Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,

Could you please help me with the following (all from De Amicitia):

1. “et iudicare difficile est sane nisi expertum” (62)
Does “sane” go with “difficile”, meaning “very”? Is it correct to expand “nisi expertum” into a clause "nisi id est expertum"? (I want to know why we have sing neuter p.p. “expertum”.)

2. “Est igitur prudentis sustinere ut cursum, sic impetum benevolentiae, quo utamur quasi equis temptatis, sic amicitia ex aliqua parte periclitatis moribus amicorum” (63)
Two questions: (1) What is the meaning of “quo”? It seems to me it is not related to “utamur”, which goes with “”equis temptatis” (abl).  (2) Is “periclitatis moribus amicorum” abl. abs.?

3.“tamen haec duo levitatis et infirmitatis plerosque convincunt, aut si in bonis rebus contemnunt aut in malis deserunt” (64)
I have difficulty with the grammar of this sentence, especially the genitives “levitatis et infirmitatis”, the accu. “ plerosque” and what is the subject for “convincunt”, “contemnunt” and “deserunt”.

4. “Simplicem praeterea et communem et consentientem, id est qui rebus isdem moveatur, eligi par est” (65)
Do we have an accu + infinitive structure here after “par est (it is right)”?  “Simplicem praeterea et communem et consentientem (adjectives used as accu subj nouns) … eligi (are chosen, passive infinitive)”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “et iudicare difficile est sane nisi expertum” (Cicero, De amicitia, 62) the adverb  “sane” goes with “difficile”, meaning “very”/”certainly”.
Also,  it is  correct to expand “nisi expertum” into a clause "nisi iudicare est expertum" where “expertum”  is neuter because it refers to the infinitive “iudicare” whose gender is neither  masculine nor feminine, but neuter.
So, "iudicare difficile est sane nisi expertum”  means :“it is very difficult to judge if our decision/judgment has not experienced/ did not make trial” as trial can only be made just in friendship.


2. In  “Est igitur prudentis sustinere ut cursum, sic impetum benevolentiae, quo utamur quasi equis temptatis, sic amicitia ex aliqua parte periclitatis moribus amicorum” (63)  the meaning of “quo” (adverbial ablative sometimes used instead of “ut”  introducing final clauses) is “in order that”, “so that” just  related to “utamur”, which governs  ”equis temptatis” (abl) as well as “amicitia”(ablative). As for “periclitatis moribus” it is an  abl. abs.

In short, “Est igitur prudentis sustinere ut cursum, sic impetum benevolentiae, quo utamur quasi equis temptatis, sic amicitia ex aliqua parte periclitatis moribus amicorum” literally means:
”Therefore (IGITUR) it is typical (EST)  of a wise man (PRUDENTIS.Possessive genitive) to restrain (SUSTINERE) the race (CURSUM) [of horses] as well as (correlative UT...ITA) ardour (IMPETUM) of benevolence (BENEVOLENTIAE) so that (QUO), having tested (PERICLITATIS) in some degree (EX ALIQUA PARTE) the dispositions (MORIBUS) of friends (AMICORUM), we manage (UTAMUR.present subjunctive.final clause) friendship (AMICITIA.Ablative depending on UTOR) as well as (QUASI) tested (TEMPTATIS.Past participle used as an adjective which modifies EQUIS) horses (EQUIS.Abl.depending on UTOR)”, i.e.:
"It is therefore typical of a wise man to restrain the race of a horse as well as the ardour of our benevolence so that we can manage friendship after we have somehow  tested our friends as we did with horses".



3.In “tamen haec duo levitatis et infirmitatis plerosque convincunt, aut si in bonis rebus contemnunt aut in malis deserunt” (64) the subject is the neuter plural  “haec duo” (these two things) followed by the genitive “levitatis et infirmitatis” (of inconstancy and weakness) .
The subject of “convincunt” (convict)  is just “haec duo”, while its direct object is “plerosque” (most men).
Finally  the subject for  “contemnunt” and “deserunt” is “ii/illi” that clarifies “ plerosque” .

To sum up, here’s the literal translation of   “tamen haec duo levitatis et infirmitatis plerosque convincunt, aut si in bonis rebus contemnunt aut in malis deserunt”:
”Anyway (TAMEN) these two examples (HAEC DUO) of inconstancy and weakness (LEVITATIS ET INFIRMITATIS) condemn most men (PLEROSQUE), if (SI) they  in  [ their] prosperous (IN BONIS) affairs (REBUS) disdain (CONTEMNUNT) [a friend] or (AUT) they abandon (DESERUNT) [him] in misfortune (IN MALIS) [of this friend]”, i.e.:
” Anyway  there are  two examples of inconstancy and weakness that prove how most men are  untrustworthy:  if  they  disdain a friend  when their own affairs are prosperous or they abandon him when this friend is in a difficult  situation . ”


4. In “Simplicem praeterea et communem et consentientem, id est qui rebus isdem moveatur, eligi par est” (65)  we have  an accusative + infinitive structure  after “par est” (it is right/it is useful).

As for “Simplicem ... et communem et consentientem", they are adjectives in the  accusative referring to an implied “amicum”  as a subject of the infinitive clause “Simplicem praeterea et communem et consentientem ....eligi “ where “eligi” is  a passive infinitive.

In short: “It is useful (PAR EST) that an open  (SIMPLICEM) affable (COMMUNEM) and sympathetic (CONSENTIENTEM) [friend] is chosen (ELIGI), that is to say (ID EST) one who (QUI) is affected (MOVEATUR) by  the same (ISDEM) motives (REBUS) as yourself]”, i.e. :
“It is useful that you choose a frank, affable, sympathetic  friend, that is to say one who has the same feelings as yourself”.

Best regards,

Maria

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