Quis iussit illam rem publicam servitute aspera liberari?

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by William Stein, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    I'm pretty sure of the translation (Who ordered that republic to be freed from harsh servitude?) but I don't really understand how to use "iubere".

    Why is "rem republicam" in the accusative? "Res publica" should be the subject of the passive infinitive liberari, right? For example, the republic will be liberated = "Res publica (nominative) liberabit". I know there's no law that says that languages have to be logical, but I'm just trying to understand it so I can do the exercises.

    Wheelock has a practice sentence: "With great hopes the tyrant ordered those ships to be destroyed"
    On that model, it would be "Magnis cum spebus tyrannus iussit illas naves deleri." Is that right?

    Is the syntax of "I want to see the republic liberated" analogous?
    Volo rem publicam liberari videre.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  2. ablativ Senior Member

    German(y)
    Your Latin is a lot better than mine - your English anyway !

    "Quis iussit illam rem republicam servitute aspera liberari"

    "iubere" requires AcI ---> so "illam rem republicam" (accusative), "liberari" (infinitive, passive voice), "servitute aspera" (ablative)

    Imho this sentence is an ordinary AcI-construct with an inifinitive in the passive voice (this may make it different from other - even more odinary - AcI-sentences)

    If the sentence with the same meaning had been built with "imperare" ---> the sentence would have to be constructed with "ut" ("so that") + conj. after "rei publicae" (dative).

    If I am not mistaken - no guarantee for correctness ! :) ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  3. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    Okay, thanks! For what it's worth, it occurred to me that there is probably the same logic (or lack thereof) in English: "The general ordered them (e.g., the enemy ships) to be destroyed."
     
  4. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    But of course it should be "rem publicam", not "rem republicam".
     
  5. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    so'sorry
     
  6. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    No, "Res publica" is the object, not the subject of the sentence.

    In your second example: Res publica (nominative) liberabit", "Res publica" is the subject.
     
  7. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    The syntax is hard to explain but the meaning is the same in both, it's just a question of syntax. I think the accusative in the first sentence is explained by the "iussit" construction. The second sentence could be transformed in the same way:
    Dixit rem republicam liberari.
    There, "rem republicam" is simultaneously the object of "dixit" and the subject of the subordinate clause. That said, I was wrong to say that an infinitive can have a subject. According to Wheelock, an infinitive has no gender or number so I guess it can't have a subject either.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  8. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    In the sentence "Quis iussit illam rem republicam servitute aspera liberari?" Quis is the subject, res publica is object.

    If the sentence was "*Res publica liberatur" (This sentence is probably bad Latin, but it's only an example) "Res publica" is the subject.
    As far as I know, the subject cannot be in accusative case, only in nominative in Latin.
     
  9. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    Right, but I asked the question because it seems illogical to put the subject (by meaning) in the accusative case. It's just a convention, though, so it doesn't have to be logical.
     
  10. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Neither "the Republic" in the English version of the question nor "rem publicam" in the Latin version is the subject of the sentence. Change the question to an answer, and make the answer be I / ego: I ordered the Republlic ... If you don't see the subject, go back to the basics of grammar.
     
  11. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    You keeping missing the point. I say that in the "Republic is liberated", republic is the subject. LOGICALLY, "republic" should remain the subject in the indirect version: "He said the republic is liberated." You say, No, republic is in the accusative so it is not the subject. No kidding, what could be more obvious? I wouldn't have asked the question in the first place if there hadn't been a conflict between the formal and logical meaning (try reading my original question if it's not too much to ask). Of course it is not syntactically the subject because it is in the accusative but the point is that it LOGICALLY should be the subject.

    Your example doesn't work either because what the orderer is ordering is NOT the republic. The orderer is ordering some anonymous third parties to liberate the Republic. The Republic is neither the direct or indirect object of "to order".
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  12. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    That a noun is in the accusative does not necessarily disqualifies it as a subject.

    A noun can be the object in the matrix clause and the subject in the subordinate clause whose entirety is the object of the former. A subject illa res publica with its non-finite verb liberari is the object of jussit (whose subject is quis). To recapture this, we can draw a diagram as below:
    [Quis jussit [illam rem publicam (servitute aspera) liberari]]

    , where underlined words are subjects for each domain marked by brackets. Parentheses are used to mark off adverbial elements that does not affect the overall construction of the sentence.

    If you are more comfortable with analogy with English:
    I told him to wash dishes every day.

    , where him is the subject of to wash etc. and is governed by the verb told (or a part of the noun clause governed by it).


    In Latin, accusativus cum infinitivo is one of the most general ways to create a subordinate clause. A quirky thing about this construction is that subject of the infinitive verb is morphologically indistinguishable with the object, both being in the accusative. Latin has work-around constructions to deal with more complex sentences than the topic of the thread. William, you will get to know then in no time.
     
  13. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    Hi Flaminius,

    I agree entirely, a noun can be in the accusative but still be the logical subject of the subordinate clause.

    Your English is incredibly good by the way, is your native language really Nihongo? I bet there's no native English-speaker in the whole world who can write in Japanese as well as you write in English!
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  14. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    The subject of an infinitive in Latin is ordinarily in the accusative. And this cannot always be explained by saying that it is also the direct object of some other verb. For example, the entire infinitive clause can be the subject of the main verb. See the following thread:
    Ipsos mori
    And this discussion on another site:
    To be yourself is not a crime.
     
  15. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Aren't we speaking about two different things? Is "the subject of an infinitive" (we are certainly speaking about "accusativus cum infinitivo") the same as "the subject of a sentence"?
     
  16. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    From the start of this thread, William Stein made it clear that he was talking about "the subject of the passive infinitive liberari". I have the impression that for you, "subject" can only mean "subject of the main clause" or "subject of a finite verb", but the standard definition is broader.
     
  17. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    The word "subject" has so many meanings in English that confusion is very easy. Even in grammar it denotes quite different entities.
     
  18. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    I find many examples of AcI as the sentential subject in the links provided by CapnPrep. Some of them are predicates of copular sentences.

    I wonder if AcI can serve as an absolute construction. In this passage, for example, can something like adolescentulum ducem esse be used in place of the ablativus absolutus?
     

Share This Page