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

1. quod quae inviti audimus libenter credimus (De Ira, 2.22.3)
Is “inviti” the pl. of the adj. “invitus”? Can we also use “invite” instead to modify “audimus”?

2. acceptam potionem non deterritus bibit: plus sibi de amico suo credidit. Dignus fuit qui innocentem haberet, dignus qui faceret (De Ira, 2.23.2)
(a) Does the p.p. “acceptam” modify “potionem”, meaning the draught that he had accepted from his doctor?
(b) In “plus sibi de amico suo credidit”, can we use “quam” instead of “de”?
(c) Could you translate “Dignus fuit qui innocentem haberet, dignus qui faceret”?
(d) Somehow I don’t quite understand the point Seneca wants to make with the Alexander story. Could you explain a little?   

3. non quia dura sed quia mollis patitur. (De Ira, 2.25.3)
What is the subject of “dura” and “mollis”? It seems the subj. of the two “quia” clauses is different.

4. aut musca parum curiose fugata in rabiem agat (De Ira, 2.25.3)
Could you give a literal translation of this sentence?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

In, “… quod quae inviti audimus libenter credimus” (Seneca, De Ira, 2.22.3) “inviti” is the nominative masculine plural  of the adj. “invitus” agreed with the subject of the verb “audimus”.
Anyway we could also use the adverb “ invītē “ (unwillingly) to modify “audimus”, so that “…quae inviti audimus libenter credimus” literally meaning:”…. We willingly believe (libenter credimus) those  things that (quae) we unwilling hear  (inviti audimus) “ could also read as “quae invite audimus libenter credimus” meaning:” We willingly believe those  things that we unwillingly hear”.


2. In “….acceptam potionem non deterritus bibit: plus sibi de amico suo credidit. Dignus fuit qui innocentem haberet, dignus qui faceret” (De Ira, 2.23. 2-3):

(a)  the p.p. “acceptam” modifies “potionem”, meaning the draught that Alexander had accepted from his  physician Philip.

(b) In “plus sibi de amico suo credidit”, we cannot use “quam” instead of “de”, because the sentence literally means:” ..he trusted (credidit)  himself (sibi, dative depending on “credĕre”) more (plus) about (de) his (suo) friend (amico)” with reference to the fact that Alexander trusted his own good opinion on his friend, i.e. the physician Philip, more than his mother’s letter warning him to beware of poison from his physician .

(c) “Dignus fuit qui innocentem haberet, dignus qui faceret” literally means:” He was (fuit)  worthy (dignus) of having (qui haberet. “Dignus” is constructed  with rel. clause) an innocent (innocentem) [ friend],[ he was (fuit) ] worthy (dignus) of considering (qui faceret) [him] [innocent][innocentem, predicate adjective]”, i.e. “Alexander deserved to have a friend innocent and to consider him so”.

(d) Seneca wants to point out that   Alexander  did not act in anger after receiving a letter from his mother warning him to beware of poison from his physician Philip, but  he took the draught and drank it without alarm, as he preferred to trust his own opinion on his friend rather than trust his mother and her suspicions. In short, Alexander kept calm, and Seneca says in fact that the rarer self-control is among kings, the more praiseworthy it becomes.

3. In “….non quia dura sed quia mollis patitur” (De Ira, 2.25.3) the neuter plural “dura” (lit., “ hard things”) implies the verb “sunt” as in ““….non quia dura sunt” [lit., “not because (non quia) there are (sunt) hard things/circumstances (dura)”)].
As for the nominative singular “mollis”, this  adjective means “a weak person”, so that “sed quia mollis patitur” literally means:” but because (sed quia) a weakling (mollis) suffers (patitur) [ them]”.

In short, Seneca says that when pleasures have corrupted both mind and body, nothing seems to be tolerable, not because the circumstances are  hard, but because the sufferer is a weak person.

4. “Quid est enim, cur tussis alicuius aut sternutamentum aut musca parum curiose fugata in rabiem agat…” (De Ira, 2.25.3) literally means:” For (enim) why is it that (quid est.. cur) somebody's (alicuius)  cough (tussis) or sneeze (aut sternutamentum) or a fly (aut musca) not enough (parum, adverb) carefully (curiose, adverb)  chased away (fugata, past participle in the nominative feminine agreeing with “musca”) throws (agat) [us] into a rage (in rabiem)?”.

Best regards,
Maria

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