Latin/grammar

Advertisement


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

1. nec corporibus copia uitiosi umoris intentis morbus incrementum est sed (De Ira, book I, chapter 20, section 1)
Could you give a literal translation?

2. nec quicquam magnum est nisi quod simul placidum (De Ira, book I, chapter 21, section 4)
Would the sentence still be correct if we omit “quod”? Could you explain the use of “quod” here?

3. quae intra nos non insciis nobis oriuntur. (De Ira, book II, chapter 1, section 1)
Could you give a literal translation?

4. nam si inuitis nobis nascitur, … ut horror frigida adspersis, ad quosdam tactus aspernatio;   (De Ira, book II, chapter 2, section 1)
Are both “inuitis nobis” and “frigida adspersis” abl. abs.?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.Here’s the literal translation for “… Nec corporibus copia vitiosi umoris intentis morbus incrementum est sed …”(Seneca, De Ira, book I, chapter 20, section 1):
“…..Nor (nec) [such a]  disease (morbus, with reference to the previous word  “tumor”= a swelling) is (est) a growth (incrementum) for the bodies (corporibus, dative plural) that are distended (intentis, past passive participle of “intendere”, agreeing with "corporibus") by the abundance/mass (copiā, ablative of Agent depending on the past passive participle  “intentis”) of bad/corrupt (vitiosi, genitive)liquid (umoris, genitive) but (sed)…”.

In short, Seneca says that anger is not greatness, but a swelling which is not a growth, but a pestilent excess for the bodies which are full of bad liquid.



2. In “….nec quicquam magnum est nisi quod simul placidum” (De Ira, book I, chapter 21, section 4)  the  relative pronoun “quod” is  a neuter singular which agrees  with “quicquam” so that “….nec quicquam magnum est nisi quod simul placidum” literally means:”…nor anything (nec quicquam) is great (magnum est) if not/save only /unless (nisi) what (quod) [is] at the same time (simul)  calm (placidum)..”.

As you can see, the sentence would not be correct if we omit “quod” since "nothing is great if it is  not at the same time calm".

Seneca in fact  says that there is no greatness without composure, for virtue only is sublime.



3. Here’s the literal translation for “…quae intra nos <non> insciis nobis oriuntur” (De Ira, book II, chapter 1, section 1):
“…. that (quae, nominative neuter plural referring to the previous neuter plural “pleraque”= much else things) arise (oriuntur) within (intra) us (nos) who are not conscious /without our knowledge(insciis nobis . Ablative absolute composed of the implied present participle of "sum" +  the adjective “inscius” in the ablative plural agreeing with “nobis”, i.e. literally :“we [being] not knowing of”).

Please note that the negative “non” before “insciis” is a later addition which would modify the sense of the sentence, since  “<non> insciis nobis” would mean literally “we being knowing of”, because “non sum inscius” with two negative forms ("non" and "inscius") means “I am by no means unaware" and then " I know very well”, whereas Seneca is wondering whether anger originates  from choice or from impulse, that is, whether it is aroused spontaneously, or whether, like much else that originate within us, it does not arise without our knowledge (insciis nobis).


4. In “…nam si invitis nobis nascitur, … ut horror frigida adspersis, ad quosdam tactus aspernatio;…”   (De Ira, book II, chapter 2, section 1) the expression “invitis nobis” (literally, “we [being] unwilling”, i.e. “without our consent”/” against our will”) is an ablative absolute, while   “frigida adspersis”  is composed of the ablative plural “adspersis” and the ablative feminine singular “frigidā” agreeing with the implied "aquā", so that  “ut horror frigidā adspersis “ literally means :
”like (ut) shiver/trembling (horror) [which arises ] in the ones who are dashed (adspersis)  with cold water (frigidā [aquā] ablative feminine singular depending on “adspersis”, past passive participle of “adspergere”).

In short, “..nam si invitis nobis nascitur” means :”… for if [anger] arises against our will”, while “… ut horror frigida adspersis” means :”.. as shiver which arises in  the ones who are dashed  with cold water“, just to emphasize that all sensations that do not result from our will  are uncontrolled and unavoidable like for example shivering when somebody is  dashed with cold water.

Hope all is clear enough.

Best regards,

Maria

Latin

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Maria

Expertise

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

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.