Dear Maria,

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

1. “Quod cum optimum maximumque sit” (84)
It seems that “quod” refers either to “iucunditas” or “societas” in the previous sentence, but both are f. and “quod” is n.

2. “Quo etiam magis vituperanda est rei maxime necessariae tanta incuria.” (86)
Can you give a literal translation?

3. “honores vero, quorum cupiditate quidam inflammantur” (86)
What is the subject ?

4. “et ii qui suum negotium gerunt otiosi”(86)
Is “otiosi” adj., modifying “negotium”? But then why is it not “otiosum”?

Thank you.

Dear Robert,  “Quod cum optimum maximumque sit” (Cicero, De amicitia, 84) the neuter relative pronoun  “quod” does not  refer to “honestas, gloria, tranquillitas animi atque iucunditas” nor to “societas” in the previous sentence, but to “beata vita” (happiness) in “ut et, cum haec adsint, beata vita sit,et sine his esse non possit” and then “Quod cum optimum maximumque sit” literally means:
"Since (cum) it ("quod",i.e.happiness) is ("sit" depending on "cum")the best (optimum)  and highest thing(maximumque)..”, i.e. "Since happiness is the best and highest aim...".

Note that “quod” literally means “which” used to introduce a relative clause when it refers to a whole clause or sentence as in e.g. “He seemed more talkative than usual, which was because he was nervous”.

Anyway, I have to point out that, even if  “quod” referred to “honestas....iucunditas” (feminine nouns), it should be neuter because generally a predicate adjective or pronoun is neuter, if the nouns to which it refers are things without life, such as “honestas, gloria, tranquillitas ...iucunditas”(See AG 287).

2. Here’s the literal translation for “Quo etiam magis vituperanda est rei maxime necessariae tanta incuria”(86):
”the more (quo etiam ..magis) so great (tanta) carelessness (incuria) of a thing (rei) absolutely (maxime) indispensable (necessariae) must be  censured (vituperanda est)”, i.e.:
“All the more reason we must censure a so great  carelessness in regard to a relation absolutely indispensable”(i.e. friendship).
Note that “quo” before the comparative “magis”is an ablative of the relative pronoun used as an adverb of Degree of Difference (see AG 414). “honores vero, quorum cupiditate quidam inflammantur, quam multi ita contemnunt ut....” (86) there are two subjects, i.e. “quam multi” in the main clause, and “quidam” in the relative clause.
So, here’s the literal translation:” (vero)how many (quam multi) despise (contemnunt) honours (honores), by desire (cupiditate.Ablative depending on the passive verb “inflammantur”) of wich ("quorum" related to "honores") some (quidam)  are inflamed (inflammantur)..”, i.e.:
“, how many despise honours for which some have a burning desire....”.

4. in “et ii qui suum negotium gerunt otiosi”(86)  the adjective  “otiosi” (nominative masculine plural)   refers to the subject “ii qui”, not to  “negotium”.

Therefore the phrase literally means:
”and those who (et ii qui) unoccupied (otiosi) manage (gerunt) their own (suum)business (negotium)..”, i.e.:
” and those who manage their own business free from public affairs..”.

Note that “negotium” (business)  is used as opposite to “otium”( freedom from business) from which “otiosus” derives.

Best regards,



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