Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Can you help me with the following? They are all from Seneca’s Epistles.

1. haec quieta et sui negotii contemni non potest, cui ab omnibus artibus etiam apud pessimos honor est. (XIV. 11)
What is the subj. of “potest”?

2. sed ne priores quidem anni fuerunt qui sapientem in illam rapinam rei publicae admitterent (XIV.13)
Could you give a literal translation?

3. Quanto huic periculum paratius foret multa agenti molientique (XIV. 15)
Does “quanto” go with “periculum” or “paratius”?

4. Non est philosophia populare artificium nec ostentationi paratum (XVI. 3)
Is “artificium” understood after “nec” and both “ostentationi” and “paratum” modify this understood “artificium?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “… haec quieta et sui negotii contemni non potest, cui ab omnibus artibus etiam apud pessimos honor est”(Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, Book 2, Epistula XIV. Section 11)   the subj. of “potest” is  the feminine singular demonstrative pronoun “haec” referring to “philosophy”  which is mentioned earlier (See  “Ad philosophiam ergo confugiendum est”).

Here’s the literal translation:”…this (haec, i.e. philosophia) [which is] peaceful (quieta) and [happy] of its activities ( sui negotii, genitive singular depending on an implied adjective such as “laeta”, happy) cannot (non potest) be despised (contemni), to which (cui, referring to “philosophia”) by every professions (ab omnibus artibus) there is honour (honor est) even (also) among (apud) the vilest men (pessimos)..” just to point out that “philosophy is peaceful and minds her own business.  Men cannot scorn her; she is honoured by every profession, even the vilest among them” (Gummere’s translation).


2.Here’s the literal translation of “….sed ne priores quidem anni fuerunt qui sapientem in illam rapinam rei publicae admitterent” (XIV.13):”…but nor… even (ne…quidem) the previous years (priores anni) were (fuerunt)  such as (qui, introducing a relative used as a result clause with the subjunctive) they introduce (admitterent) a wise man (sapientem) in that plundering (in illam rapinam) of the state (rei publicae)” just to say that even in the previous years a wise man, such as Cato,  was able to intervene in such plundering of the state to stop it.


3.In “Quanto huic periculum paratius foret multa agenti molientique..” (XIV. 15) the ablative of measure  “quanto” (how much) goes with “paratius” (more ready) as it modifies the comparative neuter “paratius” which agrees with “periculum” so that the phrase literally means:”how much ( quanto) more ready (paratius) would be (foret, i.e. esset) the danger (periculum)  for this man (huic) who does (agenti, predicate participle present agreeing with “huic”) many things (multa) and is busily working (molientique, predicate participle present of “molior”agreeing with “huic”)…”.
Seneca wants to state that  it is much more beset with danger  that man who is busily working at many things, since he even in his leisure is not secure.  


4.In “Non est philosophia populare artificium nec ostentationi paratum” (XVI. 3), literally meaning “Philosophy is not (non est philosophia)    a popular  (populare) nor prepared (paratum, agreeing with “artificium”) for show (ostentationi) art (artificium)  ”,  it is not necessary to imply “artificium” after “nec”  as both  the neuter adjectives “populare” and “paratum” modify “artificium”.
In short,  Seneca says that philosophy is an art which is neither popular  nor  prepared for being shown in ​order to be ​admired.

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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