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

1. ut nonnulli omissa imitatione maiorum suum quoddam institutum consequantur (116)
Is “omissa imitatione maiorum” abl. abs.?

2. tum id sibi quisque genus aetatis degendae constituit (117)
Could you give a literal translation? I am not clear whether “id” is connected with “genus aetatis degendae”.

3. Itaque ante implicatur aliquo certo genere cursuque vivendi, quam potuit, quod optimum esset, iudicare. (117)
Does the gerund “vivendi” modify only “cursu” or both “genere” and “cursu”?

4. hoc Herculi, "Iovis satu edito" potuit fortasse contingere, nobis non item, qui imitamur quos cuique visum est atque ad eorum studia institutaque impellimur (118)
(a)What does “Iovis satu edito” mean?
(b)Is it correct to think that we use nominative “qui”, even though its antecedent is “nobis” (dat.), because “qui” is subj. in the relative clause? Is it correct to think that “qui” matches “imitamur” because “qui” refers to “we”?
(c)Could you give a literal translation for “qui imitamur quos cuique visum est”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “… ut nonnulli omissa imitatione maiorum suum quoddam institutum consequantur” (Cicero, De Officiis, I, 116)  “omissa imitatione” is exactly an abl. abs. literally  meaning “…imitation (imitatione) of the ancestors (maiorum)  having been laid aside/having been omitted(omissa)”.

2. Here’s the literal translation for “….tum id sibi quisque genus aetatis degendae constituit…” (I, 117):…
"...then/at that time (tum) each one (quisque) decides (constituit) for himself (sibi, dative of advantage)  that (id, demonstrative adjective agreed with “genus”) kind (genus) of lifetime (aetatis, agreed with the feminine gerundive genitive “degendae”) which must be spent (degendae, from “degere”, gerundive construction)…” , i.e.:”…at that time each one decides  that kind of spending his lifetime”.

Note that “id” is connected with “genus aetatis degendae” simply because this demonstrative adjective agrees with the neuter noun “genus” which is the direct object of “constituit” whose subject is “quisque”.

For the Gerundive construction and agreements  see AG 503.


3.In “Itaque ante implicatur aliquo certo genere cursuque vivendi, quam potuit, quod optimum esset, iudicare” (I, 117) the gerund “vivendi” modifies both “genere” and “cursu” in the sense that this gerund genitive depends on the ablatives “genere” and “cursu”, so that ”Itaque ante implicatur aliquo certo genere cursuque vivendi, quam potuit, quod optimum esset, iudicare” literally means:
”And thus (itaque) he is involved (implicatur) in a certain (certo) sort (genere) and way (cursuque) of living(vivendi, gerund) before (ante…quam) he was able (potuit) judge (iudicare) what (quod)  was (esset) best [for him].


4.Note that in “.. hoc Herculi, "Iovis satu edito" potuit fortasse contingere, nobis non item, qui imitamur quos cuique visum est atque ad eorum studia institutaque impellimur “(I,118):

(a)“Iovis satu edito” literally means: “born/begotten (edito, dative masculine sing agreed with the dative “Herculi” depending on “contingere”) from the seed (satu, ablative of “satus”, 4th declension) of Jupiter (Iovis)”

(b)it is correct to think that we use the nominative “qui”, even though its antecedent is “nobis” (dat.), because “qui” is subj. in the relative clause. Also,  it is correct to think that “qui” matches “imitamur” because “qui” refers to “we”.

(c)Here’s  a literal translation for “qui imitamur quos cuique visum est”: who (qui) imitate (imitamur) those who (quos) it seemed good (visum est, impersonal construction of "videor") to each [of us] ( cuique)”.

Note that  “quos” stands for “eos quos” where the demonstrative is omitted as it should be in the same case as the relative.

Best regards,

Maria

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