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ablative absolute, or not?

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ablative absolute, or not?

Postby justerman » Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:42 pm

Caesar's Gallic Wars contains the following clause (1.9.2):

ut eo deprecatore a Sequanis impetrarent.

which I translate as: so that, by this intercessor, they might obtain [their desired result] from the Sequani.

I am not sure how I would classify "eo deprecatore"; perhaps an ablative of means. But the notes from J. B. Greenough, Benjamin L. D'Ooge, and M. Grant Daniell, say it's an ablative absolute.

Is this the general view? Why not an ablative of means?

Should I not then expect it to contain a participle (or an inferred participle of sum)?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Re: ablative absolute, or not?

Postby adrianus » Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:05 pm

"that, with him as intercessor [or, if he were intercessor], they might succeed."

Originally, I thought like you "ablative of means". Now I see (A&G, §420.4,5) it's ablative absolute, because it replaces a conditional clause or an accompanying circumstance! Thanks, justerman. Generally, "ab eo" would be ablative of means for a person,—ablative of agent, really.
Priùs, sicut putas, modi ablativum esse id putavi, nunc absolutum esse video (secundum A&G, §419c), quia pro clausulâ conditionalis aut accidenti sequenti stat. Gratias, justerman. "Ab" cum "eo" pro homo plerumquè ablativum modi, immò agentis, significat.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: ablative absolute, or not?

Postby justerman » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:01 am

Thanks adrianus, that's helpful.

I had not thought to translate eo as "with/by him", rather than "with/by this". It now makes sense to supply a participle of sum, to yield "with him being intercessor". (My perhaps immature understanding of ablative absolute needs the construction to contain a participle - written or inferred.)

And I take it that you are saying that, because an ablative of means, when the means is a person, should properly contain ab, there is less justification to treat the phrase as ablative of means, than as ablative absolute. It was the absence of ab that made me uncertain about how to classify the phrase.
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Re: ablative absolute, or not?

Postby adrianus » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:14 am

In a nutshell, justerman.
Nucis in putamen seu summatim seu in pauca id posuisti (quod latinè dico verbosé, seu abundante verbis modo, seu in multa!).
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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