Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Can you help me with the following (all from de Providentia, Seneca):

1. nec hunc siderum coetum discursumque fortuiti impetus esse (1.2)
What is the case of “fortuity” and “impetus”?

2. sed suas et illa causas habent non minus quam quae alienis locis conspecta miraculo sunt,(1.3)
Is “illa” the subj. and “suas causas” the obj. of “habent”? Is “miraculo” the abl. of quality of “quae”?

3. Scias licet idem viris bonis esse faciendum (2.4)
I am a bit confused about the compatibility of the meanings of “licet” (may, allowed) and “esse faciendum” (ought to, must).          

4. ecce spectaculum dignum ad quod respiciat intentus operi suo deus (2.9)
Is dat. “operi” required by “intentus”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “…..nec hunc siderum coetum discursumque fortuiti impetus esse (Seneca, De Providentia, book 1, chapter 1, section 2) the case of both “fortuiti” and “impetus” is the genitive for “fortuiti impetus” means “of a fortuitous impulse” with reference to the fact that the assembling (coetus) and the running (discursus) of the stars (siderum) cannot derive from a casual impulse.

2. In “…..sed suas et illa causas habent non minus quam quae alienis locis conspecta miraculo sunt,…”(book 1, chapter 1, section 3) the neuter plural, nominative case “illa”  (those things) is  just the subj. and “suas causas” the obj. of the verb “habent”.

As for  “miraculo”, it is  a dative of purpose in the Double Dative structure which is lacking of  the dative of reference here.
In short, “ alicui esse miraculo “ - which literally would mean:”to be as a wonderful thing for somebody”-  corresponds to “to excite wonder” /to cause great astonishment“, so that “…   quae ….miraculo sunt “ means:” …those things/ phenomena that (quae) …. are /cause (sunt) great astonishment (miraculo, dative of purpose)”, with reference to those phenomena that happen in strange situations such as warm waters in the midst of the sea.

3.In “Scias licet idem viris bonis esse faciendum…”  (book 1, chapter 2, section 4) the impersonal form “licet” governs the present subjunctive “scias” and  literally means:”It is allowed (licet) that you know (scias) that ..”, i.e.:“You certainly know that..".

So,“Scias licet idem viris bonis esse faciendum…”  literally means:” You certainly know that (scias licet) the same thing (idem) is to be done (esse faciendum) by  good men (bonis viris, dative of the agent in the passive periphrastic)“, i.e.:“You certainly know that good men must act likewise” with reference to the fact that good men must show the same spirit of endurance as the wrestlers, who pit themselves against the strongest in order to show by endurance what they are capable of, because “marcet sine adversario virtus” (2.3) meaning:“without an adversary, bravery/virtue becomes feeble”.


4. In “…ecce spectaculum dignum ad quod respiciat intentus operi suo deus…” (book 1, chapter 2, section 9) the dative “operi” is required by “intentus” which agrees with  “deus”, since “intentus operi suo deus” means:”god intent on his work”.

Therefore, “…ecce spectaculum dignum ad quod respiciat intentus operi suo deus…” literally means  :”.. here is (ecce) a spectacle (spectaculum) worthy (dignum) at which(ad quod) god (deus) intent (intentus) on his work (operi suo) looks (respiciat)..”, i.e. “…..here's a spectacle worthy of the regard of God who is contemplating his work”.

Best regards,

Maria

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