Commentary Cons. Phil. Book 4 Prosa 3
Good men are like gods, while bad men are merely beasts.
- section 1
caeno: "mud, filth."
probra: see on 4P2.46.
quo: antecedent is the situation summarized by the preceding sentence.
- section 2
Rerum: Rerum . . . quae geruntur: a mild anacoluthon (lack of grammatical consistency) with the rest of the sentence. The sense could be rendered more grammatically with a phrase like: In rebus gerendis.
quae geruntur: Rerum . . . quae geruntur: a mild anacoluthon (lack of grammatical consistency) with the rest of the sentence. The sense could be rendered more grammatically with a phrase like: In rebus gerendis.
currendi in stadio: "of running in the arena," depends on praemium in following line.
iacet: "lies ready at hand"; copulative joining a subject and predicate nominative.
- section 3
est: est . . . propositum: perfect passive < propono.
propositum: est . . . propositum: perfect passive < propono.
- section 4
bonis: "good people."
ultra: "any longer."
probos: < probus, "honest, upright."
- section 5
saeuiant: concessive subjunctive.
decidet: < decido, "fall down, die"; often used of leaves in autumn (compare arescet, < aresco, "dry up, wither").
- section 6
extrinsecus: adverb, modifying accepto.
accepto: sc. decore.
laetaretur: the subject is the sapiens of the previous sentence; note that the condition is contrary to fact, but with indicative in the apodosis, as often with possum.
hoc: sc. decus.
alius quispiam: "someone else," i.e., other than the giver (ipse . . . qui contulisset).
desierit: < desino, "cease"; future perfect.
- section 7
compotem: see on 2P4.23.
expertem: < expers, "having no part in, without," with genitive.
- section 8
cuius praemii: sc. expertem.
corollarii illius: cf. 3P10.22ff.
- section 9
eo ipso: "by the very fact."
- section 10
conuenit: "it is appropriate/fitting."
Est: note asyndeton.
deterat: < detero, "wear away, diminish."
fuscet: < fusco, "blacken."
deos fieri: predicative after est . . . praemium.
- section 11
Quae cum ita sint: "And since these things are so . . ."
nequeat: potential subjunctive.
poenae: nominative plural.
aduersa fronte: ablative absolute: "turned face-to-face."
quae: quae . . . uidemus accedere: "which . . . we see to happen."
uidemus accedere: quae . . . uidemus accedere: "which . . . we see to happen."
contraria parte: "on the opposite side."
- section 13
Omnium malorum extremum: parenthetical exclamatory comment. The manuscripts all read extrema, implying that nequitia is the worst of evils; some editors print the emendation extremo, ablative of means with affecit.
affecit: affecit . . . infecit: affecit refers to external contact, infecit to internal penetration and permeation.
infecit: affecit . . . infecit: affecit refers to external contact, infecit to internal penetration and permeation.
- section 14
ex aduersa parte bonorum: "on the other side [from that] of good people."
quae: interrogative adjective, modifying poena.
paulo ante: cf. 3P10.40; 3P12.33.
id: i.e., omne quod sit.
- section 15
quod fuerant: "what they had been."
ipsa: ipsa . . . reliqua species: "that . . . lingering appearance."
reliqua species: ipsa . . . reliqua species: "that . . . lingering appearance."
humanam: modifies naturam.
amisere: = amiserunt < amitto.
- section 16
ultra homines: "beyond [his fellow] men."
deiecit: deiecit . . . detrudat: subject of both is improbitas.
meritum: object of preposition infra; but the correct reading may be merito (adverb, "deservedly"); hominis then is accusative plural, thus creating a clearer contrast with ultra homines.
detrudat: deiecit . . . detrudat: subject of both is improbitas.
hominem aestimare: "judge [to be] a man."
- section 17
Auaritia: ablative, governing objective genitive.
similem: "like," with dative.
- section 18
inquies: "restless"; nominative singular.
- section 19
subripuisse: < subripio, "steal, take by stealth."
Uulpeculis: "to little foxes," dative.
- section 20
Irae: objective genitive with intemperans: "failing to hold rage in check."
gestare: "carry around," i.e., "sport."
- section 21
metuenda: "things one should fear."
- section 22
Asinum uiuit: "he lives [the life of] an ass."
- section 23
auibus: ablative with differt.
- section 24
suis: < sus, "female pig, sow"; genitive singular.
- section 25