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Unit Thirteen - Questions about the Exercises

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Unit Thirteen - Questions about the Exercises

Postby bellum paxque » Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:53 pm

Usually there is a sentence or maybe two in each unit that I simply cannot understand, but, in Unit Thirteen, there were several. I guess M & F decided that they had to raise the bar a little bit.

5. Harum sententiarum quae vera sit, deus aliqui videat.

I can't make any sense of it. Literally, it seems: "Of these opinions which be true, some god would see." What noun governs "harum sententiarum"? Is it the woman (?) implied in "quae" and "vera"? And how are the two sentences connected? What is it that some god sees?

32. Di in caelo, parcite nobis! Naturam optimam ducem tamquam deum sequimur eique paremus.

Just a small question here. The first half is fine; but in the last half, there seem to be a lot of accusatives: "naturam optimam ducem . . . deum." Would I translate it as, "we follow our best nature, the leader, as it were, of the gods, and we will obey it"? This textbook does not give any examples with tamquam, so I'm not entirely sure how it's used. Deum is a bit tricky, since it can be either accusative singular or genitive plural, I believe.

35b. Me interficere conanti dextram moratus sum manum.

I think that "conanti" is most confusing for me in this sentence. It seems to read, "I stayed my right hand . . . the one trying to kill me." Is "me interficere conanti" an ablative of cause? That, I guess, seems plausible. But I haven't seen a participial phrase used like that before.

51. ... Sed de his duobus generibus alterum est druidum, quibus unus fortissimus praeest, alterum equitum. ...

I really enjoyed reading most of this adapted excerpt from Caesar, but this particular sentence stumped me. My translation: "But concerning these two types, one is of [?] the druids, of whom the strongest is the chief, the other of [?] the horsemen." First, why are the two alterums in accusative? Of which verb are they the object? Second, I am having difficulty understanding why "druidum" and "equitum" are in the genitive.


Thanks in advance for your help,

David
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Re: Unit Thirteen - Questions about the Exercises

Postby benissimus » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:10 am

bellum paxque wrote:5. Harum sententiarum quae vera sit, deus aliqui videat.

I can't make any sense of it. Literally, it seems: "Of these opinions which be true, some god would see." What noun governs "harum sententiarum"? Is it the woman (?) implied in "quae" and "vera"? And how are the two sentences connected? What is it that some god sees?

The first thing you should do when you see a subjunctive (sit and videat in this case) is ask yourself why it is there. Very rarely is a subjunctive translated by "would", "may", or "might".

Here are some basic clues, which are correct most of the time, that should help in determining why a verb is in the subjunctive (excluding, for now, the more specific types such as fear clauses):

tam, ita, tantum, etc. in the main clause; ut + subjunctive in the subordinate clause = result clause

ut or ne + subjunctive in the subordinate clause (without tam, ita, etc in main clause) = purpose clause

present subjunctive in the main clause = hortatory/volitive/jussive (whatever you like to call them)

subordinate clause containing a subjunctive and interrogative words, introduced in the main clause by a verb of thought/observation/speech = indirect question


For this sentence, videat fits the description of a jussive subjunction and sit fits the description of indirect question (you may not have known that qui, quae, quod is sometimes used interrogatively like quis, quid). You can leave the indirect question as it is, but you need to translate videat along the lines of "let (some god) see". The meaning of the sentence will also become clearer to you if you move the words after the comma to the beginning of the sentence. Sometimes to our English minds it is just word order that blurs the meaning, although the sentence may be translated perfectly or nearly perfectly.


32. Di in caelo, parcite nobis! Naturam optimam ducem tamquam deum sequimur eique paremus.

Just a small question here. The first half is fine; but in the last half, there seem to be a lot of accusatives: "naturam optimam ducem . . . deum." Would I translate it as, "we follow our best nature, the leader, as it were, of the gods, and we will obey it"? This textbook does not give any examples with tamquam, so I'm not entirely sure how it's used. Deum is a bit tricky, since it can be either accusative singular or genitive plural, I believe.

It is better to translate naturam optimam ducem as "nature, the best leader"; this is a rare situation where dux is feminine simply because it is in apposition with a feminine thing, natura. I would translate tamquam "just as...", i.e. "we follow nature... just as (we follow) a god...". deum could indeed be genitive plural, but it makes more sense for it to be accusative singular here and I don't recall seeing deum used for genitive plural in this textbook (deorum instead).

35b. Me interficere conanti dextram moratus sum manum.

I think that "conanti" is most confusing for me in this sentence. It seems to read, "I stayed my right hand . . . the one trying to kill me." Is "me interficere conanti" an ablative of cause? That, I guess, seems plausible. But I haven't seen a participial phrase used like that before.

this is a modification from Caesar's BC, "gladium educere conanti dextram moratur manum". me conanti makes the most sense as an ablative absolute with interficere acting as complement to conanti, i.e. "(with) me trying to kill", "while I tried to kill", etc. I have to admit this one gave me pause as well, the modification they made to it makes it more difficult than it already was, and Caesar's original sentence was not very easy.

51. ... Sed de his duobus generibus alterum est druidum, quibus unus fortissimus praeest, alterum equitum. ...

I really enjoyed reading most of this adapted excerpt from Caesar, but this particular sentence stumped me. My translation: "But concerning these two types, one is of [?] the druids, of whom the strongest is the chief, the other of [?] the horsemen." First, why are the two alterums in accusative? Of which verb are they the object? Second, I am having difficulty understanding why "druidum" and "equitum" are in the genitive.

with alterum, both times supply genus, which does not need repeating since it has already been mentioned and is the only neuter noun in the sentence. But I myself don't see anything wrong with saying "of these two classes one (class) is of druids, ..., the other (class is) of knights". druidum and equitum are genitives of composition, like in English we would say "a school of fish", "a band of thugs", "a house of idiots", "a race of druids and knights".

I noticed that you did not translate unus in the relative clause. It seems a little odd to say "of whom the one strongest is the chief", but not if you say something like "of whom the strongest one is the chief".
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Postby bellum paxque » Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:35 pm

For this sentence, videat fits the description of a jussive subjunction and sit fits the description of indirect question


So, "Harum sententiarum quae sit vera, deus aliqui videat" is translated as "Let some god see which of these opinions is true." You are right about the word order: not only the inversion of main clause and indirect question, but also the initial placement of the genitive phrase really tricked me. I've learned most of those subjunctive markers before, but I was really having trouble seeing how they applied to this sentence until your explanation.


It is better to translate naturam optimam ducem as "nature, the best leader"; this is a rare situation where dux is feminine simply because it is in apposition with a feminine thing, natura.


This seems awfully tricky, since I can't remember any point in the textbook up to this point that mentioned gender bending in apposition. Or perhaps this is a special property of dux?

me conanti makes the most sense as an ablative absolute with interficere acting as complement to conanti


Actually, the ablative absolute option occurred to me this morning while I was studying something else. I think the ambiguity of "me" was the hardest part here: ablative or accusative? I would have used a cum clause to make the sentence less confusing: "Cum interficere conarer, dextram moratus sum manum." Of course, cum clauses hadn't been discussed yet...

with alterum, both times supply genus, which does not need repeating since it has already been mentioned and is the only neuter noun in the sentence.


Perfect. Actually, I had temporarily forgotten that the "um" ending works for neuter nominative as well as masculine/neuter accusative in the singular. With "genus" understood in "alterum," the genitive of composition is evident to me, though I hadn't heard that term before.

Thanks so much for your lucid explanations. I continue to enjoy my study of this language, but, at times, self-teaching is frustrating and lonely. Multas gratias tibi ago propter tuum auxilium.

David
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