Commentary Cons. Phil. Book 5 Metrum 5
The position of mankind is between earth and heaven.
Meter: Archilochean (dactylic tetrameter plus an ithyphallic, with diaeresis). "The ithyphallic . . . is the second half of a catalectic iambic trimeter taken after the caesura after the second anceps." (See Rosenmeyer, Ostwald, Halporn, The Meters of Greek and Latin Poetry, 89.)
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extento: extento . . . corpore: ablative of description.
corpore: extento . . . corpore: ablative of description.
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ui pectoris incitata: "urged along by strength of chest"; B. is describing the motive power of reptiles.
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sunt quibus: "there are those for whom"; a second category.
leuitas: subject of sit (understood), uerberet, enatet.
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liquido: liquido . . . uolatu: "in smooth, easy flight."
uolatu: liquido . . . uolatu: "in smooth, easy flight."
enatet: "swims along through," metaphorically.
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haec: a third group of animals.
solo: < solum, "ground."
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transmittere uel subire: "to go across or enter under."
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Quae: Quae . . . omnia: sc. animalia; quae is connecting relative.
omnia: Quae . . . omnia: sc. animalia; quae is connecting relative.
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prona: prona . . . facies: "downcast visage"; cf. B.'s posture earlier (1P1.14).
facies: prona . . . facies: "downcast visage"; cf. B.'s posture earlier (1P1.14).
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cacumen: for caput; cf. 1P1.2.
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leuis: modifies gens.
recto: = erecto.
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Haec: Haec . . . figura: i.e., mankind's erect posture.
male: with words having a bad sense, "very much"; cf. the English "badly."
figura: Haec . . . figura: i.e., mankind's erect posture.
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exseris: "stretch forth" (an inquisitive posture).
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feras: iussive subjunctive.
pessum: adverb, "all the way down."
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corpore leuius leuato: ablative of comparison.