I was wondering about the correct/preferred syntactic analysis of recitatis litteris in the following complex sentence from Cicero.
Tum Cethegus, qui paulo ante aliquid tamen de gladiis ac sicis, quae apud ipsum erant deprehensa, respondisset dixissetque se semper bonorum ferramentorum studiosum fuisse, recitatis litteris debilitatus atque abiectus conscientia repente conticuit. (Cic. Catil. 3, 10)
In my opinion, two basic syntactic analyses are possible: cf. (1) with (2) infra. Here I'd go for (2) but not without some hesitation... Hence my question. Which analysis/parsing & interpretation do you think is the preferred one here?
(1) recitatis litteris is a typical Ablative Absolute construction ([recitatis litteris] [[debilitatus atque abiectus conscientia] repente conticuit]). NB: e.g. this is the analysis underlying Pinkster's (2021: 394) translation: 'when his letter was read out'.
(2) recitatis litteris is a dominant participle construction in the ablative case that is not to be analyzed here as "absolute" (cf. option (1) supra) but rather as "dependent" on the participle debilitatus (i.e. 'weakened by the reading of his letter'); e.g.: [[[recitatis litteris debilitatus] atque [abiectus conscientia]] repente conticuit].