One the difficulties that meets the Latin learner is the wide range of meanings that appear to be attached to a single word. One of the great offenders, for sake of an example, is the Noun res, rei f a thing, object, matter, affair, circumstance, the world, the universe, nature, the real thing, fact, truth, reality, possessions, property, wealth, interest, advantage, benefit, cause, ground, reason, a matter of business, an affair, a lawsuit, cause, action. And these are just the meanings offered by The Cassell’s Latin Dictionary; the list is the Oxford is even longer.
And while we are discussing res, here is an interesting piece of etymology. It is res modified by the Adjective publicus belonging to the people that gave the Romans their res publica which in turn gave us our republic. But I digress…
There is often confusion about the two very different uses of the word cum (pronounced coom). The first is the preposition which means with, for example Claudia cum Marcello ambulabat Claudia was walking with Marcellus. The second is the Conjunction meaning when, for example cum Claudia cum Marcello ambularet, Mirandam vidit When Claudia was walking with Marcellus, she saw Miranda.
What can be helpful to understand is that this is NOT a word with disparate meanings, but two completely different words that just happen to be written (and spoken) the same way. We know this to be a fact, because the Conjunction when was once spelt quom. quom Claudia cum Marcello ambularet, Mirandam vidit When Claudia was walking with Marcellus, she saw Miranda.
You may also have noticed that cum when seems to be followed by a Verb in the Subjunctive Mood. More on that some other time.
But when she had returned, she found that this man, not yet known to her, had the suitcase. She sighed and retreated (literally: carried back her foot) to consider this with herself.