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

1. Hos tamen Hispani Gallique et Asiae Syriaeque molles bello uiri, antequam legio uisatur, caedunt ob nullam aliam rem opportunos quam iracundiam. (De Ira, book I, chapter 11, section 4)
Could you give a literal translation?

2. et ex lento ac destinato prouexit. (De Ira, book I, chapter 11, section 8)
Are “lento” and “destinato” the abl. of some nouns?

3. saepe enim saluti fuere pestifera (De Ira, book I, chapter 12, section 6)
What is “fuere”?

4. Peccantis vero quid habet cur oderit (De Ira, book I, chapter 14, section 2)
What is the meaning of “cur” here? Not clear about the grammar.

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.Here’s the literal translation for :”Hos tamen Hispani Gallique et Asiae Syriaeque molles bello uiri, antequam legio uisatur, caedunt ob nullam aliam rem opportunos quam iracundiam. (Seneca, De Ira, book I, chapter 11, section 4):
“The Spaniards (Hispani) however (tamen)  and the Gauls (Gallique) and unmanly (et….molles)  in war  (bello) men (viri) of Asia (Asiae)  and Syria (Syriaeque) cut down/kill (caedunt) these people (hos, referring to the Germans in “Germanis quid est animosius ?” meaning “ Who are more courageous than the Germans?”, book 1, chapter 11, section 2), before  (antequam) a legion (legio) can be glimpsed (visatur), [these people being] suitable/adapted to this fact (opportunos, agreeing with “hos”) for no other  reason/for nothing else  (ob nullam aliam rem) but /than  (quam) for anger (iracundiam. See AG 407 for Comparison construction. Note that when “quam” is used, the two things compared are put in the same case, i.e. in the accusative in this context, since the first thing compared is “nullam aliam rem” in the accusative depending on “ob”)”.

In short, Seneca says that   the Spaniards  and the Gauls  and unwarlike men  of Asia  and Syria  were able to defeat even the Germans, before  they can  glimpse a legion, because the Germans were  too impetuous  in assailing so that they became  victims of nothing else than their  own anger and rashness .



2. In “… et ex lento ac destinato prouexit” (De Ira, book I, chapter 11, section 8) “lento” and “destinato” are the abl. of the adjectives “lentus” and “destinatus”,  so that “ex lento” and “ex destinato” are used adverbially in the sense of “slowly” and “in a fixed direction” respectively.


3. In “…saepe enim saluti fuere pestifera..” (De Ira, book I, chapter 12, section 6)  “fuēre” stands for “fuerunt” ( 3rd pl perf ind act of “sum”) as it is  the contracted form of “fuerunt”.
In this context “fuēre” agrees with the nominative neuter plural “pestifera” (from the adjective  “pestifer/pestiferus)   literally meaning “noxious/ pernicious things” in the sense that sometimes even noxious events, such as poison, a fall, or a shipwreck (see “ut venenum et praecipitatio et naufragium”) were for the salvation (saluti, dative of Purpose or End. See AG 382) [to somebody] .



4. In “ Peccantis vero quid habet cur oderit..” (De Ira, book I, chapter 14, section 2) the meaning of “cur”,  which depends on “quid habet” and introduces  the indirect clause “oderit”, means “for” , since “quid habet cur oderit” literally means:” what reason has he (quid habet ) for hating (cur oderit) those who commit a fault.. (peccantis=peccantes, plural accusative)..?”.

In short, Seneca says that a good man ("vir bonus" in book 1. chapter 14. section 1) has no reason for  being angry with bad men because it is error that drives these men to such mistakes, and  no wise man can  hate the erring (See Book  1. chapter 14. section 2: “Non est autem prudentis errantis odisse”, literally, “It is not  the part of a wise man to hate the erring” . AG 343 for  the Possessive Genitive).

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

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