Archaic Genitive Singular Personal Pronouns

They are mīs and tīs; so far as I can tell, they are found exclusively in Old Latin inscriptions (i.e. you won’t encounter them in archaic imitations of Old Latin designed by Classical authors). The more you know…

If anyone has further thoughts or resources on these, feel free to share below.

The Essential AG: 143aN1

Archaic and Derived Superlatives

Recall the standard stem for Latin comparatives is -issimus. However, most student of Latin are familiar with a  variety of alternative, irregular forms. For instance:

  • Bonus, melior, optimus
  • Malus, peior, pessimus
  • Magnus, maior, maximus

These are all more archaic forms of the superlatives. (Hence there appearance in very basic, common adverbs, which we can predict would be more resistant to phonological change due to frequency of use.)

  • timus
  • īmus
  • summus

Furthermore, A&G note that certain superlative adjectives are derived from their comparative forms, not from their positives. They aren’t explicit about how this works, but the example they offer is extrēmus, which might go exterior –> *exterīmus –> extrēmus.

  • A&G compare this to the derivative development of ‘childish’ superlatives like the English furtherer and furtherest. Again, this is all a little mysterious to me, as a non-phonologist. If anyone has thoughts, I would love to hear them.

The Essential AG: 130an2

How to Decline Pater Familiās?

What’s the genitive of pater familiās? Is it pater familiātis? patris familiātis?

Actually, it’s patris familiās.

The second word, familiās is an archaic partitive genitive, so it’s not declined.

  • pater/patris/patrī/patrem/patre/patrēs,etc. familiās.

However, if we’re discussing the father of many families…

  • pater/patris,etc. familiārum

The Essential AG: 43b

Alternative and Archaic Quī and Quis

The relative and interrogative pronouns (quī, quae, quod) and (quis? quod?) are originally of the same root, so their older forms overlap in many places. The majority of this post will cover features of Latin you might only live to see once, or never.

  • The archaic genitive singular of this root is quōius, and the archaic dative singular, quoi.
  • The form quī is alternative of the ablative in all genders, though most often appears as an adverb (quī, how, in what way, inanway–using the same semantic field as the Greek ὅπῃ), or as quīcum, with whom? However, there are more general instances, even in classical Latin, for instance:

Which chest did the spears pierce: quī pectōre tela / transmittant (Lucan, Bellum Civile 7)

  • The archaic nominative plural, quēs, is only found in early Latin, though the archaic dative/ablative plural quīs is found in classical poetry.

The Essential AG: 150

The Locative Case (p2)

Again, I’ve grown curious about the Locative, so now that I’ve discussed how to form it, I’d like to pick through all the ways to use it. A&G have no single section on the case; they drizzle it throughout the grammar.

Where’d It Come From?

Here’s a story of three cases: there were originally the ablative (case from where), the instrumental (case how or by what) and the locative (case whereat).

  • The instrumental and the locative were eventually absorbed, leaving the ablative to denote both instrument and location
  • However, there are still a few handfuls of words which retain an archaic locative
  • Compare it to the way that certain English words (who/whom, he/his/him) still take case endings, despite the near non-existence of visible cases within modern English

Things look trickier with the dative cause. Some argue that dative is directly related to or descended from the locative, where it originally noted the place to which. I’m no master of historical Latin linguistics, so this is all the research I’m going to bother with.

  • Suffice it to say: the locative has a historical relationship with the dative and the ablative

Locative Adverbs

The following adverbs are all archaic locatives: ubi, where; hīc, here; ibi, there; illī, there; peregrī, abroad; prīdiē, yesterday; hōdiē, today; postrīdiē, tomorrow; perendiē, the day after tomorrow

Locative in Apposition

The locative may be placed in apposition to an ablative

  • They halted at Alba, a fortified town: Albae cōnstitērunt, in urbe mūnītā.


Mind and Soul

The archaic animī are mentis are common locatives.

  • Antipho tortures my mind: Antiphō mē excruciat animī.
  • She is in suspense: animī pendet.
  • My mind deceives me: mē animī fallit.
  • I was out of my mind: dēsipiēbam mentis.
  • He is sound of mind and heart: sānus mentis et animī est.

Exhausitve List of Ablative

A&G appears to offer an exhaustive list of all remaining locatives in section 427.3. However, elsewhere they imply that you could make a locative of any word using the basic rules of formation. I don’t know whether Romans did or did not freely form the locative where they needed it (for place names). I’m not sure A&G do either.

The list:

Rōmae, at Rome; Rhodī, at Rhodes; Samī, at Samos; Tīburī/Tībure, at the Tibur; Philippīs, at Philippi; domī/domuī, at home; Athēnīs, at Athens; Lānuvī, at Lanuvium; Cyprī, at Cyprus; Cūribus, at Cures; Capreīs, at Capri; rūrī, in the country; bellī, at war; mīlitae, at war; humī, on the ground; vesperī/vespere, in the evening; forīs, outdoors, animī, in the soul, mentis, in the mind; temperī, at a time; herī/here, yesterday; īnfēlīcī arborī, on the barren tree; terrā marīque, by land and sea

If the list is short a few words, these may be the locative adverbs mentioned above.

But… that’s it? I suppose if you wrote these out five times you would have an entire case memorized.

The Essential AG: (again, scattered) 215.5; 282d; 358; 398; 421; 426.3; 427a

Famous Phrase: nec mē animī fallit quam sint obscūra [nor am I deceived by how dark it is]

Lucretius, Dē Rērum Natūrā 1.922

(he’s discussing the intimidating depth of the universe–a fear which study overcomes)