David Andrum salvere iubet*
Andrus wrote:Am I correct assuming that it is an Ablative of separation? (I usually can reach the meaning of the text, but very often can’t define which type of Ablative it is)
The problem with the ablative case - which you will quickly notice as you continue in your study of Latin - is that the labels which we conveniently produce are limited and cannot encompass the subtle differences that sometimes develop between uses. Some verbs take the ablative where we might expect objects - utor
, for instance. Should we say this the ablative of use? Verbs of memory often take the genitive - memini
, etc. Ought this to be called the genitive of memory?
That being said, though, the use to which you refer is probably associated with the ablative of separation. You will have to learn the usage with the associated verb, for instance. Peto
, like postulo
, takes an accusative of object requested and "ab
+ ablative" for the person requested from. Posco
, though, if I remember correctly, takes a double accusative. But
, as you read more Latin, you will discover that there are often multiple options! Consider the expression opus est
, meaning, "there is need of." In my Cassell's dictionary - by no means the most extensive dictionary - here are the possible constructions:
1) with ablative of the thing needed: opus est auctoritate tua
(there is need of your influence)
sometimes with neuter ablative of perfect participle: maturato opus est
(there is need of haste, from maturo
2) with genitive: quanti argenti opus fuit
(there was need of such a great sum of silver)
3) with accusative (Plautus, comedy, thus not a "classical" usage, probably
4) with nominative: dux nobis, et auctor opus est
(we need someone to lead and to make things happen)
5) with infinitive; with passive infinitive; with accusative and infinitive
6) with ut and the subjunctive (Plautus again, thus probably not classical)
You can see how textbooks often simplify the complexities involved! Never fear, though. You don't have to memorize
all of these options. The trick is to gain enough Latin to be able to read with a decent amount of proficiency. By that point, you can pick up the usage yourself, just by reading.
Andrus wrote:Second question, would also be possible to write:
Nōnne Sextus oppidānīs frūmentum postulāuit?
Using Dative case for “oppidānīs” and meaning:
“Didn’t Sextus demanded grain to the townsmen?”
or the postulō verb always take an Ablative?
You could probably use a dative here, but beware of the similarity in form between ablative and dative. I might call this a dative of interest, but it might be more common to use pro
with the ablative case.
*a form of greeting, literally, "David bids Andrus to be well." thanks to Lucus Eques (gratias luco) for this expression