Selection 14 (2.59)

[2.59.1] Intellegō quid dūdum dēsīderēs, quid efflāgitēs: ‘mālō’ inquis ‘fulmina nōn timēre quam nōsse. itaque aliōs docē quemadmodum fīant; ego mihi metum illōrum excutī vōlō, nōn nātūram indicārī.’ [2.59.2] sequor quō vocās; omnibus enim rēbus omnibusque sermōnibus aliquid salūtāre miscendum est. cum īmus per occulta nātūrae, cum dīvīna tractāvimus, vindicandus est ā malīs suīs animus ac subinde firmandus, quod etiam ērudītīs et hoc ūnum agentibus necessārium est, nōn ut effugiāmus ictūs rērum (undique enim in nōs tēla iaciuntur), sed ut fortiter cōnstanterque patiāmur. [2.59.3] invictī esse possumus, inconcussī nōn possumus, quamquam interim spēs subit inconcussōs quoque esse nōs posse. ‘quemadmodum?’ inquis. contemne mortem, et omnia quae ad mortem dūcunt contempta sunt, sīve illa bella sunt, sīve naufragia, sīve incursūs ferārum, sīve ruīnārum subitō lāpsū prōcidentium pondera. [2.59.4] numquid facere amplius possunt quam ut corpus ab animō resolvant? hoc nūlla dīligentia ēvītat, nūlla fēlīcitās dōnat, nūlla potentia ēvincit. Talia <fors> varia dispōnit, mors omnēs aequē vocat; īrātīs dīs propitiīsque moriendum est. [2.59.5] animus ex ipsā dēspērātiōne sūmātur. ignāvissima animālia, quae nātūra ad fugam genuit, ubi exitūs nōn patent, temptant pugnam corpore imbellī. nūllus perniciōsior hostis est quam quem audācem angustiae faciunt, longēque violentius semper ex necessitāte quam ex virtūte cōnflīgitur, aut certē paria cōnantur animus magnus ac perditus. [2.59.6] cōgitēmus nōs, quantum ad mortem, perditōs esse. et sumus. ita est, Lūcīlī: omnēs reservāmur ad mortem. tōtum hunc quem vidēs populum, tōtum quem usquam cōgitās esse, cito nātūra revocābit et condet, nec dē rē sed dē diē quaeritur: eōdem citius tardiusve veniendum est. [2.59.7] quid ergō? nōn tibi timidissimus omnium vidētur et īnsipientissimus quī magnō ambitū rogat moram mortis? nōnne contemnerēs eum quī, inter peritūrōs cōnstitūtus, beneficiī locō peteret ut ultimus cervīcem praebēret? idem facimus; magnō aestimāmus morī tardius. [2.59.8] in omnēs cōnstitūtum est capitāle supplicium, et quidem cōnstitūtiōne iūstissimā. nam, quod maximum solet esse sōlācium extrēma passūrīs, quōrum eadem causa, sors eadem est. sequerēmur trāditī ā iūdice aut magistrātū, et carnificī nostrō praestārēmus obsequium: quid interest utrum ad mortem iussī eāmus an nātī? [2.59.9] ō tē dēmentem et oblītum fragilitātis tuae, sī tunc mortem timēs cum tonat! ita est? in hōc salūs tua vertitur? vīvēs sī fulmen effugeris? petet tē gladius, petet lapis, petet bīlis. nōn maximum ex perīculīs tuīs sed speciōsissimum fulmen est. [2.59.10] male scīlicet āctum erit tēcum sī sēnsum mortis tuae celeritās īnfīnīta praeveniet, sī mors tua prōcūrātur, sī nē [tē] tunc quidem cum <ex>spīrās supervacuus, sed alicuius magnae reī signum es. male scīlicet tēcum agitur sī cum fulmine conderis. [2.59.11] sed pavēscis ad caelī fragōrem, et ad ināne nūbilum trepidās, et quotiēns aliquid effulsit, exspīrās. quid ergō? honestius putās dēiectiōne perīre quam fulmine? eō itaque fortior adversus caelī minās surge, et cum undique mundus exārserit, cōgitā nihil habēre tē tantā morte perdendum. [2.59.12] quod sī tibi parārī crēdis illam caelī cōnfūsiōnem, illam tempestātum discordiam, sī propter tē ingestae inlīsaeque nūbēs strepunt, sī in tuum exitium tanta ignium vīs excutitur, at tū sōlāciī locō numerā tantī esse mortem tuam. [2.59.13] sed nōn erit huic cōgitātiōnī locus: cāsus iste dōnat metum, et inter cētera hoc quoque commodum eius, quod expectātiōnem suam antecēdit. nēmō umquam timuit fulmen, nisi quod effugit.

Selection 14 (2.59.1–13): Fear of lightning and consolation of death. The finale of the work.

Seneca has been discussing the nature of lightning. Here, in the final passage of the NQ as a whole and the conclusion of Book 2, he addresses the ethical benefits of a scientific understanding of the world. He argues vigorously that we should not fear death by lightning, nor death in general. The section, much like the end of Book 6, should be read in some way as a Stoic response to the ethics of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura. If Lucretius was urging his reader not to fear death because we are all simply atoms and void, Seneca’s Stoic strategy is somewhat different: he encourages his readers to understand that death will come to all and hopes such acceptance will provide consolation.

Further Reading: See the fine commentary on Book 2 by Hine (1981) and Williams 2012: 295-334.

[2.59.1] Objection: alleviating fear of death by lightning is much more important than understanding its nature.

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There is a similar thought in regard to earthquakes at 6.32, and a similar response at 6.3.4: “Since ignorance is the cause of fear, isn’t it worthwhile to know, in order not to fear?” (cum timendi sit causa nescire, non est tanti scire, ne timeas?).

desideres ... efflagites: indirect questions (AG 574).

malo: > mālo mālle, not malum -ī n.

nosse: syncopated perfect infinitive > nosco = novisse.

alios: in strong antithesis with ego

quemadmodum fiant: indirect question with the adverbial quemadmodum, “in what way, how.”

illorum: the antecedent is fulmina.

mihi: dative of separation with the verb excuti (AG 381)

[2.59.2] Scientific study frees and strengthens the mind.

quo: “(to the place) where,” relative adverb (LS quo II.A)

omnibus ... rebus omnibusque sermonibus: dative after miscere, the usual construction. Seneca nicely equates words and deeds here. This treatise as a whole can be thought of as a sermo, and one might think of Seneca musing on this work.

aliquid salutare: “something (ethically) beneficial,” such as the reduction of excessive and harmful fear.

īmus: 1st person plural > eō īre

miscendum est: the passive periphrastic denoting obligation or propriety (AG 194).

occulta: substantive use of the adjective (AG 288). There is a sense of travel or penetration implied in this movement (imus per… ). At the opening of the NQ Seneca strongly identifies this work with travel and exploration, and here we can see such a metaphor continuing (see 3.pr.4 and the mention of occulta and a form of sequor at 3.pr.1); we might want to see this as ring composition with the opening and ending of this treatise.

divina: another substantive use. Note the identification of natura with the divine, as would be expected in Stoic physics, where god is identified with nature and one must follow nature as a guide. See Ep. 5.4: “Of course, it is our motto to live according to nature” (nempe propositum nostrum est secundum naturam vivere).

vindicandus est: vindico is a legal term meaning to assert rightful legal claim to someone or something, especially for restitution to a free condition (in full, vindicare in libertatem). The same verb opens Seneca’s letters in an emphatic manner: “reclaim yourself for yourself” (vindica te tibi, Ep. 1.1).

a malis suis: ablative of separation (AG 401)

firmandus: supply est. Seneca elsewhere mentions how the mind can be strengthened by philosophical thought; see 1.pr.8.11–12 and 3.pr.11.

et ... agentibus: et = "even"; agentibus is a present active participle, agreeing with eruditis.

non ut effugiamus: purpose clause, like ut ... patiamur below (AG 568).

ictus rerum: “the blows of fortune.” It is noteworthy that lightning strikes are commonly referred to as ictus (cf. Hor. C. 3.16.11, Ov. Met. 14.618). Here we should think about the blows of fortune (rerum) or even just the pains of everyday life.

fortiter constanterque: Seneca writes of a similar response at Ep. 98.3: "[the good mind] faces adversity with firmness and fortitude" (adversa constanter et fortiter).

[2.59.3] Banish the fear of death, and you will no longer fear the disasters that can cause death.

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Seneca articulates the philosophical goal of despising death (contemnere mortem) elsewhere in his philosophical works (Prov. 6.6, Tranq. 3.4), earlier in NQ (6.32.4–12), and it is a leitmotif in the Epistles (Ep. 24, 70.10, 75.14, 104.33).

invicti … inconcussi … possumus: the parallelism in the sentence highlights the difference between invicti and inconcussi.

interim spes subit: “the hope sometimes comes to mind that,” followed by indirect statement. See LS subeo II.B.2.a. interim = nonnumquam is a post-Augustan usage.

sive ... sive ... sive: Seneca is fond of lists—here, of lethal disasters. The tendency to catalogue is also found in other writers of the same period, such as Lucan.

naufragia: Seneca mentions shipwrecks rather often in his writings, which may reflect his near-death experience from a shipwreck in his youth (see Consolatio ad Helviam 19.4).

ruinarum subito lapsu procidentium pondera: subito lapsu is ablative of means (AG 409); procidentium agrees with ruinarum. NQ Book 6 includes discussions of death by earthquake. See especially the conclusion of that book (6.32), a section that has much in common with this one.

[2.59.4] All these sudden disasters do is separate your soul from your body, which is inevitable anyway.

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Newman elaborates on the way this sort of meditation on death will help: “Once we are freed from the fear of death, nothing is left to disturb us, since everything which we would otherwise fear eventually results in death, which we no longer fear. If we no longer fear death, Fortune no longer has any weapon to use against us; what disturbs other men who fear death is totally indifferent to the man who despises death” (Newman 1989: 1487).

numquid ... possunt: The various forms of death are the subject; numquid expects a negative answer.

amplius quam ... ut: comparative  + quam (ut) to express result (AG 535c); hence resolvant is in the subjunctive.

ab animo: ablative of separation (AG 401) with the verb resolvere. Most Romans seem to have believe that the soul moves away from the body at the time of death (Epicureans were unusual in maintaining that the soul dies with the body). For Seneca, the movement of the soul from the body can also occur at moments of reverie or study, when the spirit escapes the body and travels around the natural world or into the universe. Seneca imagines what happens to the soul at death most vividly at Consolatio ad Marciam 25–26 and, from a comic standpoint, in his Apocolocyntosis.

nulla felicitas donat: no matter how successful, rich, or happy you are—felcitas suggests all these—you cannot get out of death by giving gifts.

iratis dis propitiisque: ablative of accompaniment (AG 413): it does not matter if the gods are with you or against you.

[2.59.5] Our very desperation in the face of death should give us courage.

animus: “courage.” The same word means “incorporeal soul” just above, and at the end of this section it seems to straddle both meanings. The English word “spirit” has a similar ambiguity.

sumatur: the hortatory subjunctive (AG 439).

ad fugam: ad + accusative for purpose (AG 221). Even prey animals will fight when cornered.

corpore inbelli: ablative of means (AG 409)

perniciosior ... quam quem: comparison with quam, but the second term is elided: “there is no more dangerous enemy than (the one) whom….”

longe: “(by) far,” with the comparative violentius

confligitur: impersonal passive (AG 208.2), “combat occurs.”

paria: “comparable things,” direct object of conantur.

animus magnus ac perditus: “great courage and desperate (courage),” or “a great soul and a desperate (soul).”

[2.59.6] Remember that death comes for us all.

cogitemus: “let us reflect that,” followed by indirect statement (nos ... perditos esse). This kind of stock taking is an essential and central part of Stoic practice, and calls to reflect pepper Seneca’s philosophical works. See below, 2.59.10, cogita and 2.59.13, cogitationi.

quantum ad mortem: “as far as concerns death” (LS quantum B).

reservamur ad mortem: if certain animals were made “for flight” above (ad fugam), we are reserved “for death.” The direct address to Lucilius, the plain language, and the sense of commonality as regards death adds to the rhetorical power of this section.

cito natura revocabit: the speed of nature’s destruction is also emphasized in the flood passage, see NQ 3.27.2, 3.30.6 (Selection 3).

citius tardius–ve: “sooner or later”

[2.59.7] We condemn those who seek to delay their inevitable deaths. Don’t be like them.

non ... videtur: “does he not seem?” The subject is made clear in the following qui-clause, “he who ....”

ambitu: “ostentation” (LS ambitus II.C) or “entreaty.” This phrase could have political or rhetorical connotations—is this silly and fearful man trying to buy off death with a bribe or argue bombastically against death’s arrival? It must be noted that Seneca did not try to buy off the centurion who ordered his suicide in 65 CE, according to Tacitus (Ann. 15.62.1-2).

nonne: expects a positive answer (AG 332).

inter perituros constitutus: “when included among those who are about to die,” by judicial sentence or the like. See LS constituo II.B.2.

loco: “in the place of,” “as” + gen. (LS locus II.F)

magno: “of great value,” ablative of price (AG 416)

[2.59.8] Like prisoners on death row, we should be obedient and not fight the executioner.

Now turning to legal language, Seneca writes how we all must suffer the death penalty and it is just. This is the law of nature.

capitale supplicium: “capital punishment” or “the death penalty”

constitutione iustissima: ablative of means, further explained by the nam sentence that follows.

quod: “a thing which,” looking forward to the whole clause quorum ... est.

extrema: neuter plural adjective used as a substantive, “the final things,” i.e., death.

passuris: future active participle > patior, used a substantive, dative after solacium. Seneca writes about the solace found by the surviving women of Troy's fall in his Troades (1009-1055) and Agamemnon (664-692).

quorum ... eadem est: order: sors est eadem (eorum) quorum causa (est) eadem. causa = “legal situation,” “case,” “trial” (LS causa II.E).

sequeremur ... praestaremus: imperfect hortatory subjunctives indicating unfulfilled obligation in past time (AG 439): “we should ....”

traditi: “handed over” to the executioner (carnifex)

utrum ... an: “whether ... or”

eamus: present subjunctive > eo, ire in an indirect question (AG 574).

nati: “born for it,” “naturally,” > nascor

[2.59.9] Lightning is hardly the most serious threat to your life.

te dementem ... oblitum: accusative of exclamation (AG 397.d)

fragilitatis tuae: genitive of forgetting or remembering (AG 350)

vertitur: “turn on,” “hinge upon” + in

effugeris: future perfect in the protasis of a future more vivid condition (AG 516). Seneca will go on to question if one can really escape all possible causes of death.

bilis: the idea that physical health was connected with bodily fluids was widespread in antiquity. Two humours, phlegm (Lat. pituita) and bile (bilis) were seen as hazardous already in early Greek writings, and in numerous texts of the Hippocratic Corpus disease is explained as an excess of such humours. Seneca describes his own attack of a respiratory ailment as bilis insederat faucibus, “the bile had gathered in my throat” (Ep. 50.2).

ex periculis tuis: = periculorum tuorum (partitive, AG 346.c)

[2.59.10] Lightning would actually be a pretty amazing way to die.

male scilicet actum erit tecum: “surely it will not be so bad for you.” scilicet indicates irony (the meaning is opposite to what is said). male agere cum aliquo = “to treat someone badly” (LS ago II.D.8.b), and in the passive, “to fare badly.”

mortis tuae: genitive after both sensum (acc.) and celeritas (nom.)

erit ... si ... praeveniet: future more vivid, but the subsequent si-clauses all are simple present.

procuratur: “is expiated” by ritual means. On the religious response to lightning strikes, see above, note on 2.59.6.

cum <ex>spiras: "when you die" lit. "breathe your last breath".

supervacuus: "unimportant." Supply es.

magnae rei: part of this book was concerned with the ability of augurs to divine the future from lightning strikes and how lightning was part of the larger workings of nature/fate (2.32–51).

cum fulmine conderis: on the practice of “burying the lightning” see above, note on 2.59.6. Victims of lightning strikes were buried on the spot, without a traditional funeral.

[2.59.11] Fear of lightning is groundless. This would be fine way to die.

The astraphobic individual becomes afraid even of “empty clouds” and dies a little every time lightning occurs.

inane: “the emptiness,” neuter adj. used as a substantive.

aliquid: some kind of light in the sky. See 1.14.1, Selection 11 for the various types distinguished by ancient skywatchers.

expiras: “you die” of fright, a more figurative use than the literal exspiras above in 2.59.10.

deiectione: “diarrhoea,” often paired with vomiting in Latin medical texts such as Celsus’ De Medicina. See Ep. 120.16. Here it as seen as exemplary of an undignified way to die.

eo ... fortior: “to this extent ... more strong,” “all the braver” (LS eo 2 [adv.] II.C), ablative of degree of difference (AG 414).

caeli minas: a Vergilian phrase (Aen. 6.113, 10.695) which adds to the sublimity of this passage and may recall an earlier use in Book 6 of (NQ 6.1.6).

cum ... exarserit: cum + future perfect to denote future time before the main verb (cogita) in the present tense (AG 547). This would seem to indicate the world set ablaze during a lightning storm (and not the ekpyrosis that will destroy the universe in some future time). Seneca makes death by lightning a grandiose affair.

cogita ... habere te ... perdendum: indirect statement, with te as the accusative subject of habere; perdendum modifies nihil: “reflect that you have nothing to lose in such a (glorious) death.”

[2.59.12] If you believe that heaven intends lightning just for you, then consider it a compliment.

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Seneca attacks the solipsism of believing lightning strikes are intended just for you. He flexes his rhetorical muscle in the opening sentence, in which he builds up the storm into an intense and violent event.

quod si: “But if,” a common transitional phrase, answered below by at tu, “then at least you ....” See LS quod VII.

tibi ... propter te ... in tuum ... at tu: these words are markedly emphatic.

in tuum exitium: in + accusative indicating “the object or end in view” (LS in II.C.2).

solacii loco: “as a cause for solace” (LS locus II.C). If Nature has prepared such an awe-inspiring way for you to die, you must be special!

tanti: “of such great value” (genitive of value AG 417). There is arrogance in thinking this way, and Seneca utilizes the final section to show how such thinking is misguided.

[2.59.13] Death from lightning is so quick, there is no time to be afraid.

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If the modern numeration of the books is correct (see Introduction), these are the final words of the NQ as a whole. Seneca doubles down on the connections between what he has been teaching and its ethical pay-off for the reader.

huic cogitationi locus: Seneca has used forms of locus throughout this section; now he notes that there will not be an opportunity (locus) to think about anything, because of the speed of lightning bolts. This may be a fitting end for the text as a whole, in which cogitatio has been stressed as the way in which to understand the natural world (cf. cogitatione visendus est, 7.30.3, Selection 9).

casus: “fall” of the lightning bolt, or “misfortune”

donat: “bypasses.” Some manuscripts have demit, “removes.”

hoc … quod: hoc is anticipatory with quod, “the fact that.”

nemo … effugit: Seneca ends with a humorous sententia exposing the illogic of those who fear lightning.

dūdum: for a long time

dēsīderō dēsīderāre: to long for, desire

efflāgitō efflāgitāre efflāgitāvī efflāgitātus: to insist, demand

fulmen fulminis n.: a lightning flash, thunderbolt

excutiō excutere excussī excussum: to shake out, discard, remove

salūtāris -e: healthful, wholesome, salutary

occultus –a –um: hidden, concealed, secret

dīvīnus –a –um: divine

tractō tractāre tractāvī tractātus: to take in hand, handle, investigate, discuss

vindicō vindicāre vindicāvī vindicātus: to set free, liberate, defend

malum malī n.: evil, calamity

subinde: promptly, immediately afterwards

fīrmō fīrmāre fīrmāvī fīrmātus: to strengthen, fortify

ērudītus -a -um: learned, well-informed, experienced

necessārius –a –um: necessary, essential

effugiō effugere effūgī: flee from, escape the notice of, escape

cōnstāns cōnstantis: constant, steady

invictus –a –um: unconquered 2.59.3

inconcussus –a –um: unshaken, firm, unchanged

naufragium –ī n.: shipwreck

incursus –ūs m.: assault, attack

fera ferae f.: wild beast

ruīna ruīnae f.: collapse

subitus –a –um: sudden, rash, unexpected

lāpsus –ūs m.: fall, slipping, slide

prōcidō –cidere –cidī —: fall prostrate, collapse

numquid: surely...not 2.59.4

resolvō –ere –solvī –solūtus: dissolve, unravel, untie

dīligentia dīligentiae f.: diligence, care, frugality

ēvītō –āre –āvī –ātum: to avoid

fēlīcitās –ātis f.: fertility, happiness

potentia potentiae f.: power

ēvincō –ere –vīcī –victus: to conquer completely; overcome

fortitūdō fortitūdinis f.: bravery

dispōnō dispōnere dispōsuī dispōsitus: distribute, arrange, assign

propitius –a –um: favorably disposed toward

dēspērātiō –ōnis f.: desperation, despair 2.59.5

ignāvus –a –um: sluggish, inactive, idle; cowardly

exitus exitūs m.: exit, way out; death

temptō temptāre temptāvī temptātus: to try

imbellis –e: unwarlike, peaceful

perniciōsus –a –um: pernicious, ruinous

angustiae –ārum f.: difficulty, tight spot, distress

violēns –entis: impetuous, violent

cōnflīgō cōnflīgere cōnflixī cōnflīctus: to knock together, to clash, to fight

Lūcīlius –ī m.: Lucilius, a friend and correspondent of Seneca 2.59.6

reservō reservāre reservāvī reservātus: to reserve, hold back

usquam: anywhere

cito citius (comp.) citissime (superl.): quickly

timidus –a– um: hesitant, cowardly, timid 2.59.7

īnsipiēns –entis : foolish

ambitus –ūs m.: a going around, a moving round about; canvassing for office, bribery, parade, vanity, bombast

nōnne: introduces a direct question expecting the answer "yes"

cervīx cervīcis f.: neck

aestimō aestimāre aestimāvī aestimātus: to rate, value, esteem; consider

capitālis –e: important, capital, deadly 2.59.8

constitūtiō –ōnis f. : order, decree, regulation

māximus –a –um: greatest; maxime: most, especially, very much

sōlācium sōlāci(ī) n.: comfort

magistrātus magistrātūs m.: magistracy

carnifex –icis m.: executioner

obsequium –ī n.: obedience, compliance

ō: O

dēmēns dēmentis: mad, raving 2.59.9

oblīvīscor oblīvīscī oblītus sum: to forget

fragilitās –ātis f.: fragility, frailty

tonō tonāre tonuī —: to thunder

fulmen fulminis n.: a lightning flash, thunderbolt

effugiō effugere effūgī: flee from, escape the notice of, escape

bīlis –is f. (abl. sg. –ī or –e): bile, wrath

māximus –a –um: greatest; maxime: most, especially, very much

speciōsus –a –um: beautiful, showy

fulmen fulminis n.: a lightning flash, thunderbolt

celeritās celeritātis f.: quickness 2.59.10

īnfinītus –a –um: unlimited, boundless

praeveniō –venīre –vēnī –ventum: get the jump on, prevent, precede

procūrō procūrāre procūrāvī procūrātus: manage, administer, attend to

nē…quidem: not even

exspīrō exspīrāre exspīrāvī exspīrātus: to breathe out

supervacuus –a –um: unimportant, superfluous

fulmen fulminis n.: a lightning flash, thunderbolt

pavēscō pavēscere ––– –––: to tremble at 2.59.11

fragor –ōris m.: breaking

inānis inānis ināne: empty, void

nūbēs nūbis f.: cloud, mist

trepidō trepidāre trepidāvī trepidātus: to be agitated

effulgō effulgere effulsī or effulgeō effulgēre: to shine forth brightly

exspīrō exspīrāre exspīrāvī exspīrātus: to breathe out

dēiectiō –ōnis f.: evacution, purging (probably referring to diarrhea)

fulmen fulminis n.: a lightning flash, thunderbolt

mina –ae f.: threat

exardescō –ardescere –arsī –arsum: to catch fire, blaze up

quodsī: but if

cōnfūsiō –ōnis f.: disorder, trouble, confusion 2.59.12

discordia discordiae f.: disagreement, dissention

ingerō –ere –gessī –gestus: heap on, pile up

inlīdō –ere –līsī –līsus: to strike/dash against

nūbēs nūbis f.: cloud, mist

strepō –ere –uī –itus: to make a noise; murmur

exitium exiti(ī) n.: destruction, ruin, end

excutiō excutere excussī excussum: to shake out, to examine, to investigate

sōlācium sōlāci(ī) n.: comfort

numerō numerāre numerāvī numerātus: reckon, consider, count

cōgitātiō cōgitātiōnis f.: contemplation, thought, reflection 2.59.13

commodum commodī n.: advantage, profit

exspectātiō exspectātiōnis f.: anticipation, suspense, expectation

antecēdō –cēdere –cessī –cessum: surpass, excel; precede

fulmen fulminis n.: a lightning flash, thunderbolt

effugiō effugere effūgī: flee from, escape the notice of, escape

 

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