"quarum quanta fuerit vis et energia vel ex eo conjicere licet"

Andrea Vitoripa

New Member
I am attempting to translate part Cornelius a Lapide's commentary on Sacred Scripture. For context, here is the entirety of the paragraph in question:

Atque ne plus dixisse quam fecisse videretur Ambrosius, hujusce rei seipsum exemplum praebuit: illius enim continuus et indefessus labor in S. Scriptura tum legenda et perscrutanda, tum voce et scripto explananda liquido patet, partim ex sermonibus et concionibus, quibus quasi strenuus Ecclesiae Pastor populum suum assidue verbo Dei pavit et instruxit: quarum quanta fuerit vis et energia vel ex eo conjicere licet, quod iisdem S. Augustinum, jam tum Manichaeum, et in haeresi sua aeque doctum ac pertinacem, ad sanam fidem converterit, Ecclesiaeque Catholicae (quale lumen!) restituerit, imo dederit.

The part in bold is the phrase I'm having trouble with: "...quarum quanta fuerit vis et energia vel ex eo conjicere licet..."

The first part of the sentence talks about St. Ambrose's tireless work on Sacred Scripture through sermons and conferences, and the part immediately after this phrase talks about how Augustine was converted to the Catholic Church by them (the sermons, I assume.)

I have a vague sense that this phrase means something along the lines of "it is permissible to deduce how great was the strength and energy of them [the sermons of St. Ambrose] from [the fact that Augustine was converted by them]..." but I can't seem to make sense of it all grammatically. My 3 main questions that I'm stuck on are:

First of all, I can't seem to make sense of the phrase "ex eo." What does "eo" refer to? Does it refer abstractly to everything that was said before about St. Ambrose's work?

Secondly, what exactly is "fuerit" doing here? I thought I remembered hearing that some writers will use a singular verb to agree with two singular nouns, in which case I would assume the verb agrees with "vis et energia" meaning something like "how great was the strength and energy...", but I can't remember for sure right now if this is true or not. (Actually, a similar question also bugs me with regards to "quanta." Can it agree with both "vis et energia" even though it's singular?) Also, why is "fuerit" in the perfect subjunctive? (Or is it, in fact, in the future perfect? That wouldn't seem to make any sense to me, though...)

Finally, I'm assuming that "conjicere" here means to "put together" in the abstract sense, that is, to logically deduce, but I could be wrong. If this IS the case, then what is it that he is saying we are permitted to deduce? Should "conjicere" go with "fuerit", meaning that we can "deduce how great was the strength and energy of them...", or should it go with the phrase that comes afterwards (starting with "quod...") to mean something like "we can deuce that, by the same, St. Augustine... was converted..."?

Thanks for any help!


Civis Illustris
Well, for the moment...
1) and 3) licet conicere ex eo, quod] one may/can conclude from the fact that
2) fuerit] perfect subjunctive in oblique question depending on conicere; -it sg., because quanta vis
et energia
hendiadys (one idea, two nouns).
quarum] mainly relative to contionum (f.) (so-called relative connexion): quanta earum (i.e. contionum) vis et energia fuerit...
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Andrea Vitoripa

New Member
Thanks a lot! I think that clears it up for me. Looks like I was near the mark on the meaning of it, I just couldn't quite put all the pieces together.

The note about feurit being subjunctive also explains why all the verbs following quod are also in the perfect subjunctive, since they also depend on conjicere.

I guess with the phrase ex eo I just had trouble connecting it with something that came afterward in the sentence; for some reason I wanted to make it refer to something that had already been mentioned. Gotta learn to break my bad habits...

Finally, what is a good way to translate vel here? Something like "indeed"?

"Indeed, it is reasonable to conclude how great was their strength and energy from the fact that..."

Thanks again for the help!


Civis Illustris
vel ex eo] belonging to ex eo the particle vel ("if you will") seems to offer a suggestion: possibly/perhaps/for instance from the fact (or something like that).
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