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

Verbs with Rare Dative Uses

Verbs Taking the Dative (p5/7)

To be honest, I’m not sure why these were offered as a set in Allen and Greenough. There are a few common ties between this or that verb, but nothing to make them a set. The grammar also re-listed studeō, which was already listed on the previous page.

Some of the these verbs have a more common meaning that takes some other case (grātulor, plaudō, probō, excello), but grātificor, nūbō and supplicō are stand-alone dative verbs

Verbs with Irregular Dative Uses

  • We will oblige her request: eius postulatiōnī grātificābimur.
  • Let us congratulate the married couple: coniugiō grātulēmur!
  • They will marry the Cretans: Crētensibus nūbent.
  • But who would marry my daughter: sed quī meae filiae nūbat?
  • She approved the dancers: saltātōribus plausit.
  • She convinces the judges: iudicibus probat.
  • The witch refused to supplicate the king: praecantrix rēgī nōluit supplicāre.
  • She surpassed the king in wisdom: sapientiā rēgī excelluit. 

Exceptions and More Common Case Usage

  • Grātulor often takes + abl
  • Plaudō, where it means ‘to strike, beat,’ takes an acc.
  • Probō more often means ‘to prove, show, demonstrate or test, and takes an acc.
  • Note the a synonym of supplicō, obsecrō, takes an acc.
  • Excellō also means ‘to elevate, raise’ and takes an acc.

Verb Summary

  • Grātificor, grātificārī, grātificātus sum: to gratify, oblige
  • Grātulor, grātulārī, grātulātus sum: to congratulate, rejoice for
  • Nūbō, nūbere, nūpsī, nūptum: to marry, wed
  • Plaudō, plaudere, plausī, plausum: to applaud, approve, or (w/ acc.) to beat, strike
  • Probō, probāre, probāvī, probātum: to convince, or (w/ acc.) to test, prove, show
  • Supplicō, supplicāre, supplicāvī, supplicātum: to pray, supplicate, beg
  • Excellō, excellere, excelluī, (no passive): to surpass

The Essential AG: 368.3

Famous Phrase:

‘sic solitus: ‘populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo /

ipse domi, simul ac nummos contemplor in arca”

(Thus he [the miser] says, “the people hiss at me, yet at home

I praise myself, and so too the wealth I watch in my chest.”)

-Horace, Satires, 1.1

dative_verbs5b.pdf