Latin/grammar

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Question
Dear Maria,
Can you help me with the following? They are all from Seneca’s Epistles.

1. aut quod tu beneficio tuo non potes scire, paupertatis scies (XX.7)
Is “beneficio” understood after “paupertatis”?

2. sed tamen re quoque ipsa esse laetus volo. (XXXV.2)
It seems that Gummere’s translation for “re quoque ipsa” is “accomplished fact”. Could you explain a little.

3. Venit ad nos ex iis quos amamus etiam absentibus gaudium, (XXXV. 3)
Is “gaudium” the subj. and “absentibus” refers to “iis”?

4. Hi, quibus invidetur, non desinent transire (XXXVI.2)
Does “quibus invidetur” mean “he was envied by them”? What is the correct Latin for “he envies them” and “he was envied by them”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “….aut quod tu beneficio tuo non potes scire, paupertatis scies..” (Seneca, Episulae morales ad Lucilium, epistle XX. 7) the ablative “beneficio” is understood after “paupertatis” so that “quod tu beneficio tuo non potes scire, paupertatis scies” literally means: “ what (quod) you cannot learn (tu….non potes scire)  thanks to your privileges (tuo beneficio) you will learn (scies) [thanks to] [beneficio] of poverty(paupertatis)”, just to point out that poverty will keep for us our true friends, while the men who were not seeking us for ourselves
will leave us.


2. Here’s the literal translation of  “….sed tamen re quoque ipsa esse laetus volo” (XXXV. 2-3) :”…but however (sed tamen) I want (volo) to be (esse) pleased(laetus) with  the thing(re)  itself(ipsa),too (quoque)”, just to say that he is happy with the way things are.
Hence  Gummere’s translation “But yet I wish to rejoice in the accomplished fact”  where “in accomplished fact” corresponds to “re quoque ipsa”, i.e. “with the way things are”.


3. In “Venit ad nos ex iis quos amamus etiam absentibus gaudium..”, (XXXV. 3) the neuter singular “gaudium” is  the subject of "venit"  and the present participle “absentibus” refers to the ablative plural  “iis”, so that the sentence literally means:” A joy (gaudium) comes (venit) to us (ad nos) from those (ex iis) whom (quos) we love (amamus) even (etiam) being absent /even they are absent((absentibus)”.


4.In “Hi, quibus invidetur, non desinent transire..” (XXXVI.1) the relative clause “quibus invidetur” literally means “to whom (quibus) envy is applied (invidetur)”, i.e. “who are envied ”, since the verb “invidēre” (to envy)takes the dative of the person or thing exciting the feeling of envy.
Therefore the correct Latin for the active sentence “he envies them”  is “Iis invidet” where the dative plural “iis” denotes the persons who excites the feeling of envy.

As for  the correct Latin for the passive sentence “he was envied by them”, it is “ei invisum erat ab iis” or "ei invisum est ab iis" ,where the dative singular “ei” denotes the one who excites the feeling of envy, while the ablative of Agent “ab iis” indicates the persons who envy, and lastly “invisum erat”(pluperfect)/"invisum est"(perfect), according to the context, is the impersonal form of the verb “invidēre” which has no subject in Latin and thus must be impersonal.

See also:"I am envied by my friend" which translates as "Mihi ab amico invidetur meo" where "mihi" denotes the person who excites envy; "ab amico meo" is the ablative of Agent, and "invidetur" is the passive present in the impersonal construction of the verb “invidēre” which has no subject in Latin and thus must be impersonal.


Note that in the verb “invideo” the Latin retains an original intransitive meaning and then  "invidēre" (to envy)  means literally “to look with envy at ..”: hence the dative of the person exciting the feeling of envy and the impersonal construction when the verb “invidere”, which cannot have a subject, must be used in the passive voice.
(See AG 367).

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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