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

1.quae primum bene parta sit nullo neque turpi quaestu neque odioso, (92)
I am a bit confused by the double negative: “nullo” and “neque … neque…”.

2. tum quam plurimis, modo dignis, se utilem praebeat nec libidini potius luxuriaeque quam liberalitati et beneficentiae pareat. (92)
Could you give a literal translation?

3. Haec praescripta servantem licet … (93)
Is the following understanding correct?  “servantem” is the accu. form of the present participle “servans” and “Haec praescripta” is the obj. of “servans”. And the meaning is “the person who observes these rules”. The use of accu. is due to “licet”.

4. sic hoc, de quo loquimur, decorum totum illud quidem est cum virtute confusum, sed mente et cogitatione distinguitur. (95)
Is “hoc” the subj. of “est confusum” ? If so, what is “illud”? What is the subj. of “distinguitur”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In  “….Quae primum bene parta sit nullo neque turpi quaestu neque odioso,…” (Cicero, De Officiis, I, 92)the double negative “nullo” and “neque … neque…” depends on the fact that “neque…neque” can be found with a preceding negative, which, however, does not destroy the negation contained in “neque ... neque”, so that the sentence literally means:
”Which[i.e. wealth](quae, nom fem sing related to “res familiaris” in the previous passage) let be honestly acquired (bene parta sit, hortatory subjunctive) by no (nullo) advantage (quaestu) nor (neque) dishonest (turpi) or (neque)  fraudulent (odioso)…”, i.e.:”Let such wealth, in the first place, be honestly acquired, by the use of no dishonest or fraudulent means..”.



2.Here’s a literal translation for “… tum quam plurimis, modo dignis, se utilem praebeat nec libidini potius luxuriaeque quam liberalitati et beneficentiae pareat”(I, 92):
“…finally (tum, related to “primum” and “deinde”) let [such wealth] offer (praebeat, hortatory subjunctive) itself (se)  as  useful ( utilem) to as many people as possible (quam plurimis), if only (modo) worthy (dignis, related to “plurimis”), and be obedient(pareat, hortatory subj.) not (nec)  to sensuality (libidini) and excess (luxuriaeque) rather than (potius…quam) to generosity ( liberalitati) and beneficence (beneficentiae)”, i.e.:
”...finally, let wealth be available for the use of as many people as possible ,if only they are worthy, and be at the service of generosity and beneficence rather than of sensuality and excess”.



3.In “Haec praescripta servantem licet … “(I, 92)  “servantem” is the accusative masculine singular  form of the present participle “servans” and “Haec praescripta” is the direct  object of “servantem”, literally  meaning  “the person who observes”, while “ these rules” corresponds to “haec praescripta”.
As for the use of the accusative “servantem”,it is due to “licet” because the impersonal “licet”  takes the noun of the subject-clause in the accusative.

In short,”Haec praescripta servantem licet magnifice, graviter animoseque vivere atque etiam simpliciter, fideliter,  vere hominum amice” literally means:
”It is allowed(licet) that the person who observes (servantem) these rules(haec praescripta) lives (vivere) magnificently (magnifice), seriously (graviter) and independently (animose)and  also (atque etiam)simply (simpliciter), trustily(fideliter) and friendly (vere amice) toward men(hominum, gen plur depending on the adverb “amice””)  


4.In “….sic hoc, de quo loquimur, decorum totum illud quidem est cum virtute confusum, sed mente et cogitatione distinguitur” (I, 95) “hoc …decorum” (this … dignity) is  the subject of “est confusum”, while “illud quidem” (literally,”just that” as an emphasis), agreeing with the neuter noun “decorum”, means “certainly”, and lastly  the subject of “distinguitur” is “hoc …decorum”.

In short, here’s the literal translation:
”..so (sic) this (hoc) dignity (decorum)  of which (de quo) we are speaking (loquimur), just (quidem)  that (illud)  is (est) completely (totum, adjective related to "decorum") blended (confusum) with virtue (cum virtute), but (sed)  is distinguishable from it (distinguitur)  mentally (mente, abl of means) and theoretically (cogitatione, abl of means)”, i.e.:
”...so this dignity of which we are speaking, is certainly completely blended with virtue, but is mentally and theoretically distinguishable from it”.

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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