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

1. Cato qua exeat habet (book 1, chapter 2, section 10)
Could you give a literal translation?

2. post hoc uolentibus accidere ac dignos malo esse si nolint.(book 1, chapter 3, section 1)
Could you give a literal translation?

3. et haec vox est, a qua recens sum (book 1, chapter 3, section 3)
What is “a qua recens sum”?

4. quod bellum tam cum Pyrrho quam cum divitiis gerit? (book 1, chapter 3, section 6)
In this “tam … quam…” structure, is the emphasis on “Pyrrho” or “divitiis”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.Here’s the literal translation for “Cato quā exeat habet” (Seneca, De Providentia, book 1, chapter 2, section 10): “Cato has (Cato…habet) through which way (quā, relative adjective, ablative feminine agreed with the implied “viā”, way) he can escape (exeat, present subjunctive denoting possibility)”, i.e.: “Cato has a way of escape” with reference to Cato Uticensis, aka Cato the Younger, who -unwilling to live in a world led by Caesar -committed suicide in Utica, North Africa (46 BC ), after the defeat in the Battle of Thapsus.

2. “….post hoc volentibus accidere ac dignos malo esse si nolint” (book 1, chapter 3, section 1) literally means:”  … in the second place (post) [I say that these things] (dico, which appears at the beginning of this passage.See “Nunc ..dico..”) happen (accidere) to those who accept  (volentibus) this (hoc)and (ac) [I say] that they are worthy of (dignos esse) misfortune (malo, ablative of “malum”, depending on “dignos”), if they do not want [to accept this] (si nolint)”, i.e.: “…in the second place I say that these events happen to those who accept them, while, if they  do not accept them (i.e. adversities), they deserve misfortune”.

Note that Seneca says that what we call adversities are for the good of the whole human family.


3.In”…. et haec vox est, a qua recens sum”  (book 1, chapter 3, section 3)  the relative clause “a quā recens sum” literally means:”…from wich (a quā, ablative feminine agreeing with “vox”) I am (sum) recent (recens)” , i.e. “which I have recently heard”.

So, “…et haec vox est, a qua recens sum” means:” …and there is (est) this saying (haec vox) which I have recently heard (a qua recens sum)”.



4. In “Infelix est Fabricius …….quod bellum tam cum Pyrrho quam cum divitiis gerit?“(book 1, chapter 3, section 6) the “tam … quam…” correlative structure expresses the emphasis either on “Pyrrho” or on  “divitiis”, since the passage literally means:” Is Fabricius unhappy (infelix est Fabricius)  because (quod) he is at war  (bellum…gerit) as (tam)  with Pyrrhus (cum Pyrrho) as (quam) with wealth  (cum divitiis)?”

Kind regards,

Maria

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Maria

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I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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