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

1. “Omnino est amans sui virtus” (98)
Why gen. “sui”?

2. “his fictus ad ipsorum voluntatem sermo cum adhibetur” (98)
What is “his fictus”?

3. “Nulla est igitur haec amicitia” (98)
Is “nulla” the subject? Is “nulla” or "haec amicitia” called appositive?

4. “Magnas vero agere gratias Thais mihi? “ (98)
The sentence does not seem to be a question.

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

1.In “Omnino est amans sui virtus” (Cicero, De amicitia, 98) the genitive  “sui” (3rd person reflexive pronoun, literally meaning “of itself /herself/himself”) depends on the present participle “amans” used as an adjective.
In short, here’s the literal translation of “Omnino est amans sui virtus”:
”Virtue (virtus) is (est) absolutely (omnino) loving/lover (amans) of herself (sui)”, i.e. :“Virtue totally loves herself”.

2.In “his fictus ad ipsorum voluntatem sermo cum adhibetur” (98) “his” is the dative plural of “hic” depending on the verb “adhibeo” and related to both “hos” in “ hos delectat assentatio” and “multi” in “multi...volunt”.
As for “fictus”, this masculine past participle of “fingo” agrees with the nominative “sermo”, so that:” hos delectat assentatio, his fictus ad ipsorum voluntatem sermo cum adhibetur, orationem illam vanam testimonium esse laudum suarum putant” literally means:
”Flattery (assentatio) delights (delectat) these [men](hos),[and] when (cum) a speech (sermo) moulded (fictus) according to (ad) their (ipsorum) desire (voluntatem) is addressed (adhibetur) to these [men](his), they think (putant)that such a (illam)  false (vanam) phrase (orationem) is (esse) a proof (testimonium) of their own (suarum) merits (laudum)”, i.e.:
"Flattery delights  these men and, when a speech fashioned to suit their desires  is addressed to them, they think that such false words are a proof of their own merits".

3.In “Nulla est igitur haec amicitia” (98) “nulla”  is a predicate adjective  agreeing with  the subject “haec amicitia” so that here’s the literal translation of “Nulla est igitur haec amicitia”:
”This (haec) friendship (amicitia) is (est) therefore (igitur) null /of no value(nulla.Predicate adjective)”, just to point out that a false friendship is worthless if  the one does not want to hear the truth, and the other is read to lie (cum alter verum audire non vult, alter ad mentiendum paratus est).

4. “Magnas vero agere gratias Thais mihi? “ (98), which is a quotation from Terentius, Eunuchus, Act 3, Scene 1, line 1, contains a historical descriptive infinitive (agere) that is often used for the present or past  Indicative in narration (see AG 463)  and takes the subject in the nominative (Thais), is just a question that the braggart soldier Thraso addresses to the parasite Gnatho when he says:” Does really [the courtesan] Thais send me many thanks?”.
To this question the parasite answers:”Millions of them” (ingentes [gratias]) instead of “many” (multas), since the flatterer  always exaggerates to gratify  his interlocutor.

Best regards,



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




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


Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

This expert accepts donations:

©2017 All rights reserved.