Latin/grammar

Advertisement


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

1. “sed antiquior et pulchrior et magis a natura ipsa profecta alia causa.” (26)
Is “esset” after “sed” understood or “alia causa” is abl of cause and therefore no need for “esset”?

2. “ab altero propter probitatem eius non nimis alienos animos habemus” (28)
What does “ab” mean?

3. “quibus rebus ad illum primum motum animi et amoris adhibitis admirabilis quaedam exardescit benevolentiae magnitude” (29)
Is “quibus rebus ad illum primum motum animi et amoris adhibitis” abl. abs and is equivalent in meaning to “quae cum res ad illum primum motum animi et amoris adhibitae sunt”?

4.“quam ex inopia atque indigentia natam volunt.” (29)
Is “volunt” the type of verbs that require accu. (“quam”) and inf. (“natam [esse]”)?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In  “sed antiquior et pulchrior et magis a natura ipsa profecta alia causa” (Cicero, De amicitia, 26)  the imperfect subjunctive “esset” after “sed” is understood  and “alia causa” is the subject of this “esset”.
In fact, “an esset hoc quidem  proprium amicitiae, sed antiquior et pulchrior et magis a natura ipsa profecta alia causa” literally means:” or (AN.Introducing disjunctive clause) this (HOC) is (ESSET) really (QUIDEM) typical  (PROPRIUM) of friendship (AMICITIAE), but (SED) there is  [ESSET] another (ALIA) cause (CAUSA), older (ANTIQUIOR), more beautiful (PULCHRIOR)  and (ET) rather (MAGIS) originating (PROFECTA.past participle of PROFICISCOR) from (A)  Nature (NATURA) herself (IPSA)”, i.e.: “..or this (i.e. “mutual help”)is really typical of friendship, but friendship has also another cause which is older and  more beautiful as it is rather deriving from Nature herself”.


2. In “ab altero propter probitatem eius non nimis alienos animos habemus” (28) the preposition “ab”  depending on the adjective “alienos” means “to” as in the English expression “alien to”, since the sentence literally means:” we have (HABEMUS) [our] minds/souls(ANIMOS) not (NON) too (NIMIS) alien (ALIENOS) to (AB) the one/former (ALTERO) because of (PROPTER) his (EIUS) honesty (PROBITATEM)..”.

In short, Laelius says that the Romans had no so great hostility to Pyrrhus because of his probity, while they hated Hannibal because of his cruelty.


3. In  “quibus rebus ad illum primum motum animi et amoris adhibitis, admirabilis quaedam exardescit benevolentiae magnitudo” (29)  “quibus rebus ..... adhibitis” is just an abl. abs and  can be  equivalent in meaning to “quae cum res ad illum primum motum animi et amoris adhibitae sunt” ( these things  when joined to the first impulse of soul and love).

So, the passage means:” When these things (i.e. kindness, affection, care and familiarity) are associated with the soul's first impulse to love, a kind of marvellous greatness of benevolence is blazing”


4.In “....quam ex inopia atque indigentia natam volunt.” (29) “volunt” is the verb of the relative clause introduced by  the feminine pronoun “quam” which refers to the noun “amicitiae” in “ortum amicitiae”.
Such a verb governs the infinitive clause “quam...natam [esse]” where “quam” is obviously the subject of this infinitive clause and then it is in the accusative case, while the feminine gender is required by its agreement with “amicitia”.

In short, “si qui putant....humilem ... relinquunt ...ortum amicitiae, quam ex inopia atque indigentia natam volunt” literally means :”If (SI) some (QUI)  think (PUTANT) that......., they let (RELINQUUNT) the origin (ORTUM) of friendship (AMICITIAE) [be] humble (HUMILEM)whom (QUAM) they want (VOLUNT) to be born (NATAM) from (EX) need (INOPIA) and poverty (INDIGENTIA), i.e. "If people think that......., they believe that  the origin of friendship is  humble as  they are of opinion that friendship starts from poverty and need”


Best regards,

Maria

Latin

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Maria

Expertise

I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.