Uses of Diēs

Lewis and Short have a different take on the masculine/feminine division of diēs. They claim that diēs is properly masculine, but appears in poetry (metrī gratiā) as a feminine noun to mean ‘day’ in prose to mean ‘time’ or ‘date.’

They pull a number of examples from Ennius, Ovid, Horace and Vergil to support this, but then also lay bare that Julius Caesar (feminine) and Sallust (masculine) use the two genders of diēs for the same phrases. What are your thoughts on this?

Caesar actually uses a variety of diēs phrases:

postridiē eius diē : after that day

diem ex diē dūcere : to lead (troops) day by day

The phrase in diēs is generally translated ‘every day.’ Cf. cotidiē and in diem, which mean roughly the same.

The feminine uses of diēs in prose are generally of a piece: dictā, edictā, cōnstitūtā, praestitūtā, pacta, statā, annuā… you get the idea.

A few more phrases:

  • dicere diem alicuī : to bring a charge against someone (by specifying a court day)
  • diēs natālis : birthday
  • in diem vīvere : to live day-to-day (paycheck-to-paycheck, so to speak—hopefully few of my readers!)

Datophilic Verb Phrases

Verbs Takings the Dative (p7/7)

Datophilic Phrases

Phrases with Corresponding Verbs

There are a variety of phrases that take the dative, corresponding in sense to more basic categories of verbs that take the dative

  • I am on hand to aid Caesar: iuvendī Caesaris praestō sum. (cf. adsum)
  • She will humor his request: precī eius mōrem geret. (cf. mōrigeror)
  • Let us all do favors for our loved ones: omnēs amantibus grāta faciāmus. (cf. grātificor)
  • The dog is only obedient to me: iste canis solum mihi dictō audiēns est. (cf. oboedīre)
  • I held confidence in her prophecy: suō effatī fidem habuī. (cf. cōnfidō)

Indepedent Phrases

Other phrases take the dative according to their own, particular sense

  • The Furies inflict their injuries upon the men: Eumenides eīs damna dant.  
  • This slave did me an injury: hīc servus mihi iniūriam fēcit!
  • They brought the slave to trial: servō diem dixērunt.
  • They set the day of the election: comitibus diem dixērunt.
  • They were told to thank the father: grātiās agere patrī iussī sunt.
  • I am thankful to Pompey: grātiam Pompeiō habeō.
  • I must repay Pompey the favor: grātiam Pompeiō mihi referendum est.
  • There is need of action: gerendō opus est.
  • Children too rarely honor their parents: liberī parentibus rarius honōrem habent.
  • He is given credit: acceptum eō ferre est.

The Poetic Dative

The poets put the dative in numerous places were strict Latin syntax suggests some other, more regular, case

  • Nor would I dare to tear the clinging crown from that highly lauded head: nēque egō illī detrahere ausīm / haerentem capitī cum multā laude corōnam (Horace, Satires, 1.10.48-9) [prō abl.]
  • Scorning Iarbas, and the leaders of other men, whom the rich soil of Africa nourishes in triumph–will you also fight a pleasing lover: dēspectus Iarbas / ductorēsque aliī, quōs Āfrica terra triumphīs / dīves alit: placitōne etiam pugnābis amorī? [prō cum + abl. or in + acc.]
  • She filled the wound with tears, and mixed mourning with blood: vulnerā supplēvit lacrimīs flētumque cruōrī / miscuit [Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4.139-140] [prō abl.]

The Essential AG: 367 n2, 368.3a, 413a

Famous Phrase: prīus quam incipiās, consultō et, ubī consuluerīs factō opus est

[before you being, there is need of planning, and where you’ve consulted–of action!]

Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 1.6