6

I'm trying to read this sentence, where Cicero finds Roman Gods in relevance to the Latin verbs:

Saturnus quia se saturat annis, Mavors quia magna vertit, Minerva quia minuit aut quia minatur, Venus quia venit ad omnia, Ceres a generendo. (Cicero, de natura deorum, III 24, 62)

of course with the help of English translation:

Taturnus is so called because he is 'sated with years,' Mavors because he 'subverts the great,' Minerva because she 'minishes,' or because she is 'minatory,' Venus because she 'visits' all things, Ceres from gero 'to bear.' (H. Rackham)

I could follow the structure until Venus, since there are always quia and third-person singular present verbs. Could anyone please explain me how I can then understand Ceres description? Is there a specific construction behind this "a generendo" to have it as "from gero"?

5

I believe there is an issue with your transcription of the passage. Both Loeb and Perseus actually have gerendo, not generendo:

Saturnus quia se saturat annis, Mavors quia magna vertit, Minerva quia minuit aut quia minatur, Venus quia venit ad omnia, Ceres a gerendo.

This is especially clear since the ablative gerund of genero, -are would be generando, not generendo.

Everything else in Hugh's answer (about a + ablative gerund) is spot on. Since gero and genero have such similar meanings anyway, it doesn't really affect the sense of the passage.

  • 3
    Oh, you are absolutely right. It was my miss transcription of 'gerendo'. So now I try to keep it in mind that the ablative gerund of genero is generando, that of gero is gerendo... Thank you for the correction! – K. Park Dec 4 '18 at 16:55
5

You are quite right. There's a slip.

Gero does also mean to 'bring forth' to 'generate.'

But there is another word genero which is used by Cicero here,(Lewis&Short)

gĕnĕro, āvi, ātum, 1, v. a. genus, to beget, procreate, engender, produce, create; in pass., to spring or descend from.

And the -and- (for gero -end-) shows that it is the verbal noun, the Gerund. Here in the Ablative Case, with a it means 'from the action of...-ing,' 'from her ...-ing.'

Ceres a generando
Ceres, from her procreating.

  • 1
    Now I've learned the Gerund and a+ablative case.!! Thank you so much for the clear explanation! – K. Park Dec 4 '18 at 15:26
  • 2
    You may want to edit the last part of your answer, in view of generendo being a "misspelling" of generando. – Vincenzo Oliva Dec 4 '18 at 18:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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