Roma Aeterna XLVII, Graeci et Romani

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Antonius Calvus
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Roma Aeterna XLVII, Graeci et Romani

Post by Antonius Calvus »

Salvete sodales! I would like to check if I have understood things correctly in the first sentence of this chapter, which is taken from book 17, chapter 21 of Gellius' Attic Nights.

Ut conspectum quendam aetatum antiquissimarum,
item virorum illustrium qui in his aetatibus nati fuis-
sent
, haberemus, ne in sermonibus forte inconspectum
aliquid super aetate atque vita clarorum hominum te-
mere diceremus, excerpebamus ex libris qui 'chronici'
apellantur, quibus temporibus floruissent Graeci si-
mul atque Romani viri qui vel ingenio vel imperio nobi-
les insignesque post conditam Romam fuissent ante se-
cundum bellum Carthaginiensium.

As you can see I have bolded three words that are in the pluperfect subjunctive. In the margin next to the first one, fuissent, Ørberg has written nati essent. Here are my questions:

1. Is fuissent another example of using the pluperfect instead of the imperfect, a practice that seems to have become more common in later Latin? Ørberg makes the same type of margin notes a couple of times in the previous chapter, with Eutropius' text.

2. Should the following two words I have bolded, floruissent and fuissent, be understood in the same way, i.e. as florerent and essent?

3. Are these three words in the subjunctive because they are indirect questions triggered by qui, quibus and qui?
Last edited by Antonius Calvus on Sun Oct 30, 2022 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Fures privatorum furtorum in nervo atque in compedibus aetatem agunt, fures publici in auro atque in purpura.

Hylander
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Re: Roma Aeterna XLVII, Graeci et Romani

Post by Hylander »

I think you're right about the pluperfect subjunctive verbs -- pluperfect instead of imperfect.

I think the subjunctives nati fuissent and fuissent can be explained as subjunctives "by attraction," i.e., subjunctive simply because they are in relative clauses (not indirect questions) embedded in clauses with subjunctive verbs.

As for floruissent, I'm frankly somewhat at a loss to explain why this is subjunctive or how it connects to the rest of the sentence. I suspect a sort of indirect question is implicit in excerpebamus ex libris qui 'chronici" appellantur, but I find that difficult. "I excerpted . . . asking/answering the question of the periods in which . . . "?

Could something have dropped out? I checked the older Oxford text edited by Marshall -- there's no indication of a possible lacuna, so he must not have found this unusual, and I must be missing something.

Or perhaps temporibus has been attracted from the excerpebamus clause into what appears to be a relative clause, I.e., implying something like ex chronicis temporum quibus floruissent Graeci simul atque Romani viri . . . , but in that case, the quibus floruissent clause would seem to be a relative clause that wouldn't call for a subjunctive verb.

Or could the antecedent of quibus temporibus be aetatum antiquissimarum earlier in the sentence, with -- again -- subjunctive by attraction?

Maybe someone else can help.
Bill Walderman

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Antonius Calvus
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Re: Roma Aeterna XLVII, Graeci et Romani

Post by Antonius Calvus »

Ørberg has cut some of the original text between temere diceremus and excerpebamus.
Perhaps the answer lies there?

...temere diceremus, sicuti sophista ille ἀπαίδευτος, qui publice nuper disserens
Carneaden philosophum a rege Alexandro, Philippi filio, pecunia donatum et
Panaetium Stoicum cum superiore Africano vixisse dixit; ut ab istiusmodi, inquam,
temporum aetatumque erroribus caveremus, et excerpebamus...
Last edited by Antonius Calvus on Sun Oct 30, 2022 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Fures privatorum furtorum in nervo atque in compedibus aetatem agunt, fures publici in auro atque in purpura.

Hylander
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Re: Roma Aeterna XLVII, Graeci et Romani

Post by Hylander »

I looked at that but found nothing relevant. Iis should be ut.
Bill Walderman

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Antonius Calvus
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Re: Roma Aeterna XLVII, Graeci et Romani

Post by Antonius Calvus »

Thanks, I have corrected the typo.

With your help I now understand that the first fuissent is a subjunctive "by attraction" because it is inside an ut-clause. I'm still confused about the second fuissent though; is it also subordinated to the ut-clauses in the beginning, or to something else? Maybe that mysterious thing which spawned floruissent? :)
Fures privatorum furtorum in nervo atque in compedibus aetatem agunt, fures publici in auro atque in purpura.

mwh
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Re: Roma Aeterna XLVII, Graeci et Romani

Post by mwh »

For what it’s worth I think Hylander is right in suggesting that quibus temporibus floruissent is a sort of indirect question: “we made selections (regarding) when (lit. at what times) they flourished.” The subjunctive itself suggests this, and fuissent in the relative clause naturally follows suit (under the influence of floruissent). I can’t say I find this particularly difficult. Perhaps I should.

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Antonius Calvus
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Re: Roma Aeterna XLVII, Graeci et Romani

Post by Antonius Calvus »

Thanks to both of you. I think the subjunctives make sense now after your explanations.
Fures privatorum furtorum in nervo atque in compedibus aetatem agunt, fures publici in auro atque in purpura.

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