the noun plebs

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the noun plebs

Post by spqr » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:44 pm

In the book which I use there is a passage combining this noun with a plural verb and the book states " the plural form is used , since the verb implies that the people were individually affected." Is this construction common in Classical Latin and does the reverse occur(plural noun with singular verb) ? Thanks, Paul

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Re: the noun plebs

Post by bedwere » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:53 pm

I can't find any example of such use in L&S:


Does your book provide any? Which book is it?

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Re: the noun plebs

Post by Hylander » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:36 am

Allen & Greenough, 317d:
d. A collective noun commonly takes a verb in the singular; but the plural is often found with collective nouns when individuals are thought of (§ 280. a):—

(1) “senātus haec intellegit” (Cat. 1.2) , the senate is aware of this.
“ad hīberna exercitus redit ” (Liv. 21.22) , the army returns to winter-quarters.
plēbēs ā patribus sēcessit (Sall. Cat. 33), the plebs seceded from the patricians.
(2) “ pars praedās agēbant” (Iug. 32) , a part brought in booty.
“cum tanta multitūdō lapidēs conicerent ” (B. G. 2.6) , when such a crowd were throwing stones.
The example with plebes illustrates the opposite phenomenon--a plural noun with a singular verb--but it works the other way, too. ... 99.04.0001

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Re: the noun plebs

Post by Dantius » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:24 pm

Hylander wrote: The example with plebes illustrates the opposite phenomenon--a plural noun with a singular verb--
I would say it's just the alternate form plebes, -is or plebes, -ei (still singular) rather than a plural noun with a singular verb. See the L+S entry for plebs.

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Re: the noun plebs

Post by Ronolio » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:40 pm

Perhaps we have here the root cause of the conflict of the orders. None could agree on the proper usage of the word. :D

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