Latin/grammar

Advertisement


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

1. ut superioris filius Africani, qui hunc Paulo natum adoptavit, propter infirmitatem valetudinis non tam potuit patris similis esse, quam ille fuerat sui (121)
I have some difficulty with the “qui …”clause. Does “qui” refer to Elder Africanus’s son or to Elder Africanus himself? Is “Paulo” the son of the Elder Africanus? Why dat. “Paulo” instead of accu to agree with “hunc” and “natum”?  
 
2. alia seniorum (122)
Is “seniorum” the gen. pl. of the comparative “senior” of “senex”?

3. Ac ne illud quidem alienum est, de magistratuum, … officiis dicere (124)
What is the meaning of “illud” here?

4. tum in re publica ea velle, quae tranquilla et honesta sint (124)
Does “ea (n. pl. accu. antecedent of "quae") velle” mean “wish for those things (for the republic)”?

Thank you,
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In”…. ut superioris filius Africani, qui hunc Paulo natum adoptavit, propter infirmitatem valetudinis non tam potuit patris similis esse, quam ille fuerat sui…” (Cicero, De Officiis, I, 121) the “qui …”clause refers  to elder Africanus’s son who adopted  Paulus’son, named Scipio Aemilianus, aka Scipio Aemilianus Africanus  from the full name of his father Lucius Aemilius Paulus Macedonicus who belonged to the Aemilia gens (family).

As for “Paulo”, it is an ablative depending on “natum” from “nascor” which takes ex or de + abl., or the  abl. alone.
So, here’s the literal translation for ”…. ut superioris filius Africani, qui hunc Paulo natum adoptavit, propter infirmitatem valetudinis non tam potuit patris similis esse, quam ille fuerat sui…”:
“… as (ut) the son (filius) of the elder (superioris) Africanus (Africani) who (qui, agreeing with “filius”) adopted (adoptavit) this (hunc), born (natum) of  Paulus (Paulo, ablative of  Source denoting birth), could not (non.. potuit) because of ( propter )weakness (infirmitatem ) of [his] health (valetudinis)  be (esse) like (similis) [his] father (patris, gen. depending on "similis")so much as  (tam…quam) he (ille, i.e. Africanus Maior)had been (fuerat) [like] his (sui) (father)…”.

In short,  the son of the elder Africanus (that Scipio who adopted the younger Scipio Aemilianus Africanus, the son of Aemilius  Paulus) could not be so much like his father( i.e. Scipio Africanus Maior, aka Scipio Africanus the Elder who defeated  Hannibal in the battle of Zama in 202 BC) as this Scipio Africanus Maior had been like his father, also named Publius Cornelius Scipio who served as consul in 218 BC, the first year of the Second Punic War, and died in 211 BC during the Iberian campaigns against the Carthaginians.


2. In “… alia seniorum…” (I,122)  “seniorum”  is exactly the gen. pl. of the comparative “senior” of “senex”. The  comparative plural “seniores” means “those more advanced in years”.


3. In “Ac ne illud quidem alienum est, de magistratuum, … officiis dicere “(I, 124) the literal meaning of “illud”  is “that thing” in the sense of “something” in “And (ac) not even (ne…quidem) it is (est) unsuitable/ irrelevant( alienum) to say (dicere) something (illud) about (de) duties (officiis)  of magistrates (magistratuum)..”.


4. In ..”tum in re publica ea velle, quae tranquilla et honesta sint…”  (I, 124) the pronoun  “ea (n. pl. accu. antecedent of "quae") velle” mean “want those things (in  the republic)”.
In short, “Privatum … oportet aequo et pari cum civibus iure vivere… tum in re publica ea velle, quae tranquilla et honesta sint…”  literally means:
”It is necessary (oportet) that  the private individual (privatum) lives (vivere) on fair (aequo) and equal (pari) rights/terms (iure) with his fellow-citizens (cum civibus)…and moreover (tum) [it is necessary that]he wants (velle) in his state/republic (in re publica) those things (ea) that (quae) are (sint) calm (tranquilla) and honorable (honesta)”, i.e.:
"It is necessary that  the private individual has the same rights as  his fellow-citizens …and that moreover he wants peace and honour to be in his country“.

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.