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Commentary Cons. Phil. Book 3 Prosa 4

Prosa 4

Public offices do not bring reverentia.

section 1
1: P. first sets out the common view she is about to refute.
mentibus: dative with inserant.

section 2
solent: sc. dignitates.
Quo fit ut indignemur: "by which it comes about that we become indignant," followed by an accusative/infinitive setting out the source of the indignation.
Catullus: See his poem 52.2: sella in curuli struma Nonius sedet. We do not know why Catullus thought Nonius was a boil (struma) on the face of the body politic when he held office as aedile.
licet: "although"; take closely with sedentem.

section 3
malis: sc. hominibus.

section 4
tot periculis: ablative of means.
ut: ut . . . putares: "that you should deem [it right]."
Decorato: a lawyer who served as quaestor of the palace for Theoderic at some time in the 510's or early 520's (he died before Boethius). We do not know why B. thought him a dandy (scurra) and an informer (delator).
putares: ut . . . putares: "that you should deem [it right]."

section 6
praeditum: "endowed with ," with ablative.

section 7
propria: = sua.
transfundit: subject is uirtus.

section 8
Quod: antecedent is the whole preceding sentence; accusative object of facere (here: "do").
populares: populares . . . honores: popularis always has a negative connotation in the Consolatio.

section 9
si eo abiectior: si eo abiectior . . . quo magis . . . comtemnitur: "if the more a man is despised . . . the baser he is." Eo . . . quo are ablatives of degree of difference and are used correlatively (AG 414a).
quo magis: si eo abiectior . . . quo magis . . . comtemnitur: "if the more a man is despised . . . the baser he is." Eo . . . quo are ablatives of degree of difference and are used correlatively (AG 414a). magis . . . pluribus: double comparative; see on 3M1.5
pluribus: magis . . . pluribus: double comparative; see on 3M1.5
comtemnitur: si eo abiectior . . . quo magis . . . comtemnitur: "if the more a man is despised . . . the baser he is." Eo . . . quo are ablatives of degree of difference and are used correlatively (AG 414a).
nequeat: nequeat . . . ostentat . . . facit: dignitas is the subject.
ostentat: nequeat . . . ostentat . . . facit: dignitas is the subject.
despectiores: "more despised"; predicative.
facit: nequeat . . . ostentat . . . facit: dignitas is the subject.

section 11
11: The argument of this part of the attack on dignitates is essentially the same as that used in 2P7.3f to attack gloria (which is not discussed in Book 3 until 3P6).
umbratiles: literally, "in the shadows," thus, "private, out of public sight"; to a tradition-minded Roman, the phrase umbratiles dignitates would thus seem an oxymoron at best. To a philosophic observer even public office is a petty matter of parochial concern.
functus: < fungor, "perform, discharge [office]"; with ablative.

section 12
quoquo gentium: quoquo gentium . . . ubique terrarum: "anywhere . . . everywhere."
ubique terrarum: quoquo gentium . . . ubique terrarum: "anywhere . . . everywhere."

section 13
id: sc. munus; accusative
uanescunt: "disappear, pass away."

section 14
Sed hoc: sc. uerum est.
ortae sunt: sc. dignitates (ortae < orior, "arise") .

section 15
15: The praetorship (praetura) had been an important judicial office in classical Rome, but in the late empire it had become an onerous glory and was regarded as a virtual tax by the great families.
curasset: curasset . . . habebatur: mixed past conditional, with a hypothetical protasis, but a real apodosis.
magnus: wordplay, all uding to Pompey (106-48 B.C.), who was called Magnus and who had distinguished himself in looking after the grain supply (annona); in later times the prefect of the annona had a thankless task, trying to keep an adequate supply coming from Africa and Sicily and performing related chores; in times of short supply, the office could be a dangerous one if the mob rioted.
habebatur: curasset . . . habebatur: mixed past conditional, with a hypothetical protasis, but a real apodosis.

section 16
quod: "[the thing] which."

section 17
ultro: "in addition."
expetendae pulchritudinis: partitive genitive with quod.
nedum: "much less."

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