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Ablative absolute

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Ablative absolute

Postby brookter » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:36 pm

Salvēte amīcī,

I'm trying to get to grips with the ablative absolute and its alternatives. I'm trying to say "having come too near to the Sun, he fell into the sea".

Is Sōle nimis prope accessō, in mare cecidit correct?

However, this is using the passive "sun having been approached" - which I think is right for the ablative absolute, where the ablative phrase can't have the same subject as the main clause. Which construction would you use for the active "having come too near..." when the subject (Icarus) is the same in both clauses?

I thought of using the present participle sōlem nimis prope accedēns in mare cecidit, but strictly speaking, the falling comes after the approaching, not at the same time, so that doesn't seem right.

Many thanks

David
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Re: Ablative absolute

Postby lauragibbs » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:06 pm

Hi David, you are running into one of the odd imbalances in Latin: it has a present active participle, and a perfect passive participle - but it does not have a present passive participle, nor does it have a past active participle. This leads to all kinds of oddities in the world of participial constructions.

It is perfectly okay to say Ad solem nimio accedens, in mare cecidit. There is no perceived problem there with the present participle; Latin "knows" you don't have a choice between a present active and a perfect active participle, so the need for active voice outweighs the question of verbal aspect (participles do not have tense; they only have aspect).

Note that the verb accedo really does like to have the preposition ad: http://athirdway.com/glossa/?s=accedo - that's why you run into trouble trying to use accedo in the passive. This is not really a transitive verb (it prefers a prepositional phrase rather than a direct object). "Sole accesso" really does not make sense as an alternative. "Sole alis tacto" would work - "the sun having been touched by his wings" - so if you felt a compelling need for an ablative absolute, that is what you would need to do I think: Sole alis tacto, in mare cecidit. Or something like that.

But it seems to me there is no need for an ablative absolute there - exactly because Icarus is your focus the whole time: Icarus approaching the sun, Icarus falling.
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Re: Ablative absolute

Postby brookter » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:30 pm

Laura

That makes it a lot clearer - thank you very much.

David
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Re: Ablative absolute

Postby thesaurus » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:35 pm

When you're dealing with deponent verbs, can you just use the perfect participle in a situation like this?
Si hic verbis depontentibus utor, nonne participium perfectum adhibere possum?

Ita, "Ad solem adgressus, Icarus in mare cecidit"?
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Ablative absolute

Postby lauragibbs » Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:46 pm

That is one of the most fascinating things about deponent verbs in Latin: they DO have both participles: aggressus AND aggrediens, mortuus AND moriens, etc. I did not bring that up since I was not sure where Oerberg introduces the deponent verbs (every textbook handles that differently). I tend to think that a big part of the great success of deponent verbs in Latin has exactly to do with the abundance of participles. :-)
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Re: Ablative absolute

Postby brookter » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:58 am

Oerberg has deponent verbs early and often. In fact, the idea of having the past participle of a deponent verb in this circumstance was introduced in the previous chapter (Theseus secūtus fīlum Ariadnae facile exitum labyrinthī repperit).

I didn't actually know a suitable deponent verb, so I was looking for a similar active expression in the OP.

Thanks

David
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