More Gentile Suffixes

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:

-ēnus, -īnus, -ās, ēnsis, -cus, -acus, -ācus, -icus, -eus, -ëius, -icius

Let’s look at a few examples of these adjectives in action—

  • Nox serēna mentem quiēvit: a calm night calms the mind. (sērus, -a, -um, late)
  • Officium cīvicum fācite: do your civic duty! (cīvis, -is, citizen)
  • Navis Siciliēnsis in portū visa est: A Sicilian  ship was seen in the port.

Like the suffix -anus, the rest of these can also pan out into nouns as well as adjectives.

  • laniēna, -ae, a butcher’s stall (lanius, -ī, butcher)
  • inquilīnus, -ī, a lodger (incola, -ae, an inhabitant)
  • ruīna, -ae, a collapse (ruō, fall)
  • doctrīna, -ae, learning (doctor, -ōris, teacher)

The Essential AG: 249.1, 249.2, 249.2a

Hedging in Latin

How does one hedge their language in Latin? One option might be a relative clause of characteristic (with the subjunctive!)

  • So far as I know, she never left the house: quod sciam, numquam domum abiit.
  • From what I have heard, he enjoys three cocktails every evening: quod audīverim, tribus mixtīs cotīdiē fruitur.
  • She’s an idiot, at least in my view: stulta est, quō modō videam.

The Essential AG: 535d

The Flavors of Favor

How do you express favor in Latin—what verbs, cases and constructions are on your plate? There are a few basic flavors the favor construction.

The most obvious construction is faveō + a dative object. This verb only rarely appears absolutely (without an object).

  • Do you favor my resources, or those of Caesar: meīs rēbus favētis, aut Caesāris?
  • He prefers the stillness of the evening hours: silentiō noctis favet.

Annuō + dative of person + accusative object usually means ‘to grant + someone + something’ but may also appear as annuō + dative of person and merely mean ‘to favor someone.’

  • She favored the better cause: ratiōnī maiōri annuit.

Adiuvō + accusative ordinarily means ‘aid’ but may in certain oblique cases approach ‘favor.’

  • Favor us with your prayers: nōs precibus adiuvā!

The Essential AG: 367.

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

Minus and Minimē with Negative Force

Minus and minimē are the comparative adverbs meaning less so and least of all. However, in colloquial Latin they typically fill the role of ‘not’ and ‘no.’

  • Sī minus possunt, exeāmus. If they are unable, let us head out.
  • Audācissimus ego tand’ ex omnibus?—minimē. Am I therefore the most outrageous of men? Certainly not.

This effect is also present in in phrases with the subjunctive and quōminus (= ut eō minus).

  • Nōn aetās impedit quōminus agrī colendī studia teneāmus. Age does not prevent us from retaining an interest in tilling the soil.
  • Nihil impedit quōminus id facere possīmus. Nothing prevents us from doing that.

The Essential AG: 558b

Are We Us? — Nouns

The same suffixes—ārius, tōrius, and sōrius—that formed a number of adjectives in this post can also be put to use as nouns with a regular range of meanings. This meaning is often restricted to the gender of the noun formed. Again, these denote a kind of belonging.

-ārius (m.) employee in a particular field

  • argentārius, -ī silversmith, broker
  • coriārius, -ī leather worker
  • Corinthiārius, -ī Corinthian bronze worker (for those not in the know, Corinthian bronze had Gucci bag status in antiquity)
  • mirābiliārius, -ī miracle worker
  • operārius, ī worker, day-laborer

-ārius (f.) thing associated with a particular field

  • aerāria, -ae copper mine
  • argentāria, -ae bank
  • arēnāriae, -ārum sandpits (arēna, sand)
  • Asināria, -ae the play The Ass (with fabula, -ae implied)

-ārium (n.) thing (often a place) associated with a field

  • aerārium, -ī treasury
  • tepidārium, -ī warm bath
  • sūdārium, -ī towel
  • salārium, -ī salary
  • calendārium, -ī notebook (calendae, calends)

-tōria / -sōria (f.) and -tōrium / -sōrium (n.) thing (often a place) associated with a field

  • Agitātōria,ae The Driver by Platus (agitātor, driver, with fabula, -ae implied)
  • auditōrium, -ī lecture room
  • tentōrium, -ī tent (tendō, stretch)
  • tēctōrium plaster (tectus, covered)
  • portōrium toll (portus, harbor)

The Essential AG: 254.1-5

Are We Us? — Adjectives

The adjectival suffixes -ārius, -tōrius, and -sōrius denote belonging to a group qualified by the implied content of the correspond root. Effectively, these adjectives are formed by the addition to -ius to the adjectival root -āris or the nominal root -or. Let’s build a few examples.

  • bellum (war) —> bellātor (warrior) —> bellātōrius, -a, -um (of warriors)
  • pecūlium (property) —> pecūliāris, -e (one’s own) —> pecūliārius, -a,- um (of private property)
  • meritō (to earn) —> meritus (earned) —> [meritor] (earner) —> meritōrius, -a, -um (profitable, esp. related to prostitution)
  • extrā (outside) —> [extrāris, e] (foreign) —> extrārius, -a, -um (of foreigners)

A few things to notice about this pattern: (i) the original base of the adjective can be just about anything—noun, adjective, verb, adverb—but the penultimate word is always a noun or an adjective. That said, (ii) the penultimate noun or adjective is not always extant in Latin; note the [brackets]. Finally, note that (iii) this set of adjectives is often theoretical—rēs bellatōriae (matters of warriors)and rēs extrāriae (matters of foreigners) probably cover half the total appearances of those two adjectives.

The Defective Triumph

The Latin ovāre (to triumph) is defective, but the following examples make an appearance in our extant literature:

  • ovās, ovat
  • ovet
  • ovāret
  • ovāns, ovātūrus, ovātus
  • ovandī

They appear in a few fixed phrases—

  • He entered the city in triumph: ovāns urbem ingrederētur.
  • He revealed the triumphal gold: ovātum aurum dētexit.
  • The allies gathered, triumphant: sociī comitentur ovantēs.

Compare also ovanter ‘exultingly’ and the Greek αύω (αϝύω) ‘increase.’

Well, At Least Try

Two related of clauses of effort take a substantive clause of purpose with ut + subjunctive. They are classed under the general heading of such phrases that denote an action directed toward the future.

  • I will give it my best shot so that you will be satisfied: huic optīmam operam dābō tibi gratum sīs.
  • Let us attempt it now, to spare ourselves later pains: operam nunc dēmus ut postmodo onera vītēmus.
  • I will chew this over tomorrow: huic negōtium dābō postrīdiē.
  • Take care of this matter so that the plants do not die: huic negōtium dāte ne germina excīdant.

Note this alternative construction for operam dare.

  • He made the effort for the sake of learning: operam dedit discēndō. (gerundive clause)

The Essential AG: 505, 505n1, 563