Latin/grammar

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

1. In quo verbo lapsa consuetudo deflexit de via (II. 9)
The grammatic function of “In quo verbo lapsa” is not clear to me. Is it abl. abs.?

2. ut honestatem ab utilitate secernens constitueret … (II.9)
Are “constitueret” and “honestatem ab utilitate secernens” both used impersonally and therefore do not need subj.?

3. Ex quibus multisque aliis perspicuum est, qui fructus quaeque utilitates ex rebus iis, quae sint inanima, percipiantur, eas nos nullo modo sine hominum manu atque opera capere potuisse. (II.14)
Is “eas” the antecedent of “qui”? Can you translate the part “qui …percipiantur”?

4. per eosdemque, si quid importetur nobis incommodi, propulsemus (II. 18)
Is the obj. of “propulsemus” understood to be [al]quid in the “si”-clause?

Thank you,
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In the sentence “In quo verbo lapsa consuetudo deflexit de via…..”  (Cicero, De Officiis, II. 9) the indirect object “In quo verbo”  is not abl. abs., but a kind of ablative of Place Where literally  meaning “In which (in quo, relative used as a link with the previous term “utile” and the previous phrase) word (verbo)”, while “lapsa” in the nominative feminine singular referring to the feminine noun “consuetudo” (usage) is the past participle of the deponent verb “labor”.
Therefore “In quo verbo lapsa consuetudo deflexit de via…..”  literally means:”In which word a mistaken (lapsa) usage (consuetudo) has gone away (deflexit)  from (de) the correct path (viā)…”, i.e.:
“About this word (Latin “utile” meaning “advantage, expedience”) a mistaken usage went away from the correct path…”.


2. In the result  clause  “…..ut honestatem ab utilitate secernens constitueret … “ (II.9), depending on “…..sensimque eo deducta est”, the verb “constitueret” is the subjunctive imperfect whose subject is “consuetudo”, while “secernens” is a participle present referring to the same subject, i.e. “consuetudo”.

In short, “In quo verbo lapsa consuetudo deflexit de via sensimque eo deducta est, ut honestatem ab utilitate secernens constitueret esse honestum aliquid, quod utile non esset..” literaly means:
”About this word a mistaken usage went away from the correct path and gradually (sensimque) came  (deducta est, referring to the subject “consuetudo) to the point (eo, adverb of place to which)  that  (ut), separating (secernens)  moral rectitude (honestatem)  from expediency/ advantage (ab utilitate), it (i.e."consuetudo", usage) decided that (constitueret…)....”.



3. In “Ex quibus multisque aliis perspicuum est, qui fructus quaeque utilitates ex rebus iis, quae sint inanimae, percipiantur, eas nos nullo modo sine hominum manu atque opera capere potuisse” (II.14)  the accusative feminine plural pronoun “eas” is not the antecedent of “qui”, but the correlative to the relatives "qui" in “qui fructus” and “quaeque” in “quaeque utilitates” with which it agrees.

As for “qui …percipiantur”, here’s the literal translation of “Ex quibus multisque aliis perspicuum est, qui fructus quaeque utilitates ex rebus iis, quae sint inanimae, percipiantur, eas nos nullo modo sine hominum manu atque opera capere potuisse”:
”From these (Ex quibus, according to the use of the relative to link two sentences) and many(multisque)  other things(aliis) it is clear that (perspicuum est) those profits (qui fructus,subject of the relative clause) and benefits that (quaeque utilitates, another subject of the relative clause) can be obtained (percipiantur) from those(ex …iis) things ( rebus )  that (quae) are (sint) inanimate (inanimatae), just those [profits and benefits](eas,used as a  correlative of “qui fructus quaeque utilitates”)we (nos, subject of the object-clause) could (potuisse) not in any way (nullo modo) receive (capere), without(sine) men's (hominum)hand (manu)and work (atque opera)”, i.e.:
”From these and many other examples it is obvious that, without the work of man's hands,  we could not in any way  receive those profits and those benefits that derive from inanimate things”.

For the pronoun “is”used as a correlative, see AG 297 d



4. In “…..per eosdemque, si quid importetur nobis incommodi, propulsemus…” (II. 18)  the obj. of the present subjunctive “propulsemus” (=we can avert/ repel)  is  [ali]quid in the “si”-clause, so that “…per eosdemque, si quid importetur nobis incommodi, propulsemus…” literally means:
”and through (per) the same persons (eosdem, related to “iis, quibuscum congregemur” meaning “those with whom we are associated ) we can  avert/repel (propulsemus) [anything], if (si) something (quid,/aliquid) troublesome (incommodi, genitive depending on “quid”) is brought (importetur) on us (nobis)”, i.e. :“…so that  with their help we can avert any impending trouble”.

Best regards,

Maria

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