Navigation banner for Diotima (6k)

L. ANNAEI SENECAE AD MARCIAM DE CONSOLATIONE III.3 - IV.3

Seneca counsels Marcia, whose son has died, that she has two models of maternal grieving she may follow. The first is Octavia, sister of Augustus, who lost her only son Marcellus in his twenties. About her mourning Seneca writes that she “set no bounds to her tears and moans, she closed her ears to all words that offered wholesome advice.” The second model is Livia, wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius and Drusus, whose adoption as Augustus' heirs she engineered. Seneca commends her to Marcia for her self-restraint: “on the long journey, through which she accompanied the remains of her dear Drusus, her heart was harrowed by the countless pyres that flamed throughout all Italy -- for on each she seemed to be losing her son afresh -- yet as soon as she had placed him in the tomb, along with her son she laid away her sorrow, and grieved no more than was respectful to Caesar or fair Tiberius, seeing that they were alive.” (1)

III.3   Elige itaque, utrum exemplum putes probabilius. Si illud prius sequi vis, eximes te numero vivorum:
aversaberis et alienos liberos et tuos ipsumque quem desideras; triste matribus omen ocurres; voluptates
honestas, permissas, tamquam parum decoras fortunae tuae reicies; invisa haerebis in luce et aetati tuae,
quod non praecipitet te quam primum et finiat, infestissima eris; quod turpissimum alienissimumque est
animo tuo in meliorem noto partem, ostendes te vivere nolle, mori non posse. III.4. Si ad hoc maximae
feminae te exemplum adplicueris moderatius, mitius, non eris in aerumnis nec te tormentis macerabis:
quae enim, malum, amentia est poenas a se infelicitatis exigere et mala sua ~non~ augere! Quam in omni
vita servasti morum probitatem et verecundiam, in hac quoque re praestabis; est enim quaedam et dolendi
modestia. Illum ipsum iuvenem, dignissimum qui te laetam semper nominatus cogitatusque faciat, meliore
pones loco, si matri suae, qualis vivus soleat, hilarisque et cum gaudio occurrit.

IV.1    Nec te ad fortiora ducam praecepta, ut inhumano ferre humana iubeam modo, ut ipso funebri die oculos
matris
exsiccem. Ad arbitrium tecum veniam; hoc inter nos quaeretur, utrum magnus dolor esse debeat an
perpetuus. IV.2. Non dubito quin Iuliae Augustae, quam familiariter coluisti, magis tibi placeat exemplum:
illa te ad suum consilium vocat. Illa in primo fervore, cum maxime inpatientes ferocesque sunt miseriae,
consolandam se Areo, philosopho viri sui, praebuit et multum eam rem profuisse sibi confessa est, plus
quam populum Romanum, quem nolebat tristem tristitia sua facere, plus quam Augustum, qui subducto
altero adminiculo titubabat nec luctu suorum inclinandus erat, plus quam Tiberium filium, cuius pietas
efficiebat, ut in illo acerbo et defleto gentibus funere nihil sibi nisi numerum deesse sentiret.

III. 3
elige -- eligo, eligere, elegi, electus: choose, pick out; pluck out
utrum – uter, tra, trum: which of two, the one that
probabilius -- adverb, comparative of probabilis
eximes -- eximo, eximere, exemi, exemptus: take out, take away, remove
aversaberis -- aversor, aversari, aversatus sum: repulse, reject, refuse; shun, avoid; send away
ipsum – ipse, ipsa, ipsum: the very one (i.e., her son)
desideras – desidero (1): long for, miss
occurres -- occurro, occurrere, occurri, occursum (with dative): run up to, hurry to meet, meet; answer
honestas – honestus, a, um: respectable, honorable, virtuous; handsome
permissas -- permitto, permittere, permisi, permissus: permit, allow, grant; let through, let go through; hurl; give up, surrender; concede, relinquish
parum – adverb: too little
decoras -- decorus, a, um: becoming, proper; noble; beautiful, graceful
reicies -- reicio, reicere, reieci, reiectus: reject; throw back; throw over one’s shoulders; beat back, repel
invisa -- invisus, a, um: hated, detested; hostile; unseen
haerebis -- haereo, haerere, haesivi, haesitum: cling, stick; linger, stay
praecipitet – praecipito (1): hasten; throw down headfirst
quam primum – superlative: as soon as possible
finiat -- finio, finire, finivi/finii, finitus: finish; limit, set bounds to; mark out; fix; determine
infestissima eris – superlative of infestus, a, um: dangerous, unsafe, aggressive; in parallel construction with invisa haerebis
in meliorem partem – translate: “for its more favorable direction”
ostendes -- ostendo, ostendere, ostendi, ostentus/ostensus: show, exhibit, display; hold out for inspection; bring to one’s attention; expose
vivere … mori – complementary infinitives with nolle … posse, infinitives in indirect discourse; note the interlocking word order

Back to text at III.3

III. 4
adplicueris – applico(1) (with dative/accusative): apply oneself to; bring into close contact; attach, add, join; steer towards; sit down (on); devote oneself
moderatius, mitius -- adverbs of comparison
aerumnis -- aerumna, ae: trouble; distress; hardship
tormentis--- ablative of means
macerabis – macero (1): wear down, weaken; soak; soften, tenderize
quae – relative pronoun modifying amentia; used in exclamation
malum -- interjection: alas!, misery!
amentia – amentia, ae: insanity, folly
infelicitatis – infelicitas, tatis: misfortune
exigere -- exigo, exigere, exegi, exactus: exact; demand; drive out, expel
augere -- augeo, augere, auxi, auctus: magnify, increase, enlarge; exalt
quam -- modifies probitatem, object of servasti
servasti (=servavisti) – servo (1): preserve, keep, retain; watch over, protect
morum -- mos, moris: behavior; custom, practice; mood; nature; manner
probitatem -- probitas, tatis: honesty, probity, goodness; good behavior
verecundiam -- verecundia, ae: reverence, respect ; modesty, shyness; sense of shame/disgrace
praestabis – praesto (1): show, exhibit, give evidence of, display; answer for
dolendi -- doleo, dolere, dolui, dolitus: grieve; feel pain/hurt/ache; be sorry, be hurt; take offense. Genitive of the gerund
laetam -- laetus, a, um: glad, cheerful; happy; fortunate, auspicious; fertile
nominatus – nomino (1): name, call by name; make famous; nominate; denounce
cogitatus – cogito (1): consider, ponder, reflect on; imagine
faciat – relative clause of characteristic: subject = quis, object = te laetam
hilaris – hilaris, e: cheerful
occurrit -- occurro, occurrere, occurri, occursum (with dative): run up to, hurry to meet, meet, answer

Back to text at III.4

IV. 1
fortiora – comparative, fortis, forte: brave, courageous; strong, mighty, stern
praecepta -- praeceptum, i: precept; instructions; orders
ut… ut – here ut introduces purpose clauses, followed by the subjunctive
humana – humanus, a, um: human; here, a substantive
funebri -- funebris, e: funeral; funerary; deadly, murderous
exsiccem--- exsicco (1): dry up; drain dry
arbitrium -- arbitrium, i: arbitrator's decision; judgment
utrum… an: translatewhether … or ….”

Back to text at IV.1

IV.2
non dubito quin… -- translate according to the following word order: Non dubito quin exemplum Iuliae Augustae
familiariter – adverb: familiarly, in the manner of a close friend; thoroughly
coluisti -- colo, colere, collui, cultus: revere, honor, worship; live in; guard, protect; adorn, dress; practice, follow
consilium -- consilium, ii: counsel, decision, wisdom, purpose
fervore -- fervor, fervoris: passion, ardor, vehemence, heat; boiling
miseriae -- miseria, ae: distress, misery, trouble
praebuit -- praebeo, praebere, praebui, praebuitus: permit, allow; offer, yield,
multum – adverb: translate with profuisse
eam rem -- subject of profuisse (indirect discourse); translate: “this interaction”
plus quam … plus quam … plus quam: introduce parallel accusative subjects of profuisse: populum Romanum … Augustum … Tiberium
tristitia sua --- ablative of cause
subducto--- subduco, subducere, subduxi, subductus: remove, pull up, raise; draw up from below; take away, steal
adminiculo – adminiculum, i: support, prop, pole; rudder; aid; assistant
titubabat -- titubo, titubare, titubavi, titubatum: stagger, reel, totter, falter, waver; stumble, slip up (in speech)
luctu -- luctus, us: sorrow, mourning, grief, distress; signs of sorrow, mourning clothes; source of grief
inclinandus -- inclino, inclinare, inclinavi, inclinatus: bend, turn; turn back, drive back, repulse; shift; change. Gerund
efficiebat -- efficio, efficere, effeci, effectus: (with ut) bring it about that; effect, cause; make, form; construct; finish, complete, accomplish; show, prove
acerbo -- acerbus, a, um: bitter
defleto -- defleo, deflere, deflevi, defletus: lament; cry bitterly for
gentibus -- gens, gentis: nation, people. Ablative of agent with defleto
funere -- funus, funeris: funeral, funeral rites, burial; corpse; death; murder
numerum--- subject of deesse; supply filiorum
deesse -- desum, deesse, defui, defuturus (with dative): lack, be missing; fall short of, fail
sentiret -- sentio, sentire, sensi, sensus: feel, perceive with the senses, hear, see, smell; realize; observe, notice; experience; think, judge

Back to text at IV.2

1) Seneca, Moral Essays, translated by John W. Basore (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951), chapters 11-13.

Commentary prepared by:

Cara West, Classics Major
Class of 2003
The College of New Rochelle
New Rochelle, New York

Dr. A. Raia
Email to: araia@cnr.edu
Associate Professor of Classics
CLS 239 Roman Women

www.stoa.org/diotima