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

1. alia proxima ripae cursu languescente deposuit (XXIII.8)
What is the case of “ripae”?

2. aut si hoc modo magis sensus potest exprimi (XXIII.9)
Could you give a literal translation?

3. ut curationes aeger obeam (XXVII.1)
I thought “aeger” modifies “curationes” and therefore should be gen. “the cure of the sick”

4. et te adhibito mecum exigo. (XXVII.1)
Could you give a literal translation?

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

In “…..alia proxima ripae cursu languescente deposuit…” (Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXIII.8) the case of “ripae” is a dative singular depending on the adjective “proxima” agreeing with the accusative neuter plural “alia” (some things) depending on the nominative “undă” which is the subject of the verbs “detinuit”,” vexit”,  “rapuit” and  “deposuit” in “….alia lenior undă detinuit ac mollius vexit, alia  vehementior rapuit, alia proxima ripae cursu languescente deposuit….” literally meaning:
” …a gentler (lenior) wave (unda) held back (detinuit) and transported (vexit)  more gently (mollius, comparative adverb) other/ some things /objects (alia, direct object) , a more violent [wave] ( vehementior, agreeing with the implied subject  “undă”) dragged ( rapuit) some things (alia, direct object), [a wave] has put other  things (alia, direct object) close (proxima, neuter plural accusative, predicate adjective referring to “alia”) to the bank (ripae), the current (cursu, subject of the ablative absolute) becoming weak (languescente, present participle, verb of the ablative absolute) …” with reference to those who are not able to control themselves and their affairs and then get carried away by the river’s current just like objects afloat in a river  where some are held back by a gentler wave; others are dragged  by a more violent wave; some, which are nearest the bank, are left there as the current is slackening.

2. Here’s the literal translation for “Aut si hoc modo magis sensus potest exprimi...” (XXIII.9):”Or (aut) if (si)  in this (hoc) way (modo, ablative of manner) the sense/meaning (sensus) [of  Epicurus saying. See  the previous expression “vocem Epicuri”] can (potest) be better expressed (magis…exprimi, passive, present infinitive) “.
In short Seneca quotes Epicurus saying “Molestum est semper vitam incohare” (It is difficult to always start our life) and then after saying  “Or if the meaning of this saying can be better expressed” he mentions another version of this quotation, i.e. “Male vivunt, qui semper vivere incipiunt" (They live badly who are always beginning to live).
So, Seneca wants to mean that the life of such persons is always incomplete (See XXIII.10:” Quia semper illis inperfecta vita est”).

3.In “…. ut curationes aeger obeam” (XXVII.1) the adjective “aeger” in the nominative masculine singular  cannot  modify the accusative plural “curationes”, but it is the predicate adjective (AG 285) of the subject of the verb “obeam” so that “Non sum tam improbus, ut curationes aeger obeam,..” literally means:” I am not (non sum) so senseless (tam  improbus)  that (ut, introducing a result clause)  , as a ill man (aeger) , I  undertake (obeam, result clause, present subjunctive)  the  cures/medical treatments (curationes) [of someone else]”, just to point out that Seneca is not so senseless as to undertake to cure someone else when he is  ill himself.

4. “In secretum te meum admitto et te adhibito mecum exigo” (XXVII.1) literally means: “I admit you (te…admitto) to [my ] inmost thoughts  (in secretum…meum ) and , you (te, subject of the abl.abs.) having  been used (adhibito, past participle, verb of the ablative absolute), I consider (et…exigo)  you with myself (mecum)”, just to point out  that Seneca  does not want to cure others  when he is  ill himself, but wants to admit Lucilius to his inmost thoughts so that he (i.e. Seneca)  can have him (Lucilius) with himself, after having used him for he has discussed with Lucilius troubles/diseases  which concern them both and has shared with him the remedies so that he (Seneca) has somehow or other used him (Lucilius).

Best regards and thanks a lot for your donation,



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




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


Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 All rights reserved.