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Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

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Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Hampie » Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:46 pm

My last thread about this disappeared when the forum was hacked, but now I've encountered a problem, so I made a new one.

The commentaries I have to this sentence explains the meaning of it - the entire sentence, but I need to know how the sentence is constructed, what functions the words have, to really learn it. Ah well, no delay, 'ere comes the little sentence:

Sī tē jam, Catilīna, comprehendī, sī interficī jusserō, crēdō, erit verendum mihi, nē nōn potius hoc omnēs bonī sērius ā mē quam quisquam crūdēlius factum esse dīcat.

The first part I think I've figured out. I struggled with erit verendum mihi, but I finally understood it as something like "it will be scary for me". The rest just... Puzzles me. Ne non I understand is some rhetoric trick with a double negation and has just a normal negative meaning, I believe. Maybe I'm tired but this sentence just don't make sense to me... I have the Swedish translation, a Swedish commentary that deals with it just by offering a translation of the passage, and I found a great English word list here.
Här kan jag i alla fall skriva på svenska, eller hur?
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby thesaurus » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:19 am

Hampie wrote:Sī tē jam, Catilīna, comprehendī, sī interficī jusserō, crēdō, erit verendum mihi, nē nōn potius hoc omnēs bonī sērius ā mē quam quisquam crūdēlius factum esse dīcat.

The first part I think I've figured out. I struggled with erit verendum mihi, but I finally understood it as something like "it will be scary for me". The rest just... Puzzles me. Ne non I understand is some rhetoric trick with a double negation and has just a normal negative meaning, I believe. Maybe I'm tired but this sentence just don't make sense to me... I have the Swedish translation, a Swedish commentary that deals with it just by offering a translation of the passage, and I found a great English word list here.


This is a tough sentence for anyone. If you have the first part figured out, I'll move to the second. Suffice to say that the first part uses the future perfect "jussero," and passive infinitives "comprehendi, interfici."

"erit verendum mihi" means "I will have to fear," literally "it will have to be feared by me." It's gerundive in the future sense, with mihi being dative of agent (which happens with gerundives). The tense is future because it is the result of the previous future perfect clause. I.e. "If I will have ordered, then I will fear..."

Here is what the sentence might look like if you moved things around. I'm not sure this is entirely accurate, so someone correct me if I'm wrong:
erit verendum mihi ne omnes boni non potius (dicant) hoc serius factum esse a me quam quisquam dicat [hoc a me] crudelius factum esse.


You can see that the difficulty is a factor of unspoken words. I think the last verb of speaking "dicat" needs to be supplied for "omnes boni." The "quam" means "than" and is setting up a comparison between two sides: whether something was done "more slowly" (serius) or "more cruelly" (crudelius). You can also see the comparison in these comparative adjectives. The "potius" isn't a comparative but the adverb "rather," as in "rather... than..."

But what is being compared? Namely, "hoc," the rate of Catiline's being put to death. "a me" is "by me," showing Cicero's agency in the deed. It's passive because it relies on the passive infinitives from the first clause. So in the case that he ordered Catiline to death, Cicero would be afraid that people would say that it was "rather too slow than too cruel." I'm turning "more slowly" into "too slowly" by inference; "more slowly/cruelly [than it ought to have been done]."

Literal translation:
If I will have ordered you now, Catiline, to be seized and killed, I believe I will have to fear lest all good people say that this was done more slowly by me, than that anyone would say it was done more cruelly.


Okay, so it sounds bizarre in English too. Perhaps we can state it more naturally and less literally:
If I were to order you now to be seized and killed, Catiline, I would fear that good people would rather say that my order was too slow than too cruel.


In other words, time is of the essence. The "iam" at the beginning is important. Cicero stresses that to have Catiline killed on the spot wouldn't even be too hasty, and certainly not too cruel a punishment given the nature of his offenses. It's an interesting and important line, given that almost this exact thing happens shortly afterwords and gets Cicero in trouble. I hope this helps.
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: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby cb » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:48 am

hi, in addition to thesaurus' comments above, if you search for the following in google books you will find a great commentary on the first catiline which explains every word and every construction (the commentary on your particular sentence is on pgs 47 to 49):

intitle:cicero intitle:parsed

cheers :)
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby ptran » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:18 pm

I think thesaurus got it and is right that it is a very hard passage. I've always suspected that we're all missing the sarcasm that Cicero says the "credo." Imagine the following sentence uttered sincerely and sarcastically: "I suppose I'll have to do worse." The sarcastic version seems to be saying the opposite, and I think that Cicero is saying that as well.
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby thesaurus » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:46 pm

ptran wrote:I think thesaurus got it and is right that it is a very hard passage. I've always suspected that we're all missing the sarcasm that Cicero says the "credo." Imagine the following sentence uttered sincerely and sarcastically: "I suppose I'll have to do worse." The sarcastic version seems to be saying the opposite, and I think that Cicero is saying that as well.


Definitely. The fact that Cicero isn't asking for Catiline's death but his exile backs this up. It seems like oratorical posturing.
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: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Interaxus » Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:13 am

Thesaurus: You get my vote for Best Latin Teacher on the Planet 2009!

Hampie: I suppose you know that you can download an interlinear Catiline as well as an English (actually a phrase-by-phrase Latin-English) 'translation' from Textkit?

cb: Unfortunately Google here in Sweden doesn't even list (let alone allow us to download) that Completely Parsed Catiline you mention - just the Bolchazy-Carducci reprint from 2004 which costs $43 at Amazon. If I give you my email address, could you send me the pdf as an attachment? Or at least post the full link here on the off-chance that copying it into a Proxy might work? Thanks.

Cheers,
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby cb » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:11 am

hi inter, here is the link: http://books.google.fr/books?id=Ls8NAAAAIAAJ&pgis=1

i cannot download the pdf myself either from france, sorry.

fyi there are other books just like this (but not online as far as i know), with each word and construction explained: book 1 of the aeneid, horace's odes books 1 and 2 (although in this, once a word is fully parsed, later occurrences of the same word give cross-refs back to the first parsing, rather than providing it in full again like in the catiline and aeneid ones). there is also a caesar gallic wars book 1 which i don't have, however mannetter's 2004 commentary on book 7 of the gallic wars is similar: each construction is explained, and a vocab list for each sentence is given at the start of the sentence: http://books.google.fr/books?id=VYzZO2U3BNkC

cheers :)
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Interaxus » Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:27 pm

cb:

Thanks for that. By using a proxy, I was able to find the book and could read it - but I still couldn't download it. Then I took the bold step of downloading and installing a 7-day trial version of Anonymizer's 'Anonymous Surfing'. From here: http://www.anonymizer.com/consumer/prod ... index.html

It sort of runs in the background once you've turned on the relevant surfing feature. Next I opened Google Books in the normal way, searched for 'Cicero against Catiline by Maclardy', found the book and was able to download it without a hitch. :D

If this method doesn't work for you, perhaps I can email you the pdf if there's room in your mailbox - it's a hefty 11,701 KB.

Cheers,
Int
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby peterp » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:29 pm

The Thesarus seems to grasp what the real meaning is and he does have some sarcasm which is sometimes hard to spot in lanting passages
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby ptolemyauletes » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:46 am

Hi. Sorry to be contrary, but I fear that thesaurus has missed out on what this actual passage says. I believe the ironic sense of the passage has been missed and that this is due to a misunderstanding of the placement of the 'non'. Here is an example of how fear clauses work.

vereor! ne curras! = I am afraid! Don't run! Hence 'vereor ne curras' means 'I am afraid that you will run.'

vereor! ut curras! = I am afraid! Please run! Hence 'vereor ut curras' means 'I am afraid that you won't run.'


vereor! ne non curras! = I am afraid! Not that you will run (...but that etc.) ERROR!*

*(ERROR! ERROR! What I meant to say was 'vereor! ne non curras! = I am afraid! Don't not run! = 'I am afraid that you will run.' In Cicero's sentence his addition of 'potius quam' renders it as 'vereor ne non curras potius quam' which means 'I am afraid, NOT that you will run RATHER THAN...)


'potius quam' should be translated as 'but rather that' as this is a preferrable English Idiom to 'rather than' in this type of sentence.

Hence, the whole sentence should read (extra words supplied in brackets, and in more natural English order):

credo, erit verendum mihi, ne non omnes boni (dicant) hoc (factum esse) a me serius, potius quam (ne) quisquam dicat (hoc) crudelius (a me) factum esse.

I believe I should fear not that all good men might say this thing was done too late by me, but rather that anyone might say it was done too cruelly by me.

Cicero is cutting off anyone from saying that he has acted too slowly (the irony is that he himself believes he has acted slowly, as likely do many others), by implying that all good men are more concerned that the deed be done in any case. The only worry he is is that someone afterwards (people of Catiline's ilk as opposed to omnes boni) might rebuke him and accuse him of cruelty.


Again, the 'non' following 'ne' is not a double negative, but rather acts to cancel out the first part of the fear clause (omnes boni), compared (hence 'potius quam') to the second half of the fear clause.

I hope this helps.
Last edited by ptolemyauletes on Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Interaxus » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:21 am

ptolemyauletes:

It certainly helped ME. Thanks!

Why didn’t I (or someone else more qualified) spot it before? It was staring me in the face in my Loeb translation: ”If I give orders, Catiline, for your instant arrest and execution, what I shall have to fear, I suppose, is not that all loyal citizens will say that I have acted too late but that some individual will say that I have acted too harshly”.

Not only have I grasped a bit more Latin but I now appreciate C’s irony as he tweaks the noses of his craven co-senators (they SHOULD be attacking him for being such a slouch...).

Footnote: I wonder why you add ”(est”) after ” erit verendum”? Isn’t ‘erit’ enough? Also, I think you might have placed ‘dicat’ after ‘quisquam’ in your pedagogical make-over of the Latin (it would balance better imho).

Cheers,
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby thesaurus » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:23 pm

Thanks for catching that, Ptolemyauletes. I must admit I'm often befuddled in clauses of fearing, so thinking of it as "Vereor! Ne curras!" will help. One of the faults of an intuitive approach is that my systematic knowledge of grammar is fairly weak, though I am working on rectifying that.
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: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby ptolemyauletes » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:12 pm

Hey Interaxus. Thanks for pointing out that 'est'. That is just a mistake on my part. I am so used to putting 'est' after gerundives in practice exercises. Glad I could help in any case. The rule I use to teach fear clauses is 'if it's got a negative, there ain't one, if it ain't got a negative, there is one'.
Or that fear clauses are the opposite of what they seem. Does that make sense?
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Interaxus » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:08 am

ptolemyauletes:

'if it's got a negative, there ain't one, if it ain't got a negative, there is one'.


Yes, that’s neat ... though your mantra doesn’t seem to cover the ’double negative’ contingency.

timeo ne cras pluat - I fear it will rain tomorrow
timeo ne non ad tempus adveniat - I am afraid he will not get here in time

W.J. Boyd, in Revision Notes for ’O’ Level Latin (1969) (whose examples I've stolen), commands his students to use ’ne non’ with ’timeo’ or ’vereor’ and never to copy the odd ’vereor ut’ they may come across out in the real world).

Personally, I like the idea of first establishing the contrasting pair ’ne’ and ’ne non’, and once that relatively simple concept’s been fixed in the mind, adding the small print: ’ut’ after ’vereor’ = ’ne non’. That way, ’non’ always means ’not’ and ’ne’ means something else. The combination ’ut’ (normally a nice guy) + ’vereor’ = party pooper. :evil:

But then, I'm not a Latin teacher. How often does 'vereor ut' actually turn up in normal reading texts?

Interestingly, Parsed Cicero mentions that ”...’ut’ was more common than ’ne non’ till Cicero, but the latter becomes more frequent thenceforward”. Thanks for that, Cicero!

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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby ptolemyauletes » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:49 pm

Yes, the saying doesn't necessarily cover 'ne non', although it is a simple matter to include it. Two 'nons' make an 'ut'. :)

I have seen plenty of cases of 'vereor ut' (I think), though I wouldn't want to contradict your text. I am sure W.J. Boyd has more Latin experience than I do.

Back to our Cicero sentence. This is NOT a case of a double negative, that is of 'ne non' standing in place of 'ut'. That would render an entirely different meaning. In that case Cicero would be saying 'I will have to fear that all good men won't say that I acted too late.'

i.e.
'vereor. ut (ne non) omnes boni hoc sērius ā mē factum esse dīcant.
I am afraid. Let all good men say I did this too late.

Clearly, this is not the intended meaning.

One way of thinking of the function of the 'non' is that Cicero's sentence is entirely negating the fearing itself in one instance, and alllowing it in the second.
'non erit verendum mihi, nē hoc omnēs bonī sērius ā mē factum esse dīcant. potius erit verendum mihi nē quisquam hoc ā mē quam crūdēlius factum esse dīcat.'

'I won't have to fear that all good men will say I did this too late. Rather, I will have to fear that anyone at all will say I did it too cruelly.'

Of course, Latin does this using a comparison (potius quam) that comes across clumsily in English, and is best left out. 'I will have to fear NOT one thing RATHER THAN another.

In any case, the 'ne' is not affected by the 'non'. It is the whole first fear clause that is affected.

Now, having re-read your posting, Interaxus, I don't think this is what you were implying, but I hope it helps in any case. :)

In fact, looking back at one of my postings I think this is what I implied! I will have to go back and fix it. :(
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Interaxus » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:53 pm

ptolemyauletes:

I found your latest Cicero anaysis really helpful.

As for that minor(?) issue of helping students grasp how ne & co. work, yes, I love 'two nons make a nut', but I suspect the best solution would be to provide ’vivid’ illustrations of their use in contrastive ’silly pairs’), ideally with pictures and speech ballons (copioso cum sudore). For example, to illustrate NE, any of the following:

Ulysses in cave (Vereor ne Polyphemus veniat); Andromeda tied to rock (Vereor ne monstrum veniat); child in bed scared of bogeyman / or child in Erlköning for Schubert lovers (Vereor ne Lamia veniat); early film heroine tied to railway line (Vereor ne tramine veniat); someone in doomsday prophet’s audience (Vereor ne Quattuor Equites veniant), General Custer (Vereor ne Equus Delirus veniat); etc, etc.

To illustrate UT (or NE NON):

Estragon or Vladimir (Vereor ut Godot veniat); Miss Haversham at the altar (Vereor ut sponsus veniat); old film heroine tied to railway line (Vereor ut heros veniat); Robinson Crusoe (Vereor ut naves veniat); General Custer (Vereor ut auxilium veniat); doomsday prophet 1 minute into new millennium (Vereor ut finis mundi veniat ... 'this time either); etc, etc.

Please help me anyone with sillier synthetic examples. My brain just went dead (Vereor ut Musa veniat) :oops: . But you get my point?

Cheers,
Int
Last edited by Interaxus on Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Interaxus » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:17 pm

One last question. What's the difference between the following two statements?

Vereor ut veniat (I fear that he will not come)
Dubito num venturus sit (I doubt whther he will come)

Is it just the fear factor? Or are they interchangeable? After all, there isn't much difference in English between 'I'm afraid/I fear/ he might not come' and 'I doubt he'll show'. Is the user of 'vereor' a few degrees more nervous/panicked than the user of 'dubito'? Or does it simply vary according to speaker and context?

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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby ptolemyauletes » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:15 pm

The essential difference between

Vereor ut veniat (I fear that he will not come)
Dubito num venturus sit (I doubt whther he will come)

Is that the first one is a fear clause, while the second is an indirect question.

In the first instance, one is afraid, and hoping 'let him come.'
In the second instance, one is uncertain, wondering, questioning 'will he come or not?'

The Fear clause is a genuine instance of fear, although the meaning could possibly be less severe than that.
The Indirect question is simply a case of uncertainty, although again the meaning could be stretched.

In actuality, however, or at least in grammatical terms, they are quite different clauses.

A fear clause introduces an idea of fear, followed by a command, a iussive subjunctive. 'Let him (not) come.'
An indirect question introduces an idea of uncertainty (He wondered, he asked), followed by a deliberative subjunctive. 'Whether will he come?'

Again, context is important, and a Roman (we can't ask any) might well see a big difference between the two. We use a sentence such as 'I am afraid he isn't coming' in a very casual sense, a sense of regret perhaps. No one is actually scared.

So to answer, no they are not really the same, but I am not sure how much a role context would play and how much leeway a Roman would give.


And thanks interaxus, for those examples! :)
Last edited by ptolemyauletes on Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby SashaMiller » Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:00 pm

http://www.english-latin.com
If I will have ordered you now, Catiline, to be seized and killed, I believe I will have to fear lest all good people say that this was done more slowly by me, than that anyone would say it was done more cruelly.
..
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby adrianus » Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:36 pm

I went to the website you gave, SashaMiller, and consulted the chicken by pulling its toes.
Ô SashaMiller, ad situm â te suprà citatum adivi, et ungulis conandis gallinam consultavi.
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: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Imber Ranae » Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:33 am

I completely agree with Ptolemyauletes' translation of this difficult passage. The clue here that 'ne non' does not equal 'ut' is word order. Consider that there are two cases in which a negative fear clause must us 'ne non' rather than 'ut': (1) when the verb of fearing is itself negated, as in Non vereor ne tua virtus opinioni hominum non respondeat "I do not fear that your virtue will not meet men's expectation(s)"; (2) when a particular word of the fear clause is meant to be negated, but not the clause as a whole, e.g. In partem gloriae venio, sed vereor, ne non tam viceris quam bella severis "I am receiving a portion of the glory, but I fear that you have not so much been victorious as you have spread wars." This particular passage from Cicero's 1st Catilinarian Oration is an instance of the latter, as far as I can tell. That is to say 'non' modifies 'potius' and not the implied verb of the first half of the fear clause. If it were equivalent to 'ut' in this instance, I believe Cicero would have placed 'non' before 'serius' or perhaps before 'omnes homines'.

The 'non potius...quam' construction is difficult to fit to English idiom, but I think converting it to "not so much...as" gets the idea across faithfully in English: "I will have to fear not so much that all loyal citizens will say I did this too slowly as that anyone may say I did it too cruelly."
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Swth\r » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:42 pm

ptolemyauletes wrote:Vereor ut veniat (I fear that he will not come)
Dubito num venturus sit (I doubt whther he will come)

In the first instance, one is afraid, and hoping 'let him not come.'


Why do I understand it as "hoping" 'let him come'"?
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby ptolemyauletes » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:50 pm

Sorry Swth/r, you are absolutely correct. That was a clerical error on the part of my tired brain (by blaming it on my brain I completely absolve myself of responsibility :wink: ). I will fix it at once. Thanks!
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Interaxus » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:53 pm

Swth/r:

Probably because you missed what Ptolemyauletes wrote some days back:

The rule I use to teach fear clauses is 'if it's got a negative, there ain't one, if it ain't got a negative, there is one'.
Or that fear clauses are the opposite of what they seem.

Or you need to check out what your Grammar Book says about VERBS OF FEARING (UT, NE, UT...NON)

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Int
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Swth\r » Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:31 pm

Interaxus wrote:Swth/r:

Probably because you missed what Ptolemyauletes wrote some days back:

The rule I use to teach fear clauses is 'if it's got a negative, there ain't one, if it ain't got a negative, there is one'.
Or that fear clauses are the opposite of what they seem.

Or you need to check out what your Grammar Book says about VERBS OF FEARING (UT, NE, UT...NON)

Cheers,
Int


Salve interaxe meus.

Not me. :D
Egomet minime! :D

timeo ne pluat. I am afraid that it will rain (=> I wouldn't like it, so I hope that it will not!)
timeo ut pluat. I am afraid that it will not rain (=> I would like it, so I hope that it will!!!)

:wink:
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby Interaxus » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:01 pm

Swth/r:

My brain slept too. Me paenitet! :oops:

Cheers,
Int
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Re: Help with Cicero (Oratio in Catilina prima)

Postby adrianus » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:59 pm

This seems to me a joke by Cicero. Because "ne non" applies to both clauses, that introduced by "potiùs" and that introduced by "quàm", I believe he's saying, tongue in cheek:

Jocus â Cicerone factus hoc mihi videtur. Quòd "ne non" alterae clausulae (illae per "potius" inceptae, illae per "quàm") adicitur, ut credo, ironicè dicit ità:
"If I were to order you seized and killed right now, Catilina, I'd be less worried that all decent people would say I didn't do it soon enough but that not a single one would say it was too harsh of me."

with "not a single one" = "not anyone at all". Ironically, he's fearing for Catilina, not for himself! Now, that's an insult! Non pro ipse, sed pro Catalinâ timet! Quàm injuriam!
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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