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

1.Quibus vitiis declinatis quod in rebus honestis et cognitione dignis operae curaeque ponetur, id iure laudabitur (I, 19)
(a)Is “id” the antecedent of “quod”?
(b)Is “quod” the subject in the “quod” clause? Are “operae” and “curae” abl. of means?

2. deinde ut communibus pro communibus utatur, privatis ut suis (I, 20)
Is “privatis ut suis” equivalent to “ut privatis pro suis utatur”?

3. quia suum cuiusque fit eorum, quae natura fuerant communia (I, 21)
Can you explain “suum cuiusque fit eorum”?

4. dando accipiendo, tum artibus, tum opera, tum facultatibus devincire hominum inter homines societatem. (I, 22)
Is there any relation between “dando accipiendo”, and the following three abl. [of means?] “artibus. …”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “Quibus vitiis declinatis, quod in rebus honestis et cognitione dignis operae curaeque ponetur,id iure laudabitur...” (Cicero, De Officiis, I, 19)  the relative pronoun “quod”  is  the antecedent of “id”; “quod” is the subject in the “quod” clause whose verb is the passive future “ponetur”;  “operae” and “curae” are datives depending on “ponetur”.

So, “Quibus vitiis declinatis, quod in rebus honestis et cognitione dignis operae curaeque ponetur, id iure laudabitur...” literally means:
”These(quibus)  errors/vices  (vitiis) having  been avoided (declinatis.Ablative absolute), what (quod) will be committed (ponetur) to the labour (operae) and care (curaeque) in (in) morally right (honestis) and worthy (dignis)  of knowledge (cognitione) things ( rebus), this (id) will be praised (laudetur)..”, i.e.:
“These errors having been avoided, what will be committed to the labour and care in such things that are morally right and worthy of knowledge will be praised”.


2.In “..... deinde ut communibus pro communibus utatur, privatis ut suis” (I, 20) “privatis ut suis”  is somehow equivalent to “ut privatis pro suis utatur”.


3.In “quia suum cuiusque fit eorum, quae natura fuerant communia ....(I, 21) the causal clause  “quia suum cuiusque fit eorum” literally means:
”since (quia) the property (suum, used as a neuter noun) of those things (eorum, neuter genitive plural as antecedent of "quae"), that (quae, nominative neuter plural) had been (fuerant) common things (communia), becomes (fit) property [suum] of everyone (cuiusque, genitive of “quisque”)..”, i.e. :
“...since the property of what had been common property becomes the property of  individuals...”.


4.In “dando accipiendo, tum artibus, tum opera, tum facultatibus devincire hominum inter homines societatem. (I, 22)  the gerund abl. of means  “dando accipiendo” and the following three abl. of means  “artibus.. … opera... facultatibus” are connected in the sense that we must follow nature as our guide and thus ..."by giving and receiving",  we must unite human society "by our skills, by our labour,by our talents".

Best regards,

Maria

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