Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Could you please help me with the following (all from De Ira III):

1. aut nervum in his quos fregerat dentibus fixit (De Ira, 3.28.3)
What I was a bit confused is that it seems “dentibus”, which is the antecedent of “quos”, can be placed inside the relative clause.

2. Omnia, quae natura fera ac rabida sunt, consternantur ad vana (De Ira, 3.30.2)
What is the meaning of “ad” in this sentence?

3. Nulli ad aliena respicienti sua placent (De Ira, 3.31.1)
Is the understanding of the following three words correct?
“nulli” sing. dat. of “nullus” depending on “placent”
“sua” n. nomi. pl. of “suum” is the subj. of “placent”
“aliena” n. pl. accu.

4. iniuriae loco sit plus accipere potuisse (De Ira, 3.31.1)
Is “loco sit” some kind of idiom?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “…. aut nervum in his quos fregerat dentibus fixit…” (Seneca, De Ira, 3.28.3) the ablative “dentibus”, which goes with “in his” and is just  the antecedent of “quos”, is placed after the relative clause “quos fregerat” in order to put special emphasis on the fact that too great violence (nimia vis) of the striker (caedentis) has fastened (fixit) a tendon/sinew (nervum) in those (in his) teeth (dentibus) that (quos) it (i.e. great violence) had broken (fregerat).
In short, the placement of “dentibus” depends on Seneca’s choice and is grammatically correct, of course.



2. In “Omnia, quae natura fera ac rabida sunt, consternantur ad vana..” (De Ira, 3.30.1) the preposition  “ad”  before the accusative neuter plural “vana” depends on the verb  “consternantur” and literally  means “in relation to” just to say that all creatures that (omnia quae) are (sunt) wild (fera) and savage (ac rabida) by nature (naturā) are alarmed (consternantur) in relation to (ad) trifles (vana).


3. In “Nulli ad aliena respicienti sua placent.”(De Ira, 3.31.1) “nulli” is exactly the dative singular  of “nullus” depending on “placent”; “sua”, which  is the neuter nominative plural  of “suum”, is the subj. of “placent”; “aliena” is a neuter accusative plural depending on “ad”.

So, your understanding is correct, as the sentence literally means:” To no man (nulli) who looks (respicienti, predicate participle) at other people’s things (ad aliena) his own things (sua, subject) are agreeable (placent) “, i.e. “No man when he views the lot of others is content with his own”(Basore)


4. In “…iniuriae loco sit plus accipere potuisse…” (De Ira, 3.31.1) the ablative singular “loco” with the genitive “iniuriae” in “iniuriae loco” literally means ”in the condition of an offence”, i.e. “as an offence”.

Note that “in loco“ or more frequently “loco” with a genitive is an idiomatic expression to indicate that someone or something is "in a condition of", i.e. "is considered as ..".

In short, the sentence wants to emphasize that such is the presumptuousness of men that (Tanta  ….importunitas hominum est, ut),  although they may have received much (quamvis multum acceperint),  the fact that they might have received (accipere potuisse, subject-clause whose verb is “sit”) more (plus ) is (sit) in the condition of an offence/is considered  as an offence (iniuriae loco)”.

Best regards,

Maria

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