adjective noun agreement

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spqr
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adjective noun agreement

Post by spqr » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:18 pm

In the past I have been asked to provide the full context of my question so here is a very long sentence:

Caesar, quod hostes eqitatu superiores esse intellegebat et, interclusis omnibus itineribus, nulla re ex provincia atque Italia sublevari poterat, trans Rhenum in Germaniam mittit ad eas civitates quas superioribus annis pacaverat, equitesque ab his arcessit et LEVIS ARMATURAE PEDITES qui inter eos pugnare consuerant.

my question concerns the lightly armed foot soldiers- shouldn't it be LEVES ARMATURAE PEDITES? Levis is singular.

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bedwere
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Re: adjective noun agreement

Post by bedwere » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:31 pm

levis is genitive and goes with armaturae. It's the armor that is light, not the soldiers.

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: adjective noun agreement

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:17 pm

bedwere wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:31 pm
levis is genitive and goes with armaturae. It's the armor that is light, not the soldiers.
Here is a good example where the Latin construction is different from what one would expect from the English expression and the translations. Armatūra is a noun, meaning "armament." The English would lead us to expect some sort of adjective or adjective-adverb combination (like leviter armātī, which I doubt ever occurs), but instead we get a purely descriptive genitive, "soldiers of light armament," which English best renders with "light armed soldiers."
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Callisper
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Re: adjective noun agreement

Post by Callisper » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:25 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:17 pm
(like leviter armātī, which I doubt ever occurs)
On the contrary, I am sure it does. Perfectly sound classical Latin.

You may like to think about why Caesar went for genitive, rather than ablative (clarification: two possibilities to consider here - ablative of quality, and ablative as qualifier to "levis"), or indeed "leviter armati".

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: adjective noun agreement

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:55 pm

Callisper wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:25 pm
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:17 pm
(like leviter armātī, which I doubt ever occurs)
On the contrary, I am sure it does. Perfectly sound classical Latin.
Well, I couldn't let that go so I did a search to prove you wrong, and I ended up proving me wrong. I found it once in Seneca's De Beneficiis, and 18 times in Curtius' Alexander.
You may like to think about why Caesar went for genitive, rather than ablative (clarification: two possibilities to consider here - ablative of quality, and ablative as qualifier to "levis"), or indeed "leviter armati".
Well, Caesar definitely prefers using the genitive in this expression. Why do you think he did so? I would say "stylistic preference," but I'm open to a better suggestion.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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