Reading Cicero - need recommendations

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Next couple sentences. In general, this all made sense to me; but please let me know if you spot any errors... :)

Homines enim populariter annum tantummodo solis, id est unius astri, reditu metiuntur; cum autem ad idem, unde semel profecta sunt, cuncta astra redierint eandemque totius caeli discriptionem longis intervallis rettulerint, tum ille vere vertens annus appellari potest; in quo vix dicere audeo, quam multa hominum saecula teneantur. Namque ut olim deficere sol hominibus exstinguique visus est, cum Romuli animus haec ipsa in templa penetravit, quandoque ab eadem parte sol eodemque tempore iterum defecerit, tum signis omnibus ad principium stellisque revocatis expletum annum habeto; cuius quidem anni nondum vicesimam partem scito esse conversam.

For humans generally measure a year by the return of merely the sun -- that is, of a single celestial body; but when all the stars have arrived back at the same place from whence they set out, and restored, by long intervals [of time], the same arrangement of the entire sky, then that can truly be called the Great Year -- how many human generations are contained in which, I scarcely dare to say. For, as once the sun was observed by people to dwindle and be extinguished [i.e. to undergo a solar eclipse] when the spirit of Romulus entered into these very temples, whensoever the sun will again be eclipsed from that same direction and by [i.e. for] the same [interval of] time, then -- with all signs and stars having been called back to the beginning* -- consider the year completed; of which year [i.e. the Great Year], know indeed not even a twentieth part has yet turned [i.e. elapsed].

* Or, "by/from all the signs and stars having been called back to the beginning". I wasn't sure whether this was intended as an ablative absolute or just an ablative (of cause, I guess?)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
eodemque tempore
by [i.e. for] the same [interval of]time
"At the same time". "For the same interval of time" would be (in classical Latin at any rate, but you can hardly find more classical than Cicero) in the accusative — accusative of duration.
* Or, "by/from all the signs and stars having been called back to the beginning". I wasn't sure whether this was intended as an ablative absolute or just an ablative (of cause, I guess?)
It looks more like an ablative absolute, but these sometimes have a nuance of cause (or concession, condition...). There's some overlap between grammatical classifications.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Maybe at the same time of the day.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Actually, perhaps also on the same day of the same month.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
But then you didn't realize that pauciores was negated while meliores wasn't; so that if they had similar meanings it would make for a contradictory sentence, lol. :p
Yes, well, I freely admit I'm still trying to figure some basic stuff out. That's why I come to you guys for help, LOL ;)

I have only been doing this for a few months, you know! :p
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I know, though it's hard to believe. I've rarely (if ever?) seen someone progress so quickly, honestly.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
I know, though it's hard to believe. I've rarely (if ever?) seen someone progress so quickly, honestly.
Thanks :) It's quite encouraging to hear that.

Though probably it's 90% sheer obsessiveness and 10% having too much time on my hands... ;)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Sure that the amount of time one devotes to it plays a non-negligible role. I've seen people who had been studying for a couple of years and were hardly able to decipher a middlingly complex sentence, but those probably studied more sporadically. I personally got better very quickly when I started frequenting this forum and reading a lot (and being obsessive, lol :p).
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
A few things I was unsure about here.

(25) Quocirca si reditum in hunc locum desperaveris, in quo omnia sunt magnis et praestantibus viris, quanti tandem est ista hominum gloria, quae pertinere vix ad unius anni partem exiguam potest?
Igitur, alte spectare si voles atque hanc sedem et aeternam domum contueri, neque te sermonibus vulgi dederis nec in praemiis humanis spem posueris rerum tuarum! Suis te oportet illecebris ipsa virtus trahat ad verum decus; quid de te alii loquantur, ipsi videant! Sed loquentur tamen; sermo autem omnis ille et angustiis cingitur iis regionum, quas vides, nec umquam de ullo perennis fuit et obruitur hominum interitu et oblivione posteritatis exstinguitur.'

Wherefore, if you have lost hope of a return to this place -- in which are all [things of?]* great and excellent men -- of what worth, in the end, is mere human fame, which can last through barely a tiny part of a single year [i.e. the Great Year, described above]?
Therefore, if you desire [literally, will desire]** to gaze on high [or, from above] and behold this abode and the eternal home, you will neither devote yourself to the talk of the multitude nor put [your] hope in human rewards of [i.e. for] your deeds***! It is essential that virtue itself, by its own attractions, should lead you to true glory; let others say about you what they themselves perceive!**** They shall talk nonetheless; yet all that talk is contained by the narrowness of the regions which you saw, and neither was [such talk] about anyone ever eternal; it is buried in the dying of humans***** and annihilated by the forgetfulness of future generations.

* I don't understand why this is in neuter plural -- if it is referring to the men themselves, it should be masculine, but "things of" seems very vague...
** I'm assuming this is future perfect, but I haven't seen a conditional before with future perfect in both clauses -- is there a reason why it's used here, and what does it imply?
*** There are countless meanings of res and this was just my best attempt to pick one; but I'm not sure I placed this right. It could also be something like "hope of your future/affairs/reputation", or something other possibility I'm missing...
**** This is mostly a guess; but between the two subjunctives, the quid, and ipsi, I'm thoroughly confused as to the meaning here. I don't know if the quid means something like "why should others speak of you" or refers to the substance of what the "others" are saying; and I don't know if the subjunctives are concessive or causal or potential or something else entirely... :brickwall2:
***** Or, the death of humans; I'm not sure if this is a supine (from intereo) or just an ablative (from interitus); either could work.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
in quo omnia sunt magnis et praestantibus viris
in which are all [things of?]* great and excellent men
* I don't understand why this is in neuter plural -- if it is referring to the men themselves, it should be masculine, but "things of" seems very vague...
Magnis et praestantibus viris is dative, not genitive.
"In which is everything for great and excellent men/in which great and excellent men have everything."
alte spectare
to gaze on high [or, from above]
First option. To look high above from the earth.
hanc sedem et aeternam domum
this abode and the eternal home
Remove "the".
neque te sermonibus vulgi dederis nec in praemiis humanis spem posueris rerum tuarum!
you will neither devote yourself to the talk of the multitude nor put [your] hope in human rewards of [i.e. for] your deeds***!
** I'm assuming this is future perfect, but I haven't seen a conditional before with future perfect in both clauses -- is there a reason why it's used here, and what does it imply?
The verbs are perfect subjunctive; they are negative commands.
Rerum tuarum modifies spem, not praemiis.
"Do not give yourself to the talk of the multitude and do not put the hope of your matters/interests in human rewards!"
quid de te alii loquantur, ipsi videant!
let others say about you what they themselves perceive!****
**** This is mostly a guess; but between the two subjunctives, the quid, and ipsi, I'm thoroughly confused as to the meaning here. I don't know if the quid means something like "why should others speak of you" or refers to the substance of what the "others" are saying; and I don't know if the subjunctives are concessive or causal or potential or something else entirely... :brickwall2:
Quid de te alii loquantur is an indirect question, and videant is a jussive subjunctive.
"What others speak of you, let themselves see!" or "Let others see themselves what they speak of you!", i.e. let them say what they want, it's their problem, not yours.
vides
saw
See.
obruitur hominum interitu
in the dying of humans*****
***** Or, the death of humans; I'm not sure if this is a supine (from intereo) or just an ablative (from interitus); either could work.
It's the noun; a supine can't possibly be used like that as far as I know.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Magnis et praestantibus viris is dative, not genitive.
"In which is everything for great and excellent men/in which great and excellent men have everything."
I was thinking ablative, actually -- "from" the great and excellent men. I know it's not genitive ;)

The verbs are perfect subjunctive; they are negative commands.
Sigh, now I feel stupid... :( I should have thought of that. :hiding:

*adds to her list of subjunctives to look out for*

Quid de te alii loquantur is an indirect question, and videant is a jussive subjunctive.
"What others speak of you, let themselves see!" or "Let others see themselves what they speak of you!", i.e. let them say what they want, it's their problem, not yours.
Oh, ok -- like the (slightly archaic now, I guess) English expression "to look to" -- i.e. "let them look to it themselves", in other words turn their attention or interest to it, it's not your business.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Or to "see to it themselves", that's also used in English (though not often these days)...
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
"Do not give yourself to the talk of the multitude and do not put the hope of your matters/interests in human rewards!"
Or, to render neque... nec... more exactly: "Neither give... nor put...".
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
It's the noun; a supine can't possibly be used like that as far as I know.
Ah, ok -- I've seen/used them so little. So even though the supine looks ablative, it can't actually be used in most ways that a regular ablative can?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It is ablative, bit it's mostly limited to the use with adjectives — things like mirabile dictu, "wonderful to say", facile factu, "easy to do"...
 
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