Latin/grammar

Advertisement


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

1. Sed iam plus illum degravat quam quod possit attolli (XXX.1)
What does “quod” mean in this sentence?

2. ubi plurimis locis laxari coepit et cedere (XXX. 2)
Does “laxari” require dat. “plurimis locis”?

3. eo animo vultuque finem suum spectat quo alienum spectare nimis securi putares. (XXX. 3)
Which word goes with “securi”? Is it genitive?

4. Nullo genere homines mollius moriuntur sed nec diutius (XXX. 4)
Could you give a literal translation?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “ Sed iam plus illum degravat quam quod possit attolli..” (Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXX.1), literally meaning:”..But (sed) [old age, subject with reference to “aetas”, i.e “aetati” in the previous sentence] weighs  (degravat)by now (iam) on him (illum, accusative depending on “degravat”) more  (plus, adverb) than (quam) what (quod, neuter relative pronoun ) can (possit) be raised up (attolli, passive, present infinitive)”, the  expression “quam  quod “, which is  connected with the adverb “plus”,  is used as a comparative conjunction so that “plus….quam quod” means ”more …than what…”.
In short, Seneca says that he saw Aufidius Bassus  in a bad state and wrestling with his old age which weighed on him  too much to be possible that he  could recover.



2. In “…. ubi plurimis locis laxari coepit et cedere..” (XXX. 2), literally meaning “when (ubi) [in a ship]  a leak /fissure/ hole(rima, see the previous sentence “uni rimae aut alteri obsistitur“) has begun /begins (coepit)  to get bigger (laxari) in most  places (plurimis locis, with the “in” omitted) and opened completely (cedere)…”,  the passive present infinitive  “laxari”  does not require  the dative and  “plurimis locis” is not a dative, but an ablative of Place Where without the preposition “in” which can be omitted especially with the noun “locus”.



3. In “… eo animo vultuque finem suum spectat quo alienum spectare nimis securi putares. “ (XXX. 3) the nominative masculine plural “securi”, meaning “untroubled persons”, goes with the adverb “nimis”  meaning “too”, so that “…Bassus noster … eo animo vultuque finem suum spectat, quo alienum spectare nimis securi putares” literally means:” Our Bassus (Bassus noster) contemplates (spectat) his end /death (finem sum) with that courage (eo animo) and countenance (vultuque) with which (quo) you would think (putares) that too untroubled persons(nimis securi, where “securi” acts as a noun) contemplate another's end/death(alienum[finem]) [end/death, with reference to “finem”]”.



4. “Nullo genere homines mollius moriuntur sed nec diutius” (XXX. 4) literally means:” In any other way (nullo modo) men (hominess)  die (moriuntur) more softly (mollius, comparative of the adverb), nor (sed nec) for the longest period of time (diutius, comparative of the adverb "diu")" just to point out that no death is more painless nor so prolonged like the death of an old man because "we die everyday....every day a little of our life is taken from us...We reach death at that moment, but we have been a long time on the way..." (see 24. 19-20:"Cotidie morimur...Cotidie enim demitur aliqua pars vitae...tunc ad illam pervenimus, sed diu venimus...").


Best regards,

Maria

Latin

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Maria

Expertise

I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

Education/Credentials
I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.