The full sentence is:

C. Fabricius Luscinus et Q. Aemilius Papus censores Romae fuerunt et P. Cornelium Rufinum, qui bis consul fuerat, senatu moverunt: causamque isti notae subscripserunt 'quod eum comperissent argenti facti cenae gratiā decem pondo libras habere.'

My translation is:

C and Q, censors in Rome, ejected P - who had twice been consul and dictator - from the senate, and under the cause of which they wrote, noting: 'for they had discovered that he possessed via favouritism [dinnerware?] made of silver weighing ten pounds.''

Mainly I'm unclear about what 'notae' is doing (I am translating it as a participle of censores but since they are plural masculine I know that can't be correct) as well as 'cenae'. Can it here mean silverware? I thought it only referred to the meal itself. Also wondering if I'm understanding the ablative 'gratiā' correctly?

1 Answer 1

  • isti notae is dative indirect object of subscripserunt: 'under this note they wrote (as) the cause'. The note in question is the written record of censure explaining why he was expelled from the Senate. Cf. Livy 41.27 de senatu novem eiecerunt; insignes notae fuerunt... "they expelled nine men from the Senate; the important censures were those of..."
  • argentum factum is 'wrought silver'; it is going with decem libras and with the ablative pondo: 'ten pounds by weight of wrought silver'.
  • gratiā here is functioning as a postposition with the genitive (like causā), so cenae gratiā 'for / on account of dinner'.

I read argenti facti cenae gratiā as meaning silver plate or dinnerware, as you surmised. So the cause of his expulsion is that 'they had learned that he possessed ten pounds by weight of silver plate'.

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