A Reader’s Diēgest

Here are a few notes on the Latin for day—diēs.

1. Diēs is a fifth-declension noun.

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 4.34.41 PM(photo credit: Wiktionary)

2. Diēs is typically masculine (like most fifth declension nouns), but is occasionally feminine, especially in fixed phrases and general reference to time or dates.

  • cōnstitūtā diē : on a fixed day
  • longa diēs intervēnit : a long time had passed

3. Diēs is one of only two nouns in the fifth declension that is entirely declined. Rēs is  the other such noun—all other fifth declension nouns are wanting in the plural (or at least the plural genitive, dative and ablative) in extant Latin literature.

The Essential AG: 96, 97, 98a

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Plūrālia Aliēna

The follow is a list of nouns whose standard semantic meaning is altered when the noun is made plural.

  • aedēs, is (f) temple —> aedēs house
  • aqua, ae (f) water —> aquae mineral springs, watering hole
  • auxilium, -ī (n) help —> auxilia auxiliary forces
  • bonum, ī (n) a good —> bona goods, property
  • carcer, -ēris (m) dungeon, prison —> carcerēs race course barriers
  • castrum, -ī (n) fort —> castra military camp
  • comitium, -ī (n) place of assembly —> comitia election
  • cōpia (f) plenty —> cōpiae stores, troops
  • fidēs, -is (f) harp-spring —> fidēs, um lyre
  • fīnis, -is (m) end —> fīnēs boundaries
  • fortūna, -ae (f) fortune —> fortūnae possessions
  • grātia, -ae (f) favor —> grātiae thanks, the Graces
  • hortus, -ī (m) garden —> hortī pleasure-grounds
  • impedīmentum, -ī (n) hindrance —> impedīmenta baggage
  • literra, -ae (f) letter —> litterae literature, epistle
  • locus, -ī (m) place —> locī topics (but loca (n) places)
  • mōs, mōris (m) habit, custom —> mōres character
  • nātālis, -is (m) birthday —> nātālēs descent, origin
  • opera (f) work —> operae day-hands
  • ops, -is (f) help —> opēs resources, wealth
  • pars, -tis (f) part —> partēs stage role, party
  • rōstrum, (n) beak of a ship —> rōstra speaker’s platform
  • sāl (m/n) salt —> salēs (m) witty jokes
  • tabella (f) tablet —> tabellae records

The Essential A & G: 107

Plūrālia Tantum

I’ve discussed this phenomenon in parts in places, but I have never full described the phenomenon of plūrālia tantum—Latin words that appear categorically as plural nouns.

The plūrālia include—

  • names of cities: Athēnae, Thūriī, Philippī, Veiī
  • names of festivals: Olympia, Bacchānālia, Quīnquārtrūs, lūdī Rōmānī
  • names of social classes: optimātēs, maiōres (ancestors), liberī, penātēs, Quirītēs (citizens)
  • words that are plural in nature, like the English ‘jeans, scissor, contents, etc.’: arma, artūs (joints)dīvitiae, scālae (stairs), valvae (folding doors), forēs, angustiae, moenia, dēliciae (beloved), faucēs (throat), īnsidiae (ambush), cervīcēs (neck), viscera (flesh).
  • words that are popular plural poetical tropes: sceptra (for sceptrum), ora (for ōs), silentia (for silentium).

Where these appear in the singular, they often have meanings slightly distinct from their plural forms:

  • Optimās, optimātis: aristocrat
  • Foris, foris: gate

The Essential A & G: 101-2

Imperative of Sciō, Habeō and Meminī

The imperative of sciō is scītō in the singular and scītōte in the future. These are the future forms, but they are used in the present tense.

Even if you’re a whiz and you know that already, it might be a little less where how to use this imperative in a Latin sentence. The Romans don’t appear to have ordered others to do things like ‘know these by heart before Friday’s exam.’ Instead, the imperative of ‘know’ was more often something like ‘rest assured’ or ‘recall,’ confirming or searching for what is already known rather than standing for the imperative ‘learn.’

  • Scītōte vobīs semper deum propitium esse, sī bonīs: Know that the god will always favor you, so long as you are good.
  • Scītō tibi gratiās dābō: trust that I will return the favor.
  • Scītō exemplum tuī patris: recall the example of your father.

This is also true of habeō, where it means understand, and mēminī. 

  • Habētō tibi me nōn irātum esse: realize that I  am not angry with you.
  • Habetōte vostrum finem: know your limits.
  • Mementō ora candentia parentis: recall your mother’s glowing features.

From the examples in Lewis and Short, I cannot be sure, but it appears that the imperatives of sciō will always take a direct object or an infinitive construction, and never the + ablative construction that may appear with other moods of sciō.

The Essential A  & G: 182a.

Irregular Imperatives in Compounds

What you probably know:

Somewhere in Latin class, you likely came across the most common irregular imperatives: dīc, fer, dūc, fac — Speak, Carry, Lead, Do. I repeat them in this order to recreate the mnemonic DFDF, SCLD — Dufus! Dufus! Scold him!, which I was introduced to early on.

What you might not know is whether these irregular forms are maintained within compounds. Indeed, they are, with one exception.

  • Cōnfer haec exempla: compare these examples.
  • Infer tribūtum reditūs foederāle semel in annō: pay your federal income taxes once a year.
  • Eam addūc ut moveat: persuade her to move.
  • Dēdūc maiōrīs verbīs fābulam: expand on your story with more words.
  • Maledīc donec potes: curse them while you still can.

The exception is therefore fac, which is derived from faciō, a verb that more often than not takes its compounds in –ficiō. Such compounds do not display an irregular imperative.

  • Effice tria carmina: complete three poems.
  • Infice regem priusquam cīvēs cōnficiat: poison the kill before he kills the citizens.

If you’d like a refresher on the plurals: cōnferte, addūcite, maledīcite, facīte, efficite, etc.

Also, note that early late features the occasional face, dūce, and dīce (but never fere).

The Essential A & G: 182.

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 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