I've started reading Johann Schweighäuser's 1822 translation into Latin of Herodotus' Histories, and already the first sentence is giving me some trouble.

The Greek, which I can puzzle my way through just about half of, reads

Ἡροδότου Ἁλικαρνησσέος ἱστορίης ἀπόδεξις ἥδε, ὡς μήτε τὰ γενόμενα ἐξ ἀνθρώπων τῷ χρόνῳ ἐξίτηλα γένηται, μήτε ἔργα μεγάλα τε καὶ θωμαστά, τὰ μὲν Ἕλλησι τὰ δὲ βαρβάροισι ἀποδεχθέντα, ἀκλεᾶ γένηται, τά τε ἄλλα καὶ δι᾽ ἣν αἰτίην ἐπολέμησαν ἀλλήλοισι.

One English translation of the passage reads

These are the researches of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, which he publishes in the hope of thereby preserving from decay the remembrance of what men have done, and of preventing the great and wonderful actions of the Greeks and the Barbarians from losing their due meed of glory; and withal to put on record what were their grounds of feuds.

Another, more recent translation (Tom Holland's) reads

Herodotus, from Halicarnassus, here displays his enquiries, that human achievement may be spared the ravages of time, and that everything great and astounding, and all the glory of those exploits which served to display Greeks and barbarians alike to such effect, be kept alive—and additionally, and most importantly, to give the reason they went to war.

Schweighäuser's version reads as follows:

Herodotus Halicarnasseus, quæ quum cæteris de rebus, tum de caussa bellorum Græcos inter Barbarosque gestorum, perquirendo cognovit, ea his libris consignata in publicum edit; ne, quæ ab hominibus gesta sunt, progressu temporis oblivione deleantur, neve præclara mirabiliaque facta, quæ vel a Græcis edita sunt vel a Barbaris, sua laude fraudentur.

My fairly literal translation of the Latin is

Herodotus of Halicarnassus publishes the things (set down in these books) which he recognized in researching as much into the cause of the wars waged between the Greeks and the barbarians as into other matters, lest the acts of men be wiped out into oblivion by the passage of time, or lest the wondrous and most famous deeds performed by the Greeks or the barbarians be cheated of their praise.

I'm having trouble with "quæ quum cæteris de rebus, tum de caussa," for two reasons:

1) My understanding is that the cum X, tum Y generally means "as much Y as X." But there's nothing like that in the English or, as far as I can tell, in the Greek.
2) There's nothing like "into other matters" in the English or, as far as I can tell, in the Greek.

What's going on with this phrase? (My Greek is very rudimentary, so if there's a discussion of the Greek in your answer, I'd love it if you transferred the explanation to the English.)

2 Answers 2


You are right that cum...tum can be correlated to mean something like "as...so," but by extension this can be used for "X and especially Y." In fact, the description of this usage corresponds pretty exactly to what Lewis and Short describes in meaning (3):

3 As correlative with a preceding cum, introducing particular after a universal or a stronger or more important assertion after a weaker or less important.

3.b. Clauses with the same predicate, which is placed after the first clause (always with indic.)

Here are some examples. Note that you could translate into English using "as X, so Y" or "while X, Y," but I will use "X and/but especially Y." Note that L&S indicates that "tum is frequently strengthened," as is the case with *maxime" below:

cum omnium rerum simulatio est vitiosa, tum amicitiae repugnat maxime. (Cic. Lael. 25, 91)

Deceit in all things is wrong, but deceit in friendship is especially repugnant.

Another example:

luxuria cum omni aetati turpis tum senectuti foedissima est. (Cic. Off. 1, 34, 123)

Lust is shameful in every time of life, but is especially ugly in old age.

The phrase "quum cæteris de rebus, tum de caussa bellorum" corresponds pretty closely to the above usage: "concerning other things, but especially concerning the cause of the wars...."

This is a decent translation of the Greek, where "τά ἄλλα" (abbreviated as τἆλλα, but in this case separated by τε) means "all else." It is even used adverbially to mean "for the rest." In this case, Herodotus is just indicating that he wants to talk about "all aspects" of why there was a war but *especially" "for what cause."

These textual notes translate "τά τε ἄλλα καὶ" literally as "the rest and..." and, more idiomatically, as "especially on what account."

It strikes me as a little generous to translate "τά τε ἄλλα καὶ" as *cum ceteris de rebus, tum...", since "τἄλλα" doesn't have a significant semantic contribution in the original. In either case, it's a sin of unnecessary verbosity, not corruption of meaning.

  • Thanks so much for this! It also makes clear why ceteris de rebus comes first, which I was wondering about. Jan 3, 2017 at 16:34

Cum...tum can also just be a way of saying 'not only...but also (instead of non solum/tantum...sed etiam) or, as here, since it corresponds to τε...καί in the Greek, 'both...and' (instead of et...et).

'Into other matters' (ceteris de rebus) corresponds to τά...ἄλλα in the Greek; in the English, it looks as though 'withal' is meant to cover ceteris de rebus and also the cum...tum.

  • Thanks very much! I worded my question badly—the translation I attributed to Holland isn't actually his. I've added his, which came out a couple years ago. I assume that in his version, τά...ἄλλα corresponds to "additionally, and most importantly," which seems a very different but perhaps more satisfying interpretation than ceteris de rebus. Jan 3, 2017 at 2:49

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