Uses of Diēs

Lewis and Short have a different take on the masculine/feminine division of diēs. They claim that diēs is properly masculine, but appears in poetry (metrī gratiā) as a feminine noun to mean ‘day’ in prose to mean ‘time’ or ‘date.’

They pull a number of examples from Ennius, Ovid, Horace and Vergil to support this, but then also lay bare that Julius Caesar (feminine) and Sallust (masculine) use the two genders of diēs for the same phrases. What are your thoughts on this?

Caesar actually uses a variety of diēs phrases:

postridiē eius diē : after that day

diem ex diē dūcere : to lead (troops) day by day

The phrase in diēs is generally translated ‘every day.’ Cf. cotidiē and in diem, which mean roughly the same.

The feminine uses of diēs in prose are generally of a piece: dictā, edictā, cōnstitūtā, praestitūtā, pacta, statā, annuā… you get the idea.

A few more phrases:

  • dicere diem alicuī : to bring a charge against someone (by specifying a court day)
  • diēs natālis : birthday
  • in diem vīvere : to live day-to-day (paycheck-to-paycheck, so to speak—hopefully few of my readers!)

The Latin Dual

Don’t worry—it’s extinct! However, it’s insightful to see that ambō the long ō ending that is characteristic of Greek duals and dual-related adverbs: ἄμφω, δύω, κτλ.

The Essential AG: p.59, ftn.

Position of Inter and Intrā

1. Inter may appear after its corresponding object.

  • rex inter prīmōs cōnsisterat: he was mad a king among equals.
  • mediōs inter hostēs Londinium perrēxit: he pressed on to London amid enemies (enemy ambushes.

2. Except (perhaps?) for metrical purposes, intra will always proceed it’s corresponding object.

  • intrā trēs diēs: within three days
  • intrā lūcem: before the day was done

The Essential AG: 435

Some Idioms with Inter

These aren’t from A&G—I picked them up in the cobweb-covered corners of Lewis and Short. Enjoy!

  • iam tandem paene inter manūs est: at last, it’s finally within reach!
  • inter viam eō: I’m on the way!
  • Haec Toddī inter cēnam rettūlī: I reported these things to Todd at dinner.
  • inter initia architectī gestōrum saepe inter sē distulērunt: during the start-up phase, the founders of the company often quarreled amongst themselves
  • inter hās turbās senātus tamen convēnit: despite these upheavals, the senate convened (inter + accusative… tamen)

The Criminal Inter?

The judicial phrase inter sīcāriōs means ‘on the charge of assassination.’ I’m not sure if this is as general use of inter (neither A&G nor L&S seems to say) but if I may title the ‘criminal inter‘ (from crīmen, charge/accusation) preposition, then consider the following possibilities:

  • inter impudentēs: on the charge of shamelessness
  • inter cinaedōs: on the charge of sodomy

By any and all means, correct me if I’m crazy or defend me if you think I might be on to something. I realize this is speculation; we only have limited textual data to support a theory on either side—it’s really a matter of personal judgment and extrapolation based on our available resources.

The Essential AG: 353.2

Some Inter-esting Distinctions

In my last post, I introduced intra, to which I will now compare and contrast intra, a considerably more common and complex preposition, individuated from intra through the following uses.

1. The et double-accusative.

  • inter mōns et durum: between a rock and a hard place
  • inter tē et mē: between you and me

2. The inter sē construction.

  • inter sē loquuntur: they talk amongst themselves
  • inter se confērunt: they compare amongst themselves

3. The ‘amid’ construction.

  • inter hostium tēla: amid the weapons of the enemies
  • inter imbrim: during the rainfall
  • prīmus inter parēs: the first among equals

4. The temporal ‘while’ construction (with a gerund)

  • inter bibendum: while drinking
  • inter agendum: while carrying forward

The Essential AG: 221.15

Compounds Verbs with Inter-

Inter- can appear as a prefix to verbs (and also to derived nouns, adjectives and adverbs). Where it appears, it often bears one of three general effects on the corresponding base verb—

1. Effect of Intervals

  • interaestuō—to boil slowly (bubble up from time to time)
  • interārescō—to decay (dry up little by little)
  • interdō—to give at intervals
  • interpurgō—to cleanse here and there
  • interbrādō—to scape here and there
  • intersileō—to remain silent in the meanwhile

2. Effect of Insertion

  • intercalō—to insert a day in the calendar
  • intercapiō—to take away (by coming between the object and its possessor)
  • intercēdō—to intervene
  • intercipiō—to intercept
  • interclāmō—to cry aloud amid
  • interfluō—to flow between
  • internascor—to grow among
  • interrogō—to interrogate
  • intersaepiō—to fence in
  • interveniō—to come between

3. Effect of Dissolution

  • intercīdō—to cut up
  • internoscō—to distinguish
  • interpolō—to spoil, corrupt
  • interprīmō—to squeeze or crush to pieces
  • interscindō—to tear asunder
  • interversor—to turn hither and thither

Of course, there is conceptual overlap amid these categories. Interrelations, if you will.