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

1.qui appetitus longius evagantur et tamquam exultantes sive cupiendo sive fugiendo non satis a ratione retinentur, ii sine dubio finem et modum transeunt (102)
Is “ii” the antecedent of “qui”, and “qui” the subj. in the relative clause? On the other hand, “appetitus” seems to the subj. in the “qui” clause.

2. ludo autem et ioco uti illo quidem licet, sed sicut somno et quietibus ceteris tum, cum gravibus seriisque rebus satis fecerimus (103)
Why abl. “rebus” after “fecerimus”?

3. si rerum turpitudini adhibetur et verborum obscenitas.(104)
Is “rerum turpitudini” a misprint of “rerum turpitudo”? (I am using the Loeb version.)

4. quantum natura hominis pecudibus reliquisque beluis antecedat (105)
Can we use “homo” instead of “hominis” and treat “natura” as abl. of quality? My understanding of the above sentence is that “natura hominis” (the nature of human) is the subj. and the verb is “antecedat”. Am I right?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “….qui appetitus longius evagantur et tamquam exultantes sive cupiendo sive fugiendo non satis a ratione retinentur, ii sine dubio finem et modum transeunt” (Cicero, De Officiis,book I,chapter 102) the plural masculine nominative “qui”  agreed  with “appetitus” and meaning “those appetites which ..” is  the antecedent of the plural masculine nominative pronoun “ii” in “ii…transeunt”, where the pronoun “ii” is used to emphasize that just “those appetites which  overstep their bounds” (qui appetitus longius evagantur, literally, “those appetites which go farther”), “these” (ii) overleap all  bound and measure.

So, please note that: (a) “qui” is the antecedent of “ii”; (b) “qui” is both adjective and pronoun as it means “those.. which”; (c) the subject of the “qui” clause is “qui appetitus”(those appetites which ) that refers to the verbs  “evagantur”  and “retinentur”.


2. In “Ludo autem et ioco uti illo quidem licet, sed sicut somno et quietibus ceteris tum, cum gravibus seriisque rebus satis fecerimus “(I, 103) “rebus” is not an ablative, but a dative depending on “satis  fecerimus” or in one word “satisfecerimus” from “satis facere” or “satisfacere” (to satisfy) which takes the dative case so that “ …, cum gravibus seriisque rebus satis fecerimus” literally means:” having satisfied (cum...satis fecerimus) important (gravibus) and serious (seriisque) things/tasks(rebus, dative)”, i.e. “…when we have fulfilled important and serious duties”.



3. In “… si rerum turpitudini adhibetur et verborum obscenitas”(I, 104) “rerum turpitudini” is not a misprint of “rerum turpitudo”, since “turpitudini” is a dative depending on “adhibetur”, so that  “… si rerum turpitudini adhibetur et verborum obscenitas” literally means:” …if (si) to indecency (turpitudini) of things /thoughts (rerum) is added (adhibetur) also (et, i.e. etiam)  obscenity (obscenitas) of words (verborum)”, i.e. "...if to indecency of thoughts we also add obscenity of words".


4.In “… quantum natura hominis pecudibus reliquisque beluis antecedat” (I, 105) you cannot  use the nominative “homo” instead of the genitive “hominis” and treat “natura” as abl. of quality, because “natura” is the subject, as you say correctly,  and “natura hominis” means “the nature of man”, i.e “human nature”, whose verb is just “antecedat”.

Therefore “…quantum natura hominis pecudibus reliquisque beluis antecedat” literally means:”…how (quantum) human nature(natura hominis) is superior (antecedat) to domestic animals(pecudibus, dative depending on “antecedat”)and other (reliquisque) beasts ( beluis, dative depending on “antecedat”).


Kind regards,

Maria

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