Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you help me with the following (all from De Amicitia):
1. “si mihi ipse confiderem” (17)
Is “ipse” equivalent to “ego”? Is the sentence also correct if “ipse” is omitted?

2. “ut ei fuerunt, modo quos nominavi, hos viros bonos, ut habiti sunt, sic etiam appellandos putemus,” (19)
Can you give a literal translation?

3. “his communis vita contenta est” (21)
It seems like a simple sentence. But I couldn’t figure out its meaning.

4. “Qui esset tantus fructus in prosperis rebus, nisi haberes, qui illis aeque ac tu ipse gauderet?” (22)
(a)Does “qui” mean “how”?
(b)Does “illis” refer to “fructus”? If so, then “illis” is plural and fructus is singular as we can see from “esset”.

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,


1.In “...si mihi ipse confiderem...” (Cicero, De amicitia, 17)  “ipse” is  somehow equivalent to “ego” which however would not have had the  special emphasis  of  the pronoun “ipse” which is used here to strengthen the subject and then means ”I myself”.
Therefore, though the sentence would also be  grammatically correct, if “ipse” was omitted, it would not have that emphasis Laelius wants to give to his words which literally means:” If I myself trusted in me”.


2. “...ut ei fuerunt, modo quos nominavi, hos viros bonos, ut habiti sunt, sic etiam appellandos putemus...” (19) literally means:
”like/as (UT) were (FUERUNT) those (EI.Nominative masculine plural of IS) whom (QUOS) I just now (MODO) mentioned (NOMINAVI), this way (SIC) let us believe (PUTEMUS) that these (HOS) must also be called  (ETIAM APPELLANDOS [ESSE]. Passive periphrastic) good (BONOS) men (VIROS), just as (UT) they were considered (HABITI SUNT [ in life])..”, i.e.:
“like/as were  those  whom I have just now mentioned, this way let us believe  that these men  must also be called  good  men , just as  they were considered [ in life]..”

This sentence follows “qui ita se gerunt, ita vivunt, ut ....sintque magna constantia..” meaning :
”Those who  act and  live so that....are of great strength of character...”.

In short, “qui ita se gerunt, ita vivunt, ut ....sintque magna constantia, ut ei fuerunt, modo quos nominavi, hos viros bonos, ut habiti sunt, sic etiam appellandos putemus” means:
“Those who  act and  live so that....they are of great strength of character, just as  were those men  that  I have  mentioned a short while ago, let us believe that such men have to be called good men, as  they were considered [ in life]..”.”.



3. “...his communis vita contenta est...” (21) literally means:” the ordinary (COMMUNIS)  life (VITA) is  (EST) satisfied (CONTENTA)  with them (HIS.Ablative depending on CONTENTA, past participle of CONTINEO used as an adjective.HIS refers to those men like Paulus, Cato, Gallus, Scipio, Philus who appear in the previous phrase )”.
So Laelius says that  “virtue”  must be judged by the familiar usage of our everyday life, not by  magnificence of phrases, as certain philosophers use to do, and we must  include in the number of good men those who are so considered —like  Paulus, Cato, Gallus, Scipio, Philus— with whom the ordinary standard of life is satisfied.



4. In  “..Qui esset tantus fructus in prosperis rebus, nisi haberes, qui illis aeque ac tu ipse gauderet?..” (22) the word “qui” is an interrogative adjective meaning “what”/  “what sort of”/ what kind of”.
As for  “illis”, it  refers  to “prosperis rebus” which is plural, not to “fructus” which is singular.

So, the sentence literally means:
”What  (QUI. Interrogative adjective) successful result /fruit/enjoyment (FRUCTUS) could be (ESSET) so great (TANTUS) in times of prosperity (IN PROSPERIS REBUS ),if you did not have (NISI HABERES)[the one. The indefinite pronoun is implied in Latin] who (QUI.Relative pronoun) could rejoice (GAUDERET) in them (ILLIS, i.e. “times of prosperity”)  just as (AEQUE AC) you (TU) yourself (IPSE)”, i.e. :
“:”What  kind of  enjoyment could be so great  in times of prosperity, if you did not have someone  who can rejoice in them just as  you yourself do ”.

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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