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

1. Scis quos postea tibi exhibuerit ludos, quam multa in caput suum casura temptaverit. (XLII.5)
Could you give a literal translation?

2. non solum ubi de incremento agetur, sed etiam ubi de iactura (XLII. 9)
Could you give a literal translation?

3. sed quoto cuique habere se contigit? (XLII. 10)
Could you give a literal translation?

4. nam magnitudo non habet modum certum: (XLIII.2)
What is “modum”?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.“Scis quos postea tibi exhibuerit ludos, quam multa in caput suum casura temptaverit” (Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XLII.5) literally means:
”You know (scis) what (quos, interrogative adjective agreeing with “ludos”) mean tricks (ludos) he afterwards  played  (postea… exhibuerit, indirect question clause) on you (tibi), how many  things (quam multa)  that  were  about to recoil (casura, future participle of “cado”, 1st periphrastic conjugation, neuter plural agreeing with “quam multa”) on his own head (in caput sum)  he  attempted (temptaverit, indirect question clause)".


2.“Haec ergo tecum ipse versa, non solum ubi de incremento agetur, sed etiam ubi de iactura”  (XLII. 9) literally means:
”Therefore (ergo) to yourself (tecum ipse, literally “yourself with yourself”) think  over (versa, 2nd person singular, imperative of the verb “verso”)  these things / thoughts (haec, neuter plural, accusative depending on “versa”), not only (non solum) when (ubi) it is a question (agetur, passive impersonal form)  of gain (de incremento, ablative of the subject-matter/theme ), but also (sed etiam) when (ubi) [it is a question ] of loss (de iactura, ablative of the subject-matter/theme )”.


3. Here’s the literal translation of  “…sed quoto cuique habere se contigit?” (XLII. 10): “..but (sed) to how few [men] (quoto cuique, dative masculine singular of  “quotus quisque” or “quotusquisque”, a pronoun which designates a small number) it happens (contigit) to own ( habere) himself (se)?”, with reference to the fact that the one who owns himself  loses  none of the things that matter most.



4. In “…nam magnitudo non habet modum certum…”(XLIII.2) the word “modum” is the accusative singular of “modus” meaning “measure”, so that the sentence literally means:”…Greatness (magnitudo) in fact (nam) does not have (non habet) a  fixed (certum) measure (modum”, just to mean that it is the comparison that increases greatness or lessens it.

Best regards,
Maria

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Maria

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

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

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