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The usage of eo is somewhat confusing to me with this sentence:

Medus prope Romam est; iam muri Romani ab eo videntur et porta Capena.

The first half is easy, however the second half is confusing to me because I'm not sure what eo is, and also because of the placement of et porta Capena at the end of the sentence. My initial thought was something like, "and from (here) he can see the walls of Rome and the gate of Capena".

Edit: Corrected Roman to Romam.

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It is a somewhat confusing sentence!

Hint: what other translation of ab do you know?

Second hint: what is the ending in videntur, and how do you translate it?

P.S. I think your Roman should be Romam?

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  • The first meaning that comes to mind is "from", as in from a particular location, although I think it also can be from a cause. My understanding of "videntur" is it's the present tense, passive voice of "see", or something like that, so maybe something like "he is seeing". I fixed my typo (note to self: vodka does not help spelling).
    – Adam
    Oct 31 '19 at 2:27
  • @Adam: A cause is closer. But there is yet another translation, one that is common when the praedicate is passive. As to videntur, it is indeed passive. But what person, what number? He is seeing is not how the passive is translated, though; videor is "I am (being) seen". The person doing the seeing is not the subject.
    – Cerberus
    Oct 31 '19 at 3:19
  • Per the other answer, "by" is another meaning and makes much more sense. Videntur is plural, so it clearly must refer to muri Romani et porta Capena. I think I understand you, though. The sentence would be accurately stated as "the Roman wall and gate of Capena are seen by him", then?
    – Adam
    Oct 31 '19 at 3:24
  • @Adam: Correct! Add iam "now, already", and make "wall" plural.
    – Cerberus
    Oct 31 '19 at 5:20
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here is the ablative singular masculine of is, ea, id, "he/she/it".

The other important thing to note is that the verb is passive—in other words, the subject in the nominative is the thing being seen, and the person doing the seeing can be in the ablative with ā/ab.

So in the nominative, the murī Rōmānī et porta Capena are being seen; ab eō refers back to a masculine singular noun. Depending on the context, the walls and gate might be seen by Medus (a person), or seen from Medus (a city); the sentence itself doesn't let you distinguish between these.

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  • The other sentences around this one provide the context that Medus is a person rather than city. I think what is strange to me is splitting the two objects with the subject and verb.
    – Adam
    Oct 31 '19 at 2:31

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