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

1. Opto tibi tui facultatem, (XXXII.5)
Does “tui facultatem” mean “power over you”?

2. intellectis veris bonis (XXXII.5)
Is this an abl. abs.?

3. in studia seposito (LVI.1)
Is “seposito” dat, meaning “to the person who puts himself in study”?

4. cum fortiores exercentur et manus plumbo graves iactant (LVI. 1)
Could you give a literal translation?

Thank you.

Dear Robert,

1.In “Opto tibi tui facultatem,…” (Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXXII.5)  “tui facultatem”  literally means “domain of  you”, i.e. “power over you” in English.
Note that “tui” is the genitive of the 2nd person pronoun “tu”, genitive “tui”, dative “tibi”, accusative “te”.
In short, “Opto tibi tui facultatem, ut vagis cogitationibus agitata mens … resistat …” literally means:” I want (opto) for you (tibi) the domain (facultatem) of yourself (tui) so that (ut) [your] mind (mens) shaken (agitată) by capricious thoughts (vagis cogitationibus) remains standing (resistat)…”, i.e. “I pray that you may get such control over yourself that your mind, now shaken by wandering thoughts, may at last come to rest and be steadfast..”(Gummere)

2. “… intellectis veris bonis …(XXXII.5) is just an abl. abs. literally meaning:”… the true/real goods (veris bonis, subject of the abl abs) having been understood (intellectis, past participle plural of “intellego”)…” with reference to the fact that we should be able to understand what things are  true/real goods which are in our possession as soon as we have this knowledge (See “…intellectis veris  bonis, quae, simul intellecta sunt, possidentur.…”).

3. In “….in studia seposito..” (LVI.1) the past participle  “seposito” is just a dative masculine singular depending on “est necessarium… ”, so that “…si est tam necessarium ….silentium   in studia seposito” literally means “…if  silence (si…silentium) is so necessary (est tam necessarium)  to the person who has put/secluded  [himself] (seposito)  in studies (in studia).. ” just to point out that silence is indispensable to someone who wants to devote himself to the study.

4. Here’s the literal translation for “….cum fortiores exercentur et manus plumbo graves iactant…” (LVI. 1):”… when (cum) the stronger  [men](fortiores) are exercising [ themselves] (exercentur) and flourish (iactant)  [their] hands (manus) burdened (graves, agreeing with “manus”) by lead (plumbo)”, i.e. :” …when stronger men are exercising themselves and  do weightlifting…” with reference to  the variety of  noises that Seneca is forced to hear because he lives over a public bath where athletes train themselves.

Best regards,


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