Cicero: Quam multis istum ingenuis, quam multis matribus...

jaffa

Civis Illustris
Quam multis istum ingenuis, quam multis matribus familias in illa taetra atque impura legatione vim attulisse existimatis?

I know what the sentence means, but I can't fit in the word familias here. It seems to be in the accusative but in that case how does it fit with matribus? I was assuming it meant family matrons or something of that kind.
 

Chamaeleo

New Member
Re: Cicero

It's an archaic genitive. A materfamilias is a matron.

I can't understand the full sentence though. LOL
 

jaffa

Civis Illustris
Re: Cicero

Ok well here goes;

To how many freed women, to how many matrons of families do you think that man brought force (ie assaulted) during that hideous and impure time as legate?

Cicero is speaking about Verres here.
 

Iynx

Consularis
Re: Cicero

Not freedwomen, I think-- that would have been liberis, or liberabus.

Ingenuis seems to me ambiguous here. It can signify native-born persons-- which in this context would have meant Sicilians. But it can also mean "free-born persons", and given the context I think this is almost certainly the meaning here.

And I don't know that "legate" is the best English word here. How about "governor" or just "praetor".

Other than that, I think the translation is fine.

We might try to reproduce the common quality of ingenuis in our English (Cicero is at least leaving open the possibilty that some of the victims may have been male). And there is (it seems to me) a contemptuous quality to that istum that is difficult to reproduce in English. Perhaps a little hesitation...

How many free-born, how many mothers of families, do ye think that...man assaulted in that filthy and impure governorship?
 

Chamaeleo

New Member
Re: Cicero

Ah, so you can use “quam multí” for “how many”. I thought you had to say “quot”.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Re: Cicero

CHAMÆLEO dixit:
Ah, so you can use “quam multí” for “how many”. I thought you had to say “quot”.
You may use either. Quot is more likely to be used in questions where the writer/speaker does not wish to suggest anything in terms of numerosity but only to request quantity, sans implications. Quam multi, on the other hand, serves as the counterpart of quam pauci with all the same implications but in the opposite direction. Thus it can be suggestive in way that its English equivalent cannot, since English lacks a colorless interrogative numeral like quot and must therefore substitute the "how many" periphrasis to make up for it.

As Cicero's statement here is not really a true question but rather rhetorical, it makes perfect sense that he would use quam multi instead of the lackluster quot.
 
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