Latin/grammar

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

1. ideo quia nihil decet invita Minerva, ut aiunt, id est adversante et repugnante natura (110)
It seems that “id est …” is still part of the “quia” clause (it further explains the “quia” clause). Therefore it seems to me that a “therefore” clause is missing after the “because (quia)” clause.

2. At Aiax, quo animo traditur, milies oppetere mortem quam illa perpeti maluisset (113)
(a)Could you explain “quo animo traditur”?
(b)How is “milies” related to “mille”?

3. quod est cuiusque maxime suum. (113)
is “suum” adj. or a noun?

4. ipsarumque virtutum in alia alius mavult excellere (115)
Could you give a literal translation? The translation by Walter Miller (Loeb edition) is: “in case of the virtues themselves one man prefers to excel in one, another in another”. I couldn’t figure out where he got “another in another”.

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “… ideo quia nihil decet invita Minerva, ut aiunt, id est adversante et repugnante natura” (Cicero, De Officiis, I, 110) the expression “id est …”  explains the ablative absolute “invita Minerva”, literally meaning “Minerva being unwilling”, i.e. “against one's natural bent”, for Minerva, as  the goddess of wisdom, the arts and sciences, indicates natural abilities.

Therefore “id est” (that is)  is followed by another ablative absolute “adversante et repugnante natura” which in fact  clarifies the sense of “invita Minerva” by saying:”that is (id est) nature  (natura, subject of the abl abs) opposing (adversante, present participle, verb of the abl abs) and fighting against (repugnante, present participle, verb of the abl abs)”.

To sum up, “…ideo quia nihil decet invita Minerva, ut aiunt, id est adversante et repugnante natura” means :”… inasmuch as nothing is proper if it goes against Minerva, as they say/as  is said, that is against our  natural abilities”.


2.In “At Aiax, quo animo traditur, milies oppetere mortem quam illa perpeti maluisset (I, 113) “quo animo traditur” literally means:” with that (quo)  disposition/ frame of mind (animo) which (“quo”, once again)  is recorded (traditur)“, while “milies” (or miliens ) is  related to “mille” simply because it is a numeral adverb meaning “a thousand times” (See Ag 138).

Therefore “At Aiax, quo animo traditur, milies oppetere mortem quam illa perpeti maluisset” means:”But Ajax, with the nature he had, according to tradition, would have chosen to meet death a thousand times rather than suffer such things”.

Note that “quo animo” stands for “eo animo (ablative of manner) qui traditur” as the relative pronoun “quo” agrees in case, by attraction, with its implied  antecedent (eo).
[See AG 306].


3.In “…quod est cuiusque maxime suum” (I, 113)  “suum”  is an adjective agreed with "quod".

In fact, “…id …  quemque decet, quod est cuiusque …. suum” literally means:” everybody (quemque, acc of “quisque”  depending on “decet”) is fitting (decet) what (id..quod) is (est) own (suum) of everybody (cuiusque, genitive of “quisque”)”, i.e. “his own character fits everybody”.



4.”….. ipsarumque virtutum in alia alius mavult excellere” (I,115) literally means:”and (-que) one man (alius)  prefers (mavult) to excel (excellere) in one (in alia) of the virtues (virtutum)  themselves (ipsarum), another (alius) in another (in alia)”.

Note that “in alia alius” is an idiomatic construction of the pronoun /adjective ALIUS which , when  repeated in another case expresses briefly a double statement, i.e. “one man …another” or “some in one place and some in another” as in  “alius aliud facit”( one man does one thing, another another); "alii alio loco erant ” ( some are in one place, some in another).
(See  AG 315 c).

Therefore Walter Miller (Loeb edition) got  “another in another” from this idiomatic construction of “alius”.

Hope all is clear enough.

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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