quod with subjunctive (Cicero, de officiis)

Cinoc

New Member
Can someone help me to understand the use of the subjunctive in the following sentence?
Equidem etiam illud animadverto, quod, qui proprio nomine perduellis esset, is hostis vocaretur, lenitate verbi rei tristitiam mitigatam. (Cicero, de officiis I, 37)
This seems to translate to something like: 'I in any case observe that, since he who should properly be called a 'public enemy' is called a 'foreigner', the harshness of the thing has been softened by the expression.'
Now, what I don't get is 1) the use of the subjunctive in the quod clause and 2) the fact that it's an imperfect subjunctive (though I'm guessing that the quod clause is dependent on the infinitive construction 'tristitiam mitigatam [esse]' which is in the past, so the imperfect is used to indicate contemporaneity with that?).
Any help would be much appreciated! All the more so if you can steer me to the right section of Allen & Greenough's New Latin Grammar!
cinoc
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
1) the use of the subjunctive in the quod clause
Subordinate clauses that depend on indirect speech take the subjunctive.
2) the fact that it's an imperfect subjunctive (though I'm guessing that the quod clause is dependent on the infinitive construction 'tristitiam mitigatam [esse]' which is in the past, so the imperfect is used to indicate contemporaneity with that?).
That's right. A more exact translation would be "he who was properly... was called...".
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
But there's no indirect speech here. The quod-clause expands illud, which is the object of animadverto. This use of quod is called quod explicativum and normally it takes the indicative. The meaning is "I notice the fact that..."

More context:
M. quidem Catonis senis est epistula ad M. filium, in qua scribit se audisse eum missum factum esse a consule cum in Macedonia bello Persico miles esset. Monet igitur ut caveat, ne proelium ineat; negat enim ius esse, qui miles non sit cum hoste pugnare. Equidem etiam illud animadverto, quod, qui proprio nomine perduellis esset, is hostis vocaretur, lenitate verbi rei tristitiam mitigatam. Hostis enim apud maiores nostros is dicebatur, quem nunc peregrinum dicimus. Indicant duodecim tabulae: aut status dies cum hoste, itemque adversus hostem aeterna auctoritas. Quid ad hanc mansuetudinem addi potest, eum, quicum bellum geras, tam molli nomine appellare? Quamquam id nomen durius effecit iam vetustas; a peregrino enim recessit et proprie in eo, qui arma contra ferret, remansit.
So Cicero shares his observations about Cato's letter and the way Cato's language differs from his contemporary Latin. I believe in this case the subjunctive has a modal meaning that occurs in independent sentences as well---conjunctivus potentialis. It can express possibility and eventuality. I'd say, vocaretur is more of eventuality, esset is more of possibility, like: "I notice the fact that the the term hostis could occasionally refer to the one who could be properly called perduellis". (Rephrase this as you like.) The imperfect tense is due to the fact that Cicero speaks about the past---a time long gone and a usage different from his own.

There is something about conjunctivus potentialis here: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0001:part=2:section=10:subsection=2:smythp=447
Or if you have access to Syntaxe latine by Ernout, Thomas, it's section 254.

Quod explicativum: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0001:part=2:section=11:subsection=4:smythp=572

As for tristitiam mitigatam, I think it's just another complement of animadverto.
 
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Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
But there's no indirect speech here. The quod-clause expands illud, which is the object of animadverto.
You've got it wrong. The indirect speech is lenitate verbi rei tristitiam mitigatam, and this is what expands illud. The quod clause depends on the indirect speech lenitate verbi rei tristitiam mitigatam. Cicero notices that, through the fact that he who was properly called a public enemy was called a foreigner, the harshness of the thing was lessened by the mildness of the word.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
this is what expands illud
AcI expanding illud? Or a noun modified by a participle expanding illud? Never heard of that.

As for the type of the quod-clause, you are not explicit, but as you say
through the fact that
I believe you mean it's quod explicativum (the fact that) expressing means (through). Then probably you postulate an omitted ablative like (eo) quod. Omitting an ablative seems unlikely.

Could it be quod causale? In theory, perhaps. As you claim that it's a part of indirect speech, then instead of plainly stating the cause Cicero would talk about his noticing the cause. Such an introspective guy...

I'm afraid you don't convince me that yours is a viable alternative explanation.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
AcI expanding illud?
Yes.
Then probably you postulate an omitted ablative like (eo) quod.
Not really. Eo could have been added without changing the meaning much, but quod alone can express "through/by/given the fact that", "because" and the like. Eo quod and bare quod* are pretty much synonymous, with the eo only adding a little emphasis.

*I mean in this sense of quod, of course; quod also has other uses where eo couldn't be added.
Could it be quod causale?
I suppose you can call it causal (I'd be tempted to label it "instrumental", because it basically denotes the means by which the softening of the harshness was achieved, but I don't know if that would be officially sanctioned).
As you claim that it's a part of indirect speech, then instead of plainly stating the cause Cicero would talk about his noticing the cause.
He has noticed the whole thing, both lenitate verbi rei tristitiam mitigatam and its cause. The cause is an integral part of the thing he's noticed, that's why it's dependent on the indirect speech and takes the subjunctive. Cicero is saying "I notice that, because Y happened, X happened". Contrast that with "I notice that X happened (and, by the way, that was because Y happened)". In the latter, the quod clause would have taken the indicative.
I'm afraid you don't convince me that yours is a viable alternative explanation.
I don't know what I can say to convince you. It's animadverto + object illud + acc.-inf. expanding on illud + quod clause subordinate to the verb of the acc.-inf. — and, since this verb is past tense, the verbs in the quod clause are in secondary sequence. There's nothing really unusual here, but perhaps the number of clauses makes the sentence potentially more difficult to follow.

You postulate a quod clause depending on animadverto in classical Latin, which would be very unusual (though it would be very usual in late Latin, where quod clauses routinely replaced the classical acc.-inf. construction) coupled with an acc.-inf. clause on an equal footing with it, and an asyndeton between the two. You also postulate a rather strange use of the imperfect subjunctive after a primary-sequence verb (since you think the quod clause depends on animadverto rather than on mitigatam (esse)). That would all make for a rather unlikely construction, especially for Cicero. On the other hand, there's nothing unusual in classical Latin about animadverto taking an acc.-inf. clause (with or without an anticipatory pronoun like illud), and an acc.-inf. clause taking a dependent quod clause.
 
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Quasus

Civis Illustris
You postulate a quod clause depending on animadverto in classical Latin
Of course, I don't, how could I possibly write that? Quod-clauses after verba dicendi is a notorious topic and I'm familiar with the timeline of their early occurrences.

You also postulate a rather strange use of the imperfect subjunctive after a primary-sequence verb
Imperfect is the usual way of expressing conjunctivus potentialis in the past, ET 256 p. 238. There is nothing unusual because the tense is used on its own right rather than triggered by any kind of accord.

Thus, I still see no flaws in my explanation.

The cause is an integral part of the thing he's noticed, that's why it's dependent on the indirect speech and takes the subjunctive. Cicero is saying "I notice that, because Y happened, X happened". Contrast that with "I notice that X happened (and, by the way, that was because Y happened)". In the latter, the quod clause would have taken the indicative.
Exactly. That's what I meant when I called him "introspective guy". So formally an indirect quod causale should be possible. Though I would find the the wording odd: despite of an available illud, which quod usually sticks so eagerly to, it would refer to a not yet enounced AcI.

I don't know what I can say to convince you.
A reference or a couple of nice classical examples of
object illud + acc.-inf. expanding on illud
Besides, I'm somewhat uneasy about the imperfect in your theory. If you deny the modal meaning of the subjunctive, then vocaretur would refer to a single instance of using hostis instead of perduellis altogether uncommon at Cato's time. So it's unclear why it should be imperfect. But I guess you could argue along the lines that "look, first he writes in present rather than perfect, so here imperfect kind of corresponds to the present".
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
AcI expanding illud? Or a noun modified by a participle expanding illud? Never heard of that.
You have never heard of a demonstrative pronoun triggering an AcI if that pronoun is the direct object of a verb that typically triggers an AcI?

Thus, I still see no flaws in my explanation.
I'm sorry, but I had to read through this thread a couple of times to grammtically understand your explanation in the first place ... while I got Pacifica's explanation right away. She took the AcI as dependent on illud animadverto and then subordinated the quod clause as a quod causale ... the translator in the OP's statement did the same thing.
Now, I do agree that illud ... quod would usually trigger you to think that the quod clause has to refer to illud, but I don't find a way to make grammatical sense of that reading without being left with some stranded clause after animadverto. You tried to solve that problem by saying that the AcI (which would be left stranded if the quod expanded on the illud) is another complement to animadverto ... but that would mean that he used two different constructions in connection with animadverto in the same sentence and joined them asyndetically.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Looks like this passage is controversial:
Well, but your source shows the same problem I had: The people who wanted to refer the quod to illud found themselves left with a stranded accusative in mitigatam. In order to make up for that, they gave the conjecture "lenitate ... mitigante", turning it into an ablative absolute ... nobody went so far as to suggest that both the quod clause and the AcI could depend on animadverto.
 
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Quasus

Civis Illustris
You have never heard of a demonstrative pronoun triggering an AcI if that pronoun is the direct object of a verb that typically triggers an AcI?
The former, I guess. That is, when the instead of taking AcI directly the verb takes a neuter pronoun which the AcI is appended to.

but that would mean that he used two different constructions in connection with animadverto in the same sentence and joined them asyndetically.
Yes, that's exactly my reading.
 

Laurentius

Civis Illustris
Imho it's subjunctive because he is talking in general an not about a definite person and the last part is one of these independent infinitives, I don't know the actual name of the construction.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
I'm not even sure it's absolutely necessary to reconstruct an AcI. Why not just a noun modified by a participle? Either way, I don't see a difference in meaning.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Imho it's subjunctive because he is talking in general an not about a definite person and the last part is one of these independent infinitives, I don't know the actual name of the construction.
At that, he's not talking about a common practice of all the people, but instead about a particular usage of Cato illustrating the possibility of hostis instead of perduellis under certain circumstances. And I claim that it is exactly conjunctivus potentialis.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
The former, I guess. That is, when the instead of taking AcI directly the verb takes a neuter pronoun which the AcI is appended to.
I felt reminded of a sentence that I had to learn by heart once: unum hoc definio tantam esse necessitatem virtutis something something a natura datam ut something something vicerit.

I know ... the learning by heart didn't go that well ... but it was a sentence somewhere from the prooemium of de re publica and it had that connection of a demonstrative pronoun and an AcI in a rather clear manner.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I'm not even sure it's absolutely necessary to reconstruct an AcI. Why not just a noun modified by a participle?
Because there is already illud ...

Either way, I don't see a difference in meaning.
I don't see much of a difference between your take and Pacifica's either as far as the meaning is concerned ...

Yes, that's exactly my reading.
... but if you argue on a grammatical and stylistic basis, your interpretation has a lot more obstacles to overcome than Pacifica's.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Of course, I don't, how could I possibly write that? Quod-clauses after verba dicendi is a notorious topic and I'm familiar with the timeline of their early occurrences.
What are you postulating, then? You said:
The meaning is "I notice the fact that..."
That does seem to be saying that the quod clause depends on animadverto.
Imperfect is the usual way of expressing conjunctivus potentialis in the past, ET 256 p. 238.
I'm not sure how a potential would fit here. In any case, the use of hostis for perduellis that Cicero is talking about is real and certain, not potential.
A reference or a couple of nice classical examples of
No problem. It's a common construction.







The same thing can be done with hoc (as in Bitmap's example), istud and id.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
you argue on a grammatical and stylistic basis, your interpretation has a lot more obstacles to overcome than Pacifica
I don't see any issues with grammar.

I don't see much of a difference between your take and Pacifica's either as far as the meaning is concerned ...
I think that the quod-clause does not explain Cicero's reason for viewing mitigated sadness in Cato's words, but rather his observation that in the days of yore hostis could be occasionally used for perduellis. For me it seems enough of a difference.

No problem. It's a common construction.
Fine, you convince me, and I accept your explanation as an alternative theory. Still, I think for the time being I'll favour my own, because I think it's simpler, accounts for subj. impf. more easily and the reading makes more sense to me.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I think that the quod-clause does not explain Cicero's reason for viewing mitigated sadness in Cato's words,
Indeed it does not. It explains how the harshness was mitigated.
Still, I think for the time being I'll favour my own, because I think it's simpler, accounts for subj. impf. more easily
Well, I thoroughly disagree. I think your interpretation is far-fetched and postulating several irregular constructions, whereas mine is only based on pretty regular stuff. Now, what more can I say.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
That does seem to be saying that the quod clause depends on animadverto.
No. "I notice that" and "I notice the fact that" are different, at least from the point of view of Latin grammar.
The quod-clause expands illud, which is the object of animadverto. This use of quod is called quod explicativum and normally it takes the indicative.
As you can see, I claim that the clause develops the pronoun rather than serves as a direct complement.
 
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