The Reflexive Inter Sē

There are multiform variations on the inter sē construction, which I feel it best to expand on here. The basic structure is something like this:

  • Inter sē cōncertant: they compete amongst themselves.

The basic sense in which this is a ‘reflexive’ construction seems clear here. However, we can (i.e. the Romans did) expand this idea into a variety of related senses dense and enigmatic:

  • CIcerōnis puerī amant inter sē: the children of Cicero love one another
  • furtim inter sē aspiciēbant: they stole glances at one another (think Jason and Medea upon first meeting)
  • collēs duōs inter sē propinquinōs occūbat: they occupied two hills near to one another
  • quod nos inter sē sit: which we’ll keep between us
  • rēs inter sē similēs: matters sharing qualities
  • fāta quae inter sē continentur: fates which hang together

An alternative to this reflexive idea is the alter alterīus/ alterī construction, similar to the ἀλλοs ἀλλοθεν idea of the Greek idiom, but I’ll cover that more in a forthcoming post!

  • alter alterīus ōva frangit: they break each other’s eggs

The Essential AG: 145c, 301f


Latin Distributives

These are difficult, and I’m not sure I grasp all of their aspects. If you’d like, feel free to expand or correct me in comments.

There are four central aspects to the Latin numeral:

  • The cardinal: ūnus, duo, trēs, quattuor
  • The ordinal: prīmus, secundus, tertius, quārtus
  • The distributive: singulī, bīnī, ternī, quaternī
  • The adverb: semel, bis, ter, quater

The distributive describes how many each or how many apiece. It’s a numeral of rate.

  • The children received candy, one each: puerī mellīta accēpērunt, singula singulīs

Note a few things:

  • The distributive numerals are plural adjectives, here matching mellīta (singula) and puerī (–> puerīs) (singulīs)
  • They decline like the plural of bonus, -a, -um

The distributive are used to multiply, featured in the formula numeral adverb + distributive:

  • 2 x 2 = bis bīna
  • 3 x 7 = ter septēna

The poets also use distributives in place of cardinals, to express sets.

  • He threw two shafts (in a set): bīna hastīlia torsit.

Distributives 1-10

  • one each, singulī, -ae, -a
  • two each, bīnī, -ae, -a
  • three each, ternī, -ae, -a or trīnī, -ae, -a
  • four each, quaternī, -ae, -a
  • five each, quīnī, -ae, -a
  • six each, sēnī, -ae, -a
  • seven each, septēnī, -ae, -a
  • eight each, octōnī, -ae, -a
  • nine each, novēnī, -ae, -a
  • ten each, dēnī, -ae, -a

Distributives 11-99

  • eleven each, ūndēnī, -ae, -a
  • twelve each, duodēnī, -ae, -a
  • thirteen each, ternī dēnī, ternae dēnae, etc.
  • eighteen each, octōnī dēnī or duodēvīcēnī, -ae, -a
  • nineteen each, novēnī dēnī or ūndēvīcēni, -ae, -a
  • twenty each, vīcēnī, -ae, -a
  • twenty-one each, vīcēnī singulī, vīcēnae singulae, etc.
  • thirty each, trīcēnī, -ae, -a
  • fourty each, quadrāgēnī, -ae, -a
  • fifty each, quīnquāgēnī, -ae, -a
  • sixty each, sexāgēnī, -ae, -a
  • seventy each, septuāgēnī, -ae, -a
  • eighty each, octōgēnī, -ae, -a
  • ninety each, nōnāgēnī, -ae, -a

Distributives 100+

  • 100 each, centēnī, -ae, -a
  • 200 each, ducēnī, -ae, -a
  • 300 each, trecēnī, -ae, a
  • 400 each, quadringēnī, -ae, -a
  • 500 each, quīngēnī, -ae, -a
  • 600 each, sescēnī, -ae, -a
  • 700 each, septingēnī, -ae, -a
  • 800 each, octingēnī, -ae, -a
  • 900 each, nongēnī, -ae, -a
  • 1,000 each, mīllēnī, -ae, -a
  • 2,000 each bīna mīlia
  • 100,000 each centēna mīlia

The Essential AG: 136