Cicero "de Oratione" (2.86.351):

"iam istuc quantum tibi ego reliquerim, inquit Antonius, erit in tua potestate. Si enim vere agere volueris, omnia tibi relinquo; sin dissimulare, tu quem ad modum his satis facias videris."

The translation: https://laits.utexas.edu/memoria/Cicero.html

"'Oh, as for that,' said Antony, 'the amount of memory I shall have left to you will be for you to decide; if you want complete candour, what I leave to you is the whole subject, but if you want me to keep up with the pretence, it is for you to consider how you may satisfy our friends here.'"

This translation strikes me as fanciful and assumes much e.g. without a Latin personal pronoun "me"/ "mihi", where does "...if-you-want-'me'-to-keep-up-with-the-pretence..." come from?

A literal translation of "...sin dissimulare, tu quem ad modum his satis facias videris." would be:

"...but if you seem to conceal it/this (= "quem") you must definitely do satisfyingly/ well for these (people)."

What is direct object, accusative, "quem" (the thing being concealed) referring to: the truth, in the Latin, is not given as a noun; feminine "veritas" would require "quam" anyway; "subject", again is not given as Latin, "argumentum" (neuter noun), it is assumed; this leaves "memory", yet again not given, in the Latin, "memoria", (feminine) would require "quam".

Some help, please?

  • Where does "you must definitely" come from?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 14:24
  • @Joonas llmavirta: Wiki: "ad modum" = "completely"; "greatly"; "just so"; rendered to "definitely"; but, perhaps not? Thank you for the answer.
    – tony
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 16:25
  • @Joonas llmavirta: Yes, "quemadmodum" = "how"; but it's always given as one word, not three?! Oxford lists it as one word. In a way, I feel stupid; in another, I don't. Thanks again (I've learned something).
    – tony
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 16:53
  • Spellings vary. The Romans mostly had no word spacing, so division to words is a later editorial decision. Being listed and analyzed as a single word is due to being a set expression. That kind of spelling variation happens to a few words.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 16:58
  • @Joonas llmavirta: There is "priusquam" = "until", often written as two words e.g. "neque prius fugere destiterunt quam ad flumen." = "They did not abandon to flight until they had reached the river.".
    – tony
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 9:39

1 Answer 1



The quem is part of quem ad modum (= ad quem modum), which is a common fixed phrase mean "how".

The rest of the sentence

The first thing to notice is the parallelism between the two halves of the second sentence:

Si enim vere agere volueris, omnia tibi relinquo;
sin dissimulare [volueris], tu quem ad modum his satis facias videris.

The verb velle is not repeated but it should be understood to be the predicate for both halves.

You can understand an implicit me twice so as to have an accusativus cum infinitivo: me agere/dissimulare volueris. That me is supplied from context. Without it the subject of agere and dissimulare is addressee. But that works too: "if you want to speak the truth" and "if you want to pretend". I'm not sure which way the translator you quote understood it, but the translation tells the same story in idiomatic English — and that's what a good translation means to me.

(This seems to be how the translator is seeing it, but I'm struggling to parse videris in this reading. This answer is incomplete for now but perhaps still helps. I would expect videbis instead.)

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