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

1. plurimumque ab iratorum uultu absunt, per otium saevi (De Ira, book II, chapter 5, section 3)
What is the meaning of “per otium saevi”?

2. Atqui si irasci sapiens turpiter factis debet (De Ira, book II, chapter 7, section 1)
Why use an adv.”turpiter” to modify an abl. noun “factis”? Can we say “turpibus factis”?

3. ob ista felices incedendum erit (De Ira, book II, chapter 7, section 2)
What is the meaning of this clause?

4. in quo maximam sui partem populus ostendit (De Ira, book II, chapter 8, section 1)
Why  gen. “sui”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “ plurimumque ab iratorum vultu absunt, per otium saevi... “ (Seneca, De Ira, book II, chapter 5, section 3) the literal meaning of “per otium saevi” is “cruel (saevi, nominative masculine plural which refers to “ii qui vulgo saeviunt” [=” those who are habitually cruel “, book II, chapter 5, section 1]) as a pastime (per otium, adverbial form)”.

In short, “ii qui vulgo saeviunt….rident…. plurimumque ab iratorum vultu absunt, per otium saevi” literally means:” Those who are habitually cruel(ii qui vulgo saeviunt) …laugh (rident) ….and are really far from (plurimumque absunt ab)the countenance/expression (vultu) of those who are angry( iratorum), [being] cruel (saevi) as a pastime (per otium)”.

As you can see, Seneca says that those men who are habitually cruel  do not look  like angry men, since they are cruel almost as a pastime, and then it is not about anger; it's about ferocity.   


2. In “Atqui si irasci sapiens turpiter factis debet (De Ira, book II, chapter 7, section 1)the  adverb ”turpiter” is used  to modify  the dative “factis” because “si irasci sapiens turpiter factis debet” literally means:”if the wise man (si …sapiens) must (debet) get angry (irasci) over  those things which have been basely done (turpiter factis,dative, past participle neuter plural of “facio”.Note that the verb "irascor" takes the dative, not the ablative).
So, Seneca has used “ factis” as a past participle, not as a noun. This is the reason why he did not write  “turpibus factis” where "factis" would be the ablative plural of the neuter noun "factum".


3. Here’s the literal meaning of  the passive periphrastic “illi … per sceleratos…ob ista felices incedendum erit" (De Ira, book II, chapter 7, section 2): “..walking (incedendum, passive periphrastic, impersonal construction) among (per) criminals (sceleratos) …[who are ] happy (felices)  for/because of these things (ob ista, acc.+ ob,to indicate the Cause) will be (erit, verb of the passive periphrastic) to him (illi, dative of the Agent which is with the Gerundive/passive periphrastic  to denote the person on whom the necessity rests)”, i.e.:
“…he (i.e. the wise man) will have to walk among criminals ….who are happy in being such”.



4. In the sentence “cum videris...illum circum….in quo maximam sui partem populus ostendit”  (De Ira, book II, chapter 8, section 1) the  genitive of the reflexive pronoun “sui”,depending on "maximam..partem", means "of itself/himself/herself", as “cum videris...et illum circum….in quo maximam sui partem populus ostendit” literally means:" ..when (cum) you will see (videris, future perfect)...that Circus (illum circum) where (in quo) the people /populace(populus) shows/displays (ostendit)  the largest (maximam) part (partem) of itself (sui)", i.e.: "..when you see.... that circus where there is a large number of people...".

Seneca wants to point out that just in the forum and in the circus there is not only a large number of people, but also a large number of vices, since many vices are gathered there as men.

Best,

Maria  

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Maria

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

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