Unit 9, Exercise III

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rothbard
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Unit 9, Exercise III

Post by rothbard » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:57 am

This is an excerpt from a letter by Pliny the Younger about the death of one of his friends' daughter:

"Duravit hic [vigor mentis] illi usque ad mortem nec aut spatio valetudinis aut metu mortis infractus est, quo plures gravioresque nobis causas relinqueret et desiderii et doloris."

I.e. "This [vigor of her mind] lasted till her death and was neither broken by the length of her illness nor by fear of death, leaving us with more numerous and grievous reasons of pain and regret".

A footnote in the book explains that the "quo" (with long "o") is to be interpreted as "ut". What kind of construction is this?

rothbard
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Re: Unit 9, Exercise III

Post by rothbard » Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:07 am

I found the answer in an old grammar book. It looks like when "ut" in a purpose clause is followed by a comparative adjective, it is normally replaced by "quo". For example:

"Legem oportet esse brevem, quo facilius ab imperitis teneatur."

I.e., "Laws ought to be brief, in order to be more easily remembered by the laymen".

mwh
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Re: Unit 9, Exercise III

Post by mwh » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:32 pm

In the Pliny letter it’s actually not a purpose clause (aka final) but a result clause (aka consecutive). It makes no difference to the construction, however. In this sentence it’s only the context that allows the distinction to be made between purpose and result.

Both in that sentence and in “Legem oportet esse brevem, quo facilius ab imperitis teneatur” quo is the ablative of the neuter relative pronoun, lit. “by which (means).” It’s the subjunctive that makes it a purpose clause. Cf. the use of relative and subjunctive in a sentence such as “leges breves fecerunt quae facile tenerentur,” “They made brief laws which would be (or so that they would be, in order that they might be) remembered easily.” Here too ut could be used instead of the relative.

rothbard
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Re: Unit 9, Exercise III

Post by rothbard » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:05 pm

Many thanks for your detailed explanations!

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