Ablative of Means and Instrument (Basic)

Ablative of Manner, Means and Instrument (p 2/3)

 

Summary of Use

Allen and Greenough identify three major categories of case usage with the ablative: (1) the ablative proper, (2) the instrumental ablative and (3) the locative ablative

  • The ablative of means, manner and instrument are a collected heading under the (2) instrumental ablative

These uses of the ablative are part of what was once the instrumental case, so “no sharp line can be drawn between them, and indeed the Romans themselves can hardly have thought of any distinction” (AG 408)

The ablative of manner is often distinguished by the use of cum as an initiating preposition

 

Ablative of Means and Instrument

These will typically appear without a preposition, and qualify an action, not an object

There is no fine line between means and instrument

  • They fought with fists, heels, nails and even teeth: pūgnīs calcibus, unguibus, morsū dēnique certābant.
  • I have resisted with virtue: virtūte passus sum. 
  • I have resisted with force: vī passus sum.
  • I have resisted with the sword: ense passus sum.
  • There is no nation he could not conquer with his authority: nullā gēns est, quam nōn auctoritāte convincat. 

With Verbs and Participles of Filling

Verbs such as pleō, compleō, expleō, referō, and differō take the ablative of means

  • God has filled the world with all good things: Deus donīs omnibus explēvit mundum.
  • Her life was filled and crowded with delights: vīta sua plēna et cōnferta voluptātibus fuit.
  • The Appian forum was crowded with sailors: Forum Appī differtum nautīs erat.

In poetry, may take the genitive instead of the ablative

  • I fill up the banquet with my neighbors: convīvum vīncōrum compleō.

 

Famous Phrase: manibus dāte lilia plēnīs (give lilies with full hands)

-Virgil, Aeneid, 6.883

echoed in Dante, Purgatory, 30.21 and Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 3.6

 

ablative_means_instrument_p1.pdf

Ablative of Manner

Ablative of Manner, Means and Instrument (p 1/3)

Summary of Use

Allen and Greenough identify three major categories of case usage with the ablative: (1) the ablative proper, (2) the instrumental ablative and (3) the locative ablative

  • The ablative of means, manner and instrument are a collected heading under the (2) instrumental ablative

These uses of the ablative are part of what was once the instrumental case, so “no sharp line can be drawn between them, and indeed the Romans themselves can hardly have thought of any distinction” (AG 408)

The ablative of manner is often distinguished by the use of cum as an initiating preposition

Ablative of Manner 

Like the ablative of means and instrument, the ablative of manner qualifies a verb is usually paired with the conjunction cum

  • He came with speed: cum celeritāte vēnit.
  • She died with honor: cum hōnōre periit. 

The ablative of manner may appear without cum where it is paired instead with a limiting adjective, though even here cum is not unheard of

  • He came with the greatest speed: summā celeritāte vēnit.
  • What does it matter how your compel me: quid rēfert quā ratiōne mē cōgātis?
  • I will not say at how great a risk he did this: nōn dīcam quantō cum perīculō id faceret.
With Stock Words

Cum will also disappear with certain ‘stock uses’ of the ablative of manner, such as modō, pactō, ratiōne, ritū, vī, viā, silentiō, iūre, and iniūriā

  • These may be translated as by means of, as agreed upon, with the reason, according to ritual, with force, by the road, silently, rightly, with injury, i.o and etc.

These have become, by frequent use, virtual adverbs

  • He performed the deed according to ritual: ritū actum fēcit.
  • They arrived on the Appian way: viā Appiā vēnit.

Latin poetry will also emit cum, as needed

  • A mountain of water follos in a mass: īnsequitur cumulō aquae mōns.

Famous Phrase: cum hōc, ergō propter hōc

(with this, therefore because of this)

[logical fallacy linking correlation to causation]

ablative_manner.pdf