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Latin Reading II, Lesson 03

In this lesson, we read a third letter written by Cicero to his wife Terentia. As we read, let us consider what this epistle reveals about the relationships between husbands and wives, and between Cicero and Terentia in particular. Reflect, as you read this epistle on how different life must have been when information traveled by hand-written and hand-delivered letters. Do you think it was better or worse than modern communication? Why?

Latin Text

M.T.C. Terentiae S.P.D.

Si vales, bene est: Ego quidem valeo. Valetudinem tuam velim cures diligentissime. Nam mihi & scriptum & nuntiatum est, te in febrim subito incidisse. Quod celeriter me fecisti de Caesaris literis certiorem, fecisti mihi gratum. Item posthac, si quid opus erit, si quid acciderit novi, facias ut sciam. Cura ut valeas.

Vale.
Datum IV. Nonas Junias.

Exposition

The following notes are provided to guide you through the translation of this reading. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Michael.

M.T.C. Terentiae S.P.D.

  • The salutation of this epistle is exactly the same as the last:
    Author: Marcus Tullius Cicero, the name of Cicero in the nominative case.
    Recipient: Terentiae, the dative case of Terentia, the name of Cicero’s wife.
    Greetings: We read again, S.P.D., which signifies “Salutem plurimam dicit.”

Si vales, bene est: Ego quidem valeo.

This is nearly the same as the first two epistles with one addition:

  • quidem: adverb, “indeed”

Valetudinem tuam velim cures diligentissime.

  • valetudinem: substantive noun, feminine, singular, accusative: “health”
  • tuam: pronoun, feminine, singular, accusative: “your”
  • velim1: verb, present, active, subjunctive, singular, 1st person: “I should wish”
  • cures: verb, present, active, subjunctive, singular, 2nd person: “you may take care of”
  • diligentissime: adverb, superlative: “most diligently”
  1. velim is a form of of the irregular verb volo.

Nam mihi & scriptum & nuntiatum est…

  • nam: conjunction: “for”
  • mihi: pronoun, masculine, singular, dative: “to me”
  • &…&…: conjunctions: “both…and…”
  • scriptum: participle, perfect, passive, singular, accusative: “written”
  • nuntiatum: participle, perfect, passive, singular, accusative: “announced”
  • est: verb, present, active, indicative, 3rd person, singular: “is”

…te in febrim subito incidisse.

  • te1: pronoun, feminine, singular, accusative: “you”
  • in: preposition: “into”
  • febrim: substantive noun, feminine, singular, accusative: “[a] fever”
  • subito: adverb: “suddenly”
  • incidisse: verb, perfect, active, infinitive: “to have fallen”
  1. te…incidisse” = Here we see an example of an accusative being used as the subject of an infinitive verb,

Quod celeriter me fecisti de Caesaris literis certiorem,

  • quod1: conjunction: “because”
  • celeriter: adverb: “quickly”
  • me: pronoun, masculine, singular, accusative: “me”
  • fecisti: verb, perfect, active, indicative, 2nd person, singular: “you have made”
  • de: preposition: “concerning”
  • Caesaris2: substantive noun, masculine, singular, genitive: “of Caesar”
  • literis: substantive noun, feminine, plural, ablative: “[the] letters”
  • certiorem: comp. adjective noun, masculine, singular, accusative: “more certain”
  1. The Latin word “quod” can be a pronoun (qui, quae, quod) or a conjunction as we see here.
  2. Note that the words Caesaris and literis appear to have the same endings/cases, but they belong to different declensions. Caesaris is third declension, making -is a genitive ending; literis is first declension, making -is an ablative ending.

…fecisti mihi gratum.

  • fecisti: verb, perfect, active, indicative, 2nd person, singular: “you have done”
  • mihi: pronoun, masculine, singular, dative: “for me”
  • gratum1: adjective noun, neuter, singular, accusative: “[a] pleasing [thing]”
  1. gratum” here would best be translated as “a favor” in English.

Item posthac, si quid opus erit,

  • item: adverb: “likewise”
  • posthac: adverb: “after this”
  • si: conjunction: “if”
  • quid: pronoun, neuter, singular, nominative: “anything”
  • opus: substantive noun, neuter, singular, nominative: “a need”
  • erit: verb, future, active, indicative, 3rd person, singular: “shall be”

si quid acciderit novi, facias ut sciam.

  • si: conjunction: “if”
  • quid: pronoun, neuter, singular, nominative: “anything”
  • acciderit: verb, future, active, subjunctive, 3rd person, singular: “shall happen”
  • novi: adjective noun, masculine, singular, genitive: “of new”
  • facias: verb, present, active, subjunctive, 2nd person, singular: “you should do”
  • ut: conjunction: “so that”
  • sciam: verb, present, active, subjunctive, 1st person, singular: “I may know”

Cura ut valeas. Vale.

  • cura: verb, present, active, imperative, singular, 2nd person: “take care”
  • ut: conjunction: “that”
  • valeas: verb, present, active, subjunctive, 2nd person, singular: “you may be well”
  • vale: verb, present, active, imperative, singular, 2nd person: “fare well”

Datum IV Nonas Junias.

  • Datum: participle, perfect, passive, singular, accusative: “given”
  • IV: adjective noun, read as “quartus“, = “fourth”
  • Nonas: substantive noun, feminine, plural, accusative: “the Nones”
  • Junias: adjective noun, feminine, plural, accusative: “of June”
  1. IV Nonas” means “on the fourth day before the Nones”

Translation

The following translation is our official translation for class use.

Marcus Tullius Cicero to Terentia much health says.

If you are well, it is will. I indeed am well. Health you I wish [that] you should take care of most diligently. For to me both written and spoken it is, you into a fever suddenly to have fallen. [The fact] that quickly me you have made concerning of Caesar [the] letters more certain, you have done for me a favor. Likewise after this, if anything [a] necessity shall be, if anything shall happen of new, you should do that I may know. Take care that you may be well.

Fare well.

Given the 4th day before the Nones of June.

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