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Following on from "Uter vs Uterque"; it is clear that "'uterque' can be translated as 'both [of two]' but it might be better to think of it as 'each [of two]'. The reason is that 'uterque', like 'each' is singular." (Joonas)

I asked about the plural "utrique" = "both". The advice was that "utrique" should be read as "each group" as in "ille et meae et tuae familiae canit. utrisque delectat." = "He sings for both my family and yours. He pleases each group."

But this could be translated as: "He pleases both (families)", could it not?

Here are two further examples:

  1. "data utrique venia, facile Segimero, cunctantius filio, quia Quintilii Vari corpus inlusisse dicebatur."
    (Tacitus "Annals" Book 1.71)

    "Both were pardoned, Segimerus, the son, with some hesitation, because it was said that he had insulted the corpse of Quintillius Varus."

  2. "in novo genere belli novae ab utrisque bellandi rationes reperibantur."
    (Caesar "De Bello Civili" 3.50)

    "In this new kind of war, new methods of managing it, were invented by both (generals)."

In both examples there are two sets of individuals, not groups.

In "Advice From History", I attempted to say: "...and you'll lose both (freedom/ law-and-order)" = "...et utrasque perdetis.", using feminine accusative plural of "uterque" for "libertas" & "salus".

Joonas, naturally, discussed the merits of "utramque" (feminine accusative singular) in the sense of "you will lose each and every one of your privileges i.e. both-in-turn." He revised "et utrasque perdetis" to the neuter form "et utrumque perdes"; (singular/ plural forms of "you" are not relevant to this discussion) the latter, I have no doubt is correct; but, could the former be used just as appropriately?

  • Thanks for asking this! I took the liberty to edit a bit. When you refer to other questions, it's best to include a link. That will make the other question easy to find and it will also be automatically linked back (in the list on the right titled "Linked"). There's a little button "share" under each question; click that and then "copy link", and you can then paste it to any post or comment you're writing. For example, write: [this question](https://latin.stackexchange.com/q/11440/79). – Joonas Ilmavirta Sep 4 at 17:38
  • @Joonas llmavirta: Thank you, wondered how this was done, should have asked. Where is the serial no. of the Q to be found? – tony Sep 5 at 16:48
  • Click the "share" button and then "copy link". That's the designed way to link to questions. You never need to type a number by hand. (If you wanted to for some reason, it's contained in the URL too.) – Joonas Ilmavirta Sep 7 at 10:11
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The singular forms of uterque mean either 'each x (out of 2),' which is also singular concept in English, or 'both xs,' which is a plural concept in English. The plural forms mean either 'each group of xs (out of 2 groups),' which is a singular concept in English, or 'both groups of xs,' which is also a plural concept in English.

In the Tacitus passage that you provided, utrique is dative singular, not plural, and therefore refers to 2 individuals: 'Pardon was granted to each of the 2 men/both men.'

The context of the Caesar passage makes it pretty clear that C. is talking about 2 sides in a conflict (the Caesarians and Pompeians), not 2 individual men (Caesar and Pompey), because the next sentence starts with illi, 'those men' (which is how C. generally refers to the Pompeians), and therefore provides an example of how one of the 2 sides in the conflict found a novel strategy (in this case, locating Caesar's soldiers at night, based on the location of their fire, and raining arrows down on them in guerilla-style hit-and-run attacks). Therefore, ab utrisque means 'by each of the 2 sides'/'both sides.'

  • Sources Perseus and McDevitte & Bohn (Caeser's Commentaries) both give "...by both generals."; then, new sentence: "illi (They, Pompey's men, as you say) cum animadvertissent ex ignibus noctu (perceiving by our night-fires...) Is there scope, here, for alternative translations? – tony Sep 5 at 16:56
  • 3
    Interesting. I just looked in the 5 translations/commentaries that I own (Damon's new Loeb translation, Raaflaub's translation in the Landmark Julius Caesar, Gardner's Penguin Classics translation, Kennedy's commentary, and Carter's commentary/translation), and all 5 are unanimous in talking in terms of 'sides'. As reflections of the Latin text, translations that say 'by both generals' are technically inaccurate. In terms of overall meaning, though, it could be argued that the difference isn't terribly great in this instance. – cnread Sep 5 at 21:19

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