minus sum admiratus

itaque

Member
I am trying to translate this long sentence from a letter from Cicero to Ceaser (ad Atticum 9.11a):
ut legi tuas litteras quas a Furnio nostro acceperam quibus mecum agebas ut ad urbem essem, te velle uti 'consilio et dignitate mea' minus sum admiratus; de 'gratia' ete de 'ope' quid significares mecum ipse quaerebam, spe tamen deducebar ad eam cogitationem ut tu pro tua admirabili ac singulari sapientia de otio, de pace, de concordia civium agi velle arbitrarer, et ad eam rationem existimabam satis esse et naturam et personam meam.
Here is my literal translation:
As I am reading your letter which I had received from Furnium, by which you negotiated with me in order that I may be at the city [walls], I less admired that you were willing to use 'my counsel and position'; [but] I asked myself what you were signifying by my 'influence' and 'assistance,' though I was lead away by my hope to this thought: that, in view of your admirable and singular wisdom, you wanted the citizen's peace and harmony to be discussed, and for this reason I thought my nature and character to be apt enough.
  1. How is "minus" to be translated? It doesn't seem to make sense as I have it ("less") without introducing "[but]" after the semicolon.
  2. Is "sum admiratus" the same as "admiratus sum"?
  3. Is "eam cogitationem" to be translated "this thought"? If so, why is not "hanc cogitationem" used?
  4. I have added a colon after "cogitationem." Is this accurate?
  5. Are there any other issues with my translation? There are some important differences with the translation given here. I have tried to be as literal as possible, to reveal flaws in my work.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
- Legi is perfect tense, not present. Ut legi = "when I read".

- Minus sum admiratus can translate to something like "I wasn't so/very surprised". "Admired" isn't right in the context (at least not in present-day English). Minus means literally "less" but is sometimes used as some kind of soft negation.

- Sum admiratus and admiratus sum are the same thing, yes.

- You can add "but" if that sounds better in English. Classical Latin is a bit more fond of asyndeton (the omission of words like "but" or "and").

- I think "you wished" would be a better translation for velle in this context than "you were willing".

- Hanc wouldn't have been wrong, I guess, but forms of is, ea, id are very commonly used to "anticipate" a clause (here the ut one). You could translate the construction as "I was led to the thought that..."

- Ad eam rationem doesn't mean "for this reason". It's more like "for that purpose" or so.
 

itaque

Member
Thanks Pacifica. One follow-up question:
  • In the perfect passive or deponent perfect conjugation (e.g., "admiratus sum"), you are saying that it is possible to invert the word order. Is it also possible to insert words in between (e.g., "admitatus minus sum" or "sum minus admiratus"), or does that alter the meaning?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Yes, you can insert words in between.
 

itaque

Member
Okay, got it. One more question.

I realized that I forgot to translate arbitrarer in my translation:
ut tu pro tua admirabili ac singulari sapientia de otio, de pace, de concordia civium agi velle arbitrarer
How does the following look?
in order that I would think that you, in view of your admirable and singular wisdom, wanted the citizen's peace and harmony to be discussed
The problem here is that "tu" is in the nominative -- shouldn't it be in the accusative if my translation is correct?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Tu is a mistake; it should be te and that's what some other versions on Google have.

"In order that I would think" doesn't really make sense in this context.

If you want to translate spe tamen deducebar ad eam cogitationem ut ... arbitrarer more or less literally while still conveying the sense clearly enough, I suppose you could say "I was nevertheless led by hope to the thought that I thought you wanted..." but this is still rather awkward. If you want idiomatic English, you should leave arbitrarer out and change the construction to something like "hope led me to the thought that you probably wanted..."
 
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