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The case of Agamemnon

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The case of Agamemnon

Postby Interaxus » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:03 am

In Legends of Gods and Heroes (Morton) I read the following sentences:

Clytaemnestra, uxor Agamemnonis, iram acerbam in maritum suum fovebat.
C, A's wife, cherished a bitter hatred against her husband

Ferebatur Agamemnon novis nuptiis studere.
It was reported that A desired a new marriage

(Clytaemnestra) Agamemnonem, nihil fraudis suspicantem, in balneo inermem occidit.
C killed the unarmed A, suspecting no treachery, in his bath

WHY, in the second sentence, IS Agamemnon NOT ACCUSATIVE? Is it not an accusative + infinitive construction? :?

Cheers,
Int
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Re: The case of Agamemnon

Postby Alatius » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:13 am

Check your dictionary: feri is personal, and takes nom. c. inf. (Jmf. svenska: "Han sades...", ej *"Det sades honom..." ) In other words, "Agamemnon" is the subject of "ferebatur".
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Re: The case of Agamemnon

Postby benissimus » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:07 am

I tend to view it this way: where English prefers "It was said that Agamemnon desired...", Latin prefers the construction "Agamemnon was said to desire..."
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Re: The case of Agamemnon

Postby Superavi » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:56 am

I could easily be wrong on this, but if that was the case , benissimus, wouldn't the sentence then be reported speech and need the second verb in the subjunctive?
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Re: The case of Agamemnon

Postby timeodanaos » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:36 pm

Verbs that demand accusative with infinitive in the active voice, demand nominative with infinitive in the passive.

Sjöstrand §218:Sjöstrand §218: Infinitiv står som fyllnadsbestämning till passiva former av vissa verba dicendi, sentiendi och voluntatis, som i aktivum styra ack. m. inf. Satsen Romulus Romam condidisse dicitur "Romulus säges ha grundlagt Rom" motsvaras av Dicunt Romulum Romam condidisse "Man sägar att Romulus grundlade Rom". Då subjektsackusativen i den senare satsen blir subjekt i den förra och infinitiven bibehålles, kallas konstruktionen nominativ med infinitiv. Subjektiv predikatsfyllnad och den böjliga delen av sammansatt infinitiv stå i nominativ. - Fri översättning är ofte önskvärd.

I would have quoted Madvig, but I take it Swedes prefer Swedish :p
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Re: The case of Agamemnon

Postby Interaxus » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:16 am

Here’s a late thankyou for the prompt resolution of my problem.

Yes, Alatius, my Latin-Swedish dictionary has this example under ’feri’: ’is regem interemisse fertur’ – ’han lär ha dödat’ (for non-Swedish speakers: ’he is said/supposed/believed to have killed’ (the king)). Much like your example, Benissimus ("Agamemnon was said to desire...").

As a matter of interest, Lewis & Short has:

c. (See Zumpt, Gram. § 607.) Dicor, diceris, dicitur, with nom. and inf., it is said that I, thou, he, etc.; or, they say that I, thou, etc.

and it quotes Horace (Ode 3.30): ‘dicar.../ princeps Aeolium carmen ad Italos / deduxisse modos’ (I’ll be declared the first to have imported Aeolian song to Italic verse’). That gives me an extra handle on an old favourite. :)

Timeodaneos: thanks for the Sjöstrand tip. My only Swedish grammar up to now has been Tidner (it too takes up the Nom. & Infin. so I have no excuse). I’ve now acquired a Sjöstrand (seemingly the last copy available on the Net). It’s a beaut! More comprehensive than Tidner. Is Madvig even better? And who’s that Zumpt fellow? Speaking of nationalities, I confess I’m an expat. English, actually.

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