Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

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Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by hlawson38 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:46 am

Context: Cicero has introduced the problem of the nature of the gods. Do they exist? Are they concerned about human beings? Then he begins his narration of a conversation on this subject, the first speaker being Velleius. As I read it, Velleius is meant to represent a dogmatic fathead Euripidean. Velleius lectures through a sort of Western-Civ-course compressed history of philosophy, declaring that one after the other the great philosophers have bungled the question of the gods. Velleius turns his attention to Xenophon:
Atque etiam Xenophon paucioribus verbis eadem fere peccat; facit enim in his, quae a Socrate dicta rettulit, Socratem disputantem formam dei quaeri non oportere, eundemque et solem et animum deum dicere, et modo unum, tum autem plures deos; quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea, quae de Platone dicimus.
Translation: Xenophon also made almost the same mistakes, albeit in fewer words; Socrates, as described by Xenophon, declared that Socratic method was unfitted for inquiry into the nature [formam] of the gods, and also held that both the sun and the soul were god, and sometimes posited one god, sometimes many gods; which are pretty much the same errors as those of Plato which we describe.

I'm unsure of some of my interpretations:

eadem fere: "almost in the same way"; I've made this an adverbial phrase in English

Socratem disputantem . . . non oportere: I matched these up as subject and infinitive, and considered them as enclosing forman dei quaeri.

eundemque: I translated this as "and also", but I need a grammatical rationale for this word.

quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea: I translated this by brute force. I need help on isdem . . . quibus . . . ea.

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by Constantinus Philo » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:10 pm

plz provide a correct reference first, ok that's fine.
Last edited by Constantinus Philo on Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by Constantinus Philo » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:13 pm

isdem requires a dative: isdem quibus ea quae : similar to those that. the complete phrase would be: quae sunt isdem in erratis iis quibus ( abl. instrumentalis) ea quae de Platonis diximus peccant.
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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:21 pm

hlawson38 wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:46 am
Context: Cicero has introduced the problem of the nature of the gods. Do they exist? Are they concerned about human beings? Then he begins his narration of a conversation on this subject, the first speaker being Velleius. As I read it, Velleius is meant to represent a dogmatic fathead Euripidean. Velleius lectures through a sort of Western-Civ-course compressed history of philosophy, declaring that one after the other the great philosophers have bungled the question of the gods. Velleius turns his attention to Xenophon:
Atque etiam Xenophon paucioribus verbis eadem fere peccat; facit enim in his, quae a Socrate dicta rettulit, Socratem disputantem formam dei quaeri non oportere, eundemque et solem et animum deum dicere, et modo unum, tum autem plures deos; quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea, quae de Platone dicimus.
Translation: Xenophon also made almost the same mistakes, albeit in fewer words; Socrates, as described by Xenophon, declared that Socratic method was unfitted for inquiry into the nature [formam] of the gods, and also held that both the sun and the soul were god, and sometimes posited one god, sometimes many gods; which are pretty much the same errors as those of Plato which we describe.

I'm unsure of some of my interpretations:

eadem fere: "almost in the same way"; I've made this an adverbial phrase in English
This looks good.
Socratem disputantem . . . non oportere: I matched these up as subject and infinitive, and considered them as enclosing forman dei quaeri.
Translating with "Socratic method" sounds too technical to me. Socratem disputantem is the object of facit, something like "he presents Socrates as arguing that..." Which really makes opertere the infinitive in indirect statement and quaeri the infinitive dependent on opertere.
eundemque: I translated this as "and also", but I need a grammatical rationale for this word.
This looks right, and quite a common use of īdem:
OLD wrote:7 (in weakened sense, indicating that the same subject, etc., is involved) He, it, etc., too, he likewise.
▶ 〈te〉 quoque 〈ei〉 dono dedi ‥ idem ego te liberabo PL. Mil. 1207; quoi seruitutem di danunt lenoniam puero, atque eidem si addunt turpitudinem Ps. 768; Veneri ‥ habeo gratiam, eandemque ‥ oro Mil. 1228; omnia animat format alit ‥ omniumque idem est pater PAC. trag. 91; tibi M. Bibulus ‥ respondit, idemque in contione dixit CIC. Dom. 40; cum laetissimus ille ‥ dies inluxisset idemque casu Bruti natalis esset ad Brut. 1.15.8; CAES. Civ. 3.10.2; Corcyram sub imperium Atheniensium redegit sociosque idem adiunxit Epirotas NEP. Timoth. 2.1; HOR. Carm. 3.12.10; sed patrii seruate Lares: aluistis et idem TIB. 1.10.15; ea primum moderatio tribuni metum patribus dempsit, eademque auxit consulum inuidiam LIV. 3.59.4; habebat quidam filiam turpissimam, idemque insignem pulchra facie filium PHAED. 3.8.3; omnia ‥ prona uictoribus atque eadem uictis aduersa TAC. Ag. 33.
8 (introducing a noun or adjective as a further attribute of the same subject, translate ‘at the same time’, ‘also’).
▶ (with asyndeton) mater tu, eadem era es PL. As. 147; M. Marcellus ille quinquiens consul ‥ idem augur optimus CIC. Div. 2.77; C. Toranium tutorem suum, eundem collegam patris SUET. Aug. 27.1; —(with conjunctions) diuom atque hominum quae speratrix atque era eadem es hominibus PL. Mer. 842; uir fortis idemque philosophus CIC. Fam. 9.17.2; res obscuras ‥ easdemque non necessarias Off. 1.19; desine quaeso leno esse atque idem saeuus CATUL. 103.4; homines sceleratissumi ‥ nocentissumi et idem superbissumi SAL. Jug. 31.12; VERG. A. 10.607; Q. Pompei consulis filium eundemque Sullae generum VELL. 2.18.6; uxor Arminii eademque filia Segestis TAC. Ann. 1.57; JUV. 10.331; filio patroni in libertam paternam eandemque uxorem idem iuris CLEM. dig. 23.2.48.
quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea: I translated this by brute force. I need help on isdem . . . quibus . . . ea.
Translated by brute force... I've got to remember that :D My brute force, "which things are nearly in the same errors as those we mentioned in Plato." You're right, one too may relatives to be comfortable here (like many a family gathering), but the sense is clear.
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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by RandyGibbons » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:28 pm

Hi Hugh. I look forward to your forthcoming essay comparing Cicero and Augustine :D .

Your translation:
Xenophon also made almost the same mistakes, albeit in fewer words; Socrates, as described by Xenophon, declared that Socratic method was unfitted for inquiry into the nature [formam] of the gods, and also held that both the sun and the soul were god, and sometimes posited one god, sometimes many gods; which are pretty much the same errors as those of Plato which we describe.
+ eadem fere peccat - eadem is neuter plural and the direct object of peccat. In agreement with Barry, I think your "made almost the same mistakes" is spot on. I'm not sure what you mean when you then go on to say "eadem fere: 'almost in the same way'; I've made this an adverbial phrase in English".

+ "Socrates, as described by Xenophon, declared that Socratic method was unfitted for inquiry into the nature [formam] of the gods, ... " I think there are several things wrong here. First, Velleius isn't/can't be saying that Socrates declared his method unfit for this particular inquiry. Velleius is saying that Xenophon reported (rettulit) that Socrates didn't think it was appropriate to inquire into the form of god. Second, I think formam here really means the physical form of, not the nature of, god.

How to interpret facit? I weighed several options, including Barry's (that facit governs Socratem disputantem), and I think I will vote with him. And in that interpretation disputantem governs non oportere. But an alternative I could be persuaded of is 'he does this [i.e., makes the same mistakes] in the words [that is, in repeating the words] which he reported were said by Socrates, that is, that Socrates, in his normal mode of dialog (disputantem), (sc. said that) it isn't appropriate that the form of god be inquired into.' In any case, non oportere is in indirect discourse governed by what Socrates said and it in turn governs the indirect discourse formam dei quaeri (Sic Barry.)

+ "both the sun and the soul were god" I think I disagree with both you and Barry here. I think eundemque et solem et animum deum dicere means "and he said the sun and the soul are the same god". (I guess the answer to this would be in Xenophon's Memorabilia, which maybe someone less lazy than me will look up or recall.)

+ quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea, quae de Platone dicimus I'm not sure what your question is here. Do we agree that isdem in erratis is a phrase (that isdem goes with erratis)? 'which things [the things Xenophon said by way of reporting what Socrates said] are in the same mistakes [traffic in the same mistakes] more or less in which are the things we say in our discussion about Plato'. sunt isdem in erratis fere (sc. in) quibus (sc. sunt) ea, quae .... The literal translation of the prepositional phrase is worse than awkward English, and I think your "which are pretty much the same errors as those" is fine.

Randy

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by RandyGibbons » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:22 pm

I wrote:
+ "both the sun and the soul were god" I think I disagree with both you and Barry here. I think eundemque et solem et animum deum dicere means "and he said the sun and the soul are the same god". (I guess the answer to this would be in Xenophon's Memorabilia, which maybe someone less lazy than me will look up or recall.)
A while after submitting this, I looked up the translation (of Cicero) in the Loeb. Based on it, I'd say you, Hugh and Barry, are right.

R

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by hlawson38 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:48 pm

Many thanks to Barry, Constantinus, and Randy for all their work. I need to study those answers.

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by mwh » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:00 pm

hlawson38 wrote:As I read it, Velleius is meant to represent a dogmatic fathead Euripidean.
Obviously you meant “Epicurean.” But I would take exception to your characterization. Dogmatic maybe—that’s in the nature of the whole dialogue—but there’s nothing fatheaded about Velleius, nor does Cicero represent his views as anything other than intellectually respectable (not that he’s any judge) and worthy of serious consideration. Velleius’ thumbnail critiques of pre-Epicurean philosophers are largely well-founded and echo mainstream Greek philosophical criticism—not so easily dismissed!

As to “eundemque et solem et animum deum dicere,” Barry proffered the right OLD entry. Lit. “and that the same man (i.e. Soc.) says that both sun and soul are god.” (A somewhat distortive statement, naturally.) Randy does well to renounce his prior construal.

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by hlawson38 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:28 pm

mwh wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:00 pm
hlawson38 wrote:As I read it, Velleius is meant to represent a dogmatic fathead Euripidean.
Obviously you meant “Epicurean.” But I would take exception to your characterization. Dogmatic maybe—that’s in the nature of the whole dialogue—but there’s nothing fatheaded about Velleius, nor does Cicero represent his views as anything other than intellectually respectable (not that he’s any judge) and worthy of serious consideration. Velleius’ thumbnail critiques of pre-Epicurean philosophers are largely well-founded and echo mainstream Greek philosophical criticism—not so easily dismissed!
Epicurean: I did mean to type that.

fathead: I'm glad to hear a judgment based on more learning than I possess. Better for me, I think, to express an opinion, and see a criticism of it, than to be silent about what I was thinking. Many thanks to mwh.

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by hlawson38 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:14 am

I'm still struggling with the last clause. I don't get the pronouns. I translated that clause by speculating what the words must mean, but I don't understand in detail how the words produce the meaning.
hlawson38 wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:46 am
Atque etiam Xenophon paucioribus verbis eadem fere peccat; facit enim in his, quae a Socrate dicta rettulit, Socratem disputantem formam dei quaeri non oportere, eundemque et solem et animum deum dicere, et modo unum, tum autem plures deos; quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea, quae de Platone dicimus.
quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea, quae de Platone dicimus.

Here is what I *think* I do understand.

quae relative pronoun, neuter nominative plural, the subject of sunt; the antecedent is the collection of phrases that make up Xenophon's summary of Socrates's doctrines.

sunt is the verb of this clause, it works like a linking verb in English.

ea seems to be predicate nominative, it agrees with quae in gender and number.

So as I read it, these three words produce a clear meaning, "Which are . . . the ones".

But then I get to isdem in erratis fere quibus. I can't work out the relations of these words. isdem in erratis fere must mean something like "in the same [state of] error", but I don't see how to fit in quibus..

I feel that I'm missing something easily seen by others. I will be most grateful for an explanation, given as if to a struggling first year Latin student.

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by RandyGibbons » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:59 pm

quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea, quae de Platone dicimus.

To be honest, I'm not seeing where the breakdown occurs, but perhaps you're not seeing the sequence of three relative clauses? Barry is a teacher, and perhaps he can be of more help, but let me try.

A relative clause is a subordinate, dependent clause that must have a subject and a verb, correct? As you read any sentence, whenever you encounter a relative pronoun, you know you've got a relative clause that will require its own subject and verb. Let's start with that understanding.
quae relative pronoun, neuter nominative plural, the subject of sunt; the antecedent is the collection of phrases that make up Xenophon's summary of Socrates's doctrines.
Correct.
sunt is the verb of this clause, it works like a linking verb in English.
Correct, though I don't know why you feel you need to say it's like a linking verb in English. It just happens to be the verb of this relative clause, period.
ea seems to be predicate nominative, it agrees with quae in gender and number.
So as I read it, these three words produce a clear meaning, "Which are . . . the ones".
But then I get to isdem in erratis fere quibus. I can't work out the relations of these words. isdem in erratis fere must mean something like "in the same [state of] error", but I don't see how to fit in quibus.

This seems to be where the breakdown occurs. I don't think you see that quibus is a relative pronoun and, being a relative pronoun, it is introducing a (second) relative clause, which must have its own subject and verb. Let's proceed Dexter Hoyos-like. quae sunt: You have a complete subordinate clause, which in Hoyos' terminology is one type of word-group. isdem in erratis: You have a prepositional phrase, another type of word-group, modifying quae sunt. fere: Modifies isdem in erratis. You can think of fere as a separate phrase and word-group, or simply treat isdem in erratis fere as the word-group.

quae sunt isdem in erratis fere: Stop there. You have a completed relative clause. The sentence could end there, and it would make sense, if isdem had a clear antecedent ("which things [recounted by Xenophon] are almost in the same errors [i.e., types of errors we were just talking about]". But in this sentence that doesn't feel right. It just feels like isdem is going to have a subsequent explanation. And indeed as your eye moves ahead, voilà, there is no period ending the sentence. Instead there is quibus. Then there is quibus ea. Then there is quibus ea, followed by the editor's comma, then quibus ea, quae. quae is a (third) relative pronoun, introducing a relative clause which must have its own subject and verb. Now let's think about Hoyos' Rule 6:

a. Once a subordinate clause or phrase is begun, it must be completed syntactically before the rest of the sentence can proceed.
b. When one subordinate construction embraces another, the embraced one must be completed before the embracing one can proceed.

Is the subordinate clause begun by quae embraced by the subordinate clause quibus ea, which would then need its own completion after the quae clause completes? Clearly not, especially when you read ahead and see that the completion of the quae clause coincides with the completion of the whole sentence.

Therefore quibus ea must be a complete clause. What is its subject and verb? The subject is ea and the verb is mentally supplied by the preceding clause, i.e., sunt. The antecedent of quibus is isdem in erratis, so your mind may also supply an (in) before quibus, though that isn't required: (in) quibus ea (sunt).

What does ea refer to? quae de Platone dicimus.

Does that make sense?

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:08 pm

RandyGibbons wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:59 pm
quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea, quae de Platone dicimus.

To be honest, I'm not seeing where the breakdown occurs, but perhaps you're not seeing the sequence of three relative clauses? Barry is a teacher, and perhaps he can be of more help, but let me try.
You nailed it - excellent explanation. I think the difficulty is that the "extra" relative clause seems superfluous, and is difficult to render with translationese. There are easier ways to express it even in Latin, but here I'm sure it adds rhetorically to Cicero's statement.
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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by hlawson38 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:21 pm

RandyGibbons wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:59 pm
quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea, quae de Platone dicimus.

. . . perhaps you're not seeing the sequence of three relative clauses. . . .


That is it exactly. I did not apprehend quibus . . . ea as a separate relative clause, reusing the verb sunt.

RG quoted me: "sunt is the verb of this clause, it works like a linking verb in English."

RG replied
I don't know why you feel you need to say it's like a linking verb in English.

That arose from my erroneous guess that ea was a predicate nominative in agreement with quae sunt. I was trying to find a formula that would put quibus together with isdem in erratis fere in a relative clause. I sought an implied verb for this construction, but when I couldn't find one, I concocted an English translation that made sense, even though I didn't understand the Latin.

RG continues
This seems to be where the breakdown occurs. I don't think you see that quibus is a relative pronoun . . . .
Strictly speaking, I saw that it was a relative pronoun, but I failed to consider that it went with ea and the implied sunt.
Does that make sense?
Crystal clear! Many thanks to Randy Gibbons for patiently stepping through this for me, and for showing the relevance of Dexter Hoyos's rules to this problem. The pronoun/adjective idem eadem idem is one of my many weak spots.

Thanks also to Barry Hofstetter, and others, Constantinus I believe, who tried to help.

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by Constantinus Philo » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:23 pm

(in) quibus ea (sunt). : is such an omission of a prep before a rel pron common? ok yes Gildersleeve 414, thanx
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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31 (deleted)

Post by hlawson38 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:49 am

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by hlawson38 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:54 am

Here I reprint the passage in question:
hlawson38 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:49 am
quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea, quae de Platone dicimus
Following a hint from Constantinus Philo, I believe I find a grammar citation for this quibus in Allen and Greenough at #384:
The dative is used with adjectives (and a few Adverbs) of fitness, nearness, likeness, service, inclination, and their opposites. . . . Note 2— Adjectives of likeness are often followed by atque (ac as). So also the adverbs aequē, pariter, similiter, etc. The pronoun īdem has regularly atque or a relative.
The same Note 2 gives this example for the relative:
Tē suspicor eīsdem rēbus quibus mē ipsum commovērī. (Cat. M. 1)
I suspect you are disturbed by the same things by which I am.
This example seems on point for the quibus in the passage under study. Assuming I have this right, this has been an most helpful discussion for me. Thanks again to Randy Gibbons, Barry Hofstetter, and Constantinus Philo for the patient grammar help, and to mwh for the masterly commentary.

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by RandyGibbons » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:15 pm

Having established clarity, I hate to see the waters muddied again, but ...

You have to distinguish between the dative with and without a preposition. In the passage in question, it is with a preposition, isdem in erratis, with the preposition omitted in the relative clause precisely as per the Greensleeve citation from Constantinus (thanks, Constantinus!).

It's a prepositional phrase, not a question of 'dative of this' or 'dative of that' as you have with standalone datives.

R

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Re: Cic. de natura deorum, book i, ch. 31

Post by hlawson38 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:15 pm

RandyGibbons wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:15 pm
Having established clarity, I hate to see the waters muddied again, but ...

You have to distinguish between the dative with and without a preposition. In the passage in question, it is with a preposition, isdem in erratis, with the preposition omitted in the relative clause precisely as per the Greensleeve citation from Constantinus (thanks, Constantinus!).

It's a prepositional phrase, not a question of 'dative of this' or 'dative of that' as you have with standalone datives.

R
I'm glad you said this RG, because the preposition issue never occurred to me. I read Constantinus's post, but didn't grasp the issue of the preposition. My practice is to restate quickly what I believe I've learned for checking until the issue is clear. I think I understand what you're saying, and I certainly won't argue about this. Many thanks.

Added later: On review I see Randy that you included the matter of the preposition in an earlier post. Other aspects of the difficulty stood out so much that I didn't properly understand what you had written.

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