Marcus stilum vertit

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pmda
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Marcus stilum vertit

Post by pmda » Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:19 pm

In Orberg's LLPSI he has: Marcus stilum vertit et litteram H delit.

Does this mean 'he turns to his pen??...' or is it he turns his pen...? Is vertit transitive / intransitive? / reflexive....?

Craig_Thomas
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Re: Marcus stilum vertit

Post by Craig_Thomas » Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:05 pm

"Verto" is sometimes intransitive, and sometimes reflexive, but here it is transitive. We know, because we have "stilum" here in the accusative; it must be the verb's direct object. So, "Marcus turns his pen".

pmda
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Re: Marcus stilum vertit

Post by pmda » Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:33 pm

Thanks...it's what I suspected. But I can't figure out what it really means in English. Does it mean he 'takes his pen' / 'picks up his pen' ..... it seems quite idiomatic if either is the case... ?

Alatius
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Re: Marcus stilum vertit

Post by Alatius » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:09 pm

The Roman stylus had one sharp end which you wrote with on the wax tablets, and one flat, spatula shaped end which was used to flatten out the wax, and so delete what was written. Thus, "to turn the pen" is the same as to erase. The idiom works today as well, obviously, when refering to the type of pencils with a little rubber on top.

pmda
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Re: Marcus stilum vertit

Post by pmda » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:48 pm

Alatius, thanks for this.

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