In my last post, I introduced what Allen and Greenough refer to as ‘gentile’ adjectival suffixes—these relate the idea of ‘relating to’ or ‘pertaining to’ or ‘belonging to’. -ānus performs this function, but so do a host of similar suffixes:
A number of adjectival endings denote what Allen and Greenough refer to as a ‘gentile’ relationship—demonstrating ‘relation to’ or ‘belonging to’ the corresponding class of nouns. One of these is -ānus, -a, -um.
montānus, -a, -um, of mountains (mōns, montis, mountain)
veterānus, -a, -um, of veterans (vetus, veteris (adj), old)
antelūcānus, -a, -um, before daylight (ante lūcem, before light)
Rōmānus, -a, -um, Roman (Rōma, -ae, Rome)
Sullānī, -ōrum, of Sulla’s veterans (Sulla, -ae, Sulla)
Some of these derived adjectives have furthermore been transformed to new nouns.
Silvānus, -ī, Silvanus, a woodlands deity (silva, -ae, the wood)
There is a certain kinship between Greek and Latin (a) comparative and (b) superlative forms, as well as between (c) a particular branch of Latin positive adjectives and Greek comparatives.
To recall your knowledge of positives, comparatives, and superlatives in each language, let’s view a few examples:
Dark, darker, darkest
niger, nigrior, nigerrimus
μέλας, μελάντερος, μελάντατος
Big, bigger, biggest
magnus, maior, maximus
μέγας, μείζων, μεγίστος
Dear, dearer, dearest
cārus, cārior, cārissimus
φίλος, φιλότερος, φιλότατος
Sweet, sweeter, sweetest
suavis, suavior, suavissimus
ἡδύς, ἥδιος, ἥδιστος
I struggle here to explain the precise interrelations between the various forms above, because A&G are quite tight-lipped about the matter (everything in this post is drawn from two far-disparate footnotes). However, we see a certain kinship between:
the Latin comparative (n.) -ius [e.g. nigrior (m/f), nigrius (n)] and the Greek -ίων [e.g. μείων (smaller, less)]
the Latin superlative –issimus [suavissimus] and the Greek -ιστος [ἥδιστος]
(these ^^ are also both relative to the English superlative [e.g. sweetest])
the Latin positive –ter (ater, atra, atrum) and the Greek -τερος (φιλότερος)
I think that last one is a bit of a stretch, so don’t shoot the messenger (of AG 214bn), but shoot me a comment if you disagree either with their claim or with my reading of their claim, and explain why.