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

1. sed si cito illi manus porrigitur (XXIX. 4)
Not sure about the meaning of “si”.

2. magna in illo ingenii vis est, sed iam tendentis in pravum (XXIX. 4)
Is “tendentis” gen. and, like “ingenii”, modifies “vis”?

3. hoc enim ad edendas operas tempus exceperat (XXIX. 6)
Could you give a literal translation?

4. Nonne videatur stultus, si quis multitudinem eo loco timeat, per quem transitus singulis est? (XXIX. 9)
Not clear about the part “per quem …”

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “…. sed si cito illi manus porrigitur…” (Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXIX. 4)  the meaning of the conditional  conjunction “si” is “if”, so that the sentence literally means:”…if (si) a [helping ] hand (manus) is offered soon  ( cito…porrigitur) to him (illi)…” just to say that Marcellinus can still be saved (Etiamnunc servari potest) if a helping hand is offered to him soon.



2. In “….magna in illo ingenii vis est, sed iam tendentis in pravum”  (XXIX. 4)  the present participle  “tendentis” in the genitive agrees with the genitive “ingenii” depending on “vis” so that the sentence literally means:”…there is (est)  in him (in illo) a great (magna, nominative feminine agreeing with “vis”) vigour/force (vis) of  character (ingenii, genitive), but (sed) already (iam) inclining (tendentis, agreeing with “ingenii”) to perversity(in pravum)”, i.e “..there is in him a great force of character, though such a character is already inclining to perversity”.



3. Here’s the literal translation of “… hoc enim ad edendas operas tempus exceperat “(XXIX. 6):“… He in fact  had taken (enim…exceperat) this time (hoc…tempus) for [his] researches (ad …operas, object of the gerundive) to be developed ( edendas, gerundive in the accusative plural agreeing with “operas” and depending on “ad”)”, i.e.: “..in fact he had taken this time for developing his researches” with reference to the philosopher Aristo who used to hold discussions while he was transported in a litter (see”… qui in gestatione disserebat“ as “gestatio” means “litter” as a  structure used in ancient times to transport people, containing a bed or seat enclosed by curtains and carried on slaves’s shoulders.)
For gerundive see AG 503 and 506.


4. In “Nonne videatur stultus, si quis multitudinem eo loco timeat, per quem transitus singulis est?” (XXIX. 9) the part “per quem …” literally means:"..through (per) which (quem, referring to "locus" in "eo loco") there is (est) the passage (transitus, subject) for only one at a time( singulis, dative of the distributive pronoun “singuli")".

So "Nonne videatur stultus, si quis multitudinem eo loco timeat, per quem transitus singulis est?” means:" Would you not regard as foolish if one  fears a multitude in a place where only one at a time could pass?".

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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