Latin/grammar

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

1. cum athletae quoque, in vilissima sui parte occupati, tamen ictus doloresque patiantur (De Ira, book II, chapter 14, section 1)
I don’t understand the meaning of the part “in … occupati”.

2. ira enim perturbat artem et qua noceat tantum aspicit. Saepe itaque ratio patientiam suadet, ira vindictam, et qui primis defungi malis potuimus in maiora deuoluimur. (De Ira, book II, chapter 14, section 3)
(a)Could you explain “qua noceat tantum aspicit”?
(b)Is “nos” understood before “qui”?

3. Quod evenit, quia fortia solidaque natura ingenia, …, prona in iram sunt (De Ira, book II, chapter 15, section 1)
What is the case “natura”? It seems to me that “fortia solidaque ingenia (n. pl.)” is the subj. of “sunt”.

4. sed inperfectus illis vigor est, ut omnibus, quae sine arte ipsius tantum naturae bono exsurgunt, sed nisi cito domita sunt, quae fortitudini apta errant, …. (De Ira, book II, chapter 15, section 2)
(a)Why dative “omnibus”?
(b)Is “fortitudini” abl. because of “apta”, and it means “are provided with”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,


1. In “….cum athletae quoque, in vilissima sui parte occupati, tamen ictus doloresque patiantur” (Seneca, De Ira, book II, chapter 14, section 2)  the part “in … occupati” means:” .. being busy (occupati, nominative masculine plural agreeing with the masculine noun “athletae“ ) with the  basest part (in vilissima parte) of themselves (sui, genitive of the reflexive pronoun)..”.
Seneca points out that even  athletes, who are busy with their basest part, nevertheless endure blows and pain, in order that  they can weaken  their assailant and then  strike  him when not anger, but favorable moment  prompts.


2.In “…. ira enim perturbat artem et qua noceat tantum aspicit. Saepe itaque ratio patientiam suadet, ira vindictam, et qui primis defungi malis potuimus in maiora devolvimur” (De Ira, book II, chapter 14, section 3) the relative clause “qua noceat tantum aspicit” literally means:”… anger (ira)….looks (aspicit)  only (tantum) by what way  (quā, adverb,  abl. fem. of “qui”)  it (i.e. "ira") can injure (noceat)”, just to point out that  anger  confounds sporting skill and  looks only for a chance to injure.

As for  “nos” that you think to be understood before “qui” in “…qui primis defungi malis potuimus in maiora devoluimur”, please note that it is obviously implied in the verbs “potuimus “ and  “devolvimur” which are in the 1st person plural, so that it is not necessary to use in Latin the person pronoun “nos” which is already expressed by the person of the verb.



3. In “Quod evenit, quia fortia solidaque natura ingenia, … prona in iram sunt (De Ira, book II, chapter 15, section 1)  the word  “naturā” is an Ablative of Sphere(Ablativus limitationis)  meaning “by nature”.

As for  the neuter plural “fortia solidaque ingenia" , they are exactly  the subj. of “sunt” so that “Quod evenit, quia fortia solidaque naturā ingenia, … prona in iram sunt” literally means:” which/this/what (quod, relative pronoun referring to the previous sentence) happens (evenit) because (quia) strong (fortia)  and firm (solidaque)  by nature (natura)  temperaments (ingenia)…  are (sunt) prone (prona) to anger (in iram)”.

In short, Seneca says that those temperaments that are inherently strong and firm are prone to anger before they become softened by discipline.


4. In “…sed inperfectus illis vigor est, ut omnibus, quae sine arte ipsius tantum naturae bono exsurgunt, sed nisi cito domita sunt, quae fortitudini apta erant, …" (De Ira, book II, chapter 15, section 2)  the  dative “omnibus”  is a Dative of Possession depending on “est” as well as “illis” which is another Dative of Possession since the Dative is used with the verb "esse" and similar words to denote Possession (see AG 373).

As for “fortitudini”, it is a dative depending on the adjective “apta" in "fortitudini apta erant”, and  means “were suitable for fortitude”.

So,”… sed inperfectus illis vigor est, ut omnibus, quae sine arte ipsius tantum naturae bono exsurgunt, sed nisi cito domita sunt, quae fortitudini apta errant, audaciae temeritatique consuescunt” literally means:
” ….but (sed)  energy (vigor) is (est) defective (inperfectus) to those [temperaments](illis, Dative of possession) as (ut) [it is defective] to all  [temperaments] (omnibus referring to "ingenia" meaning  "temperaments"/"natures") that (quae, neuter plural agreeing with "ingenia") spring up (exsurgunt) without (sine) skill/cultivation/education (arte) only (tantum)  thanks to the benefit (bono, ablative of cause)  of nature  (naturae) herself (ipsius), but (sed)  those temperaments, that  (quae) were (erant) suitable (apta) for fortitude (fortitudini), get used ( consuescunt) to recklessness and temerity(audaciae temeritatique), if they are not tamed (nisi domita sunt) soon (cito) “, i.e.: “…but their energy is defective, as is the case with everything that springs up without skill/education  only thanks to nature herself; and, unless such natures are quickly tamed, what was a disposition to bravery tends to become recklessness and temerity”.

In short, Seneca says that  natures that have innate vigour ("ingenia naturā fortia", De ira,2.15.2) produce wrath, but their energy is defective as it is defective in those temperaments that grow without the aid of education,but only thanks to nature herself, and, unless they are quickly tamed, they turn what was a disposition to bravery  into recklessness and temerity.

Kind regards,

Maria

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