Pliny, Naturalis Historia Book II, paragraph I:

Mundum et hoc—quocumque nomine alio caelum appellare libuit cuius circumflexu teguntur cuncta, numen esse credi par est, aeternum, inmensum, neque genitum neque interiturum umquam. huius extera indagare nec interest hominum nec capit humanae coniectura mentis, sacer est, aeternus, inmensus, totus in toto, immo vero ipse totum, finitus et infinito similis, omnium rerum certus et similis incerto, extra intra cuncta conplexus in se, idemque rerum naturae opus et rerum ipsa natura. [My emphasis]

I'm wondering why he uses "conplexus" instead of "conplexa". Is it not supposed to agree with "cuncta"?

1 Answer 1


Complecti or conplecti is a deponent verb. Therefore the participle conplexus agrees with the subject mundus. As is common, the word est is left out.

Therefore the key structure should be read as [mundus] cuncta conplexus [est], "the world has encompassed everything". If you add details from the surrounding words, extra intra cuncta conplexus in se becomes "it [= the world] has encompassed everything without and within in itself".

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