc, sed actiones nostras mandaremus,…” (II, 3): “….in the second place (deinde) we [i.e. “ego” in the first person singular] should commit (mandaremus) just to written texts  (ipsis scriptis) our /my (nostras) orations (actiones), not (non) these   things/matter (ea) that (quae) [we are / I  am discussing] now ( nunc)”, i.e. “….  in the second place  I should commit  to written texts   my orations, not the  matter that  I  am discussing now…”.
As you know, the 1st plural pronoun “nos” is frequently used instead of “ego”.

Note that the Latin noun  “actio”  often means  “a pleading of a case (spoken or written)”, as Cicero calls his “Orations against Verres”  “actiones”.


4.In “Occurritur autem nobis, et quidem a doctis et eruditis quaerentibus, satisne constanter facere videamur, qui…”  (II, 7):

(a) “Occurritur” (3rd person singular)  is an impersonal passive form  literally meaning “it is objected /replied”, just to say that somebody has objections against Cicero.
In this context, the dative  “nobis” (i.e. “mihi”) depends on “occurritur” in the impersonal form.

(b) the ablative of Agent  “a doctis et eruditis quaerentibus ” literally  means “by learned  (a doctis) and erudite [men]  (eruditis)  who are asking (quaerentibus, attributive present participle ) …”.

(c) the antecedent “we” (nos) , i.e. “I” (ego),  is the understood antecedent of “qui”, so that “Occurritur autem nobis, et quidem a doctis et eruditis quaerentibus, satisne constanter facere videamur, qui……soleamus“ literally means:
”It is objected (occurritur) against me (nobis)  by scholars (a doctis et eruditis) who are asking me (quaerentibus) whether (enclitic -ne) I seem (videamur) to act (facere)  quite (satis-) consistently (constanter), I who ….use (soleamus) to talk  (disserere) about (de) all the sorts of  (aliis ) things/  subjects (rebus)…”.

As you know, the 1st plural pronoun “nos” is frequently used instead of “ego”.

Best regards,

Maria

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