7

Vilicae quae sunt officia, curato faciat.

It is taken from De Agri Cultura, 143.1, and I found an English translation:

See that the housekeeper performs all her duties.

Faciat is singular, therefore vilicae is singular genitive/dative. In most cases I have seen, a relative pronoun, here quae, is attached to the adjacent noun before it, here vilicae. But it will be "The housekeeper who duties are", which is weird.

How to analyse the syntactical structure of this sentence?

Is it an alternative arrangement of (Ea) quae vilicae (dat.) sunt officia, curato faciat? (Those which are duties for the housekeeper, make sure that she does)

1 Answer 1

6

Is it an alternative arrangement of (Ea) quae vilicae (dat.) sunt officia, curato faciat?

Yes, that's exactly right. The initial placement of vilicae is due to topicalization or topic fronting -- it shows that this sentence, and in fact the entire passage that this sentence begins, is going to be about the housekeeper (as opposed to the previous passage, which was about the overseer). You could capture this with a translation like "As for the housekeeper, make sure that she does her duties". The relatively free word order of Latin makes this a commonly used pragmatic resource (a couple of examples here).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.