Constructions with Abstineō

Abstaining from an object in Latin can leave you with one of three grammatical constructions, given here in the order of frequency:

  • abstinēre aliquid/sē + ablative of object
  • abstinēre aliquid/sē (absolute)
  • absintēre aliquid/sē + genitive of object (cf. Greek ἀπεχἐσθαι τινός)

Here some examples of how and from what the Romans refrained—

  • virgō nuptā abstinet — virgins abstain from marriage
  • vir sapit quī urbis rēbus abstineat — the wise man holds off from politics
  • mē ostreīs et muraenīs facile abstinēbam — I easily abstained from oysters and eels — Cicero, Ad Familiārēs 7.26 (they make him nauseated)
  • mihi abstinē invidere! — don’t bother pitying me!
  • animum coluit abstinentem pecūniae — she cherished a frugal mind

Hold the Quam, Please

The comparatives plūs, minus, amplius, and longius may be seen operating without the use of quam while performing the same semantic work. Generally, these operate with a measure or number and no change in case.

  • Plūs septigentī captī sunt. More than seven hundred were taken.
  • Plūs teriī parte interfectā, nos perditī esse putāvimus, With more than one-third slain, we thought ourselves done for.
  • Aditus in lātitūdinem nōn amplius ducentōrum pedum relinquēbātur. An approach of not more than two hundred feet in width was left. (Genitive of measure.)

The Essential AG: 407c

Genitive of Friendship

Yeah, I made that genitive up, but only to describe a real phenomenon in Latin! Some adjectives of likeness, nearness, and belonging that normally take the dative will occasionally take a possessive genitive. This transition is especially common where the adjective approaches the force of a noun.

  • Fuit hōc quondam proprium populī Rōmānī: this was once peculiar to the Roman people. (~a peculiar trait of)
  • Fuit semper amīcus Cicerōnis: he was always friendly with Cicero. (~a friend of)
  • Adeō patris similis es: you’re just like your master. (~a chip off the old block)

Here’s the full list of adjectives that perform this function—

  • aequālis,  aequāle: of the same age (~a contemporary of)
  • affīnis, affīne: related to by marriage (~kinsman of)
  • aliēnus, -a, -um: belonging to another (~a stranger to)
  • cōgnātus, -a, -um: fellow-born (~kinsman of)
  • commūnis, commūne: common to (~kinsman of)
  • cōnsanguineus, -a, -um: sharing a bloodline (~kinsman of)
  • contrārius, -a, -um: opposite (~the opposite of)
  • dispār: unlike (dispar suī, in philosophical diction)
  • familiāris, familiāre: of close relation (~intimate of)
  • fīnitimus, -a, -um: adjoining (~neighbor of)
  • inimīcus, -a, -um: hostile to (~enemy of)
  • necessārius, -a, -um: connected with (~component of)
  • pār: equal to (~a match)
  • pecūliāris, pecūliāre: personal (~peculiar trait of)
  • propinquus, -a, -um: neighboring (~neighbor of)
  • proprius, -a, -um: personal (~peculiar trait of)
  • sacer, sacra, sacrum: holy (~holy with respect to some deity)
  • similis, simile: alike to (~spitting image of)
  • superstes: surviving (~survivor of)
  • vīcīnus, -a, -um: neighboring (~neighbor of)

Note that this genitive construction is actually more common for proprius, -a, -um than the dative construction.

Similis with the genitive is especially common with personal pronouns (meī, tuī, suī) and within the fixed phrase vērī similis (probable).


I-Stems: Mixed I-Stems [5/8]

In my opinion, A&G make too big a fuss over mixed i-stems, which are essentially a broad class of nouns that usually feature a genitive plural in -ium and might feature an accusative plural in -īs, but are otherwise regular third declension nouns.

Here are five of their six morphological classes, along with all the examples they offer. (I’m excluding 71.4 because it’s ridiculous that they’ve placed it there at all):

1. Nouns in (n.) -ēs, (g.) -is.

  • acīnacēs, -is (m.) scimitar
  • aedēs, -is (f.) temple
  • aciēs, -is (f.) point, battle line
  • caedēs, -is (f.) slaughter
  • cautēs, -is (f.) crag
  • clādēs, -is (f.) destruction
  • compāgēs, -is (f.) structure
  • contāgēs, -is (f.) sense of touch
  • famēs, -is (f.) hunger
  • fēlēs, -is (f.) cat
  • fidēs, -is (f.) faith, trust, loyalty, reputation, etc.
  • indolēs, indolis (f.) inborn quality
  • lābēs, labis (f.) fall, destruction
  • luēs, luis (f.) liquid water
  • mēlēs, mēlis (m/f.) marten, badger
  • mōlēs, mōlis (f.) mass, bulk
  • nūbēs, nūbis (m/f.) cloud
  • palumbēs, palumbis (m/f.) dove
  • prōlēs, prōlis (f.) shoot, offspring, descendants
  • prōpāgēs, prōpāgis (f.) shoot, offspring, descendants
  • pūbēs, pūbis (f.) young man
  • sēdēs, sēdis (f.) seat, office
  • saepēs, saepis (f.) hedge, fence
  • sordēs, sordis (f.) filth
  • strāges, strāgis (f.) overthrow, destruction
  • struēs, struis (f.) pile
  • subolēs, subolis (f.) shoot, offspring, descendants
  • tābēs, tabis (f.) decline, decay
  • torquēs, torquis (f.) necklace
  • tudēs, tudis (m.) hammer
  • vātēs, vātis (m/f.) prophet
  • vehēs, vehis (f.) cart-load (quantity)
  • veprēs, vepris  (m.) bramble-bush
  • verrēs, verris (m.) boar
  • vulpēs, vulpis (f.) fox

2. All monosyllable nominatives in -s or -x preceded by a consonant.

  • ars, artis (f.) skill, art, technique
  • pōns, pontis (m.) bridge
  • arx, arcis (f.) fortress

3. On the following monosyllable nominatives in -s or –x preceded by a vowel.

  • dōs, dōtis (f.) dowry
  • fraus, fraudis (f.) deceit, fraud
  • glīs, glīris (m.) dormouse
  • līs, lītis (f.) case, quarrel
  • mās, māris (m.) male
  • mūs, mūris (m/f.) mouse
  • nix, nivis (f.) snow
  • nox, noctis (f.) night
  • strix, strigis (f.) channel, furrow
  • vīs, vis (f.) force

4. Polysyllable nominatives in -ns or -rs.

  • cliēns, -entis (m.) client, follower
  • cohors, -ortis (m.) companion

This does not apply to all present active participles!

5. Patrials (nouns denoting birth, class, abode) in -ās and -īs.

  • Arpīnās (Arpīnātēs)… Aprīnātium
  • Optimās (Optimātēs)… Optimātium
  • Penās (Penātēs)… Penātium
  • Quirīs (Quiṝitēs)… Quiritium

The (very much non-)Essential AG: 71-2


I-Stems: Neuter Exceptions [4/8]

So, unfortunately, I stated earlier that the neuter i-stem class is entirely regular. In fact, a footnote in A&G reveals about ten exceptions.

These nouns are almost regular, except that with consonantal stems –al and –ar they also add the ending -e to the nominative and accusative singular. Note that because of this ending, the -ā- is long in all cases.

Where the singular is uncommon or does not exist, I have used the plural.

  • alveāre, alveāris, beehive
  • augurāle, augurālis, augur’s staff
  • capillāre, capillāris, pomade
  • cochlearē, cochleāris, spoon
  • collāre, collāris, collar
  • dentālia, dentālium, sharebeam of a plow (What?)
  • fōcāle, fōcālis, cravat (What?)
  • nāvāle, nāvālis, dock
  • penetrāle, penetrālis, inner shrine
  • rāmālia, rāmālium, twigs
  • scūtāle, scūtālis, thong of a sling
  • tibiālia, tibiālia, shin-length stockings

The Essential AG: 68n2


I-Stems: Neuter Exemplāria [3/8]

In this post, I want to expand on a footnote in A&G, which lists a whole herd of neuter i-stems, but then offers them no definitions.

Sample i-Stem neuters:

(if given in the plural, singular is rare or non-existent)

in -al

  • animal, animālis, animal
  • Bacchānal, Bacchānālis, Bacchanalian orgy
  • bidental, bidentālis, sacred space struck by lightening
  • capital, capitālis, capital punishment
  • cervīcal, cervīcālis, pillow, cushion
  • cubital, cubitālis, elbow cushion
  • frontālia, frontālium, frontlet of a horse (What the hell is that?)
  • genuālia, genuālium, leggings
  • Lupercal, Lupercālis, cave on the Palatine Hill
  • minūtal, minūtalis, stew
  • puteal, puteālis, structure surrounding the mouth of a well
  • spōnsālia, spōnsālium, wedding
  • quadrantal, quandrantālis, unit of liquid measure (a cubic (Roman) foot)
  • toral, torālis, valance of a couch (What the hell is that?)
  • vectīgal, vectīgālis, tax

in -ar

  • altāria, altārium, fittings for burnt offerings (also, apparently now a Pokemon… *nostalgia*)
  • cochlear, cochleāris, spoon
  • exemplar, exemplāris, example, standard
  • lacūnar, lacūnāris, paneled ceiling (example)
  • laquear, laqueāris, (also) paneled ceiling
  • lūcar, lūcāris, actor’s fee
  • lūminār, lūmināris, window shutter
  • lupānar, lupānāris, brothel
  • palear, paleāris, dewlap (What the hell is that?)
  • plantāria, plantārium, sandals
  • pulvīnar, pulvināris, couch for image of deity
  • Sāturnālia, Sāturnālium, optimo diērumCatullus 14.15
  • speculāria, speculārium, window panes
  • tālāria, tālārium, winged sandals of Hermes
  • torcular, torculāris, wine press

The Essential AG: 68n1


I-Stems: Neuter Declension [p2/8]

As A&G note, “The i-stem was confused by even the Romans themselves.” There are a variety of variations with this stem present in all three grammatical genders, making it incredibly difficult to organize the data except in broad patterns and rote memorization. To that effective, I’m going to design a series of posts on the i-stem declension.

The basic neuter i-stem declension takes the stem (mari-) and converts the final i- to an e- in the nominative and accusative singular.

mare, maris (n.) sea

Picture 3

sedīle, sedīlis (n.) seat

Picture 4(photo credit: Wiktionary).

In this basic output, the neuter i-stem is far more regular than its masculine and feminine counterparts:

  • Nominative and accusative singular: -e
  • Ablative singular:
  • Nominative and accusative plural: -ia
  • Genitive plural: -ium

These are all regularized and there are no exceptions…except for the majority of nouns in the neuter i-stem declension, which don’t decline like this at all. Most neuter i-stem nouns have a consonantal base in -al or -ar, which is retained in all morphological forms. This causes only one change: these forms are animal, animalis, and not *animale, animalis. Everything else remains the same.

tribūnal, tribūnālis (n.) judge’s platform

Picture 5

There’s one feature that Wiktionary fails to capture in this chat. The -a- at the end of the stem is short in the nominative and accusative singular, but along everywhere else (see my lexical entry above). This is true of all i-stem nouns ending in –al or -ar.

calcar, calcāris (n.): spur

Picture 6

(Here they got the -a- right. Go figure.)

There you have it! The neuter i-stem declension. It’s fairly regular; it merely entails a large quantity of regular rules.

The Essential AG: 68-9