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Use of ab sē, inter aliā

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Use of ab sē, inter aliā

Postby brookter » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:41 am

Salvēte amīcī,

(Lingua Latina, Cap. XXVI)

My tentative answer to the question Quōmodō Daedalus effugere cōnstituit? is

Daedalus ālīs ab sē ipsō cōnfectīs volandō effugere cōnstituit.

However, that ab sē, doesn't feel quite right — it feels as though the wings were made by themselves, rather than by Daedalus, but D is the subject of the clause, isn't he? Unfortunately, I can't think what else I could use - could you help please?

Secondly, I've tried to use the gerund ("flying") and the perfect participle as adjective ("made by") but there are a lot of ablatives in there... Is this permissable / usual style?

Thirdly, word order: given the rule of thumb that the most important element comes first, would a more 'natural' latin response be something on the lines of: Volandō ālīs ab sē ipsō cōnfectīs effugere cōnstituit or something else?

Many thanks

David
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Re: Use of ab sē, inter aliā

Postby lauragibbs » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:22 pm

Hi again David, in classical Latin the reflexive pronoun refers back very strictly to the grammatical subject of the sentence - that is Daedalus. You are exactly right about that! The noun "alis" is the head noun of that phrase, "alis confectis" - but you have to look to the whole sentence, not just the phrase, to find out who the reflexive pronoun refers to. The subject of the sentence is Daedalus, so a se = a Daedalo. That ipso reinforces the connection very nicely: ipso demonstrates that se is masculine singular, not plural (se is very sneaky that way; it can be singular or plural, any gender, but when it is modified by adjectival ipso you get a nice clue about the number and gender). So there is nothing unfortunate about that all, really! It sounds very nice. I think it is the English that is messing you about, since we do not really have a reflexive pronoun in English (that is, a pronoun reserved exclusively for that purpose) as Latin does - so just let the Latin be your guide, and don't let the English distract you.

Your use of volando is great - the gerund is commonly used in Latin, and it is happy to take an ablative complement. You could have even more ablatives if you want: alis a se arte superba manibus cera pennisque confectis - it would get a little silly for stylistic reasons eventually, but grammatically it is fine. :-)
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Re: Use of ab sē, inter aliā

Postby brookter » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:34 pm

Laura

Once again, thank you for the comprehensive reply - I find the way you provide some background to the basic answer is really useful and I very much appreciate it.

David
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