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

1. et aliis admiranda despiciet (XXXIX. 3)
Is “aliis” dat. of agent for “admiranda” (gerundive)?

2. Qui hostis in quemquam tam contumeliosus fuit quam in quosdam voluptates suae sunt? quorum impotentiae atque insanae libidini ob hoc unum possis ignoscere, quod quae fecere patiuntur. (XXXIX. 5)
Could you give a literal translation? I apologize for the long sentence.

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “….et aliis admiranda despiciet” (Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXXIX. 3) “aliis” is a  dative depending on “admiranda” used as an adjective, so that the sentence means:”… and he will despise (despiciet) the things [that are] admirable / worthy of admiration (admiranda, neuter plural of the adjective “admirandus” which derives from the gerundive of “admiror”) for others (aliis. Dative of Reference.See AG 376)

In short, Seneca says that happy is the man who has given his impulses toward better things as he will be able to control prosperity, to lessen the grief of adversity and despise what instead others admire.


2. “Qui hostis in quemquam tam contumeliosus fuit quam in quosdam voluptates suae sunt? quorum impotentiae atque insanae libidini ob hoc unum possis ignoscere, quod quae fecere patiuntur” (XXXIX. 5) literally means:
”What (qui, interrogative adjective) enemy (hostis) was (fuit) so insolent (tam contumeliosus) to anybody (in quemquam) as (quam) their own (suae) pleasures (voluptates) are (sunt) [insolent] to certain men (in quosdam)? whose (quorum) incontinence (impotentiae, dative depending on “ignoscere” which takes the dative) and mad (insanae, agreeing with “libidini”) lust  (libidini, dative depending on “ignoscere”) you could (possis, potential subjunctive) forgive (ignoscere) for this reason only(ob hoc unum ) because (quod) they suffer (patiuntur) the things that /the evils that (quae) they did/inflicted (fecere, i.e. fecerunt) [upon themselves]” , in the sense that the only excuse that we can allow for the incontinence and mad lust of these men is the fact that they suffer the evils which they  inflicted on themselves.

So, Seneca says that no enemy can give so great offence to anybody as  their own pleasures to certain men so that the only excuse that we can allow for the incontinence and mad lust of these men is the fact that they suffer the evils which they  inflicted on themselves.

In short, our incontinence and mad lust are the greatest offence that we can give to ourselves because desire which oversteps all bounds results in  intemperance that is harmful to ourselves(XXXIX,5: necesse est enim in inmensum exeat cupiditas, quae naturalem modum transilit.Ille enim habet suum finem, inania et ex libidine orta sine termino sunt.)

Best regards,
Maria

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Maria

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