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

1. licet numquam illum sperata deceperint.(XXIII.2)
Does the p.p.“sperata” serve as n. pl., meaning “things that have been hoped for”?  

2. Fac, oro te, Lucili carissime, quod unum potest praestare felicem: (XXIII.6)
Is “unum” the obj. of “Fac”? If so, is the sentence still correct if we put “unum” right after “Fac”? Is “quod” the antecedent of “unum”?

3. quomodo habere quicquam certum mansurumve possunt suspensi et vagi? (XXIII.7)
Is “suspensi et vagi” used as noun the subject of “possunt”?

4. ceteri eorum more (XXIII.8)
What does “more” mean” here?

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

1.In “….licet numquam illum sperata deceperint”(Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXIII.2) the past participle “sperata” in the nominative neuter plural serves just  as n. pl., meaning “things that have been hoped for”, i.e. “hopes”, so that the sentence means:” although/even if  (licet, introducing a subordinate proposition, which makes a concession) [his] hopes  (sperata)  have never deceived (numquam deceperint, subjunctive depending on "licet") him (illum)”.

2.In “ Fac, oro te, Lucili carissime, quod unum potest praestare felicem…” (XXIII.6) “unum”,  agreeing with the relative neuter  pronoun “quod”, is the predicate adjective of the direct object "quod" depending on the imperative “Fac”, so that  the sentence is not correct if you put “unum” right after “Fac”, because “Fac…quod unum potest praestare felicem” literally means:” Do (fac) …what (quod) alone /one and only (unum, used as a predicate adjective of “quod”. See AG 285 ) can (potest)  render (praestare) [you] happy (felicem)", i.e. “Therefore I pray you, my dearest Lucilius, do the one thing that can render you really happy” (Gummere).

3. In “Nam illi qui…… quomodo habere quicquam certum mansurumve possunt suspensi et vagi?” (XXIII.7) the adjectives  “suspensi et vagi” are used as Predicate Adjectives related to “illi qui” which is  the subject of “possunt”(see AG 285).
In short, the sentence literally means:” For (nam)  those (illi)  who (qui)..….how (quomodo) can (possunt) have (habere) something (quicquam) sure (certum, neuter agreeing with “quicquam”) and  lasting (mansurumve, i.e. the participle future “mansurum” and the enclitic  conjunction “–ve”) [they being ] uncertain (suspensi) and inconstant (et vagi)? “.

4. In “… ceteri eorum more quae fluminibus innatant…” (XXIII.8) the ablative singular “more” (see “mos”, genitive "moris") means “according to the manner”/”after the manner”/”like” and then the phrase literally means:”… the others (ceteri) after the manner ( more) of those things (eorum, genitive neuter plural referring to the neuter plural “quae”) which (quae, nominative neuter plural) float in (innatant) the rivers (fluminibus, ablative depending on “innatant”)... ” with reference to those who are not able to control themselves and their affairs and then get carried away by the river’s current (See "Pauci sunt, qui consilio se suaque disponant, ceteri eorum more, quae fluminibus innatant, non eunt, sed feruntur").

Best regards,


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