Relative Clauses as Alternatives to Nouns

In Latin, a relative clause can function as an alternative to (a) a participle, (b) an appositive or (c) a noun of agency.

This should be incredibly familiar: English relative clauses may perform all the same roles.

As participles:

  • lēgēs nunc stantēs : lēgēs quī nunc stant (the existing laws)
  • uxor librum dans : uxor quae librum dat (the wife giving the book)

As appositives:

  • iūsta glōria, frūctus virtūtis, ērepta est : iūsta glōria quae est frūctus virtūtus, ērepta est.
  • (true glory, the fruit of virtue, has been snatched away)
  • Iuppiter caelestī potestātis solium : Iuppiter, quī est caelestī potestātis solium
  • (Jupiter, the seat of heavenly power)

As nouns of agency:

  • Caesar victor Galliae : Caesar quī Galliam vincit (Caesar, conqueror of Gaul)
  • Seneca omnilector : Seneca quī omnēs legit (Secena, reader of everything)

Essential AG: 308c.


Nouns of Agency

Nouns of Agency

Nouns of agency are nouns derived from verbal stems which describe and agent or actor associated with the action.

Endings in -tor and -trix

Some nouns of agency are derive from the use of the endings -tor (or -sor) for male agents and –trix for female agents

  • the endings are attached to the stem of the verb’s perfect passive participle
  • canere (to sing) –> cantus –> cantor, cantoris / cantrix, cantricis (singer)
  • vincere (to conquer) –> victus –> victor, victoris / victrix, victicis (victor)
  • petere (to seek) –> petitus –> petitor, petitoris / petitrix, petitricis (candidate

Occasionally, -tor and –trix may also be added to noun roots

  • via, -ae (road) –> viator, viatrix (traveller)

Endings in -es

Further, agent nouns may be derived by adding -es to the stem of the verb’s present active infinitive:

  • praestare (to stand before) –> praestes, praestitis (guard)
  • tegere (to cover) –> teges, tegetis (coverer, mat)

Again, also from nouns

  • pes, pedis (food) –> pedes, peditis (foot-soldier)

Endings in -o

Finaly, the ending -o describes persons employed in a particular trade

  • Again, these are derived from the stem of the verb’s present active infinitive:
  • gerere (to carry) –> gero, geronis (carrier)

The Essential AG: 236