Latin/grammar

Advertisement


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

1. Erat in L. Crasso, in L. Philippo multus lepos (108)
Why is “lepos” sing. after “multus”? Is it because “lepos” is an abstract noun, which always takes sing. form?

2. de Graecis autem dulcem et facetum festivique sermonis atque in omni oratione simulatorem, …, Socratem accepimus (108)
Is “esse” understood in the clause after “accepimus”? I don’t how “festivique sermonis” is connected with the rest part of the sentence.

3. Itemque in sermonibus alium [quemque], quamvis praepotens sit, efficere, ut unus de multis esse videatur, (109)
I don’t understand the first part of the sentence: “Itemque in sermonibus alium [quemque]”. What is the subj.? Also why sometimes words are put in square brackets?

4. illum qui Ti. Gracchi conatus perditos vindicavit, (109)
Can you give a literal translation? Is “conatus” the obj. of “vindicavit”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “Erat in L. Crasso, in L. Philippo multus lepos…” (Cicero, De Officiis, book 1, chapter 108) the masculine singular nominative  “lepos” (or “lepor”, 3rd declension) means “wit”, “humour”, and agrees with “multus”, so that “Erat in L. Crasso, in L. Philippo multus lepos ..” literally means:”In Lucius Crassus and Lucius Philippus there was (erat) much (multus) wit (lepos)..” .


2.In “De Graecis autem dulcem et facetum festivique sermonis atque in omni oratione simulatorem …… Socratem accepimus” (I, 108) the past infinitive “fuisse” is  understood in the clause after “accepimus”, so that “ … dulcem et facetum …Socratem accepimus” literally means:” …we have learned (accepimus) that Socrates (Socratem)was ([fuisse]) charming (dulcem)  and witty (et facetum) and of pleasant (festivique ) sermonis (speech)as well as (atque)dissembler (simulatorem) in every conversation (in omni oratione) …”.

Note that “festivique sermonis” is connected with the rest part of the sentence as it is a genitive of quality (See AG 345)


3.In “…itemque in sermonibus alium [quemque], quamvis praepotens sit, efficere, ut unus de multis esse videatur..” (I, 109)  the first part of the sentence “Itemque in sermonibus alium [quemque]…efficere…” is  an object clause depending on “accepimus” which is in the previous main clause, so that “Itemque in sermonibus alium…efficere ut ..” literally means: ”..and similarly (itemque, adverb “item” + -que) we have learned (accepimus) that another (alium, subject of the object clause) ….gets to (efficere, infinitive of the object clause)...”.

In short,”…. itemque in sermonibus alium [quemque], quamvis praepotens sit, efficere, ut unus de multis esse videatur” literally means:”..and similarly  we have learned  that another, ever if (quamvis) he is (sit) eminent (praepotens), gets to (efficere ut) seem (videatur)  one (unus ) among (de)  many  persons (multis) ”, i.e a very ordinary person.

As for why sometimes words are put in square brackets, please note that square brackets in a text indicate that textual critics are not entirely convinced of the authenticity of the enclosed words.


4.Here’s the literal translation of “… illum qui Ti. Gracchi conatus perditos vindicavit, …”(I,109):”..the one (illum, related to “patrem” which is the direct object of the verb “audivi”, I’ve heard) who (qui) punished (vindicavit) the  nefarious (perditos)  attempts (conatus, object of “vindicavit) of Tiberius Gracchus (Ti. Gracchi)…”.

In short, “Audivi …. hoc idem fuisse in P. Scipione Nasica, contraque patrem eius, illum qui Ti. Gracchi conatus perditos vindicavit, nullam comitatem habuisse sermonis…” literally means:
”I have heard (audivi)…. that in Publius Scipio Nasica there  was (fuisse) the same [art ] (hoc idem), but (contraque) [I’ve heard that] his (eius) father (patrem), that man who punished the  nefarious attempts of Tiberius Gracchus,had (habuisse) no (nullam) gracious manner (comitatem) of speech (sermonis) ..”.

Best regards,

Maria

Latin

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Maria

Expertise

I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.