General Uses of Ūsus, -ūs

As a (fourth declension masculine) noun, ūsus can adopt a variety of closely-related but powerfully particular meanings:

1. Ūsus + genitive typically refers to the use, exercise or enjoyment of something.

  • ūsus ocūlōrum: eyesight
  • ūsus pectōrālis : push-ups
  • ūsus unguentis: the delights of cologne (I highly recommend getting this at TJ Maxx—half-price!)

2. On its own, ūsus can either refer to ‘exercise’ or ‘wear and tear’

  • Fidēs nōn ad ūsum tendit: the insurance does not cover wear and tear.
  • Musculōsa ūsū cotidiānō exstitit: she became very buff through daily exercise
  • (the more straightforward exercitātiō is more common, at least in my experience)

3. It can also reference a ‘habit’ or social ‘custom’

  • ūsum loquendī populō concessī; scientam mihi reservāvī: I have give up my habit of making speeches to the people, but I have retained my habit of learning (Cicero in old age)
  • populum auctōritāte suā ad ūsum frūgalitātis vocāvit: by his authority, he brought the people to a habit of moderation (Lycurgus)
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The Latin Supine

Formation of the Supine

It’s a rare bit of grammar, but we’re lucky, because it’s simple. It takes one of only four forms:

  • The supine is always a fourth-declension (the -us, -ūs declension) noun, and always appears in the accusative or ablative
  • Moreover, these forms will always have an initial t- or s-, leaving four possible endings: -tum, -sum, -tū, and -sū

The accusatives move with verbs; the ablatives move with adjectives: vēnit spectātum [he came to see]; mirabile dictū [marvelous to tell]

You have the endings, now consider the stems:

  • The supine stem is always identical to the perfect passive participle’s stem
  • amātus: amātum, amātū; rectus: rectum, rectū

Uses of the Supine

As I mentioned just above, there are four forms with two endings, and therefore two uses:

The supine accusatives, -tum and -sum are “used after verbs of motion to express purpose” (AG, 509)

  • nam vēnī dē tumultū te admonitum, quem cum abīrēs linquistī: and I’m here to remind you, of the mess you left when you ran away
  • pārentēs abībit inventum postrīdiē: she leaves tomorrow to find her parents

Not that the supine is a singular accusative, even where it follow a plural verb, or takes a plural object

The supine ablatives, -tū and – are used with a handful of adjectives, as a means of reference 

  • iste senex foedus et visū et olfactū est: that geezer is hard on the eyes and the nose
  • nulla optima via catō deglūbū est: there is no best way to skin a cat

The ablatives may also appears with fāsnefās and opus, again as a means of reference 

  • this is unholy to say: hōc nefās dictū est
  • this letter is a burden to write: literra opus scriptū est. 

The supine ablatives are commonly attached to statements about the senses, or statement denoting easy or difficulty.

Essential AG: 94.b; 509-10

The Locative Case (p1)

My last post left me curious about the precise use and character of the Locative case, so I took to milling around A&G for just about every line I could find on the matter. There’s more than the might imagine for a case so rare–

Let’s start with the formation of the locative case (post 1) and then I’ll search out all the things we can do with it (post 2).

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Formation for First Declension

singular genitive; plural dative

(Rōmae; Athēnīs)

[remember that only place names which are already plural, like Athēnae, will appear with a plural locative]

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Formation for Second Declension

singular genitive; plural dative

[Corinthī; Philippīs]

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Formation for Third Declension

singular dative or ablative (-ī or -e); plural dative

[Carthāginī or Carthāgine; Trallibus]

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Formation for Fourth Declension

The only locative offered by A&G is that for domus, house: it’s either domī or domuī

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Formation of the Fifth Declension

Here, the locative only appears in a few fixed expressions of time, where it always ends in the singular ablative:

hodiē, today; diē quārtō (etc.), on the fourth day; postrīdiē, tomorrow; perendiē, the day after tomorrow; prīdiē, yesterday

Review

1 —> gen/dat; 2 —> gen/dat; 3 —> dat or abl/dat; 4&5 —> just a few words!

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The Essential AG: (scattered, I know) 43c; 49a; 80; 93 n1; 98b

Famous Phrase: in locō parentis [in place the parent]

This is a legal term describing a state of non-parent custody of children; a teacher or your aunt (while you’re staying at her cottage) are in locō parentis figures

Cases and Relations of Place: Homes and Hometowns

Summary of Forms

There are particular rules for relations of place associated with the proper names of (i) cities and (ii) islands, as well as the words (iii) domus and (iv) rūs [the countryside]

  • The place from which uses the ablative 
  • The place to which uses the accusative
  • The place at which uses the locative
  • no prepositions!

Again, this system of relations of place and case forms is distinct from the archetypes discussed in this earlier post.

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Review of the Locative

In the first and second declensions (think Eurōpa and Ephesus), the locative is:

  • identical to the genitive in the singular (Eurōpae, Ephesī)
  • identical to the dative in the plural (Eurōpīs, Ephesīs)

In the third (and I assume fourth and fifth?) declension (think Carthāgō), the locative is:

  • identical to the dative in singular and plural (Carthāginī or Carthāgine, Carthāginibus)

[note the the plural of all these examples are superfluous–plural datives only apply to place names that are already plural, such as Philippī –> Philippīs]

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Place to Which (abl.)

He was absent from Rome: Rōmā abfuit.

He left home yesterday: prīdiē domō abiit.

Place from Which (acc.)

She arrived in Rome on the sixth day: Rōmam sextō diē vēnit.

I will go into the country: rūs ībō.

They will sail from Delos (abl.) to Rhodes (acc.): Dēlō Rhodum nāvigābunt.

Place at Which (loc.)

There are three hundred statues at Samos: Samī trecenta signa sunt.

The temple had been at Athens: Athēnīs aedem erat.

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The Essential AG: 427

Famous Phrase : ūnus papa Rōmae, ūnus portus Ancōnae, ūna turris Crēmōnae, una ceres Rācōnae

(one pope in Rome, one port in Ancona, one tower in Cremona, one beer in Rakovnik)

[motto of the Rakovnik Brewery]

Ok, not so famous, and dripping with neo-Latinisms, but it’s got a lot of locatives!