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

1. Fere itaque imperia penes eos fuere populos qui mitiore caelo utuntur: in frigora septemtrionemque uergentibus inmansueta ingenia sunt, (De Ira, book II, chapter 15, section 5)
Could you give a literal translation of this sentence?

2. “Simplicissimi” inquit “omnium habentur iracundi” (De Ira, 2.16.3)
Is “iracundi” from “iracundus (adj.)” and is used here as a pl. noun?

3. omnibus vitiis parum callidis. (De Ira, 2.16.3)
Is the foillowing understanding correct:
“omnibus” dat. (to all)
“vitiis” abl. of quality
“parum callidis” modifies and agrees with “vitiis”, meaning “not enough disguise”

4. nam et histriones in pronuntiando non irati populum mouent, sed iratum bene agentes; (De Ira, 2.17.1)
Could you give a literal translation of this sentence?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.Here’s the literal translation of “ Fere itaque imperia penes eos fuere populos qui mitiore caelo utuntur: in frigora septemtrionemque uergentibus inmansueta ingenia sunt..”(Seneca, De Ira, book II, chapter 15, section 5): “Consequently (itaque) the empires (imperia) were (fuēre, contracted form of “fuerunt”) usually ( fere, adverb) in the hands of ( pĕnĕs  preposition which takes the accusative) those (eos)  peoples (populos)  who  (qui)  enjoy (utuntur, verb which takes the abl.)   a rather mild (mitiore, comparative of “mitis”) climate (coelo, abl depending on “utor”): to those [ peoples] who verge (vergentibus, present participle of “vergĕre”, Dative of possession)  towards (in + the acc.)   the winter cold /coldness (frigora) and  the northern regions(septemtrionemque)  the temperaments /natures (ingenia) are (sunt) savage (inmansueta) “, i.e. :“Consequently, the peoples who held empires are commonly those who live in a rather mild climate. Those who lie toward the frozen north have savage temperaments”.

2. In “Simplicissimi” inquit “omnium habentur iracundi” (De Ira, 2.16.3) the nominative masculine plural “iracundi” from “iracundus (adj.)  is used here as a pl. noun which is the subject of “habentur” so that “Simplicissimi… omnium habentur iracundi” literally means: ” Of all men (omnium) the quick-tempered men (iracundi) …are considered (habentur) the most sincere/ ingenuous (simplicissimi, predicate adjective, superlative of “simplex”)”.


3. In “…omnibus vitiis parum callidis. (De Ira, 2.16.3) “omnibus”  is  an adjective in the  dat. plur. agreeing  with the noun “vitiis” (dative plur), while the other dative “callidis”  preceded by the adverb “parum”, modifies and agrees with “vitiis”, meaning “not enough cunning/astute”.

In short, “Stultis, luxuriosis nepotibusque hoc nomen imponimus et omnibus vitiis parum callidis” literally means:
”We apply (imponimus) this term (hoc nomen) to fools (stultis, dative), to luxurious (luxuriosis, dative) and spendthrifts( nepotibusque. Note that “nepos” means here “spendthrift/ prodigal” in  a figurative meaning) and to all (omnibus) not enough (parum) cunning (callidis, dative which agrees with “vitiis”) vices (vitiis, dative) “, just to point out that we usually call ingenuous the quick-tempered men because they seem to be sincere, if compared with the  tricky and the crafty, but Seneca thinks that that they are not ingenuous, but incautious, and this is  the term that we  must apply to  fools, to luxurious  and spendthrifts, and to all vices that lack astuteness.


4. Here’s the literal translation of :”…nam et histriones in pronuntiando non irati populum movent, sed iratum bene agentes..” (De Ira, 2.17.1): “…In fact (nam) the actors (histriones) too (et) stir (movent)  the crowd /audience (populum) )  in  reciting/acting (in pronuntiando),  not being angry/ not because they are angry (non irati, past participle of “irascor”, used here as an adjective agreeing with  the subject “histriones”), but   playing/but because they play (agentes, present participle, agreeing with “histriones”) well (bene) the angry man/the role of the angry man( iratum, acc.depending on “agentes”)”, i.e.:
” The actors too  in fact stir the audience when they are acting  not because they are definitely  angry, but because they play well the role of an angry man”.

Hope all is clear enough.

Best,
Maria

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