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

1. non ut interpretes (I, 6)
A little confused about the ending of “interpretes”. I thought it refers to 1st person sing.

2. quantum quoque modo videbitur (I, 6)
Can you give a literal translation?

3. Omnis enim, quae a ratione suscipitur de aliqua re institution,...(I, 7)
Can you give a literal translation of the “quae” clause?

4. medium autem officium id esse dicunt, quod cur factum sit, ratio probabilis reddi possit. (I, 8)
I don’t understand the meaning of the part after “quod”.

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

1.In “non ut interpretes “(Cicero, De Officiis, I, 6) the word “interpretes” is not a verb, but the nominative plural of the masculine noun “interpres” (3rd declension) meaning “translator/interpreter” so that “non ut interpretes” means “not as translators / interpreters” in a context where Cicero wants to say that he will follow the Stoics, not as a mere translator, but as a reader who wants to form his own opinion.
In short,  “interpretes” is not a verb, but a noun in  the nominative plural agreed with “nos” ("we", as a kind of majestic plural) , i.e. the implied subject of “Sequemur”,  so that “Sequemur igitur . ........potissimum Stoicos, non ut interpretes, sed,..” means: ”We will therefore follow chiefly the Stoics  not as translators, but.....”.

NB. In Latin there is the deponent verb “interpretor”, but not the active form “interpreto” whose 2nd person singular, present subjunctive would be “interpretes” which however does not exist.

2.The phrase “quantum quoque modo videbitur”  (I, 6) literally means:” as far as (quantum) and (-que) in what (quo- ) manner ( modo) it will seem (videbitur)”, i.e. “ such measure and in such manner it will seem to me”,  just to point out that he (Cicero) will draw from the Stoic sources what can suit his purpose.

3. “Omnis enim, quae a ratione suscipitur de aliqua re institutio, debet a definitione proficisci..”.(I, 7) literally means: ”In fact (enim) every (omnis) statement (institutio) of (de) any (aliqua) thing (re) which (quae) is supported (suscipitur) by a mental action (a ratione) must (debet) start (proficisci) from a definition (a definitione.).”, i.e. : “In fact , every systematic development of any matter which is supported by a reasoning must start from a definition .....”

4."Medium autem officium id esse dicunt, quod cur factum sit, ratio probabilis reddi possit” (I, 8) literally means:  ”they  say (dicunt) that is (esse)  a mean (medium) duty (officium) what (id...quod) a credible (probabilis) reasoning (ratio) can (possit) grant  (reddi.Note that this passive infinitive is used sometimes  instead of the active form “reddere” in the sense of “to grant”) why (cur) it has been done (factum sit)”, i.e. : ”they say that it is a mean duty  such  duty for the performance of which a credible reason may be rendered”,  with reference to a duty which is sustained by preponderant reasoning.

Hope this is clear enough.

Best regards,


P.S. Here’s a link that  you can use when I’m maxed out in the category “Latin”:  


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