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

1. cum mittam in supplicium militare …(De Ira, book I, chapter 16, section 5)
What is “militare”?

2. iis …quos non futuros sperat (De Ira, book I, chapter 16, section 6)
What does this sentence mean?

3. ideo stat semel constitutis (De Ira, book I, chapter 17, section 3)
Is “semel constitutes” abl. abs.? The pl. ending “-is” does not seem to match sing “stat”.

4. Ergo non paria patiuntur qui paria commiserant, et saepe qui minus commisit plus patitur, quia recentiori obiectus est. (De Ira, book I, chapter 17, section 7)
1. Are the two “paria” (accu. pl. neuter) the obj. of “patiuntur” and “commiserant”, respectively? They mean “the like/same”
2. I have difficulty with the word “recentiori”.

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “….cum mittam in supplicium militare …(Seneca, De Ira, book I, chapter 16, section 5) the word  “militare”, agreeing with the neuter noun “supplicium”, is the neuter accusative of the adjective “militaris”, so that “….cum mittam in supplicium militare …” literally means:”…when (cum) I’ll send (mittam) [a soldier] to the  military punishment (in supplicium militare)..”.
Note that  the punishment which was  usual with soldiers included the flagellation and the decapitation.


2. “…Tibi lex videtur irasci iis …quos non futuros sperat? (De Ira, book I, chapter 16, section 6) literally means:
”The law (lex) seems (videtur, personal construction of “videor”) to you (tibi) to be angry (irasci) with those (iis, dative depending on “irascor”)…. whom (quos) it(i.e. the law] hopes (sperat)  will not  be (non futuros [esse]”, i.e. : “Do you believe that  the law can be angry with those ….who  it hopes will never be?”.

In short, Seneca says that it is not necessary to be angry in order to punish, as the law is not angry with men it does not know, whom it has never seen, who it hopes will never be.



3.In “…. ideo stat semel constitutis” (De Ira, book I, chapter 17, section 3) “semel constitutis”  is not an ablative absolute, but an ablative depending on "stat".

Note that "semel constitutis” is composed of the numeral adverb “semel” (once) and the ablative plural of  the noun “constitutum” (from “constituo”) meaning “ determination”, so that “…. ideo stat semel constitutis”  literally means:” ..therefore  (ideo) [reason ( ratio, implied subject] stands firm/perseveres (stat) in [her] determinations (constitutis) once and for all (semel)”, i.e. “…therefore reason persists in her decisions once and for all/ once made”.



4. Note that in “Ergo non paria patiuntur qui paria commiserant, et saepe qui minus commisit plus patitur, quia recentiori obiectus est” (De Ira, book I, chapter 17, section 7):

(a) the two “paria” (accu. pl. neuter of the adjective “par”)  are the obj. of “patiuntur”  and “commiserant”, respectively. They mean  just “the same things”, so that “..non paria patiuntur qui paria commiserant” literally means:”..those who (qui) had  committed (commiserant) the same things / crimes (paria) suffer (patiuntur) the same things / punishments (paria)..”.

(b) As for  the comparative “recentiori”, it is the dative depending on “obiectus est”.

In short, “…qui minus commisit plus patitur, quia recentiori obiectus est” literally means:
”... he who (qui)  has committed (commisit) less /the smaller sin (minus) suffers (patitur)  more/the greater punishment (plus) , because  (quia) he was subjected (obiectus est) to  a more recent (recentiori) [anger, which is implied]”.

Such a concept wants to point out anger’s incoherence  (see Book 1.chapter 17.section 6 about serpents venom)

Best regards,

Maria

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