I-Stems: Neuter Exemplāria [3/8]

In this post, I want to expand on a footnote in A&G, which lists a whole herd of neuter i-stems, but then offers them no definitions.

Sample i-Stem neuters:

(if given in the plural, singular is rare or non-existent)

in -al

  • animal, animālis, animal
  • Bacchānal, Bacchānālis, Bacchanalian orgy
  • bidental, bidentālis, sacred space struck by lightening
  • capital, capitālis, capital punishment
  • cervīcal, cervīcālis, pillow, cushion
  • cubital, cubitālis, elbow cushion
  • frontālia, frontālium, frontlet of a horse (What the hell is that?)
  • genuālia, genuālium, leggings
  • Lupercal, Lupercālis, cave on the Palatine Hill
  • minūtal, minūtalis, stew
  • puteal, puteālis, structure surrounding the mouth of a well
  • spōnsālia, spōnsālium, wedding
  • quadrantal, quandrantālis, unit of liquid measure (a cubic (Roman) foot)
  • toral, torālis, valance of a couch (What the hell is that?)
  • vectīgal, vectīgālis, tax

in -ar

  • altāria, altārium, fittings for burnt offerings (also, apparently now a Pokemon… *nostalgia*)
  • cochlear, cochleāris, spoon
  • exemplar, exemplāris, example, standard
  • lacūnar, lacūnāris, paneled ceiling (example)
  • laquear, laqueāris, (also) paneled ceiling
  • lūcar, lūcāris, actor’s fee
  • lūminār, lūmināris, window shutter
  • lupānar, lupānāris, brothel
  • palear, paleāris, dewlap (What the hell is that?)
  • plantāria, plantārium, sandals
  • pulvīnar, pulvināris, couch for image of deity
  • Sāturnālia, Sāturnālium, optimo diērumCatullus 14.15
  • speculāria, speculārium, window panes
  • tālāria, tālārium, winged sandals of Hermes
  • torcular, torculāris, wine press

The Essential AG: 68n1

Ablative of Agent (2/2)

It’s critical to differentiate the Ablative of Instrument and Ablative of Agent.

  • Instrument uses [ablative]; Agent uses [ab/ā + ablative]

Exempla

  • He perished by the sword: gladiō occīsus est.
  • He was killed by the enemy: ab hoste occīsus est.
  • He was vexed with a problem: curā vexātus est.
  • He was haunted by the ghosts of his past: ab manibus priscīs vexātus est.

With the first example, the sword is the tool used to kill him, not the sentient agent committing the act. With the second example, the problem is the source of his worries, but the problem is not a sentient agent. The Ablative of Instrument has a sense of inanimate agency, but only the Ablative of Agent carries a sense of animate agency.

  • Animals tend to sit in the seam between these two options: sometimes they are instruments, sometimes agents. Look for ā/ab! This will not only help to make the silly distinction, but also help to show the kind of agency the author is attempting to associated with the ablative construction.

For more on the Ablative of Instrument: http://wp.me/p2eimD-52

The Essential AG: 405n2; 405bn2