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

1 Sed idem illud existimo, leni eundum via, … (XXII.3)
Could you give a literal translation?

2. cum omnibus possit contingere, ut bene vivant, (XXII.17)
What is the subj. of “possit”?

3. Singula ista constitue et contemptores eorum cita (XXIV. 3)
Could you give a literal translation? Not clear about the grammar of the part after “et”

4. diligenter excutere quae non possim facere, quae nolim, prodesse habiturus ad qui si nolim quidquid non posse me gaudeo: quae enim querela est, quod incommodum (XXVI.3)
Could you give a literal translation? Is this the order for translation for the quae-clause: enim [for] quae [why] quod incommodum [est] [what is inconvenient] querela est [is a complaint/should be complained]?,

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1. Here’s the literal translation for “Sed idem illud existimo, leni eundum via,... “(Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXII.3):
"But (sed) I think (existimo) that(illud) same (idem) [thing], that it is to be gone (eundum [esse], 2nd periphrastic, impersonal construction in an object clause) by  a gentle (leni, ablative singular of the adjective "lenis") path (via, ablative singular denoting the way by which,the means of passage. See AG 429 a)", i.e.: "But I likewise think that you should take a gentle path..."(Gummere's translation).


2. In “…cum omnibus possit contingere, ut bene vivant, ….”(XXII.17) the subject of “possit” is the next phrase "ut bene vivant" depending on "contingere", so that “…cum omnibus possit contingere, ut bene vivant, ….” literally means:
" Though (cum) the fact that (ut, introducing a declarative sentence ) they live (vivant) well (bene) can (possit) happen (contingere) to all [men](omnibus)...", just to say that no man cares how well he lives, but only how long, though all men can have the chance to live well, but not to live long.


3. "Singula ista constitue et contemptores eorum cita.." (XXIV. 3)literally means:
"Name/select (constitue,2nd person singular, present imperative) such  things / ills /troubles(ista)one by one (singula)and (et) mention (cita, 2nd person singular, present imperative)the contemners (contemptores)of those things (eorum, genitive neuter plural, with reference to the ills of life such as exile, prison, etc. that many brave men like Rutilius and Metellus have scorned.



4.As for this passage, I have to tell you that the part "prodesse habiturus ad qui si nolim quidquid non posse me gaudeo" is almost totally corrupt and maybe it would be as follows:"proinde (not "prodesse" ) abiturus (not "habiturus") atqui (not "ad qui")si nolim quidquid non posse me gaudeo".

That being stated, "[animus,previous subject, see XXVI.2] iubet...et  diligenter excutere quae non possim facere, quae nolim, proinde abiturus atqui si nolim quidquid non posse me gaudeo: quae enim querela est, quod incommodum si quidquid debebat desinere, defecit..."(XXVI.3)literally means:
"...[The mind, animus]invites/bids (iubet) [me to think]... and distinguish  (et excutere)carefully (diligenter)the things that (quae, neuter accusative plural) I cannot do (non possim facere)and the things that (quae) I do not want (non possim) [to do], being me almost about to pass away( "proinde", not "prodesse";abiturus" 1st periphrastic, from "abeo", not "habiturus" from "habeo"), I however take pleasure [in considering] (atqui ...gaudeo ) that I cannot do whatever (...quidquid non posse me) as if I  do not want to do it (si nolim [id facere]):what (quae, nominative feminine singular agreeing with "querela") complaint (querela), in fact (enim),what (quod) disadvantage (incommodum) [there is], if (si) whatever (quidquid) ought (debebat) to come to an end (desinere) has [really]failed (defecit)?".  

So this is the order for translation for the quae-clause: "enim [for, in fact] quae [what] complaint (querela),quod (what) incommodum (disadvantage)[est],  if...", hence Gummere's translation:"For why should one complain or regard it as a disadvantage, if powers which ought to come to an end have failed?", just to point out that elderly people who are about to pass away take pleasure in thinking that they do not want to do what they really cannot do.

Best regards,

Maria  

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Maria

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