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In Columella, there is a line that goes:

deinde cum computruerit tamdiu pati donec ad pristinum modum perveniat.

("Then, when it has putrified, you must leave it alone until it returns to its original condition.")

I do not understand why the passive infinitive (pati) is used here as an imperative.

1 Answer 1

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You're missing the main verb, which occurs just before the quoted section:

harum ergo alterutram curabis quam plurimam et quam optimis uasis conditam ante quinquennium in sole ponere, deinde, cum conputruerit, tamdiu pati, donec ad pristinum modum perueniat.

Curo can take the infinitive (see meaning I.1.δ) to mean, "take care to X."

Thus, in your example, both ponere and pati go with curabis:

You will take care

  1. to place as much as possible of either of these, stored in the best vessels possible, in the sun five years prior
  2. and then, once it has putrefied, to wait until it arrives to its earlier condition.
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  • Quidnam gentium hic efficitur? Commented Apr 17 at 16:41
  • @SebastianKoppehel Hic muriae, scil. aquae sale funditus permixtae, conficiendae rationem Columella docet eos qui procul a mare habitant.
    – brianpck
    Commented Apr 17 at 16:52
  • "alterutra" hic refert ad aquam muriae conficiendae maxime idoneam, scil. sive "aquam calestem" (pluviam) sive aquam "ex fonte liquidissimo" exhaustam.
    – brianpck
    Commented Apr 17 at 16:55

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