Latin/grammar

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

1. Ut enim ab illa infinita discedatur (53)
Why passive “discedatur”?

2. multisque cum multis res rationesque contractae (53)
Could you give a literal translation?

3. Magna etiam illa communitas est, quae conficitur ex beneficiis ultro et citro datis acceptis, quae et mutua et grata dum sunt, inter quos ea sunt, firma devinciuntur societate. (56)
(a)Is “illa communitas” the antecedent of both “quae”?
(b)What is the antecedent for “quos”? What is the subject of “devinciuntur”?

4. quae cum re publica est uni cuique nostrum (57)
Which verb (“est”?) here requires dative “uni cuique nostrum”(every single one of us)?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “Ut enim ab illa infinita discedatur (Cicero, De Officiis I, 53) the  passive “discedatur” (present subjunctive) is an impersonal construction literally meaning:”it goes away “, i.e. ”one goes away”/”you go away”.
Note that the 3rd person singular, passive voice, is used as an impersonal form since the passive of intransitive verbs is very often used impersonally (See AG 208 d).


2.Here’s the literal translation of “ multisque cum multis res rationesque contractae “ (I, 53):
”and (-que) things (res) and relations (rationesque) established (contractae. Past participle) with many persons (cum multis) [are common. See “sunt civibus ...communia” in the previous sentence] to many persons (multis)”, i.e. ;
“[Citizens have in common]....many business relations that they have established with many...”

Note that “res rationesque” is a hendiadys to mean “business matters”, while the past participle “contractae” denotes reciprocal busines matters.


3.Note that in “Magna etiam illa communitas est, quae conficitur ex beneficiis ultro et citro datis acceptis, quae et mutua et grata dum sunt, inter quos ea sunt, firma devinciuntur societate” (I,56):

(a) “illa communitas” is just the antecedent of  “quae” in “quae conficitur”, whereas the “quae” in “quae mutua...” refers to “beneficiis” and  is the antecedent of “ea” in “ea sunt”.

(b) the antecedent for “quos” is understood and is the subject of “devinciuntur” as in “ii, inter quos ea sunt, firma devinciuntur societate”.

In short, here’s the literal translation:
”Great (magna) is (est) also (etiam) that association (illa communitas) which (quae)is effected (efficitur) by services/favours/benefits( ex beneficiis) done (datis) and received (acceptis) spontaneously (ultro) and reciprocally(citro),which benefits (quae, neuter plural related to the neuter noun “beneficium”)until (dum) are (sunt)mutual (mutua) and appreciated (grata), those persons (ii, understood), between (inter)whom (quos) they are (sunt), are united (devinciuntur) by an enduring (firma) association (societate) “, i.e.:
“Also a strong bond of association derives from mutual interchange of  benefits and as long as these services are mutual and appreciated, those between whom they are interchanged are united by an enduring moral commitment”.



4. In “....quae cum re publica est uni cuique nostrum “ (I, 57) “est” requires the dative of possession  “uni cuique”(each one ), since “omnium societatum nulla est ........... carior quam ea, quae cum re publica est uni cuique nostrum” literally means:
”..among all associations (omnium societatum) none (nulla) is ...more precious (carior) than (quam) that which (quae) belongs (est) to each (uni cuique. Dative of possession of unusquisque) of us (nostrum)with (our) country (cum re publica)”, i.e. :
“there is no social relation more precious than that which links each one of us with our country”.

Note that the dative “uni cuique”/”unicuique” with the verb "est" is used to denote Possession.
See AG 373 (Dative of Possession).

Best regards,

Maria

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