Position of Inter and Intrā

1. Inter may appear after its corresponding object.

  • rex inter prīmōs cōnsisterat: he was mad a king among equals.
  • mediōs inter hostēs Londinium perrēxit: he pressed on to London amid enemies (enemy ambushes.

2. Except (perhaps?) for metrical purposes, intra will always proceed it’s corresponding object.

  • intrā trēs diēs: within three days
  • intrā lūcem: before the day was done

The Essential AG: 435


Some Idioms with Inter

These aren’t from A&G—I picked them up in the cobweb-covered corners of Lewis and Short. Enjoy!

  • iam tandem paene inter manūs est: at last, it’s finally within reach!
  • inter viam eō: I’m on the way!
  • Haec Toddī inter cēnam rettūlī: I reported these things to Todd at dinner.
  • inter initia architectī gestōrum saepe inter sē distulērunt: during the start-up phase, the founders of the company often quarreled amongst themselves
  • inter hās turbās senātus tamen convēnit: despite these upheavals, the senate convened (inter + accusative… tamen)

The Criminal Inter?

The judicial phrase inter sīcāriōs means ‘on the charge of assassination.’ I’m not sure if this is as general use of inter (neither A&G nor L&S seems to say) but if I may title the ‘criminal inter‘ (from crīmen, charge/accusation) preposition, then consider the following possibilities:

  • inter impudentēs: on the charge of shamelessness
  • inter cinaedōs: on the charge of sodomy

By any and all means, correct me if I’m crazy or defend me if you think I might be on to something. I realize this is speculation; we only have limited textual data to support a theory on either side—it’s really a matter of personal judgment and extrapolation based on our available resources.

The Essential AG: 353.2

The Reflexive Inter Sē

There are multiform variations on the inter sē construction, which I feel it best to expand on here. The basic structure is something like this:

  • Inter sē cōncertant: they compete amongst themselves.

The basic sense in which this is a ‘reflexive’ construction seems clear here. However, we can (i.e. the Romans did) expand this idea into a variety of related senses dense and enigmatic:

  • CIcerōnis puerī amant inter sē: the children of Cicero love one another
  • furtim inter sē aspiciēbant: they stole glances at one another (think Jason and Medea upon first meeting)
  • collēs duōs inter sē propinquinōs occūbat: they occupied two hills near to one another
  • quod nos inter sē sit: which we’ll keep between us
  • rēs inter sē similēs: matters sharing qualities
  • fāta quae inter sē continentur: fates which hang together

An alternative to this reflexive idea is the alter alterīus/ alterī construction, similar to the ἀλλοs ἀλλοθεν idea of the Greek idiom, but I’ll cover that more in a forthcoming post!

  • alter alterīus ōva frangit: they break each other’s eggs

The Essential AG: 145c, 301f

Some Inter-esting Distinctions

In my last post, I introduced intra, to which I will now compare and contrast intra, a considerably more common and complex preposition, individuated from intra through the following uses.

1. The et double-accusative.

  • inter mōns et durum: between a rock and a hard place
  • inter tē et mē: between you and me

2. The inter sē construction.

  • inter sē loquuntur: they talk amongst themselves
  • inter se confērunt: they compare amongst themselves

3. The ‘amid’ construction.

  • inter hostium tēla: amid the weapons of the enemies
  • inter imbrim: during the rainfall
  • prīmus inter parēs: the first among equals

4. The temporal ‘while’ construction (with a gerund)

  • inter bibendum: while drinking
  • inter agendum: while carrying forward

The Essential AG: 221.15

Compounds Verbs with Inter-

Inter- can appear as a prefix to verbs (and also to derived nouns, adjectives and adverbs). Where it appears, it often bears one of three general effects on the corresponding base verb—

1. Effect of Intervals

  • interaestuō—to boil slowly (bubble up from time to time)
  • interārescō—to decay (dry up little by little)
  • interdō—to give at intervals
  • interpurgō—to cleanse here and there
  • interbrādō—to scape here and there
  • intersileō—to remain silent in the meanwhile

2. Effect of Insertion

  • intercalō—to insert a day in the calendar
  • intercapiō—to take away (by coming between the object and its possessor)
  • intercēdō—to intervene
  • intercipiō—to intercept
  • interclāmō—to cry aloud amid
  • interfluō—to flow between
  • internascor—to grow among
  • interrogō—to interrogate
  • intersaepiō—to fence in
  • interveniō—to come between

3. Effect of Dissolution

  • intercīdō—to cut up
  • internoscō—to distinguish
  • interpolō—to spoil, corrupt
  • interprīmō—to squeeze or crush to pieces
  • interscindō—to tear asunder
  • interversor—to turn hither and thither

Of course, there is conceptual overlap amid these categories. Interrelations, if you will.

Compound Verbs with Intrā—

You would think, given the vast tribe of verbal compounds with inter- as a prefix, that a few species of intrā-compounds would also inhabit that wood of the Latin dictionary. In fact, they are highly endangered, perhaps even extinct. Here are a few compound adjectives and nouns that I discovered; the verbs were nowhere to be found.

  • intrābilis (adj)—possible to enter
  • intrāclusus (adj)—shut in, enclosed
  • intrāmeātus, -ūs (n)—a journey within
  • intrāmūrānus (adj)—within the walls
  • intrāneus (adj)—within