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

1. Huc et illud accedat, (XXXI.8)
Could you give a literal translation?

2. Quaeris quid me maxime ex iis, quae de te audio delectet? (XXXII.1)
Does “iis”, which I assume is the antecedent of “quae”, refer to people or things?

3. aliud eius subinde atque aliud facientes initium (XXXII.2)
Could you give a literal translation?

4. sed ego contra omnium tibi eorum contemptum opto, quorum illi copiam. (XXXII.4)
Some difficulty with “copiam” and “quorum”.

Thank you.
Robert

Answer
Dear Robert,

1.Here’s the literal translation for “Huc et illud accedat…” (Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXXI.8):” Let this [fact]  be also added (et illud accedat, hortatory subjunctive of the verb “accedere” meaning “to be added” with the accessory idea of increase) to this point (huc, adverb)”.
Note that 1)“huc” is an adverb meaning “to this, to this point”; 2)“et illud” literally means “also this ” because “et” stands for “etiam” and the neuter “illud” is the subject of “accedat” which is a hortatory subjunctive of the verb “accedere” just meaning “to be added” with the accessory idea of increase; 3)the subject “illud” is the antecedent of  the following subjects  “aequalitas ac tenor vitae” which explain the sense of “et illud”.
In short,  “Huc et illud accedat…..aequalitas  ac tenor vitae …”  means :” In addition, there must be a calm and  even temperament  as well as a  standard of living…”



2. In “Quaeris quid me maxime ex iis, quae de te audio delectet?” (XXXII.1) the ablative plural   “iis”, which  is the antecedent of the accusative neuter plural  “quae” depending on “audio”, refers definitely  to things simply because “quae” is a neuter plural. If on the contrary  “iis” referred to “people”, we should have “quos” (accusative masculine plural) depending on “audio”.
So, “Quaeris quid me maxime ex iis, quae de te audio delectet?” literally  means:” Do you ask (quaeris, direct question clause) what (quid, introducing the indirect question clause) pleases (delectet, present subjunctive of the indirect question clause)  me (me, acc.) among those things (ex iis) that (quae, accusative neuter plural) I hear (audio, verb of the relative clause”quae de te audio”) about you (de te)?”


3. “…quam breviorem inconstantia facimus  aliud eius subinde atque aliud facientes initium…” (XXXII.2) literally means:”…that (quam, acc. feminine singular referring to the previous “vitae”, life) we make (facimus) shorter (breviorem) by [our] inconstancy (inconstantiā, Instrumental Ablative) making (facientes, present participle referring to the subject of “facimus”) one beginning (aliud…initium) of that [life] (eius, demonstrative pronoun referring to “vitae”) and immediately (subinde atque) another (aliud) [beginning of that life]”,  just to point out that we make our short life still shorter by our unsteadiness so that now we choose a beginning of our life, now immediately another and then we  cut life in small pieces and consume it.
Note that  the idiomatic expression  “aliud….aliud” designates merely a distinction between two objects  “one thing ... another”.


4. In “…sed ego contra omnium tibi eorum contemptum opto, quorum illi copiam.” (XXXII.4) the accusative “copiam”  is the direct object of the implied verb “optant”, while the genitive neuter plural  “quorum” refers to “alia” in the previous sentence “Optaverunt …. tibi alia parentes” literally meaning “Your parents (parentes tui) chose (optaverunt) other things/goods (alia) for you (tibi)”.
So, “Optaverunt …. tibi alia parentes, sed ego contra omnium tibi eorum contemptum opto, quorum illi copiam” literally means:” Your parents (parentes tui) chose (optaverunt) other things/goods (alia) for you (tibi),  but on the contrary  (sed…contra) I choose (opto) for you (tibi) the disdain (contemptum, acc of “contemptus”, 4th declension) for /of all (omnium) those things /goods (eorum [rerum]) the abundance (copiam, direct object depending on the implied “optant”) of which (quorum , neuter plural referring to “eorum [rerum]) they (illi, i.e. your parents”) choose  [optant] [for you]”, i.e.: “ Your parents chose other goods for you; but I choose for you the disdain for  all those things which your parents wish for you in abundance” with reference to tangible/material goods that have nothing to do with spiritual goods which Seneca wishes for his disciple.

Best regards,
Maria

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Maria

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

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