Latin/grammar

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

1. neutram in partem (20)
What is the literal meaning of this phrase?

2. aut postremo pretio ac mercede ducuntur, quae sordidissima est illa quidem ratio et inquinatissima et iis, qui ea tenentur, et illis, qui ad eam confugere conantur. (21)
(a)What is the relation between “quae” and “illa ratio”? which is the subj. of “est”?
(b)Is there any difference between “iis” and “illis”?

3. spe sibi id utile futurum (22)
“sibi id utile futurum” looks like a clause rather than an adj., which seems to be needed to modify “spe”.

4. quem armis oppressa pertulit civitas ac paret cum maxime mortuo (23)
Could you give a literal translation for this? It looks like “quem” is the obj. of “paret”, which however requiresa dat.

Thank you,
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.The literal meaning of “neutram in partem” (Cicero, De Officiis, II. 20) is “ Neither in  one side nor in  the other”as the adjective “neuter”(ne-uter)  means “ neither the one nor the other/ neither of two” and “pars” means “side”.

In short, Cicero says that any event, good or bad, contains an element of chance and then cannot be accomplished neither in  one side nor in  the other (whether for good or for ill)   without men's support.



2.Note that in “…. aut postremo pretio ac mercede ducuntur, quae sordidissima est illa quidem ratio et inquinatissima et iis, qui ea tenentur, et illis, qui ad eam confugere conantur” (II. 21):
(a) the subj. of “est” is “ratio” and the word order  of “quae sordidissima est illa quidem ratio et inquinatissima “ is  the following: ”quae ratio est illa quidem sordidissima et inquinatissima et iis…et illis” literally meaning: ” which (quae, relative pronoun  used as a connective ) way /manner (ratio) is (est), just (quidem) that (illa.This adjective /pronoun serves to strengthen/emphasize  the concept that it is just this manner ...), the meanest (sordidissima) and basest (inquinatissima) both for those(et iis…) and for those (et illis)…”, i.e.:” and this is just the meanest and basest manner  both for those ….and for those…”.  

(b)Between “iis” and “illis” there is no real difference, apart from the fact that ILLE refers  to somebody more remote, or who is regarded as more remote,in contrast with IS that refer to somebody near .



3. In “ Ducuntur……spe sibi id utile futurum…” (II. 22) literally meaning” They are led (ducuntur)….by the hope (spe) that this (id, subject of the object-clause depending on “spe”) will be (futurum [esse], verb of the object-clause) useful (utile) to themselves (sibi) …”.

As you can see, “sibi id utile futurum” is just  an object-clause clause depending upon “spe”.



4. Here’s the literal translation for “Nec vero huius tyranni solum, quem armis oppressa pertulit civitas ac paret cum maxime mortuo, interitus declarat, quantum odium hominum valeat…” (II. 23):
”But not(nec ver)only (solum) the death (interitus) of this tyrant (huius tyranni) whom (quem) state (civitas), subdued (oppressa) by [his] arms(armis), endured (pertulit) and (ac) whom [though]dead (mortuo, past participle, dative depending on “paret”) still now (cum maxime, used as an adverb)obeys (paret),shows (declarat) how much (quantum) is strong (valeat) men’s (hominum)hatred (odium)…”, i.e.: “But not only the death of this tyrant, whom our  state, subdued by his arms, endured and  whom still now obeys, though he is  dead, shows how much is strong men’s hatred…”  

As you can see, “quem”, referring to "tyranni", is the obj. of  “pertulit”, while “paret” governs the dative “mortuo”(past participle of "morior").

Best regards,

Maria

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