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

1. quam angusta innocentia est ad legem bonum esse! (De Ira, 2.28.2)
Could you give a literal translation?

2. Dicetur aliquis male de te locutus (De Ira, 2.28.5)
Why “aliquis” is not accu. since it seems to be in the indirect clause after “dicetur”?

3. Is qui nullius non uxorem concupiscit et satis iustas causas putat amandi quod aliena est, idem uxorem suam aspici non vult (De Ira, 2.28.7)
I only partially understand the meaning of this sentence.

4. est subdicax (De Ira, 2.29.2)
Couldn’t find the word “subdicax” in the dictionary.

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

1.“…..quam angusta innocentia est ad legem bonum esse! “ (De Ira, 2.28.2) literally means:” …how (quam) small/limited (angusta, adjective in the nominative feminine agreeing with “innocentia”) innocence (innocentia) is to be (esse) good (bonum) according to (ad) law (legem)!”, i.e. “ limited is the innocence whose standard of virtue is the law!”, in the sense that the standard of virtue /the innocence must be the sense of duty, humanity, generosity, justice, integrity, all of which lie outside the State laws.

2. In “ Dicetur aliquis male de te locutus…” (De Ira, 2.28.4) the indefinite pronoun  “aliquis” is in the nominative as it is the subject of the future passive “dicetur” so that “Dicetur aliquis male de te locutus…”  literally means:”Somebody (aliquis) will be said (dicetur, personal construction) to have spoken (locutus [esse] ill (male) of/about  you (de te)”.
Note that “dicetur aliquis….locutus esse” is a personal construction with nominative  and infinitive just like the personal construction of the verb “videor”.

3. “Is qui nullius non uxorem concupiscit et satis iustas causas putat amandi quod aliena est, idem uxorem suam aspici non vult” (De Ira, 2.28.7) literally means:
”The one who (Is qui) covets (concupiscit) the wife (uxorem) of somebody (nullius non. Note that “nullus non” means just “somebody”/everybody” for two negatives are equivalent to an affirmative.See AG 326 ) and considers  (et putat)  right  (iustas) causes (causas) of loving (amandi) [ her] the fact that (quod) she is (est) belonging to another (aliena), this same man (idem) does not want (non vult) that his wife (uxorem suam) is looked at (aspici, passive infinitive of “aspicio”)”.
So, the meaning of this sentence is that an unfaithful person such as the one who covets everybody's wife is just the strictest enforcer of loyalty simply because we keep before our eyes the vices of others, while our own are behind our back (“Aliena vitia in oculis habemus, a tergo nostra sunt” .See De Ira, 2.28.8)

4.With reference to “ …. est subdicax….”  (De Ira, 2.29.2) I have to tell you that the adjective “subdicax” does not exist in the dictionary where we find “dicax” ( meaning “sarcastic”,  “sharp-tongued”).

It seems in fact that the correct word should be “suspicax” (“spiteful”, “behaving in an unkind way in order to hurt or upset somebody”) referring to somebody who acts with malevolent intention  and then watches from a safe distance the friends whom he has brought to become hostile, just as if he was seeing public games.
Note that "est suspicax  et qui spectare ludos cupiat et ex longinquo tutoque speculetur quos conlisit" literally means:
"it is malevolent (est suspicax) the one who (et qui )wants (cupiat) to see (spectare) public games (ludos) and watches ( et speculetur)  from a safe distance (ex longinquo tutoque) those whom(quos)  he has brought to become hostile (conlisit/ collisit)".

Lastly I have to point out that in textual criticism, i.e. in “the process of attempting to ascertain the original wording of a text”, it’s quite common to have some variants ("lectio", in Latin) of a text, just like in De Ira, 2.29.2 where the variants are “subdicax”, “suspicax” and also “subprocax”, though the more acceptable seems to be “suspicax”.

Best regards,


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