De Natura Deorum Chapter 1: disputed passage

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
This passage from De Natura Deorum came up in our Latin class today; just wondering what people think or if anyone can resolve the issue.

The version we were given was: Velut in hac quaestione plerique, quod maxime veri simile est et quo omnes duce natura venimus, deos esse dixerunt, dubitare se Protagoras, nullos esse omnino Diagoras Melius et Theodorus Cyrenaicus putaverunt.
The commentary suggested we take quo as "the place to which [we come with nature as our guide]", but logical as that would be (in terms of the argument, I mean) I just can't see any justification for taking an ablative that way.

Another reading which I found online gives:
Velut in hac quaestione plerique, quod maxime veri simile est et quo omnes duce natura vehimur...
Which makes more sense grammatically but seems a bit forced ("by which we are all conveyed/drawn with nature as our guide", I guess?)

And the Latin Library adds sese to give:
Velut in hac quaestione plerique, quod maxime veri simile est et quo omnes sese duce natura venimus...
I'm really not sure what they're trying to get at here: "by which we all come to ourselves [or each comes to himself]"? It seems grammatically weird (or just plain wrong...)

Anyway, any insight you guys have is appreciated! :)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Quo here indeed means "where" (with motion), "whither". Here it's figurative, of course. The "place" to which we all come/are all carried with nature as a guide is more a "conclusion" than an actual place, but you get that I suppose.

The first two versions both make sense, the third one doesn't.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I'm not sure whether it's an ablative or an old dative form. L&S itself doesn't seem quite sure. It could be that it's ablative in some of the meanings listed there, and dative in others.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Even dative seems a bit odd as meaning "endpoint of motion"...
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Yes, by classical Latin standards. Maybe it wasn't odd in an earlier stage of the language — if it is really dative, I'm not sure. But it seems at least a tad more logical than ablative...
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
I'm not sure whether it's an ablative or an old dative form. L&S itself doesn't seem quite sure. It could be that it's ablative in some of the meanings listed there, and dative in others.
It's ablative in I and dative (or something else entirely) in II. They might have been done better to put them in separate entries, or to list the ablative form under the relative pronoun qui as a special usage, but I guess they felt it more convenient to keep them together.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It's ablative in I and dative (or something else entirely) in II.
I would have thought the sense II B 2 was ablative as well, and that's the OLD's opinion too.
They might have been done better to put them in separate entries
I thought the same. The OLD separates them — but it gives no hypothesis at all as to the case of the "whither" quo.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
I would have thought the sense II B 2 was ablative as well, and that's the OLD's opinion too.
Oh, right, I missed that. I'm pretty sure that particular usage is ablative of means or perhaps even degree of difference (at least when a comparative is involved, as is usually the case), and is thus akin to the English construction 'the better to'.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
In other words, L&S seems to have mixed everything up a bit here, no? I mean not only in putting everything in the same entry, but in putting II B 2 in II. Maybe they did think it had the same origin in all cases, and were just not sure if it was abl. or dat.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Yes, I suppose so.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Another small thing from later on. I don't understand Cicero's use of quin here:

[10] Qui autem requirunt, quid quaque de re ipsi sentiamus, curiosius id faciunt, quam necesse est; non enim tam auctoritatis in disputando quam rationis momenta quaerenda sunt. Quin etiam obest plerumque iis, qui discere volunt, auctoritas eorum, qui se docere profitentur; desinunt enim suum iudicium adhibere, id habent ratum, quod ab eo, quem probant, iudicatum vident. Nec vero probare soleo id, quod de Pythagoreis accepimus, quos ferunt, si quid adfirmarent in disputando, cum ex iis quaereretur, quare ita esset, respondere solitos "ipse dixit"; ipse autem erat Pythagoras: tantum opinio praeiudicata poterat, ut etiam sine ratione valeret auctoritas.

I think that I grasp the general gist of his argument (that it is detrimental to students to simply accept the authority of those who claim to be teachers, and thus stop thinking things through for themselves or coming to their own conclusions); but I don't quite understand how it fits together or what function the quin plays.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It's literally something like "(But) on the contrary", "rather". Maybe you can even translate it as "actually" here.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
It's literally something like "(But) on the contrary", "rather". Maybe you can even translate it as "actually" here.
Oh, ok -- like autem, only stronger. I didn't know quin could be used that way.

Thanks. :)
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Oh, now I see it, way down at the bottom of the L & S entry.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Another thing that I'm rather puzzled by:

[13-14] Sed iam, ut omni me invidia liberem, ponam in medio sententias philosophorum de natura deorum. quo quidem loco convocandi omnes videntur, qui quae sit earum vera iudicent; tum demum mihi procax Academia videbitur, si aut consenserint omnes aut erit inventus aliquis qui quid verum sit invenerit. itaque mihi libet exclamare ut in Synephebis:
pro deum, popularium omnium, omnium adulescentium
clamo postulo obsecro oro ploro atque inploro fidem
non levissuma de re, ut queritur ille in civitate fieri facinora capitalia: “ab amico amante argentum accipere meretrix non vult”, sed ut adsint cognoscant animadvertant, quid de religione pietate sanctitate caerimoniis fide iure iurando, quid de templis delubris sacrificiisque sollemnibus, quid de ipsis auspiciis, quibus nos praesumus, existimandum sit (haec enim omnia ad hanc de dis inmortalibus quaestionem referenda sunt): profecto eos ipsos, qui se aliquid certi habere arbitrantur, addubitare coget doctissimorum hominum de maxuma re tanta dissensio.

I understand it all (I think) on a purely literal level, but I don't understand what that part in the middle refers to; obviously this is some quote from a work I don't know. Who is bewailing a capital crime to have been committed, what sort of crime is it (is this referring to the prostitute in the second quote -- was prostitution even considered a crime in Ancient Rome? or something else entirely?) and does it have any more significance here than being a throwaway side note?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
The quote is what the person complaining about "capital crimes" happening said, so yes it's related. He's complaining about the fact that a prostitute won't take money from a lover, and Cicero seems to be using the term "capital crimes" ironically, implying it's actually light matter. But I have no idea why the complaining guy is complaining about this, who he is, what the context is, or where the quote is from, sorry.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
and Cicero seems to be using the term "capital crimes" ironically, implying it's actually light matter.
Ah, that makes more sense.

He's complaining about the fact that a prostitute won't take money from a lover,
Why is that a bad thing? :doh:

But I have no idea why the complaining guy is complaining about this, who he is, what the context is, or where the quote is from, sorry.
No worries; it probably isn't all that important. Cicero doesn't seem to think very highly of the complaint in any case :D
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Why is that a bad thing? :doh:
I don't have a clue. There must be some particular implication that's hard to get when you don't know the context. Maybe something like she won't take his money because she won't let him come to her either, I don't know.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Or maybe another guy he knows got his, er, "service" for free? ;) (And he's jealous, I mean...)
 
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