Comparison of Participles (as Adjectives)

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).

  • amans (stem ament-) / amantior, -ius / amantissimus, -a, -um (loving)
  • rabiens (stem rabient-) / rabientior, -ius / rabientissimus, -a, -um (raving)
  • nescitus, -a, -um (stem nescito-) / nescitior, -ius / nescitissimus, -a, -um (ignorant)
  • olfactus, -a, -um (stem olfacto-) / olfactior, -ius / olfactissimus, -a, -um (sniffed)

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.

  • maledicus, -a, -um / maledīcentior, -ius / maledīcentissimus, -a, -um (slanderous)
  • benevolus, -a, -um / benevolentior, -ius / benevolentissimus, -a, -um (well-wishing)
  • māgnificus, -a, -um / māgnificentior, -ius / māgnificentissimus, -a, -um (grand)

The Essential AG: 124a, 127

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Intensified Verb Variants

The verbal stem –essō (rarely -issō) may be grafted onto existing verbs to denote a certain energy or eagerness of action (though not necessarily repetition.)

  • Capiō (take) —> capessō (snatch)
  • Faciō (do) —> facessō (do eagerly)
  • Petō (seek) —> petissō (look frantically for)

Declension of such verbs is usually third declension for present and infinitive, but fourth declension for perfect and supine.

  • Capessō, capessere, capessīvī, capessītum
  • Petissō, petissere, petissīvī, petissītum

This is somehow related to the rare variant of the future perfect stem -āssō.

  • amāssis (for ameris)
  • although these forms are so rare that there’s no complete declension of any one verb in this form in all extant Latin literature, fragmentary appearances suggest that these too would follow the third (present, infinitive) / fourth (perfect, supine) pattern

The Essential AG: 183.5, 263.2b, 236.2bn

Perfect Participles as Present Tense

A few deponent verbs use their perfect participles almost as though they were present indicative verbs.

  • They think the thing is incredible: rem incrēdibilem ratī sunt.
  • He fears a mutiny: sēditiōnem veritus est.
  • She encourages the women: fēmināes cohortāta est.
  • She’s angry: irāta est.

Also with solitus (~is accustomed), arbitrātus (~thinks), ausus (~dares), fīsus (~trusts), secūtus (~follows).

The Essential AG: 491

To Have and Holding, For as Long as You Both Shall Live

In this post, I’d like to differentiate between the three ways that habeō takes a direct object: (a) an accusative, (b) an accusative perfect participle, and (c) an infinitive.

Habeō takes an accusative direct object in the sense of ‘possessing’ that object.

  • I have three sons: trēs fīliōs habeō.
  • She held the scepter: sceptrum habēbat.

Habeō with the perfect participle bears the same sense as ‘habēbat‘ above: possession extended over a period of time.

  • They are holding him in the prison: eum in carcere habent. (right now)
  • They are holding him in prison: eum captātum in carcere habent. (continuous status of incarceration)
  • They have him as a witness: eum teste habent. (at this moment).
  • They have him as a witness: eum testātum habent. (for now, but also for when they might need him)

Habeō with an infinitive completes a construction of purpose.

  • I have much to promise: multum habeō pollicērī.
  • You have work to do: labōrem habēs facere.
  • You must do the work: labōrem habēs facere. (cf. Spanish tener que)

The Essential AG: 460a, 497b

Participle with Verbs of Effecting

Verbs denoting completed action (faciō, indūcōredeō, dō) may take a participle in place of an infinitive of the same verb, rendering the description more forcible:

  • Many did away with their officers: praefectōs suōs multī missōs fēcērunt.
  • Many made their officers leave: praefectōs suōs multī mittere fēcērunt.
  • She will get everything done: trānsactum omne reddet.
  • She will work to complete everything: omne transigere reddet.
  • Don’t make her angry with me: nē mihi incensam dēs.
  • Don’t cause her to begim angry with me: nē mihi illiam incendere dēs.

This effect is frequent with constructions describing the actions of authors:

  • Xenophon presents Socrates disputing: Xenophōn facit Sōcratem disputantem.
  • Plato introduced Alcibiades drunk: Platō indūxit Alcibiādem pōtum.

The Essential AG: 497c

Dative of Agent (2/2)

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.

With Videor

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.

With Probō

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.

The Essential AG: 375

I’ve Had Enough

Perfect Infinitive with Verbs of Feeling

The perfect infinitive used with verbs of feeling denotes a completed action.

  • Nōn paenitēbat intercapēdinem scrībendī fēcisse: It was no pain to take respite from writing.
  • Mē Graecum dixisse pudet: I am ashamed that I spoke Greek.
  • Illīs pira ēdisse iuvat: They’re pleased to have eaten pears

This pattern also holds with phrases like satis est, satis habēre, melius est, and contentus esse.

  • Satis est sōlem vidisse: it is enough to have seen the sun.
  • Quiēsse erit melius: it would have been better to shut up.

In sum, I should not that this is a grammatical preference, not a grammatical rule. You’ll encounter it frequently, especially in the poets, but verbs of feeling and these constructions do not demand the perfect infinitive.

The Essential AG: 486f