Latin/grammar

Advertisement


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

1. Qui colitur, et amatur (XLVII. 18)
What does “et” mean here?

2. a cuius rei periculo illos fortunae suae magnitudo tutissimos praestat. (XLVII. 20)
Is “fortunae suae magnitude” the subject of “praestat?

3. aut non sum amicus, nisi quidquid agitur ad te pertinens, meum est. (XLVIII.2)
Grammatically not clear about “meum est”.

4. hunc homines male habent (XLVIII. 7)
Is “male habent” some kind of idiom?

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.In “Qui colitur, et amatur ….”(Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XLVII. 18) “et” stands for “etiam” and then “Qui colitur, et amatur..” means :” He who (qui) is respected (colitur)  is loved (amatur)too (et/etiam)". This sentence is in fact  followed by the words “ non potest amor cum timore misceri” meaning:” Love (amor) cannot (non potest) be mingled (misceri) with fear (cum timore)” just to point out that the master  who is highly respected by his slaves is also loved by them.


2.In “… a cuius rei periculo illos fortunae suae magnitudo tutissimos praestat” (XLVII. 20)the nominative case  “magnitudo” (the greatness) is  the subject of “praestat” so that “……saeviunt, quasi iniuriam acceperint, a cuius rei periculo illos fortunae suae magnitudo tutissimos praestat” literally means:”…[the kings/tyrants, with reference to “regum” at the beginning of this section] commit cruelties (saeviunt) as if (quasi) they  had received (acceperint) an injury (iniuriam), from  danger (a ..periculo) of such thing/injury (cuius rei. The relative “cuius” serves as a link between the antecedent “iniuriam” and “a periculo”, so that when the antecedent is in a different sentence, the relative is often equivalent to a demonstrative. See AG 303) the greatness (magnitudo, subject) of their (suae) good fortune/condition (fortunae) keeps (praestat) them (illos) absolutely safe(tutissimos, superlative referring to “illos” as a Predicate Adjective)”.
In short, Seneca says that those who have too much power such as the kings or tyrants commit cruelties as if they  had received  an injury, though the exceptional nature  of their condition keeps them absolutely secure from any injury's danger.



3. In “….aut non sum amicus, nisi quidquid agitur ad te pertinens, meum est” (XLVIII.2) the expression “meum est” with the possessive neuter “meum” literally means “it is my thing”, i.e. “it is my duty” (See AG 343 § c ) and then “..aut non sum amicus, nisi quidquid agitur ad te pertinens, meum est” literally means:” …or (aut) I am not a friend (non sum amicus) , unless (nisi) whatever (quidquid) is at issue (agitur) concerning (pertinens) you (ad te) is [also] my duty / concern(meum est)”.


4.In “…. hunc homines male habent” (XLVIII. 7)  “male habent” is just a kind of idiom composed of the verb “habere” and the adverb “male”(badly)so that "male habere" literally means “to treat badly”, i.e. “to mistreat”, “to harass”, “to vex”.
Therefore, “…hunc homines male habent” literally means:”…men (homines) treat badly/harass /mistreat (male habent) this one (hunc)…”, i.e. “…men mistreat this one”/”…men treat this one badly”.

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.