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

1. bona civium voci subicere praeconis (II. 83)
Why dat. “voci”?

2. tu me invito fruare meo? (II. 83)
Is “meo” abl. of “meus”, meaning “my property” and matching “fruare”? Can you explain the use of “me” in this sentence?

3. ad Ianum medium sedentibus (II. 87)
Could you give a literal translation of this phrase?

4. Ille enim requiescens a rei publicae pulcherrimis muneribus otium sibi sumebat aliquando (III. 2)
Is “rei publicae” here dative or gen. modying “muneribus”?

Thank you,

Dear Robert,

1.In “…bona civium voci subicere praeconis” (Cicero, De Officiis, II. 83) the dative “voci” depends on the infinitive “subicere” as “…bona civium voci subicere praeconis” literally neans:” ..…to submit (subicere) the properties (bona, neuter plural) of citizens (civium) to the voice (voci) of the crier/ auctioneer (praeconis, i.e.  a person in charge of an auction who calls out the prices that people offer)”.

2. In “…ut…….tu me invito fruare meo? “ (II. 83)  “meo” is exactly the ablative of the neuter  “meum” used as a substantive  meaning “my property” and depending on the pres subjunctive ,2nd person sg “fruare”  which stands for “fruaris” from the deponent verb “fruor” which takes the ablative case like “utor”, “fungor”, vescor” and “potior”.

As for  the use of “me” in this sentence, it is the ablative case of the 1st person pronoun “ego” and is the subject of the ablative absolute “me invito” just composed of the ablative “me”  and the ablative of the adjective “invitus”, since such an ablative absolute implies the present participle of the verb “sum”.
In short “me invito” literally means:” me (me) unwilling (invito) [being ]”, i.e. “against my will”, ”in spite of me”, “without my consent”.

3. “…toto hoc de genere……commodius a quibusdam optimis viris ad Ianum medium sedentibus….disputatur”  (II. 87) literally means:”…….about this whole matter (toto hoc de genere) … is better discussed  (commodius…..disputatur, impersonally used) by certain (a quibusdam) worthy men (optimis viris) who are sitting (sedentibus, attributive participle) near the middle  Janus (ad Ianum medium)…” with reference to one of the  arched passages in the Roman Forum where the merchants and moneychangers had their stand.
Note that there are three arched passages named “Ianus summus”, “Ianus medius” and “Ianus imus”, according to their position.
All these arched passages were adorned with the head of  the two-faced Janus, the old Roman deity represented with a face on the front and another on the back of his head.
Janus had also a small temple in the Forum, with two doors opposite to each other, which in time of war stood open and in time of peace were shut.

4.In “…. Ille enim requiescens a rei publicae pulcherrimis muneribus otium sibi sumebat aliquando”  (III. 2)  “rei publicae” is a  genitive  depending on “muneribus” so that “Ille enim requiescens a rei publicae pulcherrimis muneribus otium sibi sumebat aliquando” literally means:” He in fact (Ille enim) reposing himself/giving himself a breathing space (requiescens) out of [his] very important offices (a pulcherrimis muneribus) of the State (rei publicae) , had (sumebat) at times (aliquando)  some day of rest (otium)”.

Best regards,



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