Mike Seigel's Latin: A Clear Guide to Syntax Ch. 23 - Further Indirect Questions

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MegasKomnenos
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Mike Seigel's Latin: A Clear Guide to Syntax Ch. 23 - Further Indirect Questions

Post by MegasKomnenos » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:45 am

Good morning (again!),

With what hopefully for all will be my last thread this morning, I present my translation of Ex. 23.2 p.110, unfortunately not available on Google Books.

Exercise 23.2 A BOY MANAGES TO FOIL AN ATTEMPT TO DISCOVER THE SENATE'S SECRET

mos antea senatoribus fuit in Curiam cum filiis intrare. cum de re maiore quadam olim consulerent, mater Papirii pueri, qui cum parente suo in Curia fuerat, rogavit filium quid Patres egissent. quamquam puer respondit se de hac re non dicturum esse, mulier iterum atque iterum eum interrogavit. tum puer lepidi mendacii consilium capit: actum in senatu dicit utrum videretur utilius esse, unus ut duas uxores haberet an ut una apud duos nupta esset. hoc illa ubi audivit, domo trepidans egreditur, ad ceteras matronas refert quod audiverat. perveniunt omnes ad senatum et orant una potius ut duobus nupta fieret quam ut uni duae. senatores cur mulieres ita postularent mirabantur. tum puer Papirius in medium progressus quid mater audire voluisset, quid ipse matri dixisset, narravit. senatus fidem atque ingenium pueri miratus, consultum fecit ne posthac pueri cum patribus in Curiam inirent.

SUPPLIED VOCABULARY
Curia - Senate-house
Patres [sic.] - senator
lepidus, a, um - witty
mendacium, -i - lie

My very literal translation is now given below. Where I had most trouble with this was with the sentences 'tum puer lepidi mendacii consilium cappit: actum in senatu dicit utrum videretur utilius esse, unus ut duas uxores haberet an ut una apud duos nupta esset.' and with 'perveniunt omnes ad senatum et orant una potius ut duobus nupta fieret quam ut uni duae'. Now, I believe that my translation is on the right track here and tries to take into account the way duo declines. In essence, I believe Papirius tells his mother than the senators were trying to decide whether it was better to be one man with two wives, or one wife with two husbands, and the women subsequently approach the senate to ask for them to settle upon the latter proposition.

It was formerly the custom for senators to enter the Curia with their sons. Once, when they were consulting about a certain greater affair, the mother of the boy Papirius, who had been with his father in the Curia, asked her son what the conscript fathers had discussed [an appropriate translation of ago, agere, egi, actus here?]. Although the boy replied that he would not speak about this matter, the woman asked him again and again. Then the boy seized upon a plan for [lit. of?] a witty lie [I see that lepidi mendacii is genitive here - do I have this right?] - [here difficulties arise] he said that it was discussed [actum PPP here? - agreeing with utrum?] whether it seemed more useful to be [Or should esse go with actum here?], one man to have two wives or for one woman to be married [lit. among/at the house of] to two husbands. When that woman heard this, panicking she set out from home, reporting to the other matrons what she had heard. They all came [historic present as with capit earlier?] to the senate and begged [difficulties again!] rather that there be one bride to two husbands rather than two wives to one man [uni - m. dat. sg.]. The senators were wondering why the wives were demanding this [in this way]. Then the boy Papirius, having advanced into their midst, related what his mother had wanted to hear, and what he had himself said to his mother. The senate, amazed at his faithfulness and clever trick, resolved that thereafter boys would not go into the Curia with their fathers.

I am reasonably comfortable that I have the sense of the passage, but fear that some of the workings of the grammar have eluded me - and whilst my goal is to understand Latin, I would much, much rather that my understanding be based upon a solid understanding of syntax and accidence than a sense of the 'gist'. I translated this towards the end of last night, and so had become rather tired. A poor night's sleep has meant that I have only marginally improved upon last night's effort this morning.

As usual, any howlers - big or small - brought to my attention are gratefully received! Thank you in advance for sharing your time, wisdom and expertise.

Best wishes, and stay safe,

Jamie

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Re: Mike Seigel's Latin: A Clear Guide to Syntax Ch. 23 - Further Indirect Questions

Post by praepositus » Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:18 am

"Utrum videretur utilius esse" means "Whether it seemed more useful." Esse links videretur and utilius.

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Re: Mike Seigel's Latin: A Clear Guide to Syntax Ch. 23 - Further Indirect Questions

Post by MegasKomnenos » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:03 am

praepositus wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:18 am
"Utrum videretur utilius esse" means "Whether it seemed more useful." Esse links videretur and utilius.
Good morning praepositus,

Thank you for coming back to me - So it is 'whether it seemed [to be] more useful' and not 'whether it seemed more useful to be'? Is actum here a neuter noun or the PPP of ago?

I am also struggling with the use of ut in the next part of the sentence. I know that utrum...an introduces an indirect question using the subjunctive, but can the subjunctive here supply the need for both ut and utrum...an?

actum in senatu dicit utrum videretur utilius esse, unus ut duas uxores haberet an ut una apud duos nupta esset.

He said that it was discussed in the senate whether it was more useful for a man to have two wives or for a woman to be a bride to two husbands.

I can see that this is the sense, and I would venture is a reasonable translation. But I struggle with the literal workings of the grammar here, and as I have said before, I am keen not to just skim along the surface. That is something I used to do, and it only works as long as meaning is self-evident/obvious - I want my Latin to have deeper foundations than it used to.

So, I read this as:

actum - perfect passive participle - here 'it was having been discussed' [contextual translation of ago]
in senatu [prep. + abl] in the senate
dicit - 3rd Sg. Present Act. Indic.
utrum...an - adverbs introducing a double indirect question - whether...or
videretur - 3rd Sg. Imperf. Pass. Subjunct. - it seemed
utilius - comparative adverb - more useful
esse - Present. Act. Infin. - to be
unus - Nom. M. Sg. adjective used substantively, subject of haberet - one/a man
ut - conjunction + subjunctive - here introducing purpose clause? - [in order] to
duas - Acc. F. Pl. adjective describing uxores the direct object of haberet - two
uxores - Acc. F. Pl. - noun, dir. obj. haberet - wives
haberet - 3rd. Sg. Imperf. Act. Subjunct. - in ut clause - have
an - second conj. of ut...an introducing the second of a double indirect question
una - Nom. F. Sg. adjective used sunstantively - subject of nupta esset - one woman/a woman
apud - preposition + accusative - at, by, near, at the house of [I feel somehow that the latter makes sense here, to be married 'at the house[hold] of two husbands'?]
duos - Acc. M. Pl. adjective used substantively w/apud - two men/husbands
nupta - Nom. F. Sg. noun - complement of una w/ copulative verb esset
esset - 3rd Sg. Imperf. Act. Subjunct. - with ut [purpose? consecutive?] clause - to be

actum in senatu dicit utrum videretur utilius esse, unus ut duas uxores haberet an ut una apud duos nupta esset.
He said that [it was having been discussed] it was discussed in the senate whether it was more useful that a man have two wives or that a woman be a bride at the house of two husbands.

Please let me know where I have gone wrong - I think just as I write this, that I may again be trapped in thinking of 'purpose' clauses when I really ought more broadly to think of a 'consecutive' or 'final' clause here, which may stop my mind from being straightjacketed into '[in order] to'

Please praepositus, or anyone else, let me know what you think.

Jamie

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Re: Mike Seigel's Latin: A Clear Guide to Syntax Ch. 23 - Further Indirect Questions

Post by praepositus » Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:02 am

There is an implied "esse" with "actum," it's a verb in the perfect passive in indirect discourse.

The two "ut" introduce substantive result clauses in apposition with "utilius est."

"Videretur" is in the subjunctive because it's an indirect question, "haberet" is in the subjunctive because it's a result clause.

I don't think "apud" means "at the house of," but something like "with" or "among." I think "nupta esset" should be read as a passive form of the verb "nubo" meaning "be married."

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Re: Mike Seigel's Latin: A Clear Guide to Syntax Ch. 23 - Further Indirect Questions

Post by MegasKomnenos » Tue Mar 24, 2020 7:33 pm

praepositus wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:02 am
There is an implied "esse" with "actum," it's a verb in the perfect passive in indirect discourse.

The two "ut" introduce substantive result clauses in apposition with "utilius est."

"Videretur" is in the subjunctive because it's an indirect question, "haberet" is in the subjunctive because it's a result clause.

I don't think "apud" means "at the house of," but something like "with" or "among." I think "nupta esset" should be read as a passive form of the verb "nubo" meaning "be married."
Praepositus,

Thank you again for your time and help. Just to confirm, actum has its own implied esse - the esse that is actually present goes with utilius est meaning 'it seemed to be more useful'/'seemed more useful to be'?

Could it not be that the esse at the end of the sentence goes with actum? Although I admit, that would seem strange to me (and I obviously have far less experience of Latin!) - for a verb in oratio obliqua to envelop the main verb that introduces the indirect discourse.

Regardless of the point above, might it be translated thus?:

'He said that it was discussed in the senate whether it seemed more useful that a man should have two wives, or that a woman should be married to two men'

Could you provide me with a literal translation? I am keen to see how you read this line.

Thanks again, and best wishes,

Jamie

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Re: Mike Seigel's Latin: A Clear Guide to Syntax Ch. 23 - Further Indirect Questions

Post by praepositus » Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:26 pm

I don't think the esse at the end can go with actum. Latin prose does not normally break up a perfect passive like that for no reason.

Your final translation is pretty much how I read it as well.

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Re: Mike Seigel's Latin: A Clear Guide to Syntax Ch. 23 - Further Indirect Questions

Post by MegasKomnenos » Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:10 pm

praepositus wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:26 pm
I don't think the esse at the end can go with actum. Latin prose does not normally break up a perfect passive like that for no reason.

Your final translation is pretty much how I read it as well.
I see - so it is lit. 'seemed to be more useful'.

Thank you,

Jamie

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