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

1. cuius novitate nauseabundus erigi possit (XLVII. 8)
Could you give a literal translation?

2. Contemne nunc eius fortunae hominem in quam transire dum contemnis potes. (XLVII. 10)
Could you give a literal translation?

3. honores illis in domo gerere, ius dicere permiserunt (XLVII. 14)
Could you give a literal translation?

4. Erras si existimas me quosdam quasi sordidioris operae reiecturum, ut puta illum mulionem et illum bubulcum. (XLVII. 15)
Could you give a literal translation?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.Here’ s the literal translation for “….Adice obsonatores,….. qui sciunt, cuius illum rei sapor excitet, …..cuius novitate nauseabundus erigi possit…” (Seneca’s Epistles, XLVII. 8):
”…Add (adice) the purveyors of food /the buyers of victuals (obsonatores) who (qui) know (sciunt)  of what (cuius, interrogative adjective) thing /food (rei)the flavour (sapor, subject of the indirect question clause) stimulates (excitet, present subjunctive  in the indirect question clause) him (illum, i.e. the master of these slaves who were the purveyors of food),….. [who know/qui sciunt]….by the novelty (novitate) of what (cuius, interrogative adjective ) [rei= thing/food] he [who is ] inclined to vomit (nauseabundus) can (possit, present subjunctive  in the indirect question clause) be cheered up (erigi, present infinitive, passive form)…”, i.e.: “Add  the purveyors of food, ….. who know what  flavours can  sharpen their master’s appetite…..what new food can kill his nausea”.


2. “Contemne nunc eius fortunae hominem in quam transire dum contemnis potes” (XLVII. 10) literally means:”Despise (contemne) now (nunc) the man (hominem) of such (eius, adjective used in the sense of “such”) condition/fate (fortunae, genitive of quality) to which (in quam, feminine agreeing with “fortuna”) you can (potes) descend (transire) [just ] while (dum) you are despising (contemnis) [him]”.

Seneca wants to point out that it often happens that men of distinguished birth were  humbled by fortune, so that one became a shepherd, another a hut’s keeper, and therefore nobody should despise those who are in such a condition to which anyone can descend just while he is despising this man, since men conditions are largely ephemeral.


3.“Maiores nostri…….honores illis in domo gerere, ius dicere permiserunt et domum pusillam rem publicam esse iudicaverunt …”(XLVII. 14) literally means:”…Our ancestors (maiores nostri)….allowed (permiserunt) them /the slaves (illis, dative depending on “permiserunt) to have (gerere) responsible positions (honores) in the house (in domo), and to administer (dicere) justice (ius)and they considered (et iudicaverunt) that the house (domum) was (esse) a little (pusillam) State/Republic (rem publicam)”.



4.“Erras si existimas me quosdam quasi sordidioris operae reiecturum, ut puta illum mulionem et illum bubulcum” (XLVII. 15) literally means:”You are wrong (erras) if you think (existimas) that I (me) will drive away /will remove (reiecturum [esse]) some persons (quosdam) of  almost (quasi) too  more humble (sordidioris (comparative of “sordidus” agreeing with “operae”) work (operae, genitive of quality) as for example (ut puta, aka “utputa” as a conjunction, as it is the combination of the conjunction “ut” with  “puta”, 2nd person imperative of “puto”)that (illum) muleteer (mulionem, in the accusative as it depends on “reiecturum”)) and that (et illum) herdsman (bubulcum, in the accusative as it depends on “reiecturum”)”.

In short, Seneca says that he will set a place for  all men at his table, simply depending on their behaviour, not on their work, as humble as it is.


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

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