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

1. in vicinum spes exeat (De Ira, 3.7.2)
Could you give a literal translation?  

2. Eadem ex diuerso ratio virtutum est (De Ira, 3.8.2)
Could you give a literal translation?

3. sed difficile erat illi in copulam coniecto rixam eius cui cohaerebat effugere (De Ira, 3.8.6)
Could you give a literal translation?

4. Optimum est itaque ad primum mali sensum mederi sibi (De Ira, 3.10.1)
What does “sibi” refer to here?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.”…. in vicinum spes exeat…” (Seneca, De Ira, 3.7.2) literally means:”Let  hope (spes) extend (exeat, Hortatory subjunctive) to neighboring place(in vicinum)..”, i.e. “…Let hope/our projects reach an attainable goal..” just to indicate that we must restrict the range of our hope.


2.“Eadem ex diuerso ratio virtutum est ..” (De Ira, 3.8.2) literally means:” The method (ratio) of the virtues (virtutum) is (est) the same (eădem, nominative feminine), [but] from  different directions(ex diverso)..”, i.e.:”…The method of virtues is the same, but reach opposite results..” in the sense that virtues ameliorate whoever or whatever comes in contact with them, differently from the drunkard, shameless company and avarice which are able to corrupt others.


3.“…sed difficile erat illi in copulam coniecto rixam eius cui cohaerebat effugere…” (De Ira, 3.8.6) literally means:”…. But it was difficult (sed difficile erat)for him (illi, dative singular), who has been placed/ thrown (coniecto, predicate participle in the dative agreeing with “illi”) into proximity (in copulam), to avoid (effugere) a quarrel (rixam) of the one (eius) with whom (cum quo) he was closely connected/was  seated next to (cohaerebat..”, i.e. “..but it was difficult for him ( i.e. Caelius client), who  was dining with Caelius, to avoid a quarrel with the companion at his side..”, just to point out that this client of rare forbearance had difficulty in avoiding a quarrel with Caelius, especially because they are together eye to eye.



4. In “Optimum est itaque ad primum mali sensum mederi sibi ..” (De Ira, 3.10.1) the dative “sibi” depends on the deponent infinitive “mederi” (from “medeor” which takes the dative), so that the sentence literally means:” It is best (optimum est)  therefore (itaque) to cure (mederi) himself/themselves (sibi) at the  first symptom (ad primum…sensum)  of an illness (mali)…” with reference to anger considered as an illness.

As you can see, Seneca uses a pregnant language  which can be difficult to understand.

Best regards,
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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