In my last post I covered the basics of comparing regular adjectives. Participles decline as regular adjectives when they are compared, whether they be present active (patiēns, patient) or perfect passive (apertus, open).
A related phenomenon occurs with compound adjectives ending in -dicus, -volus, and -ficus (from dīcō, volō, and faciō). These compounds in fact take the stem of their related present active participle (dīcens, volens, faciens) in place of other endings.
Most grammar textbooks will tell you that the Latin ‘to be’ has only a future active participle. On a practical level, that’s true. However, there is evidence within the Latin language of a lost present active participle. This would have been sōns, sontis. (cf. Greek ὤν).
However, this form is all but lost. We may conjecture that it existed at one time because it is stored in certain adjectives (īnsōns, innocent; absēns, absent, praesēns, present). It also appears in late Latin philosophical terminology (ēns, being; entia, the things which are). However, these were likely designed by intellectuals to reflect the present participle as it would appear, were it in use. Honestly, the same might be true of insōns, etc, but with words that old, we can’t trace their origins properly.
This post considers places where the Dative of Agent invades what would normally be constructions suitable to the Ablative of Agent.
With Passive Perfect Participles
With passive verbs, the Dative of Agent is most common with perfect passive participles, especially when these are virtually adjectival.
It has been deliberated and established by me: mihi dēlīberātum et cōnstitūtum est.
This has been provided for by you: tibi haec prōvīsa est.
The lights have made me dizzy: lūcibus cālīgātus sum.
Note that, with the final expression, lūcibus may be either Dative or an Ablative of Instrument (but not an Ablative of Agent, since there is no ā/ab). In this case, assume it’s an Ablative of Instrument, which is altogether more common, especially with something inanimate like ‘lights.’
– With Passive Verb
The Dative of Agent is not unheard of with standard passive verbs, especially with the poets.
He is not seen by anyone: nōn cernitur ūllī.
He was favored by the nymph: Nymphō fovēbātur.
The construction ‘it seems to x‘ is expressed with videor, vidērī, visus + Dative of Agent.
He seemed to me a horse with wings: mihi equis cum ālīs vidēbātur.
It seemed otherwise to the gods: dīs aliter vīsum est.
It seems to me that you are a slob: sordidus mihi vidēris.
According to AG, probāre takes a Dative of Reference, but it’s so regularly attached that it seems like a Dative of Agent. I’m not sure I buy this, but here’s what they mean:
This view was approved by both him and me: haec sententia et illī et mihi probābātur.
This plan was not approved by the majority: hōc cōnsilium plēris nōn probābātur.