"Who is Made, Maecenas?" A Guide to Recognizing Instrumental Qui

Thomas N. Winter

University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Sooner or later, instrumental qui gives every Latin student problems.  Caesar never uses it; Cicero rarely.  First and second-year students don't need it and don't get it.  Then in Roman Comedy or the Roman poets they use the qui they've got, it very often doesn't work, and they think Plautus or Terence or the poets are hard.

The Latin student embarking upon Plautus or Terence has no problem with anything like

meum erum, qui Athenis fuerat

my master, who had been at Athens, (MG 132)

But when, for example, Terence's Sanga produces

SA. Egon? Imperatoris virtutem noveram et vim militum;

sine sanguine hoc non posse fieri: qui abstergerem volnera?                                                                                           (Eun.778-9)

two things are likely to happen: a) the students are confused ("I who would cleanse the wounds?") and, b) the teacher could use some help helping them.

Some numbers tell the scope of the problem.  Of the qui's in Plautus' Miles Gloriosus, 14% turn out to mean "whereby" or "how." Of the qui's in Terence's Eunuch, 17% are whereby/how.  Of the qui's in Terence's Self-tormentor, 21% are whereby/how.  Not being alert to this qui can make Roman Comedy or even Horace's lead-off line Qui fit, Maecenas... seem either silly or difficult.  So this paper addresses the question "how do you tell qui from qui?"

By means of a purely lexicographical approach, collecting examples and noting context, I have six ways to tell on sight when qui is "how' rather than "who."

Is it interrogative? (Most are interrogative.) 

Is it paired with a following quia? (qui? quia..."How? Because…")

Is its context one of knowing?  (qui scis? "How do you know?")

Is it followed by an adverb or comparative?  (qui melius "How better?)

Is the antecedent a tool? (machinas qui  "engines to___with"

Is the context one of giving or seeking?  (da mi qui emam "Give me the means to buy…")


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