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

1. omnibus vicis statuae, ad eas tus, cerei (III. 80)
Is some verb understood?

2. tribunis plebi (III. 81)
I think this is the abl. form of “tribunus plebis”. My question is: since “plebs” is a noun and is gen. in “tribunus plebis”, should it stay as gen.? That is, it does not have to match.“tribunis” (abl.).

3. ut haec duo verbo inter se discrepare, re unum sonare videantur. (III. 83)
Why dat. or abl. for “duo verbo”?

4. Nam quanto plures ei regi putas,… (III. 84)
Can you give a literal translation of above part of a sentence?

Thank you,

Dear Robert,

1. In “….omnibus vicis statuae, ad eas tus, cerei” (Cicero, De Officiis, III. 80) there are two verbs that have been understood, i.e.:
1) “erectae sunt” in “omnibus vicis statuae”.
2) “ardebant” in “ad eas tus, cerei”.

So, “….omnibus vicis statuae, ad eas tus, cerei “ literally means:” .. in every (omnibus) streets /quarters of the city (vicis, abl of Place where of “vicus”) statues  (statuae, nominative plural) [ were erected (erectae sunt)], before (ad) these (eas) [statues] incense (tus, nominative neuter singular, 3rd declension), candles (cerei, nominative plural of the masculine noun “cereus, 2nd declension)[ burned (ardebant)]”.

2. In the indirect object “tribunis plebi”(III. 81) the plural noun  “tribunis” is a dative case depending on the verb “praeripere” which takes the dative and means “to take away something from somebody", whereas the noun “plebi” is not a dative of “plebs” (3rd declension), but an archaic genitive of the archaic form “plebēs”  (5th declension) whose genitive singular can be either “plebēi” or “plebi” as a contracted term.

To sum up, “tribunis plebi” stands for “tribunis plebis” as “plebi” is an obsolete form of the genitive “plebis”.

So, “… Mario praeripere collegis et tribunis plebi popularem gratiam non ita turpe,....... videbatur” literally means:
” Marius Gratidianus (Mario) it seemed (videbatur) not so morally wrong (turpe) to take away (praeripere) public  (popularem) favour (gratiam) from his colleagues (collegis, dative plural)  and the tribunes (tribunis, dative plural) of the people (plebi, archaic genitive of the archaic nominative "plebēs", 5th declension) ..”

3. In “….ut haec duo verbo inter se discrepare, re unum sonare videantur...” (III. 83) the word “duo” does not go with the ablative “verbo”, but with the demonstrative neuter plural pronoun “haec” (these things, i.e. honestas et utilitas), as “duo” is the cardinal number in the nominative neuter plural agreeing with “haec” and then meaning “these two things”.

As for  the ablative “verbo” (from “verbum”), it means “in word/ in name” opposed  to the ablative “re” (from “res”) meaning “in reality”, since the ablative “re” (reality, truth, fact) is used  opposed to appearance, mere talk, the mere name of a thing.

So, “..ut haec duo verbo inter se discrepare, re unum sonare videantur” literally means:
”… so that (ut)  these two things (haec duo) seem (videantur) to be different (discrepare) between them /each other (inter se) in name (verbo), [but seem] to sound/signify (sonare) the same (unum) in real meaning/in reality (re)”.

4. Here’ the literal translation for “ Nam quanto plures ei regi putas,… “(III. 84):
” For (nam) how many (quanto, ablative of measure) more (pluris, which stands for “plures”, accusative plural as subject of the object clause depending on “putas”)  [hostile men, with reference to the antecedent “multi iniqui atque infideles…” of Accius line] you think (putas) that [there were/fuisse]  to that king (ei regi)  who (qui)…”.

In short, this passage refers to “Múlti iniqui atque ínfideles régno..”, where the poet Accius says that have many enemies, while Cicero points out that   many more enemies had that king [i.e.Caesar]   who with the Roman People's army brought the Roman People  into subjection….[Note that Cicero wants to refer to the military dictatorship of Julius Caesar].

Best regards,



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