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Subject:De bello civile
Time:03:43 pm
I am having trouble with this passage from Caesar's De bello civile and two rather different translations online have not alieviated my questions. Perhaps someone here can help. Below is the Latin followed by my rather inept translation, broken into sections. My questions are in bold.

[1.5.1] His de causis aguntur omnia raptim atque turbate. nec docendi Caesaris propinquis eius spatium datur, nec tribunis plebis sui periculi deprecandi neque etiam extremi iuris intercessione retinendi, quod L. Sulla reliquerat, facultas tribuitur, . . .

For these reasons all things were done hurriedly and confusedly. Neither was opportunity given to his relatives to tell Caesar, nor for the tribunes of the people to avert their danger by prayer, nor for them to retain their most basic right, namely the veto, which Lucius Sulla had left them, the opportunity is bestowed, . . .

Why is intercessione abl.? Shouldn't it be apposite to extremi iruis and thus gen.?

What does facultas tribuitur mean? How does it fit into the sentence grammatically?

[1.5.4] haec senatus consulto perscribuntur a. d. vii id. Ian. itaque v primis diebus, quibus haberi senatus potuit, qua ex die consulatum iniit Lentulus, biduo excepto comitiali et de imperio Caesaris et de amplissimis viris, tribunis plebis, gravissime acerbissimeque decernitur.

These things were approved by the senate's decree before the seventh day of the Ides of January. And thus during the first five days, during which the senate could be held, from the day when Lentulus entered his consulship, the two comitial days being excepted, the matter of both Caesar's authority and his very distinguished men, the tribunes of the people, was settled very seriously and bitterly.

How does dating work in Latin? What is ante diem VII Idus Ianuarias? Is that January 6? Is there a reason why my text has Ianuarias but my dictionary says that the nom. is Ianuarius? Is it perhaps an acc. fem. pl. adj. agreeing with an implied dies?

Why is biduo excepto comitiali dat.? I would expect an abl. absolute.

Propter auxilium vobis gratias ago!
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arago_sama
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Time:2008-07-14 08:43 pm (UTC)
I don't think Ianuarias is meant to be nominative. 'Idus' is the ides, which my dictionary says is feminine plural (Idus, Iduum), so it's nominative. So yes, I think it is agreeing with dies.
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arago_sama
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Time:2008-07-14 08:45 pm (UTC)
From my Harper Collins Latin dictionary:

"...the formula is all in the accusative, beginning with the words 'ante diem,' e.g. 11th March, 'ante diem quintum Idus Martias', usually abbreviated 'a.d. V Id. Mar'.
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chrysologus400
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Time:2008-07-14 08:47 pm (UTC)
But what day is it?
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arago_sama
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Time:2008-07-14 08:58 pm (UTC)
The ides is the 13th of most months (but 15th of March, May, July, and October). So, it's January 7th. (six days before the ides, 13-6).
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chrysologus400
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Time:2008-07-14 09:57 pm (UTC)
Ok, so they must count the day itself then.
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bochierd
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Time:2008-07-16 10:22 pm (UTC)
No. It isn't an appositive of extremi iuris, but the means by which extremi iuris might be retendi. ie. "to retain by intercession the last right, which Sulla had left them, their power being conceded...."

Note that you have a series of clauses governed by passive verbs, aguntur, datur...but the clause nec tribunis...tribuitur has no other passive verb save tribuitur...grammatically then facultas tribuitur is the main part of that clause (though difficult to render into good modern English, hence the problems with consulting the translations who likewise have difficulty with it).

Your second text arago-suma dealt with I think...you've misunderstood the abbreviations: s/b antem diem VII ides Ianuarii and yes, they do count the day itself.
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chrysologus400
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Time:2008-07-29 09:35 pm (UTC)
I came back to this section today to figure out (again) what was going on here and noticed that I never responded to your comment, though it was quite helpful! Thanks (belatedly!).
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chiasmus
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Time:2008-07-17 02:20 am (UTC)
Comitiali is an i-stem, so that would indeed be an ablative absolute. :)
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chrysologus400
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Time:2008-07-17 02:54 am (UTC)
Ah, my bad on that one.
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