Latin/Grammar

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Dear Maria,

I am trying to understand a long sentence (De officiis 1,109) and need your help.

Sunt his alii multum dispares, simplices et aperti, qui nihil ex occulto, nihil de insidiis agendum putant, veritatis cultores, fraudis inimici, itemque alii, qui quidvis perpetiantur, cuivis deserviant, dum quod velint consequantur, ut Sullam et M. Crassum videbamus.

Please explain 'Sunt his alii multum dispares.'

Thank you.

J

Answer
Dear John,

Here’s the literal translation of  “Sunt his alii multum dispares, simplices et aperti, qui nihil ex occulto, nihil de insidiis agendum putant, veritatis cultores, fraudis inimici, itemque alii, qui quidvis perpetiantur, cuivis deserviant, dum quod velint consequantur, ut Sullam et M. Crassum videbamus” (Cicero, De officiis, 1, 109):

“There are (sunt) others (alii) quite (multum) different (dispares, nominative plural of “dispar” which takes the dative) from these (his, dative depending upon “dispares”), ingenuous(simplices)  and open (aperti), who (qui), as  lovers (cultores, apposition) of truth (veritatis) and  enemies (inimici, apposition)  of fraud (fraudis),  think (putant) that nothing (nihil, accusative, subject of the following  infinitive clause) must be done (agendum [esse], infinitive clause with passive periphrastic) by (ex) secrecy (occulto,  ablative depending upon  “ex”), nothing (nihil) by (ex) artifices (insidiis, ablative depending upon “ex”),and similarly (pariterque)[there are] others (alii) who (qui) would suffer firmly (perpetiantur, present subjunctive) anything whatever (quidvis, neuter) and would serve zealously(deserviant)to anybody (cuivis, dative of “quivis” depending upon “deservio”), if only (dum) they can reach (consequantur, present subjunctive) what (quod) they want (velint, present subjunctive), like (ut) we saw (videbamus) that were ([esse] Sulla and Marcus Crassus (Sullam et M. Crassum, accusatives as subject of the infinitive clause whose verb is the implied “esse”)”,  i.e.:

”There are others  quite  different  from these, ingenuous  and open, who, as  lovers of truth and  enemies  of fraud,  think that nothing  must be done secretly  or insidiously, and similarly there are  others who would suffer firmly  anything and would serve zealously to anybody, if only they can reach  what  they want, just like Sulla and Marcus Crassus”.

Best regards,

Maria

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