The Flavors of Favor

How do you express favor in Latin—what verbs, cases and constructions are on your plate? There are a few basic flavors the favor construction.

The most obvious construction is faveō + a dative object. This verb only rarely appears absolutely (without an object).

  • Do you favor my resources, or those of Caesar: meīs rēbus favētis, aut Caesāris?
  • He prefers the stillness of the evening hours: silentiō noctis favet.

Annuō + dative of person + accusative object usually means ‘to grant + someone + something’ but may also appear as annuō + dative of person and merely mean ‘to favor someone.’

  • She favored the better cause: ratiōnī maiōri annuit.

Adiuvō + accusative ordinarily means ‘aid’ but may in certain oblique cases approach ‘favor.’

  • Favor us with your prayers: nōs precibus adiuvā!

The Essential AG: 367.

Archaic Genitive Singular Personal Pronouns

They are mīs and tīs; so far as I can tell, they are found exclusively in Old Latin inscriptions (i.e. you won’t encounter them in archaic imitations of Old Latin designed by Classical authors). The more you know…

If anyone has further thoughts or resources on these, feel free to share below.

The Essential AG: 143aN1

I’m positive. In fact, I’m postpositive.

The words enim, etenim and neque enim are all postpositive tools for emphasis. They typically occur in the second position, but may occur in the third, where the second word is emphatic.

Enim and its emphatic counterpart, etenim, may add an affirmative pulse to a statement or clause. In this sense, they function much as equidem, certē and vērō, though these are not necessarily postpositive.

  • …sed enim istaec captio est: …but this is clearly a trick!
  • in hīs est enim aliqua obscūritās: in fact, these matters contain some mystery.
  • Quid agis?—Nihil enim: What are you up to?—Nothing, truly! (~Nothing, I swear!)

Etenim is very popular in parenthetical phrases.

  • dux huius agminis Caesar est (etenim est prīmus mīlitum): the leader of this line is Caesar, because, of course, he is the first among soldiers.
  • Kate Medoppidum (quae etenim modo hērēdem peperit) nōn trēs diēs vīsa est: Kate Middleton, who as you know just gave birth to the heir, has not been seen for three days.

Enimvērō is another option.

  • Ille enimvēro negat: he, of course, denies it.

The Essential AG: 324h, 324j-k, 599b

Hold the Quam, Please

The comparatives plūs, minus, amplius, and longius may be seen operating without the use of quam while performing the same semantic work. Generally, these operate with a measure or number and no change in case.

  • Plūs septigentī captī sunt. More than seven hundred were taken.
  • Plūs teriī parte interfectā, nos perditī esse putāvimus, With more than one-third slain, we thought ourselves done for.
  • Aditus in lātitūdinem nōn amplius ducentōrum pedum relinquēbātur. An approach of not more than two hundred feet in width was left. (Genitive of measure.)

The Essential AG: 407c

Minus and Minimē with Negative Force

Minus and minimē are the comparative adverbs meaning less so and least of all. However, in colloquial Latin they typically fill the role of ‘not’ and ‘no.’

  • Sī minus possunt, exeāmus. If they are unable, let us head out.
  • Audācissimus ego tand’ ex omnibus?—minimē. Am I therefore the most outrageous of men? Certainly not.

This effect is also present in in phrases with the subjunctive and quōminus (= ut eō minus).

  • Nōn aetās impedit quōminus agrī colendī studia teneāmus. Age does not prevent us from retaining an interest in tilling the soil.
  • Nihil impedit quōminus id facere possīmus. Nothing prevents us from doing that.

The Essential AG: 558b

Comparison of Regular Adverbs

Remember two simple rules and you’ll have this mastered in no time:

  1. A comparative adverb is always the neuter singular accusative of the corresponding comparative adjective. (ex. clārius)
  2. The superlative adverb is just the superlative stem of the corresponding superlative adjective with –ē. (ex. clārissimē)

Here are some additional examples:

  • carē, cārius, cārissimē, dearly, more dearly, most dearly
  • miserē, miserius, miserrimē, wretchedly, more wretchedly, most wretchedly
  • leviter, levius, levissimmē, lightly, more lightly, most lightly
  • audācter, audācius, audācissimē, boldly, more boldly, most boldly
  • bene, melius, optimē, well, better, best
  • male, peius, pessimē, poorly, worse, worst

The Essential AG: 218

Comparison of Adverbs: Irregular and Defective

Here are some irregular adverbs that defy the rules set up in this post.

  • diū, diūtius, diūtissimē, for a long time, for a longer time, for the longest time
  • potius, —— potissimum, rather, first of all
  • saepe, saepius,saepissimē, often, more often/again, most often
  • satis, satius, —— enough, preferable
  • secus, sētius, —— otherwise, worse
  • multum (or multō), magis (or mage), maximē, much, more, most
  • parum, minus, minimē, not enough, less, least
  • nūper, ——, nūperrimē, newly, most newly
  • temperē, temperius, —— seasonably, more seasonably

Most of these are either disconnected from their corresponding adjectives (semantically), or are defective in either comparative or superlative form. However, the real outlier here is the multum/ō, magis/e, maximē set, which is an aggregate of various options. Multō is of course the ablative singular neuter for the positive adjective, and mage the neuter accusative of the comparative adjective.

Magis and maximē may also be paired with other adjectives to create their comparatives, especially in adjectives ending in -eus or -ius (in the positive.)

  • idōneus, magis idōneus, maximē idōneus, fit, more fit, most fit

The Essential AG: 128, 218a

Are We Us? — Nouns

The same suffixes—ārius, tōrius, and sōrius—that formed a number of adjectives in this post can also be put to use as nouns with a regular range of meanings. This meaning is often restricted to the gender of the noun formed. Again, these denote a kind of belonging.

-ārius (m.) employee in a particular field

  • argentārius, -ī silversmith, broker
  • coriārius, -ī leather worker
  • Corinthiārius, -ī Corinthian bronze worker (for those not in the know, Corinthian bronze had Gucci bag status in antiquity)
  • mirābiliārius, -ī miracle worker
  • operārius, ī worker, day-laborer

-ārius (f.) thing associated with a particular field

  • aerāria, -ae copper mine
  • argentāria, -ae bank
  • arēnāriae, -ārum sandpits (arēna, sand)
  • Asināria, -ae the play The Ass (with fabula, -ae implied)

-ārium (n.) thing (often a place) associated with a field

  • aerārium, -ī treasury
  • tepidārium, -ī warm bath
  • sūdārium, -ī towel
  • salārium, -ī salary
  • calendārium, -ī notebook (calendae, calends)

-tōria / -sōria (f.) and -tōrium / -sōrium (n.) thing (often a place) associated with a field

  • Agitātōria,ae The Driver by Platus (agitātor, driver, with fabula, -ae implied)
  • auditōrium, -ī lecture room
  • tentōrium, -ī tent (tendō, stretch)
  • tēctōrium plaster (tectus, covered)
  • portōrium toll (portus, harbor)

The Essential AG: 254.1-5

Are We Us? — Adjectives

The adjectival suffixes -ārius, -tōrius, and -sōrius denote belonging to a group qualified by the implied content of the correspond root. Effectively, these adjectives are formed by the addition to -ius to the adjectival root -āris or the nominal root -or. Let’s build a few examples.

  • bellum (war) —> bellātor (warrior) —> bellātōrius, -a, -um (of warriors)
  • pecūlium (property) —> pecūliāris, -e (one’s own) —> pecūliārius, -a,- um (of private property)
  • meritō (to earn) —> meritus (earned) —> [meritor] (earner) —> meritōrius, -a, -um (profitable, esp. related to prostitution)
  • extrā (outside) —> [extrāris, e] (foreign) —> extrārius, -a, -um (of foreigners)

A few things to notice about this pattern: (i) the original base of the adjective can be just about anything—noun, adjective, verb, adverb—but the penultimate word is always a noun or an adjective. That said, (ii) the penultimate noun or adjective is not always extant in Latin; note the [brackets]. Finally, note that (iii) this set of adjectives is often theoretical—rēs bellatōriae (matters of warriors)and rēs extrāriae (matters of foreigners) probably cover half the total appearances of those two adjectives.