I stumbled upon this sentence and I am quite perplexed. I would translate as the first example I'll show, but I'd like to be sure.

"Cum ista ex militum cognitione toti Galli intelligant esse vanissima et stultissima expectare scilicet Capitolii diruptionem"

The translation I would do follows this scheme:

  • Cum toti Galli cognoscant: for all Galli know
  • ex miltum cognitione: by the knowledge of their soldiers
  • ista vanissima et stultissima esse: that these things are very foul and vain
  • expectare scilicet Capitolii diruptionem: to aspire for (namely) the destruction of the Capitolium

I am a little confused by this usage of "ista esse", because what "ista" are is explained after, but it is only one thing, namely the destruction of the Capitolium. The sense is quite clear, even if I would follow another way, that seems a bit more complex to me:

  • Cum toti Galli intelligant: for all Galli know
  • ista ex militum cognitione: by this knowledge of the soldiers
  • esse: that such thing is
  • vanissima et stultissima expectare: to aspire for very vain and foul things
  • scilicet Capitolii diruptionem: namely the destruction of the Capitolium

The second translation looks very unnatural to me.

So, the question is: would it be possible for the first infinitive clause to have a subject (ista vanissima) that is plural, but with the explanation of this thing (diruptionem) as a singular noun?

  • 1
    Welcome to the site and thanks for a well-thought question! – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 9 '20 at 13:58
  • 4
    What is the source of the passage? I didn't find it by doing a corpus search on diruptionem or cognitione. Since what you've quoted appears to just a subordinate clause of some larger sentence, it may be helpful if you edit your question to provide the whole sentence, maybe even the preceding sentence. – cnread Apr 9 '20 at 23:10

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