GRST 246 Class Commentary

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  • Chapter 1 (21 comments)

    • Comment by jobunzel on March 6th, 2013

      I decided to translate quaesiverit by strictly identifying its role in a future more vivid conditional with “emphatic protasis” (Normally Future perfect in the protasis + future indicative in the apodosis). Thus, I’m translating this phrase as a present tense in the protasis (If anyone investigates/inquires) and a future indicative later with respondebo (I will not answer). I also found the definition “investigate” for quaero. While the book chooses “inquire”, I felt “investigate” suggested more of a challenge that potential readers might have for seneca’s knowledge.

      Comment by Bert Lott on March 7th, 2013

      Very good post.  For clarity, everyone should make quotes from the text bold and other latin words italics. This will help us keep track of what a post is about.



      Comment by jobunzel on March 7th, 2013

      For quod mihi in buccam venerit, I found a dictionary idiom that means “to speak what/whatever comes into one’s head”. While the dictionary entry for bucca says cheek, the idiom for dicere quod/quidquid in buccam venit often means “to say whatever comes uppermost”, and even “to fill the cheek/head with speaking”. Our book chooses “whatever trips off the tongue”, but the idea of filling one’s head with speech seems more closely aligned with Seneca’s idea. This choice seems instinctive, considering that Seneca notes that if it is pleasing to answer, he will say whatever pops into his head.

      I have a question, though: should we take venerit as another future perfect active indicative, and merely translate it as a present here (like the protasis) or should we take it as a perfect active subjunctive for a translation of “what came to me into (my) head”?

      Comment by juhayes on March 7th, 2013

      For the phrases, Ego scio me liberum factum and qui verum proverbium fecerat, the verb facio was being used in both cases not to indicate that anything was being physically constructed or crafted as it often does, but rather that the nature of its objects were being changed. I found a dictionary entry where the verb is used with a double object as in “to render it something”. This is much more the feeling and meaning that was apparent in the text. I thus took me liberum factum and qui verum proverbium fecerat to mean, “me having been rendered free” and, “who had rendered the proverb true”.

      Comment by juhayes on March 7th, 2013

      I am wondering as to the exact way in which ex quo is coming to mean what it seems to. I took it as, “out of which”, as in  “that man met his own day out of which I had been rendered free.” But both ex and quo are versatile words that have many grammatical and syntactical spaces they can fill. The main reason I bring the question up is because Perseus’ translation has the day in a nominative sense and include the idea of sameness, saying that “the same day made me free…” Why can they do this? And is it even because of the nature of ex quo?

      Comment by Bert Lott on March 7th, 2013

      Can you think of a reason why this clause might need a subjunctive verb?  I think it is indicative in a normal relative clause, with the antecedent id omitted.  So “I will say (that) which will have come to mind”

      Comment by Bert Lott on March 7th, 2013

      Look at LS (lewis and short) ex II.B  and see what you can work out.\

      Comment by Bert Lott on March 7th, 2013

      Be careful with the scio me liberum factum (esse) so that you get the indirect discourse correctly.

      Comment by noross on March 7th, 2013

      Regarding fatuum, our book and LS both give “foolish” as a meaning, but Perseus says fatuum is “another name for the prophesying” or “speaking by inspiration.”  Does this meaning come into play in the text at all?  It makes sense that Seneca would present opposites, king and fool, but is this passage ever read as king as prophesier?

      Comment by kaking on March 7th, 2013

      I also originally took ex quo to mean “out of which” and found that confusing when presented with the English translations. After looking at LS ex II.B as you suggested, professor, I took it to mean “since,” as in “I know that I was made free, since that man met his day.”

      Comment by kaking on March 7th, 2013

      I took the phrase suum diem obiit to mean “he met his day,” i.e., died. I also noticed however while looking at the LS definitions of obeo that obeo diem can also have the meaning “to appear on the day appointed.” While I think it definitely means “to die” here, I wondered if the phrase could simultaneously have the sense of this day being appointed.

      Comment by jobunzel on March 25th, 2013

      I initially struggled with the form isse. Eventually, I realized this is a perfect active infinitive form (created with the third principle part + isse) of eo, ire. The form appears here in an indirect statement with two subjects: the accusatives Augustum and Tiberium CaesaremThe indirect statement is triggered by qua scis. I finally translated this as “He is the guardian of the Appian way, which you know that both the god Augustus and [the god] Tiberius Caesar went [on] towards the gods.

      Comment by noross on March 26th, 2013

      Concerning the illi found in line 11: initially I wondered whether this was a poetic plural/an instance of the “royal we” and assumed it was the masculine plural nominative form of ille, illa, illud, translating awkwardly into “it is necessary that he see all.”  However, on further inspection, it seems as if this pronoun is actually dative singular.  Illi in the dative also makes sense in terms of the necesse est construction, which often takes a dative when referring to a person.  Taking this into mind, I ultimately translated this sentence as “It is necessary for him to see all.”  This is interesting compared to our book’s translation, which reads “he cannot help seeing everything.”  Is one of these translations truer to Seneca’s intention with this line?

      Comment by jobunzel on March 26th, 2013

      [I initially put this post on the wrong paragraph – it belongs here next to paragraph 4]

      I initially struggled with the form isse. Eventually, I realized this is a perfect active infinitive form (created with the third principle part + isse) of eo, ire. The form appears here in an indirect statement with two subjects: the accusatives Augustum and Tiberium CaesaremThe indirect statement is triggered by qua scis. I finally translated this as “He is the guardian of the Appian way, which you know that both the god Augustus and [the god] Tiberius Caesar went [on] towards the gods.

      Comment by jobunzel on March 26th, 2013

      Two tricky grammatical situations appear here: se non indicaturum and vidisset. I decided to take the former as an indirect discourse relying on the future active infinitive. Indicaturum looks like a future active participle, but in order for the indirect statement to work with se an infinitive must be included (a missing esse). This clause translates as “He affirmed in measured/received words that he was not going to disclose…”.

      I took the latter half of this phrase as the protasis of a past contrary to fact conditional (si + pluperfect subjunctive, pluperfect subjunctive). The vidisset appears as a pluperfect active subjunctive. Thus, the latter half of the phrase translates as  “even if he had seen a man murdered/stricken down in the mid forum (middle of the forum)”.

      Ultimately, this passage raises interesting questions about author-audience relations. Earlier, Seneca claims that an author must observe all (like the entrances into heaven). But he follows this statement by suggesting that an author only speaks to one person at a time. This discrepancy raises interesting questions about fiction’s relationship with groups of people, and the moral implications of an author concealing information from his/her audience.

      Comment by noross on March 26th, 2013

      Is there an idiom with habeam to create a feeling of wish? I’ve checked Glossa but haven’t been able to find much.  The closest I’ve found is a meaning of “regarding him safe and lucky.” Does it have anything to do with the fact that habeam is in the subjunctive?

      Comment by juhayes on March 26th, 2013

      The answer to this may be very simple, but grammatically speaking I am confused how soli is functioning. Based on the fact that it is 2nd declension, it must be either s. gen./dat. or pl. nom./voc. But I do not see how that is functioning in the sentences to come to mean something like, “he will tell you alone.” To say, “to you alone” or “only you” requires some link between the word being used as an adjective and the object “you”. I tried looking in Lewis & Short but did not find much.

      Comment by juhayes on March 26th, 2013

      For the phrase verbis conceptis I found an entry in Glossa in which verbis is used with he verb concipio – usually meaning “to take or lay hold of” – to mean “to draw up, comprise, express something in words, to compose.” But here it seems that conceptis is acting as an adjective, modifying verbis, so I took the phrase to mean, “with words drawn up”/”with expressed words”. Is this what is intended by Seneca? Where does the author of our translation get the word “measured” with respect to conceptis?

      Comment by kaking on March 27th, 2013

      I noticed that although this version of the text does not, our book and Perseus both have the phrase non passibus aequis in quotation marks. This seemed odd to me since I took it to mean “with not equal steps,” and nothing about that intrinsically seems to need quotation marks for clarity. I was wondering if they were trying to signal some kind of idiom, or if perhaps Seneca is quoting something else here?

      Comment by kaking on March 27th, 2013

      I thought velit nolit was a fun phrase. It seems like it needs another word between it like aut to really make sense, but I guess that must be implied. Perseus translated it as “will he nill he,” and while I like that they kept the sort of rhyming aspect of it, it seemed to me like that our book’s translation of “like it or not” was much more fitting. “Will he nill he” doesn’t seem to me to really capture the original sense particularly well.

      Comment by Bert Lott on March 27th, 2013

      Let’s talk about this one.

  • chapter 4 (16 comments)

    • Comment by juhayes on April 1st, 2013

      I was wondering if there was any significance to the use here of three different words for hair – comascapillos, and crinem – or if this was merely the author attempting to avoid the repetition of the same word when describing different features of the same thing. It would seem more likely that there are nuances that distinguish the terms and that they are not perfect synonyms.

      Comment by juhayes on April 1st, 2013

      I took futuris as ablative so as to read, “he delighted in (what was) to come”. Mostly the question I had was whether gaudeo strictly took the ablative as it is said that placeo takes the dative and whether it had other constructions with different cases.

      Also both this and Perseus read nune…nune where our text says nunc…nunc. I’m assuming this is not a digression of interpretation of the word and merely a typo? Or is nune something else? I didn’t find it anywhere.

      Comment by jobunzel on April 1st, 2013

      I’m confused about the form moderanda and its use with felici and manu. Is this form a gerund? I’m trying to use the grammatical translation of “For the purpose of measuring” but doesn’t this translation demand an “ad” + accusative gerund?

      Or should we treat this form as a Future passive participle: “About to measure in [her] fortunate hand?” I’m not entirely sure what to do with this construction of moderanda.

      Comment by jobunzel on April 2nd, 2013

      I’ve found multiple definitions of duco which can apply differently to the multiple uses of the verb throughout this chapter.

      For example, I find that line 6 benefits most from the definition “having been drawn/brought to receive a new color”. But in line 10, I find that the definition “guide” works best: “It is not the way/manner for them, they guide the fortunate wools and rejoice to fill their hands”. Guide seems to make most sense here, because the fates guide threads with the spindle.

      This verb’s many definitions and uses throughout the paragraph raise interesting questions about the subtle differences in uses of the same verb in repetition. Do repetitions of the same verb in one chapter demand the same definition or not? The subtle differences ultimately depend on the translator’s choices.

      Comment by noross on April 2nd, 2013

      I took the supine cantu to refer back to the adest as in “Phoebus was present to sing.”  However, the book translates cantu as an ablative supine that is a part of the following clause, the iuvat to translate, “helped with singing.”  How can one tell whether this supine is an ablative or translated as “to sing?”

      Comment by noross on April 2nd, 2013

      There must be a better translation for pensa than “a day’s provision,” right?  Feels strange that there’s such a short dictionary entry on this word.

      Comment by kaking on April 3rd, 2013

      Regarding the phrase aurea saecula, was it a common feeling that they were living in the midst of a golden age? Or is this more suggesting that things will improve and a golden age will begin now that Claudius is out of the way?

      Comment by kaking on April 3rd, 2013

      In the phrase stolidae  regalia tempora vitae, I was wondering why regalia seems to agree with tempora rather than vitae. I took that line to mean “she snapped off the duration of [his] senseless royal life,” whereas read literally with regalia agreeing with tempora it would be “she snapped off the royal duration of [his] senseless life,” which makes less sense to me.

      Comment by juhayes on April 3rd, 2013

      Praesto normally means to “be at hand; present”, or to “be superior; excellent”. These would not make sense in the phrase felicia lassis saecula praestabit; thus after some hunting through its glossa entry, I found one meaning which was to “give, offer, furnish, present, expose” and thought that this was what was trying to be conveyed here. Is this correct? Furthermore, I’ve not seen this verb used much, what are the things it usually discusses and conveys?

      Comment by noross on April 3rd, 2013

      The introduction dates this text at 54 AD, setting the stage for an extremely eerie foreshadowing too uncomfortable to have been accidentally, especially in the satirical tone of this piece.  Nero’s face is described as flagrat, “burning” just like Rome famously burnt under Nero’s rule in 64 AD.  I feel as though this is a flagrant indication that this text must have been written after the burning of Rome.  Why is this not mentioned in the introduction and is this choice of verb seen as an indication of time?  Or is this just an uncomfortable coincidence?

      Comment by jobunzel on April 3rd, 2013

      I’m curious about the function of this talis…talem structure. Is this explicitly defining Nero as a Caesar? I want to translate this as “Such a Caesar is present, now Rome will behold such as Nero”.

      Does this talis…talis structure help ‘glue’ the two men together, or is it more of a comparative grammatical function? If the text means to define the two men as one, what are the implications of Nero being defined through Caesar? If the texts means to compare Nero to Caesar, who does Seneca view more kindly?

      In other words, I’m interested in what this grammatical structure intends to state about the relationship between both figures.

      Comment by jobunzel on April 4th, 2013

      I’m interested in meanings of the word concaco, concacare. First of all, is this a crude word? Its use here seems comically mean, but I found several definitions that carry slightly different levels of crudity.

      Our book translator uses “Oh dear, I think, I shit myself”. But other translations I found involve “to foil, pollute, defile, make foul (w/ excrement, ordure, dung).

      I definitely think the use here is crude. But can this word be used in other contexts to mean larger pollution/corruption? When Seneca states omnia certe concacavit, he seems to use the word in this broader way. I translated as “He certainly fouled/screwed up everything [else]”. Does this second use of concaco suggest that the word can be used in a more social/political way beyond the crudity?

      Comment by juhayes on April 4th, 2013

      What construction is causing faveret to be imperfect subjective? Does it have something to do with the dependence of the clause that it is situated in? Or is there a finer point of grammar that is causing it to be so?

      Comment by Bert Lott on April 4th, 2013

      Think again about what might cause the verb in a relative clause to be in the subjunctive. . . What kind of relative clauses use subjunctive verbs?

      Comment by kaking on April 4th, 2013

      What is the best translation for remisso? It seems like most of the definitions for that word are something akin to “returned,” which doesn’t fit at all, and then I found some that made slightly more sense (mild, cheerful, good-humored) but all of those still seemed really out of place with the use of flagrat as ‘burns.’ Is there a definition that fits better, or is Seneca perhaps trying to evoke contrast here?

      Comment by kaking on April 4th, 2013

      Is surgitsupposed to be taken with Lucifer as well as Hesperus? Perseus doesn’t seem to, but I think it makes more sense to do so, since otherwise that part is lacking a verb.

  • Chapter 7 (14 comments)

    • Comment by noross on April 12th, 2013

      I’m a tad confused about citiusmihi verum.  The commentary says that this is colloquially elliptic, thus explaining the lack of an imperative verb.  However, I’m still confused about citius.  It seems to be a comparative form of cieo used in poetry to mean “quickly” but what does the commentary mean when it compares this form to “positive forms?”  What are these “positive forms” and how do they change the meaning/what is the difference if they do not change the meaning?

      Comment by Bert Lott on April 12th, 2013

      The adjective citus, a, um is derived from the 4th principle part of cieo.  The positive form of an adjective is its basic form, with the comparative (what this is) and the superlative being the other two.  So every adjective has a positive (what you think of as normal), comparative, and superlative form.

      Comment by jobunzel on April 13th, 2013

      I’m curious about the several definitions of the verb macto, mactare. I’m translating line 6 as “This club has often killed/put to death the wild kings”. But I’m confused as to why this word cannot connote any of the other senses the dictionary offers.

      For example, I found definitions ranging from magnify/glorify to overthrow and reward. This word seems to carry an immense range of meanings, so how does our book translator choose the more violent one?

      I assumed that slaughter works best because the previous line 5 discusses being pushed down to the ground by a tree trunk, so the violence in line 6 seems warranted. I’m just curious about how to sift through these immensely different meanings of the word.

      Comment by jobunzel on April 14th, 2013

      I’m not sure what to do with the construction of nihilo minus. I found an idiom for mentis suae est later in the line. The dictionary says that “mentis suae esse” means to be in one’s right mind.

      With this idiom, how can I work in nihilo minus? My instinct is to notice the comparative and then the ablative of nihilum (because ablatives usually work with comparatives). I want to translate this as “less than nothing he is not in his right mind”. But I’m not entirely sure what this phrase “less than nothing” means. Is this an idiom as well, or can this phrase be used differently with the rest of the clause?

      Comment by kaking on April 15th, 2013

      Regarding tragicus fit: our text takes this as “he donned the mask of tragedy,” (metaphorically here I assume), so I’m wondering whether this would have been a common literary thing? A little off topic, but did people performing tragedies actually wear those frown-y masks?

      Comment by kaking on April 15th, 2013

      Was this “triform king” an actual figure we know about? Does that just mean a king who is a triplet? Or is this someone specific from one of Hercules’ labors?

      Comment by juhayes on April 15th, 2013

      I was given some pause concerning the phrase non habere se; specifically with as to why exactly the verb has been put into the infinitive. It seems likely that it is an indirect statement and thus the verb is put into the infinitive, but I know not what the trigger for the indirect statement would be.

      Relatedly, is gratiae in the dat/abl sg due to the indirect statement? Or is there another reason?

      Comment by juhayes on April 15th, 2013

      Regarding the phrase plurimum posse, I found an entry in Lewis & Short in which it is used in conjunction with plus/pluris to mean, “to have influence”. I’m assuming as comparative and superlative forms of plus are exhibited they would modify the meaning to “to have more influence” and “to have the most influence”, respectively. This phrase seems very idiomatic and I would like to know what the best way to approach and translate it is, for while this is satisfactory and seems to make sense, is there a better way to get at the sense which our text takes, rendering it, “to be undisputed master”?

      Comment by Bert Lott on April 15th, 2013

      From Justin:

      Regarding the phrase <strong>plurimum posse</strong>, I found an entry in Lewis &amp; Short in which it is used in conjunction with plus/pluris to mean, “to have influence”. I’m assuming as comparative and superlative forms of plus are exhibited they would modify the meaning to “to have more influence” and “to have the most influence”, respectively. This phrase seems very idiomatic and I would like to know what the best way to approach and translate it is, for while this is satisfactory and seems to make sense, is there a better way to get at the sense which our text takes, rendering it, “to be undisputed master”?

      Comment by juhayes on April 15th, 2013

      I was given pause concerning the phrase non habere se, specifically with respect as to why exactly the verb is put into the infinitive. It seems likely that the phrase is in indirect statement, but I do not know what would be triggering such a construction.

      Additionally, is the fact that gratiae in the dat/abl sg also due to indirect statement, or is it because of some other reason?

      Comment by Bert Lott on April 15th, 2013

      The trigger is Intellexit:  ”he understood that no one at Rome had been his equal, (but he understood that) he did not have the same level of favor there, namely [still in indirect discourse] that a rooster is to be biggest on his own dung pile”

      gratiae is in the genitive (partitive genitive) with idem “the same (amount) of favor”

      Comment by Bert Lott on April 15th, 2013

      I like “to be the most powerful”

      possum often has the sense of to be powerful or capable or to have the ability.

      Comment by jobunzel on April 15th, 2013

      I’m confused about the figurative meaning of gallum in suo sterquilino. Is this a version of our “Big fish in a little pond”?

      I think the idea is that a domestic cock can rule over a piece of crap, but not be a ruler in a more prestigious place (Like a big fish who rules over a little pond but then means nothing in the ocean). Does this image then imply a disdain for Rome itself – that Rome is a worthless place in relation to place of the Gods?

      Or does the gallum only show Seneca’s further ridicule of Claudius?

      Comment by noross on April 16th, 2013

      I’m a tad confused about the phrase si qui a me notorem petisset.  It seems as though the me should not be ablative but genitive?  I feel as though this phrase has the sense, “if anyone should ask a witness of me” but this a me indicates a meaning of “from me” or “out of me.”

  • Chapter 13 (11 comments)

    • Comment by juhayes on April 29th, 2013

      I was wondering what the effective distinction was between calling Hades Dis or Dis Pater and calling him Pluto. If there is any distinction, why does he choose Dis here? Is there any particular reason or is this merely a stylistic choice?

      Comment by noross on April 30th, 2013

      I’m confused about tectam.  Is it a perfect passive participle, as it seems to be in perseus, or is it a proper noun, capitalized in our books?  In our books it appears as viam Tectam, seeming to be the Tectus road?  Or is this “the road having been covered?”

      Comment by jobunzel on April 30th, 2013

      I’m interested in the many definitions of iaceo, iacere and which ones seem to apply here.

      Because Seneca is discussing Cerberus lying in wait (as a guard?), the definitions “to lie/linger” or “to lie open/visible” seem appropriate.

      However, the dictionary presents definitions such as “be thrown/cast somewhere”, “to lie inactive”, and “to lie dormant”. These definitions imply that the verb has a passive sense, rather than an active sense. Further definitions include “to lie dead, to have fallen”.

      My question is: does Seneca use this verb to present Cerberus as an actively vicious guard, or just a passive marker at this door?

      Comment by kaking on April 30th, 2013

      I’m confused about the meaning of ad patronum excipiendum. I think it’s something like “toward the intercepting of his master,” but I’m really not sure. Is there a better translation for excipiendum?

      Comment by juhayes on May 1st, 2013

      I am trying to figure out who the subject is with respect to inquit. Is it still Claudius and for some reason he is speaking of himself in the third person, for some reason? Or has the subject changed to Mercury or someone else?
      It seems unclear to me, especially when given the quote in Greek in the next line which the equites seem to be chanting. It would seem likely that one of them could have said, “Claudius will come”, and logically that would be followed by “we have found him let us rejoice”, since they’ve obviously been waiting for him.

      Comment by noross on May 1st, 2013

      I have a question regarding in deliciis.  Does this mean they are keeping the dog “in the gutter?”  That does not seem to make much sense and makes me believe that there must be a better meaning for deliciis than “gutter” yet I cannot seem to find anything else, especially anything that resembles “as a pet.”

      Comment by noross on May 1st, 2013

      Concerning necubi imparatus esset, I’m trying to find a better meaning for imparatus than “unfurnished.”  I feel like each meaning I find is used for objects left alone, not people.  For example, “unfurnished” does not apply to people, but rather furniture or decorations.  Is this a deliberate choice of Seneca’s to reduce and objectify the freedmen to furniture?

      Comment by jobunzel on May 2nd, 2013

      I’m curious about the definition of decoris and its use with causa. 

      I found definitions for decorus such as “ornamented”, “beautiful”, “that which is suitable”, “seemliness”, “propriety”. I get the sense that Claudius makes the pantomime lesser for the sake of propriety and not beauty. So I opted for the latter translations.

      Then in the full translation, I’m trying to use “whom Claudius had made lesser for the reason/sake of propriety”. What does this mean – that Claudius made the pantomime less important for reasons of seemliness?

      I know we talked in class about pantomimes as representing the lowest rung of entertainment. Is this “had made lesser” a stab at the lowliness of pantomimes?

      Comment by jobunzel on May 2nd, 2013

      What is meant by the phrase In ius eamus, ego tibi hic sellas ostendam? Is Seneca talking about a literal court, or figuratively proving Cladius’ murder of his friends and his immorality?

      Is there also a figurative meaning of sellas? If Pedo Pompeius  intends to show Cladius the magistrate’s seats, does he figuratively intend to show Claudius proof of his immorality in killing all his friends)?

      I get the sense that “going to court” constitutes proving something to Claudius, but this may also have a literal meaning in the underworld.

      Comment by kaking on May 3rd, 2013

      Regarding duci iusserat, the best definition I found for duci was “to be led off for punishment.” Does this usually have the sense of being execution, as both our book and Perseus translate it as, or does it usually apply to broader forms of punishment and we’re inferring execution since that’s what happened to these people?

      Comment by kaking on May 3rd, 2013

      Is there any particular reason for using hic erat instead of hic erant? Since multiple people are being discussed, I would have expected the plural there. Although I guess in English as well we often use “there was” instead of “there were” even when talking about multiple objects.

  • Chapter 12 (11 comments)

    • Comment by jobunzel on April 27th, 2013

      I’m confused by the redundancy of ille citato vincere cursu poterat celeris. There’s also a difference between the Perseus and book texts.

      In the Perseus version, the text uses an accusative celeres for a translation of “That man had been able to surpass/conquer the speedy men with a speedy hastening”.

      But with the book text, how does this genitive work? I’m trying the translation “That man had been able to conquer of the swift (man?) with a speedy hastening”.

      All these words of speed also seem redundant. How do we navigate this phrase without repeating ideas?

      Comment by jobunzel on April 28th, 2013

      I’m finding the numerous accusative cases in the phrase caeruleos scuta Brigantas dare Romueleis colla catenis iussit difficult to navigate.

      I feel like caeruleos scuta needs to have an ablative sense (even though it appears in the accusative). I want the translation to read “He ordered that the Brigantes with their azure shields give their necks to Roman chains/shackles”. But how does this work with another accusative in addition to Brigantas?

      Perhaps Seneca lumps caruelos scuta into Brigantes and all three words function as the subject of the indirect discourse? Or are these accusatives somehow objects of dare that work with colla?

      Comment by kaking on April 28th, 2013

      Regarding the sentence beginning with ille citato vincere cursu poterat celeres, are we supposed to take poterat with all the parts of this sentence up to qui praecipites? I think that makes the most sense. About this same passage, is it supposed to be taken humorously since Claudius obviously can’t physically do any of these things himself?

      Comment by kaking on April 28th, 2013

      Do we know if Claudius had trouble hearing as well as a speech impediment? I thought it seemed like that was what ut etiam Claudius audire posset was suggesting.

      Comment by noross on April 28th, 2013

      I’m curious about the word conventus/concentus.  I find it interesting that Perseus chooses to use concentus while our book’s editor chooses conventus.  Conventus, our book’s choice, means “a meeting” while concentus has a more musical meaning of “symphony” which makes much more sense in the context of this procession of a brass band.  This clearly is not a meeting of brass players, but a moving symphony, leading me to feel as though our book should use concentus over conventus.

      Comment by juhayes on April 28th, 2013

      I was confused a bit by the phrase quid sibi velit ille concursus hominum. Neither of the translations seem to take into account sibi velit. I took it to mean, he asked “what that mob of men would want (with respect to) him”. Is this what is being said and the translations choose not to phrase it this way? Or is velit serving a different grammatical function than I am understanding?


      Comment by juhayes on April 28th, 2013

      I thought the back-handed compliments were very interesting and humorous in this section. I particularly was interested in the apparent/potential complexity of the section pertaining to Claudius’ ability to draw a bow. At first I was surprised, as the stringing/drawing of a bow is a sign of power and skill, but this is clearly sarcastic when coupled with knowledge of Claudius’ physical condition and the following passages about the “small wounds” and the firing into the “backs of fleeing Medes.” Was the bow still even at this point in Greco-Roman History looked down upon as a coward’s weapon? Apparently so. I thought it was particularly interesting to invoke the heroic style with so much complexity; to perhaps liken him to Odysseus at first, but then to remind everyone that often in Heroic verse (and even now) the bow was the weapon of the weak.

      Also concerning the phrase about pursuing the Persians with light spears, what sort of insult is this? Is he likening Claudius to the velites in an army as opposed to what he should be acting as – consul?

      Comment by juhayes on April 29th, 2013

      Concerning the grammar of silenti, Eden translates it as “of silence”, taken with populo to be “to the people of silence”. But this seems odd and I do not know what he could be taking about here. Silenti could technically be a present participle, agreeing with the dative populo and thus rendering the phrase, “to the people being silenced”. This makes more sense without any knowledge of an idiom that the phrase might be incorporated into.


      Comment by jobunzel on April 29th, 2013

      I’m not sure how the several feminine nominatives unaaudita, and neutra work together. I think they all work under causa. 

      I’m also trying to read una parte as referring to Claudius’ affair/case and functioning as an object, but I don’t understand why this wouldn’t take an accusative after audita. The ideal translation would read “having heard so much as one part (of the affair). Does tantum act as the object instead?

      Is this phrase referring to something outside of causa? And what are the objects of audita ?

      Comment by noross on April 30th, 2013

      I’m really interested in vosque poetae lugete novi, not only for our editors ridiculously pretentious translation, but also because it just feels so random to throw poets into the mix while Seneca is talking about Claudius’ affect on lawyers.  Is this related to some of Claudius’ policies?  Is this a natural progression for Seneca to make here?

      Comment by kaking on April 30th, 2013

      I was really confused about what tantum was doing in the phrase una tantum parte audita, as I would have expected it to be in the ablative like the rest of that phrase. Ignoring tantum, I took it to mean “he than whom no one could more quickly learn the motive, with one part having been heard, and often neither.” After reading the whole dictionary entry for tantus I saw that tantum can also be an adverb with the meaning “only”–is that what’s happening here? That would explain why it’s not declined, and would give the phrase the meaning “with only one part having been heard,” which would make sense.

  • Chapter 9 (11 comments)

    • Comment by jobunzel on April 18th, 2013

      I’m having trouble with the form of diserte. I know this form is derived from dissero (to examine, argue, discuss, speak, discourse, treat) but I almost want to use this adverbially here. What would this mean in an adverb form?

      Also, in the phrase In multi diserte, is there a missing dico? I’m trying to translate as He was saying many things arguably (whatever this potential adverb means). 

      Comment by noross on April 18th, 2013

      Is p.c. an abbreviation meaning “honorable members”?  If so, what does this stand for? Also, this raises the bigger question: were there Latin abbreviations that were common in speech?  This is a quote, and therefore left in its original speech.  Were abbreviations a part of spoken Latin?

      Comment by kaking on April 19th, 2013

      I’m not sure what the exact function of ut is in the sentence volo ut servetis disciplinam. Obviously it’s triggering the subjunctive and I took it to mean “I want you to preserve the rules of the senate house,” but is it a wish clause? A purpose clause?

      Comment by noross on April 19th, 2013

      I’m confused about the “bean farce” idiom, Fabam mimum.  Does Fabam not come from fama, meaning “fame”?  The only other thing I can think of is that Fabam is a proper noun – but how is that at all related to beans?  I understand this phrase to mean “an imitation of fame” but how is this related to beans?  Is there a cultural reference here?

      Comment by noross on April 19th, 2013

      I have a question regarding the sentence ad hunc belle accessit Hercules et auriculam illi tetigit.  Firstly, is there some kind of word referring to money that is missing?  I’m confused by the book’s translation of “a pretty advance” from belle, the adverb meaning “prettily”.  The commentary gives a note that this is a colloquialism – did belle typically imply a pretty sum of money?

      Comment by jobunzel on April 20th, 2013

      I’m having trouble with the multiple participles consultum, factus, dictus, and pictusve and piecing them all together.

      What’s confusing me is the case of consultum. I’m inclined to put this with hoc for a translation of “Anyone who will be made, said, and pictured/portrayed a god contrary to this thing having been deliberated of the senate” but I’m not sure this is proper with the rest of these participles.

      In other words, I’m having difficulty navigating through all these participles with merely erit as a verb.

      Comment by jobunzel on April 21st, 2013

      I have a few questions about the phrase censeo uti divus Claudius ex hac die deus sit, ita uti ante eum qui optimo iure factus sit.

      First, is uti merely another form of ut? This would make sense for translation sof “I propose that” and “just like that” respectively.

      Second, I’m not quite sure how to treat optimo iure.
      I’m translating as “I propose that from this day forth the divine Claudius may become a god, just like anyone before was made one with the best permission. I think this is an ablative phrase describing the act of making gods before this new decree, but iure seems odd. Is there another translation (I found law, justice, permission) that works better?

      Comment by kaking on April 21st, 2013

      I’m not sure how to translate literally ne videar in personam, non in rem dicere sententiam. I think it’s something like, “in order not to seem on a personal level, not to state my opinion on the matter…” but that doesn’t seem right, since our text takes the second part to mean ‘on principle’ and Perseus takes it as ‘of the general custom.’ I think it’s the non that’s throwing me off, because I could see how they would arrive at those meanings without there, but with it I’m just confused.

      Comment by kaking on April 21st, 2013

      Regarding ferventia rapa vorare, why exactly is Romulus devouring boiled turnips? This seems like a negative description (especially since Claudius is supposed to also do it), but I thought the Romans liked Romulus, considering he founded their city and all. Or did they just really like turnips?

      Comment by juhayes on April 21st, 2013

      Concerning the meaning of  larvis, it seems as if such a phrase, “to be given over to the larvae would be idiomatic and have a specific meaning in the context. What sort of spirits are being talked about here? Ghosts? Demons? Our book says goblins and Perseus says bogies, which gives a different sort of feel, having the larvae have the sense of little fey folk.

      Comment by juhayes on April 22nd, 2013

      How does e re publica come to mean, “in accordance with the interests of the republic”? How does ex convey all this? Is this just a common saying or is there specifically something else going on?

      Additionally, what’s the most correct way to be taking censeo in this text? It usually means assess, rate, reckon, but would it be better to use the more legal connotation due to the presence of the council of the gods?

  • Chapter 2 (10 comments)

    • Comment by juhayes on March 27th, 2013

      I took puto in puto magis intellegi to be the verb putare; but this has many meanings (as indicated in Glossa) such as “to clean/prune”, “to believe”, “to consider”, and “to reckon”, none of which seemed particularly fitting . I took it as (II.) “to clear up, set in order; to arrange, settle, adjust.”In this way, the phrase can mean, “I [will] arrange to [have myself] be understood more completely”. For intellegi is a fairly obvious passive infinitive and fixed in meaning, the same with magis. The translations seem to suggest this is the right direction, but is there a use of the verb puto that I am missing?

      Comment by juhayes on March 27th, 2013

      This is a grammatical and syntactical question in that I would like to fully comprehend how the conveyance of days and months works in Latin. dies III idus Octobris is similar but not identical to the earlier phrase ante diem III idus Octobris which we touched on, and thus I was unsure how the grammar was working. (Even in the earlier phrase gives me some uncertainty). The texts say that it means the 13th of October. I know the Ides of October falls on the 15th (thanks, Perseus) but I simply don’t know what dies III is doing. Is it as simple as the 3rd day of the ides of October? I thought so but then wouldn’t that make it the 18th and not the 13th?

      Comment by jobunzel on March 27th, 2013

      While Seneca uses carpebat twice in the imperfect active indicative, I would argue that each use should have a different meaning. Our book translator chooses “snatching” in line 4, and “plucking” in line 6. Both have similar meanings, though snatching implies more force. I found the definition “devour/eat” for carpo which I prefer in line 4. This pairs more closely with the Bacchanalian quality of the winter: the winter rain devours the riches gained from the autumn.

      Thus, I would translate line four as “and the deformed/foul winter was devouring the beloved honors/adornments of a rich autumn”.

      This more forceful definition of carpebat helps contrast between a Bacchanalian force in line four and the meeker grape picker in line 6. After all, Bacchus leaves and the force of the word should diminish drastically after iussoque senescere Baccho. As the translation stands in the book, that contrast doesn’t seem apparent enough.

      Comment by noross on March 28th, 2013

      Regarding regnum in line 3 – Perseus suggests that it is a neuter nominative singular noun, but wouldn’t it make more sense that regnum be in the accusative and the direct object?  The book gives a translation of “Cynthia was already triumphantly extending her sway,” but I feel as though a closer translation would be “victorious Cynthia was already increasing her kingdom” creating a sentence structure with regnum as the direct object.

      Comment by noross on March 28th, 2013

      I find it extremely interesting that within this section of verse, Seneca personifies and deifies the sun, the moon, and wine with the names of Gods.  These Gods are everyday, natural experiences.  The purpose of this text is to make Claudius himself a part of nature, however satirical that may be.  These Gods are already established as the sun, the moon, and wine, while this section of verse furthers Claudius’ ascendance into heaven and transformation into the pumpkin.

      Comment by jobunzel on March 28th, 2013

      I’m curious about the textual discrepancies between the Perseus/Wordpress version and the Cambridge book version.

      The Perseus/Wordpress version uses the verb inquies followed by cum omnes poetae (Too rustic, you will say: when all the poets…).

      But the Cambridge book uses the verb <adeo his> followed by acquiescent omnes poetae (I address to them….all the poets acquiesce).

      Why do two different versions of the text exist? Have different translators/authors chosen particular verbs over others? Which is closest to Seneca’s version? And what are the effects of the different verb choices?

      Comment by Bert Lott on March 28th, 2013

      There is a textual difficulty here that we will talk about in class.

      Comment by kaking on March 28th, 2013

      My Latin teacher in high school used to make us write the date in Latin on our tests/everything for credit, so I know this one. The number of days isn’t counting after the kalends/nones/ides, but rather up to the next one (and you include the kalends/nones/ides in the count, as well as the current day). So dies III idus Octobris is October 13th because there are three days (the 13th, 14th and 15th) until the ides. To give another example, October 29th would be IV Kal. Nov.

      Comment by kaking on March 28th, 2013

      I noticed that our book chose to use arcum instead of ortum in the line Iam Phoebus breviore via contraxerat ortum lucis. I read the commentary, which claims it is impossible for it to be ortum, but I didn’t really understand their reasoning. I took that line to mean “Phoebus had already drawn in the rising of light with a shorter path,” which makes just as much sense to me as “the arc of light.” Is there any way to know which word Seneca intended?

      Comment by kaking on March 28th, 2013

      How did the Romans measure time? I would have assumed tamen inter sextam et septimam erat meant “nevertheless it was between six and seven [o’clock]” but both our book and Perseus explained it as between noon and one.

  • Chapter 3 (9 comments)

    • Comment by jobunzel on March 30th, 2013

      With faciendum est, I thought of two grammatical possibilities: either a conjugation of sum + the future passive participle, or the passive periphrastic which would imply a “must” quality. The former possibility would offer a translation of “Do what is going to be done”.

      But I think it makes more sense to use a periphrastic meaning here for a translation of “Make what must be made/Do what must be done” but I’m not entirely sure. Does the sum automatically prompt us into a passive periphrastic, or is there still the possibility of using sum and a future passive participle separately?

      Comment by noross on March 31st, 2013

      Is the specific usage of torqueri a dig at Claudius’ physical inabilities?  In context, it seems to be referring to the cruelties of life, that Claudius had to bear the burden of living for so long.  But glossa and perseus both give meanings of “to twist.”  Could this other meaning be a subtle dig at Claudius’ limp? As well as cruel fate making this miserable man be racked with the pains of living for 64 years, is Seneca drawing attention to Claudius’ disabilities?

      Comment by jobunzel on March 31st, 2013

      I decided to use eum and the following destitui in a long and broken indirect statement. Our book translator did not decide to use indirect discourse here, probably because the discourse would be broken up by qui modo se tot…tot circumfusa. 

      I thought that with oportet, there was a greater opportunity to engage in indirect discourse. In this way, I translated the phrase as “It is indeed not proper that he, who was seeing so many thousands of men in this way following him, so many preceding him, so many having crowded around him, [that he] suddenly be set aside/placed aside alone”.

      Is there a better reason to translate destitui as a present passive infinitive instead here?


      Comment by noross on March 31st, 2013

      I found the use of the diminutive very interesting within this chapter.  Seneca connects the use of the diminutive to create a cohesive chapter.  It is initially used to describe the few foreigners, pusillum…pauculos.  The diminutive here represents how the grandness of Rome at this time has led to a lack of true foreigners.  People who are not Roman by any means are few and far between, and also inferior.  The diminutive here is condescending and patronizing to the small minority of non-Romans.  It is brought back with the fake name Augurini.   The “little omen-reader” is so-called almost endearingly with this usage of the diminutive, yet at the same time delegitimizes the fates and those who interpret them.  These almost sarcastic usages of the diminutive seems to mock Roman society, poking fun at Rome’s imperialism and superstition.

      Comment by juhayes on March 31st, 2013

      Both Perseus and our text translate Parcis as “Fates”; I have looked through Glossa and cannot find anything pertaining to that, why is this the case? Is it merely a common name for the fates, thought the word has to do with thrift and sparing?

      Comment by juhayes on March 31st, 2013

      Concerning sine, I was wondering precisely how it is functioning grammatically. It’s usually a preposition that takes the ablative, but it seems to be absent from both the Perseus translation and our text. The subjunctive regnet takes care of the “let the better man rule”, but I was wondering if sine functioned to emphasize the “let” in this case, since it seems to be doing nothing else. The only other option that I could figure would be that an ablative “him” is eschewed, in which it would be translated, “let the better man rule in the vacant court without him”.

      Comment by kaking on March 31st, 2013

      I noticed that in Glossa one of the suggested idioms for animam agere was “to give up the ghost.” I really liked this translation, as I think it really evokes a picture of this spirit trying to climb right out of its ailing body, but being unable to.

      Comment by kaking on March 31st, 2013

      I was wondering why esset was in the subjunctive? I took that sentence to mean “Then Mercury, who was always pleased with his nature…” and no reasons jumped out at me for why that should be an imperfect subjunctive as opposed to an imperfect indicative.

      Comment by Bert Lott on April 1st, 2013

      If it is not the preposition sine, what else might it be?  Look to dede for some help.

  • Chapter 5 (8 comments)

    • Comment by jobunzel on April 6th, 2013

      I have a question about the form nosse. The online dictionary says the form is a perfect active infinitive contr. What does “contr” mean?

      I expect novisse for a perfect active infinitive of nosco. But is this a form of older/classical latin that appears in Seneca’s text? Or is this a compressed version of the perfect active infinitive, merely shortened for convenience?

      Clicking on nosco’s definition suggests that this is a “Constr. forms in class. Latin”. So it seems that this form is a remnant of an older version of latin, but I’m not sure.

      Comment by jobunzel on April 7th, 2013

      I’m interested in the grammatical and syntactical arrangement of this first phrase. The subjects in particular seem tangled. For example, vocem seems to  work as an object of visit, but also agreeing with raucam and implicatam. Is this correct? This is sentence is strange because the subjects change within different clauses.

      I’m translating as “I know that he saw the shape of his stock/race/type, (that he saw) a strange gait, and the voice of no land animal but of such a sort as wont to be of a sea beast, a hoarse and entangled [voice?], and he thought that his thirteenth work came to him”.

      I also don’t know what the reference to thirteenth work signifies in relation to Hercules. But I’m still not entirely sure about the subjects of these multiple clauses, in particular what raucam et implicatam refers to.

      Comment by noross on April 7th, 2013

      Regarding nescio quid illium minari: the verb minari typically means “to project” or “to put forth,” stemming from the deponent verb minor.  However, glossa gives a transferred meaning “to threaten” when minor is followed by an accusative with an infinitive, ablative, alicui, alicui, aliquid, or ne.  In this case, the object of minari is illium, the accusative of illos, and the use of quid indicates a meaning of “to threaten” as opposed to “to project.”

      Comment by juhayes on April 7th, 2013

      I am very confused by the phrase fides penes auctorem erit. The translations say something like, “vouching for them will be the responsibility of my informant”. How the phrase comes to mean this, both in terms of vocabulary/lexicographical terms and meanings as well as in grammar and syntax, is particularly what I am asking. I am assuming auctor can mean informant by way of being a “source” of information. “Will be” is self-explanatory. But with respect to fides penes I cannot surmise how the translation goes. Fides could be the 2nd sg fut ind act of fido to put faith/ confide in, but I cannot tell what penes is meaning or functioning as at all. I can only assume there is some saying that is being used here.


      Comment by juhayes on April 7th, 2013

      Concerning the syntactical use and meaning of both instances of nescio, I do not think I fully understand how it is functioning. Should it, with quid come to mean, “I don’t know why”? That is the best guess that I have based on reading through Lewis and Short. And while it does make grammatical sense in that case, it just seems out of place. Is this not the case?

      Comment by noross on April 7th, 2013

      I’m confused as to why quaesisse esset is in what looks like the pluperfect subjunctive.  Is this in fact the “contr” infinitive as perseus suggests, just like nosse in the following paragraph, and not a pluperfect subjunctive?  Furthermore, throughout this paragraph, Seneca continuously implies the subject to be a messenger, but I see no indication of this in the text or any way of knowing without reading the English translation.  Is there any place that the subject “messenger” is implied?

      Comment by kaking on April 7th, 2013

      I was initially confused by the form of quaesisse, but then I noticed that our book started this sentence with ‘the messenger said,’ so is this still a continuation of the indirect statement started by nuntiatur Iovi venisse?

      Comment by kaking on April 8th, 2013

      I was equally confused at first by fides penes auctorem erit. I first thought fides and penes were supposed to agree, and then the linked definitions for penes in Perseus were especially useless, so I looked it up in Glossa just in case anything else would come up, and I found a definition for the word penes meaning “in the possession or power of.” Is this the definition Seneca means by any chance? With it, I took this phrase to mean “the confirmation is in the power of the informant,” which is fairly of similar to “vouching for them will the responsibility of my informant.” I still find it a little strange though that they’re taking fides as ‘proof,’ since faith and proof are usually kind of opposed.

  • Chapter 10 (8 comments)

    • Comment by noross on April 22nd, 2013

      I’m looking for a better definition for amplius.  I keep coming across definitions of space – “greater” “more spacious” etc. – and I was wondering if there is a definition that has a sense of “any longer.”

      Comment by jobunzel on April 22nd, 2013

      I found two ways to translate/define the phrase operibus ornavi and I’m not sure which suits the text better.

      The first translation: “I furnished the city with works/public works” which the book translation upholds.

      The second translation appears “I prepared the city for (its) toils”. This also makes sense, if  Augustus argues that he brought peace to a city rife with struggle.

      Both grammatically work, and the words opus  and orno yield varied definitions. Does one fit the text better than the other?

      Comment by jobunzel on April 23rd, 2013

      I have a picky question about aequus futurus es. In both the Perseus version and this online blog version, the text uses a nominative of the adjective aequus. This makes sense with a translation of “If you are going to be fair/balanced”.

      But the Cambridge text uses aequos. Why does it use an accusative plural here? Can this be an accusative of respect to? I’m not sure why the print text has an accusative after a future active participle of “sum”.

      The notes at the bottom of the page also state that earlier versions used aec vos . Is this possibly a notation error, collapsing the two into aequos?

      Comment by juhayes on April 23rd, 2013

      The grammar of the sentence Confugiendum est itaque ad Messalae Corvini, disertissimi viri, illam sententiam ‘pudet imperii’ seemed particularly convoluted. Ad takes the accusative, and seems like it should be pertaining to illam sententiam, but is directly in front of what seems to be the genitive Messalae Corvini, which should be modifying said accusative.

      Furthermore, I was confused as to why the verb pudet was in the 3rd p sg. Is this just how shame constructions work with that verb? I thought that maybe, as our text gave us, that it means “my power shames me/causes me shame” but imperii is genitive, and thus cannot be acting as the subject.

      Comment by juhayes on April 23rd, 2013

      What is the meaning of this apparently Greek saying, “The knee is nearer than the shin”? And would it in fact make more sense to have sphuron or soror in this case? It would seem that it would make more sense for the ankle to not know this than the sister. Furthermore, it fulfills the qualification of being the seemingly less standard.

      Comment by kaking on April 23rd, 2013

      I’m confused about the function of [Graece]. Our book chooses to put it in brackets while Perseus does not; is it just supposed to indicate that there’s a Greek word in this sentence (as there is in our book) or is it actually describing a Greek sister/ankle, and if that’s the case, do we know what that means?

      Comment by kaking on April 23rd, 2013

      Is there any reason at all that the Perseus text takes civilia bella as “intestine wars” rather than civil wars? It just seems like an incredibly random choice, especially since “civil wars” fits so nicely.

      Comment by noross on April 24th, 2013

      Why is Confugiendum a gerundive?  I’m confused as to how to translate this gerundive with est  in the same sentence.  Is est  implying some kind of need? “It is necessary to retreat” perhaps?

  • Chapter 11 (8 comments)

    • Comment by juhayes on April 24th, 2013

      Why is Vulcano in the dat/abl and how does it then function grammatically with respect to the nominative crus and the verb fregit with Jupiter as the subject? Is this a particular sort of construction?


      Comment by juhayes on April 24th, 2013

      Concerning the sense of vindicate, there are many possible meanings, and many of which are legal. The most common, “to lay a legal claim” however, doesn’t make much sense in this context. It would seem to give a different sort of legal meaning. Specifically coupled with injurias, from which we get “injuries” to mean “wounds”, it gives a continued sense of injustice. Thus, I took the verb to mean its English cognate: “vindicate”, as this has the connotation of being the act of making right what was done unjustly. Is this correct or is there a better meaning/explanation?

      Comment by jobunzel on April 24th, 2013

      I’m interested in the phrase Crassum vero tam fatuum, ut etiam regnare posset.

      I initially tried to translate with Crassum as the object of posset in a purpose clause, but is it in fact still an object of occidit? 

      If so, what kind of clause is this ut…posset triggering? I’m trying to translate as “Crassus truly so foolish, that he could even be able to rule”. So do we merely translate the posset as an imperfect active subjunctive with potentiality, and use the Crassus as a continuation of the clauses initiated by occidit? 

      Comment by jobunzel on April 25th, 2013

      I want to know more about how names, cases of names, and first-name/last-name ordering function in latin. For example, I understand how most of these names like Appium Silanum and Crassum function as direct objects of the verb occidit.

      However, I’m not sure why Frugi appears in a case that looks like a genitive singular of a second declension noun, or a dative singular of a third declension noun. Is this normal for a proper name?

      Also, why does our book translation rearrange the order of Magnum Pompeium to a translation of “Pompeius Magnus”? How do first names and last names (if those exist in Latin) function in their translation to modern English?

      Comment by noross on April 25th, 2013

      I’m very interested in our editors decision to turn Assarionem, an accusative form that completes a list of names in the accusative as direct objects, into non Assaraci nationem.  Wouldn’t it make more sense stylistically to have Assaraci in the accusative like the other names listed?

      Comment by noross on April 25th, 2013

      I found the “popular phrase” (as the commentary calls it), dis iratis natum pretty cool.  The ablative dis supplying a “with” and working with the perfect passive participle iratis to mean “with the gods having been angered” just seems like a really nifty phrase.  I also like how Claudius’ disabilities are justified by the Gods having been angry when Claudius was born.

      Comment by kaking on April 26th, 2013

      Regarding the phrase non Assaraci nationem in our books, I am wondering how they arrive at the translation “no blue-blooded clan of Assaracus.” Is there something about nationem that usually implies wealth? Or is the ‘blue-blooded’ part implied by some background knowledge of this specific family?

      Comment by kaking on April 26th, 2013

      Is there any particular reason why both our text and Perseus add ‘in a basket’ to their translation of hominem tam similem sibi quam ovo ovum? It seems like ‘a man so similar to him as an egg to an egg‘ would make just as much sense (maybe even more) than ‘as two eggs in a basket,’ and there would be no need to add an extra word.

  • chapter 8 (7 comments)

    • Comment by juhayes on April 15th, 2013

      Is impetum facere a common military term or is this not used by actual militarily-geared Romans? For that matter, was Seneca? Does this phrase have different meanings/moods when taken militarily or otherwise?

      Comment by juhayes on April 15th, 2013

      Clearly istum is “that man” or “him”, but just who is being talked about here? I really don’t know, for isn’t this Claudius speaking to Hercules? Why does our author translate it as “protege”? Am I just missing something very obvious or do we just not know yet who they are speaking of?

      Comment by jobunzel on April 16th, 2013

      I’m curious about the binary between cor and caput and how this binary relates to our modern day understandings of “Heart and mind”.

      The dictionary presents conflicted definitions of “heart”. It says the ancients attributed “soul, feeling, wisdom, heart, and mind” to the heart itself. This seems confusing: how does the heart embody both feeling and mindset? Why doesn’t caput represent the mind as it does in a modern context?

      In other words, I’m asking whether cor, cordis reflects an ancient understanding of the heart as a center both of feeling/soul and mind/wisdom. If so, this seems a completely different binary from our contemporary discussion of soul + body, heart and mind.

      Comment by noross on April 16th, 2013

      I’m really curious about the distinctions between Epicurean and Stoic gods.  What are the implications of being either?  Are the Roman gods distinguished by being either Epicurean or Stoic?  Is saying that Claudius could not be an Epicurean but there is something of a Stoic in him another joke?

      Comment by juhayes on April 17th, 2013

      Concerning the word plagas, I was wondering what to take it as. It says it can mean “hunting net” in addition to “strike/blow”. Is this being used to describe how augurs and other observers of auspices would effectively make a grid on the sky in order to catalogue zones in which prodigies were seen?

      Comment by jobunzel on April 17th, 2013

      I’m confused about the use of Athenis and Alexandriae  with licet. I’m trying to use both nouns as locatives for a translation of “It is proper (for) half at Athens, and the whole at Alexandria”, but I’m not entirely what’s missing or what this phrase means.

      It seems like a verb is missing after licet. The book translation even supplements “to go” into the phrase.

      Is there a different use of licet here? And can we translate this phrase without supplementing another verbal idea?

      Comment by kaking on April 19th, 2013

      I had a cultural question about Athenis dimidium licet, Alexandriae totum. The Alexandria reference seems to be about Egyptian royalty marrying their siblings, but what about Athens–could people marry their half siblings there?

  • Chapter 14 (3 comments)

    • Comment by noross on May 5th, 2013

      This is the second time the abbreviation equites R. has appeared in this text, but there is no explanation in the commentary.  I was just wondering – why is Roman abbreviated to “R.“? It seems bizarre as usually one letter abbreviations are reserved for names?

      Comment by jobunzel on May 5th, 2013

      I’m interested in the conceptual meanings of alea ludere and how Claudius seems to focus too long on the dice.

      First, is the dice game a form of laborem irritum? I think Seneca suggests that the dice rolling represents this useless activity that Claudius must do as punishment, but I’m not sure whether the dice are also an allegory for the way Claudius ran the empire: impulsively taking chances and doing whatever he pleased (particularly in terms of killing multiple people).

      Second, does Seneca imply that Claudius is too stupid to understand the meaning of the dice? Is that why Claudius chases the flying dice and makes no progress, or is that merely the nature of his punishment? I think Seneca is trying to communicate Claudius’ inadequacies even in a game, but I’m not sure.

      Comment by juhayes on May 6th, 2013

      Why is disertus the perfect passive participle of dissero when the phrase is supposed to convey that he was a “man (who) speaks with Claudian tongue”? How does it work out and come to mean that?

  • Chapter 15 (3 comments)

    • Comment by kaking on May 5th, 2013

      I have two questions about this final paragraph. The first is about a cognitionibus. How are we supposed to get ‘secretary for petitions’/’law clerk’ from this? The most specific definition I can find is something related to judicial inquiry. Are our book’s/Perseus’s translations just inferred from this?

      My second question is about whether or not we  are supposed to read this as a happy ending for Claudius. I certainly wasn’t expecting one, but working in a law court, something he was known to like to do, seems like a much lesser punishment than fruitlessly chasing after dice for all eternity, even if it is a lowly position.

      Comment by jobunzel on May 5th, 2013

      I’m confused about the placement of fallax. Is this adjective agreeing with alea  or taking an adverbial sense to describe how the dice move through the fingers?

      The first option yields a translation of “The deceptive dice run back through (his) very hands”.

      The second option yields a translation of “The dice run back deceptive and stealthily through (his) very fingers”.

      This adjective seems hard to place, especially when the adverb furto also appears in the phrase.

      Comment by juhayes on May 6th, 2013

      I was wondering what the effective difference would be between taking the word as fusuro versus lusuro; pouring/playing, if at all.

      Additionally, what is the construction of decepere fidem? Just indirect discourse?

Source: https://pages.vassar.edu/seneca/all-comments/