The Aratrum: A Now-Mysterious Tool

While we’re on the topic of i-stems (the dentālia, in particular), here are comparative diagrams of the English plot and Latin aratrum.

Picture 7

Picture 8

I couldn’t find two pictures that corresponding exactly, but using these two along with Lewis and Short we can offer the following definitions:

  • buris, buris (m.) plow-beam: the curved hind-piece that would feature a yoke-hole for the oxen (replaced by human handles in English plow)
  • tēmo, tēmōnis, (m.) plow-beam/’tongue of the plow’: the portion of the plow beam that sticks forward as the plow moves forward

(Think of it as the bow of a ship. If you need it, here’s the distinction between the prow and the bow.)

  • dentālia, dentālium (n.) plow-share: the hind-wood of the plow-share
  • vōmer, vōmeris (m.) plow-share: the fore-wood of the plow-share
  • culter, cultrī (m.) coulter: the knife that cuts the furrow

(These three parts work together like the prow of a ship to cut a widened furrow in the field. The coulter makes the initiate cut, and the plow-share spreads this. Imagine opening a Ziploc bag… you can open it with a pencil and it will open but remain narrowly open, or you can open it with your whole hand and it will open wide.)

  • aurēs, aurium (another i-stem!): the plow-ears, which further widen the furrow, and are curved to curl the dirt in an outward direction.

I’m sure this description is inadequate, and a Youtube video with a live plow would be so much more helpful. I failed to find such a video, but if anyone has seen one, please leave the link in the comments!


Accusative Case-Ending -im

Certain nouns in Latin have an i-stem, such as puppis, -is (ship). However, following the consonant declension, these generally take an accusative stem –em (puppem), not –im.

This post covers exceptions to that rule, by listing all cases where –im is retained

1. Greek nouns borrowed from the Greek third declension (consonant declension) with an i-stem.

  • Paris -> Parim
  • Adōnis -> Adōnim
  • Busīris -> Busīrim

2. The following Latin nouns:

  • amussis, -is (rule)
  • būris, -is (plough-beam)
  • cucumis, -is (cucumber)
  • rāvis, -is (??)
  • sitis, -is (thirst)
  • tussis, -is (cough)
  • vīs, -ī (force, power)

[n.b. on rāvis, -is…. I can’t find this in any online dictionary. Any clues?]

3. Adverbs in –tim, such as partim (in parts)

The –im ending is also found occasionally in the following words–

  • febris, -is (fever)
  • puppis, -is (ship)
  • restis, -is (cord)
  • turris, -is (tower)
  • secūris, -is (axe)
  • sēmentis, -is (sowing)

“and rarely in many other words,” say A&G. Damn poets…

The Essential AG: 75a-b