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Cicero's letters to his wife.

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Cicero's letters to his wife.

Postby phil » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:29 am

These two letters are giving me grief.

Valetudinem tuam velim cures diligentissime. Nam mihi et scriptum et nuntiatum est te in febrim subito incidisse. Quod celeriter me fecisti de Caesaris litteris certiorem, fecisti mihi gratum.Item, posthac, si quid opus erit, si quid acciderit novi, facies ut sciam. Cura ut valeas.

I hope that you will take very good care of yourself, for I have read and heard that you've come down with a fever. Because you quickly informed me about Caesar's letter, you did me a favour. Also, in future, if something will need?, or if something new happens, please let me know. Timkerty-tonk

The second one is even worse.

In Tusculanum nos venturos putamus aut Nonis aut postridie. !Ibi ut sint omnia parata!. Plures enim fortasse nobiscum erunt, et ut arbitror diutius ibi commorabimur. Labrum si in balneo non est, ut sit; item cetera quae sunt ad victum et valetudinem necessaria Vale.
p.s that's labrum with a macron over the 'a'

I think we shall arrive at our Tusculan estate either on the Nones or the day after. There so that everything has been prepared, Perhaps we will have more people? does this mean people? with us, and as I judge, we will stay there for a bit longer. If the vat is not in the bath, so that it might be?; Also, the remaining things which are needed for sustenance and health. Toodle-pip.

If someone could help me with these I'd be grateful.

Phil
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Re: Cicero's letters to his wife.

Postby Imber Ranae » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:58 am

Hi, phil.

Si quid opus erit = "If there shall be need of anything"

In the case of ibi ut, and ut sit after the conditional, I believe these are informal short forms, with ellipsis of fac or some other imperative word. The idea is "Make sure everything there is prepared," and "If the basin/bathtub is not in the bathing room, make it so!"

"Timkerty-tonk" :)
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Cicero's letters to his wife.

Postby thesaurus » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:27 am

phil wrote:These two letters are giving me grief.

Valetudinem tuam velim cures diligentissime. Nam mihi et scriptum et nuntiatum est te in febrim subito incidisse. Quod celeriter me fecisti de Caesaris litteris certiorem, fecisti mihi gratum.Item, posthac, si quid opus erit, si quid acciderit novi, facies ut sciam. Cura ut valeas.

I hope that you will take very good care of yourself, for I have read and heard that you've come down with a fever. Because you quickly informed me about Caesar's letter, you did me a favour. Also, in future, if something will need?, or if something new happens, please let me know. Timkerty-tonk

The second one is even worse.

In Tusculanum nos venturos putamus aut Nonis aut postridie. !Ibi ut sint omnia parata!. Plures enim fortasse nobiscum erunt, et ut arbitror diutius ibi commorabimur. Labrum si in balneo non est, ut sit; item cetera quae sunt ad victum et valetudinem necessaria Vale.
p.s that's labrum with a macron over the 'a'

I think we shall arrive at our Tusculan estate either on the Nones or the day after. There so that everything has been prepared, Perhaps we will have more people? does this mean people? with us, and as I judge, we will stay there for a bit longer. If the vat is not in the bath, so that it might be?; Also, the remaining things which are needed for sustenance and health. Toodle-pip.

If someone could help me with these I'd be grateful.

Phil


As mentioned, these subjunctives are jussive. Yes, "plures" does refer to people here.

A very small point in the first letter: "velim cures" is literally "I want you to take care [of your health]," with an optative subjunctive following a the verb of wanting.

Isn't Cicero a loving husband? "I hear your sick. Get better. Oh, and I'm having a ton of my friends over later for an indefinite period, so make sure that you take care of everything before we get there, ok?"
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Cicero's letters to his wife.

Postby Damoetas » Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:31 am

thesaurus wrote:Isn't Cicero a loving husband? "I hear your sick. Get better. Oh, and I'm having a ton of my friends over later for an indefinite period, so make sure that you take care of everything before we get there, ok?"

Dude, he was one of the most important statesmen in the republic; he almost single-handedly saved Rome from Cataline, and he was the first civilian ever to be declared pater patriae; so he needs a wife who can handle basic household management. Do you expect him to cry and give her flowers, like some worthless elegiac poet? :)
Dic mihi, Damoeta, 'cuium pecus' anne Latinum?
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Re: Cicero's letters to his wife.

Postby adrianus » Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:21 pm

May as well plug the Celts when I can...
Certainly, the Roman's as a whole weren't big on the emancipation of women and slaves and the rights of the child. The Celts were slightly higher minded in that regard, a bit more civilized there.

Jobs must still be done and empires maintained, but with someone somewhere always having to give, the debt constantly accrues.



Cum coner, ut Celtas promoveam...
Plerique Romani certé nec emancipationem feminarum servorumque nec jura liberorum adjuvabant. Celtas haec aliquantulùm plùs movebant, igitur eis nominibus paululò humanior ea stirps.

Semper facienda negotia, obtinendum imperium; at continuò aera aliena acquiruntur, quià semper dare aliquis ubicumquè habet.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Cicero's letters to his wife.

Postby Imber Ranae » Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:57 am

thesaurus wrote:
As mentioned, these subjunctives are jussive. Yes, "plures" does refer to people here.

A very small point in the first letter: "velim cures" is literally "I want you to take care [of your health]," with an optative subjunctive following a the verb of wanting.

Isn't Cicero a loving husband? "I hear your sick. Get better. Oh, and I'm having a ton of my friends over later for an indefinite period, so make sure that you take care of everything before we get there, ok?"


Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you, but I must disagree that these subjunctives are all jussive. The cures in parataxis with velim is jussive, yes, but the subjunctives after the ut clauses can't be. For one, independent jussive subjunctives aren't preceded by ut, at least in classical prose. In archaic Latin and in poetry ut is often found in place of utinam after optative subjunctives, but never so with jussive subjunctives that I am aware of. In addition to that, these are clearly commands directed to the addressed, i.e. second person, but the subjunctive verbs are third person. Third person jussive subjunctives do not function as commands/exhortations to the second person to cause something to happen to the third person subject; they only indicate what the speaker/writer thinks the third person subject should do or have happen to him/her/it/them. As I said before, I think these are simply examples of ellipsis of the imperative fac, a verb which commonly takes a consecutive ut clause of what is or is to be caused, viz. "make that this be so."

Also, to be fair to Cicero, keep in mind that these are two separate letters written months apart. It's likely Terentia had recovered from her fever long before the rather demanding second letter was written and delivered (and which was also, perhaps not coincidentally, the last letter he sent to her before their divorce.)
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Cicero's letters to his wife.

Postby thesaurus » Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:57 pm

You are of course correct. I was using the terminology loosely, which I suppose is a no no in philology.

Recte mones, certo. Nominibus utebar grammaticis modo laxo, quo de more, ut arbitror, viri docti "ne faciat" dicunt.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Cicero's letters to his wife.

Postby adrianus » Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:35 am

What you say accords with Dillard [1], Imber Ranae, but another possible reading, I believe,—no ellipsis, very polite,—is to read "ut" as an interrogative adverb (see Oxford Latin Dictionary):
Quod dicis, Imber Ranae, cum Dillard [1] concurrit, sed vocabulum "ut" videlicet ut adverbium interrogativum potiùs quàm ut conjunctio legi potest, quod ellipsin non requirit et satìs bellum est ut lectio, mihi videtur:
"Ut vales?" "How are you?", so...
"Ibi ut sint omnia parata?" How might everything be readied there?"
"Labrum si in balneo non est, ut sit?" If the tub is not in the bathroom, might it happen that it were?"

Now that would fit a tinkerty-tonk.
Quae lectio valedictum de Alberto Wooster benè meret.

[1] J. H. Dillard, Fifty Letters of Cicero (1901), p.35, "ut sint : the omission of cura or fac is unusual. There is an air of haste and abruptness in the note. Cicero and Terentia were divorced a few months later."
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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