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Prosa 7:

Worldly fame is weak in true consolations.

minimum: adverb, with nobis . dominatam: < dominor , "rule over," here as often in later Latin, with dative (of the object of rule). quo ne = ne (or quominus ).

nondum . . . perductas: take the whole phrase together to modify mentes . ad extremam manum: "to the finishing touches." gloriae scilicet cupido: in apposition with hoc unum . Cf. Milton's Lycidas: "Fame . . . that last infirmity of a noble mind."

ambitum: "encirclement, encompassing." astrologicis: "of the science of the stars"; there was not in B.'s time any hard and fast distinction between astronomy and astrology; here we would think of astronomy. ad: "[compared] to." puncti . . . rationem: "the ratio of a point"; ratio was already used in later Latin in the modern arithmetical sense. id est, ut: introducing the result of the comparison just made.

The "known world" was believed to fill only one-fourth of the globe, from Europe to Asia, bounded by the arctic, by the oceans, and by uninhabitable burning desert to the south. ( Ptolomaeo: see on 1M2.12.) nobis: dative depending on cognitis .

Even in the inhabited portion of the globe, there is so little habitable land that the arena for human activity is as small compared to the whole planet as the planet is small compared to the cosmos. Huic quartae: dative with verb of taking away. quantum . . . quantumque: relatives corresponding to an implicit tantum (object of subtraxeris ). The first quantum is accusative; the second is adverbial.

quodam: here, "as it were, so to speak." artata: < arto , "compress."

habitaculi: "dwelling-place." saeptum: used of any small penned-in area. insolentia: "un-accustomedness, infrequency." non modo: for non modo non . urbium: sc. fama .

M. Tulli: Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43 B.C.), the orator. quodam loco: Cicero, De Republica 6.22, recounting the famous dream of Scipio ( Somnium Scipionis ) on which Macrobius wrote a commentary in the fifth century. B.'s father-in-law Symmachus had arranged for the Macrobius work to be copied under his aegis. Caucasus: Cicero and B. seem to have used this name for different mountains: Cicero the Himalayas, B. the modern Caucasus between the Black and Caspian Seas. adulta: sc. res publica . Parthis . . . ceterisque . . . gentibus: datives with formidolosa . id locorum: see on 2P4.7.

quam Although the first two quam are adverbial, the final is a relative pronoun, antecedent gloria . dilatare: "to broaden, expand." ubi: here virtually of place "to which," for quo .

Quid quod: "What of the fact that . . . ?"

conducat: here impersonal: "it is advantageous, profitable," with dative.

pervagata ("far-wandering") . . . gloria: ablative.

scriptorum inops . . . oblivio: literally, "forgetfulness, poor in writers"; i.e., a lack of writers of history leaves many great men to be forgotten. proficiant: "avail, profit."

pertractes: "consider, handle"; object is famam understood. ad: "[in comparison] to." quid habes, quod . . . laeteris: i.e., "what reason do you have to rejoice?"

The argument used above to show the spatial insignificance of human deeds (3f) recurs to prove temporal insignificance. utrumque: "each." minimam licet: sc. esse portionem . eiusque quamlibet multiplex: sc. numerus , "and however great a multiple of that one [it may be]."

"There could be some [comparison] to each other in turn for finite [i.e., measurable] things, but of infinite and finite there could never be any comparison."

Ita fit, ut: "so it happens that." quamlibet: take with prolixi , "long."

ad: here, "in the face of." facere nescitis: "you don't know how to act." relicta . . . praestantia: ablative absolute.

festive: "wittily." adortus esset: < adorior , "attack, assail." sciturum: sc. esse . velut insultans: "as if to taunt [him]." intellexeram: In a contrary to fact condition, the indicative may be used to express what was likely, intended, or already begun ( AG 517b.

post resolutum . . . corpus: "after dissolution of the body." attineat: "pertains, belongs."

nostrae . . . vetant: cf. 2P4.28. toti: "as a whole, completely."

This ascent to heaven and disdain for the cares of this world is the subject of the Somnium Scipionis and the commentary by Macrobius. quae: sc. mens . se . . . exemptam: sc. esse ; accusative/infinitive after gaudet .

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  • Commentary references from this page (1):
    • A. A. Howard, Benj. L. D'Ooge, G. L. Kittredge, J. B. Greenough, Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar, 517
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