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

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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 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

An Intrā-duction

The preposition intrā takes an accusative. It is likely derived from the adjectival feminine adjective singular of inter, intra, intrum (intrā) — an archaic adjective which also produced the corresponding preposition inter.

Intra + accusative is primarily used with a single class of nouns, and denotes a space ‘within which.’

  • intrā moenia, within the walls
  • intrā me deus est, the Lord is within me
  • intrā iactum telī, within a javelin’s throw (denoting distance)

Intra + accusative of time is one ways of denoting the time within something occurred.

  • intrā quattuor annōs, within four years
  • intrā lucem, before the day was done
  • intrā diēs paucōs, within few days (before a few days had passed)
  • intrā morae breve tempus, without a moment’s delay

It can also mean less than a given duration or quantity.

  • intrā centum fūnera fēcit, he inflicted fewer than 100 casualties
  • intrā trēs diēs abiit, he left before three days had passed (compare above)

It can also appear without a direct object.

  • ea intrā est, she is within

The Essential AG: 130

Reminder: The Double Comparative with Intrā

This is just a quick reminder (of what I covered briefly in March 2012) that intrā gives rise to one of the few comparative / superlative adjectival pairs that is not derived from an adjective.

  • intrā, within —> interior, -ōris, inner —> intimus, a, -um inmost

A&G offer this fascinating footnote:

“The forms in -trā and -terus were originally comparative (cf. alter), so that the comparatives in -terior are double comparatives.” (my emphasis)

  • Like this: in + accusative —> intrā + accusative —> interior, -ōris

The Essential AG: 130a