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stuck with one sentence

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stuck with one sentence

Postby Mr_JP » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:22 am

Hi, I am struggling with a text in a book called "38 Latin Stories" which is a companion to Wheelock's. I am an independent student and the text I'm struggling with says it is adapted from Cicero, Brutus 65-70.

I won't type in the whole thing, but there is one sentence which still has me stumped:
[]= supplied by notes
() supplied by me

Sed ea in notris [oratoribus] inscitia est, quod hi ipsi qui in litteris Graecis antiquitate delectantur, hanc in Catone ne noverunt quidem.

So far I cannot connect these phrases in any way that makes sense.

"But this ignorance is in our orators" or possibly "but this ignorance in our orators is"
"which/because these same (orators) who are delighted by the antiquity in Greek literature"
"they had not even become acquainted with this (ignorance?) in Cato"

I'm missing something that's probably obvious to a more advanced student....but I just can't see it. Can anyone help me out?
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Re: stuck with one sentence

Postby Calgacus » Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:42 am

I think the hanc in this case agrees with an understood antiquitatem (which is the only feminine word in the previous clause).
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Re: stuck with one sentence

Postby Qimmik » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:26 pm

Here's a longer excerpt from Brutus:

sed ea in nostris inscitia est, quod hi ipsi, qui in Graecis antiquitate delectantur eaque subtilitate, quam Atticam appellant, hanc in Catone ne noverunt quidem. Hyperidae volunt esse et Lysiae. Laudo. sed cur nolunt Catones? . . . Cur igitur Lysias et Hyperides amatur, cum penitus ignoretur Cato?

As Calgacus notes, hanc refers back to antiquitate, and, in the original, despite being singular, to ea subtilitate quam Atticam appellant, "that plainness/simplicity/absence of ornament that they call "Attic." See Lewis and Short, subtilitas II B:


The puzzle here is what Cicero means by antiquitate. The omitted words are a clue to what Cicero is talking about. He uses the term antiquitas (as the omitted words demonstrate) to mean the older, "Attic" style of rhetoric, which was plain and unadorned, but could be very effective in the hands of Lysias or Hyperides.

The quod clause is a substantive clause which is in apposition to ea inscitia. Allen & Greenough 572:


Cicero is saying that Cato's speeches have the same qualities of unadorned brevity and concision as Greek orators such as Lysias and Hyperides, who exemplify the older "Attic" style of oratory, but there is ignorance among contemporary Roman orators in that even those who take pleasure in that style (which Cicero refers to as antiquitas) in Greek literature haven't even recognized it [noverunt] in Cato. He goes on: "They want to be a Hyperides or a Lysias [literally, Hyperideses and Lysiases]. I'm all for it. But why don't they want to be a Cato? . . . Why are Lysias and Hyperides so well-loved, when Cato is completely unknown?"

Hope this helps.
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Re: stuck with one sentence

Postby Dominus Faba » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:53 pm

My Latin is nowhere near good enough to have a go at this, but I do have a copy of the 'Teacher's Guide'. The translation provided is:

"But it is ignorance on the part of our [orators] that they, the very ones delighted by a primitive simplicity in Greek literature, do not even notice this in Cato."

I hope this helps a bit at least.
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Re: stuck with one sentence

Postby Mr_JP » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:50 am

Thanks for the responses, they were very helpful, especially the explanation of the "quod" clause.
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