Latin/grammar

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

1. At quanto Xerses facilior! qui Pythio quinque filiorum patri unius vacationem petenti, quem vellet eligere permisit, deinde quem elegerat in partes duas distractum ab utroque viae latere posuit et hac victima lustravit exercitum (De Ira, 3.16.4)

There are a few things in this sentence that I need your help for. I think with a literal translation I can resolve all my problems. Sorry for the long sentence.

2. Utinam ista saevitia intra peregrina exempla mansisset (De Ira, 3.18.1)
Could you explain the ending of the two words: “saevitia” (I thought we need gen. “saevitiae”) and “peregrina”?

3. Is illum ante bustum Quinti Catuli carpebat grauissimus mitissimi viri cineribus, supra quos vir mali exempli, popularis tamen et non tam inmerito quam nimis amatus, per stilicidia sanguinem dabat. (De Ira, 3.18.2)

My problem with this sentence is not so much with the Latin grammar as with the historical content. Can you suggest some reference(s) which I can read to help me understand the meaning of the story referred to by this sentence?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.“At quanto Xerses facilior! qui Pythio quinque filiorum patri unius vacationem petenti, quem vellet eligere permisit, deinde quem elegerat in partes duas distractum ab utroque viae latere posuit et hac victima lustravit exercitum” (Seneca, De Ira, 3.16.4) literally means:
” But (at) how much  affable/kinder(quanto, abl of measure + the comparative “facilior)  [was] Xerxes, who (qui) permitted (permisit) to Pythius (Pythio, dative depending on “permisit”), the father (patri, in apposition to ‘Pythio’) of five sons (quinque filiorum), who was begging (petenti, present participle, dative agreeing with “Pythio”) the exemption [from military service] (vacationem) of only one (unius), to choose (eligere, infinitive depending on “permisit”) the one whom (quem) he wished (vellet), then (deinde) he (i.e. Xerxes) placed (posuit) on each (ab utroque) side  (latere) of the road (viae) the one whom (quem, i.e. “filium”)  [the father] had chosen (elegerat) after [this son] has been torn (distractum, from “distraho”,past participle, used as a predicate participle agreeing with “quem” in “quem elegerat”) into two parts (in partes duas) and by this victim (hac victimā, abl of means) he (i.e. Xerxes) purified (lustravit, as “lustrare” means “to purify by means of a propitiatory offering”) the army (exercitum)”.

Hope this is clear enough.

2.In “ Utinam ista saevitia intra peregrina exempla mansisset….” (De Ira, 3.18.1) the nominative case  “saevitiă” preceded by the adjective “istă” is the subject of the verb “mansisset”, while “peregrina” in “intra peregrina exempla” is an accusative neuter plural agreeing with “exempla” depending on the preposition “intra” which takes the accusative.
So, “ Utinam ista saevitia intra peregrina exempla mansisset….”literally  means:” Would to heaven that (utinam) such (istă) cruelty(saevitiă) had remained (mansisset, optative subjunctive depending on “utinam”) within (intra) foreigner (peregrina) examples (exempla)…” just to point out that it would have been desirable that the examples of such cruelty had been confined to foreigners and had not been imported into the practices of Romans.



3. The passage  “ Is illum ante bustum Quinti Catuli carpebat grauissimus mitissimi viri cineribus, supra quos vir mali exempli, popularis tamen et non tam inmerito quam nimis amatus, per stilicidia sanguinem dabat”(De Ira, 3.18.2) literally meaning :”He (Is, i.e. Catilina)  cut to pieces (carpebat) him (illum, i.e. M.Marius. See the previous section),[being ] very disagreeable ( gravissimus, referring to Catilina) to the ashes(cineribus)  of that gentlest (mitissimi) man (viri, i.e. Q.Catulus), above (supra) which (i.e. the ashes) a man (vir, i.e. M.Marius )  of evil (mali) influence(influence), however (tamen) popular (popularis)and loved (et…amatus)  not so much (non tam) undeservedly (immerito) as to excess (nimis)  shed (dabat) [his] blood (sanguinem) drop by drop (per stillicidia)”,  refers to Marcus Marius Gratidianus who died in 82 BC during the Sullan proscriptions.

Marcus Marius Gratidianus was a praetor and a partisan of the popularist faction led by his uncle, the  Roman general and seven times consul Gaius Marius, during the Roman Republican civil wars of the 80s.
As praetor in 85 BC, Gratidianus was among those officials who drafted a currency reform which was very useful to plebs as it  reasserted the former official exchange rate of silver (the “denarius”) and the bronze “as”, which had been allowed to fluctuate, so that there was not absolute certainty with regard to  the repayment of loans.
Gratidianus seized the opportunity to attach his name to the edict and thus claimed credit for publishing it first; therefore the people expressed their gratitude by offering wine and incense before images of Gratidianus at street-corner shrines (Latin, “compita”).
His sister Gratidia could have been the first wife of Sergius Catilina, who was accused by Cicero and later by Sallust and Seneca of participating in his torture and murder.
As for some references to Latin works where you can read the story referred by this sentence, I have to tell you that Cicero (died 43 BC) and Sallust (died 35/34 BC  ) offer the earliest accounts, but the works in which these survive are fragmentary for Cicero gave his version of events in a speech on his candidacy (“In toga candida”) for the consulship in 64 BC, nearly two decades after the fact.
What is known of this speech and thus Cicero's version depends on notes provided by the 1st-century AD grammarian Asconius ( “In Toga Candida”, Asconius 69), while the historian Sallust (Historiarum Fragmenta,  Book I, 44 based on the edition by B.Maurenbrecher) omits mention of Catilina in describing the death and says that  Gratidianus "had his life drained out of him piece by piece, in effect: his legs and arms were first broken, and his eyes gouged out."[ Sallust, Histories 1.44: “Ut in M. Mario, cui fracta prius crura, bracchiaque, et oculi effossi, scilicet ut per singulos artus exspiraret.”See http://www.attalus.org/latin/sallust1.html).
Sallust's description of the death, however, influenced that of Livy (Periocha 88), Valerius Maximus( Memorabilia 9.2.1) , Seneca (De ira, 3.18), Lucan (Bellum Civile 2.173–193), and Florus (2.9.26), with the torture and mutilation varied and amplified.

Lastly, with regard to  the detail that Gratidianus was tortured at the tomb of Q. Lutatius Catulus, because Gratidianus prosecution had prompted the suicide of Q. Lutatius Catulus in 87 BC, it seems that the instigator would have been the son of Catulus, who was seeking revenge on his father’s death.

Read more below.

Best regards,

Maria
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
-For Marius Gratidianus who as praetor prematurely publishes details of a decision about the currency, see:

Cicero, De Legibus ,3.36 at  http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/cicero/leg3.shtml#36

Cicero, De Officiis, 3. 80-81 at http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cicero/de_Officiis/3B*.html#80

Pliny, Naturalis Historia, 33.132  at  http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/L/Roman/Texts/Pliny_the_Elder/33*.html#132


-For Gratidianus death see:

Livy, Periocha (Summary) book 88, section 2 at http://www.livius.org/li-ln/livy/periochae/periochae086.html Marium, senatorii ordinis virum, cruribus bracchiisque fractis, auribus praesectis et oculis effossis necavit)

Valerius Maximus ,Memorabilia Facta et Dicta, 9.2.1 at http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/L/Roman/Texts/Valerius_Maximus/9*.html

Lucanus, Bellum Civile (aka Pharsalia),book 2. lines 173–193 at  http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0133%3Aboo)

Florus, Epitome of Roman History, 2.9.26 at https://la.wikisource.org/wiki/Flori_Epitomae_Liber_secundus#IX. Or http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2008.01.0496%3Aboo

-More info about Livy, Valerius Maximus, Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Lucius Annaeus Florus and Sallust:

Titus Livius or Livy (59 BC - 17 AD): Roman historian, author of the history of the Roman republic. Many of the 142 books of the History of Rome from its beginning are now lost; however, we do have a fourth-century excerpt, the Periochae (Summary)

Valerius Maximus:(flourished AD 30), Roman historian and moralist who wrote an important book of historical anecdotes for the use of rhetoricians. (Factorum ac dictorum memorabilium libri IX).

Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (39 AD –  65 AD): a Roman poet who wrote “Bellum Civile” (aka Pharsalia) on the wars between Julius Caesar and Pompey.

Lucius Annaeus Florus (c. 74 AD – c. 130 AD) :a Roman historian who lived in the time of Trajan and Hadrian. He compiled, chiefly from Livy, a brief sketch of the history of Rome from the foundation of the city in 753 BC to the closing of the temple of Janus by Augustus (25 BC). The work is called “Epitome de T. Livio Bellorum omnium annorum DCC Libri duo”.

Sallust, Latin in full Gaius Sallustius Crispus   ( c. 86 BC—died 35/34 BC): Roman historian , noted for his narrative writings dealing with political personalities, corruption, and party rivalry (See “De Catilinae Coniuratione” and “De Bello Iugurthino”). He also wrote “The Histories”( i.e.  the history of Rome from 78 to at least 67 BC on a year-to-year basis ) , of which only fragments remain.

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