Key to Reading Unit 28

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Unit Key 27

Unit Key 29

Unit 28

  1. Love is most productive both in honey and in gall. (Plautus, Cistellaria, 69)

  2. Opportunity has hair on her forehead [but] is bald behind (when Opportunity is approaching, you can grab her by the hair on her forehead, but if you let her pass before you make your lunge, your hand will slide off the back of her head, which is bald; this conception of Opportunity goes back to a statue of the Greek sculptor Lysippus).

  3. Speech sweeter than honey used to flow from Nestor's mouth. ([Cicero], Rhetorica ad Herennium, IV, 44, 25 adapted)

  4. What use has a blind man for a mirror (lit. what [is there] for a blind man with a mirror).

  5. You are ordering me strip clothes from a naked man. (Plautus, Asinaria, 92)

  6. The sun shines for all.

  7. To the pure all things are pure.

  8. Wherefore I would like you to consider it as definite (lit. so fixed) that I am keeping you in mind (lit. holding memory of you) with the greatest goodwill and that all your affairs are of no less concern to me than my own. (Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, VI, 2, 1 adapted)

  9. Aurochses are a little below elephants in size (an aurochs was a now extinct species of European wild ox). (Caesar, de Bello Gallico, VI, 28, 1)

  10. He himself finds a source of trouble for himself.

  11. It is proper to snatch a weapon from an angry man, not to give him one (irato must be understood with eripere as a dative of disadvantage but with dare it is a dative of indirect object).

  12. Virtue alone is neither given as a gift not received as one (dono is a predicative dative).

  13. Who has not heard of the nightly vigils of Demosthenes? (i.e. the fact that he stayed up at night; cui is dative of agent, lit. by whom have . . . not been heard of?). (Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, IV, 44, 10)

  14. Cato applied himself to (lit. for Cato there was the pursuit of) modesty, decorum, but most of all, austerity. (Sallust, Catiline, 54, 5)

  15. Our king was Aeneas, than whom there was no other juster in [doing] his duty or greater in war and arms. (Vergil, Aeneid, I, 544f.)

  16. No-one from this group will go away without a gift from me (lit. not presented [with a gift] by me; mihi dative of agent). (Vergil, Aeneid, V, 305)

  17. There was a deer of outstanding beauty and with huge horns (lit. huge in respect of horns). (Vergil, Aeneid, VII, 483)

  18. Piso, son of (lit. born from) Marcus Crassus and Scribonia, noble on both sides [of his ancestry], with a look and bearing of the ancient manner, and, on a just estimation, austere, was considered rather sullen in the eyes of those taking a worse view. (Tacitus, Histories, I, 14)

  19. The Scythian Anacharsis was able to consider money as of no worth. A letter of his runs in these words, 'Anacharsis [sends] greetings to Hanno. A Scythian covering is my clothing (lit. is for clothing for me), the earth is my bed, hunger is my hors d'oeuvre; I live on milk, cheese, [and] meat. Consequently, you can come to me as to a man in a state of calm (quietum); but give those gifts of yours, in which you have taken pleasure, either to your own citizens or to the immortal gods.' (Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, V, 90 adapted)

  20. Greece, after being captured [herself], captured her rough victor and introduced the arts into boorish Latium. (Horace, Epistles, II, 1, 156f.; H. is here referring to the introduction of Greek culture to Rome)

  21. Do not pluck the beard of a dead lion (i.e. do not criticise a great man when he is dead and cannot defend himself; leoni is dative of disadvantage).

  22. You, so suddenly a crow who were recently a swan, pretend to be a young man with your dyed hair, Laetinus. You do not deceive everyone; Proserpine knows you are white[-haired]; she will pull off the mask from your head (Proserpine, as queen of the dead, will not allow Laetinus to live any longer simply because he is masquerading as a young man). (Martial, III, 43)

  23. You are amazed that Marius's ear has a terrible smell. You are to blame for this (lit. you are doing this); you chatter, Nestor, into his ear. (Martial, III, 28)

  24. Your seventh wife, Phileros, is buried in your field. You get a better profit from a field than anyone (lit. a field returns more to no-one than [it does] to you). (Martial, X, 43)

  25. [A person] of upright life (lit. upright in respect of life; vitae (and sceleris in the next phrase) genitive of respect, 27.1/4h) and pure of crime does not need Moorish javelins nor bow nor quiver, Fuscus, heavy with poisoned arrows. (Horace, Odes, I, 22, 1-4)

  26. That man whom the fates force, is pardonably miserable (cum venia ablative of attendant circumstances, 28.1/2j). (Seneca, Phaedra, 440; Seneca (c. 3BC–AD65), as well as being a distinguished writer, was an adviser to the emperor Nero, by whom he was forced to commit suicide; his surviving works consist of philosophical treatises and verse tragedies)

  27. Truth has often been revealed to the misfortune of him who unearths [it] (malo predicative dative, 28.1/1i). (Seneca, Oedipus, 827)

  28. Beauty, doubtful blessing for mortals, small gift of short duration, how quickly you slip by with swift foot! Not so quickly (non sic, lit. not thus) does the heat of the burning summer plunder meadows, [which are] graceful in the new spring, when [the sun at] midday rages at the solstice and nights hurry off with short wheels (the reference is to the chariot of the Night; brevibus is a transferred epithet–at the summer solstice nights are short but the wheels of Night's chariot are presumably the same size as at any other time of the year); as pleasing hair falls from a head (lit. fails; capiti dative of disadvantage, 28.1/1e) and the gleam which shines on tender cheeks is snatched in a moment; and no day has not plundered a fair body (lit. has not taken off the plunder of a fair body; formosi corporis is appositional genitive, 27.1/4f). Beauty is something fleeting. What wise man would trust a fragile blessing? While you are allowed, use [it]. Silent time undermines you and an hour always worse than the one [which has] passed is coming up. (Seneca, Phaedra, 761-767, 769-776)

  29. In the following passage notice how we must sometimes supply a proper name to avoid ambiguity in English.

    Indeed this tyrant himself gave his judgement as to how fortunate he was. For when one of his flatterers, Damocles, mentioned in conversation the wealth of Dionysius, the majesty of his rule, the abundance of his possessions, the magnificence of the royal palace and denied that there had ever been anyone more fortunate, he said, 'So, Damocles, since this life delights you, do you wish to taste it yourself and make trial of my fortune?' When Damocles said that he desired [this], Dionysius gave orders that the man be placed on a golden couch covered with a most beautiful woven rug [which was] embroidered with splendid works; he adorned many sideboards with chased silver and gold; then he gave orders that chosen boys of outstanding beauty should stand by his table and that they, watching for a sign from Damocles, should attentively wait on [him]; there were unguents [and] garlands; perfumes were burning; tables were piled up with the most select foods. Damocles seemed to himself fortunate. In the middle of this luxury Dionysius ordered that a shining sword, fastened from the ceiling by a horse-hair, be let down so that it hung over the neck of that fortunate man. And so he looked neither at those handsome waiters nor the wonderful silver work (lit. silver full of art), nor did he stretch his hand to the table. Now the very wreaths slipped off. Finally he begged the tyrant that he should be allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be fortunate. (Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, V, 61f.)

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(c) Gavin Betts 2000