In an English translation of a letter of Cicero I came across the phrase 'they will value to me the cost of my former house and site.' (letters to Atticus IV.1). Does anyone know what this means or have a better translation? If so much obliged.

closed as off-topic by jimm101, Edwin Ashworth, Drew, tchrist Apr 22 '18 at 0:23

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it appears to involve non-standard English; interpretation of such becomes largely a guessing game. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 21 '18 at 18:34
  • I think this question is worth answering. It is about the concepts of 'value' 'cost' and 'price' and it is about the way in which the English language deals with numerical cost, intrinsic value and transactions between humans on that basis. (And welcome to EL&U, by the way.) – Nigel J Apr 21 '18 at 18:54
  • In similar translation issues, it's always a good idea to cite the source of the text and add a link. That way we avoid the plausible accusation that the translation was by a non-native speaker if I'm to understand Ashworth's comment and reason for closing the question. Luckily, Colin Fine's answer provided the source and the link. – Mari-Lou A Apr 21 '18 at 21:57

It appears to be using value in a strange way, that I cannot make much sense of. The normal meaning of the verb is "to determine the value of".

The translation seems to be considerably more copious than the Latin original rem totam aestimabunt ("they will value the whole affair"), which is rendered here as "value to me the cost of a site and house". This is evidently the translator's (Evelyn Shuckburgh) attempt to make it clearer to an English reader; but to my mind he has made it less clear by this "value to me".

I find no evidence that the Latin aestimo means anything but "determine the value of" (like the English verb value). Lbf's answer seems to suggest that the implication is that the state will pay Cicero that value if they take his land. That is as good an interpretation as any; but I don't think that the English word value normally has this meaning - certainly the OED does not list it.

  • agree ... i edited my answer. My reading of the paragraphs implied he would be made whole if they did take such. I simplified ... but it may have been meant that he would get property elsewhere of same value. – lbf Apr 21 '18 at 18:28

Letters of Cicero

They will value to me the cost of my former house and site.

As in:

He will be paid if they (the state ) take his land ect.


He will be given land etc ... of same value.

In any event he is happy with the arrangement ( i read the paragraphs before and after ).

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