I am working on Satyricon, currently chapter 30, and have stumbled upon a passage with a grammar that baffles me:
Et quod praecipuē mīrātus sum, in postibus triclīniī fascēs erant cum secūribus fīxī, quōrum ūnam partem quăsĭ embŏlum nāvis aēneum fīniēbat, in quō erat scrīptum:
My current translation is such:
And that which particularly baffled me / had me wondering, was that fasces were attached to the doorway with [their] axes, which [had] one part finished like the blazened beak of a ship, on which were written:
The relative clause, ‘quōrum … fīniēbat’, is where the problem is. The relative pronoun quōrum is such because it possessive; it is the fasces’ axes that are being described. Then follows ‘ūnam partem’, which is in the accusative. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what the cause of this accusative is. It is as far as I can tell, not the object of the verb, but rather the subject!
This same conundrum applies to ‘embŏlum nāvis aēneum’. I interpret this to be a direct object, but find ‘quăsĭ’ to make this harder. With regards to ‘nāvis’, it is genitive, and again I believe this to be a possessive genitive.
My suspicion is that there is something either with the verb ‘fīniēbat’ or the conjunction ‘quăsĭ’ that causes these strange things, but I suppose I am completely wrong about this as well. My grammar led me to comparative conditional clauses with regards to ‘quăsĭ’, but then ended up even more confused, because I after reading about that, expected ‘quăsĭ’ to call a subjunctive verb.
I hope I have explained the problem well enough. In summary:
- Why is ‘ūnam partem’ accusative?
- Am I correct in assuming that ‘embŏlum nāvis aēneum’ is a direct object?
- Why doesn’t ‘quăsĭ’ cause ‘fīniēbat’ to be ‘fīnīret’?
- And finally, do ‘fīniēbat’ and ‘quăsĭ’ have some special properties to them calling specific cases?