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

1. Quae faciliora sunt philosophis, quo minus multa patent in eorum vita, quae fortuna feriat (73)
Can you give a literal translation?

2. quae anteponatur consilio Solonis ei, …(75)
What is “ei”?

3. Illud autem optimum est, in quod invadi solere ab improbis et invidis audio (77)
Could you give a literal translation?

4. ut M. Catonis bellum tertium Punicum, in quo etiam mortui valuit auctoritas. (79)
I am confused about the following: (a) the case of “Catonis” (b) seems missing a verb to conduct “bellum” (c) “mortui”

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,


1.Here’s the literal translation for “Quae faciliora sunt philosophis, quo minus multa patent in eorum vita, quae fortuna feriat “ (Cicero, De Officiis, I, 73):
”Which things (quae) are (sunt) easier (faciliora) for the philosophers (philosophis), the less (quo minus) many things (multa) which (quae, direct object) fortune (fortuna) strikes (feriat), are manifest (patent) in their life (in eorum vita)...”, i.e (still quite literally):
“Which is easier for the philosophers, the less their life features the many events that are subject to the blows of fate”


2.In “... citeturque Salamis clarissimae testis victoriae quae anteponatur consilio Solonis ei, quo .... constituit Areopagitas, (I, 75)  the dative singular “ei” is used as an adjective agreeing with  the dative “consilio”, so that .“....Salamis clarissimae testis victoriae, quae anteponatur consilio Solonis ei, quo .. .... constituit Areopagitas.” literally means:
”and may be cited (citeturque) Salamis as a witness (Salamis....testis) of  a most glorious (clarissimae) victory (victoriae) which (quae) is preferred (anteponatur) to that (ei) decision/choice (consilio, dative depending on “anteponatur”) of Solon (Solonis), with which (quo, ablative of means agreeing with “consilium”) he instituted ( constituit) the Areopagites (Areopagitas)...”, i.e.:
“Salamis may be cited as a testimony to a most glorious victory, which is of higher value than Solon’s decision to establish the court of the Areopagus at Athens”.


3.Here’s the literal translation for “Illud autem optimum est, in quod invadi solere ab improbis et invidis audio (I, 77):
”Therefore (autem) it is (est) excellent (optimum) that famous saying (illud) against which (in quod) I hear (audio) that it is used (solere) to be charged against/attacked (invadi, present infinitive passive) by (ab) the wicked (improbis) and (envious (invidis) persons..”, i.e. (still quite literally):
“Therefore, that famous saying is excellent, against which I know that the wicked and the envious usually rail...”


4.In “ut M. Catonis bellum tertium Punicum, in quo etiam mortui valuit auctoritas” (I,79), the case of “Catonis”  is the genitive, while the verb which governs  “bellum” is in the preceeding sentence (see “...aut non suscepta aut confecta bella sunt, non numquam etiam illata”), and lastly the past participle in the genitive “mortui” refers to the genitive “ M.Catonis”.
In short, “ut M. Catonis bellum tertium Punicum, in quo etiam mortui valuit auctoritas” literally means:
“as (ut) [upon (which is implicit)] Marcus Cato's [counsel (again implicit: see “eorum consilio”)], the third Punic War (bellum tertium Punicum) [was declared (again implicit: see “illatum est”)], in which (in quo) the authority (auctoritas) of the dead [Cato, implicit] (mortui: past participle of morior) also (etiam) prevailed (valuit) ".

This sentence is therefore translated as: “... as the third Punic War was declared upon M. Cato’s counsel, and in this matter his prestige prevailed although he was dead.”

Best regards,

Maria

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