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

1. sic habebitur is, quem exquirimus dilectus officii (III. 46)
Could you give a literal translation?

2. nam est scientem in errorem alterum inducere (54)
Is “ scientem” the present participle modifying and agreeing with “errorem”?

3. Haec est illa, quae videtur utilium fieri cum honestis saepe dissensio. (III. 56)
Is “utilium” gen. pl., modifying “dissension”? What is the subj. in the relative clause, “quae” or “dissensio”?

4. Non igitur videtur nec frumentarius ille Rhodios nec hic aedium venditor celare emptores debuisse. (III.57)
Does “nec …nec…” mean “neither … nor …”? If so, why do we need “non”?

Thank you,
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.Here’s the literal translation for :”…..Sic habebitur is, quem exquirimus, dilectus officii…” (Cicero, De Officiis, III. 46):”In this way (sic) that (is) choice (dilectus, subject in the nominative singular, 4th declension) between duties (officii, lit.”of duty” ), that (quem, accusative, direct object of “exquirimus”. Masculine singular referring to “dilectus”) we are  seeking for, will be had/will  be reached (habebitur, passive voice, future of HABEO)“, i.e. “In this way we shall arrive at a proper choice between conflicting duties, which is just  the subject of our investigation”.



2. In “….nam est scientem in errorem alterum inducere…” (III. 55) the  present participle  “scientem” does not modify  “errorem”, but  is the subject of the infinitive “inducere”, for the sentence literally means:
“In fact (nam) it is (est)to lead (inducere) intentionally (scientem, literally “knowing”, and then “knowingly/ intentionally”) another man (alterum) into a mistake (in errorem)”, i.e.:
“It is deliberately leading a man astray".

Note that “sciens, scientis” (literally, “knowing”)  is often used as an adverb (deliberately, intentionally).
Also note that the Latin infinitive usually takes its subject in the accusative (see AG 452, note 2.)


3. In “Haec est illa, quae videtur utilium fieri cum honestis saepe dissensio” (III. 56) the genitive plural  “utilium” depends on “dissensio” which is th subject of the main clause “Haec est illa…..dissensio”, while the subj. in the relative clause is the feminine nominative  “quae” referring to “dissensio”.
In short:”This is (haec est) that (illa) contradiction (dissensio) which (quae ) seems (videtur) often (saepe) to happen (fieri) of the useful things (utilium, genitive plural ) with (cum) the morally right things (honestis)”, i.e. “This is the contradiction that seems often to arise between the useful and the morally right”.


4. In “Non igitur videtur nec frumentarius ille Rhodios nec hic aedium venditor celare emptores debuisse” (III.57) the negatives “nec …nec…” mean “neither … nor …”, while “non” is added to “nec…nec” to  strengthen them, just because sometimes “non” is added to a negative to strengthen it.

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

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