Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Can you help me with the following (all from De Officiis):

1. Sed tamen nostra legens non multum a Peripateticis dissidentia, quoniam utrique Socratici et Platonici volumus esse, de rebus ipsis utere tuo iudicio (I, 2)
Can you give a literal translation? Seems some verb(s) are missing.

2. Nam philosophandi scientiam concedens multis, quod est oratoris proprium, apte, distincte, ornate dicere (I, 2)
What is the subject in this sentence?

3. Quis est enim, qui nullis officii praeceptis tradendis philosophum se audeat dicere? (I, 5)
Could you give a literal translation?

4. ut ad officii inventionem aditus esset (I,6)
The meaning of “inventionem” is “invention” in my dictionary. But that meaning doesn’t seem right here.

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.Here’s the literal translation of “Sed tamen nostra legens non multum a Peripateticis dissidentia, quoniam utrique Socratici et Platonici volumus esse, de rebus ipsis utere tuo iudicio..." (Cicero, De Officiis, I, 2):
”But (sed) however (tamen) when reading (legens.Predicate participle) our  things/writings (nostra.Neuter plural) that are not  very different( non multum dissidentia) from the Peripatetics (a Peripateticis), since (quoniam) both they and I (utrique)  we want (volumus) to be (esse) followers of Socrates (Socratici) and (et) Plato (Platonici),  use (utere.2nd person singular, present imperative of Utor which takes the ablative) your own (tuo) judgment (iudicio) about (de) these very things (ipsis rebus)”, i.e.:
"But  however, when reading my philosophical writings  that are not  very different  from those of the Peripatetics, since  both they and I want to be followers of Socrates  and  Plato, please give your own opinion on  these writings”.

In short, Cicero invites his son to read his philosophical books as well as those of the philosophers of the Aristotelian school, i.e. the so-called Peripatetics, in order to have his own opinion.

As you can see in my literal translation, no verb is missing.


2. Please note that “Nam philosophandi scientiam concedens multis, quod est oratoris proprium, apte, distincte, ornate dicere...” (I, 2) is only a part of a long sentence that continues by saying:” quoniam in eo studio aetatem consumpsi, si id mihi assumo, videor id meo iure quodam modo vindicare”, where the main clause is “videor id...vindicare”, whose subject is Cicero himself, while “concedens” is a predicate participle; “quod est oratoris proprium, apte, distincte, ornate dicere” is a substantive clause with quod, whose subject is the substantive infinitive “dicere”; “quoniam...consumpsi” is a causal clause, and “si id mihi assumo” is a conditional parenthetic clause.

So, this long sentence literally means:
”In fact (nam) when granting (concedens.Predicate participle which refers to Cicero) knowledge (scientiam) of philosophying (philosophandi) to many persons (multis), as for what (quod.Substantive clause) is typical of the orator (oratoris proprium) i.e. to speak (dicere) with propriety (apte) , clearness (distincte), elegance (ornate), it seems to me (videor.Personal construction) that I  can claim (vindicare) it (id) somehow  (quodam modo)  justly (meo iure), if (si) I claim (mihi assumo) it(id), since (quoniam) I spent (consumpsi) my life (aetatem) in that study/profession (in eo studio)”, i.e.:
"In fact, though I grant  knowledge of philosophy to many persons,anyway  as for what is typical of the orator i.e. to speak with propriety, clearness and elegance, it seems to me that, if I claim it,I can do it somehow justly,for I spent my life in that profession".


3. “Quis est enim, qui nullis officii praeceptis tradendis philosophum se audeat dicere?”  (I, 5) literally means:
”In fact (enim) who (quis) is (est) he  that (qui)  would dare (audeat) to call (dicere) himself (se) a philosopher(philosophum.Double accusative related to "se"), without any  (nullis) precepts (praeceptis) of duty (officii) that must be transmitted (tradendis. Gerundive)”, i.e.:
“Who would dare  to call himself a philosopher, if he did not transmit those moral precepts that must be transmitted?”.


4.In “ ut ad officii inventionem aditus esset “(I,6) literally meaning:” so that (ut) there might be (esset) a way (aditus)toward (ad) a discovery (inventionem) of duty (officii)", i.e.: "so that there might be the way of a discovery  of moral duties ”, the Latin word “inventio”   means “discovery”  in the sense that we  ourselves can discover/find out what duty is.


Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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