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

1. Quarum qualis comparatio fieri soleat et debeat, non est necesse disputare; … tantum locus attingendus fuit (II. 74).
Could you give a literal translation of this sentence?

2. Itaque facile patior tum potius Pontium fuisse (II.75)
Could you give a literal translation of this sentence?

3. Laudat Africanum Panaetius, quod fuerit abstinens (II. 76)
What does “quod fuerit abstinens” mean?

4. ut eo, unde digressa est, referat se oratio (II. 77)
Is this the correct order for translation: “ut oratio referat se eo, unde [ea, i.e. oratio, understood] digressa est”. “oratio” is the subject and “se” the object of the verb “referat”.

Thank you,
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.”Quarum qualis comparatio fieri soleat et debeat, non est necesse disputare; … tantum locus attingendus fuit" (Cicero, De Officiis, II. 74) literally means:
”It is not necessary (non est necesse) to discuss (disputare) which (qualis) preparation (comparatio) of such things (quarum, in the genitive feminine plural referring to “quae sunt necessariae “ in the previous sentence) uses (soleat) and must (debeat) be done (fieri);…..only (tantum) the matter (locus) had (fuit) to be mentioned (attingendus, passive periphrastic) “, i.e.:
”It is needless to discuss the ways that we must use to prepare what is necessary to life......it’s enough that I have mentioned this matter”.

Note that the relative “quarum” is used to connect “quae sunt necessariae”( the things that are necessary)in the previous phrase  to the next sentence "Quarum qualis comparatio fieri soleat et debeat, non est necesse disputare"


2. Here’s the literal translation of “Itaque facile patior tum potius Pontium fuisse…” (II.75):” So (itaque) I am well pleased  (facile patior) that Pontius  (Pontium) lived (fuisse) then (tum)…”, i.e.:” So I rejoice that Pontius lived at that time instead of now…”.

Note that “facile pati” means “to be well pleased” / to rejoice”.


3. In “Laudat Africanum Panaetius, quod fuerit abstinens…” (II. 76) the causal clause  “quod fuerit abstinens” means:”for (quod) he was (fuerit, perfect subjunctive depending on “laudat”) a disinterested man (abstinens)”.
So, “Laudat Africanum Panaetius, quod fuerit abstinens..” means “Panaetius praises Africanus for he was a disinterested man..”.


4. As for “…..ut eo, unde digressa est, referat se oratio…”  (II. 77) the correct order for translation is exactly as you say, i.e.: “ut oratio referat se eo, unde [ea, i.e. oratio, understood] digressa est” where “oratio” is the subject  and “se” the object of the verb “referat”.
In short, the parenthetical sentence “ut eo, unde digressa est, referat se oratio” means:”in order to bring the discussion back to the point from which it digressed”.

Best regards,
Maria

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Maria

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I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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