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problem with a Suetonius sentence

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problem with a Suetonius sentence

Postby hlawson38 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:23 pm

This is from Suetonius, Divus Augustus, Chapter 27, right at the beginning. The first sentence I understand:


"Triumviratum rei p. constituendae per decem annos administravit; in quo restitit quidem aliquamdiu collegis ne qua fieret proscriptio, sed inceptam utroque acerbius exercuit."

But immediately following is one that baffles me. Since I have an English translation, I know what others think it means, but I can't see the grammar.

"Namque illis in multorum saepe personam per gratiam et preces exorabilibus solus magno opere contendit ne cui parceretur, proscripsitque etiam C. Toranium tutorem suum, eundem collegam patris sui Octavi in aedilitate."

My translation:

For in fact, against the other two triumvirs ["illis"], often subject to personal influence and prayers for clemency, he contended, to make sure that one [on the proscription list] would not be spared; he even proscribed C. Toranius, his guardian and a colleague with his [ Augustus's] father in the aedileship.

Problems:

What is the position of "multorum" in this sentence? What is the complement of this genitive plural.

Is "personam per gratiam" and idiom? Is is a noun "personam" used as if an adjective?

What is the place of the preposition "in"? Is it's object "illis"?

I have to consult translations frequently on Suetonius.
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Re: problem with a Suetonius sentence

Postby adrianus » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:12 pm

Ut opinor // I think
"In so far as, with them being open to persuasion through influence and entreaties often in their [legal] judgement[s against the persons] of many people, he was the only one who insisted with great urgency that none should [= anyone should not] be spared…"

in personam (a legal term//legalis appellatio) = in a proceeding against a particular person,
=> often in many personal proceedings (I think)

Post scriptum
I can't see a translation that translates exactly this way, but even so I would offer it.
Nullam versionem reperio quae sic vertit; sic tamen verto.
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: problem with a Suetonius sentence

Postby Qimmik » Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:50 am

illis . . . exorabilibus is an ablative absolute: "the other two being susceptible to personal favors and prayers for clemency"

in personam multorum -- against the person of many" As Adrianus notes, this is legal language meaning something like "[in proceedings] against (in) the person of many [individuals]."

ne cui -- after si, nisi, ne and num, quis is used as an indefinite pronoun.

Allen & Greenough, sec. 309:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0001%3Asmythp%3D310

ne cui parceretur -- "[to make sure that] no one would be spared."
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Re: problem with a Suetonius sentence

Postby hlawson38 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:47 pm

Thanks to Adrianus and Qimmik for the helpful replies.

Especially on point were these observations:

"in personam" denotes a kind of legal action, in the instance of the quotation, a legal action to confiscate somebody's property.

Hence "multorum ... in personam" can mean something like "actions at law against many persons"

"ne cui . . . parceretur": in this "cui" is an indefinite pronoun. Octavian didn't want anybody on the enemies list spared, but the other two triumvirs sometimes displayed leniency.
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Re: problem with a Suetonius sentence

Postby adrianus » Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:07 am

hlawson38 wrote:"in personam" denotes a kind of legal action, in the instance of the quotation, a legal action to confiscate somebody's property.

Noli, autem, miscere actionem judicalem in personam et in rem. Alterutrum habere eandem confiscationis rei eventum fieri potest, ut imaginor.
Actions against property aren't the same as actions against the person, although the outcome in both cases might be confiscation of property, I can imagine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_personam
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: problem with a Suetonius sentence

Postby Qimmik » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:30 pm

In personam is a legal term in American law referring to the source of a court's jurisdiction to hear a case (as opposed to in rem). In the passage from Suetonius, however, in personam multorum doesn't seem to mean a legal action to confiscate a person's property, but rather a proscription -- i.e., a summary death sentence, an action, to be sure, but not one involving legal procedures -- against a person. "The others could be persuaded to clemency [in proposed proscriptions] against the person [i.e., the life] of many people by favors and pleas . . . "
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Re: problem with a Suetonius sentence

Postby hlawson38 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:45 pm

Thanks again Qimmik, my understanding of proscription needed correction.
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Re: problem with a Suetonius sentence

Postby Qimmik » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:14 am

Here's a Wikipedia article on proscriptions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proscription
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