Genitive usage in Catullus

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vir litterarum
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Genitive usage in Catullus

Post by vir litterarum » Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:37 am

praeterea nullo colitur sola insula tecto,
nec patet egressus pelagi cingentibus undis.
nulla fugae ratio, nulla spes:
Catullus 64. 184-186

What usage of the genitive is "fugae"? It does not seem like it can be objective because "ratio" is not a noun of agency in this instance.

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Re: Genitive usage in Catullus

Post by Cthos » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:11 am

vir litterarum wrote:praeterea nullo colitur sola insula tecto,
nec patet egressus pelagi cingentibus undis.
nulla fugae ratio, nulla spes:
Catullus 64. 184-186

What usage of the genitive is "fugae"? It does not seem like it can be objective because "ratio" is not a noun of agency in this instance.
I've been tossing this about in my head for about 20 minutes, and I think the objective genitive is probably the best bet in this case. Objective genitives can be triggered by nouns of action and feeling as well, which you kind of have to fudge to get 'ratio' into that category but since it can mean 'judgement, reason, number, sum, method, (etc)' in English, I suspect it can be used as an 'action' noun and thus take an objective genitive. (So: 'No method for flight')

The other possibility is a partitive genitive, which would be taking fugae as a part of 'nulla ratio' which I can't seem to get to work right in my head, but it could work because nullus tends to trigger the partitive genitive, though I don't think that is how it is working in this case.

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Post by Iulianus » Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:20 am

Meo arbitrio we're dealing with a genetivus explicativus; it defines the 'ratio' in a more detailed manner.
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Post by Cthos » Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:38 pm

Iulianus wrote:Meo arbitrio we're dealing with a genetivus explicativus; it defines the 'ratio' in a more detailed manner.
Credo te veritatem dicere. It makes sense that way. Edit: Though, upon further thought, i think that the objective genitive is the better way to go in this instance. It could also be a dative of purpose.

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Post by Chris Weimer » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:13 pm

Iulianus wrote:Meo arbitrio we're dealing with a genetivus explicativus; it defines the 'ratio' in a more detailed manner.
I can't see any reason to disagree with this? Looks obvious to me.

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Post by Cthos » Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:56 pm

Chris Weimer wrote:
Iulianus wrote:Meo arbitrio we're dealing with a genetivus explicativus; it defines the 'ratio' in a more detailed manner.
I can't see any reason to disagree with this? Looks obvious to me.
You're probably right. The reason is that I ran it by one of my professors, who suggested objective genitive as well, and it's fun to think about. :D

Cheers!

vir litterarum
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Post by vir litterarum » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:15 am

Meo arbitrio we're dealing with a genetivus explicativus; it defines the 'ratio' in a more detailed manner.
You are thinking of Greek usages of the genitive: The explanatory genitive exists in Greek, but I do not think it does in Latin. Looking through A&G, at least, I see no listing of this usage.

I understand why everyone is saying it must be objective, but, no matter how I try to interpret the phrase, there is no logical way I can reconstruct it to make "flight" an object of "method." What action or feeling does this noun represent?

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Post by Cthos » Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:48 am

vir litterarum wrote: I understand why everyone is saying it must be objective, but, no matter how I try to interpret the phrase, there is no logical way I can reconstruct it to make "flight" an object of "method." What action or feeling does this noun represent?
I think the problem is in English. Ratio has so many varied meanings, it probably has some kind of underlying concept which has been lost on us in English. Atleast that is my cop-out answer :)

On another note, I found a similar usage in Caesar, De Bello Civili Liber III, 73.1 :
Caesar ab superioribus consiliis depulsus omnem sibi commutandam belli rationem existimavit.
Doesn't really help though. Just thought it was interesting.

Cheers.

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Post by ingrid70 » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:25 am

vir litterarum wrote:
Meo arbitrio we're dealing with a genetivus explicativus; it defines the 'ratio' in a more detailed manner.
You are thinking of Greek usages of the genitive: The explanatory genitive exists in Greek, but I do not think it does in Latin. Looking through A&G, at least, I see no listing of this usage.
I didn't check A&G, but my Dutch Latin grammar has the genetivus explicativus with examples like these:

virtutem continentiae non habet
triste est nomen servitutis
praemium pecuniae ei dabo.

It is in the normal print of the grammar, not the small print.

Fwiw,
Ingrid

Edit:I did check A&G, they call it 'appositional genitive', it's in section 343.

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Post by Iulianus » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:36 am

vir litterarum wrote:
Meo arbitrio we're dealing with a genetivus explicativus; it defines the 'ratio' in a more detailed manner.
You are thinking of Greek usages of the genitive: The explanatory genitive exists in Greek, but I do not think it does in Latin. Looking through A&G, at least, I see no listing of this usage.
Actually, no. Consider the following examples: vox libertatis, poena mortis. Which genitives would you venture to call these? All Dutch and German grammars I've used have included the usage of genitivus explicativus sive epexegeticus, along with citing the examples I just wrote.

Bennet's grammar calls it the 'appositive genitive', citing the example of 'poena mortis'. A&G call it the 'genitive of specification'.

Edit: Ingrid was right about the A&G reference, the 'genitive of specification' is used with adjectives, not nouns (like Vir litterarum pointed out below).
Last edited by Iulianus on Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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vir litterarum
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Post by vir litterarum » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:51 pm

The predicate genitive and the genitive of specification are two different usages. The genitive of specification is only used only with adjectives (A&G 349 d.). The predicate genitive is the possessive genitive linked with another noun by means of a verb (A&G 343 b.). None of these fit "ratio fugae," for "ratio" is a substantive, and certainly "fugae" is not possessive.

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Post by Cthos » Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:04 pm

vir litterarum wrote:The predicate genitive and the genitive of specification are two different usages. The genitive of specification is only used only with adjectives (A&G 349 d.). The predicate genitive is the possessive genitive linked with another noun by means of a verb (A&G 343 b.). None of these fit "ratio fugae," for "ratio" is a substantive, and certainly "fugae" is not possessive.
Well, if we want to side-step the whole issue, we can take it as a dative of purpose (A&G 382.2). :D

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Post by vir litterarum » Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:48 pm

I think that is the only possibility.

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