Ablative of place without preposition?

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Propertius
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Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Propertius » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:05 am

I learned that the ablative of place always uses a preposition. Yet in this sentence of Ch. XL of Orberg’s Roma Aeterna it doesn’t have a preposition.

Qualis hospes tectis nostris successit

Unless it’s not an ablative of place? It looks like it is to me though. And if it is, why doesn’t it have a preposition?

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by bedwere » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:19 am

It's dative. See suc-cēdo in L&S, which has some unambiguous examples.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Propertius » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:20 am

My God! You’re right! I had also just begun to use that word in my composition exercises today (cedere, not succedere; nearly the same thing though, right? Cedere is the parent word of succedere, right?). But I did do that reading lesson from Orberg’s last night. Anways, thank you.

Maximas gratias tibi ago.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by bedwere » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:33 am

Right: sub + cēdo = succēdo.

Cedant arma togae. :D

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Propertius » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:08 am

By the way, now that we’re on the topic of the Ablative, I had a question on another sentence of the same chapter of Orberg’s Roma Aeterna. It’s just a few sentences down from the one I first asked of. Here it is:

postquam primus amor me morte fefellit (a phrase within a sentence rather, not a sentence).

Now I know that I’m not mistaken that morte is in the Ablative here. What type of Ablative though?

And it seems I have two questions pertaining to this phrase. Would this be a correct translation of it:

After my first love deceived me with death.

How is that suppose to make sense? Is morte fefellit suppose to be some kind of idiom that means something else?

Or would this translation be better:

After my first love failed me with death.

That doesn’t really make sense to me either. It’s as if Dido is saying that it’s her first husband’s fault that he got murdered by her brother. Rather a selfish woman if that’s what she means.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Aetos » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:42 am

This is from Book 4, line 17 of the Aeneid. In my copy of the Aeneid, the line reads:
postquam primus amor deceptam (instead of me) morte fefellit . Deceptam is taken with morte (mocked by death)
Here is Page's translation:
"Since my first love betrayed me mocked by death". I don't think she's blaming her husband. What she's saying is that her hopes for happiness died with the death of her husband.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by seneca2008 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:56 am

Propertius wrote:After my first love failed me with death.

That doesn’t really make sense to me either. It’s as if Dido is saying that it’s her first husband’s fault that he got murdered by her brother. Rather a selfish woman if that’s what she means.
The original line from Virgil makes is perhaps easier to understand: "postquam primus amor deceptam morte fefellit". So the sense is that Sychaeus "turning traitor, cheated me by death". (As the Loeb puts it its not a literal translatio). Don't forget its a poetic line, Dido does not mean literally that it is Sychaeus's fault he was killed. She expresses herself in this way because she is torn and excited by her new passion for Aeneas but wary of having been hurt by the death of her husband which in the language of love can be characterised as a betrayal. It reminds me of Schumann's Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz gethan" from "Frauen-Liebe und Leben" (text Chamiso).

Edit: cross post but I might as well leave it her

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Aetos » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:40 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:56 am
It reminds me of Schumann's Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz gethan" from "Frauen-Liebe und Leben" (text Chamiso).
The poem definitely expresses the pain that Dido would have felt upon the death of her husband.

Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan,
Der aber traf.
Du schläfst, du harter, unbarmherz'ger Mann,
Den Todesschlaf.


Es blicket die Verlaßne vor sich hin,
Die Welt ist leer.
Geliebet hab ich und gelebt, ich bin
Nicht lebend mehr.


Ich zieh mich in mein Innres still zurück,
Der Schleier fällt,
Da hab ich dich und mein vergangnes Glück,
Du meine Welt!

A rough paraphrase for our non German speaking friends:

The first line is even more poignant given that her love and happiness was so great, that only with his death could she be hurt. She calls him "harter, unbarmherz'ger" (hard, pitiless)as he sleeps the sleep of Death and all she can see is loss in an empty world. She has loved and lived, but is no longer living. She retreats into herself, the veil drops and there she finds him and her past happiness, and the man who was her world.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Propertius » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:08 am

This is what I consider to be Orberg’s Roma Aeterna only shortcoming: it’s not entirely true to the original works. Which is why I have began to question of late whether it’s even worth it to continue reading through it till the end. Could anyone dispell this notion in me? If not, how would you recommend I go about to learning how to be a fluent reader in Latin?

By the way, you all missed my first question: what kind of ablative is morte in that phrase? Ablative of means perhaps? Wasn’t she (Dido) deceived “by means of death?”

Maximas gratias vobis ago!

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:27 am

Yes, it's an ablative of means.

You've identified a general problem with simplifying Latin for didactic purposes. Sometimes the edited version may actually be somewhat more difficult than the original. The best way to get fluent at reading Latin is by reading what ancient authors actually wrote. That doesn't mean that "embedded readings" or readings composed by modern authors don't help at a certain level, and I think you'll be fine continuing what you are doing.
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καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Aetos » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:36 am

I think it's safe to say that:
1. Of the three types of ablatives (proper, instrumental, locative), this is most likely instrumental, but could be proper.
2. Of the instrumental ablatives, it is either an ablative of means or specification.
a. as an ablative of means , deceptam morte would indicate by what means she was mocked (by death)
b. as an ablative of specification, morte would show in what respect she was mocked (with respect to death)
3. Of the proper ablatives, it could be an ablative of cause or agent.
a. as an ablative of cause, morte would express the source of her being mocked or the source of her deception
b. as an ablative of agent, morte would supply the agent of her being mocked. In this usage, however, the preposition ā or ab is required.
So, of the four possibilites,
1. she was mocked by death (means)
2. she was mocked with respect to death (specification)
3. she was mocked because of death (cause)
4. she was mocked by death (agent)
#1 and #4 would seem to be the best choices. #4 requires a preposition, however, so we are left with #1 (ablative of means)
One proviso-in poetry, prepositions are sometimes dropped and if this is the case in this line, then #4 could still be a candidate.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on the question. mwh or hylander can give you a more complete and better answer.

As far as continuing with Roma Aeterna or not, I can't really give an informed opinion. I've never even seen the cover.
At this stage in your learning, however, you will find that many textbooks adapt their reading selections to the grammatical understanding of the student at any given level. I still struggle at times with Livy in the original, yet I first read him in 2nd year Latin at school as part of an adapted text. Had I attempted to read the original versions of his work then, I would have gotten nowhere. As it was, even reading the adapted version generated enough interest to make it a goal to read Ab Urbe Condita later on when I was ready.

EDIT: Cross Post - I'll post this anyway, because 1. it took me an hour to compose this answer and 2. there might be a valid point or two in there.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by seneca2008 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:25 am

Aetos wrote:So, of the four possibilites,
1. she was mocked by death (means)
2. she was mocked with respect to death (specification)
3. she was mocked because of death (cause)
4. she was mocked by death (agent)
#1 and #4 would seem to be the best choices. #4 requires a preposition, however, so we are left with #1 (ablative of means)
One proviso-in poetry, prepositions are sometimes dropped and if this is the case in this line, then #4 could still be a candidate.
We should thank Aetos for his thorough analysis.

I think however that it fuels my doubts about the value of splitting up the uses of the oblique cases in this way. So often in real world examples it is difficult to choose between these categories and I am not sure it really aids understanding.

As a beginner the OP shouldn't really worry about this kind of thing. Plenty of practice will soon give the feel and context for the uses of the ablative. I seem to recall reading that the mania for categorisation of eg the uses of dative and ablative cases comes from German philologists for reasons which lie more in their native language than in Greek or Latin.

Likewise reading an adapted text is inevitable in introductory texts. Worrying about whether what you are reading is a waste of time is itself a waste of time. (Read Seneca on the many ways we contrive to waste time avoiding difficult tasks). Its not practical to read unadapted texts so why worry? Master what is in front of you. Eventually you will realise that Grammars only provide a guide, real latin is more complex.

It should be of more concern to the OP that he couldn't distinguish between the dative and ablative in his first post.

Edit: Thanks to the OP too for prompting me to think of Chamiso in the context of Dido and To Aetos for his paraphrase.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Propertius » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:58 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:25 am
Aetos wrote:So, of the four possibilites,
1. she was mocked by death (means)
2. she was mocked with respect to death (specification)
3. she was mocked because of death (cause)
4. she was mocked by death (agent)
#1 and #4 would seem to be the best choices. #4 requires a preposition, however, so we are left with #1 (ablative of means)
One proviso-in poetry, prepositions are sometimes dropped and if this is the case in this line, then #4 could still be a candidate.
We should thank Aetos for his thorough analysis.

I think however that it fuels my doubts about the value of splitting up the uses of the oblique cases in this way. So often in real world examples it is difficult to choose between these categories and I am not sure it really aids understanding.

As a beginner the OP shouldn't really worry about this kind of thing. Plenty of practice will soon give the feel and context for the uses of the ablative. I seem to recall reading that the mania for categorisation of eg the uses of dative and ablative cases comes from German philologists for reasons which lie more in their native language than in Greek or Latin.

Likewise reading an adapted text is inevitable in introductory texts. Worrying about whether what you are reading is a waste of time is itself a waste of time. (Read Seneca on the many ways we contrive to waste time avoiding difficult tasks). Its not practical to read unadapted texts so why worry? Master what is in front of you. Eventually you will realise that Grammars only provide a guide, real latin is more complex.

It should be of more concern to the OP that he couldn't distinguish between the dative and ablative in his first post.

Edit: Thanks to the OP too for prompting me to think of Chamiso in the context of Dido and To Aetos for his paraphrase.
Maximas gratias vobis ago. Sorry, I haven’t had time to reply. And the reason why I want to know the many uses of the ablative is because I’m learning to write Latin as well, not just read it. Which I believe are (the uses of the ablative) indispensable to know if one wants to master the art of writing in Latin because apparently you don’t have to use a preposition in some uses of the ablative. How embarrassing would it be to use a preposition or not use a preposition when one is not needed or one is needed if I were to communicate with a master Latinist. If only I could get to that level. One day for sure. I just have to proceed one day at a time.
Last edited by Propertius on Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Propertius » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:02 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:25 am
Aetos wrote:So, of the four possibilites,
1. she was mocked by death (means)
2. she was mocked with respect to death (specification)
3. she was mocked because of death (cause)
4. she was mocked by death (agent)
#1 and #4 would seem to be the best choices. #4 requires a preposition, however, so we are left with #1 (ablative of means)
One proviso-in poetry, prepositions are sometimes dropped and if this is the case in this line, then #4 could still be a candidate.
We should thank Aetos for his thorough analysis.

I think however that it fuels my doubts about the value of splitting up the uses of the oblique cases in this way. So often in real world examples it is difficult to choose between these categories and I am not sure it really aids understanding.

As a beginner the OP shouldn't really worry about this kind of thing. Plenty of practice will soon give the feel and context for the uses of the ablative. I seem to recall reading that the mania for categorisation of eg the uses of dative and ablative cases comes from German philologists for reasons which lie more in their native language than in Greek or Latin.

Likewise reading an adapted text is inevitable in introductory texts. Worrying about whether what you are reading is a waste of time is itself a waste of time. (Read Seneca on the many ways we contrive to waste time avoiding difficult tasks). Its not practical to read unadapted texts so why worry? Master what is in front of you. Eventually you will realise that Grammars only provide a guide, real latin is more complex.

It should be of more concern to the OP that he couldn't distinguish between the dative and ablative in his first post.

Edit: Thanks to the OP too for prompting me to think of Chamiso in the context of Dido and To Aetos for his paraphrase.
Maximas gratias vobis ago. Sorry, I haven’t had time to reply. And the reason why I want to know the many uses of the ablative is because I’m learning to write Latin as well, not just read it. Which I believe are (the uses of the ablative) indispensable to know if one wants to master the art of writing in Latin because apparently you don’t have to use a preposition in some uses of the ablative. How embarrassing would it be to use a preposition or not use a preposition when one is not needed or one is needed if I were to communicate with a master Latinist. If only I could get to that level. One day for sure. I just have to proceed one day at a time.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by seneca2008 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:07 am

Propertius wrote:And the reason why I want to know the many uses of the ablative is because I’m learning to write Latin as well, not just read it. Which I believe are (the uses of the ablative) indispensable to know if one wants to master the art of writing in Latin because apparently you don’t have to use a preposition in some uses of the ablative.
It is a good idea to want to study prose composition. It is still in my opinion not worth getting too worked up over the terminology of these various cases. I don't think it will help you at all when faced with with turning an English sentence into Latin. There are always many ways of expressing a particular thought in Latin. Latin has great flexibility and memorising these categories seem to me to give the beginner a false idea of a rigid almost mechanistic set of rules. Real latin does not always obey these "rules". I suppose that as long as you are aware of this it won't do you any harm either.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by Propertius » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:07 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:07 am
Propertius wrote:And the reason why I want to know the many uses of the ablative is because I’m learning to write Latin as well, not just read it. Which I believe are (the uses of the ablative) indispensable to know if one wants to master the art of writing in Latin because apparently you don’t have to use a preposition in some uses of the ablative.
It is a good idea to want to study prose composition. It is still in my opinion not worth getting too worked up over the terminology of these various cases. I don't think it will help you at all when faced with with turning an English sentence into Latin. There are always many ways of expressing a particular thought in Latin. Latin has great flexibility and memorising these categories seem to me to give the beginner a false idea of a rigid almost mechanistic set of rules. Real latin does not always obey these "rules". I suppose that as long as you are aware of this it won't do you any harm either.
I had my suspicions that thus was the case.

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Re: Ablative of place without preposition?

Post by cb » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:47 pm

Hi, I am coming into this conversation very late (I haven’t been on the site since about April, and am only now catching up on the interesting threads posted since) and so apologies if this derails the conversation, but I just wanted to pick up something said right at the beginning of this thread, first sentence: “I learned that the ablative of place always uses a preposition.” This is not, in fact, always the case. It depends on the sense of ablative you’re referring to, but if you mean:

(1) Place at which, note e.g. Woodcock, A new Latin syntax, sec. 51:

‘(i) The preposition is regularly omitted with the locative ablative of place-names (including names of small islands).
(ii) The bare ablative (or locative) is used of a few common words or phrases, e.g. terra marique… [snip]
(iii) The preposition is often omitted with a noun qualified by summus, imus, medius… [snip]
(iv) The locatival ablative is used freely without a preposition by the poets in any circumstances.’

Woodcock gives examples at secs 52–3.

(2) Place from which, note e.g. Woodcock, sec. 8(i):

‘…the bare ablative is used of the name of a town which is the starting point’ (except where both the starting point and destination are given, where the ablative of place from which commonly has the preposition); ‘the verb proficisci, “to set out”, seems to involve the vaguer notion of “direction”, and yet it is more often accompanied by the bare accusative (and bare ablative) of the place name…', etc.

There is also coverage of this elsewhere in Woodcock, worth reading through. The takeaway is that the ablative of place does not always have the preposition.

Incidentally, I find Woodcock a great book to read cover to cover: it is written in continuous text, rather than simply lists of rules with examples and exceptions. Definitely worth the time to read through for someone interested in Latin prose composition: note in particular the Preface, where Woodcock says: ‘If some sections appear to be laboured, it is because they deal with constructions in which mistakes continue to be made even by Honours students right up to the end of their course.’

Cheers, Chad

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