The Flavors of Favor

How do you express favor in Latin—what verbs, cases and constructions are on your plate? There are a few basic flavors the favor construction.

The most obvious construction is faveō + a dative object. This verb only rarely appears absolutely (without an object).

  • Do you favor my resources, or those of Caesar: meīs rēbus favētis, aut Caesāris?
  • He prefers the stillness of the evening hours: silentiō noctis favet.

Annuō + dative of person + accusative object usually means ‘to grant + someone + something’ but may also appear as annuō + dative of person and merely mean ‘to favor someone.’

  • She favored the better cause: ratiōnī maiōri annuit.

Adiuvō + accusative ordinarily means ‘aid’ but may in certain oblique cases approach ‘favor.’

  • Favor us with your prayers: nōs precibus adiuvā!

The Essential AG: 367.

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Genitive of Friendship

Yeah, I made that genitive up, but only to describe a real phenomenon in Latin! Some adjectives of likeness, nearness, and belonging that normally take the dative will occasionally take a possessive genitive. This transition is especially common where the adjective approaches the force of a noun.

  • Fuit hōc quondam proprium populī Rōmānī: this was once peculiar to the Roman people. (~a peculiar trait of)
  • Fuit semper amīcus Cicerōnis: he was always friendly with Cicero. (~a friend of)
  • Adeō patris similis es: you’re just like your master. (~a chip off the old block)

Here’s the full list of adjectives that perform this function—

  • aequālis,  aequāle: of the same age (~a contemporary of)
  • affīnis, affīne: related to by marriage (~kinsman of)
  • aliēnus, -a, -um: belonging to another (~a stranger to)
  • cōgnātus, -a, -um: fellow-born (~kinsman of)
  • commūnis, commūne: common to (~kinsman of)
  • cōnsanguineus, -a, -um: sharing a bloodline (~kinsman of)
  • contrārius, -a, -um: opposite (~the opposite of)
  • dispār: unlike (dispar suī, in philosophical diction)
  • familiāris, familiāre: of close relation (~intimate of)
  • fīnitimus, -a, -um: adjoining (~neighbor of)
  • inimīcus, -a, -um: hostile to (~enemy of)
  • necessārius, -a, -um: connected with (~component of)
  • pār: equal to (~a match)
  • pecūliāris, pecūliāre: personal (~peculiar trait of)
  • propinquus, -a, -um: neighboring (~neighbor of)
  • proprius, -a, -um: personal (~peculiar trait of)
  • sacer, sacra, sacrum: holy (~holy with respect to some deity)
  • similis, simile: alike to (~spitting image of)
  • superstes: surviving (~survivor of)
  • vīcīnus, -a, -um: neighboring (~neighbor of)

Note that this genitive construction is actually more common for proprius, -a, -um than the dative construction.

Similis with the genitive is especially common with personal pronouns (meī, tuī, suī) and within the fixed phrase vērī similis (probable).

I-Stems: Summary [8/8]

Like A&G, I would like to conclude my series on i-stems with a short assessment of the basic rules and variations associated with the i-stem class.

A&G paint a picture of cultural amnesia regarding Roman relations with the i-stem. As I have shown in previous posts, in all but the genitive plural (ium), and the neuter accusative/nominative plural (ia), the unique i-stem endings are rare or optional. (cf. the status of English ‘who/m’).

  • The nominative singular could be -is (sitis, is) but also ēs/-s/x, etc.
  • The accusative singular could be -im but also -em.
  • The ablative singular could be or it could be -e.
  • The accusative masc/fem plural might be -īs but it’s usually -ēs.

AG: 76

It Escapes Many

The impersonal latet (from the sans-passive lateō, latēre, latuī, —) takes either an accusative or a dative in prose and poetry. The accusative is the more common form.

  • It escapes me: mē latet.
  • Most people are unaware: plērōs latet.
  • She doesn’t know yet: eī adhuc latet.

Lateō can also be used impersonally, with the same variation in form:

  • Rome lies safe from enemies: Rōma hostibus latet.
  • The escaped songbirds elude their keepers: passērēs vāgī custōdēs latent.

In practice, a direct object isn’t always necessary.

  • The finest things remain unseen: pulcherrima latent.

(And yep, this word is related to λανθάνω)

The Essential AG: 388cn1, 396c, 396cn

Dative of Agent (2/2)

This post considers places where the Dative of Agent invades what would normally be constructions suitable to the Ablative of Agent.

With Passive Perfect Participles

With passive verbs, the Dative of Agent is most common with perfect passive participles, especially when these are virtually adjectival.

  • It has been deliberated and established by me: mihi dēlīberātum et cōnstitūtum est.
  • This has been provided for by you: tibi haec prōvīsa est.
  • The lights have made me dizzy: lūcibus cālīgātus sum.

Note that, with the final expression, lūcibus may be either Dative or an Ablative of Instrument (but not an Ablative of Agent, since there is no ā/ab). In this case, assume it’s an Ablative of Instrument, which is altogether more common, especially with something inanimate like ‘lights.’


With Passive Verb

The Dative of Agent is not unheard of with standard passive verbs, especially with the poets.

  • He is not seen by anyone: nōn cernitur ūllī.
  • He was favored by the nymph: Nymphō fovēbātur.

With Videor

The construction ‘it seems to x‘ is expressed with videor, vidērī, visus + Dative of Agent.

  • He seemed to me a horse with wings: mihi equis cum ālīs vidēbātur.
  • It seemed otherwise to the gods: dīs aliter vīsum est.
  • It seems to me that you are a slob: sordidus mihi vidēris.

With Probō

According to AG, probāre takes a Dative of Reference, but it’s so regularly attached that it seems like a Dative of Agent. I’m not sure I buy this, but here’s what they mean:

  • This view was approved by both him and me: haec sententia et illī et mihi probābātur.
  • This plan was not approved by the majority: hōc cōnsilium plēris nōn probābātur.

The Essential AG: 375

Dative of Agent (1/2)

My recent posts on the Ablative of Agent sent me back to my earlier work on the Gerund/Gerundive distinction, and I realize that I never fully articulated that gerundives take a Dative of Agent.

  • This province is for you to defend: haec vōbis prōvincia est dēfendenda.
  • I have to fight one thousand matches: mihi est mille certamina pugnandum.
  • The armor you must wear is in the cabinet: arma gestanda tibi in armāriō sunt.

AG would like us to compare this construction to the dative of possession, viewing the gerundive as an ascribed duty for the dative Person:

  • I have to fight one thousand matches: mihi est mille certamina pugnandum.
  • My name is Commodus: mihi nomen Commodus est.

With the Second Passive Periphrastic construction (always gerundive + sum), the Ablative of Agent (ā/ab + ablative) may appear where a dative would be ambiguous.

  • To whom must you submit: quibus est ā vōbis cēdendum?
  • To whom should we give the books: quō ā nōbis librōs legendōs sunt?

The Essential AG: 374

My earlier work on the Gerund/Gerundive divide starts here. Flip posts at the bottom of the page to find the one you want. There are five of them on the topic.