Cicero: "de raudusculo Numeriano multum te amo."

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
I was recently attempting to read (decipher is probably the better word at my level) a selection from Cicreo's Epistulae ad Atticum (7.2.7), and I have a question about the initial sentence of that passage: "de raudusculo Numeriano multum te amo." Having, after a bit of difficulty, discovered that radusculo means a small payment in coinage, and also that amo can mean "I am thankful"/"I am obliged", I realized that this sentence means something like: "Pertaining to Numerius' little payment in coin, I am much obliged to you." or "Regarding the payment of coin (due to?) Numerius, I thank you very much." Evidently, Atticus had paid off a debt owed by Cicero to one Numerius, prompting this statement of thanks. My question pertains to the case of the object pronoun in the sentence: . In this case, I believe that Cicero used the ablative of tu in order to convey an associative meaning ("to"/"with"), but I wanted to verify that with those who are more well versed than I; since is also the accusative of tu, and the proper use of case still eluding me, it crossed my mind that Cicero might have used the accusative here. Thanks in advance.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Te is accusative, the direct object of amo.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
Thank you, Pacifica. I think that, in addition to my continuing adjustment to the use of case, my difficulty with respect to this came from the fact that the verb amo confuses me a bit; though it does not have the form of a stative, all of its senses appear to be stative ("I love". "I like/am fond of", "I am thankful/obliged"). It seems to me that stative verbs should always be intransitive (for, what is the direct effect on a potential object) and so should not take a direct object, but such is not the case.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
afaik amo always take an accusative direct object
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It either does or such an object is more or less implied (e.g. you can say just amo, "I love/I am in love" without any object, but it's understood that there's a person as the unstated object).
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
Does English "to love" confuse you as well?
No, not in English, but then, in English we don't use caseforms. I find, in Latin, it a bit difficult to discern whether a stative verb which does not have the stative form (-eo) should take a direct object. In fact, it is somewhat difficult for me to know when a stative verb is being used transitively ( which probably represents the nucleus of the problem).
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
But at any rate, and I think that was Matthaeus's point, it never takes an ablative object as e.g. potior or careo does.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
No, not in English, but then, in English we don't use caseforms.
Even if English doesn't mark the accusative case in nouns, the function is still there. I mean "this person" in "I love this person", albeit caseless, is still a direct object, just as it would be in Latin. (Now, some transitive English verbs have intransitive Latin translations and vice versa.)
 
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Quasus

Civis Illustris
in English we don't use caseforms
Sometimes we do. Remeber that Floydian, "I love she, she loves me" - sounds odd, doesn't it?

Still, a direct object is a direct object. Simplifying, an intransitive verb has a single "slot": "A sleeps", while a transitive verb has two slots: "A loves B". In this respect to love and amare are identical, both of them readily admit a two-slot construction.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I find, in Latin, it a bit difficult to discern whether a stative verb which does not have the stative form (-eo) should take a direct object.
When in doubt, look up the verb in a dictionary. Good ones indicate whether a verb is transitive or intransitive (or either).
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Yeah, in any language the government (cases, prepositions) is a part of the verb, so it's the kind of information to be found in a dictionary.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
Even if English doesn't mark the accusative case in nouns, the function is still there. I mean "this person" in "I love this person", albeit caseless, is still a direct object, just as it would be in Latin...
Yes, the function is still there, but the non-marking in English makes all the difference in the world. You know, I must have been told somewhere along the line in English class, that there were things called "stative verbs", but since we need not mark them in English with the appropriate caseform, that information was quickly forgotten. I actually never gave any consideration to the ramifications of stative verbs until I began investigating Latin, much later in life!
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
..."this person" in "I love this person", albeit caseless, is still a direct object...
Quite true. I have come to recognize, however, that the statement "I love X", actually employs a grammatical convention, replacing "I am loving X" with the simpler "I love X", since to love is not to perform an action, and so has no direct effect upon it's direct object, the only effect of my love upon which object can arise if the object loves me in return, know what I mean? The statement "I love X" has a more direct effect upon the subject,:"I", than it does upon the object, "X" (as is generally the way with stative verbs), although when I was in high school, I often found myself wishing that such was not the case...:confused:
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
I don't think English grammar works quite like that, i. e. there's no strict correspondence between the semantics of active actions and transitivity. For instance, you can see someone or meet someone, they are unaffected, but the verbs are transitive. (Curiously, German begegnen "to meet" is intransitive, it takes the complement in dative, which may have to do with the semantics of the person not being affected by the fact of encounter.) In your "I am loving X" still X is somehow appended to "loving". You can say "the cat sleeps" and "the cat is sleeping" but neither "the cat sleeps me" nor "the cat is sleeping me". So there is a clear grammatical difference between "to sleep" and "to love", which is absolutely the same as between "dormire" and "amare"
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
I don't think English grammar works quite like that, i. e. there's no strict correspondence between the semantics of active actions and transitivity...You can say "the cat sleeps" and "the cat is sleeping" but neither "the cat sleeps me" nor "the cat is sleeping me". So there is a clear grammatical difference between "to sleep" and "to love", which is absolutely the same as between "dormire" and "amare"
You make some good points, Quasus. Semantics is the harder part of linguistics, for sure. I recognize that the correlation between stative verbs and transitivity is more tenuous than I am supposing. Of course, I have never studied that matter, but since I first began to notice statives in studying Latin, I have "felt" that they seem as though they should be intransitive. Perhaps that feeling is being supported by my personal experience, because when "I was loving" Miss Cindy-Lou in high school, she was curiously unaffected, and "she was not loving" me in return...(sigh).

Anyways, I now know and will remember that Latin amare always takes a direct object as a rule, whether it is meaning the active "I love/like" or the passive "I am thankful/obliged", which is one hurdle out of the way in future, thank you very much.
 
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Quasus

Civis Illustris
"I am thankful/obliged"
Come on, they just used to say "I love you!" when they were grateful. Or "I'll love you!" when asking. It would sound weird in a literal English translation, and so we have to resort to expresions like "be thankful" as a workaround, but the Romans actually meant love. Latin "amare" could be weaker, less intense than English "to love", so it was appropriate for speech etiquette.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
Come on, they just used to say "I love you!" when they were grateful. Or "I'll love you!" when asking. It would sound weird in a literal English translation, and so we have to resort to expresions like "be thankful" as a workaround, but the Romans actually meant love. Latin "amare" could be weaker, less intense than English "to love", so it was appropriate for speech etiquette.
That's a great thought, and remarkably straightforward. I was kind of wondering how those senses came to be attributed to the verb, and that it might have been through the agency of various translators makes simple sense.

I had looked into that a bit, and the verb amare is quite etymologically obscure, appearing to have no cognates in any other IE language with the meaning "to love" or anything semantically related to that. Also, unlike Greek phileo, amo seems not to derived from any recognized IE root having a meaning within that "love/like" semantic field. Most linguists seem to believe that it derives from an IE root meaning "to grasp", or one meaning "to swear" (which would make it cognate to Ancient Greek omnumi "to swear"/"to pledge"). All in all, and quite surprisingly, amare seems, from the etymological and semantic perspectives, to be a remarkably odd duck of a verb!
 
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Michael Zwingli

Active Member
It would sound weird in a literal English translation, and so we have to resort to expresions like "be thankful" as a workaround, but the Romans actually meant love.
I just looked in Lewis and Short, and they do give "to like one for something, to be obliged to one for something, to be under obligation, to be thankful" as one possible sense of amare (I closed the book already, but I think it was given as a tropic sense). Perhaps, though, they are saying so to indicate translational possibilities? The general sense that I get from L&S, echoes what Quasus indicated: that amo more often than not meant love in kind of a weaker sense, meaning closer to "I like" or "I am fond of". The verb "to love" in English seems to carry much more of a strong emotional sense. While in English we would be likely to use "I love" in saying "Baby, I love you, if you leave me I'm going to kill myself!", your average Roman would use amo in saying: "I love you, and wish you would not leave, but if you must, can you please take the trash on your way down?" I am wondering if in Latin, other verbs like diligo indicated love in a stronger of more profound ( for lack of a better word) way?
 
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