Latin/grammar

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Question
Hello,

I managed to understand the meaning of setences except below.

1. Et potuit multas ipse decere timor.
  What does 'multas .. decere' mean?

2. Siqua repugnarat nimium comitemque negabat,
  Sublatam cupido vir tulit ipse sinu  
  Why did Ovid use 3 different tenses in a sentence?
  (repugnarat,negabat,tulit)
  sublatam means sublatam puellam?

3. Quod matri pater est, hoc tibi ero.
  quod is conjuction?
  Please explain the meaning and structure.

And how did Roman say 'Dear' or 'Dear Maria'?

Thank you.

Answer
Hello,

1.the line “ ....Et potuit multas ipse decere timor..” (Ovid, Ars amatoria, 1. 126) literally means :
“Fear (TIMOR) itself (IPSE) could (POTUIT) befit (DECERE ) many (MULTAS)[girls /PUELLAS]..., i.e.
“.. fear itself could befit many girls” in the sense that even fear of the abducted girls was able to add charm to many of them.


2.In “ Siqua repugnarat nimium comitemque negabat, Sublatam cupido vir tulit ipse sinu...”  ( Ovid, Ars amatoria, 1. 127-128) Ovid uses 3 different tenses  (repugnarat,negabat,tulit) because “repugnarat” , which is a contracted form of “repugnaverat”, is a pluperfect  meaning “she had refused”; “negabat”, which is the imperfect of “nego”,  means “she refused”, and lastly “tulit” is the  perfect of “fero” whose subject is “vir” so that “vir tulit”  literally means “ the man  carried...”.

In short, Latin uses the pluperfect, the imperfect and the perfect as the pluperfect “repugnarat”  indicates that the action has  happened before  the imperfect “negabat” as well as before the perfect “tulit”, even if in English the imperfect “negabat”  and the perfect “tulit” translate as a past tense without difference, since in English the past tense corresponds to both the Latin imperfect and the Latin perfect.
So,“ Siqua repugnarat nimium comitemque negabat, ... vir tulit ...”  corresponds to:
”If some girl had resisted too much and refused the partner, he  seized her ...”
 

3.In “Quod matri pater est, hoc tibi.... ero” (Ars amatoria, 1. 130) the word  “quod “ is  not a conjuction, but a relative pronoun in the neuter meaning ”what”.
The sentence in fact literally means:
”What (QUOD)  [your. Implied]  father (PATER) to [your] mother (MATRI. Dative of Reference) is (EST), I will be (ERO.Future of SUM)  to you (TIBI.Dative of Reference)”.  

In short, the man  who has seized  a girl, tells her  that he will act toward her just as her father acts toward  her mother, in the sense that they will have  a married life.



As for  'Dear' or 'Dear Maria' used at the beginning of a letter, please note that any Latin letter started with the following words:
“Salutem dicere alicui” or “Plurimam salutem dicere alicui” (literally, “to greet cordially somebody) usually abbreviated S.D.(Salutem Dicit) and  S.D.P. (Salutem Dicit Plurimam).

Also, at the commencement of letters we can find “Si vales, bene est, ego valeo” (abbreviated S.V.B.E. E.V.) meaning :“If you are well in health, it’s good, so am I".


At the end of a letter the Romans used to write “Cura, ut valeas” (“Take care of your health”) or simply “Vale”[in the imperative of VALEO, 2nd.person singular]  as well as “Valeas” [in the hortatory subjunctive, 2nd.person singular] both meaning “Take care”.

For example, in a letter that you want to send to me you should write:

At the beginning:
"Dear Maria"  = "Ioannes Mariae  salutem dicit " or  " Ioannes Mariae  salutem plurimam dicit"
S. V. B. E. E.V.,  where "Ioannes Mariae  salutem dicit " or  " Ioannes Mariae  salutem plurimam dicit" literally mean:"John greets cordially Maria".

At the end:
-Best regards = "Vale"/ "Cura ut valeas"/ "Valeas" (literally, "Take care").

Hope all is clear enough.

Have a nice day,

Maria

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