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

1. Ac latissime quidem patens hominibus inter ipsos, omnibus inter omnes societas haec est. (51)
Is “hominibus” dat. or abl.?

2. Omnium autem communia hominum videntur ea, quae sunt generis eius, (51)
Could you give a literal translation?

3. Quasi lumen de suo lumine accendat, facit. (51)
Could you give a literal translation? I don’t know what is the obj. of “facit”. Also “suo” refers to “he” not the “wanderer”?

4. Nihilo minus ipsi lucet, cum illi accenderit. (51)
Does “illi” mean “for him (his friend)” here?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “Ac latissime quidem patens hominibus inter ipsos, omnibus inter omnes societas haec est" (Cicero, De Officiis, I, 51) “hominibus” is a dative as the sentence literally means:
”And so (ac ..quidem) this (haec) is (est) the association/society/fellowship (societas) that is open (patens) most extensively (latissime) to men (hominibus, depending on “patens”) among (inter) themselves (ipsos) [and] to all (omnibus)  among(inter)  all (omnes) ”, i.e.:
“So, this is the most widely community that comprises and unites together men and all to all.”


2.Here’s the literal translation of “Omnium autem communia hominum videntur ea, quae sunt generis eius, quod ab Ennio positum in una re transferri in permultas potest....”(I,51):
”So (autem), those things (ea)  that (quae) are (sunt) of that (eius) sort (generis) that (quod ) placed (positum. Predicate participle) by Ennius (ab Ennio)  in only one thing/example/case (in una re) can (potest) be placed (transferri) in many things/cases/examples (in permultas, agreeing with “re”), they seem (videntur) common (communia) to all (omnium) men(hominum)...”, i.e.:
”So, those things that are of that sort that Ennius defined in only one example which however can be applied very generally, those things  seem to be common to all men...”


3. “Homo.....Quasi lumen de suo lumine accendat, facit" (I,51) literally means:
”That man (homo) .... acts (facit) as if (quasi) he  lit (accendat, subjunctive present depending on “quasi”) a lamp (lumen) from (de) his (suo) lamp(lumine)...”.

Note that the verb “facere” is used in the meaning of “to cause/to act” and governs the “quasi” clause.
As for the possessive “suo”, it  refers to “he” /“That man”, not to the “wanderer”.


4. In "Nihilo minus ipsi lucet, cum illi accenderit" (I, 51)  “illi” means exactly  “for him (his friend)”.


Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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

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