The Locative Case (p2)

Again, I’ve grown curious about the Locative, so now that I’ve discussed how to form it, I’d like to pick through all the ways to use it. A&G have no single section on the case; they drizzle it throughout the grammar.

Where’d It Come From?

Here’s a story of three cases: there were originally the ablative (case from where), the instrumental (case how or by what) and the locative (case whereat).

  • The instrumental and the locative were eventually absorbed, leaving the ablative to denote both instrument and location
  • However, there are still a few handfuls of words which retain an archaic locative
  • Compare it to the way that certain English words (who/whom, he/his/him) still take case endings, despite the near non-existence of visible cases within modern English

Things look trickier with the dative cause. Some argue that dative is directly related to or descended from the locative, where it originally noted the place to which. I’m no master of historical Latin linguistics, so this is all the research I’m going to bother with.

  • Suffice it to say: the locative has a historical relationship with the dative and the ablative

Locative Adverbs

The following adverbs are all archaic locatives: ubi, where; hīc, here; ibi, there; illī, there; peregrī, abroad; prīdiē, yesterday; hōdiē, today; postrīdiē, tomorrow; perendiē, the day after tomorrow

Locative in Apposition

The locative may be placed in apposition to an ablative

  • They halted at Alba, a fortified town: Albae cōnstitērunt, in urbe mūnītā.


Mind and Soul

The archaic animī are mentis are common locatives.

  • Antipho tortures my mind: Antiphō mē excruciat animī.
  • She is in suspense: animī pendet.
  • My mind deceives me: mē animī fallit.
  • I was out of my mind: dēsipiēbam mentis.
  • He is sound of mind and heart: sānus mentis et animī est.

Exhausitve List of Ablative

A&G appears to offer an exhaustive list of all remaining locatives in section 427.3. However, elsewhere they imply that you could make a locative of any word using the basic rules of formation. I don’t know whether Romans did or did not freely form the locative where they needed it (for place names). I’m not sure A&G do either.

The list:

Rōmae, at Rome; Rhodī, at Rhodes; Samī, at Samos; Tīburī/Tībure, at the Tibur; Philippīs, at Philippi; domī/domuī, at home; Athēnīs, at Athens; Lānuvī, at Lanuvium; Cyprī, at Cyprus; Cūribus, at Cures; Capreīs, at Capri; rūrī, in the country; bellī, at war; mīlitae, at war; humī, on the ground; vesperī/vespere, in the evening; forīs, outdoors, animī, in the soul, mentis, in the mind; temperī, at a time; herī/here, yesterday; īnfēlīcī arborī, on the barren tree; terrā marīque, by land and sea

If the list is short a few words, these may be the locative adverbs mentioned above.

But… that’s it? I suppose if you wrote these out five times you would have an entire case memorized.

The Essential AG: (again, scattered) 215.5; 282d; 358; 398; 421; 426.3; 427a

Famous Phrase: nec mē animī fallit quam sint obscūra [nor am I deceived by how dark it is]

Lucretius, Dē Rērum Natūrā 1.922

(he’s discussing the intimidating depth of the universe–a fear which study overcomes)

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Cases and Relations of Place

Summary of Relations of Place

The basic relations of place are: (a) place from which, (b) place to which and (c) place where

  • Place from which : ablative ab, dē, or ex
  • Place to which : accusative + ad or in
  • Place at which : ablative in 

Originally, these were implied by the cases themselves. “The accusative…denoted the end of motion. The ablative… denoted the place from which, and… the place where” (AG, 426). Prepositions exist to add precision.

Forthcoming posts will explore exceptions, variations and precise rules associated with particular nouns. For now, let’s get the basics settled:

Place From Which (ab, dē, ex +abl.)

They came from the north: ā septentriōne vēnērunt.

The sheep descend from the mountain: pecus dē prōvinciā dēscendit. 

The send hostages from Britain: ex Britanniā obsidēs mittunt. 

Place To Which (ad, in + acc.)

They came by night to the river: nocte ad flūmen vēnērunt.

He sails to Africa today: hodiē in Āfricam nāvigat. 

She will send her brother to Italy: fratrem in Ītaliam mittet. 

Place At Which (in + abl.)

She passed her entire life in this city: in hāc urbe tōtam vītam dēgit.

They had remained in Gual: in Galliā remanerant. 

The Essential AG: 426

Famous Phrase: creātiō ex nihiliō [creation from nothing]

Three word summary of the First Cause position in the philosophy of religion, which places this or that divine creator at the head of all creation. For those of you disinterested in the precise tenets of the argument, here’s a brief ‘history‘ of its traces in the ancient world.