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Help with Livy -- when is "cepit" passive?

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Help with Livy -- when is "cepit" passive?

Postby Gregarius » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:52 am

I've having trouble with the following sentence from Livy:

ita Numitori Albana re permissa Romulum Remumque cupido cepit in iis locis ubi expositi ubique educati erant urbis condendae.


In particular, what is the subject of "cepit"? Though I get the gist of it on my own, I've cheated and looked at a translation, which translates "cepit" into English as passive, and Romulus and Remus as the subjects of the sentence. Clearly, cepit is active, perfect, 3rd singular, and the boys are accusative, right? Is there some idiom with "capio" that I'm missing? Usually, with a missing subject, there's a he/she/it that can be inferred, but that doesn't seem to work here.
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Re: Help with Livy -- when is "cepit" passive?

Postby Craig_Thomas » Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:03 am

"Cepit" is certainly, as you say, active. "Cupido" is its subject.
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Re: Help with Livy -- when is "cepit" passive?

Postby Gregarius » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:52 pm

Craig_Thomas wrote:"Cupido" is its subject.


Ah, of course! cupido/cupidonis not cupidus/i.

Thank you very much. I still don't understand why the translator chose to turn it around and render it passive, but all is clear now.
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Re: Help with Livy -- when is "cepit" passive?

Postby modus.irrealis » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:15 pm

Gregarius wrote:I still don't understand why the translator chose to turn it around and render it passive,

Probably to preserve "information order". Since English doesn't have flexible word order like Latin, the passive is one of the ways to get around that and have the information presented in the same order.
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