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Ablative or Disjuncted Nominative?

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Ablative or Disjuncted Nominative?

Postby akisame » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:20 pm

Hello forum,

I have a few questions about this sentence in my textbook where it deals with the ut + subjunctive constructions:

Hortensius tanta memoria fuit ut omnia cogitata verbis iisdem redderet.

The most difficult part is finding the subject of fuit. Is it Hortensius or tanta memoria? On one hand "Hortensius was such a memory" sounds pretty bad in English (maybe not so in Latin but I don't know). Is tanta memoria in the ablative? so there is an implied cum as in "Hortensius was with such a memory that...."?

On the other hand having tanta memoria as the subject makes Hortensius in the nominative afloat from the rest of the sentence. Is this a disjuncted nominative that merely introduces the topic of the paragraph?

omnia cogitata
This phrase is also difficult to understand. I know what the latter part of the sentence literally means:
that he would return all thought-upon things in the same words

Still, it does not make much sense. What is it that I am missing here?

For reference, the sentence looks like a pedagogical rewrite of the following. I didn't mention this up until here because the original is too hard for me to understand but I thought it would be wise to quote it for the sake of providing the context for my question.
301 (Hortensius). Primum memoria tanta {erat), quantum
in nullo cognovisse me arbitror, ut, quae secum commentatus esset,
ea sine scripto verbis eisdem redderet, quibus cogitavisset.

w w w.archive.org/stream/lecturesandessa00havegoog/lecturesandessa00havegoog_djvu.txt
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Re: Ablative or Disjuncted Nominative?

Postby modus.irrealis » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:40 pm

"memoria" here is an ablative, which if I remember correctly is called the ablative of description, since it describes. So "tanta memoria fuit" = "was of such a great memory" = "had such a great memory".

For the rest, first "reddo" itself has a number of meaning and here I would take it to mean "repeat" or "recite" (i.e. "give back in speech"). For "omnia cogitata" it means "everything he had thought". The original is clearer in this respect because it says "he would repeat those things without writing in the same words with which he had thought those things." Hopefully that clears it up.
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Re: Ablative or Disjuncted Nominative?

Postby Kynetus Valesius » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:41 am

akisame

I can certainly understand your frustration! Cicero is very hard, at least to me and that after quite a number of years studying. Cynetus
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Re: Ablative or Disjuncted Nominative?

Postby akisame » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:38 am

modus.irrealis wrote:"memoria" here is an ablative, which if I remember correctly is called the ablative of description, since it describes. So "tanta memoria fuit" = "was of such a great memory" = "had such a great memory".

Yeah, in fact right after I posted this, I read in another textbook about this use of the ablative; the ablative is used without cum for a person or people to describe their characteristics etc. :oops:

Could someone translate the second line of the original?
quantum in nullo cognovisse me arbitror, ut, quae secum commentatus esset

I understand all words there but cannot put them together into a meaningful sentence.

Thanks again.

Akis
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Re: Ablative or Disjuncted Nominative?

Postby akisame » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:49 am

Just to show the example sentence of the ablative of description from my textbook:

(Britanni) capilloque sunt promisso atque omni parte corporis rasa praeter caput et labrum superius

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/caesar/gall5.shtml#14
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Re: Ablative or Disjuncted Nominative?

Postby modus.irrealis » Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:30 am

akisame wrote:Could someone translate the second line of the original?
quantum in nullo cognovisse me arbitror, ut, quae secum commentatus esset

I understand all words there but cannot put them together into a meaningful sentence.

I think it should be "quantam" and go with "tanta memoria" -- I'm having trouble representing it as a relative clause in English so I'll cheat: "memoria tanta erat, quantum in nullo cognovisse me arbitror, ut, quae secum commentatus esset,..." = "he had such a great memory (and I believe I have not known such a great [memory] in anyone) that the things he had deliberated on...." Some of these words have technical meanings so it's useful to check them out in a more thorough dictionary like this entry for commentor where you see that it has the meaning of preparing one's speech.
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Re: Ablative or Disjuncted Nominative?

Postby adrianus » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:42 am

Fortassè hoc:
Firstly, I tell you he had a memory such as no one I ever knew, to the extent that, whatever he would have studied earlier by himself, he would render[/deliver] in the same words as those he had intended without a script.
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: Ablative or Disjuncted Nominative?

Postby akisame » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:24 pm

Thank you modus.irrealis and adrianus!

Somehow, I was obsessed with an idea that me is the subject of arbitror. :(
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Re: Ablative or Disjuncted Nominative?

Postby akisame » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:43 pm

tuumne, adriani, est hoc interpretamentum? pulchri aestimo!
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