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!)
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Cases and Relations of Place

Summary of Relations of Place

The basic relations of place are: (a) place from which, (b) place to which and (c) place where

  • Place from which : ablative ab, dē, or ex
  • Place to which : accusative + ad or in
  • Place at which : ablative in 

Originally, these were implied by the cases themselves. “The accusative…denoted the end of motion. The ablative… denoted the place from which, and… the place where” (AG, 426). Prepositions exist to add precision.

Forthcoming posts will explore exceptions, variations and precise rules associated with particular nouns. For now, let’s get the basics settled:

Place From Which (ab, dē, ex +abl.)

They came from the north: ā septentriōne vēnērunt.

The sheep descend from the mountain: pecus dē prōvinciā dēscendit. 

The send hostages from Britain: ex Britanniā obsidēs mittunt. 

Place To Which (ad, in + acc.)

They came by night to the river: nocte ad flūmen vēnērunt.

He sails to Africa today: hodiē in Āfricam nāvigat. 

She will send her brother to Italy: fratrem in Ītaliam mittet. 

Place At Which (in + abl.)

She passed her entire life in this city: in hāc urbe tōtam vītam dēgit.

They had remained in Gual: in Galliā remanerant. 

The Essential AG: 426

Famous Phrase: creātiō ex nihiliō [creation from nothing]

Three word summary of the First Cause position in the philosophy of religion, which places this or that divine creator at the head of all creation. For those of you disinterested in the precise tenets of the argument, here’s a brief ‘history‘ of its traces in the ancient world.

Comparison of Gerund and Gerundive (Ablative)

Summary of Comparison

The gerundive, or perfect passive participle, is a verbal adjective, which conveys a sense of necessity, obligation or propriety

  • The gerundive may appear in any case, according to its corresponding noun

The gerund is a type of gerundive, appearing only the oblique (non-nominative) cases, used substantial as a verbal noun

  • This use of the gerundive, always neuter singular, is comparable to the English gerund, which ends in -ing

For a more basic discussion of gerunds and gerundives, see the articles on ‘Gerunds’ and ‘Gerundives’ elsewhere in this blog

 

Gerunds and Gerundives with the Ablative

The ablative of gerunds and gerundives has three purposes: (1) as an ablative of manner, means, or cause, (2) after comparatives, (3) after certain prepositions

In each use, the gerund and gerundive have similar frequencies

These ablatives may take a direct object, but they do so rarely

 

Ablative of Manner, Means and Cause

  • He persuades by large promises: multa pollicendō persuādet. (gerund)
  • She is equal to any man in speaking Latin: Latīnē loquendō cuivīs pār est. (gerund)
  • He revealed by reading these very things: hīs ipsīs legendīs ostendābat. (gerundive)

With Comparatives

  • No duty is more important than repaying favors: nūllum officium referendā grātiā magis necessārium est. (gerundive)
  • He enjoys reading more than writing: legendō magis quam scrībiendō fruitur. (legendō is abl. with fruor, describing manner) (gerund)

After Prepositions

  • These prepositions are ab, dē, ex, in and prō 
  • I want to be employed in conducting affairs: in rē gerendā versārī volō (gerundive)
  • She spoke of mourning: lugendō orābat. (gerund)

 

The Essential AG: §507

 

Famous Phrase: castigat rigendō mōrēs. (one corrects custom through laughter)

[neo-Latin phrase coined by the French poet Jean de Santeul]

 

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