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

1. dum emendato similis est (XXV. 3)
Why is “emendato” not gen. after “similis”?

2. habere, …, quem interesse cogitationibus tuis iudices (XXV. 5)
Is “quem interesse” the accu. +infinitive in the iudices-clause?

3. Cum hoc effeceris et aliqua coeperit apud te tui esse dignatio (XXV.6)
Do both “aliqua” and “tui” go with “dignatio”?

4. istic malo viro propius es (XXV.7)
What does “istic” mean here?

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

1.In “….dum emendato similis est” (Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXV. 3)the word  “emendato” is the dative masculine singular of the adjective “emendatus” meaning “faultless”, i.e. “one who has corrected his faults”.
Such a dative depends on the adjective “similis” which takes the dative case and means “similar to…”.
So, Seneca says that the best time to approach to this  man forty years of age(see “quadragenarium pupillum” in XXV,1) who still  feels ashamed/blushes to sin(adhuc peccare erubescit, XXV,2) is when he rests a while (dum interquiescit) and is similar to a fautless man/to one who has corrected his faults ((dum emendato similis est).

2. In “Prodest ….habere, …, quem interesse cogitationibus tuis iudices” (XXV. 5), literally meaning “It is good / useful(prodest, from "prosum") have (habere) ….the one whom (quem,relative pronoun in the accusative depending on "habere" as well as on "iudices") you may think (iudices) to take an interest ( interesse, present infinitive of the verb "intersum") in  your thoughts (tuis cogitationibus , dative depending on “interesse”)”, the expression “quem interesse” is  the accusative +infinitive in the relative clause with  the present subjunctive “iudices” on which  the object clause “quem interesse” just depends.

Note however that the accusative "quem" is at the same time the direct object of "habere" and the subject of the infinitive clause depending on "iudices".

In short, Seneca says that it is good for us to have someone whom we think to be able to  share his thoughts with us.

3.In "Cum hoc effeceris et aliqua coeperit apud te tui esse dignatio..." (XXV.6), literally meaning "When you have reached this (cum hoc effeceris) and a kind of /a certain(et aliqua, nominative feminine agreeing with "dignatio")esteem (dignatio)of yourself (tui, personal pronoun in the genitive depending on "dignatio") will begin (coeperit) to be (esse)with you (apud te)",  both the nominative feminine “aliqua” and the genitive singular “tui” go with “dignatio”, as you can see, since the indefinite adjective "aliqua" modifies "dignatio", while the genitive "tui" depends on "dignatio".

4.In "... istic malo viro propius es" (XXV.7) the adverb “istic”, which can mean "there, in that place, here, on this occasion/case", means  "on this case", so that the sentence literally means:"In/on this case (istic) you are (es) too close (propius, comparative) to a bad man (malo viro)" with reference to the fact that the one who is a good and calm man must withdraw into himself especially when he is forced to be in a crowd, whereas he must get away from himself and go into a crowd, if he is not a good and controlled man, because in this case he, being alone, would be too close to himself, i.e. to a bad man.
See:"Tunc praecipue in te ipse secede, cum esse cogeris in turba", si bonus vir, si quietus, si temperans. Alioquin in turbam tibi a te recedendum est; istic malo viro propius es" literally meaning:"Withdraw into yourself (in te ipse secede) especially (praecipue)when (tunc ...cum)you are forced (cogeris) to be (esse)in a crowd (in turba), if you are a good, calm and controlled man (si bonus vir, si quietus, si temperans) .Otherwise (alioquin) you must go away (tibi  recedendum est)from yourself (a te);in this case (istic) you are (es) too close (propius) to the bad man (malo viro) [who is inside you]"

Best regards,



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