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The Noun Phrase in Classical Latin Prose

Amsterdam Studies in
Classical Philology
Editorial Board

Albert Rijksbaron
Irene J.F. de Jong
Caroline Kroon

The titles published in this series are listed at

The Noun Phrase in

Classical Latin Prose

Olga Spevak


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Spevak, Olga, author.
The Noun phrase in classical Latin prose / by Olga Spevak.
pages cm (Amsterdam studies in classical philology ; volume 21)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-90-04-26442-7 (hardback : alk. paper) ISBN 978-90-04-26568-4 (e-book)
1. Latin languageNoun phrase. I. Title. II. Series: Amsterdam studies in classical philology ; v. 21.
PA2165.S67 2014

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Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi
Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xv

The Noun and Its Modifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2 The Noun. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.1 Parameters for a Description of Nouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2 SpecificGenericReferential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3 The Typology of Nouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.1 First-Order Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.2 Second-Order Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.3 Third-Order Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4 Noun Valency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.1 Nouns Belonging to the First Order of Entities . . . .
2.4.2 Verbal Nouns Expressing Actions and States . . . . . .
2.4.3 Nouns Expressing the Result of an Action or a
Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3 Modifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.1 The Types of Modifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2 The Frequency of Modifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3 The Typology of Modifiers and Hierarchic Levels . . . . . . . .
3.4 Determiners, Quantifiers, and Identifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4.1 Combinability of Determiners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4.2 Interrogative, Anaphoric, and Demonstrative
Pronouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4.3 Indefinite Pronouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4.4 Quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5 Adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5.1 Semantic Properties of Adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5.2 Syntactic Behaviour of Adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.6 Genitive Complements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.6.1 Subjective and Objective Genitives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.6.2 Possessive Genitives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.6.3 Other Genitive Complements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.7 Dative, Ablative, and Accusative Complements . . . . . . . . .





3.8 Prepositional Phrases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

3.9 Embedded Predications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86

The Noun Phrase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
1.1 Pragmatic Functions of Noun Phrases and Their
Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
1.2 Values of Modifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
1.2.1 Semantic Prominence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
1.2.2 Adjectives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
1.2.3 Genitives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
1.3 The Referent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
1.3.1 Genitives: Specific vs. Generic Referent . . . . . . . . . . . 98
1.3.2 Noun Phrases: The Contextual Status of the
Referent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
1.4 Special Arrangements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
1.5 The Placement of Modifiers: Problems of Analysis . . . . . . 101
1.5.1 A Brief Overview of the State of Research. . . . . . . . . . 102
1.5.2 The Aim and the Method Adopted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
1.5.3 Distribution of Nouns in a Specific Corpus . . . . . . . . 105
1.6 An Overview of the Nouns Examined . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
2 Quantifying a Referent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
2.1 Count Nouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
2.1.1 Non-Numerical Quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
2.1.2 Omnis and totus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
2.1.3 Numerical Quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
2.1.4 Nominal Quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
2.2 Non-Count Nouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
2.2.1 Non-Numerical Quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
2.2.2 Nominal Quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
2.2.3 Adverbs and Neuters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
2.2.4 Omnis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
2.2.5 Religio and memoria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
3 Specifying a Referent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
3.1 Classifying Adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
3.1.1 Ager and pecunia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
3.1.2 Navis and dies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
3.1.3 Miles and bellum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
3.1.4 Other Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143



Adjectives Derived from Proper Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

3.2.1 First-Order Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
3.2.2 Bellum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
4 Describing a Referent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
4.1 Inanimate Concrete Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
4.2 Animate Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
4.2.1 Vir and viros . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
4.2.2 Miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
4.2.3 Other Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
5 Evaluating a Referent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
5.1 Attribution of an Abstract Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
5.1.1 Vir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
5.1.2 Ablative and Genitive of Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
5.1.3 Second-Order Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
5.1.4 Third-Order Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
5.2 Evaluations of Extent or Importance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
6 Identifying a Referent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
6.1 Adjectives Expressing a Relative Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
6.2 Ordinal Numerals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
7 Expressions of Possession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
7.1 Adjectives Derived from Proper Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
7.2 Possessive Genitives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
8 Valency Complements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
8.1 Subjective and Objective Genitives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
8.1.1 Animate Referents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
8.1.2 Inanimate Referents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192
8.2 Possessive Pronouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
8.3 Prepositional Phrases with cum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
8.4 Prepositional Phrases with de . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
8.5 Completive Clauses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
9 Other Complements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
9.1 Genitives with dies and liber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
9.2 Prepositional Phrases with de . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
10 Complex Noun Phrases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208
10.1 Framing of Noun Phrases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208
10.2 Memoria and opinio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
11 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212



The Prepositional Phrase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217

1 Objective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
2 Prepositional Phrases: The Ordering of Their Components . . . . 218
2.1 Integration of Modifiers and Framing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
2.2 The Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
2.3 Quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
2.4 Adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
2.4.1 Classifying Adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
2.4.2 Descriptive Adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
2.4.3 Evaluative Adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
2.4.4 Adjectives Expressing Space and Time . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
2.4.5 Adjectives Expressing a Relative Position . . . . . . . . . . 225
2.4.6 Adjectives Derived from Proper Names . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
2.5 Multiple Modifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
2.6 Genitive Complements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
2.6.1 Genitives Governed by Nouns without a Modifier 229
2.6.2 Genitives Governed by Nouns with a Modifier . . . . 234
2.6.3 Coordination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
3 Adnominal Prepositional Phrases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236
3.1 Problems of Attachment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
3.2 Nouns Governing Prepositional Phrases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240
3.2.1 Types of Nouns Governing Adnominal
Prepositional Phrases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
3.2.2 The Placement of Prepositional Phrases . . . . . . . . . . . 246
3.2.3 Support Verb Constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
3.3 Adjectives Governing Prepositional Phrases . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254
3.4 Partitive Expressions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
4 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259

Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
2 Two Types of Apposition: Close Apposition and Free
Apposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
2.1 First Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
2.2 Close Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
2.3 Free Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
2.4 Problems with the Description of Appositions . . . . . . . . . . 268
2.5 Sp. Albinus consul vs. consul Albinus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271
2.6 Distribution of Appositions in a Sample . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
3 Close Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278



Appositions with consul and praetor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278

Appositions with urbs and oppidum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
3.2.1 Urbs Roma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
3.2.2 Appositions with oppidum. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
3.2.3 Oppidum with a Modifier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
3.2.4 Discontinuity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
3.3 Appositions with flumen / fluvius . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
3.3.1 Flumen Arar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
3.3.2 Garunna flumen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
3.3.3 Flumen Arar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
3.4 Agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
Free Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
4.1 General Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
4.1.1 Identification of Free Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298
4.1.2 Multiple Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301
4.2 Free Appositions with Official Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
4.3 Free Appositions with urbs, oppidum, and flumen . . . . . . . 303
4.4 Free Appositions with homo and familiaris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
4.4.1 Appositions with homo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305
4.4.2 Appositions with familiaris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
4.5 Agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
4.6 The Use of Prepositions in Free Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
4.7 Discontinuity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313
Other Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
5.1 Kinship Nouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
5.2 Rex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317
5.3 Status and Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
5.4 Two Common Nouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
5.4.1 Free Appositions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
5.4.2 Sentence Appositions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
5.4.3 Close Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
5.4.4 Pronouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
5.4.5 Partitive Apposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
5.5 Explicit Indicators of Appositions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
Right Dislocation (Tail Constituents) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326
6.1 Tail Constituents Related to a Noun or a Pronoun . . . . . . . 326
6.2 Right Dislocated Constituents Expressing Subjective
Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328
Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329


Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331

Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343
Glossary of Linguistic Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359
Index locorum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
Index rerum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 374


This book is devoted to the internal ordering of Latin noun phrases, which
is very flexible in comparison with modern European languages. It is to
some extent a continuation of my previous work on constituent ordering
at the sentence level in Classical Latin prose (Spevak 2010a), using the same
framework of Functional Grammar. Constituent order phenomena at the
sentence level relate to problems such as sentence type, determining the
information structure of a sentence, or semantic and syntactic properties
of the verbs involved. For the noun phrase level pragmatic functions of
Topic and Focus on the one hand, and pragmatic features of contrast and
emphasis on the other hand are relevant as well, but pragmatic factors
alone cannot entirely explain the variability of the internal ordering of
Latin noun phrases: the semantic and syntactic properties of the individual
nouns are also at work. This book aims to contribute to the much debated
question of the placement of modifiers in Latin with an approach that
combines pragmatic, semantic, and syntactic factors that are responsible
for the internal ordering of noun phrases.
Overall statistics concerning the internal structure of Latin noun phrases
usually focus on the position occupied by the modifier without going into
details of the semantic structure of the phrase as a whole. In my view, everyone who wants to interpret the placement of modifiers in Latin should first
ask the question what type of nouns he/she is dealing with and what modifiers are likely to co-occur with them. Although no one would intuitively
expect a complement clause with the noun navis ship or, conversely, an
adjective of material with opinio opinion, a systematic discussion of semantic and syntactic properties of nouns and modifiers is a necessary prerequisite for the question of the internal ordering of Latin noun phrases. Indeed, a
concrete entity such as navis is likely to occur with descriptive adjectives but
opinio typically combines with adjectives expressing an assessment. This
aspectwhich is after all self-evidenthas consequences for the internal
ordering of Latin noun phrases in that the placement of the two kinds of
modifiers mentioned is not the same. This book has therefore a twofold
objective: (i) to provide a systematic account of the general properties of
nouns and modifiers in Latin and (ii) to examine the internal ordering of
Latin noun phrases.
It consists of five chapters. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the semantic
and syntactic properties of nouns and modifiers. It attempts to present



a general survey of the aspects that are essential for a description of noun
phrases. It also sets out a classification of nouns, which has an influence on
their combinability with modifiers, and a classification of modifiers. Chapter 2 examines the internal ordering of noun phrases according to the type
of modifiers involved (quantification, specification, description, evaluation,
and identification of a noun) and also deals with other, non-adjectival modifiers, especially genitives, from the point of view of valency requirements.
Two chapters are devoted to two topics related to noun phrases that have
drawn little attention until now: chapter 3 discusses the internal ordering of
prepositional phrases and the question of adnominal prepositional phrases
and chapter 4 deals with appositions. Each larger section contains partial
conclusions; general conclusions are formulated in chapter 5.
A study of Latin necessarily involves a corpus-linguistic approach. For
the examination of Latin noun phrases, I focus on three Classical authors:
Cicero, Caesar, and Sallust. As each chapter has different objectives, I used
several methods of collecting the material. Chapter 1 is based on instances
attested in the Library of Latin Texts database for Classical authors, with the
addition of Cato and, to a lesser extent, Varro. Chapter 2 is a case study of several nouns occurring with a modifier, the choice of which is explained in section 1.5.2. Supplementary tables resuming the data collected are presented
in an appendix. In chapter 3, the material for my analysis has been collected from four texts (Ciceros On Divination 2 and Against Verres 2.5.1120,
Caesars Civil War 3, and Sallusts The Jugurthine War 180). Chapter 4 combines material collected from the same sample as chapter 3 and instances
gathered from the Library of Latin Texts database for Classical authors. All
the instances collected were examined in their context. Translations of the
examples quoted were mainly taken from the Loeb editions or, alternatively,
from more recent translations, when available, especially Zetzel (2009) and
Berry (2009 and 2011).
This book focuses on variation in the internal ordering of Latin noun
phrases. However, certain phenomena have been left out of consideration.
I do not systematically deal with determiners, indefinite pronouns, and
identifiers (idem), which occur quite frequently but their ordering does
not pose many problems. On the other hand, I disregard minor categories
of modifiers such as participles and gerundives, which do not provide a
sufficient number of attested instances. Hyperbaton or discontinuity of
noun phrases is only dealt with in the margin of other phenomena. As
several detailed studies have been devoted to relative clauses, this topic is
not re-examined here. Discussions about configurationality (for which see
Luraghi 2010a) are entirely left out of consideration.



A glossary of linguistic terms with definitions of the terminology used is

provided at the end of the book.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to Harm Pinkster for his valuable
criticism and comments on the first version of the manuscript. I am truly
indebted and thankful to Philip Baldi and Roger Wright for their invaluable help with reading the manuscript and their pertinent remarks. I am
grateful to the editors of Amsterdam Studies in Classical Philology for having accepted this book for publication and to the anonymous reviewer for
helpful remarks and suggestions. All remaining errors are mine.


prepositional phrase
first argument (agent)
second argument (patient)
third argument (recipient / addressee)
y is derived from x

Abbreviations of Latin authors and their works follow the Oxford Latin
Years referring to Roman history are all implicitly bc.

chapter one

1. Introduction
Latin is a language without articles. In languages such as English and French,
which have articles, the term noun phrase is used for combinations of articles and nouns, bare nouns representing special cases. A noun phrase in
English, for example a horse, corresponds to a bare noun in Latin: equus.
However, the term noun phrase is fully justified in Latin because of the
existence of combinations of a noun and one or more modifiers: adjectives,
determiners, quantifiers, identifiers, genitive complements, prepositional
phrases, relative clauses, or appositions (Pinkster LSS 6.2). The complements are often optional, but they can also be obligatory in the sense that
they are required by the valency of the head noun (Pinkster LSS 6). From
the syntactic point of view, the Latin noun phrase represents a combination
of elements that may function as a simple noun (1) (Touratier 1994: 432).1

equus currit a/the horse is running

hic equus currit this horse is running
equus albus currit a/the white horse is running
equus meus currit my horse is running

I will begin my study of Latin noun phrases with a survey of the semantic
and syntactic properties of elements that build up a noun phrase: nouns and
their modifiers. I will first discuss the parameters useful for their description,
based on Lyons typology which has been recently worked out in Functional
Discourse Grammar, especially by Hengeveld and Rijkhoff (section 2). The
proposed criteria will then be applied to Latin (section 2.3), with one very
important additional criterion, that of valency (section 2.4). The types of
modifiers will be presented in section 3. This chapter does not pretend
to draw up an exhaustive list of Latin nouns and modifiers; it aims to be
a systematic examination of nouns and modifiers through which we will

1 For the integration of modifiers into a noun phrase, see chapter 3, p. 218. For more
details about the presumable appositive status of modifiers in Latin, see Spevak (fc. a with
further references).

chapter one

identify their characteristic properties; this point is useful for understanding

the combinations of elements in a noun phrase and the places they occupy.
The principles formulated in this introductory chapter will be useful for the
examination of noun phrases in a corpus of texts, as presented in chapter 2.
2. The Noun
2.1. Parameters for a Description of Nouns
As in other languages, Latin uses pronouns (ego I, nos we), proper names
(Quintus), common nouns (vir man, equus horse), or noun phrases (vir
bonus good man) to refer to entities. The noun is the means par excellence
of denotation. In other words, the prototypical function of the noun is to
denote entities whereas the prototypical function of the verb is to denote
actions, events, and processes.2 From Antiquity onwards, three grammatical categories of nominals are distinguished: gender, number, and case.
Modern linguistics goes into more detail in order to define characteristic
features of the noun (nouniness) with respect to features characteristic of
the verb (verbiness),3 which typically expresses person, tense, voice, and
aspect. Nouns and verbs differ in their combinatorial syntactic properties:4
nouns combine with determiners, quantifiers, identifiers, adjectives, genitive complements, and possessive pronouns, and they can be governed by
prepositions. By contrast, verbs accept complements that take the form of a
noun (phrase), a pronoun, or a prepositional phrase, and this, according to
their valency configuration, i.e. the number of complement positions that
are required by their meaning.5 Various semantic functions (agent, patient,
receptor/addressee, manner, instrument, etc.) are, in a flexional language
such as Latin, marked by case endings (Pinkster LSS 6.6). Additionally,
adverbs are typically modifiers of a verb.
The category of nouns is traditionally subdivided into appellative or
common nouns, proper names, and collective nouns. Lyons (1977: 442447)
deserves the credit for having established a typology6 of entities on the basis

See Lyons (1977: 425 and 442); cf. Hopper & Thompson (1984: 705).
For these notions, see Ross (1973) and Sasse (2001).
4 See Bolkestein (1989: 5). For verbal properties, cf. Simone & Pompei (2007).
5 For valency, see below, p. 24.
6 Other typologies have been proposed, for example, Givn (1979: 314317) distinguishes
between entities that exist in space (chair), entities that exist in time (activity), and entities
that exist tout court (idea); he works, in particular, with the concept of the stability in

the noun and its modifiers

of the semantic nature of their referent related to space or to time.7 His

typology has been expanded by Rijkhoff and Hengeveld, as we will see in
section 2.3. Lyons typology is made up of three orders of entities:8
(i) Physical entities are first-order entities. This category comprises persons, animals, and objects that can be situated in space and in time.
They are physically observable, relatively stable with respect to their
perceptive properties, and one can evaluate their existence. First order
entities are hierarchized: persons occupy a privileged position because
they are more strongly individualized than animals, and animals are
more strongly individualized than things, e.g. boy, cat, table.
(ii) Events, processes, and states-of-affairs are second-order entities that
can be located in time. They are said to occur or to take place, rather
than to exist, and one can evaluate their reality. Second-order entities
(as well as third-order entities) are complex rather than simple nouns,
e.g. arrival, birth, amazement, house-keeping.
(iii) Third-order entities are propositional contents that are unobservable
and cannot be said to occur or to be located either in space or in time.
These abstract entities, unlike second-order entities, cannot be evaluated for their reality but for their truth value. They can be asserted
or denied, remembered or forgotten, for example beliefs, judgements,
and expectations: reason, proposition, theorem, idea. References to
both second-order entities and third-order entities is often made by
means of nouns formed by the process of nominalization.
Furthermore, there are zero-order entities: properties and relations that do
not exist independently but are applied to other entities such as colours,
sizes, and weights. One can evaluate whether they are used in a correct way.
Nouns that denote first-order entities are regarded by Lyons (1977: 446) as
the most typical nouns. Rijkhoff (2002: 19) has elaborated this point and has
defined a prototypical or standard noun in order to establish a typology of
time (permanent vs. temporal entities). Simone (Simone & Masini 2007) uses the notion
of referential force in order to isolate designative nouns (cat) with the highest degree of
reference, then classifiers (basket, bottle), quantifiers (quantity, pile), qualifiers (type, quality),
and approximators ( form, kind).
7 It is worth remembering that the space/time distinction served as a criterion for Varros
study (L. 5.1112) of Latin etymologies.
8 Cf. Hopper & Thompson (1984: 705). Functional Grammar (Dik 1997 I: 136137) contains
also fourth order entities: speech acts that situate themselves in space and in time and can
be evaluated according to their informativity.

chapter one

noun phrases in various modern languages. He considers as prototypical a

noun phrase that is built up with a first-order noun, denoting a single, discrete entity. Other nouns belonging to the first order are non-prototypical:
proper names, derived nouns, collective, and mass nouns. This distinction
has been adopted by Hengeveld (2008: 46) who gives the following example
of a prototypical noun phrase:

The intelligent girl passed the exam.

Its head noun (girl) denotes a concrete first-order entity and does so by
lexical means. Such a prototypical denotative and referential noun phrase
(2) should be differentiated from instances that do not involve lexical items
and/or are not denotative (Hengeveld 2008: 53).9 Firstly, proper names and
pronouns have a referential use only, due to convention (3). Unlike denotative nouns, they do not designate properties of an entity that exists in the
external world. This feature manifests itself in certain peculiarities of use, to
which I will return in section (p. 19).

I saw John. / I saw him.

Secondly, nouns used in a non-referential way are also not prototypical.

For example, a criminal in (4) is not being used in order to refer to an
individual but to a quality, and this is signalled by the resumption involving
the neuter pronoun that; by contrast, a criminal in (5), resumed by the
personal pronoun he, is referential.

This man is a criminal.Thats what he is.


A criminal refused to hand in his gun.Thats what he did.

Another non-standard type is made up of constructions that lack the head

noun, such as nominal relative clauses:

I will read what you read.

Nominalisations also belong to this category; for example, derivational expressions such as agent nouns (teacher).
Finally, all nouns denoting entities other than those belonging to the
first order are non-prototypical, for example general (individual), colour

9 Denotation is used in the sense of relationship that holds between a linguistic expression and the entities external to the language system to which that expression applies (Lyons
1977: 207); by reference is meant, in a pragmatic sense, the use a speaker makes of a linguistic
expression to identify an entity for an addressee (Lyons 1977: 177).

the noun and its modifiers

Figure 1: Types of referents

(property), meeting (state-of-affairs), idea (propositional content), country

(location) or week (time).
To sum up, nouns are a heterogeneous group. The concept of three orders
of entitiesspatio-temporal and temporal entities, and propositional contentsmakes it possible to describe characteristic properties of each category. A prototypical noun is a noun that denotes a single, discrete entity
of the first order. The first order of entities also contains nouns that are not
prototypical. Furthermore, concrete first order entities are hierarchized for
humanness (human > non-human) and animacy (animate > inanimate).
2.2. SpecificGenericReferential
We have seen that a noun can be used in an utterance as referential or
non-referential. Furthermore, the referent of a noun (phrase) can be specific, non-specific, or generic (Hawkins 1978: 203). The types of referents are
shown in Figure 1.
A noun (phrase) has a specific referent when it is used to denote a
particular entity: in (2), the speaker has a concrete person in his/her mind,
the intelligent girl. Specificity is not necessarily linked with definiteness. The
referent in (7) is presented as unidentifiable for the addressee, as is signalled
by the use of the indefinite article, but the speaker refers to a specific car.
By contrast, when the speaker does not have any particular referent in
mind, the referent is non-specific: any particular bicycle is meant in (8).
Specific expressions can be referred to by an anaphoric pronoun in a present
indicative clause (Haspelmath 1997: 38).

chapter one


I have bought a car.

It is black.


I want to buy a bicycle. *It is black.

Generic nouns or noun phrases denote a kind (9) or all relevant entities,
such as in (10).

The whale is a mammal.

(10) Whales are mammals.

Referential nouns or noun phrases are used to refer to a concrete entity,

such as a criminal in (5), unlike non-referential ones (4) that apply to entities
envisaged as a class.
How do these notions manifest themselves in Latin, a language without articles? In Latin, it is common to expresswhen the speaker or writer
judges it necessarythe relationship of an entity with the preceding context or with the situation of the discourse, in particular, by using anaphoric
or demonstrative pronouns.10 On the other hand, a bare noun, without such
a modifier, can apply to a specific, a non-specific, or a generic referent; it can
also be non-referential. In (11), the anaphoric pronoun eam accompanies a
noun mentioned in the preceding context; the referent is specific, as in (12),
where the contextual giveness is not expressed by linguistic means. By contrast in (13), navem (not previously mentioned) does not refer to a particular
object: its referent is non-specific.

(navem vero cybaeam maximam tibi donatamque esse dico ) Eam navem
nuper egomet vidi Veliae, multique alii viderunt.
(I assert that an enormous ship was given to you ) I saw this ship myself
at Velia not long ago, and many others have seen it too. (Cic. Ver. 5.44)

(12) (onerariam navem illam navem ) Verum haec omnia, si doces navem de
tua pecunia aedificatam, remitto atque concedo.
(a cargo ship that ship ) However, I withdraw and forgo all these points,
if you say that the ship was built with your money. (Cic. Ver. 5.47)
(13) At enim idcirco navem Mamertinis non imperasti, quod sunt foederati.
But you did not command the Mamertines to furnish a ship, because they are
one of the federate cities. (Cic. Ver. 5.49)

Consul in (14) is referential, with a specific referent, because it denotes

a particular person: Cicero; consul in (15) is non-referential since it only
concerns the function carried out by Cethegus.


See Spevak (2010a: 3235 and 5691) with further references.

the noun and its modifiers

(14) Consul Lentulum ipse manu tenens in senatum perducit.

The consul himself took Lentulus by the hand and led him to the senate.
(Sal. Cat. 46.5)
(15) At hic Cethegus consul cum P. Tuditano fuit bello Punico secundo.
Now this Cethegus was consul with Publius Tuditanus in the Second Punic
War. (Cic. Brut. 60)

Latin has lexical means for distinguishing between specific and non-specific
referents: indefinite pronouns. Aliquis typically signals a non-specific referent,11 a referent that is not identified by the speaker: aliquis Siculus any
Sicilian (16), as well as amicus a friend and hospes a connection, does not
correspond to any particular person present in the mind of the speaker;
any individual belonging to the group of Siculi Sicilians is eligible. By contrast, the indefinite pronoun quidam accompanies a specific referent that
is presented as unidentifiable to the addressee but the speaker identifies
him very well,12 for example scriba quidam a certain notary in (17). The
speaker knows exactly who is concerned: Cn. Flavius;13 his complete name
is expressed in the apposition.
(16) Non amicus istius, non hospes, non denique aliquis Siculus, sed quaestor
populi Romani praetorem appellat.
This appeal is made not by one of his friends, not by one of his hosts, not by a
Sicilian at all, but by a quaestor of the Roman people to the praetor. (Cic. Ver.
(17) Inventus est scriba quidam, Cn. Flavius, qui singulis diebus discendis fastos
populo proposuerit
But one scribe turned up, Gnaeus Flavius, who by learning one day at a
time gave the people a legal calendar (Cic. Mur. 25)

11 I would classify aliquis in this way. This is what is stated in Orlandini (1983: 238); in a later
study (Orlandini 1995: 19), she envisages for aliquis an indefinite specific referent that is not
identified by the speaker (also in Bertocchi, Maraldi & Orlandini 2010: 29). Cf. Haspelmath
(1997: 253).
12 See Orlandini (1995: 15). This distinctive feature of quidam compared to aliquis makes it
possible to combine it with proper names (Orlandini 1995: 149 and Rosn 1998: 728). Furthermore, Haspelmath states (1997: 41) that specific pronouns are excluded from certain contexts,
in particular, imperative and interrogative sentences. This would be actually expected for
quidam; aliquis is not submitted to such restrictions.
13 He was a secretary of Appius Claudius Caecus. He stole juridical formulas, which had
been concealed from the people until then, and published them in a volume entitled Ius
Flavianum (see Cic. de Orat. 1.186). In 304, when he was a curule aedile, he posted a calendar
and made public information about judicial days, so that people no longer needed to turn to

chapter one

Nouns with generic referents are not marked as such in Latin ((18) and
(19)). However, they can be accompanied by omnis all or quisque every in
the singular, or by omnes in the plural.
(18) Rationale enim animal est homo.
For man is a reasoning animal. (Sen. Ep. 41.8)
(19) ad cursum equum, ad arandum bovem, ad indagandum canem esse natum
the horse is born for running, the ox for ploughing, and the dog for hunting
(Cic. Fin. 2.40)

2.3. The Typology of Nouns

The typology of nouns elaborated by Rijkhoff and Hengeveld, which amplifies the scheme of Lyons, presented above in section 2.1, has the advantage
of systematizing the description of the category of noun. In the present
section, I will apply this typology to Latin nouns and classify them according to their properties and behaviour. Such a classification is important
for understanding the selection of modifiers that may accompany them.
Furthermore, I will link Rijkhoff and Hengevelds typology to the ability of
nouns to admit complements and will take valency as an additional criterion.
From the traditional point of view, the noun as a word class comprises
common nouns and proper names; the group of common nouns is subdivided into concrete and abstract nouns, mass and count nouns, individual
and collective nouns, animate and inanimate nouns. For his description of
noun phrases, which aims to set up a typology applicable to various modern languages, Rijkhoff (2002: 50) adopts two essential parameters: shape
and homogeneity. The feature shape applies to discrete entities that can
be numerated; the feature homogeneity applies to entities that are cumulative and dissective. According to the presence or the absence of these
properties, three types of nouns can be distinguished; they are summarised
in Table 1.
Table 1: Properties of nouns (Rijkhoff 2002: 52)
vir man
familia family
aqua water

singular object nouns

collective nouns
mass nouns

+ shape
+ shape

+ homogeneity
+ homogeneity

Referents of singular object nouns (vir man) and of collective nouns ( familia family) are discrete and can be counted. Additionally, collective nouns
are also homogeneous or agglomerative (+ shape) in that the arrival of a

the noun and its modifiers

new member changes the number of individuals in a family but it is still a

family. Mass nouns (aqua water) cannot be numerated (shape); they are
cumulative and divisible into portions.
2.3.1. First-Order Entities Prototypical Nouns
Prototypical nouns (Rijkhoff 2002: 19, Hengeveld 2008: 46) are underived
nouns denoting a discrete, singular entity that is physically observable in
space.14 They are zero-valent or semantically closed in that their semantic
value does not require any complementation, e.g. vir man, mulier woman,
equus horse, navis ship, liber book. They distinguish between singular and
plural number and are countable, as had been stated by Varro (20). Count
nouns are related to the question quot? how many? (21). Multiplication of
singular entities, which happens in the plural, consists in the addition of
more or less similar individuals that form a heterogeneous class.
(20) Ideo quod omnia multitudinis quae declinantur ab uno, ut a merula merulae,
sunt eius modi, ut singulari subiungantur, sic merulae duae, catulae tres,
faculae quattuor.
Yet all plurals which are derived from a singular unit, like merulae from
merula blackbird are of such a sort that they subjoin a single unit like this:
two merulae blackbirds, three catulae female puppies, four faculae torches.
(Var. L. 10.66)15
(21) Quot aratores adveniente te fuerunt agri Mutycensis? # CLXXXVII.
How many cultivators were there of the district of Mutyca, when you arrived?
# 187. (Cic. Ver. 3.120)

Nouns in the singular as well as in the plural can have a generic referent,
when any individual belonging to the group is concerned:
(22) In torcularium quae opus sunt.
What is the necessary equipment for a pressing-room. (Cato Agr. 12)
Oleae albae quem ad modum condiantur.
How to season green olives. (Cato Agr. 117)

14 I will not take into consideration any philosophical questions concerning this point:
immortal gods are to be regarded as first-order entities, as well as the world, a city, a Republic,
15 I use the emended text, Traglias 1974 edition.


chapter one

Concrete entities allow all sorts of modifiers concerning the quality, the
quantity and the determination, including singularizing quantifiers such
as singuli every single or quisque each, except cunctus and universus the
whole, which only apply to collective nouns.16 The pluralia tantum
The group of first-order entities includes nouns that cannot be considered
as prototypical, among them, the pluralia tantum which only appear in the
plural form and do not have a singular counterpart.17 At the same time, their
plural form does not mean plurality (Var. L. 10.66); it is just a morphological
property of this type of nouns (Touratier 1994: 89). Furthermore, the Latin
pluralia tantum such as castra camp, litterae (one) letter, quadrigae a team
of four horses, arma weapons, distinguish themselves by their selection of
quantifiers: they do not combine with cardinal numerals such as duo two,
tres three but with distributive numerals such as bini a set of two, trini
a set of three (bina castra two camps, binae quadrigae two teams of four
horses),18 as Varro himself pointed out (23). His example concerns the fact
that the pluralia tantum do not present opposition between the singular
and the plural number (cf. example (20)).19 Other examples are given in
(24). Among the pluralia tantum, there are nouns that are not counted,
e.g. valvae (double) door, moenia walls, fides lyre, exta entrails, renes
kidneys; their multiplication would necessitate a very particular context.
The pluralia tantum are not exclusive to the first-order entities (see section
2.3.2, p. 22).


For omnis, see p. 50, note 102.

*Castrum, for example, does not exist alongside castra. The pluralia tantum denote an
object composed of parts forming a unit: fores (double) door (cf. Quirk 1985: 301 on summation plurals in English), scalae ladder, stairs consisting of several steps, litterae letter.
The semantic feature of plurality may become imperceptible, for example for castra. In the
case of tenebrae darkness, a second-order entity denoting a non-discrete and uncountable
phenomenon, an idea of intensity can apply.
18 For the use of distributive numerals with the pluralia tantum, see K.&St. (I: 660),
Lfstedt (1958: 100117), and Menge (2000: 85); cf. ThLL, s. v. bini. The distributive numerals
are not exclusive to the pluralia tantum but are also used for denoting pairs, for example:
boves trinos (Cato Agr. 10.1) three yoke of oxen; in such cases, they can combine with cardinal
numerals: binos ducentos Philippos iam intus ecferam Ill bring out two piles of two hundred
Philippics (Pl. Bac. 1050). For distributive numerals, cf. also Ojeda (1997).
19 Cf. a fragment from Caesars On Analogy reported by Gel. 19.8. Also later grammarians
report this property: Charisius (p. 34, ed. Barwick), and Ps. Caper, quoted p. 23 in (57), among

the noun and its modifiers


(23) Quare cum idem non possit subiungi, quod non dicimus biga una, quadrigae
duae, nuptiae tres, sed pro eo unae bigae, binae quadrigae, trinae nuptiae,
apparet non esse a biga et quadriga bigae et quadrigae.
Therefore since they cannot subjoin a single unit, because we do not say
biga una, quadrigae duae, nuptiae tres, but instead unae bigae one two-horse
team, binae quadrigae two teams of four horses, trinae nuptiae three sets of
nuptials, it is clear that bigae and quadrigae are not from biga and quadriga.
(Var. L. 10.67)
(24) inter bina castra Pompei atque Caesaris
between the two camps of Pompey and Caesar (Caes. Civ. 3.19.1)
Tullia litteras reddidit trinas.
Tullia gave me three letters. (Cic. Att. 11.17)

Touratier (1994: 8889), in his discussion of pluralia tantum, distinguishes

two types: (i) the nouns that refer to entities that are never single, such as
decemviri decemvirs, Lares household gods, or Manes spirits of the dead,
and (ii) the nouns that no longer correspond to plural entities, e.g. castra
camp, nuptiae wedding, tenebrae darkness. This distinction is incorrect.
In fact, the pluralia tantum, which lack the singular, should be differentiated from the nouns that appear mainly in the plural. Their behaviour is
not the same.20 The frequent occurrence of the plural form is not a criterion
for identification of a plurale tantum; the decisive criteria are the possibility
of individuation of the constitutive elements and/or the choice of a distributive numeral. The plural morpheme has its full value and expresses plurality
in the case of decemviri decemvirs, but it is not a plurale tantum because it is
opposed to the singular number: decemvir (Cic. Agr. 2.16), a (one) member
of the college of decemvirs. In the same way, Lareseven if this example
belongs to the category of proper names that will be discussed in section (p. 19)is often used in the plural form but these deities, associated
with the protection of home, can be individuated, especially as Lar familiaris the god of the household (Pl. Aul. 2). The case of liberi children (25)
is of particular interest; unlike the pair nepos grandson/granddaughter
nepotes grandchildren, liberi does not have a singular form derived from the
same base, *liber, but suppletive forms filius son and filia daughter. Nevertheless, it is not a plurale tantum since the members of the group can be
individuated and counted by means of the cardinal numeral sex six, and
not by the distributive seni.21
20 The list provided by Khner & Holzweissig (1912: 501519) contains both true pluralia
tantum and nouns with a frequent plural form.
21 Khner & Holzweissig (1912: 502) list liberi within the category of pluralia tantum;


chapter one

(25) Q. Metellus Macedonicus, cum sex liberos relinqueret, XI nepotes reliquit,

nurus vero generosque et omnes, qui se patris appellatione salutarent, XXVII.
Quintus Metellus Macedonicus, leaving six children, left eleven grand-children, but including daughters-in-law and sons-in-law the total of those who
greeted him by the title of father was twenty seven. (Plin. Nat. 7.59)

In sum, caelites and superi gods, maiores ancestors, Penates tutelary gods,
that can be individuated and counted, form a group plural. These nouns
can be linked together with collective nouns, in that they present a plural
form denoting groups of individuals. Unlike nouns in the group plural, the
pluralia tantum select distributive numerals. On the other hand, there are
instances for which it is difficult to determine the category they belong to,
in the absence of any information about the choice of quantifiers. These are,
for example, cancelli grille, codicilli writing-tablets, or rostra platform for
speakers.22 Collective Nouns
Collective nouns such as familia family, exercitus army, populus people,
tribus tribe, collegium college denote, by means of the singular number, a
group of individuals envisaged as a unit.23 Their referent consists of members
whose number can be variable; the arrival or departure of one member does
not change the existence of a familia or gens (Rijkhoff 2002: 53). In this sense,
they are homogeneous or cumulative. Collective nouns make a distinction
between the singular and the plural and are countable (26). Unlike prototypical nouns which, in the plural, multiply the number of individuals of the
similar type, plurality of collective nouns does not mean multiplication of
individuals but of whole groups. According to this property, collective nouns
can be evaluated not only for number (multitudo) but also for size (magnitudo) (27), i.e. for the small or large number of individuals that they contain.
Collective nouns admit all sorts of quantifiers, including plures and plurimi
most, multi many, nonnulli a number of, some, omnes all, toti whole (28),
and especially cunctus and universus the whole, which typically accompany
collective nouns in the singular, for example, cuncta civitas the whole city
(Cic. Pis. 45).

Khner & Stegmann (I: 660) point out the presence of the cardinal numeral with liberi, without establishing a difference between true pluralia tantum (that combine with distributive
numerals) and nouns that often appear in the plural.
22 Additionally, a plurale tantum can change its status during the evolution of Latin.
Further research of this question would be useful.
23 For the problems concerning the category of collective nouns, see Corbett (2000: 117),
with discussion and further references.

the noun and its modifiers


(26) (vilicus) Duas aut tres familias habeat, unde utenda roget et quibus det.
(the overseer) He must have two or three households, from whom he borrows
and to whom he lends. (Cato Agr. 5.3)
(27) Cn. Pompeius magnum exercitum ductabat.
Gnaeus Pompey was at the head of a large army. (Sal. Cat. 17.7)
(28) quo in oppido multas familias totas in perpetuum infamis tuis stupris flagitiisque fecisti
in their city you brought permanent disgrace on many entire families through
your sexual assaults (Cic. Ver. 4.20)

Collective nouns can present particular features as regards agreement in

number. A well-known example of notional agreement, with a verb in the
plural (exirent) following the singular civitas, is given in (29).24
(29) (Orgetorix) civitati persuasit, ut de finibus suis cum omnibus copiis exirent.
(Orgetorix) persuaded the community to march out of their territories in full
force. (Caes. Gal. 1.2.1) Mass Nouns

The referent of mass nouns does not consist of members, as does that of
collective nouns, but of portions, which can be extracted. Mass nouns are of
a cumulative nature: if we add some wine into an amphora, we still refer to
it as vinum (Rijkhoff 2002: 52). They are uncountable and do not combine
with cardinal numerals.25
Mass nouns, for which opposition between the singular and the plural
number is non-existent, select particular quantifiers. Varro himself captures
this property perfectly when he says that we do not use the plural number
for quantifying these nouns but, for example, multus (30).
(30) Nam in plumbo, argento, cum incrementum accessit, dicimus multum, sic
multum plumbum, argentum; non plumba, argenta.
For in plumbum lead and argentum silver, when there has been an increase
of quantity, we say multum: thus multum plumbum lot of lead, multum argentum lot of silver, not plumba leads, argenta silvers. (Var. L. 9.66)

24 More examples (with familia and genus) are provided by Pinkster (fc., chapter 13).
Agreement in the plural is mainly used with abstract nouns multitudo quantity and pars
a part (cf. also Touratier 1994: 358359); these nouns, in my view, are likely to be classified as
nominal quantifiers (see below, p. 49), and not as collective nouns.
25 As in French, deux ths for two cups of tea, Latin mass nouns may be used metonymically (cf. K.&St. I: 74), for example cera wax denoting wax writing-tablets: dum scribo, explevi
totas ceras quattuor (Pl. Cur. 410) while I was writing down that name, I filled four entire wax
tablets with it.


chapter one

Mass nouns partly cover what grammarians call the singularia tantum.26
They may be divided into three categories, which combine with specific
modifiers: nouns expressing material (aqua water), units consisting of several items (pecunia money), and indivisible units (terra earth). The first
one includes nouns denoting consumable items: aqua water, mel honey,
caseus cheese, vinum wine, frumentum corn, and non-consumable substances: aurum gold, argentum silver, pulvis dust, sanguis blood. In Latin,
nouns denoting single countable items are also used in the singular with
a mass meaning, for example lapis stone (pebbles), fagus beech (timber),
or vegetables such as faba bean, cicer chick-pea.27 Their quantity can be
expressed with the help of nouns expressing measure or weight, as Varro
rightly observed (31). The choice of a nominal quantifier depends on the liquid or dry nature of the item concerned: sextarius, amphora, modius, pondus
weight, libra (pondo) pound, etc., see examples (32) and (33).28 As these
expressions of measure are nouns, the construction required for the mass
noun is the genitive of quantity.29 However, semantically, it is the mass noun
that is determined by the measure noun, and not vice versa.30 The questionword used for quantity of mass nouns is quantum how much: quantum
frumenti? how much corn? However, mass nouns can also co-occur with
nouns denoting containers such as dolium jar (for storing liquids or grain)
without implying quantity,31 for example, aula cineris (Pl. Am. frg. 4) a pot
of ashes. Such genitives are more likely genitives of content.
(31) (vinum, acetum vocabula) quae sub mensuram ac pondera potius quam
sub numerum succedunt
(wine, vinegar words) which come under the categories of quantity and
weight rather than under that of number (Var. L. 9.66)


See e.g. Prisc. in GL V 176 and Khner & Holzweissig (1912: 500501).
For the latter group, see Var. L. 8.48, 9.38, and Lfstedt (1928: 13).
28 The liquid measure sextarius corresponds to 540ml; modius, a dry measure for grain and
olives, to 8.76 litres; the liquid measure amphora, to 26.26 litres. Libra or pondo is a measure
corresponding to 324 g.
29 The genitive of quantity is a subcategory of the genitive of the whole (Bennett 1914: 13
16) and is sometimes called the partitive genitive. The term genitive of quantity, used by
K.&St. (I: 429) and Ernout & Thomas (1954: 48), among others, is more exact because the
semantic relationship is not that of division. As Pinkster (fc. chapter 11) rightly argues, sextarius aquae, for example, does not compete with a partitive construction such as *sextarius
ex aqua. Cf. also Milner (1978: 119) on Fr. beaucoup de, which is not a partitive construction.
30 See Torrego in Baos Baos (2009: 167) and Ripoll (2010a: 309) with references to Milner
(1978: 39) and Njgaard (1995 III: 89); cf. also Maurel (1985) and Serbat (1996: 343).
31 As Bennett (1914: 14) observed.

the noun and its modifiers


(32) aquae sextarius

a pint of water (Cic. Off. 2.56)
quaternos denarios in singulas vini amphoras
fourteen denarii for every amphora of wine (Cic. Font. 19)
CCCC amphoras mellis
four hundred jars of honey (Cic. Ver. 2.183)
(33) Cives Romanos eius provinciae sibi ad rem publicam administrandam sestertium centies et octogies et argenti pondo XX milia, tritici modios CXX milia
polliceri coegit.
He forced the Roman citizens of the province them to promise to contribute
to the public account 18 million sesterces and 20,000 pounds of silver, and
120,000 bushels of wheat. (Caes. Civ. 2.18.4)

Less precise quantities, great or small, are expressed by means of quantifiers

in the neuter form, such as plurimum most of, aliquid, aliquantum, paulum
a few (34), followed by a genitive of quantity, or by multus an abundance
of, much (but not plurimus), which agrees in gender and number with the
governing noun (35). Also nominal quantifiers meaning a quantity of are
allowed, e.g. multitudo, magna vis and magnus numerus (36). The latter one
conveys the idea of the number, but it can very well be applied to some
non-count nouns. Mass nouns admit the universal quantifier omnis all (37),
but they do not combine with totus whole.
(34) quam plurumum aquae
as much water as (they could carry) (Sal. Jug. 75.5)
auri aliquantum
a quantity of gold (Cic. Div. 2.134)
paulum frumenti
a little corn (Caes. Civ. 1.78.2)
(35) aqua calida multa lavato
wash it with plenty of warm water (Cato Agr. 157.3)
(vinea) vino multo
(a vineyard produces) wine bountifully (Cato Agr. 1.7)
si multus erat in calceis pulvis
if there was much dust on his shoes (Cic. Inv. 1.47)
(36) maximus vini numerus
an immense quantity of wine (Cic. Phil. 2.66)
pulveris vim magnam
a vast cloud of dust (Sal. Jug. 53.1)
aquae multitudine
by a great quantity of water (Cic. Sen. 71)


chapter one

(37) paene omne frumentum

nearly all the corn (Caes. Civ. 1.48.5)

Some mass nouns can appear in the plural; in which case they express the
notion various sorts of (38).32 Frumenta in the plural means kinds of corn
or standing corn (39). Besides, panis, which can be measured by means of
pondus as in Cato Agr. 56: panis pondo IIII four pounds of bread, is used in
the plural in (40); loaves of bread (sailors biscuit) is certainly what is meant.
(38) Vina ceteraque quae in Asia facillime comparantur asportavit.
He carried off the wines and all the other things which are procured most
easily in Asia (Cic. Ver. 1.91)
(39) Iamque frumenta maturescere incipiebant
And now the crops were beginning to ripen (Caes. Civ. 3.49.1)
(40) Ego, dum panes et cetera in navem parantur, excurro in Pompeianum.
While the bread, etc. is being made for the ship, I am running over to my place
at Pompei. (Cic. Att. 10.15.4)

The second category of mass nouns includes entities consisting of several,

usually not individuated, elements: pecunia money, fenus gain, supellex
dishes, furniture, praeda booty. Unlike collective nouns such as familia,
they do not usually form a plural and do not combine with cardinal numerals. Compared to the nouns denoting material, these nouns are normally
not divided but are envisaged as a unit. Whereas pecunia33 money and
praeda spoils are measured for a large amount, magnitudo (pecuniae Cic.
Inv. 2.168): magna pecunia a lot of money (Sal. Jug. 97.1), nouns such as
supellex dishes are measured for the large number of items they include,
multitudo: multa supellex in (41). Pecunia can be used in the plural in the
sense of possessions, wealth (Cic. Ver. 3.218). Praeda in the plural, for example praedas agere (Sal. Jug. 20.8), means to drive off cattle as booty on various occasions (K.&St. I: 77). The nouns denoting a unit consisting of several

32 As had already been observed by Varro (L. 9.67): alii generis enim vinum quod Chio, aliud
quod Lesbo, sic ex regionibus aliis for there is wine of one kind, which comes from Chios,
another wine which is from Lesbos, and so on from other localities. The plural form is not
common for all mass nouns: si item discrimina magna essent olei et aceti et sic ceterarum rerum
eiusmodi in usu communi, dicerentur sic olea ut vina (Var. ibid.) if in like fashion there were
great differences in olive-oil and vinegar and the other articles of this sort, in common use,
then we should employ the plurals olea and aceta, like vina.
33 Recall that pecunia originally denotes wealth consisting of cattle: in pecore pecunia tum
pastoribus consistebat the herdsmens pecunia wealth then lay in their pecus flocks (Var. L.

the noun and its modifiers


objects (such as praeda) could be seen to be parallel with nouns that are
only used in the plural, such as divitiae wealth, exuviae spoils, or manubiae
(share of) booty, which are, presumably, pluralia tantum.
The quantifiers plurimus, plures most, and aliquot a certain number, are
excluded from use with these non-count nouns. But they can combine with
omnis: omnis pecunia all the money (Caes. Civ. 2.18.2), omnis supellex all
the dishes (Cic. Ver. 4.37), as well as totus: tota pecunia the whole sum of
money (Cic. Ver. 3.170).
The following example (41), taken from Cicero, nicely shows the distribution of quantifiers and of measure nouns. Mass nouns co-occur with pondus
weight and nominal quantifiers magnus numerus and vis maxima a great
quantity; count nouns (stragula and vasa) and (probably non-count) vestis
with plurimus very much; the mass noun supellex with multus much.
(41) Dico te maximum pondus auri, argenti, eboris, purpurae, plurimam vestem
Melitensem, plurimam stragulam, multam Deliacam supellectilem, plurima
vasa Corinthia, magnum numerum frumenti, vim mellis maximam Syracusis
I say that you exported from Syracuse an immense weight of gold, of silver,
of ivory, of purple; much cloth from Melita, much embroidered stuff, much
furniture of Delos, many Corinthian vessels, a great quantity of corn, an
immense load of honey. (Cic. Ver. 2.176)

Finally, the third sub-category of mass nouns comprises non-count nouns

denoting indivisible units, such as caelum sky, terra earth, or rus countryside. The plural number is possible in the case of terra and means points
on the Earth, in the world or different regions (42). These nouns can be
conceived of in their overallness, marked by omnis all in the singular, and
their wholeness expressed by totus whole (43).
(42) Frumentum provinciae frumentariae in alias terras miserant.
As for corn, the countries which usually supply it had sent it into other
countries. (Cic. Dom. 11)
(43) omne caelum totamque cum universo mari terram mente complexum
mentally embracing sky and earth and sea in their entirety (Cic. Fin. 2.112)34

34 This example is often quoted in order to illustrate confusions of the use of totus and
omnis (cf. note 113, p. 54). In my view, mass nouns of the caelum type simply admit both of
them (cf. omnis and totus mundus in Cic. Fin. 4.7). Truly incorrect (or non-classical) uses of
toti instead of omnes are these with countable plural entities, as was stated by Bonnet (1890:
276), e.g. totos nepotes in Stat. Theb. 1.81 all my grandchildren.


chapter one Other Non-Prototypical First-Order Nouns

Several nouns denoting singular, concrete and animate entities of the first
order cannot be considered as prototypical, due to their peculiarities: kinship terms, derived nouns, and proper names.
Kinship nouns such as pater father, filius son, frater brother, mater
mother are relational35 in that they imply affiliation. They are monovalent,
regardless of whether the related word is actually expressed, under the
conditions that necessitate it, or is only understood from the context.36
Kinship terms can be used referentially, referring to a specific individual
(44)(45), or non-referentially; in this case, they express affiliation between
two persons (46). Substantival adjectives, such as amicus friend, propinquus
relative or sodalis fellow are also relational and belong to this category.
(44) Pater nos duos fratres reliquit.
Our father left two of us, brothers. (Sal. Jug. 14.14)
(45) Pater occisus nefarie.
The father (of Sextus Roscius) has been infamously murdered. (Cic. S. Rosc.
(46) Eo L. Caesar adulescens venit, cuius pater Caesaris erat legatus.
Young Lucius Caesar, whose father was an officer of Caesars, came there.
(Caes. Civ. 1.8.2)

The category of derived nouns is represented, for example, by agent nouns

such as orator orator, imperator general, iudex judge, whether used referentially or non-referentially. However, it is not only their character as
derived nouns that makes it unattractive to label them as standard nouns:
agent nouns are valency nouns, monovalent or bivalent. They can therefore
be expanded by a genitive, a prepositional phrase, or another type of complement.
(47) Quare non dubito quo animo iudex huius criminis esse debeas.
Therefore I have no doubt about the attitude you should have as a judge of
this crime. (Cic. Ver. 4.70)

Proper names cannot be taken to be prototypical nouns either, due to their

distinctive features; they deserve a special section.

35 I keep the term relational exclusively for kinship nouns that express inalienable
possession. Certain linguists use it in a larger sense for bivalent nouns in contrast with
absolute (i. e. zero-valent) nouns: see Seiler (1983: 11) and Lehmann (1983: 343 and 1985: 72).
36 For kinship terms as expressions of inalienable possession, see Baldi & Nuti (2010: 330)
and section 3.6.2, p. 77.

the noun and its modifiers

19 Proper Names

Proper names belong to the category of definite singular expressions (Lyons
1977: 179) that also includes personal pronouns (ego, tu). They refer to entities but, unlike common nouns, proper names do not have a meaning of
their own (Lyons 1977: 219).37 The reference made to an individual by means
of a proper name is based on the association of that entity with a proper
name. As this association is arbitrary, proper names do not denote entities in the external world but have a conventionalized referential use only
(Hengeveld 2008: 53).
Proper names generally refer to unique entities38 and are used for naming
persons, deities, people, geographical places, and other items (festivals,
titles of books, etc.).
The names of gods and persons have two main functions: a referential
function for identifying an individual, and a vocative function for drawing
the attention of the addressee (Lyons 1977: 216).39 Place names and other
appellations have a referential function only. Proper nouns have a limited
ability to admit qualifying adjectives. These restrictions are compensated
for by other linguistic means, for example by appositions, which will be
examined in chapter 4.
The names of gods and persons can be simple or complex. Besides the
simple name Iuppiter, there are various complex appellations such as Iuppiter Optimus Maximus, Iuppiter Stator, Iuppiter Tonans, with attributes corresponding to the status or to the specific power of the god. For naming individuals, Romans used a system of three names (tria nomina): praenomen,
nomen, cognomen, and sometimes an agnomen, for example Marcus Tullius Cicero and Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus. The choice of one name or
another in a concrete situation was submitted to conventions (Adams 1978).
Names of Greek, Gallic, Punic, and other foreigners are most often simple: Aristoteles, Carneades, Hannibal, Ariovistus; a complex form contains
an adjective indicating the origin, for example the name of a Sicilian Dexo
Tyndaritanus Dexo from Tyndaris or that of a philosopher Hecato Rhodius
Hecato from Rhodes. Proper names have, admittedly, unique referents; but

37 See also Touratier (1994: 9). For a structural analysis of a proper name in relation to a
noun phrase, see Touratier (2010). The type of the reference carried out by proper names and
the nature itself of proper names have sparked off much discussions among philosophers as
well as linguists, see for example Coates (2006).
38 Uniqueness of the referent does not imply identifiability of the referent: see chapter 4
on appositions.
39 For other functions, proper and improper, of personal names, see Ura (2006).


chapter one

this does not mean that two persons cannot share the same name. Proper
namesor more properly persons carrying themare countable (48).
(48) Nam duo isti sunt Titi Rosciiquorum alteri Capitoni cognomen est, iste qui
adest Magnus vocaturhomines eiusmodi.
For these two Rosciione of whom is surnamed Capito; the one who is
present here is called Magnusare men of this sort. (Cic. S. Rosc. 17)

Personal names therefore admit the plural number (K.&St. I: 72): duo Gracchi (Cic. Agr. 2.81), Gnaeus et Publius Scipiones Gnaeus and Publius Scipiones (Cic. Balb. 34), Ioves plures several Jupiters (Cic. N.D. 3.42), Ioves tres
three Jupiters (Cic. N.D. 3.53). The plural number can concern the members
of one gens (family) as well (49). In addition, the plural is common in the
cases such as (50), with an improper use of the proper name, in the sense of
people like Brutus.40
(49) Omnes illo die Scauri, Metelli, Claudii, Catuli, Scaevolae, Crassi arma sumpserunt.
On that day, all the Scauri, Metelli, Claudii, Catuli, Scaevolae, and Crassi took
arms. (Cic. Phil. 8.15)
(50) Qua re imitemur nostros Brutos, Camillos, Ahalas, Decios , innumerabiles
alios qui hanc rem publicam stabiliverunt.
Accordingly let us imitate our Bruti, Camilli, Ahalae, Decii and countless
others, who firmly established this State. (Cic. Sest. 143)

Names of ethnic groups and of inhabitants frequently occur in the plural

because they denote individuals who belong to the same nation, country,
or city, and share the same status and privileges: Romani Romans, Graeci
Greek, Poeni Phoenicians; Syracusani, Rhodii, Massilienses inhabitants of
Syracuse, Rhodes, Massilia.41 Members of such groups or communities can
be individuated and quantified (51).
(51) Est quidam Graecus qui cum isto vivit.
There is a certain Greek who lives with him. (Cic. Pis. 68)
quoniam Smyrnae duos Mysos insuisses in culleum
that you had sewn up two Mysians in a sack42 at Smyrna (Cic. Q. fr. 1.2.5)

40 For this function, see Ura (2006). In the same way, the singular, nove Hannibal new
Hannibal (Cic. Phil. 13.25) is an expressive synonym of imperator (Touratier 1994: 88).
41 These names of ethnic groups and inhabitants are substantival adjectives. They compete with expressions such as Graecus homo that good-for-nothing Greek (Cic. Prov. 15),
which have special (here pejorative) value.
42 In order to punish them for parricide.

the noun and its modifiers


quem ad modum aliquot Graeci locuti sunt

as several Greeks said (Cic. Q. fr. 2.12.4)

From this point of view, Quirites, the singular of which (Quiris) only appears
in poetry, and is not attested in Classical Latin prose (Khner & Holzweissig
1912: 500), represents a group plural and not a plurale tantum noun, as
defined above in section (p. 10).
Furthermore, ethnic names can be used in the singular, especially in a
military context, in the sense of each individual belonging to the group;
common nouns such as miles soldiers or eques horsemen allow the same
use. Grammarians talk about collective meaning (K.&St. I: 67) but Lfstedt
(1928: 11) rightly interprets it as a generic use of the singular (52).43
(52) Romanus sedendo vincit.
The Roman wins by sitting still. (Var. R. 1.2.2)
Gallus periculum veritus, ut erat praeceptum, tragulam mittit.
Fearing danger, the Gaul discharged the spear, as he had been instructed.
(Caes. Gal. 5.48.7)

Place-namesnames of towns, rivers, regions, provincesrefer to singular entities and are habitually not counted,44 e.g. Roma, Carthago, Tiberis,
Rhodanus, Etruria, Campania, Sicilia, Gallia, or the names of Ciceros villas: Tusculanum, Pompeianum. As for town names, it is worth remembering
the plural names such as Syracusae, Cumae, Formiae, or Athenae; these are
pluralia tantum that lack the singular number. The true plural appears for
actually plural entities, such as Baleares (insulae) Balearic islands.
Other appellations fall into this category, such as titles of books: Brutus
Brutus, De gloria On Glory, Orator The Orator. Some of them can be used
in the plural, for example Tusculan Disputations, to the number of five (53).
(53) Totidem subsecuti libri Tusculanarum disputationum res ad beate vivendum
maxime necessarias aperuerunt.
Next, and in the same number of volumes, came the Tusculan Disputations,
which made plain the means most essential to a happy life. (Cic. Div. 2.2)

43 He distinguishes it from the collective singular such as (Hom. Il. 1.357)

shedding tears.
44 Counting is possible for homonymous entities. For example, Varro (L. 8.35) talks about
two Albae, inhabitants of which have different names: cum duae sint Albae, ab una dicuntur
Albani, ab altera Albenses while there are two towns named Alba, the people of the one
are called Albani and those of the other are called Albenses. Alba Longa and Alba Fucens,
respectively, are the towns concerned. For homonymous towns such as Alexandrea and
occasional geographical differentiations (Alexandrea in Aegypto Alexandrea in Egypt), see
ThLL, s. v. Alexander, 1534.84 f.


chapter one

I will finally mention temporal names that lack the singular: the names of
days Kalendae Kalends, Nonae Nones, Idus Ides, and the names of festivals,
which are substantival adjectives and probably also pluralia tantum, e.g.
Saturnalia, Palilia.
2.3.2. Second-Order Entities
Entities that occur in time but do not exist in space are second-order entities. Into this category, I would classify, firstly, count nouns denoting a
period, such as annus year, or hora hour. Secondly, it comprises nouns of
actions or processes, derived from verbs, e.g. oratio action of speaking, amor
love, odium hate, adventus arrival, eventus event. They are valency nouns
in that they require a complement: a genitive (54) or a prepositional phrase
(55). These nouns are uncountable. In certain cases, for example contiones
speeches, which are delimited in time and, in some way, materialized (verbally or in writing), they can be counted (duae orationes two speeches Cic.
Att. 2.7.1). However, such materialization turns them into the first-order entities.
(54) illam Norbani seditionem ex luctu civium et ex Caepionis odio neque reprimi potuisse
the outbreak of Norbanus, arising as it did from public mourning and indignation against Caepio could not have been restrained (Cic. de Orat. 2.124)
(55) Itaque nunc proxima contio eius (Clodii) exspectatur de pudicitia.
Therefore we are now expecting another speech from him (Clodius) on the
subject of chastity. (Cic. Har. 9)

Finally, various expressions of feelings, mostly derived and uncountable, are

also second-order entities: pietas piety (56), dignitas dignity, iucunditas
joy, dolor pain. Abstract nouns expressing feelings can be found in the
plural; but in such cases, they refer to various kinds or aspects that occur in
different situations or repeatedly (K.&St. I: 77). Thus, omnes avaritiae (Cic.
Fin. 4.75) are every case of avarice, domesticae fortitudines (Cic. Off. 1.78),
various manifestations of civic courage.
(56) nam et praestans deorum natura hominum pietate coleretur
since the exalted nature of the gods would receive mens pious worship (Cic.
N.D. 1.45)

Among temporal second-order entities, there are several pluralia tantum:

nouns denoting activities: insidiae ambush, ludi45 in the sense of public

Ludus does exist in the singular, in the meaning of play.

the noun and its modifiers


games or nuptiae marriagethese two are countable, cf. (57) and (23),
and non-count nouns such as argutiae adroitness of expression, deliciae delights, ineptiae absurdities, nugae bagatelles, expressing products
or perceptions of the mind, or tenebrae obscurity referring to a state-ofaffairs.
(57) Bina ac trina dicenda sunt quae sunt semper pluralia, ut binos ludos plerumque spectavimus uno die; sic trinos circenses.
Bina and trina should be used for nouns that are always in the plural, for
example: we used to attend two presentations in one day; or: three games.
(Ps. Caper in GL VII 94)

2.3.3. Third-Order Entities

Third-order entities are propositional contents that can be true or false,
can be asserted or denied, remembered or forgotten (Rijkhoff 2002: 19;
Lyons 1977: 442), e.g. opinio opinion, iudicium judgement, laus praise,
memoria memory, suspicio suspicion. They are related to some mental or
intellectual activity (iudico to judge, memini to remember). Certain nouns
of this category can be pluralized and counted, for example (58) and (59);
certain are uncountable, such as laus or memoria.
(58) quae commemorata sunt ab accusatore duo iudicia, P. Popili et Ti. Guttae
two verdicts that were mentioned by the prosecutor, that of Publius Popilius
and Titus Gutta (Cic. Clu. 98)
(59) Mihi quidem eae verae videntur opiniones, quae honestae, quae laudabiles
In my view those opinions are true which are honourable, praiseworthy
(Cic. Fin. 2.77)

Nouns belonging to the third-order entities are for the most part bivalent;
they often take an objective genitive (60) but due to their semantic value,
referring to contents, they also admit subordinate clauses such as gerunds
(61) or indirect questions (62).
(60) Ceterum ex aliis negotiis, quae ingenio exercentur, in primis magno usui est
memoria rerum gestarum.
Among other employments which are pursued by the intellect, the recording
of past events is of pre-eminent utility. (Sal. Jug. 4.1)
(61) de consilio relinquendi Italiam
about my design of leaving Italy (Cic. Att. 10.4.6)
(62) omnisque ille sermo ductus est a percontatione fili quid in senatu esset
and the whole dialogue took its start from his sons asking what business the
senate had transacted (Cic. Brut. 218)


chapter one

To sum up, the distinction of orders of entities is useful for a description of

Latin noun phrases because it makes it possible to predict and to explain the
choice of modifiers occurring with a given noun. On the other hand, there
are several difficulties concerning the classification of nouns, as we will see
in more detail in chapter 2, section 1.5.3 (p. 105). Here, I will only mention
the fact that one noun can belong to several categories, and even go across
all the three orders: lex law, for example, can function as a first-order noun
when it is materialized and published as a bronze tablet, or as a third-order
noun when its content is meant; in (63), law is used as temporal reference
point: the prepositional phrase post legem Papiam refers to the presentation
of a bill (i. q. post legem Papiam latam) and should be thus interpreted as a
second-order entity in this context.
(63) (ceteri) post legem Papiam aliquo modo in eorum municipiorum tabulas
(other men) even after the passage of the Papian law, somehow snuck into
the records of these towns (Cic. Arch. 10)

2.4. Noun Valency

As for verbs, a distinction is established between arguments (obligatory
complements) and satellites (optional complements) and their properties
are described in terms of valency frames,46 the same method is adopted for
nouns and adjectives.47 The semantic relationship between a noun and its
complement can be more or less narrow and some complements do indeed
behave as arguments. Valency complements are indeed more closely related
to their governing nouns than optional complements (Bolkestein 1989: 15).
This explains the difference between caedes Clodi the murder of Clodius,
where Clodi cannot be used predicatively (*caedes est Clodi), and the possessive genitive domus Clodi Clodius house, where Clodi can be predicated.48
It is worth pointing out that talking about an obligatory complement does
not mean that the complement must actually be expressed. As in the case
46 For example, coquo to cook is a bivalent verb that takes a second argument in the
accusative (acc. A2); interdico to prohibit is a trivalent verb with a third argument in the
dative (acc. A2 dat. A3); rogo to ask has its third argument in the accusative (acc. A2 acc.
A3)see Pinkster (fc., chapter 4) The concept of valency, i.e. semantic capacity for admitting
complements, was applied to Latin in a systematic way by Happ (1976; for noun valency,
47 See, especially, Panevov (fc) with further references. Specificity of her approach resides
in the interaction between the theoretical framework (Functional Generative Description)
and annotation of texts (Prague Dependency Treebank 2.0).
48 The genitive in domus est Clodi competes with the dative.

the noun and its modifiers


of verbs, which allow contextual ellipses of subjects or objects, arguments

of nominals can also remain unexpressed when they are inferrable from
the context. Furthermore, absolute uses are especially common with action
In this book, I will use a tripartite distinction between zero-valent, monovalent, and bivalent nouns, according to the type of corresponding clausal
expression. By zero-valent nouns, I mean those nouns that do not imply any
other participant and are sufficient on their own from the semantic point of
view; for example, liber a book does not need any complement in order to
be used in an utterance. Monovalent nouns are related to an action or a process of which they are typically agents, such as philosophus philosopher or
ambulator walker.49 Bivalent nouns imply two semantic roles, for example:
dux Helvetiorum the leader of Helvetians is analysable as an agent (dux) and
a patient (Helvetiorum) of the action duco to lead. Valency is thus not to be
understood as the number of complements that one noun or another allows
but in the sense of the number of semantic roles that it implies. This point
is specific to noun valency because unlike verbs, nouns can incorporate
semantic roles. For example, agent nouns such as dux leader incorporate
the agent so that the agent does not appear as a genitive complement with
this noun.
2.4.1. Nouns Belonging to the First Order of Entities
Nouns belonging to the first order of entities are usually zero-valent or
semantically closed in the sense that they do not require any complement, e.g. equus horse, domus house, epistula letter. From this point of
view, a genitive complement such as in the phrase signum Minervae a
statue of Minerva is optional because it is not implied by the semantic
value of signum (Pinkster LSS 6.6); the same holds true for a modifier
such as pulcherrimum very nice. In a more general way, possessive genitives applied to the first-order entities represent satellites.50 The genitives

49 Nominal quantifiers such as numerus number, multitudo great number, pars part and
the like are also monovalent; I will not go into details here.
50 This statement is based on the fact that possessive genitives, for example domus patris
my fathers house, correspond to the clausal expression domus patri/patris est the house
belongs to my father. However, as Dressler (1970: 27) pointed out, the possessor would be
the first argument (subject) if we rephrase the sentence with habeo or possideo, as Priscian
suggested (GL III 213.9): Quid est enim Hector, filius Priami? Interpretantes dicimus: hoc est
Hectorem filium Priamus possidet vel habet. What does it mean, Hector, son of Priam? We
interpret it to mean that Priam has or possesses Hector as a son.


chapter one

used with products of human work or intelligence, such as signum statue,

liber book, poema poem, aedificium building, that express the entity represented (signum Minervae), the content (liber legum book of laws) or the
author (signa Praxiteli Praxiteles statues, i.e. made by him) are also of the
optional type.51 Competing expressions, possessive pronouns (suus his) and
adjectives derived from proper names, for example, fabulae Livianae plays
of Livius (Andronicus) (Cic. Brut. 71) receive the same interpretation. Genitives expressing material, origin, price, and other similar are not required
either by the sense of their governing nouns.
We have seen that among the first-order entities, kinship nouns (pater)
and agent nouns (such as iudex judge) are monovalent or bivalent: the complements they take are required by their semantic value. In this section, I
will use the following abbreviations: A1 for the first argument (the agent),
and A2 for the second argument (mainly, the patient); Latin nouns, unlike
verbs, are generally not found with a third argument (A3, mainly, the recipient/addressee).
Kinship nouns are monovalent and encode their complements in the
genitive that compete with possessive pronouns, for example, uxor Cleomeni
Syracusani the wife of Cleomenes the Syracusan (Cic. Ver. 5.82). Their
valency frame can be determined as:
uxor + POSSESSION gen. A1 / possessive pronoun.

Agent nouns mostly take genitive complements with the semantic function
of patient. For example, the genitive factorum et scriptorum meorum in (64)
corresponds to the clausal expression given in (64a) where this element
functions as direct object. The peculiarity of agent nouns, semantically
bivalent, is that they incorporate the semantic role of agent;52 so this one
does not appear in the following valency frame:

51 Genitives of the author are treated in this way in the Annotation manual of The Prague
Dependency Treebank 2.0 corpus (The PDT Manual, section and Mikulov et al. 2008:
145). They express the agent, the person who created the object concerned; on the other hand,
the nouns expressing products of human work or intellect can almost all be accompanied
by a genitive of the author (this is an argument for interpreting it as optional) and, what is
more, two expressions (a possessive genitive and an adjective derived from a proper name)
may co-occur in one sentence, such as Smetanas opera (produced) by Sabina. On such
combinations in Latin, see p. 79, note 164.
52 Semantic role incorporation (or role absorption) means that the semantic value of
an argument, which is a part of the valency frame of the base verb, is incorporated in the
meaning of the derived noun. As a result, it does not appear as an expressed complement. I
borrow this concept from Panevov (fc, section 6.1.2).

the noun and its modifiers


laudator + PATIENT gen. A1 / possessive pronoun

The agent can only appear in apposition: cf. tu in (64) and Aristoni cuidam,
tragico actori to one Aristo, a tragic actor (Liv. 24.24.2). Notice that instead
of the genitive, a possessive pronoun may be used for encoding the patient:
amator noster an admirer of mine (Cic. Att. 1.20.7); this point has already
been remarked on by Lebreton (1901: 98).
(64) Tu ipse scilicet, laudator et factorum et scriptorum meorum.
You yourself of course, the encomiast of my doings and writings. (Cic. Att.
(64a) Atticus facta et scripta mea laudat.
Atticus praises my doings and writings.

2.4.2. Verbal Nouns Expressing Actions and States

Verbal nouns are usually regarded as nominalisations of verbal notions.53
Second- and third-order entities include a number of such nominalisations. To the category of bivalent verbal nouns belong nouns expressing
actions or states, derived from verbs or associated with a verbal group.54
Among derived nouns, there are, for example: amor love (amo), fides faith
( fido), timor fear (timeo), odium hate (odi), existimatio opinion (existimo),
obtemperatio obedience (obtempero), pudor decency (pudeo), clamor cry
(clamo). Nouns related to bivalent verbs are expanded by arguments A1 and
A2; nouns associated with monovalent verbs only encode A1. However, arguments of verbal nouns can remain unexpressed, maybe more frequently
than in the case of verbal arguments.55 Nouns derived from movement verbs
behave in a specific way, which will be presented below.
Let me take as an example desperatio despair (65) and amor love (66),
derived from the bivalent transitive verbs despero and amo. From the semantic point of view, their complements represent agents (omnium and L. Flacci)

53 See Benveniste (1966 [1962]: 146147) and Kuryowicz ([1949] 1960: 145). For verbal
nouns in Early Latin and their constructions, see Rosn (1981: 81); for aspects of nominalisation in Latin and the evolution that it underwent, see an illuminating study by Rosn (1983).
For references concerning Latin, see note 56, and Spevak (fc, b).
54 As Rosn (1983: 181) pointed out, among verbal nouns, it is worth distinguishing between nouns that have a nominalising function, for example notio action of knowing (Pl.
Truc. 623), and actually nominalise the process of nosco to know, and nouns that denote
concepts and do not nominalise: notio idea (Cic. Top. 31), which is equivalent to the Greek
. Cf. section 2.4.3 below.
55 Cf. Kolov (2006: 9): they need not be expressed on the surface at all. The actual
ratio between expressed and unexpressed complements requires further investigation.


chapter one

and patients (salutis and in patriam), and correspond to the clausal expressions in (65a) and (66a) (cf. Pinkster LSS 6.6).56 The valency frames of these
nouns are:
desperatio + AGENT gen. A1; PATIENT gen. A2;
amor + AGENT gen. A1; PATIENT gen. / in / erga A2.

Unlike agent nouns such as laudator who praises, these nouns do not
incorporate the agent; it is thus expressed in the so-called subjective genitive. Besides, the obligatory character of the complements expanding verbal
nouns such as desperatio and amor is proved by the fact that they cannot be
used predicatively (Bolkestein 1989: 13) in the clausal expressions given in
(65) in desperatione omnium salutis
in the despair of safety experienced by everybody (Caes. Civ. 1.5.3)
(65a) Omnes salutem desperant.
(66) posteaquam L. Flacci amor in patriam perspectus esset
after Lucius Flaccus love for our country has been clearly seen (Cic. Flac. 2)
(66a) L. Flaccus patriam amat.
(66b) ??? Desperatio omnium est.??? Amor L. Flacci est.

The genitive is the nominal complement par excellence: it serves for encoding various arguments that at the sentence level take different forms and
stand in the nominative, the accusative, the dative, or the ablative case, as
has been pointed out by Pinkster (LSS 6.6). We have seen two verbal nouns
and their treatment of the agent and the patient of the actions. Arguments
in the dative used with verbs such as fido to trust, invideo to envy, servio to
serve are, at the noun phrase level, also encoded in the genitive: fides faith,
invidia envy, servitus servitude combine with genitive complements; in the
same way, oblivio oblivion (from obliviscor + gen.) and usus use (from utor
+ abl.), see examples in (67) and (67a). Argument marking is thus simplified
at the noun phrase level with respect to the sentence level where distinctions such as agent / patient / recipient are clearly distinct with the help of
case endings.
(67) fides huius defensionis
my good faith for his defence (Cic. Clu. 118)
56 For this point and the well-known passage in Gellius (9.12.13), who proposed the transformation of metus Pompei as Pompeius metuit / Pompeius metuitur, see Rosn (1981: 71; 1983)
and Fugier (1983: 247). See also Dressler (1970: 28).

the noun and its modifiers


in oblivionem totius negotii

into oblivion of the whole affair (Cic. Ver. 4.79)
usus navium
usage of ships (Caes. Gal. 3.14.7)
(67)a huius defensioni fido / totius negotii obliviscuntur / navibus utuntur

Effacement of the agent / patient distinction at the noun phrase level can
produce phrases, which grammarians qualify as ambiguous, built up with
a head noun and two genitive complements, one subjective, the other objective genitive.57 Many instances are easy to interpret in the actual context
without ambiguity. On the other hand, some nouns present, in their valency
frames, the prepositional phrase in + acc., erga towards and sometimes
adversus against instead of the common objective genitive.58 The use of
such prepositional phrases makes it explicit who the action is oriented
towards, and focuses on the person.
(68) quae voluntas erga Caesarem totius provinciae
what was the feeling of the whole province towards Caesar (Caes. Civ. 2.17.1)
(69) quaedam reverentia adversus homines, et optimi cuiusque et reliquorum
a respectfulness towards men, both towards the best of them and the rest
(Cic. Off. 1.99)

Such an encoding of patients, which seem to compensate for the effacement

of the formal distinction between agents and patients, is restricted to animate nouns or nouns that can be associated with animate entities, such
as patria fatherland or salus safety.59 Furthermore, it is only possible for
nouns expressing emotions such as love, hatred, fear, praise (Torrego 1991).
They are excluded when an action changes the state of a person and creates

57 They are listed in Latin grammars, see K.&St. (I: 416) and Menge (2000: 368); cf. also
Devine & Stephens (2006: 316). According to Rosn (1981: 78), there are no sure instances of
them in Early Latin.
58 For interchange of genitives with prepositional phrases, see Nutting (1932, esp. 268
279). As for the subjective genitive, it is rare to encounter the alternative, i.e. the agent complement introduced by the preposition a(b) (satellite), for example: declaratio voluntatis ab
universo populo Romano (Cic. Sest. 122) the declaration of will (made) by the whole Roman
people, corresponding to: universus populus Romanus voluntatem declarat the whole Roman
people declare their will. Following Jnicke (1886: 4), there are some twelve examples of this
type in Ciceros work.
59 See K.&St. (I: 416), Menge (2000: 368), and Torrego (1989). On the other hand, objective
genitives occur with inanimate nouns, e.g. voluntas defensionis disposition to continue the
defence (Cic. Ver. 1.20), and with gerundives and gerunds, e.g. accusandi voluntas will to
prosecute (Cic. Div. Caec. 24).


chapter one

new situation: *caedes in Clodium *the murder towards Clodius (Bolkestein

1989: 16).60 Encoding of patients using prepositional phrases is peculiar to
noun phrases. Expansions with in or erga of amor, for example, function as
arguments at the noun phrase level and, what is more, they do not stem
from the valency frame of the verb amo (*amo in, *amo erga); when such
prepositional complements are found with other verbs, they function as
satellites; this point must be stressed.61
Besides verbal nouns, which have been discussed, there are nouns denoting actions or states that do not have a verbal origin.62 To this category belong
words such as spes hope ( spero to hope),63 cura care ( curo), iniuria
injustice ( in negative + ius justice, law; without any cognate verb), gratia favour ( gratus grateful; without any cognate verb), metus fear (of
obscure origin, but metuo to fear is a denominative verb), or ius iurandum
oath (ius justice, law iuro to swear). Valency frames of such verbs are
various and sometimes very rich. It is tempting, obviously, to interpret the
genitive expanding luctus + gen. (70) as an objective genitive, corresponding
to the clausal expression in (70a), and the genitive used with ius iurandum
+ gen. (71), as a subjective genitive.64
(70) (Telamo furere) luctu filii
(Telamon maddened) by grief for his son (Cic. de Orat. 2.193)


For caedes in vos in Sal. Jug. 31.13, which is isolated, see chapter 3, p. 251, note 41.
Erga aliquem towards somebody seems to be an exclusively nominal complement,
cf. ThLL, s. v. According to Devine & Stephens (2006: 331), this prepositional phrase usually
accompanies nouns such as fides faith or voluntas will. Prepositional phrases with in + acc.
(in someones favour or against somebody) are found with verba dicendi (verbs of saying)
as well as with other verbs (see ThLL, s. v. in, 747.25f.) but then they only function as satellites
(cf. Pinkster fc., chapter 4), for example: carmen, quod in eum scripsisset a lyric poem which
he had composed in his honour (Cic. de Orat. 2.352). The case of prepositional phrases
with adversus is more complex, because they can expand various verbs, especially verbs of
fighting. As for bivalent transitive verbs (cf. ThLL, s. v. adversus, 852.56 et 857.3), which are
dealt with in this section, see, for example, verba atque orationem adversus rem publicam
habuissent they might have spoken against the interest of the state (Caes. Civ. 2.18.5). For
interchange between expressions of the beneficiary and prepositional phrases with in, contra,
and adversus, cf. Baos Baos (2009: 306 and 309) and Torrego (1991: 287).
62 Nouns belonging to the first-order entities used in a metaphorical sense, e.g. manus
hand as power can be included in this category, cf. neque mihi in manu fuit Iugurtha qualis
foret I had no power to form the character of Jugurtha (Sal. Jug. 14.4).
63 Arrows indicate the direction of the derivation: x y means y is derived from x.
64 Cf. also the well-known instance of two genitives, one subjective, the other objective:
pro veteribus Helvetiorum iniuriis populi Romani (Caes. Gal. 1.30.2) for past outrages inflicted
on the Roman people by the Helvetii.

the noun and its modifiers


(70a) filius lugetur

(71) (cum habeas) integerrimi municipi ius iurandum
(when you have) the oath of a town of the highest integrity (Cic. Arch. 8)
(71a) integerrimum municipium iuravit / ius iurandum dedit

Such an analysis is fully justified. We can assume that these nouns, without
having a verbal origin, have joined the category of verbal nouns due to analogy: spes enters the group of nouns and verbs expressing will (voluntas), ius
iurandum, that of the nouns and the verbs expressing statements. Anyway, if
a morphologically cognate verb exists, Latin speakers certainly did not apply
any etymological reflexion about the primacy of spes over spero but simply regarded them as parallel to couples such as fides / fido. The lack of the
cognate verb is sometimes compensated for by support verb constructions
involving a semantically weak verb (see chapter 3, p. 250), such as ius iurandum do to take the oath or iniuriam facio to do an injustice. If we admit
that semantic analogies, which link underived nouns with semantically cognate verb groups, are at work, we can more easily understand the richness
of valency frames of such nouns, for example those of spes (72),65 as well as
the fact that a word like ius iurandum oath can take a complement clause
as expansion (73); d and e are support verb constructions.
(72) spes + gen. A1 (Catilinae) / + gen. A2 (pacis); syntactic variants of A2:
a. Accusative + infinitive:
magna in spe sum mihi nihil temporis prorogatum iri
I am very hopeful that there will be no prorogation (Cic. Att. 6.2.6)
b. Gerundive:
spes libertatis recuperandae
hope of recovering your independence (Cic. Agr. 1.17)
c. Prepositional phrase with de:
meam de tua erga me benevolentia spem
my hope of your kindly dispositions towards me (Cic. Fam. 13.29.8)
d. Prepositional phrase with in:
in avaritia nobilitatis et pecunia sua spem habere
having hopes in the avarice of the nobility and in his own wealth (Sal.
Jug. 13.5)
e. Complement clause:
Quae te ratio in istam spem induxit ut eos tibi fideles putares fore, quos
pecunia corrupisses?
What reason led you to entertain the thought that men you had corrupted with money would be faithful to you? (Cic. Off. 2.53)


Cf. OLD and Hoffmann fc.


chapter one

(73) ius iurandum poscere, ut, quod esse ex usu Galliae intellexissent, communi
consilio administrarent
to ask for their oath that they would by common consent execute whatever
they judge to be for the advantage of Gaul (Caes. Gal. 5.6.6)

Trivalent verbs such as dono aliquid alicui to give something to someone,

which usually present a great formal variety of arguments, constitute a category that is less easily subject to nominalisations.66 Subjective and objective genitives accompanying nouns such as donatio donation, responsum
answer, absolutio acquittal, privatio privation, or rogatio request can be
found (74). There are also several examples of verbal nouns with the third
argument alone, such as liberatio culpae a release from all guilt (Cic. Lig.
1). However, it is exceptional to find instances of verbal nouns derived from
trivalent verbs with more than one complement expressed together in one
noun phrase.67
(74) responsum haruspicum
the answer of the soothsayers (Cic. Har. 9)
de donatione regnorum
on the grants of foreign kingdoms (Cic. Fam. 1.9.7)

Furthermore, it is not usual to encode the recipient/addressee of an action

as genitive at the noun phrase level (Pinkster LSS 6.6). On the other hand,
it also rarely appears in the dative or in a prepositional phrase, for example
the ad-phrase with translatio in (75), derived from transfero to transfer. The
expression of source (a-phrase) functions as a satellite. This noun phrase
corresponds to the clausal expression given in (75a).
(75) Quare L. Sullae C. Caesaris pecuniarum translatio a iustis dominis ad alienos
non debet liberalis videri.
Consequently, the transference of money by Lucius Sulla and Gaius Caesar
from its lawful owners to others ought not to be seen as liberal. (Cic. Off. 1.43)
(75a) L. Sulla C. Caesar pecunias a iustis dominis ad alienos transtulerunt.
Lucius Sulla and Gaius Caesar transferred money from its lawful owners to

Verbal nouns derived from movement verbs represent a special category.

These are, for example: iter journey (eo to go), profectio departure (profi-


Cf. Pinkster (1985: 170172) and fc. chapter 4 on three place verbs.
My corpus offered only one example, quoted in chapter 2, as example (350): Mortis
paternae de servis paternis quaestionem habere filio non licet! The son is not allowed to put
his fathers slaves to the question concerning his fathers death (Cic. S. Rosc. 78).

the noun and its modifiers


ciscor), reditus return (redeo), aditus access (adeo), or excessus exit (excedo). Such nouns encode the first argument in the genitive (76) or in the
nominative of a possessive pronoun (meus in (77)); the second argument,
which expresses direction, usually retains the construction of the base verb
and takes the form of a directional accusative, or that of a prepositional
phrase with in or ad.68 Source expressions appear as prepositional phrases
with a(b), ex or as simple ablatives. The first argument can remain unexpressed because the agent of the action is often inferrable from the context.
(76) Quis de C. Cethego atque eius in Hispaniam profectione cogitat?
Who even thinks of Gaius Cethegus and his expedition into Spain ? (Cic.
Sul. 70)
(77) Adventus meus atque introitus in urbem qui fuit?
What was the character of my arrival and entry into the city? (Cic. Dom. 75)

Whereas expressions of direction are arguments, expressions of source function as arguments only with nouns that semantically involve an idea of
departure or return, for example reditus; with other nouns, such as iter
journey, source complements are satellites, as are path complements (iter
2.4.3. Nouns Expressing the Result of an Action or a Process
Among verbal nouns, it is necessary to distinguish nouns expressing the
result of an action or a process as a separate category.69 The peculiarity of
these nouns consists in the fact that they can express both an (ongoing)
action and the result of an action; compare the following examples with
oratio, related to oro to speak (as orator):70
(78) Sed nihil te interpellabo: continentem orationem audire malo.
But I shall not interrupt you: I wish to hear a continuous speech. (Cic. Tusc.

68 For the construction of movement verbs, see Pinkster (fc., chapter 4 on two-place verbs
with a space argument). Additionally, as Pinkster (LSS 6.6, p. 93, n. 40) rightly observes,
excessu vitae in quitting life (Cic. Tusc. 1.27, quoted by K.&St. I: 415) is less common than
excessus e vita (Cic. Fin. 3.60).
69 In The PDT Manual (section and Mikulov et al.2008: 136138). It is characterised as transitory between verbal nouns and nouns that do not imply verbal features any
more. For description of this category of nouns in Czech and problems involved, see Kolov
(2006 and fc).
70 The verb oro is commonly used in the specialised sense as to pray; the couple oro /
oratio has undergone a differentiation of the meaning.


chapter one

(79) Orationes autem me duas postulas.

You ask me for two speeches. (Cic. Att. 2.7.1)

Whereas oratio in (78) has a temporal meaning and denotes a speech as an

action of speaking, oratio in (79) is the result of the action, a materialized
speech, in our case, in writing.71 The difference between these two uses is
that the first one encodes the agent of the action, unless it is inferrable from
the context as in (78): oratio Ciceronis / eius ~ Cicero orat, and functions as an
argument. In the second instance, the complement orationes meae / Ciceronis would be an expression of the author, which is a satellite. Furthermore,
oratio as a materialized, countable object joins the first-order nouns such as
liber book.
To this category belong, for example: actio action (ago), especially legal
process and its materialization, a plea; consilium deliberation (consulo)
and its result, a plan; iudicium legal proceedings (iudico) and a decision, a
verdict; imperium command (impero) and dominion; sumptus spending
(of money) (sumo) and costs; commeatus passage (commeo) and supplies; rogatio request (rogo) and a bill.72
A common feature of result nouns is that they often incorporate semantic roles: some of them integrate the agent, others the patient, for example,
sumptus that implies money (pecunia). Consequently, the genitive aedilitatis in (80) is not the patient: the activity financed, i. q. in aedilitatem sumptum feci, functions as an optional complement expressing the goal.
(80) Sane exiguus sumptus aedilitatis fuit.
The expenditure during my aedileship was paltry indeed. (Cic. Off. 2.59)

It is also worth mentioning that verbal nouns do not always keep the semantic value of their base verbs. They undergo semantic shifts, such as in the case
of oratio speech and oro to pray, or special developments, for example factio faction and facio to do.73
The last category examined has shown that verbal features of nouns can
undergo effacement. Furthermore, there are nouns stemming from verbs

71 Cf. Rosn (1983:179) on concretized meaning and Rosn (1981: 24). Cf. also Menge
(2000: 8) on the active and passive sense of the nouns derived with the suffix -tio, for
example: damnatio condemnation and punishment.
72 For rogatio, derived from the trivalent verb rogo, cf. ut etiam Catonis rogationibus de
Milone et Lentulo resistamus (Cic. Q. fr. 2.3.4) to make a stand against Catos bills concerning
Milo and Lentulus; the construction rogatio + gen. + de-phrase is the same as that of liber: a
genitive of the author and a prepositional phrase with de expressing the content.
73 More research is needed to determine these relationships.

the noun and its modifiers


that have completely lost any relationship with them and, consequently, any
valency. These are, for example: remedium medicine (re, medior to heal); a
signum mark; statue is the result of seco to cut; periculum danger is what
has been tested (*perior); auxilium help is the effect of augeo to increase;
or exercitus army is what has been trained (exerceo). Consider also the case
of consultum a resolution, the result of the action of consulo to consult, to
decide; or senatus consultum a resolution of the senate becomes a fixed
expression but originally, it is the senate who takes a decision.
To sum up the most important points discussed in this section: valency
nouns, the semantic value of which requires complementation, fall into
several categories: relational nouns, verbal nouns or nouns associated to
states-of-affairs, and quantifying expressions. These categories distinguish
themselves by specific semantic properties as well as by the way they encode
their complements. At the same time, a valency noun does not necessarily
mean a noun with complements expressed. In the case of nouns, arguments
can remain unexpressed more frequently than in the case of verbs, especially when they are inferrable from the context (cf. Rosn 1983: 190). As has
been observed by Helbig (1982: 43), obligatoriness of a complement is to be
understood above all out of context, in isolated sentences; in a given context,
noun complements can undergo contextual ellipses.
3. Modifiers
3.1. The Types of Modifiers
I will turn now to modifiers that can accompany nouns, starting with a first
account of their types. After a discussion of their frequency and their general
properties, I will attempt a typology of Latin modifiers. Khner & Stegmann
(I: 206) list noun complements able to fulfil the function of attribute. They
can take the following forms:
adjectives: rosa pulchra a nice rose, and determiners: haec rosa this
nouns in the genitive: hortus regis kings garden, or in the genitive /
ablative of quality accompanied by an adjective: homo mitis ingenii /
homo miti ingenio a man of a gentle disposition;
prepositional phrases: vulnera ex proeliis74 wounds received in battles;


I replace the example given by K.&St. (I: 206), otium cum dignitate ease conjoined with


chapter one
adverbs: omnes circa populi all surrounding nations;75
nouns in apposition: Romulus rex king Romulus.

To this typology can be added (cf. Lavency 1997: 119 and 1998):
relative clauses: Caesar eam complexus est causam quae esset senatui
gratissima. Caesar has embraced that cause which was most agreeable
to the senate. (Cic. Phil. 5.44)
As well as:
gerunds: facultas dicendi the ability of speaking, and
completive clauses of any form: perturbationes sintne eiusdem partes,
quaestio est it is a question whether disorders are subdivisions of the
same class. (Cic. Tusc. 4.29)
The syntactic function of the attribute can be identified by the substitution
test (Fr. commutation): all the types of noun complements mentioned can
interchange in the sense that they belong to the same substitutional class
and can enter into the same constructions (Lavency 1997: 15).76 Interchange
of noun complements is shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Interchange of noun complements



pulchra / haec
mitis ingenii / miti ingenio
ex proeliis
quae esset senatui gratissima
perturbationes sintne eiusdem partes

duty; in Cic. de Orat. 1.1, cum dignitate is predicative (see Leeman & Pinkster 1981: 28); in Sest.
98 and Fam. 1.9.21, it possibly represents an elliptical expression.
75 For noun phrases containing an adverb, which is not a typical noun complement, see
Pinkster (1972: 59) and recently Ripoll (2010b). This topic will not be dealt with in more detail
in this book.
76 For substitutions, see also Pinkster (fc., chapter 11, introduction) and Touratier (1994:

the noun and its modifiers


Figure 2: The frequency of noun complements

In other words, all these noun complements are equivalent at the syntactic level and function therefore as attributes. However, only some of them
are noun complements par excellence: pronouns that determine or identify nouns, quantifiers that count and measure them, adjectives that express
their properties or types, and genitive complements. These main categories
of modifiers will be discussed in detail in next sections.77
3.2. The Frequency of Modifiers
Before coming to the typology of modifiers, I will look at their frequency.
The data indicated in Figure 2 are based on a sample of 500 noun phrases
taken from Ciceros philosophical treatise, Ciceros speech, and Caesars and
Sallusts historical narratives.78

77 Except for relative clauses that will not be discussed in this book because of the
abundant recent literature on this topic: see Touratier (1980), Lehmann (1984), Lavency
(1998), and Pinkster (fc. chapter 17).
78 Figure 2 (for detailed data, see Table 1.1 in the Appendix) only concerns bare noun
phrases; noun phrases belonging to prepositional phrases have not been taken into consideration. All modifiers have been counted, including possessive, demonstrative, relative
pronouns, etc. Functional differences have not been distinguished here; thus, for example,
regardless of its function, magnus big figures among adjectives and multitudo a great number is considered as a noun governing a genitive.


chapter one

Determiners (this label includes true determiners, identifiers, and quantifiers) are the most frequent among the noun complements (32 %); after
them come, surprisingly, genitives (29%) and then adjectives (22 %). Complex noun phrases containing any combination of a determiner, an adjective, and/or a genitive make up all together 10 %. All other complements
obtain a low ratio: prepositional phrases 5 %, and remaining onesgerunds, gerundives, completive clauseseven less.
It is remarkable that the distribution of noun complements in this corpus is practically the same (see Table 1.1 in the Appendix); we can only
notice that Sallust utilises genitive complements more frequently than other
authors and that Caesar has the highest number of prepositional phrases.
However, the distribution of noun complements can vary according to literary genre and the topic dealt with.
3.3. The Typology of Modifiers and Hierarchic Levels
A noun can be accompanied by one or more modifiersthe term modifier
is used here as a hypernym including adjectives, determiners, identifiers,
and quantifiers; together, they build up a noun phrase. Rijkhoff (2010) has
established a distinction between five types of modifiers.79 The categories
with Latin examples are the following:
(i) Classifying modifiers further specify the kind of entity in question.
They include classifying adjectives such as onerarius cargo, civilis
civil, publicus public, as well as non-referential genitives: tribunus
plebis plebeian tribune. They include categories such as purpose and
function, status and rank, origin, and relate to any feature that may
serve to classify entities into a system of smaller sets. Unlike qualifying
adjectives, they do not admit intensifiers, comparison, or predicative
(ii) Qualifying modifiers express qualities such as dimension, age, value,
colour, physical properties, human qualities. Adjectives are the linguistic means par excellence for fulfilling this function, e.g. novus new,
vetus old, niger black, longus long.

79 The category of classifying modifiers is not present in Rijkhoff (2001: 522 and 2002:
340); for application of these categories to Latin, cf. Tarrio in Baos Baos (2009: 253).
For Marouzeaus (1922 and 1953) twofold distinction between qualifying and determining
adjectives, adopted by many scholars (cf. Touratier 1994: 434 and Kircher-Durand 1996: 229,
among others), see p. 55, section 3.5.

the noun and its modifiers


(iii) Quantifying modifiers evaluate the referent as to their number, e.g.

omnes all, multi many, nonnulli some, unus one, duo two, milia
thousands. Quantifiers do not form a homogeneous morphological
group but come from various word classes: pronouns (omnes all),
adjectives (multus numerous, numerosus many), nouns (milia thousand, numerus (great) number, multitudo quantity), or adverbs (satis
enough, nimis too much).
(iv) Localising (locative) modifiers are used for localising referents
(where is the referent?) and hence for identifying them (who is the
referent?). Localisation is to be understood not only in a spatial sense
but also in a temporal or cognitive sense (references made to shared
knowledge, for example). Localising modifiers include demonstrative
pronouns, possessive expressions, and restrictive relative clauses
(Lehmann 1984: 402). Rijkhoff (2001: 527) gives as an example (81);
Latin examples with a prepositional phrase, a possessive genitive, and
a relative clause are quoted in (8283).
(81) I bought the house next to the Van Gogh museum / my fathers house / the
house you wanted to buy last year.
(82) cum domus in Palatio, villa in Tusculano, altera ad alterum consulem transferebatur
when my house on the Palatine hill, and my villa in the district of Tusculum,
were transferred one a-piece to each of the consuls (Cic. Dom. 62)80
(83) domus M. Tulli Ciceronis
the house of Marcus Tullius Cicero (Cic. Dom. 102)
Nam Milonis domum, eam quae est in Cermalo, pridie Idus Novembres
expugnare et incendere ita conatus est ut
On 12 November he tried to storm and burn Milos house, that in the Germalus, so that (Cic. Att. 4.3.3)

(v) Referential modifiers are related to referential properties of a referent (that is the referent). In a language such as English, this function
is fulfilled by articles that indicate whether or not a referent is identifiable and mark a noun for (in)definiteness, specificity, or genericity. In Latin, a language without articles, referential properties can be
expressed by means of indefinite pronouns aliquis, quidam a certain,
or by identifiers idem the same and alius another, referring to identity
and otherness.
80 After Ciceros departure for his exile, the items found in his house were transported to
Piso, the items from his villa, to Gabinius.


chapter one

Each noun imposes its own selection restrictions on various types of

modifiers (Rijkhoff 2001: 523), for example, a modifier connected with the
animate gender cannot be applied to an inanimate entity (*navis viva *a living ship), and a numerical quantifier cannot accompany a non-count noun
(*duo argenta *two silvers), except in particular cases, such as metaphorical uses.81
Modifiers of a noun may function at different levels. In the framework of
Functional Discourse Grammar, Hengeveld (2008: 47) illustrates this point
using the following example:
(84) de drie paar schoenen
the three pairs of shoes

The definite article (de) marks identifiability of the referent by the addressee; the quantifier (drie) expresses the number the referent has in the
external world, and the measure modifier (paar) further specifies the property of the referent (schoenen). The three modifiers function on different
hierarchic levels in the sense that the definite article has the largest scope
of all modifiers.
Also adjectives may have different scope. Whereas classifying modifiers
represent close modifications of a noun, qualifying adjective have a larger
scope (85).
(85) an expensive musical instrument

A difference of scope of modifiers, the so-called nesting is resumed in

Figure 3 as a layered representation of the noun phrase in the framework
of Functional Grammar.
It is worth adding that some adjectives may express not only a property
of a referent but also subjective attitude of the speaker.82
81 Already Varro (L. 9.58) says that we cannot combine concepts different in their nature
and usage: Ergo dicitur ut surdus vir, surda mulier, sic surdum theatrum, quod omnes tres ad
auditum sunt comparatae; contra nemo dicit cubiculum surdum, ad silentium, non ad auditum.
Accordingly, as a surdus deaf man is a current term, and a surda woman, so also is a surdum
theatre, because all three things are equally intended for the act of hearing. On the other
hand, nobody says a surdum sleeping-room, because it is intended for silence and not for
hearing. A surdum theatrum is a theatre in which it is difficult to hear or a theatre in which
the audience is inattentive.
82 Furthermore, Hengeveld distinguishes reference modification, a concept that I will
disregard here.

the noun and its modifiers


Figure 3: A layered representation of noun phrase structure (Rijkhoff 2010: 120)

(86) Had I run into the rarest of species, one most people would have thought was
extinct in the western world: a poor doctor?
(87) Oh my god, the poor doctor was going to just tell me the results!

In (86), poor indicates a property of the entity referred to: this doctor is
poor (referent modification); in (87), poor expresses the speakers sympathy
for the doctor (subjective attitude). Hengeveld (2008: 49) points out that
poor behaves differently from rich specifying the opposite value, which can
only be used for referent modification (86a). Furthermore, only adjectives
expressing subjective evaluation are allowed in exclamations, such as in
(86a) The doctor is poor.The doctor is rich.
(87a) Poor man!*Rich man!

3.4. Determiners, Quantifiers, and Identifiers

3.4.1. Combinability of Determiners
The first systematic description of Latin determiners83 was put forward by
Fugier (1983; cf. also Fugier & Corbin 1977); she describes them as a closed
class of words, in contrast with adjectives that represent an open class.
She deserves merit for distinguishing several sub-categories of determiners

83 There is enormous fluctuation in the terminology used, the sub-categories distinguished, and their content in the literature, as we will see in this section. For convenience, I
will use the term determiner for words that do not express properties: demonstrative and
indefinite pronouns, numerals, identifiers, etc. in this section.


chapter one

based on their mutual combinability (Table 3).84 Combinability is an indicator of different semantic and syntactic properties.
Table 3: Typology of determiners in Latin (Fugier 1983: 251)



hic / iste / ille

unus, duo
alius / alter
multi, pauci
omnis, cunctus

(ali)quis / quidam
quisquam / nemo / nihil
ullus / nullus





Unlike adjectives, determiners have specific syntactic behaviour: two or

more determiners depending on one head noun are always juxtaposed,
never coordinated. According to Fugier, determiners indicated in different
columns can combine in the horizontal direction (is + unus + idem); combinations are excluded inside the columns in the vertical direction (*is + hic;
*quis + quidam). Fugier (1983: 252) claims that the longest sequence possible
contains three elements, but she illustrates it using a constructed example,
illi tres eidem homines these same three men; in (88), I give an authentic
(88) Sed idem hi tres pedes male concludunt.
But these same three feet (spondee, iambus, and tribrach) make a bad cadence. (Cic. Orat. 217)

84 Fugier (1983: 251) does not include the possessive pronoun meus in her typology, arguing
that it is not a determiner.

the noun and its modifiers


Risselada (1984: 227231) responded with several fully justified critical

remarks. Firstly, she argues that aliquot several is a quantifier, likewise
plerique most of, and should therefore figure together with the numerals.
The status of uterque both is ambiguous: on the one hand, uterque can
be used as a descriptive modifier, on the other hand, as a quantifier (see
Risselada 1984: 229). Secondly, she suggests that the ordinal numeral primus
first should be classified as an open class modifier, i.e. as an adjective. The
groups of determiners set up by Risselada are presented in Table 4.
Table 4: Typology of Latin determiners (Risselada 1984: 230)
Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

hic, iste, ille
(ali)quis, quidam
quisquam, nemo, nihil
ullus, nullus
neuter, alteruter

unus, duo
aliquot, plerique
multi, pauci
omnis, totus, cunctus,

alius, alter

Table 4 lists the main groups of determiners; as in Table 3, their combinability is not indicated in an exact way. Determiners in the columns are mutually
exclusive and do not combine, except for omnis all which can accompany
certain determiners belonging to the same group. From quis on, pronouns of
group 1 do not combine with those in group 2 but they allow combinations
with those in group 3. Furthermore, neither Table 3 nor Table 4 indicates the
order in which determiners are linearised.85
I propose the combinability of Latin determiners used in a noun phrase as
is summarised in Figure 4. Lines link groups that are mutually combinable;
the double arrows indicate that the ordering of determiners is not fixed in
one or the other direction. Determiners are envisaged in their adnominal
use, i.e. in a noun phrase, or occasionally in their pronominal use (hi duo
these two); any combination is excluded for determiners functioning as
85 For combinability of determiners, their order, and semantic and pragmatic implications of one or another ordering, see Spevak (2010a: 255262). This complex question will
not be dealt with here.


chapter one

Figure 4: Combinability of determiners, quantifiers, and identifiers

bidirectional combinability: duo alii and alii duo
unidirectional combinability: nemo alius but *alius nemo

However, this scheme does not claim to be exhaustive: only the most frequent determiners are indicated. Furthermore, it simplifies several facts:
aliqui some, for example, in combination with a numeral does not express
indefiniteness but approximation.86 Totus the whole has a specific semantic

86 Aliqui can combine with cardinal numerals but in this case it expresses approximation
(some, or other): Contineo me ab exemplis. Graecis hoc modicum est: Leonidas, Epaminondas,
tres aliqui aut quattuor. I refrain from further instances. The Greeks have but a modest list:

the noun and its modifiers


value, as we will see in section (p. 53) and is thus absent; it combines
neither with alius nor with demonstrative pronouns, but may co-occur with
numerals. Idem, also absent, can combine with demonstratives (see ThLL,
s. v. 200.20) and with ipse. Other determiners with special distribution and
with limited combinability have also not been included, such as uter(que)
(both), which does not seem to combine with alius / alter87 other, as well as
singuli (every single), which does not usually occur in combinations. Ordinal numerals (primus first) are absent because of their peculiarities (see
section, p. 64); among other things, they can combine with duo two,
tres three. On the other hand, I have added free-choice indefinite pronouns
(quivis, quilibet, etc. whoever), absent from both Tables 3 and 4.
In the following sections, I will concentrate on the principal categories
and characteristic properties of words that determine, quantify, or identify a noun. From the traditional point of view, they belong to two word
classes: pronouns (pronomina) and numerals (numeralia). They can be used
adnominally, as the attribute in a noun phrase, or pronominally, when they
are not associated with a noun. First, I will briefly examine interrogative,
anaphoric and demonstrative pronouns, then in more detail indefinite pronouns and quantifiers, and finally other pronouns.88
3.4.2. Interrogative, Anaphoric, and Demonstrative Pronouns
Interrogative pronouns used in a noun phrase usually do not combine with
other determiners.89 They are often separated from their governing noun
(89) Quo cum Catilina venisset, quis eum senator appellavit, quis salutavit?
When Catiline came, what senator addressed him? who greeted him? (Cic.
Catil. 2.12)

Latin has one anaphoric pronoun (is) and three demonstrative pronouns
corresponding to three verb persons: hic this (which I have), iste that
(which you have), and ille that.90 They mark the identifiability of a referent

Leonidas, Epaminondas, some three or four (Cic. Fin. 2.62). For more examples, see ThLL, s.
v. aliquis, 1612.31 f.
87 But cf. the combination alteruter one or the other of two.
88 Relative pronouns used in a noun phrase represent a peculiar case; for the repetition of
the antecedent in a relative clause, see K.&St. (II: 284) and Lavency (1998: 104).
89 In combination with alius, quis is usually the head, cf. quis alius someone else (Cic. Fin.
90 See, among many others, Fugier (1983: 255); recently Pieroni (2010).


chapter one

in a context or a situation: they have anaphoric function (cf. example (11))

or deictic function (90). They combine with other pronouns and numerals
and apply to all nouns, including proper names.91
(90) Per dexteram istam te oro quam regi Deiotaro hospes hospiti porrexisti.
I ask it by the right hand of hospitality which you have extended to King
Deiotarus. (Cic. Deiot. 8)

3.4.3. Indefinite Pronouns

The distinctive property of indefinite pronouns is that they refer in a indeterminate way to a referent.92 The degree of vagueness as well as indefiniteness
may vary: some pronouns refer to a completely unknown and unspecified
person or thing (si qui if someone, aliqui some), others (quidam certain)
to a specifiable referent. To these pronouns we can also add the phrase nescio
qui one or other (91), which is stylistically marked but functions as an indefinite pronoun (91).93 The indication of free choice is also a form of expressing
indefiniteness (Haspelmath 1997: 48), and can be marked for example by
quisquis, quilibet, quicumque whoever, no matter who.
(91) Alter est designatus Insteius nescio qui, fortis, ut aiunt, latro.
The other tribune-elect is one Insteius, a bold brigand, they say. (Cic. Phil.

From a pragmatic point of view, Latin indefinite pronouns can be classified

according to the presumed existence of the referent:94 quisquam (92) and
(num, si ) qui anyone, as well as quisnam and quispiam, used especially
in negative, conditional and interrogative sentences, presume the actual
existence of the referent in the weakest way: the referent need not exist at all.
By contrast, aliquis someone referring to an unspecified entity and quidam
to a specific entity that is presented as unknown to the addressee presume
the existence of the referent more strongly. This property makes it possible
that quidam co-occurs with cardinal numerals (93) and proper names.95


See chapter 4 on appositions.

The label indefinite pronouns (indefinita) is traditional and denotes words that do
not have definite person, including interrogative and relative pronouns (cf. Prisc. in GL
III 450.611). Some linguists treat them as quantifiers (Orlandini 1983 and Touratier 1994: 55,
among others).
93 Cf. Haspelmath (1997: 130).
94 See Orlandini (1983); cf. Fugier (1983: 256) and recently, Bertocchi, Maraldi & Orlandini
(2010: 2327).
95 Cf. also Cic. Inv. 2.153 and de Orat. 2.353. For quidam + proper name, see example (17).

the noun and its modifiers


(92) Num aut in vilitate nummum arator quisquam dedit aut in caritate de aestimatione frumenti questus est?
Did any cultivator either give him money in the cheap season, or in the dear
season complain of the valuation of his corn? (Cic. Ver. 3.216)
(93) Cum duo quidam Arcades familiares iter una facerent
When two friends from Arcadia were taking a journey together (Cic. Div.

Free-choice indefinite pronouns quivis, quicumque and quilibet whoever do

not presume the existence of an entity; they express the notion that every
member of the set of quadrupeds is eligible (94).
(94) Si bovem aut aliam quamvis quadrupedem serpens momorderit
When a serpent has bitten an ox or any other quadruped (Cato Agr. 102)

3.4.4. Quantifiers
Quantifiers96 express the quantity or amount of individuals or things; the
associated question is how many/much?97 Quantifiers are used for counting or measuring entities (Milner 1978: 17): countable entities are counted,
e.g duo homines two men, uncountable entities are measured, e.g. duae
amphorae mellis two amphorae of honey, paulum frumenti a little corn.
There are also unquantifiable nouns, such as nouns expressing the fact of
being x: orbitas loss (of a child), childlessness, or senectus old age; and
nouns expressing actions, for example adventus arrival (cf. Milner 1978:
The distribution of quantifiers depends on the type of nouns involved;
consequently, there are restrictions on the use of quantifiers according to
the types of entities (count, non-count, collective, mass, abstract nouns).
Furthermore, quantifiers represent a semantic, not a morphological category (Gil 2001: 1281); this explains the fact that they do not form a homogeneous group and may belong to different word classes. They can be

96 It is worth pointing out that in Orlandinis works (1983, 1995), cf. also Bertocchi, Maraldi
& Orlandini (2010), quantification is understood in a logical sense. She takes as a point of
departure the distinction between existential quantifiers and universal quantifiers, based
on the presumption of the existence of the referent. The category of existential quantifiers
thus includes what are traditionally called indefinite pronouns and negative pronouns,
but the quantifiers expressing quantity, such as multi many, are absent. For the solution I
propose to bring to this complex question, see Figure 5, p. 52.
97 As we will see in chapter 2, section 2. A detailed study on this topic remains to be done
for Latin. As for English, the best overview is given by Quirk et al. (1985: 249252 and 381396).
For quantifiers in a typological perspective, see Gil (2001).


chapter one

subdivided into numerical and non-numerical quantifiers: quantity can be

expressed as an exact number of entities concerned or in a vague, indeterminate way. Numerical Quantifiers
This sub-category represents a word class of its own and includes several
types of numerical quantifiers: cardinal (duo, tres two, three), distributive
(bini, trini a set of two, three), and multiplicative numerals (bis, ter two,
three times). Without entering into details about their use (see de la Villa
2010: 179), I will only say here that numerical quantifiers apply to countable
entities for indicating their exact number. In a noun phrase, the cardinal
numerals function as attributes (95); from the number milia thousand on,
the numeral is a noun requiring a genitive complement (96). Two examples
of multiplicative and distributive numerals are given in (97).
(95) elephanti triginta
thirty elephants (Sal. Jug. 29.6)
(96) decem milia peditum
ten thousand infantry (Caes. Gal. 7.64.4)
(97) Nasica ille prudens, bis consul
the wise statesman Nasica, twice consul (Cic. Tusc. 1.18)
Deiectis antemnis, cum singulas binae ac ternae naves circumsisterent
The yards being torn down, although each ship was surrounded by two or
three (Caes. Gal. 3.15.1)

Ordinal numerals such as secundus second, tertius third, traditionally classified as numerical quantifiers, indicate the position of the referent in a
sequence (Rijkhoff 2001: 526). They will be briefly examined in section, p. 64. Non-Numerical Quantifiers
Non-numerical quantifiers indicate great or small quantity in an indeterminate way. They can be represented as forming a scale going from the zero
quantity to the maximal quantity (see Figure 5, p. 52). Most non-numerical
quantifiers occupy the middle of the scale:98 paucus few is situated at the
bottom; then come nonnulli not a few, some, aliquot several, complures
quite a number of, multus numerous, and plerique most of; omnis all,
cunctus the whole of, indicating the maximal quantity, figure at the top

98 They are called mid-scalar quantifiers by Haspelmath (1997:11); cf. also Bertocchi &
Maraldi (2010).

the noun and its modifiers


of the scale. The category of non-numerical quantifiers is rather heterogeneous and its description should envisage the nature of the entity quantified as well as a distinction between the singular and the plural numbers.
Firstly, multus much in the singular99 applies to mass nouns and indicates
their great quantity: multa carne (with) a lot of meat (Cic. Pis. 67), lac
multum a lot of milk (Var. R. 2.3.2); the expression of a small quantity, its
antonym, is paucus: pauca carne (with) a little meat (Gel. 4.11.11).100
Secondly, in the plural, multi many and pauci few, as well as nonnulli
some, aliquot several, complures quite a number of and plerique, plures
most of are used with countable entities (98).
(98) equi multi
many horses (Sal. Jug. 29.6)
pauci milites
a few soldiers (Caes. Civ. 2.44.1)
aliquot fontes
several springs (Sal. Jug. 89.6)
plures amici mei
more of my friends (Cic. Phil. 2.40)
nonnulli centuriones
some centurions (Caes. Civ. 1.80.5) Nominal Quantifiers

In addition to these quantifiers that function as attributes, Latin has nouns
expressing great or small quantity used with genitive complements, as has
been observed by Fugier (1983: 261). These are, for example multitudo

99 Like the noun multitudo quantity (cf. example (36), p. 15), multus is not restricted to
countable entities (pace Fugier 1983: 262). For the application of multus, see Var. L. 9.66,
quoted on p. 13 as example (30) and the nouns listed in ThLL, s. v., 1607.31; for example,
concrete nouns: aurum gold, purpura purple, sanguis blood, supellex dishes, vestis clothes,
etc., as well as abstract nouns: opera task, doctrina doctrine, sermo speech, dies day (cf.
multus sermo ad multum diem much talk till late in the day in Cic. Att. 13.9.1). Multus in the
singular can also be applied to individuals (verbose) and be used as predicative: est enim
multus in laudanda magnificentia he is expansive in his praise of the personal provision
of magnificent public events (Cic. Off. 2.56). It is worth adding that the neuter adjective
multum + genitive does seem to be used in Classical Latin only with abstract entities: multum
temporis, laudis, operae, studi, etc. a lot of time, praise, attention, effort (see, respectively,
Caes. Civ. 3.51.6, Cic. Deiot. 26, Brut. 105 and 240). Mass nouns take multus in agreement with
the noun (in the sense of abundant).
100 For the means of quantifying mass nouns, see section, p. 13.


chapter one

quantity, (magnus) numerus great amount, turba a host, grex a troop,

caterva crowd, frequentia crowd. Their semantic properties allow us to
consider them not as collective nouns (pace K.&St. I: 22) but as nominal
quantifiers.101 To the same category also belong the quantity nouns expressing measure or weight mentioned in section (pp. 1415).
(99) magnam turbam ignotorum deorum
an enormous mob of unknown gods (Cic. N.D. 1.39)
cum grege praedonum
with a crew of robbers (Cic. Dom. 24)
cum magna caterva togatorum
with a large band of citizens in togas (Cic. S. Rosc. 135) Other Quantifiers

The totality quantifiers omnis all, cunctus and universus the whole have
different semantic values and are used in different ways (Touratier 1994: 66
70). Omnis in the singular refers to a unit constituted by a certain number
of elements. It applies well to collective nouns such as exercitus army (100),
senatus senate or Sicilia Sicily (involving a quantity of inhabitants), or to
abstract nouns; it is relatively rare to encounter it with concrete and discrete physical entities.102 In the plural, omnes expresses exhaustive totality:
all entities belonging to the group referred to are envisaged (101). Even so,
omnes may be modified by approximators such as paene or fere almost, signalling that totality is not exhaustive.
(100) Nam omnis exercitus in provincia hiemabat.
For the whole army passed the winter in the province. (Sal. Jug. 39.4)
(101) cum omnes milites naves conscendissent
when all the soldiers had embarked (Caes. Civ. 1.27.6)

Universus and cunctus have similar uses. Universus entire refers to a unit
that is diversified (102). Cunctus the whole can be used in the singular

101 Further research is necessary for determining their applicability and the degree to
which they are desemantised. For example, numerus does not only apply to count nouns
(cf. example (36)); turba, originally a dense or disorderly mass of people can be used about
things in the sense of a large number of, cf. ingens turba prunorum a vast crowd of plums
(Plin. Nat. 15.41).
102 For entities modified by omnis in the singular, see ThLL, s. v. 619.26f. When omnis is
applied to a concrete, countable first-order entity, omnis receives the distributive reading
each (unusquisque)see ThLL, s. v. 612.82. A good example of an animate first-order entity
is the following one: omnem avem tripudium facere posse any bird may make a tripudium (=
good auspice) (Cic. Div. 2.73).

the noun and its modifiers


with a collective noun ( familia family), with a noun implying plurality of

constitutive elements (Italia), or with a noun in the plural (103).
(102) Denique universus senatus gratias agendas censuit civitatibus iis quae
Lastly, the whole senate voted that thanks should be given to all those cities
by which (Cic. Dom. 85)
(103) cuncti Siculi
all the Sicilians (Cic. Ver. 5.115)

Among all these totality quantifiers, only omnis may combine with cardinal
numerals higher than duo two (104).103
(104) (domus) ac mea quidem his tribus omnibus iudiciis liberata est.
(house) and mine has been declared by all these three decisions to be free
from all religious liability. (Cic. Har. 30)

It is worth adding that, besides its uses as attribute in a noun phrase, omnis
frequently appears as a predicative.104 These two functions, adnominal and
predicative, are not always easy to identify: omnis is clearly adnominal in
(104), because it is integrated into a noun phrase framed by a modifier
(his) and the noun (iudiciis). When omnis comes before the noun (100), its
interpretation as an attribute is also obvious. By contrast, omnis placed after
the noun is a good candidate for predicative interpretation.105
The pronoun quisque each expresses distributive and individualizing totality (105) in the sense that any individual, every one, belonging to the group
is concerned. This property makes it possible for it to co-occur with ordinal
numerals (106).
(105) quisque imperator
any general (Cic. Agr. 1.13)
(106) In Olynthia [quotannis] restibilia esse dicunt, sed ita ut tertio quoque anno
uberiores ferant fructos.
In Olynthia, they say that the land is cropped every year, but in such a way
that a richer crop is produced every third year. (Var. R. 1.44.3)

At the opposite end from the totality quantifiers are situated the zero quantifiers (alias negative pronouns), such as nullus and nemo106 no one


Totality is envisaged from three on; two together are referred to by means of ambo.
See Pinkster (1983) and (LSS 8, p. 143, n. 1).
105 See chapter 2, section 2.1.2, p. 113 for discussion.
106 Nemo is often used alone but it can occur in a noun phrase: nemo opifex (Cic. N.D. 2.81)
no craftsman, nemo vir (Cic. Har. 37) no one, and also nemo homo (Pl. Per. 211) no one. I


chapter one

Figure 5: Quantitative scales

indicating that there is no such an entity available. After coordinators zero

quantifiers, as well as other negative words, undergo substitutions.107
This brief overview shows that the distribution of quantifiers is rather
complex in Latin. Furthermore, in order to explain their use in an appropriate way, it is important to dissociate two aspects: one quantitative
described up to this pointwhich I consider as primary; the other, existential. The quantitative aspect of quantifiers is summarised with the help
of two quantitative scales (Figure 5) presenting combinations with count
nouns (navis ship) and with mass nouns ( frumentum corn). These scales
imply the underlying questions: quot naves? how many ships? and quantum frumenti? how much corn?, and include zero quantifiers, numerical
and non-numerical quantifiers, nominal quantifiers, and totality quantifiers. Indefinite pronouns such as aliquis and quidam a certain, as well as
the pronoun totus the whole, do not enter into these scales. In the top
figure omnes and omne, referring to the maximal quantity;108 zero quantity is expressed by nulla (or nullae naves) and by nullum or nihil + genitive.

would regard such cases as close appositions. For Khner & Holzweissig (1912: 624), nemo is
used as an attribute (adjectivisch).
107 For neque quisquam, see Touratier (1994: 63), among others. For the treatment of several
negations, see Menge (2000: 202).
108 Expressions involving apposition such as omnes naves incendit, XXXV he burnt all the
ships, thirty-five in number (Caes. Civ. 3.101.1) provide evidence that omnis is a quantifier.

the noun and its modifiers


From another point of view, the existential one, the same modifiers can
appear in answers to questions concerning the existence of a referent: are
there individuals involved?, cf. the constructed example in (107), inspired
by actually attested instances (108).109 Indefinite pronouns can be integrated
into this existential scale. This point of view also helps us to understand
why the indefinite pronoun quisquam functions as a substitute for nemo
in a negative sentence containing the coordinator nec (neque) and not
(107) Ecquis venit?Omnes / pauci / aliqui / duo homines / nemo.
Did anybody come?All / a few / some / two people / nobody.
(108) Ecquis has aperit foris? Homo nemo hinc quidem foras exit.
Anyone going to open up? No ones coming out from here. (Pl. Mos. 900901)
(109) Nemo venit. / Neque quisquam venit.
Nobody came. / And nobody came. Other Pronouns

Totus the whole of is usually classified together with omnis in the category
of quantifiers, but it is likely that this approach is not correct: totus is not a
quantifier.110 It is better to put it on the scale going from nihil nothingpars
a partdimidium a half to totus the whole.111 It also applies to concrete
and discrete first-order entities: totus concerns a divisible unit envisaged
as a whole (110).112 It is rare to encounter totus combined with numerals;
however, the example given in (111) shows that totus refers to the content
of the sextarii (liquid measure), mustum must, which should be mixed up
completely and not only partially. Applied to abstract entities (e.g. doctrina
doctrine, religio religious observance, opinio opinion), of which wholeness
as well as overallness can be envisaged. In such cases, totus is close to

109 This example is quoted by Bertocchi, Maraldi & Orlandini (2010: 36) who approach
quantification from this point of view.
110 Pace Touratier (1994: 70) and Bertocchi, Maraldi & Orlandini (2010: 115). Forcellini,
s. v. omne, p. 408 (nota), has formulated the difference between them in this way: Omne
differt a toto; nam omnis refertur ad quantitatem discretam, uti vocant; hoc est ad numerum,
dum totus pertinet ad continuum et integrum corpus. Cf. Brndal (1943: 29). For references
to Ancient grammarians concerning the difference between omnis and totus, see ThLL, s. v.
omnis, 610.80 ff.
111 Cf. Quirk et al. (1985: 250) on fractional partition.
112 Totus also applies to non-divisible first-order entities, such as individuals of which
parts can be envisaged, cf. toti used predicatively in: (maiores nostri) brachia et crura cotidie
abluebant , ceterum toti nundinis lavabantur (our ancestors) washed only their arms and
legs daily and bathed all over only once a week (Sen. Ep. 86.12).


chapter one

omnis:113 one can say tota religio the whole religious observance as well as
omnis religio all religious observances.
(110) Totus enim ager Campanus colitur.
For the whole Campanian territory is cultivated. (Cic. Agr. 2.84)
(111) (sextarios duos musti ) ubi toti duo sextarii cum pice coierint et quasi
unitatem fecerint
(two sextarii of must ) when the whole of the two sextarii have amalgamated with the pitch and formed, as it were, a single substance (Col.

Idem the same, traditionally classified among demonstrative pronouns,

and alius another, often considered as an indefinite pronoun (Touratier
1994: 61), are to be considered together from the semantic point of view
as identifiers. An opposition can be drawn between identity (idem the
same) and absence of identity, difference or otherness (alius another) (cf.
Hoffmann 1987: 139).
The pronoun idem the same marks identity. It can combine with demonstrative pronouns but not with the anaphoric pronoun is. It allows modification by adverbs such as semper always and by the approximator fere almost.
(112) Nam impediebantur, verum ea lege quam idem iste de Macedonia Syriaque
And this was true; but it was that law which he himself had passed about
giving them Macedonia and Syria. (Cic. Dom. 70)
(113) (Milonis) Nolite , si vultum semper eundem videtis, hoc minus ei parcere.
If you see his expression always the same , do not hold this again him. (Cic.
Mil. 92)

113 Totus in the plural can modify the pluralia tantum but I would not ascribe this possibility to their collective sense, as do Bertocchi, Maraldi & Orlandini (2010: 118). As for
concrete entities, totus in: omnes festinant intus totis aedibus everybodys rushing around
inside through the entire house (Pl. Cas. 763) applies to a singular referent (i.q. tota domo), in
contrast to omnis concerning the actual plurality (i.q. ex omnibus templis) in (illa) ex omnibus
aedibus sacris abstulit Syracusis (these things) he stole them from all the sacred edifices of
Syracuse (Cic. Ver. 4.131). The difference between a singular and a plural referent could be
expressed by means of distributive numerals unae aedes one house and binae aedes two
housescf. Varro L. 10.67, quoted p. 11 as (23). In addition, in Syracusas totas timet (Cic. Ver.
5.69) he is afraid of the whole of Syracuse, omnis is excluded because the referent is unique
(a singular referent). With nouns involving a collective meaning (such as copiae troops) confusions of use between totus and omnis are expected (for these, see Wlfflin 1886, Hofmann
1948, and Bertocchi, Maraldi & Orlandini 2010: 119). For omnis and totus, see chapter 2, section
2.1.2, p. 113.

the noun and its modifiers


The pronoun alius another is in complementary distribution with alter,

concerning the other of two people (Fugier 1983: 263); additionally, alter
cannot be used in negative sentences. Two examples showing combinations
of modifiers are given in (114).
(114) aliique complures adulescentes
several other young men (Caes. Civ. 1.23.2)
Dies nondum decem intercesserant cum ille alter filius infans necatur.
Ten days had not elapsed when his other infant son is also murdered. (Cic.
Clu. 28)

Idem and alius can be applied to a wide range of entities. Alius, in particular,
when used with mass nouns refers to the sort of; with abstract nouns in
the plural, to the diversity.114
Other pronouns belong to the category of identifiers, among them ceteri
the rest and reliquus/reliqui the remaining. These pronouns apply to
countable entities that form a group and co-occur with omnes: ceteri eius
omnes milites all the remaining soldiers of his (Sal. Jug. 74.3).
The pronoun of intensity ipse self represents a category of its own. It
is mostly used as a secondary predicate (115). It applies to persons (116),
mainly in the sense of self, or to things expressing exactly this one (116).
Ipse combines with demonstrative pronouns (116).
(115) Nec intellegebam fieri diutius posse ut mihi non liceret esse in ea re publica
quam ipse servassem.
And I thought it inconceivable that it would any longer be illegal for me to
exist in the republic which I myself have saved. (Cic. Dom. 64)
(116) Nec tamen didici ex oratione tua, istam ipsam rem publicam quam laudas
quibus legibus constituere vel conservare possimus.
Nor did I learn from your speech by what laws we can establish or preserve
that very commonwealth which you praise. (Cic. Rep. 2.64)

3.5. Adjectives
The typical characteristic of the adjective is to attribute a property to the
referent of a noun. The objective of this section is to propose a typology
of the Latin adjectives and to present their semantic and syntactic properties.


For mass nouns, cf. note 32, p. 16; for abstract nouns, see chapter 2, section 2.2.5, p. 129.


chapter one

First of all, it is worth remembering that the twofold distinction between

the qualifying and the determining adjectives, established by Marouzeau
(1922: 1316) in order to explain the pre- or post-nominal placement of
modifiers, is insufficient.115 In particular, it suffers from a lack of criteria for
identifying the two categories, which are defined in a vague way.
Fugier (1983: 237242) has adopted a more rigorous approach based on
the syntactic behaviour of the adjectives. She divides the adjectives into two
(i) the adjectives of type I: Romanus Roman, civilis civil, publicus public,
etc., which do not allow any degree of comparison (*populus Romanior *more Roman people, *populus Romanissimus *the most Roman
people) and cannot be used predicatively (*populus Romanus est *this
people is Roman);116
(ii) the adjectives of type II: novus new, niger black, ferox wild, etc. that,
in principle, do form degrees of comparison (novior newer, novissimus the newest; nigrior more black, nigerrimus the most black,
very black; ferocior wilder, ferocissimus the wildest) and may be used
predicatively (equus ferox est this horse is wild).
This distinction is basically justified but it needs to be refined on several
points. Firstly, the question concerning the syntactic behaviour of the adjectives is more complex. Recent studies on modern languages have shown that
certain adjectives can function as attributive as well as predicative; other
adjectives are only used attributively and there are also adjectives that only
function as predicatives. In several cases, the attributive use of an adjective
may exhibit a different meaning from the predicative use.117 Furthermore,
there is no strict correlation between the aptitude for functioning as predicative and forming degrees of comparison, for grading of adjectives is a
semantic, not a syntactic, property. Secondly, a typology of adjectives cannot
be restricted to a description of their syntactic behaviour, as Risselada (1984:
206) has rightly observed; it is also necessary to take into account semantic
categories of adjectives and dissociate, in particular, the adjectives with an

115 For criticisms of Marouzeaus approach, see de Neubourg (1977 and 1978), de Sutter
(1986: 153154.), and Spevak (2010a: 224), among others.
116 This has been shown for English by Bolinger (1972: 21): Describe your debate. # *It was
117 Cf. Quirk (1985: 428) on my friend is old (inherent property) vs. an old friend of mine
(non-inherent property). For French examples, see Goes (1999: 119).

the noun and its modifiers


objective value from the adjectives expressing qualities applied in a subjective way. Finally, it is important to examine the valency of adjectives:
many of them are monovalent but there are also bivalent adjectives that
require a complement. All the points mentioned will serve for a description
of the adjectives from both a semantic (3.5.1) and a syntactic (3.5.2) point of
3.5.1. Semantic Properties of Adjectives Coordination of Adjectives
In her 1984 article devoted to the complex noun phrases, Risselada examined semantic categories of adjectives developed by Hetzron (1978) and
has applied the rules of coordination formulated by Pinkster (1972: 108133;
cf. 1990). Coordination indeed reveals semantic equivalence of adjectives
belonging to the same hierarchical level. As a result, two adjectives expressing the same property are coordinated by et, -que, ac and or by zero coordination (ruber nigerque red and black); two adjectives expressing different
properties cannot be coordinated (*niger ferreusque *black and iron) but
are juxtaposed. For example in (117), the adjectives are not semantically
equivalent and must be juxtaposed (*splendidus eques et Romanus).
(117) splendidus eques Romanus
a distinguished Roman knight (Cic. N.D. 3.74)

The coordination of qualities belonging to the same semantic category

mainly occurs in the case of evaluative adjectives (118) but is not restricted
to them. It is worth noting that in (118) and (119), two qualities are applied
to one referent, a singular and a plural one.
(118) forsitan non nemo vir fortis et acris animi magnique dixerit:
perhaps, some men of bold, and energetic, and magnanimous mind will say:
(Cic. Sest. 45)
(119) In locis crassis et umectis ulmos, ficos, poma, oleas seri oportet.
Elms, figs, fruit trees, and olives should be planted in rich, humid ground.
(Cato Agr. 40.1)

In the case of adjectives with more objective values that are mutually exclusive, the coordination of two properties belonging to the same semantic
class may involve reduction of the second noun.118 For example in (120), two

118 Cf. Menge (2000: 337) and Cabredo Hofherr (2010: 20), namely the split reading. See
Pinkster (fc., chapter 13).


chapter one

different laws are meant, Aelius and Fufius law; the second noun is omitted instead of: lex Aelia et lex Fufia.119 In (121), it is not a bicoloured white and
black species of myrtle which is referred to but rather two different species,
a white myrtle and a black myrtle.120 When the governing noun is in the plural, coordinated adjectives may also concern different referents, as in (122).121
(120) cum esset etiam tum in re publica lex Aelia et Fufia, quae leges saepe
numero tribunicios furores debilitarunt et represserunt
the Aelian and Fufian Laws still existed in the State, those laws which often
checked and crippled revolutionary tribunes (Cic. Vat. 18)
(121) myrtum album et nigrum, nuces Abellanas (eximi oportebit)
white and black myrtle, Abellan nuts (should be transplanted ) (Cato
Agr. 133.2)
(122) Harum figuras in vasis sacris ligneas ac fictiles antiquas etiam nunc videmus.
Their shapes (of cups) we even now see among the sacred vessels, oldfashioned shapes in wood and earthenware. (Var. L. 5.121) The Hierarchical Scale of the Adjectives

In his important article on behaviour of adjectives in modern languages,
Hetzron (1978: 178) proposed a scale of thirteen semantic categories.122 It
is reproduced in Figure 6, with the addition of Latin examples. Adjectives
follow their head noun en bloc; when the block is prenominal, a mirror order
should be understood.
noun > classifying adjectives (onerarius) > substance (ligneus) > origin (Punicus) > colour (ruber) > physical defect (caecus) > shape (rotundus) > age
(vetus) > human property ( felix) > utilitarian qualifications (carus) > physical property (crudus) > dimension (longus) > evaluation (bonus)
Figure 6: Hierarchical scale of the adjectives (Hetzron 1978: 178)

119 Lex Aelia et Fufia were actually two distinct laws that prohibited the holding of a
legislative assembly between the announcement and the holding of the elections. On the
other hand, there are expressions such as ex lege Terentia et Cassia frumentaria (Cic. Ver. 3.163)
that correspond to one law proposed by the two consuls together.
120 Cf. also omnis et demonstrativa et deliberativa et iudicialis causa (Cic. Inv. 2.12) every
speech whether epideictic, deliberative or forensic; rubrum et nigrum tofum (Vitr. 2.7.1) red
and black tufa, or populus alba et nigra (Vitr. 2.9.9) white and black poplar.
121 The fact that coordinated adjectives may refer to different entities has been observed
by Fugier & Corbin (1977: 259270) and Risselada (1984: 211) but only for the plural nouns of
the type (122).
122 For other accounts of semantic groups of adjectives, see Dixon (1982: 16) and Givn
(2001 I: 82). For a typology of adjectives in Latin according to the property denoted, cf. Devine
& Stephens (2006: 403). For more details concerning the interpretation of this scale, see
Spevak (2010a: 231).

the noun and its modifiers


Adjectives denoting a typical feature of an entity (such as onerarius

cargo) are supposed to appear close to the noun. They are followed by
adjectives expressing substance (ligneus wooden), origin (Punicus Punic),
colour (ruber red), physical defect (caecus blind), shape (rotundus
round), and age (vetus old). These properties represent observable and
objective qualities of a referent. The other qualifications are the result of
subjective evaluations that one cannot falsify; one can only disagree with
them. These are properties of human beings ( felix happy, prosperous),
properties of inanimate entities (carus expensive), physical property (crudus raw), dimension (longus long), evaluation (bonus good) and affective
expressions (splendidus splendid). The above-presented scale represents a
theoretical model; noun phrases containing more than three adjectives are
too complex and are avoided in Latin (Pinkster LSS 6.4, p. 89) as well as in
modern languages.
These semantic categories present a twofold advantage for a description
of the noun phrase in Latin: they make it possible to explain the coordination or the juxtaposition of several adjectives modifying one noun, as well as
the relative order of several juxtaposed adjectives. In complex noun phrases,
the adjectives expressing an inherent property such as substance or colour
occur close to the noun, unlike the adjectives expressing subjective evaluation, which are more distant from the noun.123 For example, the adjective
nobiles famous (123), expressing estimation of the reputation of the object
(eculeos refers to drinking-vessels in the shape of horses or horses heads)
is more distant from the noun than the adjective argenteos silver denoting
the substance. In (124), the classifying adjective pedestrem on foot, occurs
closer to the noun than the adjective aeneam bronze expressing material.124
(123) Tum iste ab equite Romano eculeos argenteos nobiles aufert.
Next he robbed a Roman knight of his fine silver horses. (Cic. Ver. 4.42)
(124) (placere) statuam pedestrem aeneam in rostris statui
(they decide that) a bronze statue on foot is erected (Cic. Phil. 9.16)

123 Determiners, quantifiers, and identifiers have a larger scope than adjectives and are
most distant from the noun. For the description of the internal structure of the Latin noun
phrase, see Pinkster (LSS 6.4).
124 For the ordering of multiple adjectives, cf. also: ducentos nummos aureos Philippos
probos dabin? will you give me two hundred genuine gold Philippics? (Pl. Bac. 882) and
fiscinas olearias Campanicas duas two Campanian olive baskets (Cato Agr. 153). For more
combinations, see Risselada (1984: 207), Devine & Stephens (2006: 479481), and Spevak
(2010a: 233).


chapter one

Additionally, Hetzron (1978: 173) states that in several cases the order
of the adjectives is interchangeable, in particular with adjectives denoting
dimension, age and evaluation, for example in English: beautiful old paintings and old beautiful paintings (Quirk 1985: 1340 and Pinkster LSS 6.4,
p. 88). In Latin, the adjectives expressing evaluation, quantity, and dimension can be also coordinated.125
(125) Africa quae plurima et acerbissima cum maioribus nostris bella gessit
Africa which waged many bitter wars against our ancestors. (Cic. Scaur. 45)

For differences concerning behaviour of attributive adjectives and predicative adjectives, see section (p. 74). Extensional and Intensional Meaning
Hetzrons scale, presented above (Figure 6), has the advantage of systematizing the description of adjectives, which form a heterogeneous group. It
can be represented as a continuum with two poles: one objective, the other,
subjective (de Sutter 1986: 153). This view is conceptually close to another
approach that takes as a point of departure the applicability of adjectives.
The adjectives that can be applied to a great number of entities are considered as extensional, whereas the adjectives appropriate for a reduced
number of entities are intensional (Seiler 1978; cf. Wilmet 1986: 4142). For
example, the adjective bonus good can be used for a great number of animate or inanimate entities, abstract concepts as well as processes (cf. ThLL,
s. v.). Each entity involved has a different substance and for each entity, the
goodness consists of something different: vir bonus excellent man, equus
bonus fast and resistant horse, ager bonus fertile field, panis bonus tasty
bread, eventus bonus lucky event, navis bona solid ship,126 tempestas bona
favourable period, fama bona good reputation. It is not that bonus changes
its meaning but its meaning varies according to the entity to which it is
applied. By contrast, an adjective such as onerarius is theoretically appropriate for physical, solid entities that transport a burden (onus); in practice,
it is almost exclusively applied to navis: cargo ship.127 Among other differences between these two adjectives, we can point out that bonus, expression
of subjective appreciation par excellence, is opposed to malus bad but onerarius, highly objective, lacks an antonym.


See Pinkster (1995: 108), Risselada (1984: 210), and K.&St. (I: 241).
For properties of navis bona, cf. Sen. Ep. 76.13.
There is also one instance of oneraria iumenta (Liv. 41.4) beasts of burden (ThLL, s. v.).

the noun and its modifiers


De Sutter (1986: 164) uses the concept of the extensional (subjective)

meaning and intensional (objective) meaning to explain the use of the
adjective malus in the phrase herbae malae weeds as more intensional than
(126) herbasque malas omnes radicitus effodito.
and dig up all noxious weeds by the roots (Cato Agr. 50.1)

Without any opposition to bonus, it denotes, not a herba of bad quality but
an undesirable herba, a weed (cf. ThLL s. v. 2619.64); its applicability is thus
limited because malus cannot apply to triticum wheat, for example. On the
other hand, the post-nominal adjective in herbae malae is not determinative, as Marouzeau (1922: 54) stated, because it does not denote a special
species. Furthermore, this phrase is close to a fixed expression.
In the same way, the concept of extensional and intensional meaning
enables us to explain the difference between ferreus iron in (127) and (128);
both examples are quoted by de Sutter (1986: 158).
(127) transtra confixa clavis ferreis digiti pollicis crassitudine
the cross-pieces fastened with iron nails as thick as a thumb (Caes. Gal.
(128) (Atilius) de quo Licinius: ferreum scriptorem, verum, opinor, scriptorem tamen, ut legendus sit.
An iron writer, Licinius called him (Atilius); still, in my opinion, a writer all
the same, and deserving to be read. (Cic. Fin. 1.5)128

Whereas the first ferreus denotes the material of clavis nail, the second
one is a metaphorical expression applied to a writer. The use of the second
ferreus is thus more extensional: the adjective gets closer to the evaluative
adjectives129 and could even be graded with -ior, -issimus. Additionally, this
explanation proposed by de Sutter is justified by the fact that ferreus as
an evaluative adjective can appear in exclamatory accusatives (129) that
represent judgements (see section, p. 66); the first ferreus is excluded
from this construction.
(129) O te ferreum qui illius periculis non moveris!
What a heart of flint you must have to be unmoved by his perils! (Cic. Att.

128 Licinius (a person otherwise unknown) is the manuscript reading; some editors correct
it to Lucilius (Schiche) or Licinus (Mller).
129 Cf. Quirk (1985: 429 and 435) for the distinction between an inherent property (a
wooden cross which is actually made of wood) and a non-inherent property (a wooden actor
a wooden man).


chapter one

For present purposes, i.e. understanding the extensional meaning of

adjectives, it is also interesting to consider ancient evidence: it primarily
concerns stylistic figures, but it may be taken as a judgement about the
applicability of adjectives and the association of words. In a passage of
the Rhetoric to Herennius (130), the author gives several examples of abusio (catachresis),130 i.e. an extension of the meaning of words, diverted from
their proper meaning.
(130) Abusio est, quae verbo simili et propinquo pro certo et proprio abutitur, hoc
modo: vires hominis breves sunt, aut parva statura, aut longum in homine
consilium, aut oratio magna, aut uti pauco sermone. Nam hic facile est
intellectu finitima verba rerum dissimilium ratione abusionis esse traducta.
Catachresis is the inexact use of a like and kindred word in place of the precise
and proper one, as follows: the power of man is short, or small height, or
the long wisdom of a man, or a mighty speech, or to engage in a slight
conversation. Here it is easy to understand that words of kindred, but not
identical, meaning have been transferred on the principle of inexact use.
(Rhet. Her. 4.45)

Usually, human strengths (vires) are, in a positive sense, integrae unimpaired (Caes. Gal. 3.19.4); in a negative sense, vires desunt or deficiunt the
strengths are failing (cf. Caes. Gal. 3.5.1) or are adtenuatae weakened (Liv.
22.8.2). Statura stature is normally longa or brevis tall or short (cf. Cels.
2.1.5, Quint. Inst. 2.3.8), not magna / parva big / small. A discourse (oratio) is said to be longa or brevis long or short (Cic. Agr. 2.13, cf. ThLL, s. v.
885.74f.); I believe that oratio magna makes a reference here to the extension in time of a speech. Instead of pauco sermone,131 the usual expression
is paucis verbis with a few words (Cic. Clu. 58): words (verba) are small in
number, not the speech itself (sermo). Longum consilium refers to wisdom of
somebody with respect to his decisions; in this case, one would say magnum

130 For other examples, see the commentary by Calboli ad loc. (1969: 389), especially:
(tamen non impudenter) cum grandem orationem pro longa, minutum animum pro parvo
dicimus (Cic. de Orat. 3.169) (nevertheless sometimes unobjectionable) when we say a
full-length speech instead of a long speech, and a pretty mind for a small mind.
131 Szantyr (1972: 161) considers that this expression (pauco sermone) is incorrect, as opposed to neuter adjective + substantive in the genitive (i.e. paucum sermonis). In the same
way, he regards Varros phrase multa lana (L. 5.133 and R. 2.2.3) much wool as incorrect for
multum lanae. He is wrong: we have seen above (note 99, p. 49) the construction of multus
in Classical Latin. By contrast, multum + genitive with concrete entities appears in PostClassical Latin: cf. multum frumenti (Liv. 4.12.9) and Valerius Probus (GL IV 153): Adverbia
quantitatis, quae plus minusve scilicet significant, haec genetivo casui respondere reperiuntur,
ut puta multum vini bibi, infinitum carnis accepi, satis rei habeo. This point requires further

the noun and its modifiers


consilium great wisdom (Cic. Phil. 3.13), where magnum refers to extent.
Several expressions mentioned by the author of the Rhetoric are actually
attested in Post-Classical and Late Latin.132
Two categories of adjectives deserve special attention: classifying adjectives
and adjectives situating entities in space and time, which have not been
considered by Hetzron. These will be discussed in detail in the following
two sections. The First Category: The Classifying Adjectives
Instead of Hetzrons term purpose/destination adjectives (for example
ironing board in English), I prefer the term classifying for this category of
adjectives, which is used by Rijkhoff (2010).133 It includes non-gradable adjectives, mostly derived from nouns, that do not admit intensifiers, degrees of
comparison, or predicative use. This group, very frequent in Latin, includes
not only adjectives expressing purpose or destination, for example adjectives denoting what is related to wine (vinarius), load (onerarius), or corn
( frumentarius), but also adjectives that concern an agent or a cause: militaris military, civilis civil, consularis consular, virilis (related to a man),
agrestis (related to a field), and others (Risselada 1984: 218219). These adjectives express the typical feature of an entity.
It is worth emphasising that the classifying adjectives distinguish themselves by the fact that they do not form degrees of comparison and cannot
be used predicatively. They should not be labelled as derived adjectives,
because this term also covers adjectives belonging to other semantic groups.
For example, adjectives expressing material, such as linteus ( linum) made
of linen are often derived, but unlike classifying adjectives, they may be
predicated. In the same way, adjectives expressing physical properties, for
example aquosus ( aqua) abounding in water, may function as predicative and admit degrees of comparison (131).
(131) (loca) quae crassissima et aquosissima erunt, ea postremum arato
plough last the spots that are the heaviest and wettest (Cato Agr. 50.2)

132 Vires are qualified as breves by Sen. Nat. 6.7.2; parva statura is used in Gel. 19.13.2 and
Macr. 2.3.4. Oratio magna is attested in a fragment of Sallust, Hist. 4, frgm. 44: magnam exorsus
133 They are also called relational, denominal (Quirk 1985: 432 and 13391340), or nonpredicative adjectives.


chapter one Adjectives Situating Entities in Space and Time

Adjectives expressing a relative position in space and time form a separate category due to their relational meaning. From this point of view, they
are closer to determiners or, more properly, to identifiers, than to true
adjectives, which express properties of entities. To the group of adjectives
situating entities in space and in time belong deictic modifiers (hodiernus
todays), anaphoric modifiers (proximus last/next) and all words expressing a relative position, such as superior upper or ultimus the farthest,
including adjectives like summus the highest and medius in the middle
that, additionally, admit a partitive meaning, for example: medio in foro in
the middle of the forum (Cic. Ver. 4.86) or in (132).134
(132) Non illum accuso qui est in summa Sacra via, cum ego ad Fabium fornicem
I do not find fault with that man who is on the very crown of the Via Sacra,
when I am pushed up against the arch of Fabius. (Cic. Planc. 17)

For semantic reasons, I will classify ordinal numerals (primus the first) as
modifiers situating entities in space and time, and not as quantifiers. They
indicate the relative position of an entity with respect to other entities: tertia
acies (Caes. Civ. 3.55.2) is the third line that comes after two preceding lines
and, occasionally, before other lines. Adjectives with Spatial and Temporal Meanings
Applicability of adjectives to various entities, discussed in the previous section, can be also presented from another perspective. In the framework of
his typology of nouns (see section 2.3, p. 8) and the distinction between
spatio-temporal (first-order) entities, temporal (second-order) entities and
entities lacking the spatio-temporal dimension (third-order), Rijkhoff (2001:
523524) envisages the same criteria for a typology of adjectives. The adjectives express either concrete and stable inherent qualities, or less stable
temporal states; they can thus be subdivided into adjectives with a spatial meaning and adjectives with a temporal meaning. The first category
covers, for example, size magnus big, parvus small, length: brevis short,
longus long, exiguus narrow, colour: albus white, shape: rotundus round,
rectus straight. These properties are observable in space. The category of
adjectives with a temporal meaning comprises, e.g. the expressions of age:

134 See chapter 3, section 2.4.5, p. 225. For the partitive meaning of this type of adjectives,
see Vaughan (1942) and cf. Romero (1996). For typological aspects of this phenomenon, the
use of an adjective (summus) instead of a noun (the top), see Lehmann (1998).

the noun and its modifiers


novus new, vetus old, duration: aeternus eternal, and speed: velox fast. It is
possible to combine various nouns and adjectives. For example, equus albus
white horse (Cic. N.D. 2.6) or statua aurea gold statue (Cic. de Orat. 3.129)
are combinations of two nouns with two adjectives of the spatial order; the
phrase dolor diuturnus long-lasting pain (Cic. Tusc. 2.44) brings together
two words of the temporal order. Combinations of words belonging to different orders have relevance to the meaning of the phrase. An association of a
first-order entity with a temporal adjective, e.g. novus Hannibal new Hannibal (Cic. Phil. 13.25) receives a special, temporal interpretation: the reference
is made not to the person but to his deeds, to events. In the same way, a combination such as recentiores litterae the most recent letter (Cic. Att. 14.19.5)
refers to the process of receiving a letter recently; citae quadrigae fast chariots (Pl. Aul. 600) are chariots that run fast. A temporal interpretation also
results from application of the adjective creber dense (normally spatial) to
litterae: litterae crebriores frequent letters (Cic. Fam. 12.30.1) are letters written or sent in rapid succession. Combinations of a spatial adjective and a
temporal noun have a temporal meaning. This is typically the case of longus
long, vast that denotes extension in time in aetas longa long life (Cic. Sen.
66) or oratio brevis brief oration (cf. Cic. Brut. 162). Entities of the higher
order frequently combine with spatial adjectives, e.g. spes exigua slender
hope (Cic. Flac. 4), summa laus the highest praise (Cic. Phil. 8.30), immensa
cupiditas boundless greed (Cic. Inv. 1.91), gravis auctoritas great authority
(Cic. Ver. 2.40).
When examining the applicability of adjectives, one should pay special
attention to magnus. This adjective, used with concrete and discrete firstorder entities refers to their size, for example, large dimensions of Jupiters
temple or of benches (133).135 With animate nouns, it means great in authority (134) or even great of mind, bold. With a mass noun such as aqua water,
it denotes abundance; with pecunia money, great volume (amount). In the
last case, which will be examined in detail suo loco (chapter 2, section 2.2,
p. 122), I would regard magnus as a quantifier, as well as expressions like magnus numerus a great number or magna pars a large part in (135). This point
can be verified with the help of underlying questions: whereas example (133)
answers the question qualis? how? (of what kind?), examples (134) and (135)

135 It has been stated several times that the adjective magnus is predominantly prenominal
(de Jong 1986; Devine & Stephens 2006: 471; Kircher 2010: 49). However, in this very concrete
meaningwhich is less frequently attested than other usesmagnus is usually postnominal.


chapter one

are associated with the question quantus? how great? and how much?,
respectively. Applied to second-order entities, magnus refers to extension
in timelong duration of mora delay (136); with vox voice, intensity, loudness of a voice. With abstract entities such as miseria misery or calamitas
disaster, magna (137) concerns their extension, their seriousness. Although
the uses of magnus are very well presented in Latin dictionaries (ThLL, OLD,
Le Grand Gaffiot, s. v.), it is worth emphasising that application of magnus to
one or another entity entails not only differences of meaning but also variation of the placement of magnus: it is postnominal when it indicates size
but prenominal when it is used as quantifier or in an evaluative sense.
(133) Contremuit templum magnum Iovis altitonantis.
Trembled the mighty temple of Jove who thunders in heaven. (Enn. Ann. 541
ap. Var. L. 7.7)
scamna magna tres
three large benches (Cato Agr. 10.4)
(134) Nemo igitur vir magnus sine aliquo adflatu divino umquam fuit.
Therefore no great man ever existed who did not enjoy some portion of divine
inspiration. (Cic. N.D. 2.167)
(135) magna pars militum
a great number of the soldiers (Caes. Gal. 5.30.1)
(136) magna ad vadum fluminis mora interposita
the fording of the river had caused considerable delay (Caes. Civ. 1.64.7)
(137) profecto magna clades atque calamitas rem publicam oppressisset
beyond a doubt great bloodshed and disaster would have fallen upon the
State (Sal. Cat. 39.4) Referent Modification and Subjective Evaluation

Example (129) above, which concerns an exclamatory utterance, invites us
to consider another aspect involved in an analysis of the use of adjectives,
viz. the levels at which they occur (cf. section 3.3, p. 38). I have already mentioned the distinction made by Hengeveld (2008: 47) between referent modification and the expression of a subjective attitude. From this point of view,
in clavis ferrea iron nail (127), the adjective modifies the entity involved and
expresses the material of which the nail is made; in contrast, scriptor ferreus
iron writer is a subjective judgement of the author concerning a person.136
136 A parallel can thus be drawn between adjectives and adverbs. As Pinkster (LSS 4.1.2)
has shown, adverbs may, among other things, not only refer to modalities of processes but
also express an attitude of the author, for example, male reprehendunt (Cic. Tusc. 3.34) they
are wrong in censuring.

the noun and its modifiers


Evaluative adjectives, besides expressing referent modification, are also apt

for rendering judgements, as in (138). A further example of this type is given
in (139); (non) stultus no fool does not express a property of the referent but
a quality that the author attributes to him; in the similar way, valde sapiens
mighty wise is an assessment of Buculeius himself. Such an interpretation
is supported by the adverbial expressions meo and suo iudicio in my opinion, in his own.
(138) (Sortietur tribus idem Rullus.) Homo felix educet, quas volet tribus.
(The same Rullus will cast lots between the tribes.) He, happy man, will pick
out the tribes which he prefers. (Cic. Agr. 2.21)
(139) M. Buculeius, homo neque meo iudicio stultus et suo valde sapiens nuper
Marcus Buculeius, no fool in my opinion, and mightily wise in his own went
wrong. (Cic. de Orat. 1.179)

Adjectives expressing subjective evaluation are quantifiable (by valde, multum very much), gradable (by degrees of comparison), and intensifiable (by
tam, quam so). This type of adjective is the only one that can be used in the
exclamatory accusative; adjectives other than evaluatives are not admitted
in this construction.137 Thus, miserum atque acerbum miserable and bitter
(140) are not inherent properties of spectaculum spectacle: they represent
judgements made by the author.
(140) (Te praetore Siculi milites palmarum stirpibus, piratae Siculo frumento alebantur!) O spectaculum miserum atque acerbum!
(When you were praetor the Sicilian soldiers lived on palm stalks, the pirates
on Sicilian grain.) What a miserable, sickening spectacle! (Cic. Ver. 5.100)

137 In the exclamatory accusatives that I have examined in Ciceros letters to Atticus (69
instances), adjectives such as miser poor, difficilis difficult, mirus astonishing, nequam
worthless, and incredibilis incredible are used. Among adjectives belonging to another
semantic category, apart from ferreus iron, quoted in (129), there is also volaticus flying,
used in the extensional meaning inconstant (o Academiam volaticam a fickle creature
Academe Cic. Att. 13.25.3). In my view, adjectives occurring in the exclamatory accusative
express judgements (I say that the Academy is inconstant). I would thus not subscribe to
the analysis by Vairel-Carron (1975: 5562): for her, the adjective functions as an attribute
and the exclamatory accusative serves for naming a reality, in contrast with exclamatory
nominatives. Traditionally, the exclamatory accusatives are regarded as constructions with
a verbum dicendi (dico to say, iudico to judge) understood (K.&St. I: 272 and Ernout &
Thomas 1953: 2223). Given that there are restrictions on the type of adjectives allowed in
the exclamatory accusatives, the traditional interpretation seems fully justified to me.


chapter one

Figure 7: Gradability of adjectives (Hoffmann 1987: 107) Gradable Adjectives

The gradability138 of an adjective is its semantic ability to express a greater
or lesser degree of a property. It is not limited to the formation of degrees
of comparison nor to expressions of superiority and inferiority; a gradable
adjective also admits neuter adjectives or adverbs expressing a small or large
quantity: multum a lot of, paulum/parum a little/little, valde much, minime
least; intensity (admodum enough), or excess (nimium too much) (K.&St.
II: 471). On Hetzrons scale (see Figure 6, p. 58), gradable adjectives start
from adjectives expressing colour (with the exception of physical defects).
Gradability can be represented as a scale going from the weakest degree to
the strongest or highest degree (Figure 7).
Gradable adjectives mostly exist in antonymous pairs. According to Hoffmann (1987: 111), two main groups can be distinguished. Firstly, the pairs
forming polar oppositions containing two gradable adjectives, e.g.: brevis
longus (short long), levis gravis (light heavy), bonus malus (good bad), laetus tristis (happy sad).139 Secondly, there are antonymous pairs with only
one gradable adjective. Examples of such one-sided gradable opposition
are: memor immemor (mindful forgetful) or gnarus ignarus (knowing ignorant); the second adjective expressing a state (immemor and ignarus) is not
subject to gradation.140
Furthermore, there are also oppositions that consist of two ungradable
adjectives (Hoffmann 1987: 114): par impar (equal unequal) or adjectival

138 Gradability is not a prototypical property of adjectives, firstly because other word
classes are also gradable (nouns, verbs, and adverbs), and secondly because certain adjectives
are not gradable (see Bolinger 1972: 15 and recently Cabredo Hofherr 2010: 4).
139 For polar oppositions, Hoffmann (ibid.) refers to Leech (1981: 101); Lyons (1977: 289) only
deals with antonymous pairs. For Latin examples, see Cic. Fin. 2.36.
140 By contrast, the pair gratus ingratus (grateful ungrateful) form a polar opposition
because ingratus is gradable.

the noun and its modifiers


participles derived from terminative verbs such as vivus mortuus (alive

dead), aratus inaratus (ploughed unploughed), which express permanent
or temporary states.
The ungradable adjectives situated at the beginning of Hetzrons scale
(Figure 6, p. 58) do not form antonymous pairs. They apply or not to an
entity: an object is ligneus (wooden) or it is not; one talks about a pomegranate (malum Punicum Punic apple) or about another apple. To this
group belong classifying adjectives (onerarius cargo), adjectives expressing material (ligneus wooden), origin (Punicus Punic) and physical defects
(caecus blind). A (without doubt) complete list of ungradable Latin adjectives is provided by Khner & Holzweissig (1912: 565569). It clearly shows
that non-gradability is not a morphosyntactic restriction but a semantic
one: among ungradable adjectives figure items that have an intensive or
diminutive morpheme: permagnus very large, vetulus elderly, express an
absolute property: omnipotens almighty, perfectus perfect, immortalis immortal, or an finite property: vacuus empty, furibundus furious.
Gradability confirms the adjectival status of certain present and past participles: amans fond, cupiens desirous, egens indigent, accuratus meticulous, desperatus hopeless, etc. (Khner & Holzweissig 1912: 553555). Besides, former present participles functioning as adjectives are allowed in
attribute as well as in predicative position (141).141
(141) Recentior enim memoria fili est et cum meis rebus gestis coniunctior.
The memory of the son is fresher, and more closely connected with my
exploits. (Cic. Dom. 113) Bivalent Adjectives

Most of the adjectives mentioned until now are semantically closed, i.e.
they do not necessitate any complementation, for example ligneus wooden,
Punicus Punic, caecus blind. On the other hand, properties expressed by
adjectives do not exist in an absolute way but are applied to entities. Therefore, I would label ligneus as a monovalent adjective that describes a property of signum, for example: signum ligneum wooden statue.
As in other languages, there are in Latin bivalent adjectives that require
expansion. Complements of adjectives can function as obligatory expansions (arguments) or as optional or omissible expansions (satellites).142 The

For attributive use of participles, see Laughton (1964: 52). The construction of sum and
a predicative participle such as consul est laudans is proper to Late Latin (Eklund 1970: 65 et
142 Pinkster (LSS 6.3). For valency as the semantic feature for admitting complements,
see p. 24, note 46.


chapter one

question about obligatoriness of complements seems to be more complicated in the case of adjectives than in the case of verbs or nouns, especially
because criteria for deciding whether we have to do with an argument or a
satellite are difficult to establish (Bodelot 2011).
Another problem linked with adjective valency is the great variety of
expansions attested. Khner & Stegmann provide long lists of adjectives
admitting complements in the dative (I: 314317), the ablative (I: 371374),
and the genitive (I: 435451), and also mention alternative constructions,
including prepositional phrases. It is indeed not exceptional to encounter
an adjective with multiple constructions.
Bivalent adjectives often originate from a verb root, e.g. aptus tied, convenient, gratus grateful, gnarus knowing, memor mindful, dignus worthy,
plenus full, docilis apt to learn, utilis useful, amicus friendly. However, it is
not the morphological formation that is responsible for the bivalency of an
adjective; the necessity of having a complement only results from the meaning of the derived adjective.143 Bivalent adjectives can also stem from various other roots, e.g. similis similar, par equal, alienus belonging to others,
familiaris familiar, necessarius necessary, contrarius contrary, adversarius
opposed; some of them are of unclear origin, such as idoneus appropriate
or proprius proper. In Khner & Stegmann (loc. cit.), adjectives requiring
a complement are divided into semantic groups analogous to verb classes,
and as the grammarians state (I: 314), the form of the adjective complement
often reproduces that of the semantically associated verb.144
Among possible expansions of bivalent adjectivesgenitive, dative, or
ablative complements, prepositional phrases, gerunds, and also complement clausesgenitives are the most likely to be considered as obligatory

143 Pultrov (2011: 38) establishes a group of verbal adjectives formed with the suffix -no-,
which have a passive meaning and express a permanent property. Among the adjectives
listed, we can observe that the meaning of bonus, originally (according to her) worshipped,
or that of planus flat is semantically closed but the meaning of plenus filled up or that
of dignus worthy, welcome (geziert mit affected by according to Walde-Hofmann, s. v.)
requires complementation. In the same way, deverbal adjectives in -ilis expressing aptitude
(Kircher-Durand 2002: 197 and Pultrov 2011: 61): utilis useful, serviceable or docilis apt to
learn, teachable are semantically open, in contrast with fragilis liable to break or agilis that
moves easily.
144 Parallelism is evident for example for liber freelibero to free, or memor mindful
memini to remember (Pinkster LSS 5.2.5); it does not concern for example the adjective
utilis useful, which combines with all sorts of complementsgenitive, dative, prepositional
phrase with ad, infinitive clause, gerundexcept for the ablative, the case of its source verb
(K.&St. I: 375). The variety of complements used with utilis is to be attributed to the semantic
value of the combination root + suffix -ilis.

the noun and its modifiers


and non-omissible, for example refertus full of in (142). In contrast, datives

can be valency complements (with similis, for example, similar to) as well
as optional complements (cf. Bodelot 2011: 911). Consider example (143)
for difficulties of interpretation: out of context, I would regard the datives
with the adjectives bonus and infecundus as satellites (dativi in/commodi):
good for, infertile for. However, in the given context, owing to the contrast established between three entities mentioned, the complements can
be considered as non-omissible arguments.
(142) Nam et referta quondam Italia Pythagoreorum fuit.
For even of old Italy was crowded with Pythagoreans. (Cic. de Orat. 2.154)
(143) Ager frugum fertilis, bonus pecori, arbori infecundus.
The soil is fertile in corn, and good for pasturage, but unproductive of trees.
(Sal. Jug. 17.5)

The prepositional phrase with gratus in (144) and the dative depending on
utilis in (145) can be also interpreted as obligatory complements, as well as
the complement clause governed by digna in (146).145 Whereas the dative
omnibus with idonea is optional, the gerund is obligatory in (147); this last
example is taken from Bodelot (2011).
(144) Tu quam gratus erga me fueris ipse existimare potes.
You can judge yourself how grateful you were towards me. (Cic. Fam. 5.5.2)
(145) si lex utilis plebi Romanae mihi videretur
if the law appeared to me to be advantageous to the Roman people (Cic. Agr.
(146) tamen digna causa videretur cur inimicitias hominis improbissimi susciperem
I should still think I had plenty of reason to incur the enmity of a most
worthless man (Cic. Ver. 2.117)
(147) Neque eadem loca aestiva et hiberna idonea omnibus ad pascendum.
Again, the same localities are not equally suited in summer and winter to the
pasturing of all species. (Var. R. 2.1.16)

Another problem connected with the question of bivalent adjectives is that

they allow absolute use without complementation. Unlike verbs, valency
positions in the case of adjectives present themselves more likely as potential in the sense that they may remain vacant. This point requires a detailed
study but it seems likely that for a description of bivalent adjectives, it is

145 For accusative + infinitive clauses, cf. Lavency (2003: 124) who quotes the following
example: certi sumus perisse omnia (Cic. Att. 2.19.5) I am certain that everything is finished.


chapter one

important to take into consideration the syntactic function fulfilled by the

adjective. When they are used in an absolute way, without any complement,
bivalent adjectives can function as attributes (148) in a noun phrase, as predicatives (149), or as secondary predicate (150).
(148) Quod enim declarari vix verbo proprio potest
What can scarcely be expressed by the proper term (Cic. de Orat. 3.155)
(149) Ut aptior sit oratio, ipsa verba compone.
To fit his language together more smoothly, rearrange his words. (Cic. Brut.
(150) Paratus igitur veniebat Crassus, exspectabatur, audiebatur.
Crassus then always came prepared, he was eagerly and listened to with
attention. (Cic. Brut. 158)

The predicative use (149), with verbs such as sum to be, habeo to take
for, or videor to seem, is preferred for bivalent adjectives occurring with
complements because they form the predicate; cf. examples (142)(147).146 It
is of course possible to find noun phrases containing an attributive adjective
with a complement, see example (151) and Pinkster (LSS 6.3.3), but the
predicative use is the preferred domain of adjectives with an expansion.147
Furthermore, it helps to avoid over complex noun phrases; the same service
can be done by appositions, which also accept bivalent adjectives with an
(151) Haec sunt propria Corneli merita in rem publicam nostram: labor, assiduitas,
dimicatio, virtus digna summo imperatore.
These are Cornelius services to our Republic: toil, industry, hard fighting,
valour such as a great general expects. (Cic. Balb. 6)

In addition to the adjectives that require a complement due to their semantic nature, it is likely that monovalent and gradable adjectives (sapiens wise,
antiquus ancient, for example) become bivalent when they enter into comparative constructions,148 when a property of one entity is put into a relationship with another entity or several other entities. Comparison of the


The majority of examples quoted by Bodelot (fc.) contain predicative adjectives.

For bivalent adjectives used predicatively, see Helbig (1982: 40). For attributive adjectives with a complement, see Pinkster (LSS 6.3.3). Bivalent adjectives are analysed in more
detail in chapter 3, section 3.3, p. 254.
148 According to Lavency (2000: 822), the complement in the ablative, for example, tota
Asia disertissimus the most eloquent in the whole of Asia is obligatory (Fr. adjoint). There
are, of course, absolute uses of the degrees of comparison, but these do not represent
comparative constructions.

the noun and its modifiers


degree of a property concerns, in particular, adjectives functioning predicatively (152); but the attributive use is possible as well (153). Most often, the
complement takes the form of a genitive or ablative case, or it is introduced
by quam (154). All the complements quoted below are to be interpreted as
(152) Socrates , is qui esset omnium sapientissimus oraculo Apollinis iudicatus.
Socrates, whom the oracle of Apollo had pronounced the wisest of men. (Cic.
Sen. 78)
(153) Causam enim suscepisti antiquiorem memoria tua.
You have undertaken a case older than your memory. (Cic. Rab. Perd. 25)
(154) Sic iste multo sceleratior et nequior quam ille Hadrianus, aliquanto etiam
felicior fuit.
And so that fellow, far more wicked and infamous than even the notorious
Hadrian, was a good deal more fortunate. (Cic. Ver. 1.70)

To sum up, the question of adjective valency is complex, and a systematic

study remains to be done on this topic. It is necessary to establish criteria that make it possible to distinguish between obligatory and optional
complements, and to examine in detail the expansions used and the complementation of individual adjectives. Furthermore, adjective valency may
have undergone evolution during Latinity, as Bodelot (2011) suggests. It is
also significant that the complementation of adjectives was fashionable in
the Post-Classical period: the very long list provided by Khner & Stegmann
(I: 443446) attests stylistic devices rather than linguistic facts.
3.5.2. Syntactic Behaviour of Adjectives Syntactic Functions
Modern studies on spoken languages pay attention not only to the semantic
properties of the adjectives but also to their syntactic properties. In general,
adjectives can fulfil two functions: an attributive function and a predicative
function. The attributive adjective forms a noun phrase with the noun (155).
The adjective in (156) is used predicatively with the verb sum to be; other
verbs requiring a predicative adjective are, for example, videtur to seem or
appello to call. Such predicative complements are arguments. There are also
predicative complements not required by the valency of the verb, termed
secondary predicates alias praedicativa, functioning as satellites (157).149


For secondary predicates, see Pinkster (1983) and Touratier (1991).


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(155) si non metuis viros fortes egregiosque cives

But if you are not afraid of brave men and illustrious citizens (Cic. Phil. 2.116)
(156) Senatus autem, mi Brute, fortis est et habet fortis duces.
The senate, my dear Brutus, is brave and has brave leaders. (Cic. Fam. 11.18.1)
(157) (Ille litteras ad te mittat ?) Eas tu laetus proferas, recites
(Is he to send you letters ?) Will you be glad to produce them? to read them?
(Cic. Phil. 7.5) Attributive Adjectives vs. Predicative Adjectives

In Latin, there is no formal difference between adjectives functioning attributively or predicatively.150 As in other languages, many adjectives can fulfil
both functions, while others are restricted to only one use.
It is not easy for a Latinist to determine whether an adjective is excluded
from the attributive use, not only because of the lack of native speakers but
also because of the lack of any formal distinction between attributive and
predicative adjectives. Word order does not always help either. However,
we can assume that several adjectives only function as attributes: adjectives
expressing purpose or destination (onerarius cargo) and origin (Romanus
Roman), cannot be predicated. For example in (158), the anaphoric pronoun eum picks up ager: agrum frumentarium is a noun phrase that as a
whole functions as predicative.151 In (159), the attributive consulares is preceded by the pronoun eae, which substitutes for leges laws; in the second
half of this sentence, the verb est is existential and the noun phrase lex
Licinia functions as subject.152 Civis Romanus in (160) is a noun phrase functioning as predicative.153

150 Unlike in German, for example, where the predicative adjectives are invariable: der
Hund is klein the dog is small in contrast with der kleine Hund the small dog.
151 Likewise, frumentarius is not predicated in: cella vinaria maior sit facienda in eo agro,
ubi vineta sint, ampliora ut horrea, si frumentarius ager est a larger wine cellar should be built
on an estate where there is a wineyard, and larger granaries if it is a grain farm (Var. R. 1.11.2).
Cf. also Fundum habet in agro Thurino M. Tullius paternum, reciperatores, quem Marcus
Tullius has a farm, inherited from his father, in the territory of Thurium, judges, which
(Cic. Tul. 14); paternum is not a predicative argument of habet but forms a discontinuous
noun phrase with fundum.
152 Cf. also Cic. Div. Caec. 18: Haec lex socialis est, hoc ius nationum exterarum est. This is a
law affecting the allies, this is a right of foreign nations.
153 Cf. also Lucanus (7.540543): Istis parce precor; vivant Galataeque Syrique, Cappadoces
Gallique ; nam post civilia bella hic populus Romanus erit. Let her spare the lives of these:
Galatians and Syrians, Cappadocians and Gauls ; for after the civil war these will be the
Roman people. The anaphoric pronoun hic, the subject of the sentence, picks up the nations
mentioned and agrees with the predicate (as is usual in Latin) populus Romanus erit.

the noun and its modifiers


(158) (Agrum quibus locis conseras, sic observari oportet.) Vbi ager crassus et laetus
est sine arboribus, eum agrum frumentarium esse oportet.
(This rule should be observed as to what you should plant in what places.) A
heavy, rich, treeless soil should become soil for grain. (Cato Agr. 6.1)
(159) Leges enim sunt veteres neque eae consulares , sed tribuniciae ; Licinia est
lex et altera Aebutia.
For there are old laws, and those too not laws made by consuls , but made
by tribunes ; there is the Licinian law, and the second Aebutian law. (Cic.
Agr. 2.21)
(160) Fecit quod Siculi non audebant; ille civis Romanus quod erat, inpunius id se
facturum putavit.
He did what Sicilians did not dare do; because he was a Roman citizen, he
thought he could get away with it. (Cic. Ver. 4.48)

There are several exceptions in which classifying adjectives fulfil the predicative function, for example censorius of a censor, an adjective derived
from censor in (161); however, this use seems to be justified by the fact that
censorius has a possessive value.154 Likewise, publica public is predicated
in a fragment of Decimus Laberius. This example is quoted by Rosn (1981:
65) and paraphrased by her as populi est laudare praising belongs to the
people;155 I would interpret this use as: laus est res publica praise is a public
(161) Opus hoc censorium est.
This is a job for censors attention. (Cic. de Orat. 2.367)
(162) Cecidi ego, cadet qui sequitur: laus est publica.
I fell down, my successor will do so; praise is a public affair. (Laber. com. 130
ap. Macr. Sat. 2.7.9)

On the other hand, certain adjectivesin particular, bivalent adjectives

strongly prefer a predicative use; paratus prepared for example, does not
seem to be used as an attribute at all.
154 These are also predicative: praeterea omnis ager Siciliae civitatum decumanus est with
these exceptions, all the lands of the Sicilian cities are subject to payment of tithe (Cic. Ver.
3.13), as well as: nam illum agrum publicum esse fatentur. for they confess that it is part of the
public domain (Cic. Agr. 2.57). See also (praedia) Sullana sunt (lands) assigned by Sulla (Cic.
Agr. 3.39), and hanc meam defensionem consularem putetis that you consider this defence
of mine as the act of a consul (Cic. Rab. Post. 38). By contrast, maritimas in the following
example cannot be interpreted as having a possessive value: Peloponnesias civitates omnes
maritimas esse hominis non nequam sed etiam tuo iudicio probati, Dicaearchi, tabulis credidi. I
took the statement that all the Peloponnesian communities adjoin the sea from the accounts
of Dicaearchus, no scamp but a man approved by your own judgement (Cic. Att. 6.2.3).
155 Laberius says that an author hardly climbs up the peak of the glory, the fall is faster than
the ascent; after all, it is the audience who decides about his career.


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There is one syntactic feature that clearly separates the attributive and
the predicative use of adjectives: multiple modifications. Adjectives expressing different properties have hierarchically different positions in the noun
phrase, so-called nesting (163). Nesting is impossible for predicatives; adjectives used predicatively are always coordinated (164).
(163) Contra haec Pompeius naves magnas onerarias quas in portu Brundisino
deprehenderat adornabat.
In answer, Pompey fitted out large cargo ships which he had captured in the
port of Brundisium. (Caes. Civ. 1.26.1)
(164) (oleae) orchites ubi nigrae erunt et siccae
(olives) when the orcites are black and dry (Cato Agr. 7.4)

It is also worth mentioning that several coordinated attributive adjectives

are not necessarily contiguous, for example antiquae and mortuae in (165).
(165) Antiquae sunt istae leges et mortuae, , quae vetant.
The laws which forbid this are old and dead (Cic. Ver. 5.45)

In the following sections, I will briefly present other nominal expansions,

which were listed in section 3.1 (p. 35): genitive, dative, ablative, and accusative complements, then prepositional phrases, and embedded predications.
3.6. Genitive Complements
Among all the Latin case forms, the genitive is the case par excellence
for marking noun complements (Pinkster LSS 5.2.4, p. 57). At the same
time, it fulfils a great number of functions; consequently, syntactic and
semantic functions are much less marked at the noun phrase level than at
the sentence level where the oppositions such as agent / patient / recipient
/ instrument, etc. are formally encoded with the help of case markings
(Pinkster LSS 6.6).
Traditional Latin grammars usually present a typology of genitive complements, mainly based on the semantic relationship that holds between
two nouns. The categories distinguished are possessive genitives, subjective and objective genitives, genitives of the whole (including genitive of
quantity), genitive of material, price, content, etc.156 New parameters for a
description of genitive complements have been recently proposed, especially the concept of anchored relations (Koptjevskaja-Tamm 2003: 551)
that permits identification of a referent, e.g. Peters child, as opposed to nonanchored relations, e.g. in the Lithuanian aukso iedas a golden ring (lit.

See K.&St. (I: 412435), among others.

the noun and its modifiers


golds ring), which do not serve to identify a referent but characterise it.
However, the categories traditionally established for Latin still seem to me
the most convenient and the most complete.
3.6.1. Subjective and Objective Genitives
From the semantic point of view, genitive complements are more or less
narrowly related to their governing noun. Subjective and objective genitives
have a close semantic relationship with their noun and hence are valency
complements.157 Totius urbis in (166) is an argument of perturbatio, corresponding to the first argument of the clausal expression urbs perturbata est
the city is perturbed.
(166) Quae perturbatio totius urbis!
What perturbation of the whole city! (Cic. Phil. 2.108)

3.6.2. Possessive Genitives

The question of possessive genitives is more complex, especially because the
term covers heterogeneous facts. Following Baldi & Nuti (2010: 330), three
typical categories can be distinguished:
(i) kinship expressions containing a relational noun such as pater father
or filia daughter. Their complements are obligatory, for example Caecilia Metelli Caecilia, Metellus daughter (Cic. Div. 1.104). I would also
include into this category relational nouns that express social relationship (cf. Seiler 1983: 13), e.g. amicus friend, magister master. Both the
governing noun and the genitive have an animate, human referent.
(ii) expressions involving body parts, for example eius dextram his right
hand (Caes. Gal. 1.20.5). The governing noun expresses a body part,
the genitive encodes a human entity.158 When expressed,159 these complements are obligatory as well.

See section 2.4.2, p. 28, note 56.

The genitive used with body parts may compete with a dative called sympatheticus,
for example, the dative paedagogo in extemplo puer paedagogo tabula disrumpit caput he
immediately cracks the tutors head with his tablet (Pl. Bac. 441). These datives are satellites.
Knig & Haspelmath (1997, cf. Knig 2001) talk about constructions with an external possessor because the datives, encoding the possessor, are external with respect to the noun
(phrase) that expresses the body part. Traditionally, the dativus sympatheticus is regarded as
an expressive construction, typical of the spoken language but Pruvost-Versteeg (2008 and
fc) shows that it is in fact not linked with the spoken register at all. See Baldi & Nuti (2010:
351355) for discussion.
159 This also holds true for kinship terms. The fact that the relationship between two


chapter one

(iii) expressions of ownership, which represent prototypical possession,

for example domus Pomponii Pomponius house. The governing noun
refers to an inanimate first-order entity (possessum), the genitive to a
human entity (possessor). The prototypical possession distinguishes
itself by the fact that the possessed object is a property to which the
possessor has a legal right (Heine 1997: 34). In this case, the genitive is
a satellite.160
The possession relationship in (i) and (ii) is of the inalienable type, that in
(iii) of the alienable type; the linguistic means for expressing it are the same
in Latin.161 The question then arises whether the term alienable/inalienable possession is useful at all when describing the expression of possession in Latin. I am not convinced that it is, firstly because the two concepts
are not formally distinguished, and secondly because in Latin, a distinction
between a closer and a more distant possession relationship manifests itself
at another level, that of expression and non-expression of the possessor. Kinship terms, body parts, and also personal properties such as clothes, arms,
instruments, animals,162 e.g. tunica tunic, gladius sword, lectus bed, equus
horsepersonal properties may in principle be alienatedare associated
with somebody in a natural way and any explicit expression of the possessor entails emphatic or contrastive interpretation. Thus they fit better in
the concept of the sphre personnelle, suggested by Bally (1926), than in
that of alienable/inalienable possession. In general, conditions for expression or non-expression of the possessor in Latin can be resumed as follows:
when the possession relationship is inferrable from the context, the possessor is not expressed, except for cases of contrast with another (potential) possessor.163 This is not the case in (167): the (non-contrastive) genitive

entities is often inferrable from the context should not be regarded as an argument against
the obligatoriness of these complements. When expressed (or: when the conditions under
which they are expressed are fulfilled), they are to be interpreted as obligatory.
160 See section 2.4.1, p. 25 and note 50.
161 For the absence of any formal difference between alienable and inalienable possession
in Latin, see Baldi & Nuti (2010: 347). For languages that exhibit different encoding of
them, see Chappell & McGregor (1996: 34), and Koptjevskaja-Tamm (2001: 965966), among
162 Cf. Seiler (1983: 13) who considers implements of material culture (arrow, clothes,
bed) as inalienable, inherently relational entities. For this type of nouns, possessive genitives
compete with datives termed in/commodi, for example: cistella hic mihi evolavit a casket
flew out of my hands here (Pl. Cist. 731).
163 This condition can be extended to the expression of possession in general in Latin,
including possessive pronouns, on which see Lehmann (2005) and Spevak (2010a: 251). As

the noun and its modifiers


pronoun eius his, referring to Manius Aquilius, must be expressed because

it prevents attribution of tunica to the subject of the sentence, Marcus
Antonius, the referent of the pronoun ipse himself.
(167) Ipse arripuit M. Aquilium constituitque in conspectu omnium tunicamque
eius a pectore abscidit, ut
He placed Manius Aquilius in the sight of every one, and tore the tunic from
his chest. (Cic. Ver. 5.3)

Possessive genitives compete with possessive pronouns: filia mea my daughter (Cic. Dom. 59), and to some extent, with adjectives derived from personal
names: domus Rabiriana Rabirius house (Cic. Att. 1.6.1). However, possessive genitives with individualised referents are not interchangeable with the
personal name adjectives in Latin.164
On the other hand, possessive pronouns do not always express possession, especially with verbal nouns, e.g. responsum meum my answer, defensio mea my defence. They compete with subjective genitives responsum
haruspicum answer of soothsayers, coniuratio Catilinae conspiracy of Catiline and are valency complements (see section 2.4.2, p. 27).
It is also usual to talk about possessive genitives when the possessor is an
inanimate entity (cf. K.&St. I: 412), for example, cacumina populorum poplar
cuttings (Cato Agr. 6.3). This approach is fully justified insofar as the human
mind is capable of projecting relationships existing in the human world to
the world of things.

for the non-expression of the possessor, Dahl & Koptjevskaja-Tamm (2001) talk about the
egocentric implicit anchor; for example in caput dolet I have a headache, caput is to be
linked to the speaker. Cf. also Knig (2001: 971) on the implicit-possessor construction. A
detailed study on the expression and non-expression of the possession in Latin needs to be
164 See Baldi & Nuti (2010: 356) and Bertagna (1999). The use of the genitive may be required
because the personal name adjective is not available (see chapter 2, sections 7.2, p. 178 and, p. 190). Furthermore, the two expressions can also be combined and occur together in
one noun phrase, for example, ex Anniana Milonis domo (Cic. Att. 4.3.3) from Milos Anniana
house. The personal name adjective Anniana refers to a house belonging to the gens Annii
that Milo inherited from his adoptive father; this house contrasts with Milos house in the
Germalus, which has been mentioned previously (see Shackleton Bailey 1965, vol. 2, ad loc.,
letter n 75). It is worth noticing that in Slavonic languages, the adjectives derived from
personal names have a true possessive function and are in complementary distribution with
possessive genitives formed from proper names (Corbett 1995). Cf. also p. 26, note 51.


chapter one

3.6.3. Other Genitive Complements

The genitives of the whole used with nominal quantifiers such as pars militum (see section, p. 49) or sextarius aquae (section, p. 14) do not
have any clausal counterpart as the subjective and the objective genitives do;
nonetheless, they function as obligatory, non-omissible complements.
The genitivesand the ablativesof quality, competing with adjectives
(Pinkster LSS 6.6), are optional (168). The genitives of material, content
(169), measure (170) and other similar also function as satellites. My inventory of the types of genitive complements is not exhaustive.
(168) vir magni ingenii summaque prudentia, L. Cotta
Lucius Cotta, a man of great talent and the highest wisdom (Cic. Leg. 3.45)
(169) Gubernator aeque peccat, si palearum navem evertit et si auri.
A skipper commits an equal transgression if he loses his ship with a cargo of
straw and if he does so when laden with gold. (Cic. Fin. 4.76)
(170) Nervii vallo pedum X et fossa pedum XV hiberna cingunt.
The Nervii surround the winter-quarters with a rampart ten feet high, and a
ditch fifteen feet wide. (Caes. Gal. 5.42.1)

3.7. Dative, Ablative, and Accusative Complements

The Dative
Datives may also function as noun complements, but only exceptionally
so.165 Khner & Stegmann (I: 317) suggest a parallelism with verb constructions, for example in the case of obtemperatio obedience (171), responsio
answer, or plausus applause. The datives used with such verbal nouns are
to be regarded as obligatory. Other dative complements are optional (172).
They compete, in particular, with prepositional phrases in ad (173). Notice
that the construction of remedium in (172) cannot be put together with the
construction of the verb medeor to heal because this verb takes a dative
object whereas the dative used with remedium expresses the goal; cf. the

165 For an overview of verbal nouns completed by a dative in Early Latin, see Rosn (1981:
96100); cf. also Wistrand (1933: 68) for Vitruvius. Additionally, the beneficiary (dativus
commodi) may appear as in a predicative construction, for example tune es adiutor nunc
amanti filio? are you now an accomplice of my son in his affair? (Pl. As. 57), or P. Scipionis,
qui tum Romanis imperator erat Publius Scipio, who then commanded the Romans (Sal. Jug.
7.4). Cf. also the expressions of the semantic agent: quid tibi hanc aditiost? (Pl. Truc. 622)
what meanest you by approaching her? or that of the patient: ego te volui castigare: tu mihi
accusatrix ades I wanted to scold you and now youre here to accuse me! (Pl. As. 513). Such
datives (cf. Boegel 1902: 8284) do not belong to the valency frame of the nouns involved.

the noun and its modifiers


competing construction in (173). The use of dative complements indicating the recipient/addressee with nouns other than verbal does not seem to
be usual in Latin, for example with litterae letter (for);166 however, several
instances can be found, for example pabulum bubus forage for cattle (174).
(171) Iustitia est obtemperatio scriptis legibus institutisque populorum.
Justice is conformity to written laws and national customs. (Cic. Leg. 1.42)
(172) (in hac ) iudiciorum infamia, totius ordinis offensione cum hoc unum his
tot incommodis remedium esse arbitrarer, ut
(when) the law-courts are disgraced, and the whole senatorial order is detested: for all this evil state of things, there is, I have been feeling, only one
possible remedy (Cic. Div. Caec. 9)
(173) Primum temporibus hibernis ad magnitudinem frigorum et ad tempestatum
vim ac fluminum praeclarum hoc sibi remedium compararat.
First, to counteract the extreme cold in winter and the violence of the storms
and swollen rivers, he devised for himself the perfect expedient. (Cic. Ver.
(174) Sementim facito, ocinum, viciam, foenum Graecum, fabam, ervum pabulum
Sow clover, vetch, fenugreek, beans, and bitter-vetch as forage for cattle. (Cato
Agr. 27)

The Ablative
The ablative object does not occur at the noun phrase level.167 As an argument, the ablative can only be used with verbal nouns of movement for
expressing the source: Narbone reditus return from Narbonne (Cic. Phil.
2.76). There are also several attestations of optional complements in the
ablative for expressing instrument (175), time or manner (Wistrand 1933: 69
(175) An exercitus nostri interitus ferro fame frigore pestilentia?
Or the destruction of our army by sword, starvation, cold, and disease? (Cic.
Pis. 40)

166 Instead of the dative, prepositional phrases can be found, for example epistula C. Verris
ad Neronem letter of Gaius Verres to Nero (Cic. Ver. 1.83). In several cases, the ellipsis of the
verb (missa sent) could be envisaged. This example is quoted by Baos Baos (1996: 233) in
order to show the interchange between mihi and ad + accusative with the verb mitto to send.
167 The ablative is restricted to the expressions opus est it is essential and usus est there is
need, for example: ad eam rem usus est tua mihi opera I need your services in this matter (Pl.
Per. 328), signalled by OLD, s. v., n 12 and 14, and viginti iam usust filio argenti minis my son
needs twenty silver minas at once (Pl. As. 89); this example is quoted by Boegel (1902: 87).


chapter one

On the other hand, the ablative of quality is a productive construction

(176)(177). It competes with the genitive of quality (178) and with prepositional phrases with cum.168 These three competing constructions are always
realised, not as bare nouns but as noun phrases, because the presence of
a modifier is required.169 The ablative of quality may express both physical
properties and moral qualities, applied to concrete animate or inanimate
nouns. As a semantically equivalent construction, it can be coordinated
with a genitive of quality (168); however, the two constructions are not completely synonymous.170
(176) ad Silanum senem, statutum, ventriosum, tortis superciliis
an old Silenus, good-sized, with a big belly, with twisted eye-brows (Pl. Rud.
(177) amphoram defracto collo puram impleto aquae purae
break off the neck of a clean amphora, fill with clear water (Cato Agr. 88.1)
(178) Qua re nihil est quod adventum nostrum extimescas: non multi cibi hospitem
accipies, multi ioci.
So you dont have to dread my arrival. Youll receive a guest with a small
appetite for food, but a large one for frolic. (Cic. Fam. 9.26.4)

The Accusative
It is rare to encounter an accusative functioning as a noun complement
for encoding patients (Pinkster LSS 5.2.5). In Classical Latin, only verbal
nouns expressing movement can be constructed with an accusative, indicating direction. Their syntax is thus parallel to that of their cognate verbs;171
for example, reditus Romam in (179) corresponds to Romam rediisti you
returned to Rome. Verbal nouns in -tio/-sio derived from action verbs, constructed with an accusative, are restricted to interrogative sentences with
quid. They only appear in Early Latin in periphrastic construction with the
verb sum.172

Cf. chapter 2, example (13) cum magna fide.

See Pinkster (LSS 6.6., p. 94, n. 42) and Lavency (2000). For the ablative and the
genitive of quality, cf. also Edwards & Wlfflin (18981900), K.&St. (I: 454456), Lfstedt (1928:
120123), and Bennett (1914: 317319).
170 See also Maurel (1989: 638). The distribution of the genitive and the ablative of quality
varies in different periods of Latin (Szantyr 1972: 6870).
171 See K.&St. (I: 216) and Menge (2000: 464).
172 See Landgraf (1896: 400), K.&St. (I: 260), and Rosn (1981: 8191), e.g. Quid tibi ergo meam
me invito tactiost? Why did you touch what was mine without my agreement? (Pl. Aul. 744).
For the construction of action nouns + accusative in other ancient languages, see Panagl
(2006: 52).

the noun and its modifiers


(179) Qui vero inde reditus Romam!

But what a return was there then to Rome! (Cic. Phil. 2.108)

3.8. Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases functioning as noun complements are much less frequent than genitives; however, they are not insignificant (cf. Figure 2, p. 37).
Unlike genitives, prepositional phrases make explicit the semantic relationship between two words. Khner & Stegmann (I: 213) have suggested a parallel between verbal and nominal constructions in the sense that they can
express similar notions.
In certain cases, prepositional phrases can be interpreted as arguments,
in particular with verbal nouns, e.g. aditus ad approach to (180), profectio
in departure to, nuntius de message concerning something (181),173 or with
nouns that imply the idea of sharing or interactivity, for example bellum cum
Gallis the war with the Gauls (see chapter 2, section 8.3, p. 198).
(180) quo tumultu facilior aditus ad consulem ceterosque, quibus insidiae parabantur, fieret
that in the ensuing confusion, an easier access might be obtained to the
consul and the others against whom their plots were directed (Sal. Cat. 43.2)
(181) Nullus umquam de Sulla nuntius ad me, nullum indicium, nullae litterae
No message about Sulla came ever to me, no information, no letters, no
suspicion. (Cic. Sul. 14)

In contrast, prepositional phrases expressing location in space or time, manner, instrument, content, and other circumstantial relationships function
as satellites. This is the character of the phrases denoting material (182),
place (183), or content (184). This last example raises the question about
contiguity of the governing noun and its complement: the prepositional
phrase is indeed expected to occur close to its noun. Theoretically, ad Tenedum could belong either to pugnam, or to the participle commissam.174

173 I would not label all the examples quoted by Baos Baos (2009: 343346) as valency
complements; in particular, I would exclude from his list complements indicating the source
and the agent. For verbal nouns used with prepositional phrases, cf. also Rosn (1981: 9296).
For competing constructions, not always fully interchangeable, of the type amor alicuius / in
patriam / erga aliquem, see Torrego (1991: 287).
174 Menge (2000: 344) takes the noun phrases such as pugna or proelium ad / apud, with a
prepositional phrase expressing location, as non-classical. In (183), I would not interpret ad


chapter one

However, the contiguity of a prepositional phrase and its noun does not
seem to be required (184); so it cannot be taken as a criterion for the identification of this type of complements (cf. chapter 3, p. 246).
(182) At in Lysandri statuae capite Delphis exstitit corona ex asperis herbis, et
quidem subita.
But, at Delphi, on the head of Lysanders statue, a crown of wild herbs has
appeared, and this suddenly. (Cic. Div. 2.68)
(183) Quid? Illam pugnam navalem ad Tenedum, cum , mediocri certamine et
parva dimicatione commissam arbitraris?
And what about the naval battle off Tenedos? Do you think that that battle
was some mild contest with minor fighting? (Cic. Mur. 33)
(184) cuius (Pompei) sententiam senatus omnis de salute mea, gravissimam et
ornatissimam, secutus est
whose (Pompeys) opinion respecting my welfare, delivered in the most
dignified and most complimentary language, was supported by the entire
senate. (Cic. Mil. 39)

3.9. Embedded Predications

Verbal nouns derived from verbs (e.g. suspicio suspicion, voluntas will),
nouns that are not derived but belong to a semantic field related to verbs
(e.g. cupiditas cupidity, facultas ability), or nouns that are associated with
verbs due to their semantic value (manus power) allow complements in the
form of a clause. An embedded predication can exhibit a finite verb form
in the case of completive clauses175or a non-finite verb form: gerund,
gerundive, participle, or infinitive (Pinkster LSS 6.2.4).
Verbal nouns associated with verba dicendi, sentiendi, rogandi, or voluntatis, which are usually complemented by a clause, may govern a completive
clause of any type: infinitive clause (185), clause introduced by a conjunction

Tenedum as belonging to commissam because of the great distance that separates them and
because of the presence of a circumstantial clause; modern commentaries do not seem to do
so either (cf. Adamietz 1989: 160). Cf. also Cic. Arch. 21: incredibilis apud Tenedum pugna illa
navalis that astonishing naval battle off Tenedos and Cic. Div. 2.54: ante Lacedaemoniorum
malam pugnam in Leuctris before the unfortunate battle of the Spartans at Leuctra which
are noun phrases. According to ThLL, s. v. pugna, 1547.20, such examples are infrequent in
Classical prose; the article concerning proelium, 1654.51, is not very informative on this point:
two examples quoted are followed by et saepe.
175 Relative clauses, which are also embedded predications, may accompany any noun.
They do not represent valency complements.

the noun and its modifiers


(186), or an indirect question.176 Completive clauses function as arguments

(Bodelot 2010).
(185) Hosce opinor Cibyrae cum in suspicionem venissent suis civibus fanum expilasse Apollinis.
These men, I believe, were suspected by the citizens of Cibyra of having
looted the temple of Apollo. (Cic. Ver. 4.30)
(186) (nisi) odoratus etiam et aspectus dubitationem adfert quin hominibus solis ea
natura donaverit.
(unless) its scent and appearance lead us to doubt whether nature intended
this gift for man alone. (Cic. N.D. 2.158)

Constructions with a gerund (gerundium), a gerundive (gerundivum), and

that with a dominant participle (alias the ab urbe condita construction)
differ from infinitive clauses and clauses introduced by a subordinator in
that they consist of a noun phrase with case marking (Pinkster LSS 6.2.4).
For example, the gerundive expanding utilitatem in (187) is in the genitive, as well as the gerund in (188) depending on potestas and governing
its own complement naves. Example (189) shows that a first-order noun,
locus place, functions here as a third-order noun with the meaning of right,
privilege; this explains the possibility of taking a gerundive clause as complement. While the use of the gerund and the gerundive conveys a virtual
or potential content, the dominant participle (190) can only be used for
expressing factual contents.177
(187) quam ob rem tantam utilitatem per alios tractandae pecuniae neglexeris
why you disregard the considerable advantage of having others take
responsibility for the money (Cic. Ver. 5.61)
(188) neque naves ad terram religandi potestas fiebat.
and there was no possibility of tying ships up to shore (Caes. Civ. 3.15.2)
(189) antiquiorem in senatu sententiae dicendae locum
precedence in delivering my opinion in the senate (Cic. Ver. 5.36)
(190) (Caesar) Metropolim venit sic ut nuntios expugnati oppidi famamque antecederet.
(Caesar) Caesar arrived to Metropolis so quickly as to outstrip all news and
rumour of the storming of the town. (Caes. Civ. 3.80.7)
176 For completive infinitive clauses governed by a noun, see Lavency (2003: 120). For other
types of completive clauses, see Bodelot (2010). See also Hoffmann (fc.) for the variety of
complements and their distribution with verbal nouns.
177 See Pinkster (LSS 6.2.4, p. 80) and Bolkestein (1980, 1981). For properties of the dominant participle construction, such as non-omissibility of the participle and the possibility of
exchange with a verbal noun, see Bolkestein (1980) and Pinkster (LSS 7.4.7), and Spevak (fc


chapter one
4. Conclusions

This chapter has presented the principal parameters advanced by modern

linguistic studies that should be taken into consideration for a systematic
description of the Latin noun phrase. An examination of noun complements cannot be limited to adjectives and genitives. Various theoretical
approaches which have been discussed, concerning both semantics and
syntax, are perfectly applicable to Latin. In Latin, it is also essential to separate different orders of entities, because they behave in a different way.
Distinguishing types of entities is useful for predicting the use of modifiers
and, especially, that of quantifiers. On the other hand, the noun phrase as
such is a very complex topic; therefore, the following chapters do not aim
to be exhaustive. Specialised studies concerning particular points, such as
quantification in Latin, or adjective and noun valency, remain to be done.

chapter two

1. Introduction
In Chapter 1, I presented an account of the semantic and syntactic properties of nouns and their modifiers. In Chapter 2, I deal with pragmatics and
propose an analysis of various modifiers applied to different types of nouns.
I have two objectives: firstly, to examine expansions that occur with nouns,
and secondly, to look at the placement of the modifiers with respect to their
governing nouns. The organisation of this chapter is as follows. In the introductory section 1, I present the concepts that will serve for an analysis of
the ordering of the elements within noun phrases, namely factors that may
affect the internal order of noun phrases: pragmatic aspects (section 1.1); values that adjectives or genitives can exhibit (1.2), and the contextual status of
referents (1.3). In section 1.4 I deal with special arrangements, and in section
1.5, with a brief overview of the state of research, the objectives of the present
chapter, and the method adopted. In section 1.6 I provide an overview of
the nouns examined. The main study is divided into 9 sections, devoted
to quantifying expressions (section 2), specification of a referent (section
3), description of a referent (section 4), evaluation of a referent (section 5),
identification of a referent (section 6), expressions of possession (section 7),
valency complements (section 8), optional complements (section 9), and
complex noun phrases (section 10). General conclusions are formulated in
section 11. A glossary of linguistic terms used is provided at the end of the
1.1. Pragmatic Functions of Noun Phrases and Their Components
In general, a modifieradjective, numeral, genitive, prepositional phrase
may either function together with the governing noun and form a pragmatic
unit with it, or have a pragmatic value of its own.1 For example, when Cato
talks about fitting out a new farm, he advises the property owner to sell
1 For more details concerning pragmatic functions and features, see Spevak (2010a: 39)
with discussion and references. For question tests, ibid. pp. 3536.


chapter two

useless items. Boves vetulosas well as the other noun phrasesform a

pragmatic unit in (1); this sentence does not inform us about the quality of
the entity but about what should be sold. We can also say that the phrase
boves vetulos has as its underlying question quem, quid? who, what?; lanam
wool without modifier answers the same implicit question (1a). These constituents are enumerated and function all as the (multiple) Focus of the
sentence, i.e. they convey salient information. In contrast, the modifiers that
are pragmatically significant can figure in answers concerning properties,
for example in the passage from Plautus in (2). Answers are reduced to the
adjectives elicited by quali genere, quid fide, and quid factis. If the answers
were realised by noun phrases, which would be perfectly possible, the nouns
would be contextually given and the adjectives on their own would convey
salient information: genere bono, fide bona, factis neque malis neque improbis. Another good example of an adjective with the Focus function is given
in (3).

Boves vetulos, armenta delicula, oves deliculas, lanam, pelles, plostrum vetus,
ferramenta vetera et si quid aliud supersit, vendat.
Sell worn-out oxen, blemished cattle, blemished sheep, wool, hides, an old
wagon, old tools and whatever else is superfluous. (Cato Agr. 2.7)

(1a) Quem, quod vendat? # Boves vetulos, armenta delicula, lanam


Dic mihi, quali me arbitrare genere prognatum? # Bono. # Quid fide? # Bona.
# Quid factis? # Neque malis neque improbis.
Tell me, what kind of family do you think I come from? # A good one. # What
about my reputation? # Its good. # What about my behaviour? # Neither bad
nor disreputable. (Pl. Aul. 212213)


Magnas vero agere gratias Thais mihi? Satis erat respondere magnas. Ingentes, inquit.
You say that Thais thanks me very much? It would have been enough to reply
Yes, very much. Enormously, he says. (Cic. Amic. 98; cf. Ter. Eu. 391)

Like other sentence constituents, noun phrases may fulfil the pragmatic
functions of Topic and Focus. In principle, every sentence is about something and is supposed to bring new information. Topic is the element about
which a sentence gives information. The sentence in (4)as well as the
whole passageis about a fundus suburbanus a suburban farm and things
it should have. Focus is the most informative part of a sentence. The status of a constituent can be verified with the help of a question associated to
it. For example, torcularia bona good presses answers the underlying question what should the master have?; Cato is talking about the equipment of
a farm. In both cases, the adjectives in postposition are not pragmatically
prominent; this point will be discussed in next section.

the noun phrase



Fundum suburbanum arbustum maxime convenit habere.

On a suburban farm, it is especially convenient to have a plantation. (Cato
Agr. 7.1)


Torcularia bona habere oportet, ut opus bene effici possit.

He (the master) should have good presses, so that the work may be done
thoroughly. (Cato Agr. 3.2)

Furthermore, constituents of a sentence may carry the pragmatic features

of contrast or emphasis. These are to be distinguished from the pragmatic
functions Topic and Focus because pragmatic features may accompany both
of them; we can encounter a contrastive Topic as well as a contrastive Focus.
By contrast, I mean explicit or implicit confrontation of one element with
another. For example, when Cato gives instructions on how to build a lime
kiln ( fornax calcaria), he puts in explicit contrast unum (praefurnium) one
(door of the kiln) and duo (praefurnia) two (doors) (6). These numerical
quantifiers, which are part of phrases with the function of Topic (uno praefurnio, duobus praefurniis), are to be interpreted as contrastive. Similarly, the
adjectives depending on the noun aqua, marina of sea and salsa salted,
are contrasted in (7); both noun phrasesaquam marinam and aquam
salsamfulfil the function of Focus. Contrastive modifiers may stand in
postposition as well as anteposition with respect to the governing noun. On
the other hand, the modifiers in (8) are not contrastive: it is a simple enumeration of the types of leaves ( frons), with which the cattle can be fed.

Si uno praefurnio coques Si duobus praefurniis coques

If you burn with only one door If you burn with two doors (Cato Agr.


Deinde lavito in mari; si aquam marinam non habebis, facito aquam salsam.
Then wash them in the sea, or, if you have no sea-water, make a brine and
wash them in it. (Cato Agr. 96)


Bubus frondem ulmeam, populneam, querneam, ficulnam, usque dum habebis, dato.
Feed the cattle elm, poplar, oak, and fig leaves as long as these last. (Cato Agr.

I will use the term emphasis for the subjective evaluation of an entity made
by the author.2 Certain adjectives are often, not necessarily always, used
with emphasis, for example magnus big, talis such, praeclarus famous, or
adjectives in the superlative. Emphasis is defined as a subjective evaluation,

See de Jong (1989: 528); for various uses of this term, see Spevak (2010a: 47).


chapter two

for which it is difficult to give objective criteria of identification. I propose to

regard bonum (agricolam) and bonum (colonum) in (9) as emphatic, unlike
(virum) bonum in the same example, and alienam in (10), which are not
emphatic. When adjectives expressing subjective evaluation are separated
from their governing noun, they too are good candidates for an emphatic

(Maiores nostri) Et virum bonum quom laudabant, ita laudabant: bonum

agricolam bonumque colonum.
(Our ancestors) And when they would praise a worthy man their praise took
this form: good farmer and cultivator. (Cato Agr. pr. 2)

(10) Caveto alienam disciplinam temere contemnas.

Be careful not rashly to refuse to learn from others. (Cato Agr. 1.4)

1.2. Values of Modifiers

1.2.1. Semantic Prominence
In chapter 1, semantic properties of adjectives were discussed. We saw that
adjectives may exhibit extensional or intensional meaning and that properties they express may be objective or subjective. Ideally, we would expect
that adjectives with a highly objective meaning occur in postposition and
adjectives of subjective evaluation in anteposition; remaining cases would
be explained from a pragmatic point of view.4 However, the considerable
amount of literature that has been published on the placement of Latin
adjectives (see p. 102) suggests that the question is complicated and that it
is not easy to draw clear tendencies.
In the next two sections, I will argue that the semantic value of adjectives
and genitives may be more or less actualised. I will attempt to demonstrate
that adjectives and genitives in postposition have a semantically prominent
value in the noun phrase they belong to. Modifiers in postposition can be
more important than their governing noun in that they further specify the
referent in a subset of other eligible entities. What I suggest is that postposition can be viewed as a kind of further specification of a noun: templum
magnum temple that is big, lex Iulia law that is of Iulius; without, however,
talking about any appositional status of modifiers.5 On the other hand,
anteposition seems to signal that a modifier is not semantically prominent,


For discontinuity, see recently Powell (2010) and Spevak (2010a: 276).
As for example in Polish, see Ksek (1984); cf. Spevak (2010a: 223).
They form a noun phrase with their noun, see Spevak (fc.) and chapter 3, p. 218.

the noun phrase


e.g. decumana porta rear gate, hominum memoria human memory. These
modifiers do not specify the referent in a subset of other competing entities. Semantic non-prominence concerns the cases of referential units that
will be presented in detail below (section 1.2.3, p. 97). Semantic prominence
and its absence is apparent for other mobile modifiers, such as numerical

Elephanti triginta, pecus atque equi multi quaestori traduntur.

Thirty elephants and a large number of cattle and horses were handed over
to the quaestor. (Sal. Jug. 29.6)

(12) Ibi cognoscit LX naves, quae in Meldis factae erant, tempestate reiectas
There he discovers that sixty ships, which had been built in the country of
the Meldi, having been driven back by a storm (Caes. Gal. 5.5.2)

Elephanti triginta (11) forms a pragmatic unit (what is handed over?) but the
quantifier in postposition, with a semantically prominent value, specifies
the number of items (how many?). As Marouzeau (1953: 26) suggested,
this specifying value could be paraphrased as elephants to the number of
thirty but here again, one should avoid any appositive interpretation of
the numeral. In the phrase LX naves (12), functioning as Topic of its clause,
semantic prominence is not given to the numeral, with the underlying
question what? The numeral forms a unit with the noun.
Ordinal numerals and identifiers such proximus next can also be given
prominence for specification of the referent, e.g. ex libro primo from the first
book (Cic. de Orat. 2.224), with the underlying question which one?, as we
will see in section 6 (p. 171).
1.2.2. Adjectives
The values carried by Latin adjectives are often described in terms of a
qualifying and a determinative value.6 Marouzeau (1922: 1316), as is well
known, linked the qualifying value with anteposition and the determinative
value with postposition. However, this two-fold distinction is too simple (cf.
chapter 1, section 3.5, p. 55). In this section, I will propose a more detailed
semantic classification.

6 See, among others, Lavency (1997: 119). For him, the determinative attribute has a
discriminative value in that it reduces a whole to a subset (Lavency includes in this category
noun phrases such as hic homo this man); the qualifying attribute has a descriptive value in
that it expresses how the referent is. Cf. also the distinction between identifying, specifying,
and descriptive modifiers (Lavency 1991).


chapter two

(a) Adjectives expressing properties such as dimension (longus long), age

(vetus old), quality (bonus good), represent more or less objective qualifications of an entity. They describe a referent and tell how it is. The pronoun qualis, for example, is used for questions about qualities (13). Likewise
eius modi in (14), with the underlying question cuius modi? how?, resumes
properties mentioned before.7 The adjectives involved in (13)(14) have a
descriptive value.
(13) Qualine amico mea commendavi bona? # Probo et fideli et fido et cum magna
What sort of friend did I leave in charge of my property? # A sound one and
trustworthy, one you can trust and trust implicitly. (Pl. Trin. 1095)
(14) Dic quod te rogo, ecquem tu hic hominem crispum, incanum videris, malum,
periurum, palpatorem? # Plurumos. Nam ego propter eius modi viros vivo
Tell me what I ask of you, have you seen a fellow here, with gray, curly hair, a
wrong doer, perjurer, con man? # A lot. It is because of such men that I live so
wretchedly. (Pl. Rud. 125126)

(b) There are adjectives that do not describe a referent but evaluate it
in a subjective way. Such evaluations emanate from the speaker/author:
they do not express how the referent is but how (qualis, cuius modi) the
author regards him (15). To this category also belong adjectives that evaluate
entities for greatness in the sense of seriousness, importance or influence,
for example magnus great, with an extensional meaning, implying the
question quantus? how great? (16).
(15) In quo primum incredibilem stupiditatem hominis cognoscite.
First, note the unbelievable stupidity of the man. (Cic. Phil. 2.80)
(16) (Scipio) Itaque quantum adiit periculum!
(Scipio) To do so, he risked enormous dangers. (Cic. Fin. 2.56)

(c) Adjectives expressing typical features ( frumentarius of corn), origin

(Punicus Punic), affiliation (Tullia of Tullius), to which we can also add
adjectives of material (ligneus wooden), do not describe or evaluate the referent: they do not indicate how the referent is but what it is. Such adjectives
concern the kind or the type (genus) of the referent (17). These adjectives
allow questions with qui? which, what?, for example quas partes in (18). In
the whole constituted by partes, there are two sub-categories represented

7 A detailed study on interrogative pronouns in Latin remains to be done. Cf. Pinkster

(1972: 103) for question tests for identifying the value of an adverb.

the noun phrase


by infinita and definita; these adjectives indicate the type of the referent
making part of a class. In such cases, I will talk about (further) specification
of a referent. The adjective in postposition enables us, by its semantic value,
to specify an entity that differs from another entity belonging to the same
group.8 However, it must be emphasized that this classifying value of the
adjective in postposition is not the same concept as contrast, which has
been presented in (6)(7) as opposed to (8). The classifying value is of a
semantic nature: it constitutes a semantic contribution of an adjective to
build up a referent of a noun phrase; contrast is a pragmatic feature. For
example, there are several types of ships or different laws that are distinct
each from other and can be listed (19)(20). In the same way, lex Iulia the
Julian law in (21) does not contrast with other existing laws in pragmatic
terms; the postposed adjective further specifies the referent in the sense that
it makes it explicit in accordance with which law the colonists have been
established in Capua.9
(17) Testimoniorum quae genera sunt? # Divinum et humanum.
What kinds of evidence are there? # Divine and human. (Cic. Part. 6)
(18) Quaestio quasnam habet partes? # Infinitam, quam consultationem appello,
et definitam, quam causam nomino.
What exactly are the divisions of the question? # One unlimited, which I call
discussion, and the other limited, to which I give the name of a cause. (Cic.
Part. 4)
(19) navis oneraria / frumentaria / rostrata / longa
cargo ship / ship transporting corn / having a beaked prow / warship
(20) (multa videmus ita sancta esse legibus) Cornelia, testamentaria, nummaria,
ceterae conplures.
(many things are established by laws) The Cornelian law, the law about
testaments, the law about money, and many others. (Cic. Ver. 1.108)
(21) dilectumque colonorum qui lege Iulia Capuam deducti erant habere instituunt
and began a levy amongst the colonists who had been settled there by the
Julian law (Caes. Civ. 1.14.4)

8 This concept is already found in Marouzeau, in particular in his synthesis from 1953,
where he uses the term discriminative value: (the determination brought by an adjective)
can represent discrimination, i.e. express a distinctive character of an object, concerning its
nature, function, location, physical condition, and often makes it possible to classify it in a
certain category (Marouzeau 1953: 13). The term is also used by Lavency (1997: 119).
9 Lex Iulia is not inferrable from the preceding context. The fact that this agrarian law of
59 has been promulgated by Julius Caesar himself on behalf of Pompeys veterans does not
play any role here.


chapter two

1.2.3. Genitives
Before attempting to determine values that genitive modifiers can exhibit,
the question this section is mainly concerned with, I will start with another
problem, closely related to it: the placement of genitives. Overall statistics
do not show a clear preference for their placement: genitives stand either
before or after their head noun, each in approximately 50 % of the cases.10
Furthermore, both orderings are found in fixed expressions, for example
military or juridical ones (Table 1).11
Table 1: Placement of the genitives in fixed formulas
Pre-nominal genitive

Post-nominal genitive

senatus consultum decree of the senate

iuris consultus lawyer
plebis scitum decree of the commons

magister equitum Master of the Horse

pater familias father of family
tribunus plebis plebeian tribune

Fixed Expressions
Marouzeau (1922: 124 and 1953: 28) suggested a parallel between postposed
genitives (second column) and determinative adjectives.12 Adams (1976:
75) adds, for example, tribunus militaris military tribune, patres conscripti
the conscript fathers (senators), and aediles curules curule aediles, and
fully confirms this point. For Adams, whose aim was to explain the placement of Latin genitives from a typological perspective, the order {noun >
genitive} represents a stylistically marked variant of the {genitive > noun}
order, which was common in Early Latin. Therefore, he interprets, with
Rosenkranz (1933: 139), the post-nominal genitives as involving an implicit
contrast (Adams 1976: 76).

10 For Classical authors, see Panchn (1986) and Lisn (2001: 175), among others. See also
Ledgeway (2012: 214). Cf. section 1.5.1, p. 102.
11 See, for example, K.&St. (II: 610). This fact makes it difficult to establish the basic order
of the genitive. For typological aspects, see Adams (1976). I myself will not discuss typological
aspects at all.
12 Wackernagel (1908: 137146) draws a parallel between the possessive genitives and
the adjectives derived from common nouns and proper names (claiming primacy for the
adjectives): eri filiuserilis filius masters son. Cf. also Wackernagel (1924: 75) for fabulae
Aesopiae / Aesopi Aesops fables. Lfstedt (1928: 8688) shed light on the distribution of both
means: whereas genitives have a referential value (aedes Vestae Vestas temple), adjectives
of proper names characterize the referent (virgo Vestalis Vestal Virgin*Vestae *Vestas).
See also Fugier (1983: 245) and cf. Martnez Pastor (1974).

the noun phrase


On the other hand, formulas in the first column are regarded by Marouzeau (1953: 31) as expressions that end up as compound nouns (e.g. agricultura agriculture); as further examples, one could quote aquae ductus
aqueduct or terrae motus earthquake.
I propose the following interpretation: the postposed genitives indicate
the category to which the noun belongs, and we can make a series of comparable expressions (22); for example, there are leaders with various functions: magister equitum Master of the Horse, magister populi master of
the people (= dictator), magister sacrorum chief officer of rites, magister
navis ships captain, etc. (cf. ThLL, s. v. magister), and there are several
types of tribune, as Rosenkranz (1933: 139) rightly observed. However, in my
view, the term implicit contrast should be avoided here. In a given context, for example tribunus plebis in (23), the function that Clodius finally
managed to obtain,13 is not in contrast with another type of tribunate he
might have been able to obtain, for example tribunus militum military tribune. I would interpret pater familias the head of a family in the same way,
although pater patriae the father of the homeland is an honorific expression. Other phrases quoted by Marouzeau (1953: 28)14 are analogous: orbis
terrae (terrarum)15 the globe of the Earth (the world) is a special type of
orbis as, for example, orbis caeli the globe of heaven or another circle. Mos
maiorum the customs of the Ancestors denote the exemplary model of conduct, with respect to the conduct of contemporary people;16 ius gentium the
law of the nations refers to the law available to aliens as well as citizens,
whereas ius civile the civil law is the law of and for Roman citizens only, the
Quirites. All these genitives in postposition further specify the noun and are
not necessarily marked in the pragmatic sense.
(22) magister equitum / populi / sacrorum / navis
tribunus plebis / militum
pater familias / patriae

13 Clodius Pulcher was a patrician; he let himself be adopted into a plebeian family in
order to hold a plebeian tribunate.
14 Cf. Menge (2000: 579) and Lisn (2001: 164168).
15 The central land surface of the world, consisting of Europe, Asia, and Africa, was
conceived by the Ancients as surrounded by Ocean.
16 In this case, one could also claim that the sequence mos maiorum sounds better than
maiorum mos, for the order in idiomatic expressions may be based on euphony. In any case,
this expression is mainly attested in the ablative, more maiorum. For monosyllabic words, cf.
note 113, p. 163.


chapter two

(23) Fueris sane tribunus plebis tam iure atque lege quam fuit hic ipse P. Servilius.
Suppose, however, that you were as rightly and legally a plebeian tribune as
Publius Servilius himself, who is present. (Cic. Dom. 43)

The specifying value is evident in the case of templum or aedes temple

expanded by genitives formed by the names of gods.17 Like the adjectives that
have been discussed in the previous section, deities make up a group (24a);
the postposed genitive in (24) points out the referent, which is furthermore
specific (whose temple?), without carrying a special pragmatic feature. No
contrast is involved here: Concordiae is not in opposition with another deity;
its function is to restrict a referent among other extant referents (24a): this
one and no one else. On the other hand, the pre-nominal genitive is used
when an entity is known from the context; and, additionally, is contrastive in
(25), with respect to other gods mentioned before.18 Another good example
of explicitly contrastive genitives, as suggested by aut si forte, this time in
postposition, is given in (26).
(24) Concursus est ad templum Concordiae factus senatum illuc vocante Metello
There was a rush towards the Temple of Concord, whither the consul Metellus
was summoning the senate. (Cic. Dom. 11)
(24a) templum Iovis Optimi Maximi / Minervae / Castoris / Libertatis / Concordiae
(25) (Aedes Minervae est in insula ) Verres qui non Honori neque Virtuti quemadmodum ille, sed Veneri et Cupidini vota deberet, is Minervae templum spoliare conatus est.
(There is a temple of Minerva in the island ) Verres, who owed vows not to
Honour and Virtue like Marcellus, but to Venus and Cupid, was the one to try
to strip the temple of Minerva. (Cic. Ver. 4.123)

17 Adams (1976: 76) argues that these are formulaic expressions, already attested in old
epigraphic evidence. However, the same tendency is apparent for other nouns such as religio
religion (see p. 184).
18 The case of templum is especially illuminating: according to LLT, in Classical prose writers (however, mostly in Cicero), templum in the singular has a name of a god in the genitive
in postposition 28 times, in anteposition, 8 times. Lisn (2001: 169) claims a similar tendency
for Livy. Anteposition is due to a contrast, for example: vides Virtutis templum, vides Honoris a
M. Marcello renovatum (Cic. N.D. 2.61) you see the temple of Virtue, restored as the temple of
Honour by Marcus Marcellus, or as a non-specifying value of the adjective, for example: non
quae deleret Iovis Optimi Maximi templum, sed quae praeclarius magnificentiusque deposceret
not to destroy the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus but to insist on a temple more glorious and grand. (Cic. Ver. 4.69; cf. ibid. 4.71). In the latter case, the temple is known from the

the noun phrase


(26) Restat ut in castra Sexti aut, si forte, Bruti nos conferamus.

The alternative is to betake ourselves to Sextus camp, or maybe Brutus. (Cic.
Att. 14.13.2)

Pre-nominal genitives in fixed expressions, presented above in Table 1, do

not seem to indicate the category to which the noun belongs. Furthermore,
they are not part of a series: senatus consultum decree of the senate is
unique; there is no *plebis consultum decree of the people. Likewise, consultus in the phrase iuris consultus advised in law (lawyer) is not linked
with another discipline. Plebis scitum decree of the commons (resolution
of the popular assembly) exists alongside populi scitum, used when people of foreign countries are concerned (Cic. Rep. 1.43), but we cannot talk
about a list in this case. In the phrase solis occasus sunset, which does
not form a virtual category with lunae occasus setting of the moon, the
noun itself is more semantically relevant than the genitive: it is indeed more
important to know whether we have to do with solis occasus sunset or
solis ortus sunrise.19 The genitive is not prominent in operae pretium worth
while (something that repays someones trouble), nor is it prominent in
the formula pro deum (= deorum) atque hominum fidem by the name of
gods and men, which exhausts the possibilities (i.e. of all beings); there is
no alternative. In none of these phrases do the genitives have a specifying
It is time to recall Menges considerations (196013: 358) concerning anteposed genitives. Apart from their contrastive uses (strke Betonnung), for
example in Atheniensium urbs the city of Athenians, he envisages the case
of Gesamtbegriff, complex noun where the genitive makes up a unit with
its governing noun. As examples, he gives: terrae motus Erdbeben (earthquake), which is a fixed expression, belli fortuna Kriegsglck (the fortunes
of war), or corporis voluptates Sinnenlust (the pleasures of the body),
which are freely formed phrases. The concept of Gesamtbegriff is obviously
inspired by the compound nouns in German, Menges mother tongue, but I
believe that it is justified to use it for a description of the Latin noun phrases.
A part of the anteposed genitives seems actually to form a unit with their
governing nouns; I will call such cases referential units.20 Another example

19 The order is not fixed in this case. Caesar uses solis occasus (8 occ.) but Sallust has
occasus solis (2 occ.); similar variation exists for solis ortus.
20 Note that the referential unit (Gesamtbegriff ) is not the same concept as pragmatic
unit, explained above, section 1.1, p. 87. In my opinion, Gettert (1999: 32) goes too far when he
claims presence of a virtual article for phrases with anteposed genitives.


chapter two

of a non-specifying genitive that makes up a referential unit with the noun

is given in (27), deorum honores divine honours.21
(27) Graeci homines deorum honores tribuunt iis viris qui tyrannos necaverunt.
The Greeks bestow divine honours of the gods on those who have killed
tyrants. (Cic. Mil. 80)

To sum up, there are adjectives that describe a referent, evaluate it, or classify it by indicating its category. We will see in this chapter that adjectives
with a descriptive and specifying value are found in postposition, and adjectives expressing subjective evaluation are commonly used in anteposition.
Genitives can also further specify the noun and be semantically relevant or,
conversely, they can be semantically less prominent than their governing
nouns; this happens, for example, with entities known from the context. In
this chapter, I will argue that in the first case, they favour postposition, in
the second, anteposition. However, this semantic factor is not the only one
that underlies the placement of modifiers.
1.3. The Referent
1.3.1. Genitives: Specific vs. Generic Referent
While dealing with genitives, it is important to mention another point that
should be taken into account: the generic or specific character of the referent. Viti (2010) recently presented an analysis of noun phrases in Caesars
Gallic War based on a distinction between specific, non-specific, and generic
referents. She claims that the genitives with a specific referent occur in
anteposition22 and genitives with a generic or a non-specific referent occur
in postposition. She argues that plural genitives, formed from nouns referring to concrete non-human entities (i.e. animals and objects) stand in 80 %
of the cases in postposition, for example in (28). The category of non-specific
referents, represented by the genitives of material, content, or quality, is also
frequently in postposition (cf. Devine & Stephens 2006: 368369). Without

21 The context makes it clear that there is no contrast between homines and deorum;
homines could be omitted but it contributes to creating a nice sequence of the homoioteleuton: homineshonores. Cicero likens Clodius to a tyrant and reminds the judges that the
Greeks honour murderers of tyrants. He aims to suggest that Milo, murderer of Clodius,
should be honoured instead of punished. Besides, there is no opposition between deorum
honores and hominum honores.
22 Relying on kinship terms (Viti 2010: 89) which, in my opinion, should be dealt with

the noun phrase


contesting the fact that specificity or non-specificity of the referent can

have an influence on the placement of genitives, I would rather regard the
genitives of content or material as specifying genitives par excellence: cadus
vini (29) jar of wine (of what?) and not, for example, cadus olei or cadus
mellis jar of oil or honey.
(28) ipso terrore equorum et strepitu rotarum ordines plerumque perturbant
they generally throw ranks into confusion by the mere terror that the horses
inspire and by the noise of the wheels (Caes. Gal. 4.33.1)
(29) Cadus erat vini: inde implevi hirneam.
There was a jar of wine; from there I filled a jug. (Pl. Am. 429)

The genitives formed from personal proper names in the singular have
specific referents; however, there are additional complications linked with
identification of individuals and differentiation of the individuals bearing
the same name. The patronymic expressions such as Q. Metellus, Luci filius Quintus Metellus, son of Lucius (Cic. Balb. 11) seem to be idiomatic
and do not allow variationthis point is clear23but other kinship nouns,
e.g. uxor spouse, mater mother, socrus mother-in-law, exhibit both prenominal and post-nominal genitives (Devine & Stephens 2006: 355). I would
consider patronymic expressions as a particular case. On the other hand, I
will attempt to demonstrate that genitives with specific referents such as in
templum Concordiae (24) are post-nominal whereas genitives with generic
referents, for example in hominum memoria human memory are often prenominal. Consequently, I will claim a certain tendency for postposition of
the genitives with specific referents and anteposition of the genitives with
generic referents.
1.3.2. Noun Phrases: The Contextual Status of the Referent
We have seen that certain adjectives (lex Iulia) as well as certain genitives
(templum Concordiae, cadus vini) are semantically prominent in that they
specify the noun, and are therefore expected to be in postposition. However,
this is not always the case: classifying adjectives are found in anteposition as
well. We will see, for instance, the case of veterani milites veteran soldiers

23 See Adams (1976: 75) and Lisn (2001: 178), among others. They are often quoted for
showing the basic order. However, I prefer Chambrys (1897: 12) analysis; he interprets
Miltiades, Cimonis filius Miltiades, son of Cimon in the following way: Cimonis serves for
distinguishing the victor of Marathon from other persons named Miltiades. The kinship
terms are possibly, at least originally, contrastive.


chapter two

(section, p. 139) and that of decumana porta (chapter 3, section 2.4.1,
p. 222) with the adjectives in anteposition. Likewise in (30), the genitive
proelii and its adjective equestris both stand in anteposition.
(30) (Toto hoc in genere pugnae Equites autem ) Equestris autem proelii ratio
et cedentibus et insequentibus par atque idem periculum inferebat.
(In the whole of this method of fighting The cavalry ) But the system of
cavalry engagement threatened us with exactly same danger in retirement or
pursuit. (Caes. Gal. 5.16.3)

I would interpret it in the following way: the fact that one or another
modifier is of the specifying typethe adjective equestris and the genitive
equestris proelii because ratio system may apply to many thingsdoes not
necessarily mean that it actually carries this value in the given context. In
the section quoted in (30), Caesar is relating what happened during a cavalry
engagement. The Focus of the sentence is on par atque idem periculum
the same danger, and no contrast is drawn in equestris proelii of cavalry
engagement. Anteposition of the genitive and its adjective reflects the status
of the referent: it provides contextually given information.24 Furthermore,
this noun phrase fulfils the function of Topic of the sentence.
The contextual status of the referent is indeed a factor that can have an
influence on the internal order of a noun phrase. From this, pragmatic point
of view, a referent of a noun phrase can be new, not mentioned before, or,
conversely, known from the previous context and thus representing a contextually given referent.25 The latter may exhibit anteposition of modifiers.
Referents that are part of shared knowledge behave alike. Such cases are
sometimes difficult to recognise, mainly because deciding what belongs to
shared knowledge among Ancient Romans is not always easy for us.
1.4. Special Arrangements
For the question concerning the placement of modifiers, it is worth adding
special arrangements such as chiasmus in (31), where the modifiers of the
noun genus are contrasted.
(31) Ratione autem utentium duo genera ponunt deorum unum, alterum hominum.
There are two groups which use reason: gods and men. (Cic. Off. 2.11)


Cf. Devine & Stephens (2006: 318) on topical genitives.

For more details about contextually given and new referents, see Spevak (2010a: 32).

the noun phrase


Another arrangement that should be mentioned is noun phrase framing

(Spevak 2010a: 26, 268, 272) produced by the insertion of an adjective, a
genitive or a prepositional phrase between a modifier with a high scope (a
determiner, a quantifier, or an identifier) and the noun; for example in (32),
where a frame is formed by tres and libellos. The strategy of framing signals
that a noun phrase functions as a unit. However, it is an optional disposition,
as we will see in chapter 3, section 2.1 (p. 218).
(32) Tres patris Bruti de iure civili libellos tribus legendos dedit.
He (Crassus) assigned three men to read from the three books on the civil law
written by Brutus father. (Cic. de Orat. 2.223)

Other special arrangements can be found, for example coordinated nouns

with an adjective or a genitive modifier that belongs to both nouns. A
genitive, for example, that modifies two coordinated nouns, can precede
them, as Menge (196013: 358) stated: Caesaris fortitudo et prudentia Caesars
courage and sagacity, but also follow them or be inserted in the middle:
fortitudo et prudentia Caesaris, or fortitudo Caesaris et prudentia.26
To sum up, the aim of this section is to give an overview of factors that
may have an influence on the placement of modifiers: pragmatic functions
that the noun phrases may fulfil (Topic and Focus), pragmatic features that
the modifiers can bear (contrast and emphasis), the semantic contribution
of the adjectives and the genitives in postposition (specifying value), the
generic and specific nature of referents in the case of genitives, and the contextual status of the referents of a noun (contextually given and new information). In general, we can encounter instances that are easy to interpret,
but there are also difficult cases, the explanation of which is more complex
and requires recourse to several factors that may be at work.
1.5. The Placement of Modifiers: Problems of Analysis
The description of noun phrases in Latin, in particular the ordering of their
components, is related to a certain number of other difficult problems. I
will not go into details concerning the status quaestionis, which I presented
on another occasion (Spevak 2010b); I will only briefly summarize the most
important points.

26 In this book, I will pay no special attention to such phrases. For the placement of
coordinated modifiers, see Pinkster (fc., chapter 18).


chapter two

1.5.1. A Brief Overview of the State of Research

Determiners, Quantifiers, and Identifiers vs. Adjectives
Recent studies make it clear that for a description of noun phrases in Latin, it
is essential to separate determiners, quantifiers, and identifiers from adjectives. The school French or English terminology that, because of their morphological properties, calls anaphoric and demonstrative pronouns, numerical and non-numerical modifiers, indefinite and possessive pronouns used
adnominally adjectives27 is likely to mislead. For these modifiers have functions which are different from adjectives: adjectives express properties and
represent zero-order entities (see chapter 1, section 2.1, p. 3). Furthermore,
modifiers such as ille he or multi many apply to a wide range of referents
and have a larger scope than the adjectives such as publicus public or iustus
just (Pinkster LSS 6.4). Every statistical account concerning the ordering
of noun phrase components that does not separate determiners, quantifiers,
and identifiers from adjectives provides biased figures.
As a matter of fact, we can be sure that anaphoric and demonstrative
pronouns usually stand in anteposition: in about 90 % of the cases.28 Likewise, anteposition is usual for indefinites (78% according to Lisn (2001:
120)) and for the non-numerical quantifiers: Lisn (2001: 112) reports 81 %,
Spevak (2010b: 62), 87%.29 The placement of these modifiers does not pose
any problem and can be easily explained. The situation is different for the
numerical quantifiers that present some variation but prefer anteposition.30
It is evident that special factors are at work in this case.
The question of the placement of adjectives is more complicated. Global
statistics are unequal: for example, 60% of adjectives are anteposed in
Cicero (Lisn 2001: 63) but only 10% in Cato.31 The conclusions drawn from
27 The use of the word adjective, which refers to a word class, in the sense of attribute,
which is a syntactic function, should be banned for Latin.
28 See Lisn (2001: 115) and Spevak (2010b: 59). Marouzeau contradicts himself on this
point; he had stated that anaphoric and demonstrative modifiers go in anteposition (Marouzeau 1922: 149) but he likened them to the group of determining adjectives that are in
postposition (Marouzeau 1953: 17).
29 These results obtained for the indefinite pronouns and the non-numerical quantifiers
confirm Marouzeaus observations (1953: 19 and 22).
30 In Cicero 83% (Lisn 2001: 108), in Classical authors 64% (Spevak 2010b: 63) and 71%
(de la Villa 2010: 208209.). Marouzeau (1922: 189 and 1953: 24) is not clear on this point. He
would probably like to see the numerals in postposition (1953: 14) but variations in the texts
prevented him from claiming it (1953: 16).
31 See de Sutter (1986: 159, 164 and 167). Panchns (1986) statistics should be rejected
because he mixes up determiners and adjectives. Snellmans figure (1920: 7), 78% of anteposed adjectives in Caesar, also probably contains determiners.

the noun phrase


them go in various directions and are often contradictory with one another:
Chambry (1895), while applying Bergaignes theory,32 claimed that adjectives
in Latin are normally anteposed; Marouzeau (1922 and 1953) argued that
qualifying adjectives are anteposed whereas determining adjectives occur
in postposition; de Jong (1983) stated that postposition is the normal place
of the Latin adjective. So diversified statistical data and their interpretations
betray the great complexity of the question and, at the same time, the fact
that multiple factors may be responsible for such a variation.
For my part, however, I would stress the importance of the data concerning Catos treatise on Agriculture (de Sutter 1986). This text is mainly about
concrete entities that are described, enumerated, and sometimes presented
as a stock list. Its aim is not to convince the readership to adopt one or
another argument, unlike Ciceros speeches, for example. As a consequence
of this, pragmatic features such as contrast or emphasis are relatively less
present in Cato than in the texts from the Classical period. For this reason, I am inclined to claim, together with de Jong (1983), de Sutter (1986),
and Pinkster (LSS 9.4), that Latin adjectives are normally in postposition,
except for adjectives expressing subjective evaluation.
Possessive Pronouns and Genitives
Possessive pronouns and genitives represent the most difficult cases. From
the statistical point of view, it is impossible to establish one clear tendency
for their placement. Possessive pronouns are found both in anteposition and
in postposition, each in about 50% of the cases (Lisn 2001: 124 and Spevak
2010b: 65). Such a ratio implies an influence of several factors that should
be investigated at the pragmatic as well as the semantic level. A similar
problem concerns genitives: here again, a practically equal ratio between
anteposition and postposition has been reported several times.33 The only
fact that we can be sure of is that many factors are at work, but, this time,

32 Chambry (1895) included the determiners in his figures concerning Cornelius Nepos.
It is worth specifying that Bergaignes (1884) aim was to show that, besides the adjectives
that follow the noun (res frumentaria), mentioned by Madvig (1878: 466a), there are also
adjectives anteposed, which occur very frequently: adjectives expressing dimension or duration (magnus big, longus long), location in space or time (summus the highest, proximus
next), and evaluation (bonus good).
33 See Panchn (1986: 223) and Lisn (2001: 160). For Caesar, see Snellman (1920: 8);
according to him, 58% of genitives are in postposition. Cf. also Viti (2010). Figures presented
by Baldi & Nuti (2010: 369), concerning genitives in the diachrony of Latin, are more variable:
post-nominal genitives make up 36 % in Plautus, 71 % (!) in Cato, and 56% in Caesar. Cf. also
Bauer (2009: 265267).


chapter two

with an additional complicating matter: unlike adjectives, genitives have

autonomous referents of a specific, non-specific, or generic character.
1.5.2. The Aim and the Method Adopted
Recent studies devoted to the placement of modifiers in Latin take the modifier as a point of departure: for example, de Sutter (1984), Lisn (2001),
Kircher (2010) examine all the modifiers collected in a concrete text. Sometimes individual modifiers are the object of an analysis: magnus (de Jong
1986), vetus (Ott fc.), urbanus (Langslow 2012); or a series of various case
studies is presented (Devine & Stephens 2006).34 They provide us, of course,
with interesting results.
I will adopt another perspective. My approach takes the noun as a point of
departure; it consists in collecting and examining the modifiers that occur
with one or another noun, and interpreting the place they occupy in a
noun phrase. The collection of material has been made with the help of the
database Library of Latin Texts (LLT).
The nouns examined have been selected so that all orders of entities
described in chapter 1 are represented. Among the first-order entities figure: vir man, miles soldier, navis ship, liber book, ager field, the collective
noun familia family, the mass nouns pecunia money, frumentum corn,
aqua water, vinum wine, and argentum silver. Second-order entities are
represented by dies day, bellum war, and religio religion; third-order entities, by memoria memory, opinio opinion, and quaestio investigation. The
choice of these words has been established with the aim of exemplifying
each category of entities and of creating a sample that, I hope, is sufficiently
representative. Naturally, one might like to see such or such word on the list;
in any case, it is impossible to exhaust the entire Latin lexicon and examine every single word. My choice has also be conditioned by the number
of attestations; animals, for example, do not present a sufficient number of
instances in Classical Latin prose to obtain interesting results. Mass nouns
pose a similar problem but they have been included owing to the importance of this category.
This study will concentrate on quantifiers, adjectives, genitives, prepositional phrases, and completive clauses. I excluded from the analysis deter-

34 The chapters on the noun phrase in Devine & Stephens (2006: 314377) are indeed
concentrated on noun modifiers. Their aim is to examine various types of these: subjective
and objective genitives, prepositional phrases with erga, partitive expressions, possessive
pronouns, adjectives expressing the measure and the content, evaluative adjectives, etc.

the noun phrase


miners, indefinite pronouns, and identifiers, for two reasons: their ordering
is not very problematic and they can apply to almost every noun. Possessive
pronouns obey special distribution rules (Spevak 2010a: 250254) and will
be disregarded in general; only those functioning as valency complements
were taken into consideration.
For selected words, all noun phrases with one or several modifiers have
been collected, counted, and classified. However, I have disregard isolated
phenomena and will not report every single detail.35 I should also mention that sequences noun + modifier were not restricted to genuine noun
phrases; also prepositional phrases have been counted.
1.5.3. Distribution of Nouns in a Specific Corpus
This chapter is based on a series of case studies of nouns belonging to the
types of entities described in chapter 1, section 2.3 (p. 8). However, the choice
of nouns examined has been made on a theoretical basis. They are not
necessarily the most common nouns in a corpus. In this section, I propose
an analysis of the types of nouns that actually occur in two concrete texts in
order to compensate for this discrepancy.
The nouns used in a text are in a close relationship with the type of
text, such as historical narrative, philosophical treatise, correspondence, or
speeches, and with the topic being treated. In order to give an overview
of the actual distribution of the types of nouns, I examined a sample of
500 noun phrases,36 i.e. nouns accompanied by one or several modifiers, in
Ciceros On Divination book 2 and in Caesars Civil War book 3 (Figure 1).
Prior to beginning the analysis of the data, it is important to present
details of the classification of the nouns involved. It is indeed not always
easy to classify nouns into such and such category. Under the rubric animate entities of the first-order, I grouped the nouns denoting animate
entities, e.g. vir man, deus god, vitulus calf, their professions or activities: imperator imperator, physicus physicist, haruspex haruspex, as well
as collective nouns: populus people, classis fleet, copiae troops denoting
groups of human beings. Inanimate entities include concrete and physically
observable or materialised inanimate articles such as statua statue, vestimentum clothing, lumen light, ignis fire, commeatus supply, versus verse;


Additionally, I disregard coordination of adjectives and bivalent adjectives.

The choice of classifying the nouns that occur in noun phrases depends directly on the
topic of this book; bare nouns and prepositional phrases could have been examined as well.
Numerical data are indicated in Table 2.1 in the Appendix.


chapter two

Figure 1: The types of entities occurring in two texts: Cicero and Caesar
Note: the occurrences of res (except for res publica), 25 in Cicero and 12 in Caesar,
have not been calculated.

human creations and institutions: oppidum city, municipium town, res publica republic; countries and regions: provincia province, Italia Italy.
Second-order entities comprise temporal units: hora hour, mensis
month, nox night; states-of-affairs that occur in time: cantus singing, eventus event, motus movement, observatio observation, adventus arrival,
oppugnatio siege; various qualities: virtus virtue, iracundia crossness,
varietas variety; states and circumstances: initium beginning, meta goal,
insidiae trap, silentium silence, morbus illness; dispositions: facultas capacity, consuetudo habit, opes means.
Among third-order entities figure items that do not exist in space and
time but are constructions of the human mind. These are, for example: products of deliberation: iudicium judgment, consilium advice, opinio opinion,
mandata instructions, decretum decision, especially when they are not
materialized (decretum can also be materialized as a decree). Sciences and
savoir-faire that denote intellectual creations: philosophia philosophy, divinatio divination as an artas an action, divinatio falls into the secondorder entities, disciplina instruction, ignoratio ignorance. Likewise,
products of analytical thinking: causa cause, ratio system, organization,
with which I included genus kind, used for classifying entities. I also consider the naming of things as third-order entities: definitio definition, nomen
name, and any outcome of interpreting various phenomena: cognatio kinship, mos custom (e.g. mos militaris military custom) or ius law. There
are also abstract entities perceived and interpreted in a certain way by the
human mind: fatum destiny, auspicium auspices, praesentio premonition
or indicium sign.

the noun phrase


It is worth pointing out that in several cases, words may belong to more
than one order. A good example is that of signum: in its meaning of signal
given by the bugler or that of military ensign (signum militare) it represents
concrete first-order entities. By contrast, in the meaning of omen, it denotes
interpretation of a natural phenomenon and joins third-order entities. Auxilium help is a noun belonging to the second order but auxilia as auxiliary
troops is a first-order noun.
Let me come back now to Figure 1 showing the distribution of entities in
two texts, Ciceros philosophical treatise and Caesars historical narrative.
Both authors agree as regards the use of animate nouns, mostly referring to
human beings in Caesar, and to both human beings and animals in Cicero;
they represent 15% of all entities. Caesar uses concrete inanimate nouns
more frequently than Cicero (34% vs. 25%), but Cicero has more third-order
nouns than Caesar (24% vs. 8%). This difference is easy to explain owing to
the text type and topics dealt with. The most interesting result from Figure 1 is that in Caesar concrete entities make up 49 % of all noun phrases,
in Cicero 40%. In other words, the level of abstraction is relatively very high
in both texts. Caesars historical narrative, in principle, recounts and analyses events concerning people but half of the noun phrases refer to abstract
temporal or non-temporal entities. The ratio is even higher in Ciceros philosophical treatise where second- and third-order entities together make up
60%. Such a high level of abstraction may resultand in my view actually
does resultin a high number of temporal and evaluative adjectives applied
to these entities. As these adjectives often appear in anteposition, it is not
surprising that global statistics report a high number of pre-nominal adjectives (cf. section 1.5.1, p. 102).
This brief presentation of the content of these two concrete texts is
important for the question concerning the type of modifiers used. Whereas
concrete entities can be described and counted, temporal entities of the
second-order do not behave in the same way: for them we encounter expressions of the relationship they maintain with others, especially concrete
entities, as well as various evaluations. With third-order entities we expect
expressions of the entities involved and specification of content. In other
words, the choice of modifiers closely depends on the type of entity to which
they are applied.


chapter two
1.6. An Overview of the Nouns Examined

This section provides a brief account of the nouns that have been examined
in detail. Concrete, animate, human, and countable first-order entities are
represented by vir man and miles soldier. As for the first one, only the
nominative singular and the accusative plural, i.e. the forms vir and viros,
have been collected. Given the great number of the instances attested, the
quantifiers were disregarded in this case. Their selection is supposed to
be the same as it is for miles. Vir is used with descriptive and evaluative
adjectives, often in appositions. Additionally, only noun phrases with only
one adjective have been selected for analysis of vir. On the other hand, the
noun miles has been examined in all the forms it provides. Miles mainly
appears in the plural and co-occurs with various adjectives and quantifiers
in simple noun phrases; it seldom enters into more complex units.
Navis ship, liber book, and ager field represent inanimate, concrete and
countable first-order entities. Navis ship is found with various adjectives
and quantifiers, often used in noun phrases containing several modifiers.
Past participles such as onusta loaded were disregarded. Liber denotes a
book written for publication, a subdivision of a longer work, or any lengthy
document. Liber co-occurs with quantifiers, various adjectives, genitives,
and prepositional phrases, and often appears in complex units. Ager is a
divisible entity denoting a piece of land, a field, or a territory. It is mainly
found in noun phrases with one modifier.
With the first-order entities have been included other nouns with a special selection of modifiers. Firstly, familia, which is a collective, countable
first-order noun denoting all the members of a household, persons closely
associated by blood. Familia can also denote slaves or another group of
men, such as a school or a sect (followers). This noun admits various modifiers expressing evaluation, type or size, and mostly occurs in simple noun
phrases. Adjectives derived from proper names as well as possessive genitives have not been taken into consideration due to the insufficient number
of instances.
Secondly, pecunia money, property is usually a non-count mass noun,37
consisting of elements that are not individualised. It co-occurs with adjectives expressing ownership or origin, modalities of payment, and amount,
mainly in noun phrases with one modifier. Possessive genitives and adjectives derived from proper names, as well as past participles (accepta) and


For una pecunia, see p. 129, example (108).

the noun phrase


gerundives (cogenda), were disregarded. On the other hand, adjectival participles referring to aspects of pecunia, such as signata coined, have been
included. Pecunia may also be used in the plural, especially with the meaning sum of money.38
Thirdly, other non-count mass nouns: (i) frumentum corn, which combines with quantifiers and appears once in the plural; (ii) aqua water and
vinum wine, denoting liquid matters, seldom occur with modifiers, but are
important for determining the behaviour of this category of entities. The
noun aqua allows the plural number, with the meaning of flood; the plural vina relates to different types of wines, e.g. vina Graeca Greek wines;
(iii) argentum denoting the metal, silver, objects made of it, silverware, or
currency, silver coin. Apart from quantifiers, adjectival participles such as
caelatum chased have been included in the examination.
Second-order entities are represented by dies, bellum, and religio. Dies
day is a count noun, used with quantifiers, various adjectives, and genitives,
mainly in simple noun phrases. Of this very frequently attested word only
the form dies has been examined, which covers the nominative singular, and
the nominative and accusative plural.
In the case of bellum war, a countable noun, only the modifiers accompanying the forms bellum and bello have been analysed. Bellum mostly appear
in noun phrases with one modifier and co-occurs with adjectives, genitives,
and several prepositional phrases.
Religio is a non-count verbal noun derived from relego to pick up again, to
gather39 that allows the plural number. Religio expresses a religious scruple
or conscience when applied to a person; it also denotes religious feeling
and belief, a religious practice or a cult of a deity or a place. It is used with
adjectives and genitives in simple noun phrases.
Memoria memory, derived from the adjective memor mindful, is a noun
that belongs to all three orders of entities. It denotes the human faculty of
remembering (memory), in which case it is a monovalent second-order

38 It occurs 17 times in my corpus with a modifier. As for the use of the plural number, it is
stated in the ThLL (s.v.) that haud raro legitur apud Ciceronem. With the help of the database
LASLA, the following ratio can be established: in Caesar, Sallust, and Ciceros speeches, there
are 749 instances of the singular pecunia and 179 (19 %) instances of pecuniae in the plural.
39 According to Walde-Hofmann, s. v. diligo and Le Grand Gaffiot, s. v. religio. For its
etymology, see Cic. N.D. 2.72: Qui autem omnia quae ad cultum deorum pertinerent diligenter
retractarent et tamquam relegerent, i sunt dicti religiosi ex relegendo. Those who carefully
reviewed and so to speak retraced all the lore of ritual were called religious from relegere
(to retrace or re-read). Certain scholars relate religio to religo to tie up, see Ernout & Meillet,
s. v.; they themselves consider the second element of re-ligio obscure.


chapter two

noun. It can mean the content of the memory, recollection; with this meaning memoria falls into the category of bivalent third-order nouns. Memoria also denotes a period covered by ones recollection (period, tradition,
second-order), as well as tradition preserved in writing and materialised
(annals, memoirs, records, first-order). Memoria is a non-count noun, only
used in the singular in my corpus.40 Apart from several adjectives, it cooccurs with genitives in simple as well as complex noun phrases.
As nouns belonging to the third order of entities, that of propositional
contents, I have selected opinio and quaestio. Opinio opinion as a verbal
noun derived from opinor to hold as an opinion, to think denotes someones belief, or an opinion made by others of someone or something. It is a
bivalent noun like its source verb (Happ 1976: 563). This count noun forms
the plural number, combines with certain adjectives and quantifiers, admits
genitive complements, and prepositional phrases with de as well as completive clauses.
Quaestio, a verbal noun derived from the trivalent verb quaero to search
for (Happ 1976: 563), denotes the act of searching and means, according to
its application, in a juridical context investigation, inquiry (also accompanied by torture), in an intellectual context, question or subject of discussion. Quaestio belongs to the third-order entities when it expresses a subject
of dispute or a problem to be investigated; the act of searching itself falls
into the second-order entities. Quaestio is a count noun forming the plural
number; it co-occurs with adjectives, genitives, prepositional phrases with
de and completive clauses.
2. Quantifying a Referent
I will start the analysis of the results by looking at various means of quantifying a referent. This section is devoted to numerical, non-numerical, and
nominal quantifiers that co-occur with different types of nouns. Count
nouns will be examined first, and then uncountable nouns.
2.1. Count Nouns
Vir, miles, navis, liber, ager, and the collective noun familia are concrete
and discrete countable nouns because they co-occur with quot how many?,
tot so many and/or numerical quantifiers. The feature of countability is


In the ThLL, 670.80 and 681.62, several instances of the plural are reported.

the noun phrase


not restricted to the first-order nouns but also applies to the temporal
second-order nouns dies and bellum, as well as to opinio and quaestio, which
belong to the third order of entities.
2.1.1. Non-Numerical Quantifiers
The nouns miles, navis, liber, and dies41 are found with a wide range of nonnumerical quantifiers: omnes all, multi many, aliquot, plerique, complures,
nonnulli several innumerabiles countless, which indicate a large quantity,
pauci few, a small quantity, and nullus or ullus no, zero quantity.42 They
stand exclusively in anteposition for navis (17 A = anteposition) and liber (12
A). In other cases, several instances of postposition are encountered (miles:
18 A vs. 6 P = postposition, dies: 60 A vs. 12 P). These nouns do not combine
with omnis, universus, and cunctus in the singular.
The question underlying the number of countable entities is quot how
many as in (33).43 Its correlative expression tot so many is exemplified in
(34). Quantum followed by a genitive seems to be used for a large quantity
without a numerical specification, as in (35).
(33) Cras autem et quot dies erimus in Tusculano, agamus haec.
Tomorrow, however, and all the days we shall be staying here at Tusculum let
us pursue these matters. (Cic. Tusc. 1.119)
(34) Ex libro tertio tot enim, ut audivi Scaevolam dicere, sunt veri Bruti libri.
From his third book for I have heard Scaevola say that this is the number
of genuine books by Brutus. (Cic. de Orat. 2.224)
(35) (Cleomenes) rogat ut in sua quisque dicat navi se tantum habuisse nautarum, quantum oportuerit.
(Cleomenes) asks them to say that each had had in his ship as many sailors
as he ought to have had. (Cic. Ver. 5.102)

Several examples of non-numerical quantifiers are given below. By using

plures, Cicero does not specify the number, but he probably knows that

41 The behaviour of vir and bellum, the plural of which has not been counted, is presumably the same.
42 I also noted quicquid navium longarum habebat such warships he had (Caes. Gal.
4.22.3); however, two groups of manuscripts are divided between quicquid and quod.
43 Due to the type of texts, which do not provide many dialogues, quot is infrequent in
Classical Latin prose. Nevertheless, cf. the following instances: quot viri how many men (Cic.
de Orat. 1.9), quot nautas (Cic. Ver. 5.102), quot aves how many birds (Cic. Div. 2.64), and quot
bella (Cic. Ver. 5.149).


chapter two

Aristotles Topics are divided into eight books (36). The number can remain
unspecified because it is unknown or irrelevant, as in (37)(38).
(36) Incidisti in Aristotelis Topica quaedam, quae sunt ab illo pluribus libris explicata.
You hit upon certain Topics of Aristotle which were expounded by him in
several books. (Cic. Top. 1)
(37) Ptolomaeus sanatus dicitur et multi milites qui erant eodem genere teli vulnerati.
Ptolemaeus is said to have been cured, and also many soldiers who had been
wounded by the same kind of arrow. (Cic. Div. 2.135)
(38) (Antonius) plerasque naves in Italiam remittit.
(Antony) sent most of the ships back to Italy. (Caes. Civ. 3.29.2)

Postposition of non-numerical quantifiers, especially pauci, nonnulli (39),

nullus, and omnes, correlates with their specifying value, as happens with
numerical quantifiers (cf. section 2.1.3). An illuminating case is that of complures several applied to dies (8 A vs. 6 P). Examples (40) and (41) clearly
show that whereas the first one functions together with the noun as a referential unit without insisting on the quantity (how much time?), the second
one indicates the quantity, even if it remains indefinite (how many days?).
(39) Vulnerantur tamen complures, in his Cornelius Balbus, M. Plotius, L. Tiburtius, centuriones militesque nonnulli.
However, several were wounded, amongst them Cornelius Balbus, Marcus
Plotius, Lucius Tiburtius, and some centurions and ordinary soldiers. (Caes.
Civ. 3.19.7)
(40) Disputatio repetenda memoria est, quae mihi tibique quondam adulescentulo est a P. Rutilio Rufo, Smyrnae cum simul essemus complures dies,
I will recall the memory of a discussion, which was described to you and to
me in our youth by Publius Rutilius Rufus when we were with him for several
days at Smyrna (Cic. Rep. 1.13)
(41) Hae permanserunt aquae dies complures.
These floods lasted for several days. (Caes. Civ. 1.50.6)

Whereas non-numerical quantifiers are commonly used with the nouns

mentioned, they appear seldom with ager,44 only co-occurring with multi,
nonnulli, and nullus, and with familia, for which I only noted combinations
with multae and nulla.
44 Furthermore, ager as a divisible entity admits the neuter aliquantum (aliquantum agri
some land Cic. Off. 1.33), and the interrogative pronoun quantum (quantum agri how much
land? Cic. Agr. 1.14).

the noun phrase


Two third-order countable nouns, quaestio and opinio, present a restricted selection of quantifiers. Quaestio investigation may be multiplied
(multae, plures, pleraeque), totalised (omnes, universae), and be conceived
as non-existent (nulla, ulla); the same number of quaestiones is rendered by
totidem. Opinio, which is a count noun,45 is different. In the plural opiniones
refers to various beliefs and opinions that one can distinguish one from
another and summarise with the help of omnes.46 A certain extent of belief
can be rendered by nonnulla (42) or aliquid (Cic. Sul. 10); its non-existence
is expressed by nulla.
(42) Comitiorum nonnulla opinio est.
There is some idea of an election. (Cic. Att. 4.13.1)

2.1.2. Omnis and totus

It is important to fully examine the distribution of omnis all and totus
whole, which is properly not a quantifier, with different entities. Before
beginning the analysis, it is worth pointing out that the adnominal use of
omnis is not always easy to distinguish from its use as secondary predicate.
Omnes anteposed to the noun often forms a noun phrase with it (43). One
can hesitate about its status, especially when omnis is in postposition. The
sentence in (44) tells us either he kept all the/his soldiers or he kept them
all within the rampart; there is no explicit indication making it possible to
decide. In any case, omnes is predicative in (45) because it can be related to
the verb. Caesar is enumerating the losses of a battle and relates what happened to the cavalry (equites); then he moves to the soldiers (milites). This
constituent functions as Topic and omnes ad unum concerns the process of
killing (interficiuntur): the soldiers are killed, up to the very last one.
(43) Hos certo signo revocare constituit cum omnes milites naves conscendissent
These he arranged to recall by an agreed signal when all the soldiers had
embarked (Caes. Civ. 1.27.6)
(44) Militesque omnes intra vallum castrorum continuit.
and kept all his soldiers inside the fortifications. (Caes. Civ. 3.76.1)

45 Cf. duae with ellipsis of opiniones: quae fuerint opiniones nam fuerunt duae (I will tell
you) what were the opinions for there were two opinions (Cic. Scaur. 7).
46 Cf. opinionum varietas the variety of opinions (Cic. Leg. 1.47) and opiniones cum tam
variae sint tamque inter se dissidentes the views entertained are so various and so discrepant
(Cic. N.D. 1.5).


chapter two

(45) (Equites ) Milites ad unum omnes interficiuntur.

(Cavalry ) The infantry were killed to a man. (Caes. Civ. 2.42.5)

Countable first- and second-order indivisible entities do not co-occur with

omnis in the singular in my corpus;47 they combine with omnes in the
plural, which refers to the total number of individuals involved: omnes
milites in (43) concerns all the soldiers who participated in the operation.
Totus, irrespective of the number, applies to first-order entities that can be
envisaged in parts: navis,48 liber, and dies. Totos dies in (46) refers to whole
days, from the morning until the evening.
(46) Similiter totos dies in litore tabernaculo posito perpotabat.
Likewise, he spent whole days drinking in a tent pitched on the shore. (Cic.
Ver. 5.87)

Ager as a divisible entity allows omnis in both numbers. In the plural,

omnes concerns several territories that are considered together (47); omnis
in the singular refers to one territory conceived in a global way (48). Such
a meaning involving overallness can lead to a distributive interpretation
as every district.49 Totus in the singular expresses the totality of the surface
area of a divisible and divided territory (49).
(47) Omnes denique agros decumanos per triennium populo Romano ex parte
decuma, C. Verri ex omni reliquo vectigales fuisse.
In short, that all the lands subject to tithe have been for three years tributary
to the Roman people, to the extent of one tenth, and to Gaius Verres to the
extent of all the rest. (Cic. Ver. 3.103)
(48) Hic ager omnis quoquo pretio coemptus erit, tamen ingenti pecunia nobis
All this land, at whatever price it is bought, will be charged to our account at
a huge price. (Cic. Agr. 2.70)50
(49) Totus enim ager Campanus colitur et possidetur a plebe.
For the whole Campanian territory is cultivated and possessed by the people.
(Cic. Agr. 2.84)

The collective noun familia presents the same selection as ager: tota for
expressing wholeness, omnis for overallness and omnes in the plural for the


Cf. chapter 1, section, p. 50, note 102.

Cf. the following totus used as secondary predicate: naves totae factae ex robore the
ships were built wholly of oak (Caes. Gal. 3.13.3).
49 Cf. ex omni agro decumano from every district liable to the payment of tenths in Cic.
Ver. 3.100.
50 Sullanus ager is meant: cf. example (174), p. 149.

the noun phrase


total quantity. In (50), the apposition of the explicative type provides the
exact number of persons covered by omnis familia. Furthermore, familia as
a collective noun allows cuncta and universa for expressing that all members
of it are concerned (51).
(50) Die constituta causae dictionis Orgetorix ad iudicium omnem suam familiam,
ad hominum milia decem, undique coegit.
On the day appointed for his trial Orgetorix gathered from every quarter to
the court all his retainers, to the number of ten thousand persons. (Caes. Gal.
(51) Necesse putavit esse et in universam familiam iudicium dare.
He thought it necessary to allow an action against the whole household. (Cic.
Tul. 10)

The two third-order nouns behave alike. All the beliefs or inquiries are
omnes opiniones / quaestiones; omnis in the singular globalises the belief or
inquiry; belief as a whole is tota opinio. Likewise, tota quaestio in (52).
(52) Omnino dividunt nostri totam istam de dis immortalibus quaestionem in partis
Our school divides the entire topic of the immortal gods into four parts. (Cic.
N.D. 2.3)

2.1.3. Numerical Quantifiers

The number of countable entities can be numerically specified by cardinal
numerals, such as duo two, tres three, or by distributive numerals, such
as singuli every single; the latter are infrequent in my corpus. They are
common with dies, navis, liber, and miles; ager only co-occurs with unus,
familia and quaestio with una and duae.
The placement of cardinal numerals, on which I will concentrate, is variable. However, variability holds true only for part of the nouns examined:
dies (27A vs. 34 P),51 naves (16 A vs. 15 P), and miles (4 A vs. 4 P). The noun
liber has almost all the numerical modifiers in anteposition (29 A vs. 2 P). I
will come back to this point later.
In general, either the numerals form a unit with the noun, or their semantic value is pertinent. The noun phrase in (53) functions as a unit that
conveys new information; the sentence answers the underlying question
what? (quid?). By contrast, the question how many ships? (quot naves?)


These figures include distributive numerals: 1 A and 8 P.


chapter two

underlies the sentence in (54).52 The numeral provides the exact number of
ships, which is important from the pragmatic point of view. Additionally,
this noun phrase represents a Future Topic: Caesar is going to report what
happened to eighteen ships conveying the cavalry as mentioned before (cf.
example (57)). All the ships have been lost (nulla earum) but they finally
reached the continent.
(53) Ibi cognoscit LX naves, quae in Meldis factae erant, tempestate reiectas cursum tenere non potuisse.
There he discovers that sixty ships, which had been built in the country of
the Meldi, having been driven back by a storm, had been unable to maintain
their course. (Caes. Gal. 5.5.2)
(54) Post diem quartum naves XVIII, de quibus supra demonstratum est, , ex
superiore portu leni vento solverunt. Quae cum appropinquarent Britanniae
nulla earum
Four days after the eighteen ships, to which reference has been made
above, , set sail from the upper port with a gentle gale. When they were
approaching Britain none of them (Caes. Gal. 4.28.1)

The same tendency holds true for milites: postposition of the numeral appears in enumerations for expressing how many soldiers? (55). In such
cases, the numeral specifies the number, unlike anteposed numerals (56),53
which form referential units with their nouns (who?).
(55) Ex Afranianis interficiuntur T. Caecilius, primi pili centurio, et praeter eum
centuriones IIII, milites amplius CC.
On Afranius side the dead included killed Titus Caecilius, a first centurion,
and besides him four centurions and more than 200 men. (Caes. Civ. 1.46.5)
(56) Sed tantum navium repperit ut anguste XV milia legionariorum militum, D
equites transportari possent.
But he found only as many ships as would permit the tightly packed transport
of 15,000 legionaries and 500 cavalry. (Caes. Civ. 3.2.2)

Numerical quantifiers used in complex noun phrases behave alike. The

one in (57) functions as a referential unit with the function of Focus; the
adjective onerariae in anteposition is not contrastive. Caesar tells us what
he did with his fleet: he had collected 80 cargo-ships and had allocated them
to legates and prefects; another 18 ships were waiting in the harbour. By
contrast, the quantifier in postposition specifies the number of lost ships

52 For this point, I join Marouzeaus analysis (1922: 192 et 1953: 77) in the sense that the
numerical value of an entity is specified.
53 Carter (1993: 143) corrects the number of XV milia in XX milia and D in DC.

the noun phrase


(58); furthermore, it is pragmatically relevant, and this is signalled by its

separation from its head noun. In (59), the postposed numeral is contrastive
with respect to paucis.
(57) (Navibus circiter octoginta onerariis coactis ) Huc accedebant XVIII onerariae naves, quae vento tenebantur Has equitibus tribuit.
(Having collected together about 80 cargo ships ) There were in addition to
these 18 cargo ships, which were prevented by winds He distributed them
among the cavalry. (Caes. Gal. 4.22.4)
(58) Eo die naves Massiliensium cum his quae sunt captae intereunt VIIII.
The number of Massiliot ships which came to grief that day, including the
captured, was nine. (Caes. Civ. 1.58.5)
(59) (Caesar) navibus longis Rhodiis X et Asiaticis paucis Alexandriam pervenit.
(Caesar) reached Alexandria with ten warships from Rhodes, and a few from
Asia. (Caes. Civ. 3.106.1)

Both naves and milites represent central entities in the historical narrative
and their number is important from the pragmatic point of view. This
aspect is likely to explain the mobility of their modifiers. The situation
with liber is different: books do not play any main role in Classical prose;
they are just accessory participants, the number of which is not subject
to discussion. As a result, numerical quantifiers applied to liber are not
submitted to variation but stand almost exclusively in anteposition. For
example in (60),54 the numeral forms part of a noun phrase that is the most
informative constituent of the sentence (note the discontinuity) but it does
not as such bear any special value. Its anteposition is due to the fact that it
forms a referential unit with the noun. Several instances, however, are that
of a contrastive use in anteposition, as is sex in (61), with respect to in multis.
(60) (Platon) et reperiret et tueretur, alter (Aristoteles) autem de ipsa iustitia
quattuor implevit sane grandes libros.
(Plato) in order to find and defend it, but the other (Aristotle) filled four
very large volumes with a treatise on justice itself. (Cic. Rep. 3.12)
(61) Hoc in antiquis personis suaviter fit, ut et Heraclides in multis et nos in sex de
re publica libris fecimus.
This is quite agreeable if the characters belong to history; Heraclides did it in
many works, and I myself in my six books On the Republic. (Cic. Att. 13.19.4)

On the other hand, when Cicero talks about the revision of his Academics,
previously planned to be in two books, the Catulus and the Lucullus, which
54 Cicero is thinking of Platos Republic, which is subtitled , and Aristotles
dialogue , now lost; see the note by Brguet (1991: 157).


chapter two

are now outlined to be in four books, he uses the numeral in postposition

(62). The number is relevant here, unlike in (60).
(62) Confeci et absolvi Academicam omnem quaestionem libris quattuor.
I have composed this work and finished off the whole subject of Academic
philosophy in four books (Cic. Att. 13.19.3)

I turn now to the temporal entity dies, the number of which is often important. Consequently, it presents variable ordering of the numerals. Owing to
its semantic value, the word dies is for the most part used in temporal expressions. The form dies appears in time complements answering the question
when? (63), especially in accusatives of duration (64).
(63) Postulaturus eras. Quando? Post dies XXX.
You were about to ask him. When? Thirty days after. (Cic. Quinct. 82)
(64) Ita dies circiter quindecim iter fecerunt
They marched for about fifteen days in such a manner (Caes. Gal. 1.15.5)

The great mobility of the cardinal numerals with dies is intriguing. Postposed numerals seem to relate to the underlying question how many days?,
and to have a specifying function. Numerals that I propose to interpret in
this way are given in (65) and (66). In the first one, note the presence of the
adverb circiter that modifies the numeral and expresses approximation.55
In the second one, the time complement is preceded by the prepositional
phrase ex eo die suggesting that the exact number of days is to be specified.
From the same perspective, the numeral XXX in (63), quoted above, may be
regarded as specifying the numerical value as opposed to e.g. post paucos
dies a few days later (Sal. Jug. 90.2), which does not provide such information.
(65) Dein Sulla omnia pollicito , circiter dies quadraginta ibidem opperiuntur.
When Sulla promised everything , they waited there about forty days. (Sal.
Jug. 103.7)
(66) Ex eo die dies continuos quinque Caesar pro castris suas copias produxit.
For five successive days from that day, Caesar drew out his forces before the
camp. (Caes. Gal. 1.48.3)

55 This has already been suggested by Marouzeau (1953: 25). In my corpus, circiter precedes
the whole phrase or only the numeral (cf. ThLL, s. v. circiter, 1099.10f.). For other approximators that focus on the number: ad, circa, fere and supra, see de la Villa (2010: 181). The scalar
approximators paene and vix can be added to them (Bertocchi & Maraldi fc.); for example,
vixdum XXX dies hardly 30 days (Cic. Fam.12.4.2), as well as aliquis (for which see chapter 1,
p. 44, note 86).

the noun phrase


Noun and prepositional phrases containing a numeral in anteposition

suggest that a period of a certain number of days is meant. I propose to
interpret the numerical quantifiers in (67) and (68) in this way; they form a
referential unit with their noun and answer the question how much time?
(67) Itaque illorum (haruspicum) responsis tum et ludi per decem dies facti sunt
neque res ulla, quae ad placandos deos pertineret, praetermissa est.
Therefore, according to their answers, games were held for ten days, and
nothing that could possibly serve to appease the gods was left undone. (Cic.
Catil. 3.20)56
(68) Ipse interea XVII dies de me in Tiburtino Scipionis declamitavit, sitim quaerens.
(Antony) Meanwhile, he spent seventeen days declaiming about me in Scipios villa at Tibur, working up a thirst. (Cic. Phil. 5.19)57

Surprisingly, when Cicero draws up a report of his journey, he uses prenominal adjectives in an enumeration (notice the ellipsis of dies with
decem). These anteposed numerals allow a contrastive interpretation.
(69) (Laodiceae) Ibi morati biduum ; quod idem Apameae quinque dies morati
et Synnadis triduum, Philomeli quinque dies, Iconi decem, fecimus.
(at Laodicea) There I spent two days ; I did the same at Apamea, where I
spent five days, at Synnada three days, at Philomelium five days, at Iconium
ten days. (Cic. Att. 5.20.1)

As for possible modifications of the numerals,58 it is worth mentioning solos

only in (70), which marks the contrastive value of centum et decem. The
hundred and ten days that Cicero had asked for his investigation in Sicily
represented a relatively short period. This number is contrasted with the
hundred and eight days required by his adversary. The ellipsis of the word
dies signals that the number is essential at the pragmatic level (Focus).
(70) Interposuistis accusatorem, qui cum ego mihi centum et decem dies solos in
Siciliam postulassem, centum et octo sibi in Achaiam postularet.
When I asked for a mere 110 days to go to Sicily, you put forward a prosecutor
to thwart me by asking for 108 days for himself to go to Achaia. (Cic. Ver. 1.30)

56 In order to divert the omen signalled by the rain of stones, novemdiale sacrum was used;
but games lasting ten days did not represent a common means of propitiation, see Dyck
(2008: 195). If my analysis of this example is correct, the numeral anteposed in the phrase
per decem dies could be compared with a compounded adjective such as novemdialis lasting
nine days.
57 Antony was very much annoyed by the first Philippic and prepared his riposte at Tibur.
58 Cf. note 55 and ipse: decem ipsos dies just ten days (Cic. Fam. 2.8.3).


chapter two

2.1.4. Nominal Quantifiers

Non-numerical quantifiers such as multi are not the only means for expressing the quantity of count nouns; there are also nominal quantifiers that
apply to some of them: miles et navis are quantified by means of magnus
numerus a great number, pars part, paucitas fewness, multitudo numerousness, copia, inopia scarcity, and vis large quantity. In the case of miles,
they are almost as frequent as non-numerical quantifiers (see Table 2.2 in
the Appendix).
Nominal quantifiers are nouns that require a genitive: magnus numerus
navium a great number of ships. From the syntactic point of view, navium
depends on the noun numerus, but from a semantic and pragmatic point
of view, it is magnus numerus that modifies navium, and not vice versa.59
An additional argument for supporting this statement is that resumptions
with a relative pronoun concern the noun in the genitive, not the numeral
quantifier (see example (74) below).
Nominal quantifiers are often accompanied by a modifier. Consequently,
three patterns occur: the genitive stands in postposition, in anteposition,
or is inserted between the nominal quantifier and its modifier. Postposition
of the genitive clearly prevails (miles 21 P vs. 1 A, 3 framed; navis 9 P, 3 A, 3
framed). I will now examine the most frequent orderings.
Numerus, when functioning as a nominal quantifier, is accompanied by
a modifier in an obligatory way. It expresses the idea of a great number with
magnus, maior, and maximus; with certus, it refers to a fixed number. The
genitive militum, usually without any modifier,60 regularly follows its governing noun phrase.61 Postposition of militum (71) results from the fact that
it specifies what entity is concerned (a great number of what?).62 Numerus


See chapter 1, p. 14, note 30.

It could have one, cf. Caes. Civ. 1.23.2: magnus numerus equitum Romanorum et decurionum a great number of Roman knights and decurions.
61 A complementary examination of the sequences {modifier (magnus, ingens, tantus )
+ numerus + genitive} collected with the help of the LLT database, shows that in Classical
Latin prose, the genitive stands most frequently in postposition with respect to the nominal quantifier (38 occ. out of 76, i.e. 50 %); it is inserted between the modifier and the noun
25 times (33 %); it precedes the nominal quantifier 13 times (17%). Genitive complements
that expand {modifier + numerus} are: animate entities in the plural, e.g. hostium, nautarum,
equorum of enemies, seamen, horses; inanimate entities, e.g. gladiorum, civitatum, versuum
of swords, cities, verses, but also collective nouns such as levis armaturae, pecoris of lightarmed troops, cattle and mass nouns: tritici, vini of wheat, wine, for which see p. 125.
62 Devine & Stephens (2006: 368377) also discuss postposition of the genitive. However,
they reason that anteposition in the case of pars is due to the definite value of the genitive and

the noun phrase


is mainly used for expressing great quantity; for the idea of small quantity,
parvus numerus is not attested in Classical Latin prose; only minor numerus
militum reduced in number (Caes. Gal. 7.73.2) and other expressions.63 Furthermore, there are other means, such as multitudo a great number (72) and
paucitas a small number (72). All the genitives quoted below have specific
(71) magnum numerum ab eo militum ad Afranium perfugisse
that a large number of his soldiers had deserted to Afranius (Caes. Civ. 2.18.3)
(72) tirones enim multitudine navium perterriti
the recruits, terrified by the number of boats (Caes. Civ. 3.28.4)
(73) Non illi paucitatem nostrorum militum, non iniquitatem loci non posset
causae fuisse cogitabant.
They did not recognise as causes either the small number of our men, or the
difficult terrain (Caes. Civ. 3.72.2)

The genitive navium with a non-specific referent stands between numerus

and its modifier in (74). In such cases, it seems incorrect to me to talk about
pre-nominal genitives because they are in fact inserted into the nominal
quantifier. The true anteposed genitives come before the whole nominal
quantifier. Such an ordering is due to the Topic function of the genitive, as
with navium at the beginning of the sentence in (75).
(74) Cotidie enim magnus undique navium numerus conveniebat quae commeatum supportarent.
Every day a great number of ships came in from every direction to bring
supplies. (Caes. Civ. 3.47.3)
(75) Navium magnam copiam ad transportandum exercitum pollicebantur.
They promised a large number of ships for transporting the army. (Caes. Gal.

Unlike numerus and copia, the word pars part can go without any modifier
(76); in this example, militum, coming first, functions as a contrastive Topic
with respect to centurions mentioned before.

that postposition in the case of magnus numerus correlates with the indefinite value of the
genitive. In my opinion, definiteness and indefiniteness do not play any role in the ordering.
63 Cf. parvo numero navium a small number of ships in Nep. Them. 5.3 and sagittarios quorum parvus numerus a small contingent of archers in B. Afr. 12.2. For other expressions, there
are: non magnus numerus calonum atque impedimentorum no great quantity of servants and
equipment (Caes. Civ. 1.51.6), and exiguus numerus oratorum a slight number of orators (Cic.
de Orat. 1.16).


chapter two

(76) (Centuriones ) Militum pars praeter spem incolumis in castra pervenit,

pars a barbaris circumventa periit.
(Centurions ) Part of the soldiers arrived safe in camp contrary to their
expectations; part were surrounded by the natives and perished. (Caes. Gal.

2.2. Non-Count Nouns

Uncountable nouns in my corpus are represented by five mass nouns, aqua
water, vinum wine, frumentum corn, argentum silver, and pecunia
money, as well as two other non-count nouns, religio and memoria. I will
focus on the first category; religio and memoria will be briefly mentioned at
the end of this section.
Mass nouns co-occur with non-numerical quantifiers, nominal quantifiers, and adverbs. Expressions of quantity of liquid matter are linked with
the question quantum vini / aquae? how much wine / water? (77). Likewise,
for the quantity of frumentum (78) or argentum.
(77) tantum vini in Hippiae nuptiis exhauseras ut
you drank such quantities of wine at Hippias wedding that (Cic. Phil. 2.63)
(78) Nonne plus lucri nomine eripitur quam quantum omnino frumenti exararant?
Is not more extorted, as a so-called bonus, than the whole amount of corn
they harvest? (Cic. Ver. 3.86)

Pecunia is of a different nature. The question associated with its amount is

quanta pecunia? (79); the exact sum of money in sesterces is provided in
the answer. The construction of the neuter quantum followed by a genitive,
pecuniae, how much money, is attested in Classical Latin prose, with a
specific referent in (80), but it is an isolated example.64
(79) (Quid ) cum ipsa pecunia quae Staieno data est numero ac summa sua non
modo quanta fuerit sed etiam ad quam rem fuerit ostendat? ad Staienum
sescenta quadraginta milia nummum esse delata.
(Why ) when the actual sum which was given to Staienus proves, by its
figures and its sum total, not only how much it was but for what purpose it
was given? (I say that) 640,000 sesterces were paid to Staienus. (Cic. Clu.

64 In (80), one could also envisage the interpretation of pecuniae as a genitive of the whole.
Cf. also instances of tantum pecuniae so much money (Cic. Ver. 3.173) and with a neuter such
as aliquantum: aeris alieni a considerable amount of debts (Cic. Quinct. 73).

the noun phrase


(80) diceret saltem quantum pecuniae Malleoli deportasset; a multis efflagitatus

aliquando dixit sestertium deciens
at least to tell him how much money of Malleolus he had brought away;
as many people have insisted, he finally said, a million sesterces (Cic. Ver.

2.2.1. Non-Numerical Quantifiers

Expressions of great quantity with the help of non-numerical quantifiers are
hardly attested. Nevertheless, liquids seem to combine with multus: multum
vinum, multa aqua much wine, water.65 To them, an instance of copiosum
frumentum abundant corn (Cic. Att. 5.18.2) can be added. Zero quantity is
nulla aqua no water (Cels. 3.23). Silver in great quantity is multum argentum
much silver (81).66
(81) Exponit suas copias omnes, multum argentum
He set out everything he had, a lot of silver (Cic. Ver. 4.62)

Pecunia takes magna big, which makes reference to the volume of the
pecunia and hence to the idea of its large quantity or amount (cf. ThLL
941.31ff.). In Classical Latin, much money is therefore rendered as magna
pecunia, and not *multa pecunia or *multum pecuniae.67 Example (82) with
the adjective in the comparative degree, maior, nicely illustrates this point;
it is argued that a father should prepare a dowry for his daughters.

65 See chapter 1, section, p. 13. Neither multum vini / aquae nor multum frumentum
/ frumenti are attested in Classical Latin. Whereas multum + genitive mainly appears with
abstract nouns in Classical Latin, mass nouns may be used with an adverb, for example
largiter: veteris vini largiter lots of old wine (Pl. Truc. 903), quoted by Bennett (1914: 35),
cf. Ripoll (2007: 216). For the nominal or adverbial nature of multum, see Ripoll (2010a);
however, I would not subscribe to his analysis of the genitive as an argument of the verb:
multum (habet laudis) = multum laudat because habeo does not take such complements. For
expressions of small quantity, Defresne (2000: 966) confirms the combinability of parum and
paulum with mass and abstract nouns, for example: paulum frumenti (Caes. Civ. 1.78.2) a
little corn, parum auri too little gold (Pl. Bac. 671) and paulum mellis a little honey (Cels.
6.11). A systematic study of expressions of great and small quantity in Latin needs to be
66 Prinz (ThLL, s. v. argentum 523.50) also reports an instance of multitudo argenti, attested
in a fragment of Varro (Non. 465.20).
67 The only example offered by LLT is: pecuniae aurique et argenti haud sane multum fit
there was no great quantity of money, gold or silver (Liv. 32.16.17). Multum + genitive seems
to be used from Post-Classical Latin onwardssee chapter 1, p. 62, note 131. On the other
hand, multus in agreement with the noun may be applied to pecunia in the plural: Cic. Ver.
5.48 and Phil. 2.41.


chapter two

(82) Filiam quis habet, pecunia est opus; duas, maiore; plures, maiore etiam.
Has a man a daughter? he needs money. Two? more money. More than two?
more money still. (Cic. Parad. 44)

Pecunia is thus evaluated in magnitudo greatness (83). For expressing a

large amount, it combines with adjectives such as magna or grandis. For
a small quantity, parva small and tenuis thin are used. No money is nulla
pecunia. All these adjectives are very common and clearly prefer anteposition (67 A vs. 24 P). They are not necessarily emphatic when they stand in
anteposition: in (84), magna pecunia resumes old informationHeraclius
received an inheritance of three million sestercesand functions as a pragmatic unit. On the other hand, the adjective in postposition seems to carry
emphasis in (85).
(83) Magnitudo pecuniae demonstratur.
The size of his fortune is pointed out. (Cic. S. Rosc. 20)
(84) Erat in sermone res magnam pecuniam Heraclio relictam.
It was common talk that a great fortune had come to Heraclius. (Cic. Ver.
(85) Verres cognoscebat, Verres iudicabat; pecuniae maximae dabantur; qui dabant, causas obtinebant.
Verres heard the cause; Verres gave sentence; large sums were paid; the payers
won the case. (Cic. Ver. 2.26)

The idea of a great quantity is sometimes intensified by the prefix per- (permagna, pergrandis very large), the superlative degree (maxima, amplissima
very large) or negative expressions such as innumerabilis (86) or infinita
considerable. Also here, anteposition need not correlate with emphasis: the
noun phrase (86) behaves as a unit, unlike (87) where pecunia is contextually
given information and permagnam stands with emphasis in postposition.
(86) Qui maximo te aere alieno ad aedem Opis liberavisti; qui per easdem tabulas
innumerabilem pecuniam dissipavisti.
You delivered yourself from a load of debt at the temple of Ops; you squandered innumerable money by means of the same documents. (Cic. Phil. 2.35)
(87) Tibi datam pecuniam domi retines et praeterea pecuniam permagnam tuo
nomine aufers.
The money received you keep, and besides that, you appropriate a very large
sum in your own name. (Cic. Ver. 3.202)

2.2.2. Nominal Quantifiers

Mass nouns allow nominal quantifiers such as magnus numerus great quantity. Although the word numerus suggests an idea of number as a result of

the noun phrase


counting, it applies very well toat least somenon-count nouns, especially frumentum.68
(88) magnus numerus frumenti
a great quantity of corn (Cic. Ver. 2.176)

Example (89) shows resumption of frumenti, which is semantically modified

by the quantifier, by a relative pronoun. Here frumenti stands at the beginning of the sentence because it functions as a contrastive Topic with respect
to naves longas and pecuniam. This special pragmatic arrangement occurs 9
times in my corpus with frumentum.
(89) (naves longas pecuniam ) Frumenti magnum numerum coegit quod Massiliensibus, item quod Afranio Petreioque mitteret.
(warships money ) He requisitioned a large amount of grain to send to
Massilia and likewise to Afranius and Petreius. (Caes. Civ. 2.18.1)

Apart from magnus numerus, nominal quantifiers applied to frumentum

are: copia abundance, inopia scarcity, vis large quantity, decuma a tenth
part, and quinquagessima one-fiftieth. Among them, numerus and vis are
accompanied by a modifier such as magnus great, maximus the greatest,
tantus such; the others are without a modifier. The genitive frumenti most
often comes as the last word of the noun phrase (18 times). Postposition
of the genitive frumenti seems to be linked with its specifying value (large
quantity of what?), rather than with specificity or non-specificity of the
referent.69 Compare example (90) with (89). The alternative ordering is the
insertion of frumenti between the quantifier and its modifier (91) (7 times).
The whole expression is thus framed by the modifier and the noun, which
is a signal that it functions as a unit.
(90) militum vires inopia frumenti deminuerat
the soldiers had been weakened through lack of grain (Caes. Civ. 1.52.2)
(91) Ex quo intellexistis innumerabilem frumenti numerum per triennium aversum
a re publica esse ereptumque aratoribus.
From which you have seen that an enormous amount of corn has been for
these three years diverted from the republic, and taken illegally from the
farmers. (Cic. Ver. 3.163)

As a special case, granum grain, deserves mention. It is properly not a

quantifier, but as the minimal element of which frumentum consists, it

68 This value is clearly indicated in the dictionaries: OLD (s. v., n 7), Le Grand Gaffiot (s.
v., n 2).
69 Cf. Devine & Stephens (2006: 375); see section 2.1.4, p. 120.


chapter two

expresses zero quantity in (92) no corn.70 The genitive frumenti comes first
because it represents known information.
(92) Video frumenti granum Halaesinos quibus sexagena milia modium imperata
erant nullum dedisse.
I found that Halaesa, which had been ordered to supply 60,000 pecks of corn,
had not paid over one grain. (Cic. Ver. 3.171)

I turn now to liquids. Magnus numerus (93) may apply to vinum (but not
to aqua), probably because wine was usually stored in containers, such as
amphorae.71 Both vinum and aqua co-occur with magna vis great quantity.
Supply of water can also be rendered by copia: summa aquae copia an
abundance of water (Caes. Civ. 3.49.5).
(93) maximus vini numerus fuit
there was an immense quantity of wine (Cic. Phil. 2.66)

Aqua not only denotes liquid for drinking but also liquid that abundantly
exists in nature; consequently, it allows assessments in multitudo great
quantity (94) as well as in magnitudo (95) or altitudo height (Caes. Civ.
1.62.1), i.e. how far it reaches upwards. The expression magna vis concerns
great quantity of water in (96).
(94) cum aquae multitudine flammae vis opprimitur
as a strong flame is extinguished by a torrent (Cic. Sen. 71)
(95) aquae magnitudine pons est interruptus
the bridge was broken by flood of water (Caes. Civ. 1.40.3)
(96) Romae mira proluvies Magna vis aquae usque ad piscinam publicam.
In Rome we are having extraordinarily heavy floods The vast expanse of
water stretches as far as the public fish pond. (Cic. Q. fr. 3.5.8)72

As for measurement of liquids, aqua and vinum are attested with nouns
denoting receptacles, such as aquae sextarius a pint of water (Cic. Off. 2.56)
and amphora (97). In this example, Cicero is talking about taxes on wine
coming from Italy.


Cf. Bennett (1914: 15) for similar expressions.

Magnus numerus is commonly not used with pecunia, pace OLD (s. v. numerus, n 7);
the example quoted is isolated: tantus frumenti pecuniaeque numerus a great quantity of corn
and a large amount of money (Cic. Ver. 3.106), where pecuniae is coordinated with frumenti.
72 The Tiber rose in water level after the acquittal of Gabinius in 54, which was interpreted
as a sign of divine wrath (see the note by Constans 1936 III: 224).

the noun phrase


(97) Titurium Tolosae quaternos denarios in singulas vini amphoras portorii nomine exegisse
that Titurius exacted at Tolosa four denarii on every amphora of wine under
the heading of transit-duty (Cic. Font. 19)

The noun argentum co-occurs with the nominal quantifiers pondus and vis
in my corpus.73 Pondus weight, a great quantity (11 occ.) is used in two
ways. Firstly, it is modified by parvum small, (per-)magnum, grande big,
immensum or maximum very big, and denotes a large quantity. In this
case, the noun phrase is either framed (98), or argenti, with a specifying
value (of what?), comes as its last word (99), like the quantifiers in the
parallel phrases. Secondly, pondus as a unit of weight, a libra, is numerically
specified as in (100), with a post-nominal numeral. The word vis large
quantity occurs four times, for example, maximam vim auri atque argenti
vast store of gold and silver in Cic. Man. 22.
(98) Pecus atque equi multi cum parvo argenti pondere quaestori traduntur.
Cattle, many horses, and a small amount of silver were handed over to the
quaestor. (Sal. Jug. 29.6)
(99) (M. Fulcinius) uxori grande pondus argenti matrique partem maiorem bonorum legavit.
(Marcus Fulcinius) he bequeathed to his wife an immense sum of money, and
to his mother the greater part of his landed property. (Cic. Caec. 12)
(100) (Metellus) per legatos Iugurthae imperat argenti pondo ducenta milia, elephantos omnes, equorum et armorum aliquantum.
(Metellus) he demands of Jugurtha, through his ambassadors, two hundred
thousand pounds by weight of silver, all his elephants, and a portion of his
horses and arms. (Sal. Jug. 62.5)

2.2.3. Adverbs and Neuters

Neuters and adverbs requiring a genitive complement are another means for
expressing quantity. As in the case of nominal quantifiers, satis (101) is the
head of the construction but it is frumenti which is in fact modified from the
semantic point of view.
(101) satis frumenti
sufficient corn (Cic. Ver. 3.43)

73 The expressions used by other authors are well reported by Prinz in the ThLL, s. v.,
523.33 f.


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The genitive of quantity frumenti appears with adverbs and neuters such
as quantum how much, tantum so much, quid some, satis enough, plus,
amplius more, paulum a little, and nihil no (102). It regularly follows them
(13 occ.). It is found only twice in anteposition, with tantum and quantum
as in (103). The word frumenti in the genitive is usually used without any
modifier, but it may have one: quantum frumenti hornotini how much corn
of this season (Cic. Ver. 3.45).
(102) Ageret videlicet causam arator, nihil sibi frumenti ab Apronio relictum
The farmer, of course, might plead his cause by saying that no corn was left
him by Apronius (Cic. Ver. 3.31)
(103) Nam vi malo plagis adductus est, ut frumenti daret non quantum deberet, sed
quantum cogeretur.
For by force, by violence, and by blows, he was induced to give corn, not as
much as he had, but as much as was demanded of him. (Cic. Ver. 3.56)

I noted several other expressions: nimium aquae too much water, quid
argenti some silver, quicquid (104) and nihil argenti no silver.
(104) Nam illud quidem statim curatur, ut quicquid caelati argenti fuit in illis bonis,
ad istum, deferatur, quicquid Corinthiorum vasorum, stragulae vestis.
For one measure was taken: to carry whatever chased silverware there was
in their property to Verres, as well as all Corinthian vessels and embroidered
stuff. (Cic. Ver. 2.46)

2.2.4. Omnis
The whole quantity of mass nouns is rendered by omnis (not totus): omne
frumentum all the corn, omne vinum all wine, omnis aqua all water, omne
argentum all silverware.
Omnis can stand in anteposition as well as in postposition. Some instances of omnis postposed allow an interpretation as a secondary predicate.
This is not the case in (105) where frumentum omne functions as a noun
phrase. This interpretation is proved by the presence of the subordinate
clause in praeter quod except what.
(105) Reliqua privata aedificia incendunt, frumentum omne, praeter quod secum
portaturi erant, comburunt, ut
They set fire to all their towns; they burn up all the corn, except what they
intend to carry with them. (Caes. Gal. 1.5.2)

Pecunia also combines with omnis, predominantly in anteposition (106).

When pecunia is envisaged as divisible into parts (amount of money), it can
combine with the modifier tota for expressing the whole (107); this example

the noun phrase


is taken from the same paragraph as (106). The use of the numeral una74 with
pecunia, otherwise a non-count noun, is explained from the same point of
view: pecunia denotes inherited property, inheritance that can be divided
amongst several heirs (108).
(106) Ex omni pecunia quam aratoribus solvere debuisti, certis nominibus deductiones fieri solebant.
Out of all the money that you should have paid to the farmers, deductions,
under this heading or that, were regularly made. (Cic. Ver. 3.181)
(107) Scribae nomine de tota pecunia binae quinquagesimae detrahebantur.
Two fiftieths were subtracted from the entire sum under the heading clerk.
(Cic. Ver. 3.181)
(108) Unius enim pecuniae plures dissimilibus de causis heredes esse non possunt.
There cannot be several heirs of one property for different reasons. (Cic. Inv.

As pecunia admits uses in the plural number, which expresses various

amounts of money, omnes pecuniae such as in (109) suggests that the plural denotes an indefinite set of properties belonging to various possessors.
(109) Dubium nemini est quin omnes omnium pecuniae positae sint in eorum
potestate qui iudicia dant et eorum qui iudicant.
No one doubts that every mans whole fortune lies at the mercy of those who
appoint and those who compose our courts. (Cic. Ver. 2.30)

2.2.5. Religio and memoria

In this section, I will add several remarks on two other non-count nouns,
memoria and religio. Memoria is only used with omnis, which globalises a
recollection, and with nulla, which expresses its absence.
Religio is a non-count noun that does not admit quantifiers but this
restriction does not prevent it from forming the plural number and rendering the idea of diversity or variety of religious practices.75 The only expressions it co-occurs with are omnis, tota, and (n)ulla. Omnis in the plural concerns the sum of various religious practices (110). In the singular, it globalises


I do not have examples with numerals other than una.

However, the plural religiones is not attested with adjectives such as diversae different,
opposed (except for the singular in Mela 1.64: cum religione plurima with most veneration); but cf. the following expressions: diversae voluntates divergent aims (Cic. Marc. 30),
plurimae turpitudines (Cic. Fin. 2.117) a number of base qualities, plurimae voluptates (Cic.
Fin. 2.63) an abundance of pleasures, variae voluntates (Cic. Brut. 83) varying likes and dislikes.


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religio as such, a religious belief, a cult or a practice (111),76 as opposed to nulla

religio, or nihil religionis in Cic. Leg. 2.57. With tota, religio is envisaged as a
whole and not partly (112).
(110) Omnes religiones atque auspiciorum publica iura neglexisti.
You neglected all religious feeling and the public observance due to the
auspices. (Cic. Rab. Perd. 17)
(111) (mea domus) quae, ut dixi, sola in hac urbe omni religione omnibus iudiciis
liberata est
(my house) is the only one in this city which has been absolved from all
sanctity by various judicial decisions (Cic. Har. 11)
(112) Nihil te igitur neque maiores tui neque sacerdotium ipsum, quo est haec
tota religio constituta , permovit
Neither your ancestors , nor the priesthood itself, by which all this religious
practice was established , did influence you to (Cic. Har. 27)77

The use of nonnulla in the singular also deserves a mention (113). It expresses
a certain amount of religio. Nonnulla seems to apply in particular to abstract
entities (cf. OLD, s. v. and above, example (42), p. 113).
(113) Apud omnes Graecos hic mos est ut honorem hominibus habitum in monumentis eiusmodi nonnulla religione deorum consecrari arbitrentur.
It is a custom among all the Greeks to think, in memorials of this kind, that the
honour bestowed on men is hallowed with a measure of divine consecration.
(Cic. Ver. 2.158)

The aim of this section was to present an overview of quantifiers applying to
count nouns and non-count nouns on the basis of the instances offered by
my corpus. Whereas non-numerical quantifiers favour anteposition, numerical quantifiers are mobile. In postposition, they specify the numerical value;
in anteposition, they form a referential unit with their governing noun.
Special attention has been paid to nominal quantifiers (such as magnus
numerus) requiring a genitive. The analysis revealed that the genitive usu-

76 When Clodius arranged the adoption of the law compelling Cicero to exile, he plundered his house and then dedicated its ground to Liberty. After his return, Cicero obtained
restitution of his property and aimed to prove that the consecration of the place made by
Clodius was invalid. In the end, the house was declared to be free from any religious character.
77 This example alludes to Clodius profanation of the ludi Megalenses, celebrated in
honour of Magna Mater, and of the cult of Magna Mater itself.

the noun phrase


ally follows the nominal quantifier or is inserted into it; anteposition of the
genitive is explained by pragmatic reasons, especially by the Topic function
that the noun in the genitive fulfils. Several remarks have been also devoted
to the use of omnis / omnes and totus with various entities.
3. Specifying a Referent
This section is concerned with Latin classifying adjectives that express referent a type and hence specify the category to which the referent belongs.78
The section is divided into two parts. In the first one, I will discuss classifying
adjectives as they are applied to various entities of my corpus (3.1). The second section (3.2) will be devoted to adjectives derived from proper names
that do not express possession.
3.1. Classifying Adjectives
Table 2 summarises the ordering of classifying adjectives applied to various
Table 2: Classifying adjectives
pecunia + classifying adjective
pecunia + adjectival participles
argentum + adjectival participles

Noun Adj.

Adj. Noun





78 I will also consider publicus public and privatus private as classifying adjectives; they
suggests an idea of possession but in fact, there is no specific possessor involved.


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This table corroborates the statement that classifying adjectives show a

tendency for postposition. However, what is more interesting to see is that
the behaviour of individual entities is not the same: adjectives accompanying ager and classifying adjectives of pecunia stand in postposition, modifiers of navis and dies are mostly in postposition and those of miles and
bellum have variable placement. In the following analysis, I will attempt an
explanation of the placement of the adjectives, starting with ager and pecunia. Special attention will be paid to the question of why some entities have
more mobile modifiers than others.
3.1.1. Ager and pecunia
Classifying adjectives that accompany ager are, for example: publicus (territory) belonging to the State (10 occ.), communis common, decumanus
subject to tax, vectigalis yielding taxes, immunis free from tax, and suburbanus situated close to the city (of Rome). These adjectives strongly favour
postposition and often appear in noun phrases that do not have any special
pragmatic function, as in (114): the relative clause concerns owners of public
lands in general. In (115), the Focus is on the prepositional phrase as a whole.
By contrast, in (116), in agris publicis functions as the Focus of its sentence
and forms a pragmatic unit; the adjective indicates the type of the referent
and the relative clause qui agri further specifies this salient constituent.
(114) Ne ei quidem, qui agros publicos possident, decedent de possessione, nisi
erunt deducti optima condicione et pecunia maxima.
Even those who possess public lands will not give up possession unless they
are tempted by very advantageous terms and a large sum of money. (Cic. Agr.
(115) Heres eius, P. Quinctius, in Galliam ad te ipsum venit in agrum communem,
eo denique ubi non modo res erat
His heir, Publius Quinctius, comes into Gaul to you, to your joint estate, to
that place where not only the property was (Cic. Quinct. 38)
(116) Venit enim mihi in mentem Tiberium et Gaium Gracchos plebem in agris
publicis constituisse, qui agri a privatis antea possidebantur.
I remember that Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus settled plebeians in public
lands, which were formerly possessed by private persons. (Cic. Agr. 2.10)

The rare anteposition of these adjectives is exemplified in (117). Publicos

agros is a part of a Topic constituent, contrastive with respect to decumani
and immunes: Cicero is talking about the duties of the Sicilian cities concerning corn supply and runs over different categories into which the individual cities may fall.

the noun phrase


(117) Qui publicos agros arant, certum est quid e lege censoria debeant Decumani
What cultivators of public land are bound to supply, is stipulated in the
censors law The tithe-payers Those who are exempt (Cic. Ver. 5.53)

Pecunia is an interesting case for showing two situations. Firstly, accompanied by classifying adjectives, it provides a nice example of postposed
adjectives that are rarely concerned with contrast or emphasis. Secondly,
it presents variability of placement for adjectives expressing other inherent features such as modalities of payment, which are the object of discussion. Let me start with the first category. The adjectives involved are publica
public money, vectigalis revenues derived from taxes, decemviralis money
collected by decemvirs, patria ancestral, to which I also added adventicia
foreign. However, the instances collected are above all those of pecunia publica public money (28 P vs. 1 A). Pecunia publica79 in (118) functions as a
pragmatic unit and represents the Focus of the sentence, as does ex pecunia
vectigali in (119). In both cases, the underlying question is with what sort
of money?, and the adjectives have a specifying value. The only instance of
a pre-nominal adjective publica is in a contrastive context, with respect to
Siculorum pecunia in (120). The other two adjectives in anteposition are also
(118) (domus) quae primum aedificatur ex auctoritate senatus pecunia publica.
(the house) in the first place it was built by the authority of the senate, with
public money. (Cic. Har. 15)
(119) Decem enim naves iussu L. Murenae populus Milesius ex pecunia vectigali
populo Romano fecerat.
By the orders of Lucius Murena, the people of Miletus had built ten ships out
of the taxes imposed by the Roman people. (Cic. Ver. 1.89)
(120) Quid igitur est reliquum nisi uti fateare te Romam frumentum emptum Siculorum pecunia misisse, publicam pecuniam domum tuam convertisse?
What then is left for you but to confess that you sent to Rome corn purchased
with the money of the Sicilians, and diverted public money into your own
purse? (Cic. Ver. 3.176)

As for the second category, adjectival participles80 expressing external aspects of pecunia: signata coined money, obsignata sealed (secured)
money; borrowing money: credita loan, debita due money, aliena somebody elses money; or modalities concerning payment: numerata money
79 I would not consider pecunia publica as a fixed formula (as does Rohde 1884: 6) because
publica may be opposed to privata.
80 For participles in attributive use, see Laughton (1964: 62).


chapter two

paid down, cash, extraordinaria money not accounted for, exacta exact
sum, have a variable placement (21 A vs. 17 P), which is due to pragmatic
reasons. Postposition is chosen when the noun phrase as a pragmatic unit
conveys new information (121); anteposition appears when the adjective is
pragmatically significant, for example contrastive in (122). Anteposition of
the adjective in (123), applied to pecuniae in the plural, meaning various
sums of money that have been borrowed, debts, seems to result from the
fact that reference is made to shared knowledge.
(121) Multi viri boni cum ex occulto intervenissent, pecunia obsignata, quae ob eam
rem dabatur, in manibus Scamandri deprehenditur.
When many virtuous men had secretly been made aware of it, the money
sealed up, which was given for that purpose, is seized in the hands of Scamander (Cic. Clu. 47)
(122) Quaerebat cur in eius modi locum tam abditum, cur solus, cur cum obsignata
pecunia venisset.
He asked why he (Scamander) came in such a lonely spot, and alone, with a
sealed packet of money. (Cic. Clu. 53)
(123) Legem promulgavit ut sexenni die sine usuris creditae pecuniae solvantur.
He promulgated a law, by which he allowed the debtors six years for the
discharge of their debts. (Caes. Civ. 3.20.5)

A good example of a contrastive adjective is also that of numerata pecunia

cash in (124);81 in the Topica, devoted to the sources of arguments, Cicero
discusses different kinds of pecunia and aims to define them (7 instances).
Numerata pecunia is directly contrasted with pecunia signata.
(124) Si pecunia signata argentum est, legata est mulieri Si numerata pecunia non
est legata, non est numerata pecunia argentum.
If the coined money is silver, it was bequeathed to the woman If the cash
was not bequeathed, the cash is not silver. (Cic. Top. 53)

3.1.2. Navis and dies

Compared with ager, the classifying adjectives applied to navis and dies
are more mobile. With these two items, anteposition is due to pragmatic
Classifying adjectives applied to navis denote a type of ship: (navis) oneraria cargo ship, frumentaria transporting corn, triremis having three rows
of oars, rostrata having a beaked prow, and actuaria fast,82 with which I

In this passage of the Topica, numerata pecunia is used five times.

Some of these adjectives are also used substantively.

the noun phrase


also included longa warship denoting an elongated type of ship without

any opposition to brevis short.
Noun phrases with a postposed classifying adjective are used for new
entities, not mentioned in the previous context, that convey salient information. The adjective forms a pragmatic unit with its noun; for example, the
sentence in (125) answers the underlying question where did he embark?
The same arrangement is found with more complex noun phrases with
another modifier, such as in (126). In both cases, navis has a specific referent.
(125) (Pompeius) ad mare pervenit navemque frumentariam conscendit.
(Pompey) reached the sea-side and embarked on a grain ship. (Caes. Civ.
(126) C. Heium iuratum dicere audistis isti navem onerariam maximam Messanae
esse aedificatam.
Gaius Heius stated on oath in your hearing that a large cargo ship was built
for Verres at Messana (Cic. Ver. 2.13)

Anteposition of a classifying adjective results from pragmatic salience of the

adjective. In (127), rostrata implies contrast (at the same time, rostrata navis
bears Focus function): a ship having a beaked prow is meant, to the exclusion
of all other types of ships. The referent is non-specific in this case. Explicit
contrast is established between two types of ships in (128): longae83 and
onerariae; notice the reduction of the noun naves with the second adjective.
However, the idea of contrast does not necessarily produce anteposition of
the adjective: also postposed adjectives may be contrastive, as in (129).
(127) Lex est apud Rhodios ut, si qua rostrata in portu navis deprehensa sit, publicetur.
There is a law at Rhodes that if any ship with a ram is caught in the harbour
it is confiscated. (Cic. Inv. 2.98)
(128) Ita uno tempore et longas naves, quibus Caesar exercitum transportandum
curaverat , aestus complebat, et onerarias, quae , tempestas adflictabat.
Thus, at the same time, the tide began to fill the warships, which Caesar had
provided to convey over his army ; the storm was buffeting the transports,
which (Caes. Gal. 4.29.2)

83 We have to reject, once and for all, Marouzeaus claim that longa in anteposition has a
different meaning (cf. Marouzeau 1922: 14). Longa navis does not signify a long ship; see ThLL,
s. v. longus, 1634.27: locutiones technicae: navis longa vel longa navis. Cf., for example cum X
longis navibus (Caes. Civ. 2.23.3) with ten warships and cum longa nave (with the variant
navi longa transmitted by the second group of the manuscripts, Caes. Gal. 4.21.1) with one


chapter two

(129) Cato in Sicilia naves longas veteres reficiebat, novas civitatibus imperabat.
In Sicily, Cato was repairing old warships and ordering the communities to
provide new ones. (Caes. Civ. 1.30.4)

When a noun phrase contains a classifying adjective and another modifier,

both modifiers follow the noun en bloc in the majority of the cases (13 occ.);
in general, they are arranged according to the semantic principle given in
chapter 1, section (p. 58). Less frequently, complex noun phrases display one anteposed and one postposed modifier (6 occ.); twice, the block
of modifiers is in anteposition. Noun phrases with modifiers in postposition
often function as the Focus, for example in (130). Anteposition of the modifiers in (131) seems to result from contrast with Rhodiorum aphractis the
Rhodian ships.84 The mixed arrangement, with one anteposed and one
postposed modifier, is illustrated in (132). The anteposition of onerariam
results from an idea of implicit contrast;85 the referent is specific, known
from the previous context.
(130) faucibusque portus navem onerariam submersam obiecit et huic alteram
and sank a cargo ship to block the way into the port, with another fastened
to it. (Caes. Civ. 3.39.2)
(131) Nos Rhodiorum aphractis ceterisque longis navibus tranquillitates aucupaturi
We were waiting for calm spells to suit the Rhodian craft and the other
warships. (Cic. Att. 6.8.4)
(132) Negent isti onerariam navem maximam aedificatam esse Messanae?
Are they going to deny that a huge cargo ship was built at Messana? (Cic. Ver.

With dies, classifying adjectives denote the type of day, e.g. aestivus summer, anniversarius occurring every year, comitialis comitial, festus feastday, legitimus legal, natalis birthday. The adjective festus feast-day, the
most frequent one, is found in postposition as well as in anteposition (8 P
vs. 7 A, where 4 are in complex phrases). Both arrangements are presented in
(133); whereas dies festos indicates the category of days, the modifiers of the

84 Rhodiorum aphracti (aphractus is an undecked ship) have been mentioned in the

previous context; they caused 20 days delay to Cicero.
85 Devine & Stephens (2006: 405) interpret this example in the same way. There is implicit
contrast in the sense that a praetor could order for Sicilian cities the construction of warships
but not the construction of cargo ships destined, furthermore, to transportation of items that
Verres had stolen. On this point, see in particular Ver. 5.46 (the adjective oneraria is also in
anteposition), and ibid. 59.

the noun phrase


second noun phrase are contrastive. This example appears in the following
context: Verres had established his proper festival, the Verria, and had abolished the Marcellia, a festival in honour of Marcellus. Marcellus had taken
Syracuse but he treated the city with moderation and respect, so that he was
not regarded as a conqueror but celebrated as a benefactor. The adjective in
(134) clearly specifies the noun (what days?). Compitalicius dies in (135) is
presented as a reminder of known facts in a clause introduced by quoniam.86
Ciceros aim was to avoid coming to Pompeys villa in Alba in order not to
disturb the Compitalia, the festival in honour of the Lares of Crossroads, celebrated in the family.
(133) eius autem familiae (Marcelli) dies festos tollerent per quam ceteros quoque
festos dies recuperarant
they were to abolish the festival of the family that had given them back all
their other festivals (Cic. Ver. 4.151)
(134) Consecuti sunt dies comitiales, per quos senatus haberi non poterat.
Then followed the comitial days during which the senate could not meet.
(Cic. Q. fr. 2.2.3)
(135) Ego, quoniam IIII Non. Ian. Compitalicius dies est, nolo eo die in Albanum
venire, ne molestus sim familiae.
2 January being Crossroads Day, I do not want to go to Alba that day in case
of my arrival might be troublesome for the staff. (Cic. Att. 7.7.3)

3.1.3. Miles and bellum

The classifying adjectives applied to miles and bellum exhibit variable ordering. This could be linked with the fact that, on the one hand, soldiers are
protagonists of historical narratives, and on the other hand, wars are often
topics of discussions. Both entities are thus in the centre of interest from a
pragmatic point of view. After a global analysis of the results, special attention will be paid to milites veterani and bellum civile.
Adjectives applied to miles are: veteranus veteran, gregarius common
(soldier), legionarius legionary, and paternus fathers soldier. They denote
(except for paternus) types of soldiers.87 They are relatively often found
in anteposition, which is quite surprising for classifying adjectives. They
appear in pragmatically significant phrases: either they form a pragmatic
unit with their noun that conveys new information, or they are salient

86 For quoniam, see Pinkster (2010: 85). For competing expressions with genitives, see
section 9.1, p. 204.
87 Cf. ThLL, s. v. miles, 940.41 f. on militum genera.


chapter two

on their own because they carry contrast. The mobility of the adjectives
seems to result from these pragmatic factors. For example in (136), the
discontinuous noun phrase milites legionarios is the Focus of its sentence.
This episode is about a ruse: the camp-followers (calones soldiers servants
are meant) pretend to be legionary soldiers. Contrast is present in (137):
common soldiers, gregarii milites, became senators or rich men under Sulla.
Likewise veterani milites in (138), with a pre-nominal adjective, contrasts
with the idea of running away, which veteran soldiers are not supposed to
do. In all these cases, the phrases containing milites have a generic reference.
(136) Hi iam ante edocti, quae interrogati pronuntiarent, milites se esse legionarios
These being previously instructed what to state when questioned, said that
they were legionary soldiers. (Caes. Gal. 7.20.10)
(137) Deinde multi memores Sullanae victoriae, quod ex gregariis militibus alios
senatores videbant, alios ita divites, ut regio victu atque cultu aetatem agerent
Finally, many who recalled Sullas victory, when they saw some raised from
common soldiers into senators, and others so enriched as to live in regal
luxury and pomp (Sal. Cat. 37.6)
(138) (Labienus) magna verborum contumelia interrogans solerentne veterani milites fugere, in omnium conspectu interfecit.
Labienus asked them in the most insulting fashion whether veteran soldiers
usually ran away, and publicly put them to death. (Caes. Civ. 3.71.4)

Classifying adjectives applied to bellum are civile civil, then maritimum

fought on sea, domesticum internal, piraticum of pirates, navale naval, and
servile of slaves. Whereas the adjective civile goes both in anteposition and
in postposition, as we will see below in section, the other adjectives
are mainly found in anteposition (10 A vs. 5 P).
Noun phrases containing these adjectives may have different functions.
In (139), the referent is presented as indefinite: tibi refers to Cicero; bellum
domesticum is Catilines conspiracy, repressed by Cicero in 63. The noun
phrase functions as the Focus of the sentence. Domesticum bellum (140),
with a specific referent, is contrastive with respect to external military conflicts. Servile bellum in (141) also has a specific referent that is not expressed
in the previous context, in which case the adjective would be expected in
postposition. However, this anteposition of servile seems to be linked with
the fact that reference is made to shared knowledge.88
88 Cf. also gladiatoriae familiae in Sal. Cat. 30.7, quoted p. 145 in (160), and the commentary
concerning this example.

the noun phrase


(139) Tibi App. Claudius augur consuli nuntiavit bellum domesticum triste ac
turbulentum fore.
To you as consul the augur Appius Claudius reported that there would be
a civil war, tragic and troublesome. (Cic. Div. 1.105)
(140) Omnia sunt externa unius virtute terra marique pacata: domesticum bellum
On land and sea, one mans valour has brought universal peace. The internal
war is all that remains. (Cic. Catil. 2.11)
(141) Simul alii portenta atque prodigia nuntiabant, alii conventus fieri, arma
portari, Capuae atque in Apulia servile bellum moveri.
Others at the same time , spread reports of omens and prodigies; others of
meetings being held, of arms being transported, and of insurrections of the
slaves at Capua and in Apulia. (Sal. Cat. 30.2) Milites veterani

It is time now to concentrate on the phrase milites veterani,89 which frequently appears in Ciceros Philippics with an ante- or postposed adjective
(5 A vs. 11 P) and is not always easy to explain. The adjective veterani is neither explicitly contrastive nor emphatic, except for example (142) where the
pre-nominal adjective carries emphasis.
(142) Nemo est praeter veteranos milites vir qui ad servitutem propulsandam ingenuo dolore excitetur!
There is no man but the veteran soldiers to be roused by a freemans indignation to ward off slavery! (Cic. Phil. 10.18)

Difficulties with interpretation of the placement of veterani seem to relate

to the referent itself.90 I will briefly outline the context in which the following examples appear. Caesars veterans played an important role in the
political conflicts that resulted from the death of their chief. In March 44,
after his assassination, a great number of veterans were present in Rome;
they threatened the senate and tried to seek revenge. Antony and Octavius

89 Additionally, this phrase, milites veterani, is reducible to the adjective with a substantival value: veterani the veterans, for example, in Cic. Phil. 11.12. Likewise, legionarii the
legionaries (Caes. Civ. 1.78.1 and Civ. 2.8.1).
90 The milites veterani, soldiers honourably discharged from the army, did not form any
social group until the Late Republic. Discussions about rewards for the veterans became a
political issue after Marius had enrolled poor citizens in his army. After the civil war in 82,
Sulla was the first to distribute to veterans great amounts of land, confiscated in the regions
that had resisted him. See Schneiders article Veterans in Brills New Pauly. The term veterani
(milites) is attested for the first time Caesars Civil War (Civ. 3.4.1), then in Ciceros Philippics
(Phil. 2.59) and in his letters from 4443 (e.g. Att. 14.5.2). Sallust (Cat. 60.3) uses the expression
milites veterani for Sullas soldiers (cf. ibid. 16.4, Sullani milites).


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(C. Caesar), then 19 years old (adulescens), fought for their favour. Whereas
Antony had their support in general, Octavius managed to raise troops
from the 7th and 8th legions of the veterans that Caesar had settled in
Campania.91 The expression ex invicto genere veteranorum militum in (143),
with a pre-nominal adjective which is neither contrastive nor emphatic,
probably refers to shared knowledge; indeed, Cicero himself states afterwards that it is a known fact.92
(143) C. Caesar adulescens firmissimum exercitum ex invicto genere veteranorum
militum comparavit.
Gaius Caesar, a young man raised a very powerful army of the invincible
class of veterans. (Cic. Phil. 3.3)

Octavius formed an alliance not only with Caesars veterans but partly
also with the veterans installed in colonies by Antony.93 Milites veteranos
in (144) conveys the Focus and answers the underlying question who?;
the adjective, without being contrastive, forms a pragmatic unit with the
noun and specifies it. Cicero mentions here the people who courageously
opposed Antony: duces (i.e. Octavius and Brutus) and the veterans. Example
(145) shows something different; the author enumerates Octavius actions,
including convocation of veterans, where veteranos milites seems to form a
pragmatic unit with the verb convocavit. It is a reminder of well-known facts,
and anteposition of the adjective may result from this. However, one can also
envisage a parallel between this phrase and colonias patrias, in which case
anteposition of veteranos would be due to the chiasmus.
(144) Primum duces eos laudavistis qui ; deinde milites veteranos qui, cum ab
Antonio in colonias essent deducti, illius beneficio libertatem populi Romani
First you commended those commanders who ; then the veteran soldiers
who, after having been settled in colonies by Antonius, preferred the freedom
of the Roman people to his benefactions. (Cic. Phil. 5.3)
(145) C. Caesar colonias patrias adiit, veteranos milites convocavit, paucis diebus
exercitum fecit
Gaius Caesar visited his fathers colonies, called the veteran soldiers together, created an army within a few days (Cic. Phil. 5.23)


See Manuwald (2007: 331).

Atque ea quidem quae dixi de Caesare deque eius exercitu iam diu nota sunt nobis (Cic.
Phil. 3.8) and what I have just said of Caesar and of his army has long been known to us.
93 See Manuwald (2007: 560). The main reason why they went over to Octavius was
probably a financial offer rather than their conscience as exemplary citizens, as Cicero alleges
in (144).

the noun phrase


On the other hand, in the outline of a decree that Cicero suggested to the
senators to adopt in the matter of Octavius army, the beginning of which
is given in (146), only the order milites veterani is used several times for
reference to the soldiers who had fought for Caesar and had been recruited
by Octavius. The referent is known but the ordering with the adjective in
postposition specifying the noun could correspond to a formal means of
(146) Senatui placere, militibus veteranis qui libertatem populi Romani
defenderint atque defendant militiae vacationem esse.
That it pleases the senate that the veteran soldiers who have defended and
are defending the freedom of the Roman people be granted exemption from
military service. (Cic. Phil. 5.53) Bellum civile

Bellum civile is another difficult instance. The adjective civile occurs in
postposition as well as in anteposition (19 P vs. 20 A). Devine & Stephens
(2006: 442445) argue that postposition of this adjective correlates with
the indefinite value of the noun phrase bellum civile whereas the definite
value produces anteposition. In my view, it is not the definiteness that is
responsible for the mobility of civile. Compare the two following examples.
Example (147), with civile in postposition, comes from a passage where
Cicero demonstrates that not knowing about future disasters is more useful
than knowing about them. In (148), with civile in anteposition, the adjective
bears emphasis: the civil war, various consequences of which are easy to
imagine, is presented with a subjective or emotional charge in a letter Cicero
addressed to Atticus in May 49. The referent is specific in both cases: bellum
civile refers to the politico-military conflict between Caesar and Pompey
(147) Non isset ad arma Pompeius, non transisset Crassus Euphratem, non suscepisset bellum civile Caesar.
Pompey would not have taken up arms, nor Crassus crossed the Euphrates,
nor Caesar engaged in the civil war. (Cic. Div. 2.24)
(148) Melitae me velle esse, civili bello nolle interesse.
I want to settle in Malta and keep out of civil war. (Cic. Att. 10.8.10)

The placement of the adjective civile is an intriguing issue. It is important

to point out the special nature of the referent. Bellum civile denotes a war
opposing Roman citizens; it is something completely different from wars
waged against an external enemy (bellum iustum legitimate, regular war),
against slaves (bellum servile), or various struggles against allies. The first
violent military conflict among Roman citizens was launched by Sullas


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march on Rome in 88, which resulted in subsequent fights between him

and Marius. The first attestation of the term bellum civile is found in Ciceros
speech On the Manilian Law of 66 (Man. 28).94 In short, bellum civile is a
relatively new concept and its referent can have special connotations. In
a certain way, I would attribute the mobility of the adjective civile to this
fact: the referent may have strong subjective charge for a Roman citizen like
I come now to the analysis of the instances I have collected. Bellum civile
in (149) with a generic referent represents known information and does
not bear any pragmatic value. The adjective anteposed in (150) is probably
emphatic: the consul Sulla waged a civil war (specific referent) against his
fellow-citizens and, in the absence of supplication, i.e. thanksgiving after his
military victory, he has been declared a public enemy (hostis).95
(149) Quid est aliud omnia ad bellum civile hosti arma largiri, primum nervos belli,
pecuniam infinitam ?
What does it mean but to present the enemy with all the weapons for civil
war? First, the sinews of war, a limitless supply of money (Cic. Phil. 5.5)
(150) Civile bellum consul Sulla gessit, legionibus in urbem adductis quos voluit
expulit, quos potuit occidit: supplicationis mentio nulla.
Sulla as consul waged a civil war; after having brought his legions into the city
he expelled those whom he chose; those whom he could he slew; there was
no mention of a thanksgiving. (Cic. Phil. 14.23)

In complex noun phrases, emphasis is often on the other adjective, which

is mainly of the evaluative type. In (151), all the adjectives are framed by
hoc and bellum; this pattern is used several times in my corpus (4 occ. out
of 6). Example (152) shows an evaluative adjective (acerbissimum) directly
postposed to bellum; civile comes afterwards. Such a special arrangement
correlates with strong emphasis.

94 For bellum civile as a phenomenon of the Late-Republican period, see the article Civil
War by Eder in Brills New Pauly. Previous internal conflicts between citizens were referred to
as seditiones discords, rebellions. For attestations of the adjective civile, starting from Cicero,
see ThLL, s. v. bellum, 1849.25f. In a letter dating from 23 January 49, Cicero characterises it
in the following way (Att. 7.13.1): Quamquam genus belli quod sit vides: ita civile est ut non ex
civium dissensione sed ex unius perditi civis audacia natum sit. But you see what kind of war
we are fighting. A civil war if you will, but one that has arisen not from a conflict in the civic
body but from the recklessness of one unscrupulous Roman (Caesar). Cf. also the expressions
dissensio civilis civil dissension (Cic. Ver. 5.152), from the year 70, and discordia civilis used by
Varro (attested in a fragment in Nonius (454.19)).
95 Cicero suggests that Antony should also be declared a public enemy and introduces
examples of other commanders. Cf. p. 153, example (185) taken from the same section.

the noun phrase


(151) Secutum est hoc acerbissimum et calamitosissimum civile bellum; in quo

quid faciendum Deiotaro
There followed the most bitter and calamitous civil war, in which I need not
say what Deiotarus should have done (Cic. Phil. 11.34)
(152) cumque eius (Lepidi) opera, virtute consilio singularique clementia et mansuetudine bellum acerbissimum civile sit restinctum
(Lepidus) whereas by his action, courage, judgement, notable clemency and
mildness, a most bitter civil war has been extinguished (Cic. Phil. 5.40)96

3.1.4. Other Entities

Classifying adjectives are found with other entities: liber, frumentum, familia, religio, and argentum, that will be briefly discussed in this section.
To liber apply adjectives such as haruspicinus of the haruspices, oratorius
oratorical, pontificius of the pontifices, rhetoricus rhetorical, denoting different types of works. They favour anteposition (9 A vs. 2 P), which can be
explained by pragmatic or semantic reasons. Compare example (153), where
the noun phrase with the classifying adjective augurali in postposition specifies the referent in a noun phrase conveying salient information, with example (154), where the adjective is anteposed and the noun phrase fulfils the
Topic function. In both cases, reference is made to shared knowledge and
both letters have the same addressee: Appius Pulcher, a man competent in
the augural law (cf. Cic. Brut. 267). Anteposition also correlates with the idea
of contrast, as in (155), pontificii with respect to augurales.
(153) Quod egomet multis argumentis iam antea iudicaram maximeque illo libro
augurali, quem ad me misisti.
A fact which I had myself previously inferred from many clear proofs, but
most of all from that book on Augural Law which you send me (Cic. Fam.
(154) Nam augurales libros ad commune utriusque nostrum otium serva.
For pray put away the augural books until we are both at leisure. (Cic. Fam.
(155) Provocationem autem etiam a regibus fuisse declarant pontificii libri, significant nostri etiam augurales.
The pontifical books state, and our augural books indicate, that the right
appeal also existed under the kings. (Cic. Rep. 2.54)

96 After the battle at Munda in 44, Lepidus negotiated with Pompey and obtained a
compromise (see Manuwald 2007: 686).


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Frumentum is used with several adjectives, such as decumanum subject

to a tax of ten per cent, publicum public, hornotinum of this years growth.
Their placement is variable (6 P vs. 7 A). For example, publicum in (156)
is used in a noun phrase functioning as a pragmatic unit; in (157), the
pre-nominal adjective publico contrasts with meo.
(156) Custos T. Aufidio praetore in frumento publico est positus.
(Hermippus) He, in the praetorship of Titus Aufidius, was appointed guardian of the public corn. (Cic. Flac. 45)
(157) At enim istam rem in publico frumento Sicilia non ferret, hanc rem in meo
frumento tulit.
But Sicily could not endure that in the case of the public corn; she did indeed
bear it in the case of my own. (Cic. Ver. 3.203)

Familia co-occurs with patricia patrician and consularis consular, expressing its kind or origin; urbana connected with the city (Rome) and gladiatoria (school) of gladiators (6 P vs. 2 A) apply to slaves. Whereas the adjective
specifies the kind of families (158), implicit contrast is established between
the servants of the estate of Arpinum and the staff working in Rome ( familia
urbana) in (159).
(158) Tu es e municipio antiquissimo Tusculano, ex quo plurimae sunt familiae
You are of that most ancient town of Tusculum, from which many of our
consular families are derived. (Cic. Planc. 19)
(159) Fundo Arpinati bene poteris uti cum familia urbana si annona carior fuerit.
You can conveniently occupy the farm at Arpinum with our town staff of
servants, if the price of provisions has risen. (Cic. Fam. 14.7.3)

The two instances of classifying adjectives in anteposition are these of

gladiatoriae familiae schools of gladiators.97 I would interpret anteposition
in Sallust (160) as a result of the fact that reference is made to shared
knowledge. However, the referent could also be regarded as inferrable from
the previous context where servile bellum insurrection of the slaves has
been mentioned (Cat. 30.2); this example has been quoted above in (141).98

97 On the other hand, in: familiam gladiatoriam, credo, nactus est speciosam, nobilem,
gloriosam he got together, I believe, a company of gladiators, impressive, grand, magnificent
(Cic. Sest. 134), the adjective in postposition specifies the referent.
98 Vretska (1976: 382) refers to Cic. Catil. 2.26, where Catilines intention to employ gladiators for his conspiracy is expressed explicitly. Catiline could indeed draw his inspiration from
Spartacus revolt, which began with a breakout from a gladiatorial school. Vretska recalls that

the noun phrase


(160) Itemque decrevere, uti gladiatoriae familiae Capuam et in cetera municipia

distribuerentur. (Sal. Cat. 30.7)
They further appointed that the schools of gladiators should be distributed
in Capua and other towns.

Classifying adjectives applied to religio refer to the practice of a cult: publica public, fetialis fetial, domestica domestic, or is concerned in it: divina
divine (6 A vs. 3 P). For example, domesticam in postposition specifies the
referent, as do the modifiers in parallel phrases (161). This example concerns
a beautiful statue of Apollo that Verres removed from Asclepius sanctuary; the statue was probably donated by Scipio Africanus on the occasion
of the installation of a colony in 197.99 However, adjectives applied to religio are often used as contrastive; contrast may affect adjectives in anteposition as well as in postposition, as is shown in (162) and (163). Additionally, adjectives such as publicus or communis occur with opinio and quaestio.
(161) Uno enim tempore Agrigentini beneficium Africani, religionem domesticam, ornamentum urbis, indicium victoriae, testimonium societatis requirebant.
For at the same time the people of Agrigentum were losing a present from
Scipio, a domestic cult, an adornment of the city, a record of victory, and
evidence of their alliance with us. (Cic. Ver. 4.93)
(162) Sed haec oratio omnis fuit non auctoritatis meae, sed publicae religionis.
All this speech has not proceeded from my authority, but from my regard for
the general religion. (Cic. Har. 61)
(163) ut sine iis, qui sacris publice praesint, religioni privatae satis facere non possint.
that proper private worship should not be possible without people who are
in charge of public rites. (Cic. Leg. 2.30)

Argentum represents a very interesting case. It is modified by several adjectival participles: caelatum chased, denoting silver that is worked ( factum), as
opposed to argentum purum (pure, plain, i.e. not worked),100 and signatum

well trained gladiators were sometimes hired as bodyguards; so did Milo who Caesar talks
about in Civ. 3.21.4, the passage from which the second instance of gladiatoriae familiae is
99 See Baldo (2004: 448).
100 For the distinction of these three types of argentum: infectum plain, not worked, factum
worked, engraved and signatum coined, reported by Serv. auct. Aen. 10.526 and Isid. Etym.
16.18.13, see Prinzs excellent article in the ThLL, s. v. 521.56 f. and 525.82.


chapter two

coined. They are found in postposition, except for caelatum, the placement
of which is variable.
Caelatum stands four times in postposition, and eight times, surprisingly,
in anteposition. Argentum caelatum denotes extremely valuable objects
and, for this reason, the adjective itself may be important from a pragmatic
point of view. The semantic nature of the referent, generic in (164) or specific
in (167), does not seem to play any role. As for the value of the silverware,
consider example (164), concerning Heraclius, a wealthy Syracusian, and
(165), concerning Chrysogonus, who became rich by proscriptions. In the
first case, Heraclius carved silverware is qualified as the best, so it must
be very expensive. In the second case, caelatum argentum forms part of
an enumeration of several valuable objects that also exhibit adjectives in
(164) (Heraclii) plena domus caelati argenti optimi multaeque stragulae vestis
(Heraclius) house was full of silver plate exquisitely chased, of an abundance
of embroidered robes (Cic. Ver. 2.35)
(165) (domus referta vasis Corinthiis et Deliacis ) Quid praeterea caelati argenti,
quid stragulae vestis, quid pictarum tabularum apud illum putatis esse?
(his house is crammed with Corinthian and Delian vessel ) What quantities
of chased silver, of coverlets, pictures can you imagine he possesses? (Cic.
S. Rosc. 133)

Postposition of caelatum in (166) gives prominence to the type of silverware;

in the parallel phrase, only Corinthiorum is expressed, the noun vasorum is
understood from the context. An idea of contrast is present in (167) where
cum argento puro is opposed to argentum caelatum, mentioned before:
ornamentations of silver plate belonging to the people of Haluntium were
snatched away.
(166) Ei negotium dedit ut quicquid Halunti esset argenti caelati aut siquid etiam
Corinthiorum, ut omne statim ad mare ex oppido deportaretur.
He instructed him that whatever chased silver or Corinthian vessels there
were in Haluntium should all be brought down to the seashore from the town
as soon as possible. (Cic. Ver. 4.51)
(167) Sic Haluntini excussis deliciis cum argento puro domum revertuntur.
As all the ornaments had been snatched away, the people of Haluntium went
home with their silver plain. (Cic. Ver. 4.52)

I will close this section with several special cases. Firstly, memoria takes the
adjective publica when it is used as a first-order noun: the phrase memoria
publica public register (3 P) refers to memory materialised in writing.
Postposition of the adjective is not surprising because reference is made to
the type of records (168).

the noun phrase


(168) (Sex. Cloelius) absolutus est qui memoriam publicam suis manibus incendit.
(Sex. Cloelius) has been acquitted who has burnt the census records with
his own hands. (Cic. Cael. 78)101

Secondly, several classifying adjectives are used with an extensional meaning as evaluative adjectives, e.g. muliebres religiones womens superstition
(Cic. Dom. 105), divina memoria excellent memory (Cic. Brut. 265), and
funesta applied to pecunia ill-omened money (Cic. Phil. 2.93), because it
represented the blood and the confiscated property of the Pompeians. They
stand in anteposition.
3.2. Adjectives Derived from Proper Names
I will turn now to adjectives derived from proper names; when applied
to ager, liber, aqua, vinum, and bellum these do not express possession
(for which see section 7, p. 175). They are used for specifying the referent
by indicating the location of ager, the origin of liber, aqua, and vinum,
and various circumstances of bellum, to which a special section will be
3.2.1. First-Order Entities
Ager provides many instances of adjectives derived from proper names,
which predominantly stand in postposition (106 P vs. 17 A). This point
has already been observed by Devine & Stephens (2006: 426). However, I
would not attribute their frequent postposition to the fact that ager has a
spatial reference, as they do. In my view, noun phrases containing adjectives
derived from proper names denote specific pieces of land; the adjectives
serve to distinguish one territory from another. The following adjectives
are found with ager: Campanus, Leontinus, Picenus, Noricus, Syracusanus,
Lucanus, Nolanus, and Sabinus. Noun phrases containing them express,
on the one hand, someones destination or a place to stayespecially in
historical narrative, and on the other hand, they are subject to sale,
division, or law, in particular in Ciceros speeches On the Agrarian Law
and Against Verres. Noun phrases with post-nominal adjectives function as
pragmatic units; for example, the accusative of direction agrum Picenum,
101 National records of the censors registration are being referenced, which were kept in
the temple of the Nymphs at the Campus Martius. Cicero attributes this crime to Clodius in
Mil. 73 but Cloelius was without doubt his accomplice. For Sextus Cloelius, see Damon (1992).
102 Data are summarised in Table 2.4 in the Appendix.


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the Focus of the sentence in (169). Ager Campanus in (170) also represents a
pragmatic unit which sets a new Topic: Cicero starts an extensive discussion
of the ager Campanus in his second speech On the Agrarian Law with this
sentence. The phrase in (171), with a postposed adjective, does not fulfil any
special pragmatic function; it only summarises given information.
(169) Auximo Caesar progressus omnem agrum Picenum percurrit.
Advancing from Auximum, Caesar overran the whole of Picenum. (Caes. Civ.
(170) At enim ager Campanus hac lege dividetur, orbi terrae pulcherrimus, et
Capuam colonia deducetur, urbem amplissimam atque ornatissimam.
But the land of Campania, the most beautiful in the world, will be divided by
this law, and a colony conducted to Capua, a very large and magnificent city.
(Cic. Agr. 2.76)
(171) Quodsi vestrum commodum spectat, veniat et coram mecum de agri Campani divisione disputet.
But if he (Rullus) has your interest in view, let him come and discuss with me
the division of the territory of Campania in your presence. (Cic. Agr. 2.78)

Anteposition of adjectives derived from proper names is infrequent on

the whole, and the case of ager makes it possible to understand this phenomenon better. One instance of ager is rarely contrasted with another
one. Several pre-nominal adjectives concern the phrase Campanus ager (4
A vs. 32 P). The ager Campanus was a very fertile territory, a public domain
(ager publicus) belonging to the Roman people since 211, an important
source of taxes (vectigalia), and also a frequent topic of debates on agrarian laws. In his speeches On the Agrarian Law from 63, Cicero responds to
Rullus proposal of a law that provided for the division of the ager Campanus
and establishment of a colony at Capua. The decemvirs designated by virtue
of this law could freely buy public domains and establish colonies wherever
they wished. Cicero shows the dangers that adoption of this law would cause
as well as Rullus private interests involved. Anteposition of the adjective
Campanus in (172) results from the Focus function that the noun phrase
fulfils: division of this territory was too ambitious and, at the same time,
a malicious proposition. One could also regard the adjective Campanus as
emphatic. Another adjective that is found more than once in anteposition is
Leontinus (2 A vs. 13 P). In the third Verrine, this Sicilian territory is discussed
together with ager Aetnensis: an explicit contrast is established between the
two agri in (173).
(172) Campanum agrum dividis; vos estis in possessione; non cedo.
You are dividing Campanian territory; you are in possession of it. I refuse to
give it up. (Cic. Agr. 3.15)

the noun phrase


(173) Verum, uti dixi, ratio certa est Aetnensium Meae diligentiae pensum magis
in Leontino agro est exigendum
But as I have said, the facts concerning Etna are certain In dealing with the
land of the Leontini, a larger measure of earnest care must be required of me
(Cic. Ver. 3.109)

Sullanus ager is a special case, with the adjective anteposed four times.
Unlike other adjectives used with ager, Sullanus is derived from a personal proper name, Sulla. Special connotations could be responsible for the
anteposition of the adjective.103 Nevertheless, example (174) more likely illustrates a contrastive Topic: the author separates two kinds of land (duo genera
agrorum) concerned in purchases, provided by the law. The phrase Sullanus
ager starts a discussion of the first category.
(174) Eorum unum propter invidiam domini fugiunt, alterum propter vastitatem.
Sullanus ager a certis hominibus latissime continuatus tantam habet invidiam
One of them the owners avoid because of its unpopularity, the other because
of its desolate condition. The Sullan land, extended as far as possible by
certain persons, excites such indignation that (Cic. Agr. 2.70)

Other first-order entities are not encountered as frequently with proper

name adjectives. To liber apply expressions indicating origin or the language
in which a book is written: Etruscus, Graecus, Latinus, and Punicus Etruscan,
Greek, Latin, Punic; to them, libri Sibyllini Sibylline Books can be added.104
Their placement is variable (6 A vs. 4 P). I will only give two examples as
an illustration: in the first phrase (175), conveying new information, Punicis
specifies the referent (from which books?). The second phrase (176) is not
pragmatically relevant; Etrusci libri are known from the previous context. In
this speech of Ciceros, Etruscan books, which haruspices consulted for the
interpretation of wonders, are referred to several times.
(175) Quamquam ab ea fama, quae plerosque obtinet, divorsum est, tamen, uti ex
libris Punicis, qui regis Hiempsalis dicebantur, interpretatum nobis est.
Although my account differs from the prevailing tradition, I give it as it was
translated for me from the Punic books attributed to king Hiempsal. (Sal. Jug.

103 After his victory over Mithridates in 81, Lucius Sulla confiscated and dispossessed
several territories in Italy in order to establish veterans colonies there. The occupants of
Sullan lands would benefit from the agrarian reform, for they possessed very fertile lands
(see Jonkers 1963: 109).
104 The adjectives Sibyllini and Etrusci compete with possessive genitives; see section 7.2,
p. 178 for more details.


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(176) Habent Etrusci libri certa nomina quae in id genus civium cadere possint:
deteriores, repulsos hos appellant
The Etruscan books have certain names which may fit some of that class of
citizens: they call them worthless men, rejected candidates (Cic. Har. 53)

A couple of adjectives derived from proper names are also found with aqua
for indicating a location: aqua Crabra, Albana and Tusculana, all in postposition, and with vinum for expressing origin: vina Graeca Greek. Falerno
vino in (177) deserves mention: it is a pragmatically salient, non-contrastive
constituent with an adjective in anteposition. Cicero evokes Falernian wine
as a matter of comparison and he further develops this idea.
(177) Ut si quis Falerno vino delectetur, sed eo nec ita novo ut proximis consulibus
natum velit, nec rursus ita vetere ut Opimium aut Anicium consulem quaerat.
It is as if a man were fond of Falernian wine, but did not want it so new as last
years, nor again so old as to search out a cask from the vintages of Opimius
or Anicius. (Cic. Brut. 287)

3.2.2. Bellum
Various adjectives from proper names co-occur with bellum. They concern the people against whom a war is waged, e.g. Punicum, Sabinum, Gallicum, Italicum; the region where a war took place, such as Macedonicum,
Africanum, Achaicum; the city: Numantinum, Carthaginiense, or the adversary chief commander, e.g. Mithridaticum, Sertorianum, Octavianum.
In general, they are both in postposition and anteposition (45 P vs. 38
A). For the purpose of the analysis, it is important to separate the noun
phrases used in the ablative without a preposition, such as bello Numantino,
for which postposition clearly prevails (Table 3).
Table 3: Bellum + adjectives derived from proper names
with NP in the ablative

Noun Adj.

Adj. Noun



In the two following sections, I will first examine expressions in the ablative,
and then other noun phrases containing adjectives derived from proper
names. Temporal Expressions in the Ablative
Wars may serve as reference points in time because they usually belong
to shared knowledge and are very easily identifiable. Noun phrases in the

the noun phrase


ablative represent temporal expressions answering the question when? or

more exactly, during which war? They exhibit adjectives in postposition.
Such noun phrases are used in two ways. Firstly, as temporal settings for
related events; in this case, they stand at the beginning of the sentence. For
example in (178), Sallust tells us what happened during the war of Numantia.
Secondly, they function as time complements that specify the moment at
which a process took place: in (179), Cicero tells when Cethegus was consul.
All 30 noun phrases in the ablative with a post-nominal adjective from a
proper name in my corpus can receive one or the other interpretation.105
(178) Igitur bello Numantino Micipsa sperans , facile eum (Iugurtham) occasurum, praefecit Numidis, quos in Hispaniam mittebat.
Accordingly, during the Numantine War, Micipsa gave Jugurtha the command
of the Numidians whom he was sending to Spain , hoping that he would
certainly perish. (Sal. Jug. 7.2)
(179) At hic Cethegus consul cum P. Tuditano fuit bello Punico secundo.
Now this Cethegus was consul with Publius Tuditanus in the Second Punic
War. (Cic. Brut. 60)

Whereas setting expressions placed at the beginning of a sentence of the

type (178) are without difficulties of interpretation, specifications of a process (179) with post-nominal adjectives compete with noun phrases displaying adjectives in anteposition, of which I gathered 15 examples. Several of
them function as temporal complements answering the question when?
(8 occ.). Unlike (179), the pre-nominal adjectives do not have any specifying valuesuch noun phrases do not inform us during which war but
simply situate a process in time. For example in (180), as the author states
explicitly, an event belonging to shared knowledge is reported. Similarly,
the adjective in (181) also forms a referential unit with the noun. Cicero
relates an anecdote from the period of the Marsian War and then another
one from the period of the war with Veii (182). The same arrangement with
the adjectives anteposed is chosen for two stories reported successively, and
the pre-nominal adjectives could be regarded as contrastive. This ordering
is like that of temporal expressions with the meaning when; cf. section 2.1.3,
p. 118.106

105 With one exception, bello Gallico in Cic. Font. 46, which has a generic referent in a
Gallic war. For noun phrases with adjectives in postposition, which serve for dating events
or specifying actions, cf. also: bello Gallico (Sal. Cat. 52.30), bello Cassiano (Caes. Gal. 1.13.2),
bello Punico (Cic. Agr. 1.20), and bello Antiochino (Cic. Phil. 11.17), among others.
106 Other noun phrases with adjectives in anteposition that seem to simply provide a
temporal indication are for example: Cretensi bello (Cic. ad Brut. 1.8.2), Italico bello (Agr.


chapter two

(180) Hic tu tabulas desideras Heracliensium publicas, quas Italico bello incenso
tabulario interisse scimus omnes.
Are you now going to ask for the public records of Heraclea, which we all
know were destroyed when their record office was burnt in the Social War?
(Cic. Arch. 8)
(181) Caeciliae, Q. filiae, somnio modo Marsico bello templum est a senatu Iunoni
Sospitae restitutum.
Following a dream of Caecilia, daughter of Quintus, recently, during the
Marsic War, the temple of Juno Sospita was restored by the senate. (Cic. Div.
(182) Quid? Quod in annalibus habemus Veienti bello, cum lacus Albanus praeter
modum crevisset, Veientem quendam ad nos hominem nobilem perfugisse
Further, we find in the annals that during the war with Veii, when the Alban
Lake rose beyond its usual level, a certain noble Veientine came over to us
(Cic. Div. 1.100)107

The expressions in the ablative with adjectives in anteposition can also have
a function other than that of situating events in time (7 occ.). In (183), Punico
bello expresses the means by which Italy has been exhausted (defessa),
without specifying secundo. This fact is inferrable from the mention of
Hannibal. Cicero is talking about the adoption of the cult of Cybele in
(183) Quondam defessa Italia Punico bello atque ab Hannibale vexata sacra ista
nostri maiores adscita ex Phrygia Romae conlocarunt.
When Italy was wearied by the Punic War and harassed by Hannibal, our
ancestors imported these sacred rites from Phrygia and established them at
Rome. (Cic. Har. 27) Other Expressions

Other noun phrases containing an adjective derived from a proper name
notably those in the accusativeexhibit variable placement. They fulfil
various pragmatic functions. Bellum Gallicum in (184) is a non-contrastive
2.80), Mithridatico bello (Agr. 2.83), or Peloponnesiaco bello (Off. 1.84). On the other hand,
primo Punico bello in the First Punic War in Off. 1.39, followed by secundo Punico bello in
1.40 (however, considered as interpolation by many editors), is contrastive. The pre-nominal
adjective in Octaviano bello (Cic. Div. 1.4) Octavian War allows emphatic interpretation:
this very dangerous war, which occurred in 87, was marked by extreme superstition of Cn.
Octavius (see Pease 1963: 52).
107 The war against Veii took place between 482 and 396; the war against the Marsi
represents an episode of the Social War of 9088. The adverb modo recently refers to a rather
long interval (see Pease 1963: 275) since the composition of the On Divination goes back to 44
(for this vexed question, see ibid., p. 13).

the noun phrase


Topic. Cicero is going to talk about the Gallic War and to argue that Caesar
is the right man who should be given permission by the senate to bring
it to an end. The noun phrase in (185) conveys new information. In this
section, Cicero demonstrates that decreeing thanksgivings implies the title
of imperator, and their absence that of hostis public enemy; Antony (who
is meant) and his actions deserve the second title (cf. example (150) p. 142).
(184) Bellum Gallicum, patres conscripti, C. Caesare imperatore gestum est, antea
tantummodo repulsum.
Under Gaius Caesars command, conscript fathers, we have fought a war in
Gaul; before we merely repelled attacks. (Cic. Prov. 32)
(185) Grave bellum Octavianum insecutum est; supplicatio nulla victori.
A serious war with Octavius followed; no thanksgiving was decreed to the
victor. (Cic. Phil. 14.23)

Anteposition of adjectives derived from proper names results from the fact
that reference is made to entities given by the context, for example ad Britannicum bellum in (186). Sometimes, pragmatic features such as contrast
are involved, for example Sertorianum in (187). In this section, Cicero shows
that the Roman people avoided entrusting war commands to private citizens.
(186) tamen, ne aestatem in Treveris consumere cogeretur omnibus rebus ad Britannicum bellum comparatis
still, in order that he might not be compelled to waste the summer among
the Treviri, while all things were prepared for the war with Britain (Caes. Gal.
(187) (Ita populus Romanus consuli potius Crasso quam privato Africano bellum
gerendum dedit ) Nam Sertorianum bellum a senatu privato datum est, quia
consules recusabant.
(Accordingly, the Roman people gave the conduct of the war to the consul
Crassus rather than to Africanus, a private citizen ) For the war with Sertorius was assigned by the senate to a private person because the consuls
refused it. (Cic. Phil. 11.18)

For bellum Punicum and the use of ordinal numerals, see section 6.2, p. 173.
Classifying adjectives usually stand in postposition with a specifying value
that indicates the category to which the referent belongs. Anteposition
correlates with pragmatic features of contrast and emphasis, or with contextual giveness of the referent. However, there are instances of anteposition that are at the first sight difficult to explain from pragmatic reasons.
As such, I identified veterani milites and civile bellum. Their referent may


chapter two

be linked with special connotations that are responsible for the mobility of the adjectives. This section has also revealed that the behaviour of
the nouns examined is not the same. Some entities do not really manifest mobility of their modifiers, whereas others show much variation. This
point correlates with the pragmatic status that an entity has in the text,
whether it is a central, often discussed entity or a marginal one. Bellum
has a specific behaviour because in combination with an adjective derived
from a proper name it serves as temporal expression with various functions.
4. Describing a Referent
Adjectives that describe an entity do not indicate the type of the referent
but express its permanent or temporary properties such as its substance,
dimension, colour, age, or human qualities. While dealing with such qualifications, the question arises whether a property is attributed in an objective way, in which case the entity is described, or in a subjective way, for
evaluating it. From this point of view, are qualifications such as vetus old,
pulcher nice, or bonus good, objective or subjective? The problem is even
more acute when adjectives are in the superlative, which implies a subjective assessment. Without aiming to resolve this problem here, I will present
an overview of various expressions applied to entities under examination
assuming that descriptions and evaluations may overlap and that an adjective such as bonus may be used in a descriptive way, not necessarily involving
a subjective assessment. I will start this section with inanimate concrete
entities, and then move to animate ones.108
4.1. Inanimate Concrete Entities
The clearest case in my corpus is aqua, which is never a topic of discussions and does not appear in pragmatically marked situations. The adjectives applied to it express its physical properties, especially its temperature, taste, and colour, e.g. calida warm, gelida ice-cold, dulcis soft, naturalis natural, profluens running, nigra turbid. They describe the referent and all stand in postposition (12 occ.). The noun phrases containing
them usually do not bear pragmatic salience (188) or, when they convey new


Data are summarised in Table 2.5 in the Appendix.

the noun phrase


informationaquam gelidam in (189) is the Focus of the sentencethey

are used with neither emphasis, nor contrast, which are likely to result in
(188) In hac insula extrema est fons aquae dulcis, cui nomen Arethusa est, incredibili magnitudine
At the end of the island is a spring of fresh water named Arethusa, of incredible size (Cic. Ver. 4.118)
(189) Ut saepe homines aegri morbo gravi cum aestu febrique iactantur, si aquam
gelidam biberunt, primo relevari videntur.
As it often happens that men afflicted with a severe disease, when they are
tortured with heat and fever, if they drink cold water, seem at first to be
relieved. (Cic. Catil. 1.31)

With vinum, only one descriptive adjective co-occurs, leve. Its anteposition
in (190) is due to its contrastive value, with respect to Stoicorum.
(190) Tamquam levia quaedam vina nihil valent in aqua, sic Stoicorum ista magis
gustata quam potata delectant.
As certain light wines lose their flavour in water, there is more delight in a sip
than a draught of this Stoic vintage. (Cic. Tusc. 5.13)

Navis is used with adjectives referring to the physical size of a ship: magna
large; its proper or suitable use: idonea fit; age: vetus old; condition:
incolumis undamaged, infirma fragile; and the presence or absence of
cargo: inanis empty, semiplena half-filled. They favour postposition (16
P vs. 6 A). An example with an adjective in postposition describing the
referent is given in (191); I would interpret two instances of maxima in
postposition quoted above (pp. 135136) in (126) and (132) in the same way.
Even if maxima is a superlative, in the case of a concrete object such as
navis, it does not seem to carry any special evaluating value but simply to
refer to a ship that is much larger than usual ships are. Idonea in (192) also
has a descriptive value; the noun phrase forms part of an enumeration and
fulfils the Focus function. On the other hand, the pre-nominal adjective in
(193) carries implicit contrast: Caesar would undertake the voyage with solid
ships. The referent is known from the context.
(191) scaphas navium magnarum circiter LX cratibus pluteisque contexit
he protected with wickerwork and screens about sixty row-boats belonging
to his large ships (Caes. Civ. 3.24.1)
(192) Sin te confirmare vis, et comites et tempestates et navem idoneam ut habeas
diligenter videbis.
But if you desire to establish your health, you must see to it very carefully that
you get the fellow-passengers, the weather, and the ship that exactly suit you.
(Cic. Fam. 16.1.2)


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(193) (Caesar) eosque (obsides) in continentem adduci iussit, quod infirmis

navibus hiemi navigationem subiciendam non existimabat.
(Caesar) ordered them (hostages) to be brought to the continent, because ;
with a damaged flotilla he did not think it right to subject his crossing to the
hazard of winter storms. (Caes. Gal. 4.36.1)

Ager is modified by adjectives referring to physical properties of a land, such

as crassus fertile, pulcher beautiful (country), or vacuus empty (5 P vs. 7 A).
Their postposition is due to the describing function of the adjective (194). In
anteposition, the adjective presents an emphatic value, such as inanes agros
in (195). The referent is generic in both cases.
(194) An imitari agros fertiles qui multo plus efferunt quam acceperunt?
Shall we not imitate the fruitful fields, which return more than they receive?
(Cic. Off. 1.48)
(195) Cur igitur, Metelle, non ita magno vendidisti? Quia desertas arationes, inanes
agros, provinciam miseram perditamque offendisti.
Why then, Metellus, did you not sell them for as much as Verres? Because
you found the farms abandoned, the fields empty, the province ruined and
miserable. (Cic. Ver. 3.124)

4.2. Animate Entities

I will turn now to animate entities vir and miles, that are qualified for various
human properties. They can be questioned with qualis?, cf. the relative
pronoun in (196).
(196) (C. Laelius) Si, cum sapiens et bonus vir, qualis ille fuit, suffragiis praeteritur
(G. Laelius) If, when a wise and good man, as he was, is passed over at the
election (Cic. Tusc. 5.54)

4.2.1. Vir and viros

Adjectives applied to vir and viros refer to physical properties: fortis strong,
acer energetic; intellectual capacities: doctus learned, sapiens wise; social
condition: nobilis noble; character or behaviour: bonus good, egregius
excellent, honestus honest, innocens innocent, iustus fair; success or fame:
clarus well-known, primarius leading. Only noun phrases with one modifier without any expansion have been calculated (Table 4). Noun phrases in
appositions, and these heading an apposition, have been disregarded.

the noun phrase


Table 4: Descriptive adjectives applied to vir and viros


Noun Adj.

Adj. Noun

positive superlative

positive superlative










This table shows two interesting points. Firstly, adjectives with vir strongly
prefer postposition (38 P vs. 13 A); those applied to viros are more mobile
(21 P vs. 24 A). Secondly, superlatives go most often in anteposition. The
analysis that follows will show that the difference of behaviour of vir and
viros correlates with the pragmatic contexts in which they appear: whereas
vir occurs in pragmatically neutral situations, phrases with viros often carry
the Focus function.
In the sentences under examinationsince all appositions have been
eliminatedthe noun phrases containing vir modified by one adjective
function either as the subject or as the predicative. I am not aiming to
suggest that the syntactic function as such is responsible for pre- or postnominal placement of the adjectives but such a distinction is helpful for
understanding the pragmatic aspects at work. In (197), the noun phrase
conveys new information; the adjective sapiens stands in postposition. Similarly in (198), the adjective forms a pragmatic unit with its governing noun.
By contrast, the phrase bonus vir in (199), which also represents Focus of
its sentence, contains an emphatic adjective in anteposition. This example
concerns the behaviour of vir bonus good man, to which I will return later.
These noun phrases used predicatively are non-referential.
(197) Ti. Gracchus, P. f., qui bis consul et censor fuit, idemque et summus augur et
vir sapiens civisque praestans
Tiberius Gracchus, son of Publius, who was censor and consul twice; besides,
he was a most competent augur, a wise man, and a preeminent citizen (Cic.
Div. 1.36)
(198) (L. Aelius Stilo) Fuit is omnino vir egregius et eques Romanus cum primis
(L. Aelius Stilo) He was in all respects an uncommon man, a Roman knight
of highest integrity (Cic. Brut. 205)
(199) Hoc qui non didicerit bonus vir esse non poterit.
Anyone who has not learnt this will not be able to be a good man. (Cic. Off.


chapter two

Noun phrases functioning as subjects may have specific, non-specific,

or generic reference. In (200), the referent is specific, mentioned in the
previous context. The adjective egregius is likely to describe the person,
Theramenes. In (201), the noun phrase with a specific referent, P. Servilius
Isauricus, who proposed a motion at a meeting of the senate,109 shows an
emphatic adjective, clarissimus, in anteposition. In both cases, the noun
phrases do not have any special pragmatic function.
(200) (Theramenes) Lusit vir egregius extremo spiritu.
This noble spirit jested with his breath. (Cic. Tusc. 1.96)
(201) De improbis, inquit et audacibus. Nam sic eos appellat clarissimus vir.
He talks about wicked and audacious men. For that is what this most illustrious man calls them. (Cic. Phil. 14.7)

The noun phrases functioning as subjects with generic referents display

adjectives in postposition, without emphasis and without contrast. They
are not conveying new information. A lot of such instances are found in
the third book of the treatise On Duties where Cicero examines the correct
behaviour of the vir bonus, his decisions, and conscience. For example in
(202), Cicero asks the question what a vir bonus will do: will he be honest,
or will he take the advantage of the situation and sell grain at the highest
price? The adjective in postposition has a descriptive value.
(202) Si, exempli gratia, vir bonus Alexandrea Rhodum magnum frumenti numerum advexerit in Rhodiorum inopia et fame
For example, suppose that a good man had brought a large quantity of corn
from Alexandria to Rhodes in a time of shortage and famine (Cic. Off. 3.50)

Noun phrases containing viros mainly function as direct objects, which are
the strongest candidates for fulfilling the function of Focus.110 This is the
case in (203), with a specific referent, and in (204) with a generic referent.
Anteposition not only results from the emphatic character of the adjective
(204), but also from the pragmatic salience of the whole phrase: mediocres
viros in (205) is the Focus of the sentence.
(203) Complecti vis amplissimos viros ad tuum et Gabini scelus.
You want to implicate men of high standing in your and Gabinius crime. (Cic.
Pis. 75)


See Wuilleumiers (1973: 256) note.

See Spevak (2010a: 120) for discussion.

the noun phrase


(204) Non est tuum de re publica bene mereri; habet istius pulcherrimi facti clarissimos viros res publica auctores.
Service to the State is not your style. As authors of that magnificent exploit
the State has illustrious men. (Cic. Phil. 2.36)
(205) (terrebat eum) praeterea opportunitas suae liberorumque aetatis, quae etiam
mediocres viros spe praedae transvorsos agit
(he dreaded) as well as the opportunity afforded by his own age and that of
his sons, which through the hope of gain leads astray even men of moderate
ambition (Sal. Jug. 6.3)

Noun phrases conveying new information may have adjectives in postposition as well. An example of a focal noun phrase is given in (206); the referent
of viros optimos is generic. Viros acres in (206) forms a pragmatic unit with
the verb in a sentence answering the question what did Flaccus do? This
constituent is not expressed in the previous context; it has a specific referent with an indefinite reading.
(206) Sed ne id viros optimos diutius delectet, legant hanc eius contionem de qua
But, lest this should any longer please excellent men, let them just read this
harangue of his (Clodius), of which I speak. (Cic. Har. 51)
(207) Tum ex Anniana Milonis domo Q. Flaccus eduxit viros acres.
Thereupon Quintus Flaccus led out some stout warriors from Milos Anniana
house. (Cic. Att. 4.3.3)

However, there are instances of phrases containing viros and an adjective in

postposition that do not fulfil any special pragmatic function, in particular
noun phrases with generic referents as in (208).
(208) At nondum erat maturum, nondum res ipsa ad eius modi praesidia viros bonos
But the time was not yet ripe; the situation itself was not yet obliging good
citizens to resort to such measures of protection. (Cic. Sest. 84)

4.2.2. Miles
Adjectives accompanying miles express physical capacities of soldiers: strenuus energetic, infirmiores weaker; length of their experience: veteres old,
novi new; age: adulescentulus very young; qualities or attitudes: boni good,
indignantes indignant. Unlike the case of vir, they are more often prenominal than post-nominal (15 A, including 5 superlatives, vs. 5 P). This
can be due to pragmatically relevant contexts in which they appear. Noun
phrases containing adjectives in anteposition often bear the Focus function
and behave as pragmatic units, as in (209) with discontinuity. Adjectives in


chapter two

anteposition are sometimes emphatic (210). In (211) the postposed adjective

has a describing value.
(209) Hoc veteres non probant milites, quos sub vexillo una profectos docuimus.
This course was not approved by the veteran soldiers, who, as we have shown,
marched out together under a flag. (Caes. Gal. 6.40.4)
(210) Omnia mea sententia complectar vobis ut et praestantissimis ducibus a
nobis detur auctoritas et fortissimis militibus spes ostendatur praemiorum
I shall embrace it all in my motion that we grant authority to the eminent
commanders, hold out hope of rewards to the very brave soldiers (Cic. Phil.
(211) Nec parasitorum in comoediis adsentatio faceta nobis videretur, nisi essent
milites gloriosi.
We would not think the flattery of parasites in comedies funny if there were
no braggart soldiers. (Cic. Amic. 98)

4.2.3. Other Entities

Other entities that co-occur with descriptive adjectives are familia and
several abstract nouns.
Adjectives that modify familia are, for example, honesta honest, pura
free of pollution, florentissima the most flourishing, nobilissima or amplissima with the same meaning: the most noble. Such qualifications involve
the question qualis familia? what family? They are found in anteposition (12
A vs. 3 P); many of them are in the superlative and involve emphasis. Compare, for example, the placement of the adjective vetus expressing age in
(212), which simply describes the referent, and antiquissima in (213), which
stands with emphasis in anteposition.
(212) (Murena) fortunatus videbatur quod primus in familiam veterem, primus in
municipium antiquissimum consulatum attulisset.
(Murena) has seemed blessed by fortune because he was first to bring the
consulship into an old family and an ancient town (i.e. Lanuvium). (Cic. Mur.
(213) alterum Cotum, antiquissima familia natum atque ipsum hominem summae
potentiae et magnae cognationis
the other (was) Cotus, sprung from a most ancient family, and personally a
man of very great influence and extensive connections (Caes. Gal. 7.32.4)

Descriptive adjectives used with abstract entities mainly have a temporal

meaning. Religio co-occurs with adjectives related to age: antiqua, pristina
ancient, sempiterna everlasting. With memoria recollection adjectives are
found expressing age: vetus old, praeterita past, duration: diuturna long
lasting or another property: acer vivid. They all stand in anteposition, for

the noun phrase


example in (214) with religio or in (215) with a contrastive adjective before

(214) exemplar antiquae religionis, Fidiculanius Falcula
the model of ancient piety, Fidiculanius Falcula (Cic. Caec. 28)
(215) Eis enim maiores nostri qui ob rem publicam mortem obierant pro brevi vita
diuturnam memoriam reddiderunt.
For to those who had met their deaths in the service of the republic our
ancestors gave long-lasting memory in return for a brief life. (Cic. Phil. 9.4)

Adjectives expressing permanent and temporary properties applied to the
inanimate concrete entities aqua and navis prefer postposition. The examples of noun phrases with vir and viros have demonstrated that the place
occupied by the adjectives correlates with the pragmatic salience of the
adjective itself or that of the whole noun phrase. The adjectives accompanying viros are indeed more frequently anteposed than the adjectives
modifying vir. Such mobility is due to the fact that the noun phrases containing viros are more frequently relevant at the pragmatic level. Semantic
properties of the noun phrases, i.e. the specific or generic character of the
referent, do not have as such any decisive influence on the anteposition or
postposition of the adjective in the case of vir. On the other hand, we can
say that noun phrases with generic referents carry less frequently the function of Focus, or the pragmatic features of emphasis or contrast; this is why
their adjectives are often post-nominal. Other entities present descriptive
adjectives less frequently. Abstract nouns co-occur with adjectives with a
temporal meaning in anteposition.
5. Evaluating a Referent
A referent may be evaluated in two different ways. Either an abstract quality
is applied to it, such as mirabilis remarkable, or it is evaluated as for its
greatness, with summus the highest, for example; such assessments are
more or less subjective and often appear in the superlative.111
The question underlying abstract qualities is cuius modi? or qualis? as
in (216), the same as for descriptive adjectives. It covers expressions such

111 Data concerning evaluative adjectives applied to various entities are presented in
Table 2.6 in the Appendix.


chapter two

as honestissimus and optimus, used afterwards in the same passage. The

adjectives expressing the greatness, i.e. importance and influence, of a man,
for example magnus great or summus, imply the question quantus vir?, cf.
example (217).
(216) An non intellegis quales viros mortuos summi sceleris arguas? Quis de
illis honestissimis viris atque optimis civibus
Do you not realise what kind of men you are accusing now that they are
dead? What shall we say of the most honourable men and best citizens ?
(Cic. Rab. Perd. 2627)
(217) Xenophon Socraticus (qui vir et quantus!)
Xenophon, the follower of Socrates (what a man he was!) (Cic. Div. 1.52)

Adjectives in the superlative deserve special attention. When using bonos in

example (208), quoted above, the speaker or author tells us how a referent
is. When the adjective appears in the superlative, the speaker or author does
not only apply a property to a referent but also evaluates it in a subjective
way. From this point of view, fortissimos viros and optimos cives in (218), with
pre-nominal adjectives, are an evaluation rather than a description of the
referent. This phrase has a specific referent: three hundred centurions and
soldiers who Antony put to death before his wife Fulvia in order to suppress
a revolt.112
(218) quippe qui in hospitis tectis Brundisi fortissimos viros optimosque cives iugulari iusserit
he, who ordered very brave men and exemplary citizens to be murdered
under his hosts roof at Brundisium (Cic. Phil. 3.4)

Evaluative adjectives allow adverbs or expressions making it explicit that

they convey the authors personal judgment. The judgment often concerns
the attribution of a very high degree of a quality expressed in the superlative,
for example, haud sciam an in (219), vir mehercule optimus an excellent
fellow really in Cic. Att. 1.8.1, and vir mea sententia prudentissimus a most
prudent man in my opinion in Cic. Caec. 22.
(219) Vir sapientissimus atque haud sciam an omnium praestantissimus peccatum
suum, quod celari posset, confiteri maluit.
(Gracchus) A man of the greatest wisdom and perhaps the most excellent
man chose to confess his fault, which he might have concealed. (Cic. N.D.


For this execution, cf. Phil. 3.10; see Manuwald (2007: 334 and 358).

the noun phrase


5.1. Attribution of an Abstract Quality

The first type of evaluation consists of the attribution of an abstract quality
to a referent. In my corpus, it concerns vir and second- as well as third-order
5.1.1. Vir
Evaluative adjectives with vir often correlate with appositions: either the
noun phrase with vir is followed by one or more appositions (220), or it represents on its own an apposition (221). In both cases, postposition of the
adjectives prevails (59 P vs. 16 A). This can be explained by the fact that
although evaluative, the adjectives are used in a descriptive way without
emphasis. In other words, evaluation of a referent is presented as a statement. Example (222) with the alternative ordering optimus vir shows that
postposition of the adjective is not required in appositions.113 A pre-nominal
adjective mainly appears in sentences with only one apposition, not in those
with a series of appositions.
(220) An vero vir amplissumus, P. Scipio, pontifex maxumus, Ti. Gracchum privatus interfecit?
Did not that most illustrious man, Publius Scipio, the Pontifex Maximus ,
as a private citizen, killed Tiberius Gracchus ? (Cic. Catil. 1.3)
(221) Pacis enim auctor eras, cum collega tuus, vir clarissimus, a foedissimis latronibus obsideretur.
For you were the advocate of peace, at a time when your colleague, a most distinguished man, was being blockaded by ruffian brigands. (Cic. Fam. 10.6.1)114
(222) cum Cn. Oppius socer, optimus vir, ad pedes flens iaceret
when his father-in-law Gnaeus Oppius, a most virtuous man, threw himself
in tears at his feet (Cic. Red. Pop. 12)

However, appositions as such do not seem to be responsible for the postnominal placement of evaluative adjectives. In the noun phrases that are
not involved in appositions, adjectives are also predominantly post-nominal

113 It is certainly not the shorteness of the word vir that requires postposition of an
adjective of two or more syllables. In general, Latin grammars claim (K.&St. II: 605; cf.
Albrecht 1890: 38) the order {monosyllabic noun > adjective} but the facts are more complex
(see Pinkster LSS 9.4, n. 37). Hoff (1995: 251) has calculated, on the basis of the data presented
by Rohde (1884), that 29 % are exceptions.
114 Collega tuus refers to Decimus Brutus, consul-elect for 42 with L. Plancus; the latter was
the addressee of Ciceros letter.


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(for vir: 13 P vs. 1 A). Compare examples (223) and (224). In the first case, no
idea of emphasis or contrast is involved; vir optimus has a specific referent,
known from the preceding context.115 In the second one, mirabilis is used
emphatically with Dicaearchus.
(223) Negat me vir optimus inimiciorem Gabinio debere esse quam Caesari.
That excellent man says that I ought not to be more hostile to Gabinius than
to Caesar. (Cic. Prov. 18)
(224) Mihi crede (sed ego te hoc doceo?), mirabilis vir est.
Believe me (but am I telling you?), he is a wonderful man. (Cic. Att. 2.2.2)

Other first-order entities may be evaluated but such instances are isolated. I
will only mention the adjective optimus the best, which can apply to many
entities, and gratissimus in (225), used with a book of Brutus.
(225) Quamquam a te ipso id quidem facio provocatus gratissimo mihi libro, quem
ad me de virtute misisti
Still, you yourself challenged me to the venture, by dedicating to me your
delightful essay On Virtue (Cic. Fin. 1.8)

5.1.2. Ablative and Genitive of Quality

The ablative and genitive of quality are a means of attributing a property to
a referent;116 they may represent descriptions as well as evaluations. These
expressions must contain a modifier and hence represent full noun phrases.
They accompany vir in my corpus and usually follow their head noun (19 P,
7 A, 5 framed). Frequent postposition could be explained, either by their
complexity, orand I would prefer this solutionby the fact that they
have a descriptive value as in (226). The complement may contain several
coordinated elements, as in (227).117
(226) Erat Crastinus evocatus in exercitu Caesaris qui , vir singulari virtute.
In Caesars army, there was Crastinus, a re-enlisted veteran, who , a man of
extraordinary courage. (Caes. Civ. 3.91.1)

115 L. Marcius Philippus, consul in 56; Cicero has just made a reference to him: illam
interpellationem mei familiarissimi qua paulo ante interrupta est oratio mea that interruption
of my most intimate friend, who did a little while ago interrupt my speech.
116 Lebreton (1901: 83) drew a parallel between the ablatives of quality and noun phrases
containing the adjective praeditus, e.g. vir summo ingenio praeditus a man endowed with a
great talent (Cic. Pis. 62). However, these constructions are different on the syntactic level.
117 For the semantic equivalence of such mixed constructions, see Pinkster (LSS 6.6,
p. 94).

the noun phrase


(227) Unum enim mihi restabat illud quod forsitan non nemo vir fortis et acris animi
magnique dixerit:
One thing, indeed, was left for me, which, perhaps, some men of bold, and
energetic, and magnanimous mind will say: (Cic. Sest. 45)

Anteposition of these complements is due to pragmatic reasons. It appears

when the adjective is an emphatic word: tantus such, quantus how great, or
summus the greatest, for example in (228). Emphasis on the adjective also
yields a sequence with vir in the middle (229), framed by its complement.
(228) Quotus quisque invenietur tanta virtute vir qui optimam quamque causam rei
publicae amplectatur?
How many men will be found of such virtue as to embrace the justest cause
of the republic? (Cic. Sest. 93)
(229) Accessit acerrumo vir ingenio, Chrysippus.
Then came Chrysippus, a man of very sharp intellect. (Cic. Div. 1.6)

5.1.3. Second-Order Entities

Among second-order entities, bellum is often modified by various evaluative
adjectives, e.g. infinitum endless, aeternum everlasting, related to duration;
repentinum sudden, instans imminent, to the instantaneous character of
a war; durissimum very hard, foedissimum very fearful, miserum grievous,
exitiosum pernicious, to consequences. They express more or less subjective
evaluations concerning modalities or consequences of a war. Many adjectives applied to bellum denote the authors personal judgement, for example nefarium wicked, (non) necessarium (not) necessary, and sacrilegum
impious. The adjective iustum (fully) legitimate, regular forms part of this
category, but in this case, the judgement is shared by the community: bellum iustum denotes a war waged against an enemy nation conforming to
the law.
Anteposition is predominant (36 A vs. 22 P)118 for this semantic category but whatever the position they occupy is, they often carry emphasis. The pre-nominal formidolosissimo in (230) contrasts with respect to
coronam illam auream. Crassus indeed hoped to obtain a triumph after
his victory over Spartacus in 71.119 Bellum inexpiabile fulfils the Focus func-

118 Among them, 13 superlatives in anteposition and 6 in postposition. These figures

include instances of adjectives evaluating extent, discussed below in section 5.2.
119 A triumph could not be accorded to him because the victory was not over an enemy
people (bellum iustum) but over slaves. The senate awarded him an ovatio during which
Crassus was permitted to bear a laurel crown instead of a myrtle one (see Grimal 1960: 181).


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tion (231) and stands in postposition; however, I would interpret it here as

(230) (Crasse ) Quid est quod confecto per te formidolosissimo bello coronam
illam lauream tibi tanto opere decerni volueris a senatu?
(Crassus ) What was the reason that, after your completion of a terrifying
war, did you want so much to have the senate decree that laurel crown for
you? (Cic. Pis. 58)
(231) Bellum inexpiabile infert quattuor consulibus unus omnium latronum taeterrimus.
The most savage of all brigands is carrying on an inexpiable war against four
consuls. (Cic. Phil. 14.8)

Evaluative adjectives accompanying dies are infrequent, e.g. atrox terrible,

calamitosus unfortunate, incredibilis unbelievable, laetissimus very happy.
They are commonly found in anteposition, owing to their subjectively evaluative meaning, sometimes linked with emphasis. For example, the adjective
calamitosus carries emphasis in (232), although it figures in a framed noun
phrase. A reference is made to shared knowledge: the anniversary day of
the capture of Syracuse by Marcellus in 212 was celebrated because Marcellus, impressed by its beautiful artworks, had refrained from plundering and
spared the city.
(232) idem diem festum Verris nomine agerent, cum iste a Syracusanis quae ille
calamitosus dies reliquerat ademisset.
they treated the same day as a holiday in Verres name, when he had taken
from the people of Syracuse all the things that day of calamity had left them.
(Cic. Ver. 4.151)

Religio is evaluated as sancta (sanctissima) sacred, inexpiabilis inexpiable,

impia impious, iusta deserved, and pura pure. Here again, their frequent
anteposition is due to pragmatic reasons, especially emphasis (233).
(233) Neque hoc solum in statuis ornamentisque publicis fecit, sed etiam delubra
omnia sanctissimis religionibus consecrata depeculatus est.
And he did not do this only to the public statues and works of art: he also stole
from all the temples, places sanctified by holy veneration. (Cic. Ver. 14)

Memoria as faculty of remembering co-occurs with, e.g. singularis unusual,

melior better referring to the quality of the memory (3 A vs. 3 P). To them
can be added the adjective divina excellent (Cic. Brut. 265) with an evaluative meaning. In (234), the adjective in postposition describes the noun; this
120 Cf. Cic. Phil. 13.16. Antony waged a war against the consuls of the year and consuls-elect;
as Cicero says afterwards, also against the senate and the Roman people.

the noun phrase


example alludes to Hortensius exquisite qualities. The adjective meliore is

constrastive (235) and stands in anteposition.
(234) Non enim ille mediocris orator vestrae quasi succrescit aetati, sed et ingenio
peracri et studio flagranti et doctrina eximia et memoria singulari.
This is no ordinary orator who is, so to speak, growing up to succeed your
generation. He is endowed with a very sharp intellect, burning enthusiasm,
exceptional learning, and unique powers of memory. (Cic. de Orat. 3.230)
(235) Tu si meliore memoria es, velim scire, ecquid de te recordere.
If you have a better memory I should like to know whether you remember
anything about yourself. (Cic. Tusc. 1.13)

5.1.4. Third-Order Entities

Third-order entities, opinio and quaestio in my corpus, a present specific
selection of modifiers in that they allow evaluations for truthfulness and
justification. With opinio co-occur adjectives such as vera true (236), falsa
false, dubia dubious, confirmata confirmed, prava distorted. With quaestio, evaluations often concern the just or justified character of an investigation: legitima legitimate, iniusta unjust (237), ficta made-up. These adjectives are not exclusive to third-order nouns, bellum may also be evaluated
for being legitimate or not, as we have seen above.
(236) Beatum, cui etiam in senectute contigerit, ut sapientiam verasque opiniones
assequi possit!
Happy the man who even in old age has the good fortune to be able to achieve
wisdom and true opinions. (Cic. Fin. 5.58)
(237) Pars eorum occidisse tribunos plebis, alii quaestiones iniustas pro munimento habent.
Some of them safeguarded their position by murdering plebeian tribunes,
others by unjust prosecutions. (Sal. Jug. 31.13)

Opinio also admits other adjectives, such as those expressing variety or newness: varia different, nova new; stability: firma, stabilis firm; or another
property: vehemens strong, incommoda troublesome, iucunda delightful,
or mala as in (238). These adjectives are found in anteposition in the majority of the cases.
(238) An iste umquam de se bonam spem habuisset, nisi de vobis malam opinionem
animo inbibisset?
Would Verres ever have cherished fair hopes for himself, had his mind not
been saturated with this foul opinion of you? (Cic. Ver. 42)

To quaestio apply adjectives evaluating the difficulty of a question to be

investigated: subdifficilis rather difficult, its clarity: obscura obscure, or


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another property: perpetua permanent, diffusa extensive. Also in this case,

the adjectives stand in anteposition, for example obscura in (239) or nova,121
combined with nulla (ulla), nequa or numquae (240).
(239) (mores) quam vim habeant, obscura quaestio est.
(morals) what value they have, is an awkward question (Cic. Fat. 1)
(240) Numquae rogatio lata, numquae nova quaestio decreta est?
Was any new bill made? Was any special inquiry decreed? (Cic. Mil. 19)

5.2. Evaluations of Extent or Importance

I will turn now to evaluations concerning extent. This category is to be
distinguished from attribution of an abstract quality to a referent, dealt with
in the previous section, because the underlying question is not the same.
Whereas abstract qualities are questioned with the help of qualis? how?,
extent and importance involve the question quantus? how great? and its
correlative tantus so great.
Familia as a collective noun is a special case because, properly speaking, adjectives expressing size such as magna122 big and maxima very big
applied to familia refer to the actually (great) number of individuals that
constitute a family (241).
(241) Familiam vero quantam habeat, quid ego dicam? Tot homines habet
What can I say about his household, how vast it is? He has so many slaves
that (Cic. S. Rosc. 133)

Adjectives of this type are not very numerous but they seem to favour
postposition (5 P vs. 2 A). Two examples will suffice for illustration. Familiam
magnam in (242) forms part of an enumeration and describes the noun; the
referent is specific. The prenominal adjective in (243) occurs in a phrase
with a generic referent and may be emphatic.
(242) Grande pondus argenti, familiam magnam, multos artifices, multos formosos
homines reliquit.
At his death he left a great quantity of silver plate, a large household of slaves,
many workmen, many handsome men. (Cic. Ver. 1.91)
(243) Sed ut in magna familia sunt alii lautiores, ut sibi videntur, servi, sed tamen
121 The adjective nova, with an extensional meaning, is not necessarily in anteposition, cf.
quaestione nova perterritus (Cic. Amic. 37) being in fear of the special court of inquiry.
122 It is worth remembering that magna applied to navis refers to its size. The underlying
question is probably qualis?

the noun phrase


And as in a great family other slaves are (as they fancy themselves) of a higher
class, but all the same they are slaves. (Cic. Parad. 36)

Applied to vir, the adjectives such as magnus great or summus the highest
have an extensional meaning in that they refer to greatness in the sense of
influence. Vir magnus is thus a great or famous man. However, they appear
in anteposition as well as in postposition. I would interpret the instance
in (244) as magnus used in an evaluative way but that in (245) as simply
(244) Quamquam Antiochi magister Philo, magnus vir ut tu existimas ipse
Although Philo, Antiochus master, a great man as you yourself judge him
(Cic. Ac. 1.13)
(245) Nemo igitur vir magnus sine aliquo adflatu divino umquam fuit.
There never, therefore, was a great man without divine inspiration. (Cic. N.D.

With second- and third order entities, adjectives of size or extent express
importance. For example, maximum in postposition and separated from its
governing noun, is applied to bellum in (246) to express the importance and
difficulty of a war. It carries the Focus on its own.
(246) (propter rationem Gallici belli ) Bellum in Gallia maximum gestum est;
domitae sunt a Caesare maximae nationes
(out of consideration for the Gallic War ) A most important war has been
waged in Gaul; very mighty nations have been subdued by Caesar (Cic.
Prov. 19)

This type of adjective is quite frequent with religio. The extentor degree
of religio can also be graduated to the highest degree (maxima, summa),
compared (maiore religione; minore religione), or evaluated (nimia in (248)).
These adjectives strongly prefer anteposition (18 A vs. 2 P).
(247) Dedicatio magnam, inquit, habet religionem.
A dedication, says he, involves a strong sanctity. (Cic. Dom. 127)
(248) itaque eius oratio nimia religione attenuata
thus his language attenuated through over-scrupulousness (Cic. Brut. 283)

In the majority of the cases, the examples concern cults and religious practices; in contrast, summa religio applies to persons for expressing their high
conscience or scrupulousness. It occurs in ablatives of quality (249) and in
complements of manner (250).
(249) Cn. Tremellius, homo summa religione et diligentia
Gnaeus Tremellius, a particularly scrupulous and conscientious man (Cic.
Ver. 30)


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(250) Sacra Cereris, iudices, summa maiores nostri religione confici caerimoniaque
It was the wish of our ancestors, judges, that the rites of Ceres should be
performed with the strictest reverence and ceremonial. (Cic. Balb. 55)

Although less frequently, the same type of evaluation is found with opinio,
quaestio, and memoria. The latter may be used both in the sense of the
faculty of remembering (251) or the appreciation of a recollection (252).
(251) Non quaero, quanta memoria Simonides fuisse dicatur
I am not inquiring how great a memory Simonides may be said to have had
(Cic. Tusc. 1.59)
(252) Magna est hominum opinio de te, magna commendatio liberalitatis, magna
memoria consulatus tui.
Men think highly of you, highly commend your generosity, and highly appreciate the memory of your consulship. (Cic. Fam. 1.7.9)123

On the basis of underlying questions, a distinction has been established
between evaluation as the attribution of an abstract quality to a referent
(qualis? how?), and evaluation of the extent or importance of a referent
(quantus? how great?). The first category of evaluation is not easy to distinguish from the description of a referent, especially in the case of human
entities. The situation is complicated by the use of superlatives that are
linked with the idea of subjective evaluation. Be that as it may, evaluative
adjectives manifest a tendency for anteposition because they are expressions of speakers assessment and are often related to emphasis. At the same
time, an evaluative adjective may be applied to an entity with a descriptive
value and thus stand in postposition. This happens in the case of vir. Furthermore, phrases with vir modified by an evaluative adjective often figure
in appositions or they head an apposition.
Evaluation of extent or importance concerns adjectives expressing greatness or importance (magnus) that apply to various entities. This type of
evaluation involves adjectives in anteposition.


This letter, dating from July 56, was addressed to Lentulus.

the noun phrase


6. Identifying a Referent
I will turn now to adjectives that serve to localise a referent in space or time
by indicating its position in a set of other entities. Localising a referent is not
the same thing as describing or evaluating it; the adjectives dealt with in this
section instead enable identification of a referent. This makes them closer
to identifiers such as idem the same than to adjectives properly speaking,
which express properties.
Localising adjectives arrange entities in space or time. They include expressions of relative position such as proximus next or extremus the last
and ordinal numerals indicating the place of a referent in a series (primus
the first). In my corpus, these adjectives occur especially with the first-order
entity liber and the second-order entities dies and bellum, to which I will pay
special attention, but they are also found with miles, e.g. proximi milites the
next soldiers and navis. In (253), postrema navis the last ship, with a nonspecific referent, may apply to any ship that finds itself last in the fleet.
(253) Tum ut quisque in fuga postremus, ita in periculo princeps erat; postremam
enim quamque navem piratae primam adoriebantur.
Then as each was last in flight, he was first in danger; for the pirates always
attacked the last ships first. (Cic. Ver. 5.90)

6.1. Adjectives Expressing a Relative Position

I will start with the adjectives expressing a relative position in space and
time. Table 5 presents figures for the entities examined. As expected, anteposition clearly prevails: these adjectives do not express properties of a referent but their attribution to an entity is the outcome of an intellectual
operation. They result from a speaker or writers analysis of a situation for
determining the order of the entities involved, which is a kind of assessment.
Table 5: Adjectives expressing a relative position

Noun Adj.

Adj. Noun






Adjectives applied to liber are superior previous and extremus the last,
which refer to a succession of several works. In combination with liber,


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both adjectives, primarily used for spatial location upper and uttermost,
respectively, exhibit an extensional temporal meaning in that they concern
the composition or publication of a book. When they are postposed (in
which book?), they specify the referent, as in (254); the author talks about
the first book of the On Duties in order to announce the outline of the second
book. In anteposition, which is more frequent for this type of adjective, they
form a referential unit with their nouns; the phrase in (255) answers the
question where?
(254) Quemadmodum officia ducerentur ab honestate, Marce fili, satis explicatum arbitror libro superiore. Sequitur ut
Marcus my son, I think that in the preceding book I have explained well
enough the way in which duties are based on what is honourable Next I
must pursue (Cic. Off. 2.1)
(255) Nam cum de divinatione Quintus frater ea disseruisset, quae superiore libro
scripta sunt
After my brother Quintus had delivered his views on divination, as set out in
the preceding volume (Cic. Div. 2.8)

Adjectives expressing a relative succession of days include, on the one hand,

hodiernus todays, hesternus yesterdays, crastinus tomorrows; and on the
other hand, extremus, supremus the last, superior preceding. Hesternus
dies and similar phrases (256) function as deictic expressions denoting the
position of days with respect to the moment of speaking. Adjectives such
as extremus, which apply primarily to concrete spatial entities, arrange a
referent in time. They can be used as deictic or anaphoric expressions, in
which case they refer to a moment given by the discourse (Poccetti 2011).
In my corpus, they exhibit this last use, e.g. superiore die the day before or
extremus dies in (257), concerning the last day of the games organised by
Pompey in 55 that took place in mid-September. The adjectives with such
a relative value all stand in anteposition. This tendency is confirmed in the
whole Ciceronian corpus.124
(256) Sed debet aliquid crastinus dies ad cogitandum nobis dare.
But tomorrow ought to give us something to think about. (Cic. Att. 15.8.2)

124 For all declined forms of dies, the LLT offers 39 instances of hodiernus dies, 24 of
hesternus dies and one of crastinus dies. The only instance of the adjective in postposition
is die hesterno in Cic. Phil. 1.11; it is Halms conjecture on the basis of the remains of the
manuscripts V; other editors adopt hesterno die (see Shackleton Baileys 1986 edition, p. 10).
The same tendency is confirmed for superior and extremus dies, although these are not so

the noun phrase


(257) Extremus elephantorum dies fuit.

The last day was that of the elephants. (Cic. Fam. 7.1.3)

With bellum, the adjectives superius previous and proximum (the nearest),
last or following, infrequent on the whole, refer to the succession of wars.
The noun phrases containing them have contextually given referents or
belong to shared knowledge. Expressions in the ablative serve for dating
events, for example in (258), with the underlying question when? The
ablative in (259) also expresses a temporal circumstance and answers the
question when? but it does not represent an expression of the date. The
adjective superiore has a specifying value (during which war?). The first war
against Mithridates is meant as opposed to the second one which Cicero is
talking about in this passage.
(258) At enim nos M. Lepidus , optime proximo civili bello de re publica meritus,
ad pacem adhortatur.
But Marcus Lepidus who in the last civil war deserved well of the State,
exhorts us to peace. (Cic. Phil. 13.7)
(259) Mithridates fugiens maximam vim auri atque argenti pulcherrimarumque
rerum omnium quas ipse bello superiore ex tota Asia direptas in suum
regnum congesserat in Ponto omnem reliquit.
Mithridates in his flight left behind in Pontus his entire vast store of gold and
silver and all sorts of beautiful things , which he had plundered from all Asia
and collected in his kingdom during the previous war. (Cic. Man. 22)

Adjectives expressing a relative location are also found with memoria in the
meaning of the period covered by ones recollection, for example, proxima
(more) recently or superior in the phrase superiore memoria formerly.
Recentiore memoria in (260) concerns the year 168, when the Macedonian
king Perses was defeated by Lucius Aemilius Paullus at Pydna; it is used with
respect to more ancient events, a battle between Aulus Postumius and the
Latins in 496, during which Castor and Pollux were seen.
(260) (Castor et Pollux ex equis pugnare visi sunt,) et recentiore memoria idem
Tyndaridae Persem victum nuntiaverunt.
(Castor and Pollux were seen fighting on horseback,) and in a more modern
history likewise these sons of Tyndareus brought the news of the defeat of
Perses. (Cic. N.D. 2.6)

6.2. Ordinal Numerals

Ordinal numerals mostly occur with the same entities as the adjectives
expressing relative position. Table 6 summarises the results: with liber and
dies ordinal numerals occur in anteposition; with bellum, in postposition.
This tendency correlates with the function fulfilled by the ordinal.


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Table 6: Ordinal numerals


Noun Num.

Num. Noun







Ordinal numerals used with liber relate to the order of books which together
make up a work. Postposition is due to the specifying value of the ordinal: it
identifies one in a succession of books. For example in (261), postposition
of the ordinal suggests the underlying question in which book?; Cicero
presents here quotations taken from different parts of a work. The ordinal
in anteposition forms a referential unit with the noun (262); this phrase
answers the question where?, and not in which book?
(261) Ex libro primo: Forte evenit ut in Privernati essemus Deinde ex libro secundo:
From the first book: We happened to be at the estate at Privernum Next,
from the second book: (Cic. de Orat. 2.224)
(262) Continet enim totam hanc quaestionem ea ratio, quae est de natura deorum,
quae a te secundo libro est explicata dilucide.
For this whole question is a part of the argument on the nature of the gods
which you have set out clearly in your second book. (Cic. Div. 1.117)

Applied to dies, ordinal numerals refer to the relative position of a day with
respect to other days. They also favour anteposition (263). When they stand
in postposition, they specify the referent, as in the case of liber.
(263) Quintus hic dies, Brute, finem faciet Tusculanarum disputationum.
This fifth day, Brutus, will bring the Tusculan discussions to an end. (Cic. Tusc.

The situation is different with bellum. This word is used with ordinal numerals for the Punic wars, mentioned 21 times in the corpus of Classical Latin
prose. The phrase repeatedly occurs in the ablative in the order {noun >
adjective > ordinal numeral}, bello Punico secundo in the Second Punic War,
with the modifiers in postposition, as in (264). This time the complement
expresses when a process took place focusing on in which war. The mirror order, with the modifiers anteposed, is less frequent. The phrase in (265)
functions as the temporal setting by denoting the period when the episode
took place (cf. section 3.2.2, p. 150). The only example with another ordering is given in (266), where bellum tertium Punicum, of which Cato the Elder

the noun phrase


was an important instigator, does not provide any temporal setting but functions as the subject of the sentence. Cicero argues that wars are sometimes
terminated or declared by the counsel of civilians.
(264) At hic Cethegus consul cum P. Tuditano fuit bello Punico secundo.
Now this Cethegus was consul with Publius Tuditanus in the Second Punic
War. (Cic. Brut. 60)
(265) ut primo Punico bello Regulus captus a Poenis cum de captivis commutandis
Romam missus esset iurassetque
as in the First Punic War, when Regulus was taken prisoner by the Carthaginians, he was sent to Rome on parole to negotiate an exchange of prisoners
(Cic. Off. 1.39)
(266) (bella sunt) nonnumquam etiam illata, ut M. Catonis bellum tertium Punicum
in quo etiam mortui valuit auctoritas.
(a war is) sometimes also declared, as was the Third Punic War, through
Marcus Catos counsel; his authority had effect even after his death. (Cic. Off.

In this section, we have seen that ordinal numerals and the adjectives
indicating a relative position express non-inherent properties of a referent
and occur in anteposition, unless they have an specifying function. These
two groups may also combine, for example, in extremo libro tertio (Cic. Off.
3.9). However, the first adjective receives a partitive reading in this case: at
the end of the third book.125
Adjectives expressing a relative position in a set (postremus) do not express
a property; neither do ordinal numerals. Their application to an entity is
the result of an intellectual operation and hence they reflect the speakers
assessment. They commonly stand in anteposition. Postposition is used
when it is necessary to distinguish one referent from another. Such a specification often concerns successions of wars.
7. Expressions of Possession
This section gives an account of expressions of possession.126 Such expressions include, firstly, adjectives derived from proper names applied to miles


For the partitive reading of this type of adjectives, see chapter 3, 2.4.5 for more details.
For data concerning expressions of possession, see Tables 2.7 and 2.8 in the Appendix.


chapter two

and navis, which compete with possessive pronouns such as noster or eius,
and secondly, possessive genitives applied to miles, navis, ager, and liber. In
the latter case, they represent genitives of the author. Both possessive genitives and genitives of the author represent optional complements.127
7.1. Adjectives Derived from Proper Names
With miles, adjectives derived from proper names express the people or
the region soldiers belong to, e.g. milites Romani, Siculi Roman, Sicilian
soldiers; or the commander: Domitiani, Pompeiani, Iugurthini, Sertoriani
Domitianus, Pompeys, Jugurthas, Sertorius. They favour anteposition (16
A vs. 5 P). This correlates with the fact that they appear in contrastive
contexts where adversary troops are confronted, for example, Caesars and
Afranius troops in (267) or Marius and Jugurthas armies in (268).128 All
these adjectives refer to entities known from the previous context (except
for Sertoriani milites, see below). The noun phrases containing them often
function as contrastive Topics and stand at the beginning of the sentence.
In such a case, the adjectives are in anteposition (267)I would envisage
that these form a referential unit with the noun (who?)or in postposition
(268) whose soldiers?, with a specifying value of the adjective. Example
(269) is a special case. The noun phrase behaves as a referential unit and
fulfils the Focus function. There is no contrast between soldiers coming from
the regions mentioned (magnum numerum implies hominum) and Antonys
soldiers. The latter were not enrolled in order to increase manpower but
their recruitment happened under special circumstances that Caesar passes
over here.129 Antoniani milites has a specific referent, not expressed in the
previous context; however, Caesar may be making an allusion to shared
(267) (Caesar ) Ac primo Afraniani milites visendi causa laeti ex castris procurrebant.
(Caesar ) At first, Afranius soldiers ran delightedly out of camp to enjoy the
sight (Caes. Civ. 1.69.1)


See chapter 1, section 2.4.1, p. 25 for discussion.

Likewise, Iugurtha or Afranius, respectively, represent contrastive Topics; for example
in Sal. Jug. 11.1 and Caes. Civ. 1.42.2.
129 However, cf. Civ. 3.10.5. C. Antonius, a brother of Caesars lieutenant M. Antonius, had
been trapped by the Pompeians at the island of Curicta and had to surrender; some of these
troops were enrolled in Pompeys army (see Carter 1993: 145 for reports of this event).

the noun phrase


(268) (Marius ) Sed milites Iugurthini, paulisper ab rege sustentati, profugi

(Marius ) But the soldiers of Jugurtha, animated for a time by their king, ,
betook themselves to flight. (Sal. Jug. 56.6)
(269) (Pompeius) Praeterea magnum numerum ex Thessalia, Boeotia, Achaia, Epiroque supplementi nomine in legiones distribuerat; his Antonianos milites
In addition, Pompey had distributed amongst the legions, by way of reinforcement, a large number of men from Thessaly, Boeotia, Achaia, and Epirus; with
these he had mixed Antonys soldiers. (Caes. Civ. 3.4.2)

Concerning these examples, it is worth pointing out differences between

my analysis and that of Devine & Stephens (2006: 430432). In the section
devoted to Personal name adjectives in Caesar, they only work with the
concept of contrastive Focus on the adjective, which could actually be
responsible for anteposition of the adjective in (267) but not in (269).
Whereas all these adjectives referring to commanders involved in wars
have referents given by the context (with the exception of (269)), one adjective derived from a personal proper name, Sertorianus, is used without any
previous mention in Ciceros fifth Verrine. The context is the following: Verres took into his own home pirates from a captured ship; instead of them,
he threw some Roman citizens into prison. In order to justify himself, he
pretended that they (or some of them, at least) were Sertorius soldiers. Sertorianos milites in (270) possibly makes a reference to shared knowledge.130
The same adjective is also anteposed in Ver. 5.146 and 153; the noun phrases
containing it function as the Focus without being contrastive.
(270) Quorum alios Sertorianos milites fuisse insimulabat et ex Hispania fugientes
ad Siciliam adpulsos esse dicebat, alios
(Verres) some of these, he claimed, were Sertorius soldiers who on their way
from Spain had been driven on shore in Sicily; others (Cic. Ver. 5.72)

The situation is similar for navis. Adjectives derived from proper names used
with this entity refer to a people or a region to which the ships belong:
Rhodiae, Aegyptiae, and Gallicae; to the city that provided them: Segestana, Centuripina, and Apolloniensis, or to their commander: Nasidianae and

130 Reference is being made to a recent event. Recall that Verres was praetor in Sicily from
73 to 71 and that the speeches Against Verres were written in 70. Sertorius, Marius supporter,
who had established a true independent kingdom in Spain, resisted the Roman commanders
for a long time. He formed an alliance with pirates and was in contact with rebelling slaves in
Italy. After his assassination by Perpenna in 72, his soldiers took various directions and also
arrived in Sicily.


chapter two

Laelianae. All these adjectives, mostly in anteposition (8 A vs. 3 P), make a

reference to an entity known from the previous context. The phrase in (271)
resumes given information and functions as the Sentence Topic. Anteposition may also be due to an idea of contrast (272). Example (273) illustrates a
post-nominal adjective with a specifying value.
(271) (Cleomenes in quadriremi Centuripina malum erigi iussit ) Haec Centuripina navis erat incredibili celeritate velis.
(Cleomenes ordered the mast to be erected on a quadrireme from Centuripae
). This ship from Centuripae was astonishingly fast. (Cic. Ver. 5.88)
(272) Ita prima Haluntinorum navis capitur, cui praeerat Haluntinus Deinde
Apolloniensis navis capitur et eius praefectus Anthropinus occiditur.
The first to be taken was the ship from Haluntium, commanded by a Haluntine The second ship to be taken was the one from Apollonia; its captain
Anthropinus was killed. (Cic. Ver. 5.90)
(273) Itaque tempore commutato tempestas et nostros texit et naves Rhodias adflixit ita ut
So when the conditions changed, the gale not only protected our side, but
inflicted such damage on the Rhodian ships that (Caes. Civ. 3.27.2)

7.2. Possessive Genitives

With miles, adjectives derived from proper names compete with possessive
genitives of personal proper names referring to commanders. However,
the two means cannot freely interchange: whereas adjectives express the
category to which the referent belongs, possessive genitives have a referent
of their own.131 However, the regularity of their placement is the same.
Anteposition of adjectives derived from proper names results from the fact
that reference is being made to a person known from the previous context
or belonging to shared knowledge, or to the idea of a contrast between two
(or more) commanders.
Noun phrases containing them display pre-nominal genitives (9 A vs. 1 P).
They are often contrastive, for example Iugurthae with respect to Hiempsal
in (274): Jugurtha asked his Numidian lictor to introduce the soldiers into
his house where Hiempsal was staying.

131 See chapter 1, section 3.6.2, p. 77, and Baldi & Nuti (2010: 356). For interchanges between
the genitive and personal name adjectives in Sallust, see Kroll (1927: 295) and Bertagna (1999:
7476), who interprets the adjective as more expressive than the genitive.

the noun phrase


(274) Numida mandata brevi conficit atque, uti doctus erat, noctu Iugurthae milites
The Numidian speedily executed this commission and, as he had been instructed, admitted Jugurthas men in the night. (Sal. Jug. 12.4)

Genitives of proper names are very rare with navis. They refer to the commander or to inhabitants of the city that commanded the construction of
the ship. They can stand in either anteposition or postposition (3 A vs. 2 P).
Haluntinorum navis, quoted above in (272), has the same pragmatic value
as Apolloniensis navis and fulfils the Focus function. The postposed genitive
D. Bruti in (275) has a clear specifying value (whose ship?).
(275) Conspicataeque naves triremes duae navem D. Bruti quae ex insigni facile
agnosci poterat duabus ex partibus sese in eam incitaverant.
Two triremes, spotting Decimus Brutus ship which was recognisable by its
flag, raced from opposite directions towards it. (Caes. Civ. 2.6.4)

Possessive genitives in the plural are commonly applied to the noun ager
(14 P vs. 3 A). They are formed from nouns referring to people who possess
the territory, e.g. Sequanorum, Remorum, Rutulorum, or to the regions: Bithyniae, Siciliae. There are also several genitives of common nouns: sociorum,
barbarorum, plebis Romanae of allies, barbarians, Roman people as well as
one personal proper name (Mithridatis). Although possessive genitives do
not have the same function as adjectives derived from proper names, discussed in section 3.2.1 (p. 147)the first category expresses the possessor
but the second represents geographical namespostposition of the modifier is regular in both cases. Postposition in (276) signals that the genitive
has a specifying value (whose territory?).
(276) Caesari renuntiatur Helvetiis esse in animo per agrum Sequanorum et Haeduorum iter in Santonum fines facere
The news was brought back to Caesar that the Helvetii intended to march
through the country of the Sequani and the Aedui into the borders of the
Santones (Caes. Gal. 1.10.1)

Only three genitives stand in anteposition. The genitive Assorinorum in

(277) has a contextually given referent;132 the other two are explicitly contrastive: Vettonum agrum territory of the Vettones in Caes. Civ. 1.38.1 and
barbarorum agris the land of the barbarians in Cic. Rep. 2.9.


Inhabitants of Assorum, a Sicilian city next to Enna.


chapter two

(277) Hanc virtutem Agrigentinorum imitati sunt Assorini postea Chrysas est
amnis qui per Assorinorum agros fluit.
The people of Assorum later imitated the courage of the people of Agrigentum The river Chrysas flows through the territory of Assorum. (Cic. Ver.

In the case of liber, the genitives formed from a proper name denote a
concrete individual, the author of a work, e.g. Platonis, Quinti fratris, Catonis,
Xenophontis, except for two instances: Etruscorum and Graecorum. They
occur in anteposition in the majority of the cases (30 A vs. 11 P) since
authors of a work are often relevant at the pragmatic level. The phrase
in (278) conveys new information, with contrastive Focus on the author.133
In (279), an idea of contrast is involved in Publi Muci (Scaevolae) because
there was a mention of his brother, Quintus Mucius, in the previous context.
Anteposition also concerns genitives referring to contextually given entities,
as Xenophontis libri in Cic. Sen. 58, which announces a new Topic, as well as
the genitives whose referents belong to shared knowledge. This is the case
of Homeri libros, a noun phrase functioning as a referential unit in (280).
(278) Num igitur, si cui fundus inspiciendus aut si mandandum aliquid procuratori
de agri cultura , Magonis Carthaginiensis sunt libri perdiscendi? An hac
communi intellegentia contenti esse possumus?
If, therefore, any one of us has to inspect an estate, or has to give instructions
to a manager need he make a thorough study of the books of Mago the
Carthaginian? Or may he be content to rely on our ordinary knowledge? (Cic.
de Orat. 1.249)
(279) ad auctores confugisse et id, quod ipse diceret, et in P. Muci, fratris sui, libris
et in Sex. Aeli commentariis scriptum protulisse.
He took refuge in authorities, pointing out that his own pronouncement
was also to be found in the books of his brother, Publius Mucius, and in the
treatises of Sextus Aelius. (Cic. de Orat. 1.240)
(280) (Pisistratus) Qui primus Homeri libros confusos antea sic disposuisse dicitur,
ut nunc habemus.
Pisistratus is said to have been the first to arrange the books of Homer, which
were previously in a state of confusion, into the order in which we have them
today. (Cic. de Orat. 3.137)134

133 The Carthaginian Mago, from III-IIth century, wrote a highly evaluated treatise on
agriculture in the Punic language. This work, consisting of 28 books, had been imported into
Rome and translated into Latin by Decimus Silanus, after the destruction of Carthage in 149.
A study of such an extensive work would require much effort and would be, in some sense,
quite absurd in the given situation.
134 This is the earliest ancient reference attested concerning the Peisistratean edition of
the Homeric epics. For details and interpretation of this passage, see Wisse et al. (2008: 144).

the noun phrase


Postposition is used for genitives that specify the noun; the phrase in (281)
tells us whose books?, and functions as the Focus. Likewise in (282), where
the author is significant at the pragmatic level: a further development on
Antiochus is given afterwards.
(281) Hoc nimirum est illud, quod de Socrate accepimus, quodque ab ipso in libris
Socraticorum saepe dicitur
Surely this is what we have heard about Socrates and what is often said by
him in the works of his disciples (Cic. Div. 1.122)
(282) Si, inquit (Cotta), liber Antiochi nostri vera loquitur, nihil est quod Pisonem
familiarem tuum desideres; Antiocho enim
Oh, rejoined Cotta, if what is said in the book of our master Antiochus is
true, you have no need to regret the absence of your friend Piso. Antiochus
(Cic. N.D. 1.16)135

However, there are two special instances of the genitives that are interchangeable with adjectives derived from proper names: libri Sibyllini the
Sibylline Books are found alongside Sibyllae libri, and libri Etrusci occur
alongside libri Etruscorum Etruscan books. Such an alternation is made possible by the nature of the semantic relationship between the proper name
and the book: it is indeed attribution rather than authorship of the books.136
Genitives formed from common nouns are less frequent but they are also
for the most part anteposed (6 A vs. 2 P). The genitives concerned have
generic referents in the plural, such as pontificum, vatum, philosophorum
of pontifices, prophets, philosophers. For example, philosophorum libri in
(283), which functions as a contrastive Topic with respect to the real and
personal experience of the orator. The genitive iuris consultorum in (284)
has a contextually given referent and does not play any pragmatic role. On
one occasion, the referent of the genitive is specific, in the singular, patris
fathers, and stands in postposition.
(283) Philosophorum autem libros reservet sibi ad huiusce modi Tusculani requiem
atque otium, ne
As to the writings of the philosophers, let him reserve those for times of rest
and relaxation in this Tusculan villa, so that (Cic. de Orat. 1.224)


For problems with identification of the book, see Pease (1955: 166).
The Sibylline Books represent a collection of oracular utterances composed in Greek
hexameters. They were consulted for the States expiatory rites (see the article Sibyllini libri in
Brills New Pauly for more details). The Etruscan books represent a corpus of Etruscan teachings concerning divination and various rites; they consisted of libri haruspicini, fulgurales et
rituales, for which see Cic. Div. 1.72.


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(284) Hoc uno posito innumerabilia nascuntur, quibus implentur iuris consultorum libri.
From this one principle have sprung up countless regulations which fill the
books of jurisconsults. (Cic. Leg. 2.48)

Expressions of possession are found with first-order entities such as miles
and navis. Adjectives and genitives formed from proper names referring to
individuals, peoples, or cities are contrastive in the majority of the cases
and stand in anteposition. Furthermore, reference is mostly made to a
commander or another possessor known from the previous context. The
situation is different in the case of ager: possessive genitives expressing the
owners of a territory usually stand in postposition due to their specifying
value. With liber, genitives referring to individuals, the authors of a work,
favour anteposition because they are often contrasted.
8. Valency Complements
The aim of this section is to examine obligatory expansions, i.e. those required by valency of second- and third-order nouns, especially subjective
and objective genitives competing with possessive pronouns, prepositional
phrases with cum applied to bellum, and prepositional phrases with de
occurring with opinio and quaestio. The latter two nouns also take completive clauses as expansions, which will be discussed at the end of this section.
8.1. Subjective and Objective Genitives
Subjective and objective genitives, encoding the agent and the patient,
co-occur with verbal nouns or nouns associated with a verb. It is rare to
encounter the two genitives, one subjective and one objective, together in
one noun phrase as in (285). The objective genitive, coming last, is semantically prominent.
(285) non nihil suspicantem propter aliquorum opinionem suae cupiditatis te ab se
he was inclined to suspect an estrangement on your side due to the notion
some people entertained about his own aspiration (Cic. Fam. 1.7.3)137


Pompey is meant; the letter was addressed to Lentulus.

the noun phrase


Subjective and objective genitives do not seem to compete with adjectives formed from proper names. The only instance for the verbal nouns
religio, memoria, opinio, and quaestio I found is de Clodiana religione in the
matter of Clodius sacrilege (Cic. Att. 1.14.1). Solely possessive pronouns are
in complementary distribution with these genitives. The case of bellum is a
special one (see section
In my corpus, subjective and objective genitives accompany religio, memoria, opinio, quaestio, and bellum. Table 7 presents the data collected, with
a distinction between animate entities and inanimate entities.
Table 7: Subjective and objective genitives

Noun Gen.

Gen. Noun

animate inanimate

animate inanimate











This first overview corroborates the findings of an almost equal ratio between pre- and post-nominal genitives. At the same time, it clearly shows
that the entities examined do not behave alike. Genitives with religio are
both pre- and post-nominal; these with memoria and quaestio prefer anteposition, genitives used with opinio and bellum, postposition.
In traditional Latin grammars (e.g. K.&St. I: 421) it is usually stated that
subjective genitives occur pre-nominally whereas objective genitives follow
the governing noun. This could be the case when they occur together, as
in (285), but such instances are infrequent. Devine & Stephens (2006: 314)
questioned this statement,138 and my corpus confirms it: it is certainly not
the underlying syntactic function that determines the placement of these
genitives. On the one hand, the pre-nominal placement of subjective genitives should be actually observable in concrete instances, for example, with
memoria; as we will see, this turns out not to be the case. On the other

138 However, in the case of memoria, Devine & Stephens (2006: 317) claim anteposition of
the subjective genitive as the neutral position, and postposition for objective genitives; they
do not provide statistics.


chapter two

hand, genitives with inanimate referents, which are necessarily objective

genitives, should all figure in postposition, but they do not.
Before beginning the analysis, it is worth pointing out that genitive complements are above all nouns. Therefore, for the interpretation of their
placement, it is necessary to pay special attention to the specific or generic
nature of their referents, their animacy, and, to a lesser extent, to their grammatical number.
8.1.1. Animate Referents Religio
Genitives with religio are found in both positions. However, genitives of
proper names with an animate referent favour postposition (6 occ.). They
specify the noun (whose religio?), for example, with the deities venerated:
religio Telluris, Iovis Capitolini, Larum the cult of Tellus (the Earth), Jupiter
Capitolinus, Lares with specific referents, or people who perform a rite:
religio Graecorum, Larinatium religious custom of Greeks, inhabitants of
Larinum (in Samnium) with generic referents. At the same time, the semantic relationship the genitive has with its governing noun, i.e. whether it is
an objective (286) or a subjective (287) genitive, does not seem to have an
influence on the ordering. Postposition of both types correlates with the
specifying value of the complement.
(286) si sedem ipsam ac templum publici consili religione Concordiae devinxisset
if he bound the place itself and the temple of public counsel by the religious
reverence due to the goddess Concord. (Cic. Dom. 131)
(287) Videtis igitur consuetudinem religionemque Graecorum, quae monumenta
hostium in bello ipso soleat defendere
And now you see that the traditional reverence of the Greeks, which commonly protects the memorials of their enemies (Cic. Ver. 2.159)

A recurring genitive is that of deorum immortalium of the immortal gods

(5 P vs. 3 A) and of deorum without an adjective (1 P vs. 3 A). It is difficult
to draw any conclusion in this case, firstly because the complement is
sometimes postposed, sometimes anteposed, and secondly because it refers
to well-known entities and thus has an accessible referent. However, other
nouns in the plural with a generic value are also found in anteposition, e.g.
hominum, omnium gentium, iudicum of men, all nations, judges. When I
add to them the collective noun populi Romani of the Roman people, I
am tempted to say that generic referents favour anteposition in the case
of religio. From this point of view, deorum immortalium religiones in (288)
allows interpretation as a referential unit (what?)hominum iura also

the noun phrase


has a generic referent, as opposed to religiones deorum immortalium

(289), the genitive of which is semantically prominent (whose religiones?).
On the other hand, the pre-nominal genitive haruspicum in (290), also
generic, refers to an entity known from the context and functions here as
a contrastive Topic with respect to augures, who have been dealt with in the
previous section.
(288) Quibus in rebus non solum hominum iura, sed etiam deorum immortalium
religiones omnes repudiavit.
By which acts he has not only trampled on the laws of men, but on all the
religious reverence due to the immortal gods. (Cic. Ver. 2.126)
(289) Qui religiones deorum immortalium retinere vult, ei qui fana spoliarit omnia
, inimicus non esse qui potest?
The man who wishes to pay due honours to the immortal gods, how can he
fail to hate this universal plunderer of sanctuaries? (Cic. Ver. 3.6)
(290) Iam de haruspicum religione, de expiationibus et procurationibus sat esset
plane in ipsa lege dictum puto.
Concerning the religious role of the haruspices and about expiations and
purifications, I think that the law itself is clear enough. (Cic. Leg. 2.34)

Genitives in the singular with a definite readingand hence with specific

referentsoccur both in postposition and in anteposition. For example,
in (291), the referent of the pre-nominal genitive is specificit refers to
Marcus Lucullus, already mentioned, and figures in a noun phrase functioning as a referential unit, unlike in (292), where the genitive in postposition has a non-specific referent that is semantically relevant (whose?).
In the On Agrarian Law speech, for example, we find hominis of this man,
as expected in anteposition (293) which correlates with reference to a contextually known individual (the proponent of the law, Servilius Rullus) and
with prominence given to the head nouns.139 Cicero is going to explain what
his diligence consisted of. In the same section, hominis (294) is used postnominally because ad religionem is a contrastive Focus with respect to the
diligentia, which has already been discussed. Hominis does not specify the
noun in this case; it is a simple reminder.
(291) Est ridiculum cum habeas amplissimi viri religionem, integerrimi municipi
ius iurandum fidemque ea, quae depravari nullo modo possunt, repudiare.
It is absurd to reject what that cannot possibly be tampered with, when
you have the conscientious evidence of a highly distinguished man and the
oath and good faith of a most respectable town. (Cic. Arch. 8)
139 Anteposition does not necessarily result from the coordination of religionem and diligentia. Cf. hominis diligentiam the carefulness of the man in Cic. Agr. 2.23.


chapter two

(292) Si quis quod spopondit id non facit, maturo iudicio sine ulla religione iudicis
He who does not perform what he promised to do, is promptly condemned
without any scruple of the judge. (Cic. Caec. 7)
(293) Sed videte hominis religionem et diligentiam!
But note the scrupulousness and the diligence of the man! (Cic. Agr. 2.28)
(294) Verum hoc relinquamus; ad religionem hominis revertamur. Videt
But let us leave this ; let us return to the mans punctiliousness. He sees
(Cic. Agr. 2.28) Memoria
I will turn now to the genitives used with memoria. First of all, it should be
pointed out that participants in the process of rememberingthe one who
remembers as well as the object of rememberingare commonly encoded
in the genitive. Memoria could theoretically be expanded by one subjective genitive and one objective genitive, but I have no examples of such
instances. When memoria combines with an objective genitive, the agent of
the process of remembering is either retrievable from the context, for example the judges in (297), or is generic (people). Noun phrases containing
memoria may have a simple genitive (Caesaris memoria Caesars memory)
or a genitive with a modifier (virorum fortium memoria the memory of brave
men). I will treat them separately and start with simple genitives which have
an animate referent.
It is apparent from Table 7 presented above that genitives with animate
referents favour anteposition (52 A vs. 16 P). However, when we disregard
the recurring phrase hominum memoria human memory, the difference
between postposition and anteposition is less striking (27 A vs. 16 P).
Examples (295) and (296) illustrate both orderings; they have both specific and identifiable referents, and they are both objective genitives. The
difference between them consists, in my view, in the value attributed to
the complement: in the first case, the genitive Caesaris is not semantically
prominent (what do you respect?) but in the second case, the complement
specifies the referent (recollection of who?).140 However, this is not the only
interpretative pattern; for example in (297), memoria itself is pragmatically
prominent and contrasts with ipsum.
(295) Et tu in Caesaris memoria diligens, tu illum amas mortuum?
And are you looking after Caesars memory, do you love him in his grave?
(Cic. Phil. 2.110)


Cf. also memoria patris in Cic. Ver. 1.151 and propter patris memoriam in Cic. Brut. 127.

the noun phrase


(296) Neque egere mihi commendatione videbatur, qui et in bello tecum fuisset et
propter memoriam Crassi de tuis unus esset.
A man who had seen military service at your side and whom Crassus memory
made one of your circle did not seem to me to need recommendation. (Cic.
Fam. 13.16.3)
(297) Vos, iudices, quo tandem eritis animo? Memoriam Milonis retinebitis, ipsum
As for you, gentlemen, what will your attitude be? Will you cherish Milos
memory but expel his person? (Cic. Mil. 101)

At the same time, singular and plural number do not favour one position either. The case of hominum memoria in human memory (25 occ.) is
illuminating, especially compared to the plural genitives with opinio that
will be discussed in next section. This phrase containing a subjective genitive hominum with a generic referent functions as a temporal expression
and forms a referential unit par excellence (298). Anteposition of hominum
mainly results from the fact that the genitive is not semantically prominent,
not (only) that it has a generic nature. However, whereas hominum memoria consistently presents anteposition of the genitive,141 patrum memoria (3
occ.), also with a generic referent, is found alongside memoria patrum (3
occ.). With the complement anteposed, patrum memoria functionsand
this should be stressedas a temporal expression with the meaning of in
the time of ones fathers, i.e. in the past, a generation before (when?) (299).
On the other hand, the genitive in postposition is semantically prominent
(whose memory?) (300).
(298) quod nemo umquam post hominum memoriam fecit
a thing which no one in the memory of men ever did before (Cic. Ver. 3.44)142
(299) (Parisii) Confines erant hi Senonibus civitatemque patrum memoria coniunxerant, sed ab hoc consilio afuisse existimabantur.
(The Parisii) These were next neighbours to the Senones, and in the previous
generation had formed one state with them; but it was believed that they had
held aloof from the present design. (Caes. Gal. 6.3.5)
(300) atque hoc memoria patrum teste dicimus
and I base this on the evidence of our fathers (Cic. Brut. 104)

141 Hominum memoria might be an idiomatic expression. When memoria takes an adjective, the genitive hominum is also in anteposition, with one exception when it is inserted
between the noun and its modifier, memoria hominum sempiterna the eternal recollection
of mankind (Cic. Rab. Post. 42).
142 This example concerns an infamous action of Verres: when he was still in Rome, before
setting forth for his province, he sent a letter to Sicilian cities in which he exhorted them to
plough and sow their landshis intention was to collect the benefits upon his arrival.


chapter two

In complex noun phrases where the genitive is itself modified, both

anteposition and postposition are found (6 P vs. 11 A, including 4 occ. of
patrum nostrum memoria). Their referents are specific or non-specific, in
the singular as well as in the plural. Example (301) shows an objective
genitive with a non-specific referent in postposition. Genitives containing
a demonstrative pronoun (302), referring to a well-known person, Verres,
occur three times in anteposition.143
(301) En cui tuos liberos committas, en memoriam mortui sodalis, en metum vivorum existimationis!
Here is the man to whom to entrust your children, here is loyalty to the
memory of a dead friend, and respect for the opinion of the living! (Cic. Ver.
(302) Dum istius hominis memoria maneret, senatus Syracusanus sine lacrimis et
gemitu in curia esse non posset.
So long as their memory of the man lasted, the senators of Syracuse might be
unable to sit in their senate-house without tears and groans. (Cic. Ver. 2.50)

It is also worth mentioning examples of coordination that especially concern the phrase patrum memoria. The genitive is coordinated with nostra
our, vestra your or maiorum of ancestors; either the whole sequence precedes the noun, or memoria stands in the middle, as is shown in (303).
(303) Hinc Voconiae, hinc Atiniae leges; hinc multae sellae curules et patrum memoria et nostra.
From there came the Voconian and the Atinian laws; many curule chairs both
in our fathers time and in our own. (Cic. Phil. 3.16) Opinio
The complements of the bivalent verbal noun opinio encode the person who
believes as a subjective genitive, and the object of a belief as an objective
genitive or a prepositional phrase with de.
Genitives with animate referents are formed from common nouns in the
plural: hominum, nationum, (omnium) civium, censorum of men, nations,
(all) citizens, censors; among them, there are several substantival adjectives: maiorum ancestors, imperitorum ignorant people and two proper
names, Epicureorum Epicureans and Siculorum Sicilians. In the singular,
genitives of collective nouns are represented by: vulgi common people, populi (Romani) (Roman) people, and multitudinis crowd. There are also several nouns in the singular: auditoris, censoris and C. Vellei of hearer, censor,
143 Furthermore, two others contain illius (referring to shared knowledge) and are, one in
anteposition, the other in postposition.

the noun phrase


Gaius Velleius, with specific referents. Genitives with animate referents can
also be expressed by a pronoun such as aliquorum, nostrorum of some, our,
or by singulorum of every single individual. All these are subjective genitives; there are only two objective genitives, deorum of gods and the substantival participle pugnantium of fighting soldiers.
In the case of opinio, there are recurring genitives with generic referents such as hominum and omnium that prefer postposition (hominum: 14
P vs. 7 A; omnium: 9 P vs. 4 A); hominum with memoria was predominantly
anteposed (25 A).144 The following explanation is obvious: the person who
remembers seems to be less prominent than the person who has an opinion.
Postposition of the genitives applied to opinio can therefore be attributed
to the specifying value of the complement (whose?), for example (304),
in comparison with (305), where the underlying question against what?
applies. The same holds true for other post-nominal subjective genitives
with generic referents, for example in opinione Siculorum in the opinion of
the Sicilians (Cic. Ver. 4.114), known from the previous context but semantically prominent. By contrast, censorum opinioni (306) forms a referential
unitnotice the parallel established between this constituent and suae religioni. Anteposition in this case could also result from the contrast between
these two elements. Deorum in (307) is an objective genitive forming a referential unit with its noun. Furthermore, it has a contextually given referent,
for gods are the central topic of this treatise of Ciceros.
(304) (Delos) Qua ex opinione hominum illa insula eorum deorum sacra putatur.
(Delos) From which belief of men that island is considered sacred to those
gods. (Cic. Ver. 1.48)
(305) Celeriter contraque omnium opinionem confecto itinere multos in agris inopinantes deprehendit.
He accomplished the march speedily, contrary to the general expectation,
and caught many persons in the fields off their guard. (Caes. Gal. 6.30.1)
(306) in compluribus iam reis quos , suae potius religioni quam censorum opinioni
in the case of many defendants, whom , they (senators) were guided by their
own conscience rather than by the opinion of the censors. (Cic. Clu. 121)
(307) Empedocles autem multa alia peccans in deorum opinione turpissume labitur.
Quattuor enim naturas divinas esse vult.
Empedocles, who erred in many things, is most grossly mistaken in his notion
of the Gods. He lays down four natures as divine (Cic. N.D. 1.29)

144 According to data collected by Devine & Stephens (2006: 320331), spes and odium also
present post-nominal genitives. In contrast, there is variation for metus.


chapter two

Genitives with quaestio expressing who or what is concerned by an investigation, both judiciary and intellectual, are infrequent but mainly appear in
postposition, as is shown in (308), with an objective genitive.
(308) Quaestiones nobis servorum accusator ac tormenta minitatur.
Our prosecutor threatens us with the examinations and torture of our slaves.
(Cic. Sul. 78) Bellum
Genitives collected with bellum are formed from common nouns, e.g. praedonum, fugitivorum, sociorum of brigands, fugitives, allies, slavesthe last
two compete with the adjectives sociale and servileand from proper
names denoting peoples, e.g. Allobrogum, Venetorum, Latinorum (competing with the adjectives Veneticum and Latinum), or persons, especially commanders against whom a war is waged: Ariovisti, Viriathi, Pyrrhi and Caesaris. In the case of personal proper names, the choice of the genitive is due
to the absence of an available adjective.145
Genitives of personal proper names all stand in anteposition; their referents are specific, partly known from the previous context, e.g. Ariovisti bello
in Caes. Gal. 5.55.2 and Caesaris bello in Cic. Marc. 15, and partly unknown.
The latter case is illustrated in (309). It is a new piece of evidence that Cicero
is introducing for his demonstration; the phrase Pyrrhi bello functions as
a temporal setting without involving any specifying or contrastive value
(when?). It announces a new Topic because the story related afterwards
is about Pyrrhus.146
(309) Quamquam id quidem cum saepe alias, tum Pyrrhi bello a C. Fabricio, consule
iterum, et a senatu nostro iudicatum est. Cum enim rex Pyrrhus
Such a judgement has indeed often been made; and in particular by Gaius
Fabricius, a consul for the second time, and our senate, in the war against
Pyrrhus. When king Pyrrhus (Cic. Off. 3.86)

145 See already Marouzeau (19492: 218) concerning Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. For the use of
the adjective Caesarianus, see ThLL, s. v. Caesar, 38.80 and 39.58; it appears twice in Cicero
(Att. 6.8.2 and Att. 16.10.1 with a textual variant Caesarinus). It becomes more frequent in
the Post-Classical period. Cf. also the coordination in Quint. Inst. 3.8.9: C. Sallustius in bello
Iugurthino et Catilinae Sallust in his Jugurthine War and his Catilines War, and see ThLL, s. v.
Catilina, 261.30 f. for the adjectives Catilinianus and Catilinarius.
146 Cf. also Pyrrhi bello (Cic. N.D. 2.165) in the war with Pyrrhus and Viriathi bello (Brut.
84) in the war against Viriathus. The ordering is the same as with proper name adjectives,
for which see section 3.2.2, p. 150.

the noun phrase


On the other hand, genitives of proper names denoting the people against
whom a war is being waged are all found in postposition. They have specific
referents known from the preceding context, but postposition correlates
with semantic prominence of the genitives. For example, the phrase bellum
Venetorum in (310) tells us which war?, as is suggested by the coordination
with the genitive totius orae maritimae; additionally, it functions as the
Focus. Another example of the same type is that in (311).
(310) Quo proelio bellum Venetorum totiusque orae maritimae confectum est.
By this battle the war with the Veneti and the whole of the sea coast was
finished. (Caes. Gal. 3.16.1)
(311) Modo C. Pomptinus, fortissimus vir, ortum repente bellum Allobrogum
proeliis fregit
Recently Gaius Pomptinus, that gallant man, broke up by his battles a war
that was begun suddenly by the Allobroges (Cic. Prov. 32)

Genitives of common nouns favour postposition (10 P vs. 4 A), in which

case they further specify the nouns, although their referents are chiefly
contextually given. They mainly occur in the fifth Verrine speech where
Cicero refutes Verres affirmation that he has saved Sicily from the dangers
of a revolt of slaves. He responds that no such war recently occurred in Sicily,
since the last conflicts took place a long time ago. Compare example (312),
concerning a specific war, with that in (313), where a war of the runaway
slaves in general is meant.
(312) Quid dicis? An bello fugitivorum Siciliam virtute tua liberatam?
What do you say? That Sicily was saved from the war with the fugitive slaves
by your valour? (Cic. Ver. 5.5)
(313) Nos enim post illud bellum quod M. Aquilius confecit, sic accepimus, nullum
in Sicilia fugitivorum bellum fuisse. At in Italia fuit.
For we have understood that since the war which Manius Aquilius finished,
there has been no slave war in Sicily. (Cic. Ver. 5.5)

When dealing with genitives, it is worth quoting an example with a double

complement: the first one refers to a land, Italiae, where the war took place,
the second one, fugitivorum, expresses the adversary.
(314) cum servitiorum animos in Sicilia suspensos propter bellum Italiae fugitivorum videret
when he saw that the slaves in Sicily were restless because of the slave war in
Italy (Cic. Ver. 5.14)


chapter two

8.1.2. Inanimate Referents

Genitives with inanimate referents represent objective genitives;147 the agent
of the process involved is generic or is inferrable from the context. They
seem to behave in the same way as genitives of animate nouns.
With religio, there is variation of the placement for specific referents, as
in (315) and (316). The first complement specifies the noun and the noun
phrase as a whole functions as the Focus. The second one makes up a
referential unit with the noun. With the sentence in (315), Cicero sets a
new topic of his demonstration: the alleged sanctity of his house. The noun
phrase in (316) refers to an entity known from the context and the genitive
is not semantically prominent. Good examples for illustrating this point are
also those with fani (317), with a specific referent, used with or without the
anaphoric pronoun eius. It figures four times in anteposition because the
referent is contextually given.148
(315) Sed primum expiabo religionem aedium mearum, si id facere vere potero.
But first I will extricate my house of its alleged sanctity, if I am able to do so
truly (Cic. Har. 11)
(316) Decrevistis ut de mearum aedium religione ad pontificum collegium referretur.
You decreed that the question of the sanctity of my house should be referred
to the Pontifical College. (Cic. Har. 12)
(317) Postridie cum fanum spoliatum viderent ii qui Delum incolebant, graviter
ferebant; est enim tanta apud eos eius fani religio ut
Next day, when the inhabitants of Delos saw their sanctuary plundered, they
were much distressed; for that sanctuary is so much venerated by them that
(Cic. Ver. 1.46)

As for memoria, the genitives with inanimate referents go both in anteposition and in postposition (50 A vs. 47 P) unlike those with animate referents,
which favour anteposition. I will look first at genitives without a modifier.
Genitives with generic referents are found in postposition, e.g.: memoria vetustatis, amicitiae, aeternitatis the memory of past time, friendship,
eternity, as well as specific referents: memoria consulatus, beneficii, facto-

147 Instances such as ex annalium memoria (taken) from the annals (Cic. Q. fr. 1.1.7) are
special cases; the annals do not represent an objective genitive but they convey memory.
148 Cf. the data examined by Gettert (1999: 175177). Among 189 noun phrases containing
a pre-nominal genitive collected in Ciceros works, an anaphoric pronoun is present in 27%
of the cases and comes first in the noun phrase.

the noun phrase


rum memory of the consulship, the service, the deeds (318). Complements
with specific referents stand in anteposition: honoris, belli, officiorum memoriam memory of honour, the war, duties, as well as non-specific or generic
referents: immortalitatis (319) or libertatis of liberty. The placement of the
genitives seems not to be linked with specificity but rather with the specifying value of the genitive or, conversely, its absence. Additionally, pragmatic
features such as contrast and emphasis can produce anteposition.
(318) Sustulisti ius imperii, condicionem sociorum, memoriam foederis.
You have destroyed the rights of our empire, the obligations of our allies, and
the memory of our treaty. (Cic. Ver. 5.50)
(319) Quae vero tam immemor posteritas, quae tam ingratae litterae reperientur,
quae eorum gloriam non immortalitatis memoria prosequantur?
What future generation indeed shall be found so unmindful, what literature
so ungrateful, as not to enshrine their glory in an immortal record? (Cic. Phil.

The same holds true for noun phrases with genitives containing an expansion. In such cases, the referents are for the most part specific, for example,
memoria perfuncti periculi the memory of passed dangers, veteris doloris of
ancient pain with the complements in postposition, as opposed to regalis
nominis memoria memory of the royal name, praeteriti doloris of past pain,
maximi beneficii of great service, with the complements in anteposition.
Among generic referents, there are memoria saeculorum omnium memory
of all ages, rerum innumerabilium of countless facts, as opposed to omnium
saeculorum memoria and rerum omnium memory of all things. Specificity
of the referent can be signalled by possessive pronouns (320) and (321); such
complements favour postposition (14 P vs. 6 A). Noun phrases containing an
anaphoric pronoun (three instances in total) stand in anteposition (322), as
well as two complements with illius. This placement results from the contextual giveness of the referent.
(320) Erat eodem tempore senatus in aede Concordiae, quod ipsum templum repraesentabat memoriam consulatus mei
At the same time the senate had assembled in the Temple of Concord, the
very temple that recalled the memory of my consulship (Cic. Sest. 26)
(321) (Caesar) Milites non longiore oratione est cohortatus, quam uti suae pristinae
virtutis memoriam retinerent neu perturbarentur animo
(Caesar) Having encouraged the soldiers with no further speech than that
they should bear in mind their ancient valour and be free from alarm (Caes.
Gal. 2.21.2)
(322) Qua ex re fieri, uti earum rerum memoria magnam sibi auctoritatem magnosque spiritus in re militari sumerent.


chapter two
And for this cause they relied on the remembrance of those events to assume
great authority and great airs in military matters. (Caes. Gal. 2.4.3)

Although the ratio between anteposition and postposition is practically

the same, the following examples serve as an illustration of the difference
between semantic prominence given to the genitive and its absence.
Whereas the phrase in (323) forms a referential unit (what?), the phrase in
(324) contains a genitive that is itself important (recollection of what?). In
the first case, the interpretation of rerum gestarum memoria as a referential
unit is justified by the fact that it forms part of a multiple subject, together
with exercitus and arma.
(323) nec rerum gestarum memoria in reditu C. Mari, sed exercitus atque arma
nor was it the recollection of his mighty deeds that prevailed to procure the
return of Gaius Marius, but rather arms and the army (Cic. Red. Pop. 10)
(324) Ceterum ex aliis negotiis, quae ingenio exercentur, in primis magno usui est
memoria rerum gestarum.
Among other employments which are pursued by the intellect, the recording
of past events is of pre-eminent utility. (Sal. Jug. 4.1)

Additionally, memoria with its complement can also appear in special pragmatic constellations, for example in (325), where a contrast is established
between Salamini tropaei memoriam as a unit and ipsam (Salaminam).
(325) Ante enim Salamina ipsam Neptunus obruet quam Salaminii tropaei memoriam.
For Neptune will overwhelm the island of Salamis sooner than the memory
of the trophy of the victory at Salamis. (Cic. Tusc. 1.110)

As for opinio, genitives with inanimate referents are formed from abstract
second-order nouns in the majority of the cases, e.g. mortis, erroris, honestatis, pecuniae of death, error, honesty, money. Several genitives are in the
plural: bonorum of good things and comitiorum of comitia. They clearly
favour postposition. I would interpret this point as the result of their specifying value, although in (326) the idea of fear is contextually given information. In contrast, the genitive timoris (327) stands in anteposition. This case
is illuminating: from the preceding context, we know that Labienus was not
frightened at all; the enemy thought that he was. From this point of view,
the noun opinionem is more semantically prominent than timoris.
(326) Hac confirmata opinione timoris idoneum quendam hominem et callidum
delegit Gallum ex iis, quos auxilii causa secum habebat.
When this impression of timidity had been confirmed, he chose a certain
suitable and crafty Gaul, one of those who he had with him as auxiliaries.
(Caes. Gal. 3.18.1)

the noun phrase


(327) Labienus suos intra munitiones continebat timorisque opinionem, quibuscumque poterat rebus, augebat.
Labienus kept his troops within the entrenchment, and sought by all means
in his power to enhance the impression that he was afraid. (Caes. Gal. 5.57.4)

Postposed genitives often have one or more modifiers (13 occ.), for example
in (328). Opinio mortis Sesti represents contextually given informationin
the previous section, Cicero said that the Clodia family attempted the assassination of Sestius and believed for a while that he was actually deadbut
the complement itself specifies the noun (opinion of what?). A lot of such
instances are taken from the third book of Ciceros Tusculan Disputations
(2428) where he discusses opinions people have of good and evil. All of
them have a specifying function, regardless of the complexity of the genitive
(11 instances in total), e.g. ex opinione boni the idea of good, opinio magni
mali praesentis idea of a serious present evil. On the other hand, contrastive
genitives can appear in anteposition, for example divinationis in (329), with
respect to ius augurum.149
(328) Si paulo longior opinio mortis Sesti fuisset, Gracchum150 illum suum transferendi in nos criminis causa occidere cogitarint.
If their belief in the death of Sestius had lasted a little longer, they would have
been ready to think of putting that Gracchus of theirs to death and shifting the
charge upon us. (Cic. Sest. 82)
(329) existimoque ius augurum, etsi divinationis opinione principio constitutum sit,
tamen postea rei publicae causa conservatum ac retentum.
I think that, although the augural law was first established from a belief in
divination, yet later it was maintained and preserved for the sake of the State.
(Cic. Div. 2.75)

With quaestio, genitives formed from inanimate nouns mostly have generic
referents, for example testamentorum, officii, omnium peccatorum of testaments, duty, all offences. Example (330) illustrates a genitive in postposition.
However, they stand in anteposition in the majority of the cases, due to pragmatic reasons. For example, coniurationis in (331) is emphatic; cognitionis in
(332) functions as a contrastive Topic with respect to actionis practical questions dealt with in the previous section. Example (333) nicely shows that not
the genitive but the head noun is semantically relevant in an enumeration
of several entities.

149 In this passage, ius augurum is sometimes corrected into ius augurium; cf. Div. 2.70 and
Pease (1963: 472).
150 The manuscript reading is Gracchum; in Sest. 72 Skutsch conjectures Brocchum.


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(330) (optimum virum) tum verberibus ac tormentis quaestionem habuit pecuniae

publicae, idque per biduum.
(that noblest of men) he then under the lash and the rack held an inquest as
to public moneys, and that for two days. (Cic. Phil. 11.5)
(331) Non debes tu quemquam in coniurationis quaestione defendere.
But you ought not to defend anyone who is being tried for conspiracy. (Cic.
Sul. 48)
(332) Cognitionis quaestiones tripertitae sunt; aut sitne aut quid sit aut quale sit
Theoretical questions fall into three groups; the question asked is either, does
it exist? or what is it? or what is its character? (Cic. Top. 82)
(333) Quid ego rerum capitalium quaestiones, reorum pactiones proferam?
Why need I bring forward the trials on capital charges, the deals made with
defendants ? (Cic. Pis. 87)

8.2. Possessive Pronouns

With verbal nouns, possessive pronouns do not express possession but are
arguments,151 and hence compete with genitives. They encode the agent of
a process, with reference to the speaker (meus, noster) or to the addressee
(tuus, vester). With them, expressions concerning the third person can also
be included: the genitives eorum and eius, which are in complementary
distribution with suus.152
Possessives referring to the speaker or to the addressee are used with
opinio and religio. They often signal an explicit contrast between two persons, for example between Cicero and the tutor of his children, Dionysius
(334). The pronoun might remain unexpressed, in which case the agent of
opinio would be deducible from the context (note the phrase ad me). Furthermore, possessive pronouns allow coordination with genitives (335). As
for the third person, the reflexive pronoun suus is also often contrastive
(335), unlike eorum and eius, which are not used in such contexts. In anteposition, these have an anaphoric function, e.g. eius opinionis in Caes. Gal.
5.54.5; in postposition, they function as cataphoric for announcing a relative clause as ad opiniones eorum qui in Cic. Part. 90.153


See Pinkster (fc., chapter 11), and Gross (1993).

See Spevak (2010a: 253) and Baldi & Nuti (2010: 324).
153 Furthermore, they can express the patient: opinionem eius opinion about him (a divinity) (Cic. N.D. 1.29).

the noun phrase


(334) Dionysius cum ad me praeter opinionem meam venisset, locutus sum cum eo
Dionysius having come to me, contrary to my expectation, I spoke to him in
the most liberal way. (Cic. Att. 8.10)
(335) Simul denuntiavit ne suam neu reliquorum opinionem fallerent
At the same time, he urged upon them that they should not disappoint
either his expectation or that of the rest (Caes. Civ. 3.86.5)

There are only a few possessive pronouns with quaestio; for example, oratio
propria vestrae quaestionis a speech which belongs to your trial (Cic. Mil. 7).
The case of memoria is more complex because the function of possessive
pronouns varies depending on the semantic value of memoria. Possessives
used with memoria as a verbal noun in (336) are arguments expressing the
agent, in particular in complex phrases which also contain an objective
genitive (nostrae necessitudinis).
(336) Significabas enim memoriam tuam nostrae necessitudinis.
For you implied thereby that you had not forgotten our close association.
(Cic. Fam. 13.68.1)

Furthermore, there are combinations of genitives with possessive pronouns,

for example, tua sui memoria your remembrance of him (Cic. Att. 13.1.3);
both are arguments because each expresses both the agent and the patient
of remembering.
Used with memoria in a temporal sense, period covered by memory
(337), the possessive pronoun, at least originally, refers to the agent, the person who remembers. It is in complementary distribution with subjective
genitives containing a generic referent (cf. p. 187, (298)(300)). Such expressions seem to be idiomatic in the sense that the idea of agent is, in great
measure, no longer perceptible. This point is confirmed by the fact that possessive pronouns may compete with deictic pronouns, for example: huius
memoriae of the present age (of living memory) (Cic. Off. 3.5), referring to
the moment of speech.
(337) Nostra memoria senatores ne in suis quidem periculis mutare vestem solebant.
Within my recollection it was never customary with senators to change their
garments even in their own perils. (Cic. Red. Sen. 31)

When memoria refers to the human faculty of remembering, the possessive

pronoun expresses possession.154


For example, O miram memoriam, Pomponi, tuam! What an amazing memory you have,


chapter two
8.3. Prepositional Phrases with cum

In the case of bellum, genitives compete with prepositional phrases with

cum and contra, expressing who a war is waged with or against: the adversary. They represent obligatory complements because the semantic value of
bellum implies an idea of interactivity.155
The question of prepositional phrases expanding bellum is closely related
to that of constructions with support verbs, containing a verb with a weak
semantic value such as gero to bear and a verbal noun or a noun related to
a verb, in our case, bellum (338).156 This form of complementation undoubtedly results from the association of the noun bellum with the verb pugno to
fight (339); it could not go back to gero, which does not take such complements (*gero cum).
(338) Rhodii qui prope soli bellum illud superius cum Mithridate rege gesserint
The Rhodians who were almost the only ones who waged the previous war
against Mithridates (Cic. Ver. 2.159)
(339) cum hostibus erat pugnandum
(the troops) had to fight the enemy (Caes. Gal. 4.24.2)

Whereas the prepositional phrase in (338) expands a support verb construction, it is solely an expansion of the noun in (340); the verb administro to assist is not a support verb. Additionally, prepositional phrases
complements of bellum compete to some extent with adjectives such as
Iugurthinum or Cimbricum. Prepositional phrases are also used when any
corresponding adjective is not available at all, e.g. bellum cum re publica war
against the Republic in Cic. Phil. 5.32.
(340) ut idem (Marius) cum Iugurtha, idem cum Cimbris, idem cum Teutonis bellum
so that the same man (Marius) commanded the war against Jugurtha, against
the Cimbri, and against the Teutoni (Cic. Man. 60)

Prepositional phrases with bellum occur more frequently in postposition

than in anteposition (cum 12 P vs. 6 A, contra 6 P vs. 3 A). This is due to the
semantic prominence of the prepositional phrase, as in (341). Anteposition

Atticus! (Cic. Leg. 2.45). In the third person, possessive pronouns are interchangeable with
possessive genitives, cf. Cic. Fam. 13.29.6: novi hominis memoriam I know what a memory he
155 On obligatory complements of verbs such as certo, see Pinkster (fc., chapter 4).
156 For more details on support verb constructions, see chapter 3, section 3.2.3, p. 250.

the noun phrase


of the complement results from pragmatic prominence: cum sorore Cleopatra, expanding a support verb construction, is the Focus in (342). It is also
used for enumerations such as in (340).
(341) Bellum inexpiabile infert quattuor consulibus unus ; gerit idem bellum cum
senatu populoque Romano.
One man (Antony) is waging an irreconcilable war against four consuls.
He is at the same time carrying on war against the senate and Roman people.
(Cic. Phil. 14.8)
(342) Ibi casu rex erat Ptolomaeus magnis copiis cum sorore Cleopatra bellum
gerens quam paucis ante mensibus regno expulerat.
Here, by accident, was Ptolemy warring with a great army against his sister
Cleopatra; who, some months before, he had expelled from the kingdom.
(Caes. Civ. 3.103.2)

8.4. Prepositional Phrases with de

Prepositional phrases with de expressing what an opinion is about represent
obligatory complements of opinio; the verb opinor takes the same construction. They compete with objective genitives and may co-occur with subjective genitives in the same phrase (343).
(343) Quae est opinio hominum de M. Antonio falsa.
What people believe about Marcus Antonius is incorrect. (Cic. Ver. 1.60)

Prepositional phrases with de precede their head noun opinio in the majority of the cases (11 A vs. 6 P). Anteposition of some complements (5 occ.)
is due to the contextual status of the referent: the phrases such as de me,
de vobis about me, you refer to the entities given by the context. Furthermore, prepositional phrases containing a personal pronoun often contrast
with another person, for example de vobis as opposed to de se in (344).
Likewise, the presence of anaphoric pronouns (his, cuius) sometimes produces anteposition of the complement. On the other hand, complements
containing a demonstrative pronoun may occur in postposition when they
are semantically prominent (345). There are also three instances of noun
phrases framed by a modifier and the noun (346).
(344) An iste umquam de se bonam spem habuisset, nisi de vobis malam opinionem
animo inbibisset?
Would that man ever have cherished fair hopes for himself, if he had not
conceived in his mind a bad opinion of you? (Cic. Ver. 42)
(345) Explicabo tibi, quae fuerint opiniones in Sardinia de istius mulieris morte
nam fuerunt duae
I will tell you what were the opinions in Sardinia about that womans death
for there were two opinions. (Cic. Scaur. 7)


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(346) I qui dixerunt totam de dis immortalibus opinionem fictam esse ab hominibus
sapientibus rei publicae causa , nonne omnem religionem funditus sustulerunt?
Those who have asserted that the entire notion of the immortal gods is a
fiction invented by wise men in the interest of the State did not they entirely
destroy the whole religion? (Cic. N.D. 1.118)

Prepositional phrases as obligatory complements of quaestio express what

is concerned by an investigation. These occur mainly with de, in is found
only twice.
The ratio between anteposition and postposition is equal (19 P vs. 19
A), which renders interpretation of the instances difficult. The referents of
the nouns involved are inanimate and specific in the majority of the cases;
there are only three animate nouns in postposition and one in anteposition.
The post-nominal complement in (347) specifies the noun; additionally,
it governs the genitive Oppianici. Example (348), coming from the same
speech by Cicero, is different. It exhibits a frame formed by the emphatic
adjective infinitae coordinated with crudelissimae, and the head noun; the
phrase as a whole is referred to by the relative pronoun quibus. The death
of Oppianicus represents information known from the context (cf. Clu. 176)
and is not semantically prominent here. The pre-nominal complement in
anteposition (349) seems to carry emphasis; Ciceros argument is that many
a time he escaped from Clodius attacks.
(347) An hoc dicitis armario expilato, pecunia ablata non omni reciperata, occisis
hominibus institutam esse quaestionem de morte Oppianici?
Do you assert that after the robbery of the safe, the removal, and only a partial
recovery of the money and the murder of the slaves, the inquiry was held to
investigate the death of Oppianicus? (Cic. Clu. 181)
(348) Hinc illae infinitae crudelissimaeque de morte Oppianici quaestiones, quibus
Hence those repeated and cruel investigations into the death of Oppianicus;
to which (Cic. Clu. 191)
(349) Ex quibus si me non vel mea vel rei publicae fortuna servasset, quis tandem
de interitu meo quaestionem tulisset?
And had my own good fortune and that of the State not preserved me from
them, who would have set up an inquiry into my death? (Cic. Mil. 20)

It is also worth quoting an example of quaestio containing two complements: an objective genitive (mortis paternae) and a prepositional phrase
(de servis paternis) (350); these two means are usually in competition.
Quaestio is used here in a support verb construction.
(350) Mortis paternae de servis paternis quaestionem habere filio non licet!

the noun phrase


The son is not allowed to put his fathers slaves to the question concerning
his fathers death. (Cic. S. Rosc. 78)

8.5. Completive Clauses

The verbal nouns opinio and quaestio allow completive clauses as expansions. Opinio takes the accusative and infinitive construction or a clause
introduced by ut or quod. This type of expansion is relatively frequent (26
occ.), especially the accusative and infinitive construction (21 occ.). In all
the instances collected, the completive clause follows its head noun because
the content is more informative than opinio itself.157 Opinio co-occurs with
adjectives expressing the importance of an opinion (magna, gravis important) or its age (vetus old). The unexpressed agent of the process in (351)
is inferrable as generic; Cicero starts his treatise On Divination with this
sentence. In (352), the completive clause is announced by a cataphoric pronoun; the agent of opinio is deducible from the subject of the verb discessi.
In (353), the agent is encoded in the subjective genitive.
(351) Vetus opinio est iam usque ab heroicis ducta temporibus versari quandam
inter homines divinationem, quam Graeci appellant
There is an ancient belief, which goes right back to heroic times that there
is a practiced among mortals a kind of divination, which the Greeks call
mantike. (Cic. Div. 1.1)
(352) Hac opinione discessi ut mihi tua salus dubia non esset.
When I took my leave, it was with the persuasion that there was no doubt
about your reinstatement. (Cic. Fam. 6.14.2)
(353) Anaximandri autem opinio est nativos esse deos longis intervallis orientes
The view of Anaximander is that the gods are not everlasting but are born
and perish at long intervals of time (Cic. N.D. 1.25)

Furthermore, opinio can form constructions with support verbs, in particular with the verb habeo: opinionem habeo (de) to have a belief concerning
somebody or something as in (354), where the completive clause specifies
the content of eandem opinionem the same belief. Other expressions are
found, e.g. opinionem adfero populo to inspire in the people the belief that
(Cic. Off. 2.46), followed by an accusative and infinitive construction.


Hoffmann (fc.) states the same tendency for spes hope.


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(354) De his eandem fere quam reliquae gentes habent opinionem: Apollinem morbos depellere
Of these deities they have almost the same idea as all other nations: that
Apollo drives away diseases (Caes. Gal. 6.17.2)

Quaestio also often governs complements with the syntactic form of a subordinate clause: an indirect question (22 occ.) or an infinitive clause (1 occ.);
the latter presents a factual propositional content (355).
(355) Qui locus attingit hanc quaestionem nihil fieri quod non necesse fuerit.
This position is connected with the argument that nothing happens which
was not necessary. (Cic. Fat. 17)

Indirect questions, some of which are provided by the treatise On Invention, concern non-factual contents that are subject to an inquiry. Quaestio,
accompanied or not by an evaluative adjective such as magna big, obscura
obscure, indefinita indefinite, often precedes (15 occ.) the indirect question it governs (356). Notice that the verb of the subordinate clause is in the
subjunctive mood, which marks the syntactic integration of the subordinate
clause into the main clause.158 Completive clauses are predominantly postposed to quaestio. Anteposition of the indirect question to quaestio (7 occ.)
results from the fact that it is anchored into the context. The indirect question thus amplifies a point under discussion in that it brings an additional
argument, for example in (357) where veri simillima follows on vera. In (358),
the first constituent of the completive clause (in his primis) is linked to the
previous context by means of the anaphora.
(356) Quaestio est maiestatemne minuerit.
The question is whether he committed lese-majesty. (Cic. Inv. 2.52)
(357) Harum sententiarum quae vera sit, deus aliqui viderit; quae veri simillima,
magna quaestio est.
Which of these opinions is true some god must determine; which is most
probable is a big question. (Cic. Tusc. 1.23)
(358) In his primis naturalibus voluptas insit necne, magna quaestio est.
Whether these primary objects of desire include pleasure or not is a much
debated question. (Cic. Fin. 2.34)

158 Unlike, for example: Simplex est, quae absolutam in se continet unam quaestionem, hoc
modo: Corinthiis bellum indicamus, an non? A simple case is one which contains in itself one
plain question, such as: Shall we declare war on Corinth, or not? (Cic. Inv. 1.17). In this case,
the question announced by hoc modo is a direct one.

the noun phrase


It is also worth adding that memoria forms an idiomatic phrase with

the verb teneo (to hold in memory) to recall, which combines with a
completive clause in the accusative and infinitive (359).
(359) Credo te memoria tenere me et coram P. Cuspio tecum locutum esse cum te
prosequerer paludatum
I believe it is within your recollection that I said something to you in the
presence of P. Cuspius, as I was escorting you when in your official uniform
(Cic. Fam. 13.6.1)

Finally, it is interesting to report one completive clause governed by liber in

(360) Magnus Dicaearchi liber est nescire ea melius esse quam scire.
Yet Dicaearchus has written a large volume to prove that it is better not to
know than to know the future. (Cic. Div. 2.105)

Among the valency complements examined in this section, genitives deserve special attention. From a statistical point of view, they present the
usual ratio of about 50% for anteposition and postposition. However, a
more detailed analysis makes it possible to explain their placement at least
to some extent. It seems to be the result of interplay of several semantic and pragmatic factors: genitives in the singular with specific referents
prefer postposition, genitives in the plural with generic referents, anteposition. Furthermore, semantically prominent genitives occur in postposition
whereas genitives forming a referential unit with their noun occur in anteposition; genitives with contextually given referents fall into the latter category. Additionally, genitives can carry contrast or emphasis.
Individual entities do not operate with the same selection of modifiers.
Whereas religio often exhibits genitives with specific referents in postposition, the complements of memoria are both generic and specific, pre- and
post-nominal. With opinio, even genitives with generic referents stand in
postposition because they are semantically prominent; on the other hand,
they are pre-nominal and not semantically prominent with quaestio. Bellum
provides excellent examples of mostly post-nominal genitives with a specifying value.
As for other obligatory complements, prepositional phrases with de expanding opinio and quaestio present similar tendencies of placement to
genitives. Completive clauses usually stand in postposition.


chapter two
9. Other Complements

This section will deal with several optional complements:159 genitives with
dies, genitives of content with liber, and prepositional phrases with de applied to liber.
As for other optional complements, prepositional phrases expanding
ager deserve mention, even though they seldom occur (4 occ.).160 They
contain a place name referring to a region (361) or a common noun: in ora
maritima on the sea coast in Cic. Agr. 2.58, and stand in postposition.
(361) Iubent venire agros Attalensium atque Olympenorum , deinde agros in
Macedonia regios.
They order the lands of the inhabitants of Attalia and Olympus to be sold ;
next, the royal territories in Macedonia (Cic. Agr. 1.5)

9.1. Genitives with dies and liber

Dies can combine with genitives specifying the activity that will take place:
dies comitiorum the day of the assembly (of the people), as opposed to dies
comitiales comitial days denoting days during which it was permitted to
convene assemblies.
The genitives used with dies are optional from the semantic point of
view and occur in postposition as well as in anteposition (11 times for
each arrangement). Such a ratio is inevitably linked with difficulties of
interpretation of the material collected. The expression dies comitiorum
is used four times and both orderings, anteposition and postposition, are
encountered. Comitiorum dies appears in a passage where a mention of
the comitia has already been made (362); dies comitiorum in (362) is not
expressed in the previous context.161


Possessive genitives, dealt with in section 7.2, p. 178, are also optional.
Such expressions of location are usually regarded as non-classical (Menge 2000: 344).
See chapter 1, section 3.8, p. 83, note 174.
161 Comitiis habitis when the elections had been held in Sal. Cat. 24.1 is related to the
elections of the preceding year. Cf. also Cic. Phil. 2.8082 where it is a question about the
election of Dolabella; the day of the elections is known information: Multis ante mensibus in
senatu dixit se Dolabellae comitia aut prohibiturum auspiciis aut id facturum esse quod fecit
Ecce Dolabellae comitiorum dies. Many months before, he said in the senate he would
by the auspices either forbid Dolabellas election, or would do what in fact he did Now
comes the day of Dolabellas election. On the other hand, the elections also have been
previously mentioned in Cic. Mil. 42: (Milo) non dubitavit occidere, praesertim, iudices, cum
honoris amplissimi contentio et dies comitiorum subesset (Milo) did not hesitate to kill him
(Clodius) especially, gentlemen, when the day of contest for the greatest distinction of the

the noun phrase


(362) (Ipse profectus uti ante comitia, quod tempus haud longe aberat , bellum
conficeret ) Sed postquam dilapso tempore comitiorum dies adventabat,
Albinus Romam decessit.
(He himself set off in order to bring the war to an end before the forthcoming
elections ) However, Albinus, when time passed on and the day of the
comitia approached, returned to Rome. (Sal. Jug. 36.14)
(363) Catilina nihilo minus in proxumum annum consulatum petebat Postquam
dies comitiorum venit et Catilinae neque petitio neque insidiae
Catiline still canvassed for the consulship for the following year When the
day of the comitia came, and neither Catilines efforts for the consulship, nor
the plots (Sal. Cat. 26.15)

The other instances allow the same explanation, for example in (364), where
the day of departure is deducible from the context. On the other hand,
although the idea of departure has been explicitly mentioned in the previous context in (365), Quinctius has to recall the exact day of his departure;
this post-nominal genitive is semantically relevant.
(364) (Nos etsi annuum tempus prope iam emeritum habebamusdies enim
XXXIII erant reliqui ) Et mihi decessionis dies obrepebat.
(I have now got my years service pretty well over33 days remain ) And
the day of my departure draws imperceptibly nearer. (Cic. Att. 6.5.3)
(365) Discedens in memoriam redit Quinctius quo die Roma in Galliam profectus
sit. Ad ephemeridem revertitur, invenitur dies profectionis pridie Kal. Februarias.
Quinctius, when departing, began to recollect on what day he left Rome for
Gaul. He goes to his journal, he finds the day of his departure set down, the
thirty-first of January. (Cic. Quinct. 57)

There are also cases where a date represents a genitive complement of

dies, for example in (366). Such explicative genitives are postposed to the
governing noun.
(366) Postridie in senatu, qui fuit dies Nonarum Septembrium, senatui gratias egimus.
In the senate on the following day, the Nones of September, I made a speech
of thanks to the senators. (Cic. Att. 4.1.5)162

Genitives of content with liber are not very frequent; however, they seem
to favour postposition. The noun phrase in (367) functions as the Focus

state, and the day of the comitia, was at hand It is likely that postposition of this genitive
results from the specificity of the referent.
162 Cf. the extant speech In the Senate after His Return.


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and contains a genitive with a specifying value (the letter is addressed to

Caecina). The anteposed genitive of content in (368) is contrastive, with
respect to in Timaeo.
(367) In Caesare haec sunt: mitis clemensque natura, qualis exprimitur praeclaro
illo libro Querelarum tuarum.
What I find in Caesar is this: a mild and merciful nature, such as you have
so strikingly portrayed in your brilliant work, the Remonstrances. (Cic. Fam.
(368) Iam de Platonis inconstantia longum est dicere, qui in Timaeo patrem huius
mundi nominari neget posse, in Legum autem libris quid sit omnino deus
anquiri oportere non censeat.
The inconsistencies of Plato are a long story. In the Timaeus he says that it is
impossible to name the father of this universe; and in the Laws he deprecates
all inquiry into the nature of the deity. (Cic. N.D. 1.30)

As for expressions of content, it is worth reporting one instance with navis:

(369) auri navem evertat gubernator an paleae
whether a pilot wrecks a ship with cargo of gold or straw (Cic. Parad. 20)

9.2. Prepositional Phrases with de

Liber can govern a prepositional phrase with de expressing the topic of a
work. They mostly figure in complex noun phrases, containing a genitive of
the author, a numerical quantifier, or another modifier.
The de-phrases seemingly occur both in anteposition and in postposition
(12 A vs. 14 P). However, the instances I have collected are almost all complex noun phrases. Anteposition of the complement properly corresponds
to framed noun phrases. There are thus two main arrangements: either the
prepositional phrase is inserted into another phrase163 (10 occ.) as in (370), or
it comes as the last element in the sequence (371) (13 occ.). Both examples
answer the same underlying question, where?, and have the same pragmatic value. However, whereas framing signals that the noun phrase is to be
regarded as a unit (370), postposition of the prepositional phrase is linked
with its specifying value (on what?) (371).
(370) Deque his rebus satis multa in nostris de re publica libris sunt dicta a Laelio.
The subject is fully discussed by Laelius in my volumes On the State. (Cic. Fin.


For framed phrases, see chapter 3, sections 2.1, p. 218 and 3.2.2, p. 246.

the noun phrase


(371) Verius est igitur nimirum illud quod familiaris omnium nostrum Posidonius
disseruit in libro quinto de natura deorum, nullos
It is therefore truer to say, as the good friend of us all, Posidonius, argued in
the fifth book of his On the Nature of the Gods, that (Cic. N.D. 1.123)

Complex noun phrases which contain additionally a genitive of the author

are less easy to interpret. In (372), Epicuri de voluptate liber, not mentioned
in the previous context, forms a unit and functions as the Focus of the sentence, answering the question what did mice gnaw?, and not which book?,
since the previous argument is not about books but about scuta shields
gnawed by mice. The prepositional phrase is framed by the genitive Epicuri
and the head noun liber. Cicero gives this example in order to ridicule some
interpretations of portents.164 However, one could also envisage a contrastive
interpretation of Epicuri with respect to Platonis. On the other hand in (373),
the title of Epicurus work, On Holiness, carries contrast and functions on
its own as the Focus. The genitive specifies the referent here because in
this passage Cicero discusses several books by Epicurus.165 Example (374)
also deserves quotation. Information about Hecato and his works on duties
is not completely new (cf. Off. 3.63). Nevertheless, this noun phrase sets a
new Topic; Hecatonis is the most salient element of the phrase because the
author becomes the subject of disputat afterwards.
(372) Nam si ista sequimur, quod Platonis Politian nuper apud me mures corroserunt, de re publica debui pertimescere, aut, si Epicuri de voluptate liber
rosus esset, putarem annonam in macello cariorem fore.
Hence, by the same token, the fact that, at my house, mice recently gnawed
my Platos Republic should fill me with alarm for the Roman republic; or if
they had gnawed Epicurus On Pleasure I should have expected a rise in the
market price of food. (Cic. Div. 2.59)
(373) At etiam liber est Epicuri De sanctitate.
But Epicurus actually wrote a treatise On Holiness. (Cic. N.D. 1.122)
(374) Plenus est sextus liber de officiis Hecatonis talium quaestionum sitne boni viri
in maxima caritate annonae familiam non alere. In utramque partem disputat
The sixth of Hecatos books On Duties is full of questions of this kind: would a
man who is good fail to feed his slave household when corn is extremely dear?
He argues on either side (Cic. Off. 3.89)

164 The treatise On Pleasure, otherwise unknown (Pease 1955: 449), is assumed to increase
the number of gourmands, and hence, the price of food.
165 For Epicurus book On Holiness and the use of etiam, see Pease (1955: 506 and 533).


chapter two

Additionally, liber may have another prepositional phrase as an expansion. My corpus offered one ad-phrase, referring to the addressee of the
book in (375), and one contra-phrase, denoting the adversary: libros contra
Catonem books against Cato in Cic. Att. 13.50.1.
(375) Ego interea admonitu tuo perfeci sane argutulos libros ad Varronem
Meanwhile I have taken your hint and finished off some neat little volumes
addressed to Varro. (Cic. Att. 13.18)

This section provides several observations on genitives of content and prepositional phrases with de as optional complements of dies and liber. They
are infrequent but their placement corresponds in their main lines to the
tendencies formulated for obligatory complements.
10. Complex Noun Phrases
This section will be devoted to noun phrases containing more than one
modifier. The analysis presented so far has concerned simple noun phrases
without paying attention to complexity. In general, only noun phrases with
a single modifier have been taken into consideration for the statistics; with
several entities, especially navis and liber, such a distinction was not possible
because the instances collected would have been too few.
10.1. Framing of Noun Phrases
Complexity is related to the question of the internal structure of noun
phrases. For example, we have seen that quantifiers favour prenominal
position. When a noun is expanded by a quantifier and an adjective, one
could envisage that gregariis in (376), a classifying adjective which is likely
to occur in postposition, is pushed into anteposition owing to the presence
of the quantifier paucis (376). However, this pre-nominal adjective is better
interpreted as contrastive with respect to the other troops mentioned in the
same sentence.
(376) Cohors una Ligurum cum duabus turmis Thracum et paucis gregariis militibus
transiere ad regem.
One cohort of Ligurians with two squadrons of Thracians and a few common
soldiers went over to the king. (Sal. Jug. 38.6)

Other instances are noun phrases containing an anaphoric or a demonstrative pronoun, which seem to produce anteposition of the other modifier

the noun phrase


(377). In this case, anteposition of the adjective is more likely to be due to a

reference to shared knowledge: hac adventicia pecunia is money that would
come from Pompeys eastern conquests (the letter dates from 60).
(377) (Unam rationem non reiciebam) ut ager hac adventicia pecunia emeretur
quae ex novis vectigalibus per quinquennium reciperetur.
(One proposal I did not reject) that land should be purchased out of the
additional funds accruing during a period of five years from the new tributary
revenues. (Cic. Att. 1.19.4)

Some of the instances of anteposed adjectives with liber could also be

attributed to the complexity of the noun phrase, opened by another modifier, such as a quantifier (378), and closed by the noun.
(378) (Platon) Et reperiret et tueretur, alter (Aristoteles) autem de ipsa iustitia
quattuor implevit sane grandes libros.
(Plato) should both discover and preserve, but the other (Aristotle) filled four
very large volumes with a treatise on justice itself. (Cic. Rep. 3.12)

Complex noun phrases framed by a quantifier or a determiner do actually

occur, but there does not seem to be any syntactic necessity at work responsible for the anteposition of the modifier that would be expected to be in
postposition. The alternative ordering is found as well (379). Anteposition of
the other modifier can often be explained by pragmatic reasons. This point
will be examined in a systematic way in chapter 3, section 2.1, p. 218.
(379) cum Caesar omnino XII naves longas praesidio duxisset
since Caesar had conveyed there twelve warships in all to protect the coast
(Caes. Civ. 3.7.2)

10.2. Memoria and opinio

Among the nouns examined, memoria and opinio offer a substantial number
of complex phrases, consisting of a genitive and another modifier.
Memoria + Adjective + Genitive
The data collected for memoria present wide variation (Table 8). However, we can notice three competing patterns: the genitives are framed by
memoria and its adjective (10+6 occ.), they come last (2 + 14 occ.) or first
(6+5 occ.) in the sequence. The adjectives used are: sempiterna permanent,
recens/recentior recent, aeterna everlasting, and immortalis immortal.


chapter two

Table 8: Memoria + adjective + genitive



memoria Gen. Adj.

memoria Adj. Gen.
Adj. Gen. memoria
Adj. memoria Gen.
Gen. memoria Adj.
Gen. Adj. memoria




The ordering with a genitive in postposition is illustrated in (380); anteposition of the adjective recens with a temporal value is common (cf. section
6.1, p. 171). This pattern is reproduced five times with the same adjective in
my corpus. A genitive framed by memoria and an adjective is shown in (381);
the adjective sempiterna closing the sequence carries emphasis. This pattern
appears eight times. The genitives with generic referents such as hominum,
posteri temporis, omnium gentium of men, posterity, all peoples, come first
(382) or are framed; they are not used in postposition. They are not semantically prominent.
(380) (Galba) C. Gali etiam filium flens commendabat, cuius orbitas et fletus mire
miserabilis fuit propter recentem memoriam clarissimi patris.
(Galba) with tears in his eyes also commended to their protection the son of
Gaius Gallus. This orphan and his weeping excited great compassion because
of the memory still fresh of his illustrious father. (Cic. Brut. 90)
(381) (integritas provincialis) cuius (Sesti) ego nuper in Macedonia vidi vestigia non
pressa leviter ad exigui praedicationem temporis, sed fixa ad memoriam illius
provinciae sempiternam.
(honesty which Sestius displayed in his province) of which I lately saw traces
in Macedonia, not faintly impressed as the record of a brief space of time, but
so fixed that that province might always remember it. (Cic. Sest. 13)
(382) Qui ad dignitatem impellit, maiorum exempla colliget, posteritatis immortalem memoriam augebit.
The one who urges us to follow the honourable will collect examples of
our ancestors achievements and will amplify the importance of being
immortalized by posterity. (Cic. de Orat. 2.335)

Memoria + Determiner/Quantifier + Genitive

Noun phrases with memoria accompanied by a determiner or a quantifier and a genitive show competition between two arrangements: framing and postposition of the genitive. The order {determiner > memoria >

the noun phrase


genitive} occurs 9 times, the order {determiner > genitive > memoria}, 7
The first pattern is shown in (383); notice the parallel between the genitive temporum praeteritorum with a generic referent and the other genitives with specific referents civitatis, praesentium, also in postposition with
a specifying value. The postposed genitive in (384) has a specific referent.
Framing of the complement by a modifier and memoria is illustrated in
(385). This complex noun phrase contains the genitive beneficiorum, with
a generic referent, governing populi Romani, its subjective genitive.
(383) Tantum a vobis petimus ut omnia rei publicae subsidia, totum statum civitatis, omnem memoriam temporum praeteritorum, salutem praesentium in
vestra potestate putetis.
I only ask you to consider that every buttress of the State, its whole constitution, all our recollection of times past, the safety of the present depends
upon your power. (Cic. Flac. 3)
(384) Me manibus inpiis eripite , si ulla apud vos memoria remanet avi mei
Deliver me from his inhuman hands , if you still retain any memory of my
grandfather Masinissa. (Sal. Jug. 24.10)
(385) (Non enim ita gerimus nos hoc bello consulares ut ) partim e nobis ita
timidi sint ut omnem populi Romani beneficiorum memoriam abiecerint, partim
(For we consulars are not conducting ourselves in this war so that ) some of
us are so fainthearted that they have cast away all recollection of the Roman
peoples favours, others (Cic. Phil. 8.32)

Complex noun phrases containing opinio, an adjective and a genitive are
less numerous.
In the majority of the cases, the genitive follows opinio and its adjective
(11 occ.), as is shown in (386). The genitives are mainly formed from abstract
nouns, such as temeritatis or probitatis of recklessness, probity; human
referents are weakly represented, e.g. hominum, multitudinis of men, crowd.
Another example with a post-nominal genitive that specifies the noun is
given in (387); the adjective is emphatic and is separated from its governing
noun. Several pre-nominal cases are more properly genitives framed by an
adjective and the noun (388); this pattern occurs four times out of five
instances in total.
(386) Qui autem non natura, sed culpa vitiosi esse dicuntur, eorum vitia constant e
falsis opinionibus rerum bonarum et malarum


chapter two
However those who are said to be vicious, not by nature but by their own
fault, their vices are due to erroneous ideas of good and bad (Cic. Tusc.

(387) Namque altera ex parte Bellovaci, quae civitas in Gallia maximam habet
opinionem virtutis, instabant
For the Bellovaci, the state which has the greatest reputation for courage in
Gaul, were pressing upon him from one side (Caes. Gal. 7.59.5)
(388) Duces hostium LX milia ex omni numero deligunt earum civitatum, quae
maximam virtutis opinionem habebant.
The commanders of the enemy select from the entire army 60,000 men,
belonging to the states that had the greatest reputation for courage. (Caes.
Gal. 7.83.5)

When the phrase contains another modifier such as tanta, illa, or nulla,
the genitive either follows, for example tantam opinionem timoris so strong
an impression of cowardice (Caes. Gal. 3.17.5) or it figures in the middle: tantis hominum opinionibus about such opinions of men (Cic. Q. fr.
Complexity of a noun phrase is a factor that might have an influence on the
ordering of the elements involved. The co-occurrence of a determiner and
an adjective in the same noun phrase might produce anteposition of the
latter. However, in the instances gathered, pre-nominal, framed adjectives
often allow an interpretation as emphatic.
Complex noun phrases containing a genitive and another modifier (determiner, quantifier, or adjective) show competition between post-nominal,
semantically prominent genitives, genitives framed by the modifier and the
head noun, and prenominal genitives.
11. Conclusions
What conclusions can be drawn from the complex analysis presented in this
chapter? The reader will find partial conclusions for individual categories
distinguished at the end of each section. I will now attempt to formulate
more general findings in five points.
1. General Tendencies
The analysis of corpus material presented in this chapter shows that the general principle underlying the internal ordering of Latin noun phrases can

the noun phrase


be formulated as follows: modifiers expressing inherent properties are in

postposition; modifiers expressing non-inherent properties are in anteposition. However, the facts are complicated by the intervention of various
factors, pragmatic as well as semantic. Focus function and contextual newness of an entity correlate with postposition of adjectives and genitives.
Topic function and contextual giveness are responsible for anteposition. In
anteposition are also found emphatic and contrastive elements. However,
pragmatic factors explain only a part of instances: sometimes, they do not
apply at all. This is why I suggest considering semantic factors, especially
the concept of semantic prominence. It concerns modifiers in postposition
that are semantically more important than their head noun. Such postposed
modifiers further specify the referent within a class of other available entities (ager Campanus the territory of Campania). By contrast, modifiers in
anteposition do not have such a function. In some case, when there is no
subset of competing entities, they form a referential unit with the head noun
(hominum memoria human memory).
2. Variability of the Placement of the
Adjectives Is Not the Same for All Words
We have seen that certain words present great variability in the placement of adjectivesespecially miles soldier, bellum war, and navis ship;
there is some variation for dies day but ager land aqua water, and partially pecunia money, are practically not involved in any variation. This
could be explained in the following way: miles, bellum and navis are in the
centre of pragmatic concern: they are confronted, given properties, distinguished one from another. They are protagonists (miles, navis) or circumstances (bellum, dies) of prime importance. Ager, of which various types
exist, is a topic of discussions about agrarian laws and might belong to the
same group; however, it is not used in contrastive contexts. On the other
hand, familia family, pecunia money, and aqua water are not given such
pragmatic prominence. These are entities that play a secondary role; consequently, their properties are less frequently discussed. A good example
is also provided by vir man in the singular, used for describing people
with little variability of the placement of the adjectives, as compared to
viros men in the accusative plural that appears in pragmatically important contexts and actually exhibits mobility of the adjectives. Behaviour of
the entities examined is in a close relationship with the type of the texts
in which they occur (historical narrative, speeches, and philosophical treatises) and with the topics discussed. Another type of text, say a treatise on


chapter two

plants, would be expected to exhibit a different constellation of entities;

for example, various natural elements would play a prominent pragmatic
3. There Are Cases That Are Difficult to Explain
If we admit that Latin allows variable placement of modifiers, we should not
be surprised that Latin authors use this possibility.
Among the first-order entities, we have seen difficulties with the interpretation of phrases such as veterani milites veteran soldiers and civile bellum
civil war, for which postposition of the adjective would be expected. But is
it mere chance that precisely milites veterani and bellum civile pose a problem? From a pragmatic point of view, we have to do with delicate questions
of the Late-Republican period; the referents of these phrases may be linked
with various subjective associations. Caelatum argentum chased silverware,
referring to very valuable objects is another difficult case. Its adjective may
stand in anteposition and we do not see evident reasons for this, such as
contrast or emphasis. In sum, what I suggest is that a description of the internal order of the Latin noun phrase should envisage, at least to some extent,
extra-linguistic facts that can have an influence on the choice of anteposition in a given context, even if some particular connotations are not easy for
us to understand at first glance.
Shared knowledge represents another complication. In this chapter, I
noted several times that pre-nominal placement of modifiers possibly correlates not only with contextual giveness but also with reference to shared
knowledge. This point is delicate: to what extent can we determine what is
assumed to be an allusion to shared knowledge? A detailed examination of
this point would be welcome.
Among the difficulties, I cannot leave out genitives. In my corpus, it is
relatively easy to understand the placement of the genitive complements of
religio religious conscience or cult and bellum war, mostly with specific referents and standing in postposition. In the case of liber book, we have to do
with genitives of the author that are often contrasted and anteposed to the
noun. As for memoria memory, opinio opinion, and quaestio investigation,
we encounter opposite tendencies: whereas memoria and quaestio present
their genitives in anteposition, opinio has its complements in postposition. I
propose to interpret postposed genitives as carrying a specifying value, i.e. as
semantically prominent (whose?) as opposed to genitives in anteposition
that form a referential unit with their noun. This point is understandable:
the person who remembers is less prominent than the person who has an

the noun phrase


opinion. In the same way, the genitives of quaestio, for the most part formed
from abstract nouns, are in anteposition because they are not semantically prominent. Explanation of the placement of genitives is complicated
by pragmatic factors that may be at work. Firstly, the contextual status of
the referent produces anteposition of the entities known from the context. Anteposition of modifiers can thus be envisaged in relationship with
the phenomenon of anaphora.166 Secondly, the specific or generic character of the referent may have an influence in the sense that there is a tendency for postposition of specific referents and anteposition of generic referents. Thirdly, both factorscontextual giveness and specificity or genericity
of the referentmay give way to the pragmatic features of contrast and
4. But There Are Also Cases That Are Easy to Explain
Entities that are not subject to great confrontations, do not appear in too
much pragmatically marked situations, and are not charged with allusions
to shared knowledge, present regularities in the placement of their adjectives or their genitives. They are easy to understand and to interpret; in my
corpus, vir (sg.), ager, pecunia, frumentum, aqua, and religio.
The adjectives that describe a referent favour postposition. This also
holds true for adjectives occurring in appositions.
Non-numerical quantifiers (multi many), nominal quantifiers (magna
vis great quantity) or other expressions used for quantifying (multa pecunia lot of money) precede the entity quantified. The genitives of the whole
(including genitives of quantity) are thus commonly postposed to the quantifier (magna vis aquae great quantity of water) or, in the case of nominal quantifiers with a modifier, they are framed (magnus frumenti numerus
great quantity of corn). Other arrangements can be explained by pragmatic
reasons without difficulty.
Numerical quantifiers present variability of the placement but this does
not seem to pose a big problem of interpretation: post-nominal numerals
specify the number, pre-nominal numerals form a referential unit with their
Expressions indicating relative succession (ordinal numerals and adjectives such as superior previous) and certain temporal expressions (crastino
die tomorrow) displaying pre-nominal modifiers are also easy to interpret.
166 Anaphoric pronouns come first in a noun phrase when reference is made to a contextually given entity (see Spevak 2010a: 239 with further references).


chapter two

In this case, anteposition is linked either with the phenomenon of anaphora

or with subjectivity in that these expressions result from the authors interpretation of the facts. Modifiers that figure in postposition have a specifying
value (which one?).
Completive clauses occur in postposition, unless they are anchored in the
5. Other Aspects of the Behaviour of Latin Noun Phrases
The distinction of three orders of entities makes it possible to better understand combinations of nouns and modifiers. It clearly shows that a concrete
entity such as miles selects other types of modifiers than a verbal noun like
Entities undergo restrictions as to the choice of quantifiers: count nouns
and non-count nouns do not behave alike and do not select the same nonnumerical quantifiers. Although a systematic study of quantification needs
to be undertaken, I aimed, among other things, to suggest that whereas some
entities are evaluated for multitudo numerousness, which also applies to
some mass nouns, other are evaluated for magnitudo greatness.
Even if the evaluation of a referent is not easy to distinguish from the
description of a referent, evaluative expressions favour anteposition, in the
sense that they reflect the authors assessment. Postposition is mainly used
for expressions of more or less inherent properties.

chapter three

1. Objective
The purpose of this book is to examine Latin noun phrases. However, it is
important to devote a separate chapter to prepositional phrases, for two
reasons.1 One reason is that a prepositional phrase is formed with a noun
(phrase) and a preposition.2 Prepositions are elements that open prepositional phrases, or we can also say that they delimit them at the left-hand
side.3 Prepositional phrases might thus represent a case par excellence of
framed phrases. This point is one of the research questions addressed in this
chapter, namely: does the presence of a preposition, i.e. an element that evidently opens the phrase, entail anteposition of a modifier (when present)
with respect to its governing noun? This pattern is shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Framing of modifiers

(determiner, adjective, genitive complement, etc.)


I will attempt to determine whether there is any notable difference between

the ordering of modifiers in a noun phrase and in a prepositional phrase.
It has indeed been suggested that pre-nominal placement of modifiers in
prepositional phrases could be a kind of syntactic constraint (Kircher 2010:
53). This issue, the placement of quantifiers, adjectives, and genitive complements in prepositional phrases, will be examined in section 2, after some

1 Additionally, unlike prepositions themselves and adverbial phrases (see Luraghi 2010b
with references and a good synthesis in Baos Baos 2009: 299347), the internal structure
of Latin prepositional phrases is a topic that has drawn relatively little attention. Adnominal
prepositional phrases have been recently examined by Wharton (1996) and (2009).
2 Latin has several postpositionsespecially caus and gratibut prepositions are the
most common.
3 Except in the cases with anticipation of a modifier such as quam ob rem for this; see
Marouzeau (1948: 307311 and 1953: 6465) and cf. Spevak (2010a: 20).


chapter three

more general remarks concerning the phenomenon of framing and integration of modifiers into a noun phrase (section 2.1). Prepositional phrases
in Latin may fulfil various syntactic and semantic functions: arguments,
satellites (time, place, cause, instrument, and other complements), and disjuncts, which relate to the content of a whole proposition.4 Whatever their
function is, the preposition always makes explicit the semantic relationship
between the phrase and the element that it modifies.5 In section 2, I will
not dwell on syntactic functions assuming that as such they do not have any
influence on the internal ordering of prepositional phrases. On the other
hand, we will see that semantic functions, for example, those of place complements, can be reflected in the choice of modifiers: adjectives such as
medius middle and extremus uttermost frequently occur in this kind of
Another reason for devoting a special chapter to prepositional phrases
relates to nouns and noun phrases in a direct way: prepositional phrases may
function as adnominal complements (section 3). Additionally, I will look at
problems closely linked with this topic, namely:
1. the question of the attachment of prepositional phrases to a noun or
a verb, in order to see whether a prepositional phrase can truly be a
noun complement,
2. the question of constructions with support verbs.
2. Prepositional Phrases: The Ordering of Their Components
2.1. Integration of Modifiers and Framing
Generally speaking, modifiers anteposed to their governing noun are considered integrated into a noun phrase, while modifiers in postposition manifest a weaker degree of integration. For example, aeneus (1) in anteposition is
more integrated into the noun phrase than alacer in postposition (2). However, postposition of modifiers as such, which is common in Latin, does not
imply that they do not form noun phrases with the nouns.6
4 On prepositional phrases functioning as arguments, see Pinkster (fc., chapter 9); for
satellites, Pinkster (fc., chapter 10).
5 Unlike case marking, see Pinkster (LSS 5.3.2).
6 For the so-called non-configurational languages, in which modifiers are not integrated
into the noun phrases but represent constituents on their own, see Rijkhoff (2002: 19). For
weak integration of modifiers in Latin, see Lehmann (1991). For the status of postposed
adjectives in Latin, see Spevak (fc. a).

the prepositional phrase



(Gyges) descendit in illum hiatum aeneumque equum animadvertit

Gyges went down into the chasm and saw a horse of bronze. (Cic. Off. 3.38)


(Dionysius) respexitque et equum alacrem laetus adspexit.

(Dionysius having lost his horse) looked back and, to his joy, saw his horse
eagerly following. (Cic. Div. 1.73)

In languages such as Ancient Greek, which has articles, the anteposed adjective is in fact framed between the article and the noun: the
wise man.7 Latin has no such means. It is tempting to envisage similarities
between articulated noun phrases in Ancient Greek and Latin noun phrases
with anaphoric or demonstrative pronouns. However, the pattern exemplified in (3) is found alongside that in (4), with an adjective in postposition.
Furthermore, as we have seen in chapter 2 (section 10.1, p. 208), anteposition
of the modifier can often be explained by pragmatic reasons (e.g. contrast or
emphasis), and not as a syntactic constraint. Anaphoric and demonstrative
pronouns therefore do not seem to entail anteposition of the other modifiers.

Sed si ille (Caesar) hac tam eximia fortuna propter utilitatem rei publicae frui
non properat
But if he (Caesar) is in no hurry to enjoy such brilliant fortune, simply for the
advantage of the State (Cic. Prov. 30)


Illa nostra lex consularis nunc modesta videtur.

The law we ex-consuls proposed is regarded now as quite moderate. (Cic. Att.

Theoretically, prepositional phrases could also form a favourable condition

for framing, i.e. formation of units delimited at the left-hand side by a
preposition and at the right-hand side by the noun (see Table 1 above). A
preposition is an element that is identifiable as the opening of a syntactic
unit and the governing noun represents a means par excellence for closing
it. In this connection, it is worth recalling that just like complex noun
phrases and participial or infinitive clauses, prepositional phrases can build
up syntactic units called cola.8 Segmentation of a sentence into such units
is indicated in (3a) by slashes. Although it is not possible to subdivide every
sentence into cola, such delimitation is obvious in many cases.

7 For the internal structure of noun phrases in Ancient Greek, see Bakker (2009). For
framing, see Siewierska & Uhlov (1998) and Spevak (2010a: 26).
8 For the concept of colon, see Fraenkel (19642 and 1965), Habinek (1986), and Spevak
(2010a: 10).


chapter three

(3a) Sed si ille (Caesar) / hac tam eximia fortuna / propter utilitatem rei publicae /
frui non properat

2.2. The Method

In this section, I will look at the placement of modifiers in prepositional
phrases in order to determine whether they behave differently from modifiers in noun phrases. Phrases with only one modifier and more complex
phrases containing two (or more) modifiers will be dealt with separately.
Discussion is not focused on the types of governing nouns, as it was in chapter 2. The prepositional phrases are collected from four texts: Ciceros On
Divination 2 and Against Verres 2.5.1120, Caesars Civil War 3 and Sallusts
The Jugurthine War 180; each text contains approximately 15,000 words.9
2.3. Quantifiers
Non-numerical quantifiers such as multi, plerique, pauci, ullus, cunctus, plurimus, and omnis occurring in prepositional phrases are regularly found in
anteposition (5).10 Omnes and multus can appear in postposition, for example in (6), with multo emphasizing the quantity.

contionatusque apud cunctum exercitum suis agit gratias

addressing the whole army, he thanks to his own men (Caes. Civ. 3.82.1)


Itaque paucis diebus cum auro et argento multo Romam legatos mittit.
Accordingly, a few days later, he sent envoys to Rome, with a great quantity
of gold and silver. (Sal. Jug. 13.6)

Numerical quantifiers are found in anteposition as well as in postposition

(20 A vs. 6 P). They are anteposed when the noun phrase behaves as a unit
(7). Postposition can be attributed to the specifying value of the modifier,
for example in (8) how many legions?

cum esset inter bina castra campus circiter milium passuum III
although there were about three miles of level ground between the two
camps (Caes. Civ. 3.37.2)


Caesar eo tempore cum legione una profectus ad recipiendas ulteriores civitates

Caesar had at that point set out with one legion to recover the more distant
communities (Caes. Civ. 3.16.1)

9 The postpositions caus and grati do not offer a sufficient number of instances in my
sample and will be neglected. I will also disregard prepositional phrases with gerundives.
10 See Table 3.1 in the Appendix. As in chapter 2, I will not pay attention to determiners
and indefinite pronouns, which are mostly found in anteposition.

the prepositional phrase


It is worth mentioning that we can encounter anticipation of the quantifier before the preposition. This phenomenon appears 15 times in my corpus,
which makes up 18% (out of 84 quantifiers in anteposition). Anteposition,
or, better, anticipation of the quantifier, is used by all authors, including Sallust, and concerns especially multus and paucus (9), but is also found, for
example, with the numeral duo.

quae gens paucis ante mensibus ultro ad Caesarem legatos miserat

a few months before the people had of their own accord sent a envoys to
Caesar (Caes. Civ. 3.80.1)

2.4. Adjectives
Adjectives that occur in prepositional phrases with only one modifier are
indicated in Table 2. If we take the global results of their placement, we
would conclude that they favour anteposition (167 occ. out of 260, which
makes 64%). However, a closer look at Table 2 makes it clear that the
placement of adjectives correlates with the semantic categories to which
they belong. Whereas classifying adjectives and adjectives derived from
proper names commonly occur in postposition, adjectives expressing evaluation, location in space and time, and relative position are predominantly
anteposed to their governing nouns. Descriptive adjectives occupy both
Table 2: Adjectives

Noun Adj.

Adj. Noun

classifying adjectives
descriptive adjectives
evaluative adjectives
spatio-temporal adjectives
relative position
adjectives of proper names






The ordering {adjective > noun} also contains 14 instances (13%) of adjectives anticipated before the preposition, cf. example (19). This phenomenon
is mainly encountered in Cicero and concerns the adjectives of extent (magnus big, tam longus so long, summus the highest) or of personal judgement
(mirificus amazing, aequus equal) used with emphasis. Adjectives expressing a permanent or objective property such as hostilis hostile are rarely


chapter three

2.4.1. Classifying Adjectives

I will start the analysis of the data with classifying adjectives, which favour
postposition. Into this category fall adjectives such as militaris military,
publicus public, censorius censorial, civilis civil, regius royal. However, the
data indicated in Table 2 include nine instances of res publica Republic, four
instances of di immortales immortal gods as well as three instances of ora
maritima seashore and res militaris military affairs. Given that the order is
practically fixed in these phrases, the difference between anteposition and
postposition is less striking. Nevertheless, we can say, firstly, that the presence of the preposition as such does not entail anteposition of classifying
adjectives; in (10) and (11), the internal ordering is the same as it would be in
noun phrases. Secondly, the anteposed adjectives are, at least in the majority of the cases, significant from a pragmatic point of view: they either figure
in phrases with the function of Topic (quid de fretis aut de marinis aestibus?
what about the seas and straits with their tides? Cic. Div. 2.34), or they are
contrastive. For example, naturalem in (12) contrasts with the other types
of divinationespecially oracular (vaticinatio, oracula)that Cicero is discussing in this section. The anteposed adjective patrio carries emphasis in
(13). The only cases which are difficult to explain from a pragmatic point of
view are decumana porta11 denoting the gate situated at the rear side of the
camp (with respect to the enemy) (14), and praetoria porta the principal
gate (Caes. Civ. 3.94.5). However, these adjectives do not indicate the type
of gates: anteposition is due to the fact that they express polar orientation
points in space (rear / front), on which see section 2.4.4.
(10) Igitur Iugurtha contra decus regium cultu quam maxume miserabili cum
Cassio Romam venit.
Accordingly Jugurtha, discarding the pomp of a king, accompanied Cassius
to Rome and in garb designed to arouse as much pity as possible. (Sal. Jug.

Qui publicos agros arant, certum est quid e lege censoria debeant.
What cultivators of public land are bound to supply, is stipulated by the
censors law. (Cic. Ver. 5.53)

(12) Auspicia restant de quibus tum dicemus, cum ad naturalem divinationem

Auspices remain I shall speak of them when I get to natural divination.
(Cic. Div. 2.70)


LLT provides six instances of decumana porta in Caesar.

the prepositional phrase


(13) At ego infelix, in tanta mala praecipitatus ex patrio regno

But I, luckless that I am, hurled from my fathers throne into an abyss of
troubles (Sal. Jug. 14.23)
(14) Pompeiana legio celeris spe subsidii confirmata ab decumana porta resistere
The Pompeian legion, heartened by the hope of swift relief, tried to resist from
the rear gate of the camp. (Caes. Civ. 3.69.2)

2.4.2. Descriptive Adjectives

The category of descriptive adjectives displays both postposition and anteposition (21 P vs. 18 A). Adjectives expressing properties of an entity, especially objective, such as colour (15),12 physical aspect, or intellectual disposition appear in postposition, e.g. in tauro opimo in the sacrificial (fatty) bull
(Cic. Div. 2.37), per tramites occultos by obscure by-paths (Sal. Jug. 48.2),
per homines callidos through skilled agents (Sal. Jug. 38.3), ex castris stativis from the permanent camps (Caes. Civ. 3.30.2), cum fascibus laureatis
with his laurelled fasces (Cic. Div. 2.136). These adjectives indicate how the
referent is, its quality. Adjectives expressing permanent properties applied
to concrete entities can occur in anteposition, for example altissimos and
desertas in (16); the adjectives bear emphasis in this case. Another example
with an emphatic adjective is given in (17), where perito is modified by the
intensive adverb tam. Adjectives in anteposition sometimes form a referential unit with their noun, for example a libera mente from a free mind (Cic.
Div. 2.101) or in abditas regiones in (18), expressing where?
(15) Stetit soleatus praetor populi Romani cum pallio purpureo tunicaque talari
muliercula nixus in litore.
The praetor of the Roman people stood on the shore, dressed in sandals, a
purple cloak, and a long-skirted tunic, and leaning on a girl. (Cic. Ver. 5.86)
(16) Quid enim proficit, cum in medium mare fulmen iecit? Quid, cum in altissimos montes, quod plerumque fit? Quid, cum in desertas solitudines?
Who benefits, indeed, from a flash hurled in the middle of the sea? or, as he
(Jupiter) often does, on to the tops of lofty mountains? or in solitary deserts?
(Cic. Div. 2.45)
(17) quod de re tanta et a tam perito imperatore nihil frustra confirmari videbatur
because it did not seem likely that they should receive groundless encouragement on so important a matter and from so experienced a commander (Caes.
Civ. 3.87.7)

12 Cf. Cic. Ver. 5.31, where the second member presents anteposition of the adjective due
to chiasmus: cum pallio purpureo talarique tunica in a purple cloak and a long-skirted tunic.


chapter three

(18) Denique Aulum perpulit, uti relicto Suthule in abditas regiones sese veluti
cedentem insequeretur.
Finally , he induced Aulus to leave Suthul and to follow his feigned retreat
into remote regions. (Sal. Jug. 38.2)

2.4.3. Evaluative Adjectives

Adjectives expressing assessment do not describe a referent but reflect an
authors personal evaluation. They are anteposed in the majority of the
cases (64 A vs. 5 P), for example, ex mala conscientia by a guilty conscience (Sal. Jug. 62.8), de nefario tyranno (Cic. Ver. 5.117) of a foul tyrant,
some of them in the superlative: de acerbissima morte (Cic. Ver. 5.72) of
their most harsh death. Adjectives such as secundus favourable, adversus
unfavourable, aequus equally balanced, iniquus unequal (unfavourable),
applied to res thing or locus place, reflect an authors assessment, as well
as adjectives such as consuetus habitual or necessarius necessary. Additionally, the adjective may be emphatic (19), or contrastive (20).
(19) Sed te mirificam in latebram coniecisti.
But you betook yourself to a strange place of refuge. (Cic. Div. 2.46)
(20) Interim Romae gaudium ingens ortum cognitis Metelli rebus, ut in advorso
loco victor tamen virtute fuisset
Meanwhile, great joy has arisen at Rome from the news of Metellus exploits:
how, in an unfavourable position, he had nevertheless gained a victory by
his valour (Sal. Jug. 55.1)

Adjectives such as magnus, maximus, minimus, and summus applied to a

human or an abstract entity (29 A vs. 1 P) belong to this category.13 They
evaluate importance or extent of a quality and therefore express an authors
assessment. Two examples are given in (21) and (22). The only instance of
postposition is that of cum dignitate maxima (23), which may result from
coordination with religione, also qualified by this adjective.
(21) Omitte igitur lituum Romuli, quem in maximo incendio negas potuisse comburi.
Then dismiss Romulus augural staff, which you say the hottest of fires was
powerless to burn. (Cic. Div. 2.80)

13 On the other hand, maior / minor / maximus applied to an inanimate first-order entity
such as castra belong either to the descriptive group (larger / smaller), or have a special
meaning: ex/a maximis castris from the main camp, e.g. Caes. Civ. 3.62.2.

the prepositional phrase


(22) (Vagenses) Rursum Iugurtham arbitrati cum magno gaudio obvii procedunt.
(The people of Vaga) imagined that it was Jugurtha and went out full of joy
to meet him. (Sal. Jug. 69.1)
(23) (ludos) mihi cum dignitate maxima et religione Iovi Iunoni Minervaeque
esse faciundos
that I must put on, with the greatest dignity and religious observance , the
games for Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva (Cic. Ver. 5.36)

2.4.4. Adjectives Expressing Space and Time

The well-represented group of adjectives referring to space and time clearly
favours anteposition (23 A vs. 2 P).14 It comprises adjectives with a temporal meaning, such as adjectives expressing duration: longus long, infinitus
lasting (24), and adjectives referring to a situation in time: ex pristina virtute of their former bravery (Caes. Civ. 3.28.5), ad cotidiana opera to their
daily tasks (Caes. Civ. 3.49.4), a praesenti supplicio from present punishment (Cic. Ver. 5.74), in nova deditione in a recent surrender (Sal. Jug. 75.8).
These are non-inherent properties of the entities involved. Postposition is
rare, for example, in rebus futuris in (25); this adjective specifies the noun.
(24) Quae potest igitur contagio ex infinito paene intervallo pertinere ad lunam vel
potius ad terram?
Therefore, of these almost limitless distances, what influence can the planets
exercise upon the moon, or rather, upon the earth? (Cic. Div. 2.92)
(25) Ergo hoc inerat in rebus futuris et causas naturalis habebat?
Was this involved in future events, were there natural causes of it? (Cic. Div.

A similar tendency for anteposition is evident for adjectives expressing

orientation in space. Polar orientation points fall into this category, such as
on the left / on the right or inside / outside, e.g. in dextro cornu on the right
wing (Caes. Civ. 3.88.3), in interiorem portum to the inner harbour (Caes.
Civ. 3.40.2).
2.4.5. Adjectives Expressing a Relative Position
Another category is that of adjectives indicating a relative position in space
and time, e.g. adjectives expressing location: superior upper, inferior lower;
proximity: proximus next, finitimus adjacent; extremity: novissimus the
last, summus the highest, extremus uttermost; middle: medius, to which


As has already been observed by Albrecht (1890: 70).


chapter three

ordinal numerals are to be added. Compared with the previous group of

adjectives expressing space and time, the adjectives indicating a relative
position serve to identify the noun. They can be used in two ways: with a
full meaning or with a partitive meaning of the adjective.15 This point does
not seem to have any influence on the placement of the adjectives that are,
in both cases, predominantly anteposed to their nouns (30 A vs. 7 P).16
Two examples of adjectives expressing a relative position with a full
meaning are given in (26) and (27): proximis is applied to space in the sense
of nearby; extremum has a temporal meaning last. Then come the adjectives with a partitive meaning, i.e. applying to a part of the entity involved:17
ad extremum tumulum (28) is not the last hill but the extremity of the hill,
the top of the hill. Likewise, de media nocte at about midnight (Caes. Civ.
3.62.2), or e medio supplicio in (29). Postposition of these adjectives is easy
to explain as due to contrast or a semantically prominent specifying value
(26) Nam plura castella Pompeius pariter distinendae manus causa temptaverat
ne ex proximis praesidiis succurri posset.
For Pompey had made attempts on several forts in order to stretch our manpower, so that that help would not be available from the nearest garrisons.
(Caes. Civ. 3.52.1)
(27) (Cives Romani) crebris confecti vulneribus ad extremum auxilium descenderunt.
(Roman citizens) enfeebled by many wounds adopted their last resort. (Caes.
Civ. 3.9.3)
(28) Caesar receptui suorum timens crates ad extremum tumulum contra hostem
proferri iussit.
Fearing for his mens retreat, Caesar ordered hurdles to be carried to the
furthest point of the hill. (Caes. Civ. 3.46.1)
(29) ut statim e medio supplicio dimiserit
he released them immediately, when their punishment was already under
way (Cic. Ver. 5.13)

15 For the partitive meaning of this type of adjectives, see the detailed study by Vaughan
(1942); cf. Ernout & Thomas (1954: 166) and Romero (1996).
16 Vaughan (1942: 70) draws a similar conclusion from another point of view: the place
of the adjective cannot be regarded as a decisive factor for partitive or non-partitive interpretation of the adjective. For anteposition of this type of adjectives, see also Albrecht (1890:
17 In this connection, cf. the expression with pars: partem ultimam pontis the farthest
section of the bridge (Caes. Gal. 6.29.2) (ultimam in postposition is contrastive), and that
with a genitive: ad summum montis at the top of the mountain (Sal. Jug. 37.4), which is an
instance of an adjective used substantively (see Koestermann 1971: 154 and 332).

the prepositional phrase


(30) (cohortes) Reliquas inter aciem mediam cornuaque interiecerat.

He had inserted the rest of the cohorts between the middle of the formation
and the wings. (Caes. Civ. 3.88.4)

Ordinal numerals occur in anteposition or postposition, depending on the

value they carry. Ordinal numerals that form a referential unit with their
nouns are anteposed (31). When they are semantically prominent, they
are in postposition (32) with an specifying value (which one?). In this
connection, it is worth remembering that whereas night watches present
a pre-nominal ordinal in a systematic way (de quarta vigilia at the fourth
watch Caes. Civ. 3.75.2), hours and expressions of date have the ordinal in
postposition (post horam nonam after the ninth hour Caes. Civ. 3.80.7, ante
diem quartum Kalendas three days before Kalends).18 In the latter two cases,
the ordinal numerals have a prominent semantic value.
(31) ab iis cohortibus quae contra equitatum in quarta acie conlocatae essent
with those cohorts which had been stationed in the fourth line opposite the
cavalry (Caes. Civ. 3.94.3)
(32) (Crastinus) qui superiore anno apud eum primum pilum in legione decima
(Crastinus) who in the previous year had served under him as leading centurion in the Tenth legion (Caes. Civ. 3.91.1)

2.4.6. Adjectives Derived from Proper Names

The adjectives in this category are derived from personal names and place
names. In postposition, which is the most frequent position for this type of
adjectives (23 P vs. 12 A), are found adjectives applied to first-order nouns
denoting a place, e.g. in campum Atinatem to the plains of Atina (Cic. Div.
2.137), contra portum Brundisinum against the port of Brundisium (Caes.
Civ. 3.23.1), in curia Pompeia in Pompeys hall (Cic. Div. 2.23). They have
a specifying function. There are also phrases containing another type of
head noun, such as lex: per legem Mamiliam by the Mamilian law (Sal.
Jug. 65.5) or nomen: ab sociis et nomine Latino from the allies and Latin
peoples (Sal. Jug. 39.2), with which we can also include six instances of the
fixed phrase populus Romanus Roman people. The majority of the phrases
with adjectives in anteposition concern military troops (8 occ. out of 12):
milites soldiers, classis fleet, quadriremis quadrireme, exercitus army. This
ordering is not surprising insofar as we have seen in chapter 2 (section 7,


See Marouzeau (1953: 28) and Spevak (2010a: 249).


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p. 176) that in military contexts a contrast is often established between two

commanders or two armies, as in (33). On the other hand, the postposed
adjective Centuripina in (34) does not carry contrast but has a semantically
prominent specifying value (in what ship?).19
(33) (Cassius) conpletas onerarias naves taeda et pice et stuppa reliquisque rebus
quae sunt ad incendia in Pomponianam classem immisit.
(Cassius) let cargo ships filled with resinous pine pitch, tow, and other inflammable material drift down on to Pomponius fleet. (Caes. Civ. 3.101.2)
(34) Princeps Cleomenes in quadriremi Centuripina malum erigi, vela fieri imperavit
The commander-in-chief Cleomenes ordered the mast to be erected in a
quadrireme from Centuripae, the sails to be spread (Cic. Ver. 5.88)

To sum up, the behaviour of the adjectives occurring in prepositional

phrases is similar to that in noun phrases. The presence of a preposition
does not seem to have any influence on the placement of adjectives and
there is no evident tendency for anteposition to be the default case. The
fact that adjectives used in prepositional phrases appear to favour anteposition correlates with the types of adjectives used: prepositional phrases
very frequently contain adjectives expressing location in space and time,
including several used in a relative way. At the same time, the choice of the
adjectivesand the governing nounscorresponds to the semantic functions the prepositional phrases fulfil: the prepositional phrases collected
often express time and place complements.
2.5. Multiple Modifiers
My corpus did not offer many instances of prepositional phrases with more
than one modifier (18 in total);20 they mainly appear in Cicero. However, the
examples gathered suggest that modifiers are not necessarily framed by the
preposition and the governing noun (8 occ.); an adjective can follow the
noun, e.g. in aliis quoque oraculis Delphicis in other Delphic oracles (Cic.
Div. 2.118) or in (35). The adjective parvus in postposition has a descriptive
value: it refers to the size of light ships called myoparones, which served
for pillaging coastal regions. The formation of framed phrases, i.e. units

19 On the other hand, in Centuripina quadriremi (Cic. Ver. 5.86) is contrastive with respect
to other cities that have provided ships.
20 Prepositional phrases containing two or more coordinated adjectives are infrequent in
my corpus and the instances collected do not permit drawing more general conclusions. They
will not be given further consideration.

the prepositional phrase


opened by the preposition and closed by the noun, does not seem to be
mechanical. On the contrary, anteposition of an adjective often results from
contrast or emphasis; example (36) illustrates a case of emphasis carried by
the adjective manifesto. Five times, framed phrases contain a demonstrative
pronoun, hic or ille (37); but here again, we are more likely to be dealing
with the anteposition of an emphatic adjective, or a reference to shared
knowledge rather than with a syntactic constraint requiring insertion of the
adjectives between the preposition and the noun.
(35) Hic te praetore Heracleo pirata cum quattuor myoparonibus parvis ad arbitrium suum navigavit.
Here, while you were praetor, the pirate Heracleo sailed around in his four
small ships, just as he pleased. (Cic. Ver. 5.97)
(36) (Heraclius) Is tamen in eadem causa fuit, quasi esset in aliquo manifesto
scelere deprehensus.
Nevertheless, Heraclius was treated exactly as if he had been caught committing a crime red-handed. (Cic. Ver. 5.111)
(37) Curritur ad praetorium, quo istum ex illo praeclaro convivio reduxerant.
There was a rush to the governors residence, where he had been brought after
this famous dinner-party. (Cic. Ver. 5.92)

2.6. Genitive Complements

Nouns used in the prepositional phrases under examination very frequently
co-occur with genitive complements. For the purpose of analysis, I will treat
separately phrases containing head nouns without a modifier (section 2.6.1)
and phrases containing head nouns with one or more modifiers (section
2.6.1. Genitives Governed by Nouns without a Modifier
Table 3 present the results. A distinction is made between genitives with
animate referents and inanimate referents, and between singular and plural number. In the majority of the cases, genitive complements are used
without a modifier; genitives with an expansion represent 38 instances. The
genitives involved are formed from nouns; pronominal ones (e.g. eorum,
omnium, aliorum) are infrequent (8 occ.) and appear, with one exception,
in anteposition. Table 3 reveals that postposition of genitive complements
is preferred (62% in total) for all the categories examined.21


Among them, there are several phrases with invariable ordering: de consili sententia by


chapter three

Table 3: Genitive complements governed by head nouns without a modifier

animate referents
inanimate referents

Noun Gen.

Gen. Noun












42 Genitives with Animate and Inanimate Referents

I will first consider animate referents. A well represented group comprises
genitives formed from proper names, which predominantly stand in postposition (38 P vs. 19 A). They have specific referents, typically not expressed
in the previous context, e.g. e fano Dianae from the shrine of Diana (Caes.
Civ. 3.33.1) or de capite Panisci in (38). When they are contextually given, they
specify their head nouns: de monumento Mari of Marius monument (Cic.
Div. 2.140), ad castra Cassi towards Cassius camp (Caes. Civ. 3.36.4).
In historical narratives, genitives often refer to commanders and are
found in both postposition and anteposition. We have already seen (section 2.4.6) that references to commanders and their armies represent special
cases in that known entities are confronted with one another. These genitives occur in postposition (39) or in anteposition (40). An interesting case
is that of the genitive Caesaris, which has a contextually given referent par
excellence; however, in the Civil War, it is found 4 times in anteposition and
11 times in postposition. Anteposition results from its contextually given status (known information), postposition from contrast or the specifying value
of the genitive (41) (whose arrival?).
(38) Idem Carneadem fingere dicis de capite Panisci.
You also say that Carneades imagined the same about the head of Pan. (Cic.
Div. 2.48)
(39) Qua re animadversa Caesar copias suas divisit partemque legionum in castris
Pompei remanere iussit
On observing this, Caesar split his forces and ordered a part of the legions to
remain in Pompeys camp (Caes. Civ. 3.97.3)

the resolution of the council (7 occ., e.g. Cic. Ver. 5.54), ex senatus consulto by the decree of
the senate (3 occ., Cic. Ver. 5.52), and per orbem terrarum throughout the world (2 occ., Caes.
Civ. 3.43.3).

the prepositional phrase


(40) (M. Octavius) Ibi concitatis Dalmatis reliquisque barbaris Issam a Caesaris
amicitia avertit.
(M. Octavius) There, he stirred up the Dalmatians and the other natives and
detached Issa from its loyalty to Caesar. (Caes. Civ. 3.9.1)
(41) Bibulus enim Corcyrae certior factus de adventu Caesaris, sperans
For Bibulus hearing at Corcyra of Caesars arrival, in hopes of (Caes. Civ.

It is important to mention two instances of pragmatically relevant genitives

in anteposition that fulfil the function of Focus; they are expanded by an
apposition. In (42), the person, Gaius Trebonius, plays a role afterwards in
the text. The other analogous example is in M. Anni, hominis splendidissimi,
testimonio in the testimony of Marcus Annius, a very distinguished man
(Cic. Ver. 5.73).
(42) Isdem temporibus M. Caelius Rufus praetor causa debitorum suscepta initio
magistratus tribunal suum iuxta C. Treboni, praetoris urbani, sellam conlocavit.
During this period, the praetor Marcus Caelius Rufus took up the cause of the
debtors; at the beginning of his magistracy he placed his tribunal close to the
chair of Gaius Trebonius, the urban praetor. (Caes. Civ. 3.20.1)

In the plural, proper names of peoples and inhabitants, e.g. Etruscorum,

Aegyptiorum, Romanorum, Numidarum are infrequent (10 occ.); genitives
of common nouns are better represented. They stand in postposition when
they have a specifying value such as in (43) with a contextually given referent, or in (44) with a referent not expressed in the previous context. Postposition of the latter nicely demonstrates the specifying value of a generic
referent (deorum) (the nature of who?). In all his works, Cicero uses the
phrase de natura deorum on the nature of the gods 19 times in total; the
ordering de deorum natura appears only once, in a contrastive context.22 On
the other hand, Leptitanorum in (45), given by the context, is not semantically prominent but forms a referential unit with its noun negotia.
(43) Qui igitur convenit aegros a coniectore somniorum potius quam a medico
petere medicinam?
What would be the sense in the sick seeking relief from an interpreter of
dreams rather than from a physician? (Cic. Div. 2.123)

22 With respect to philosophorum, cf. Cic. N.D. 1.91: Etenim enumerasti usque a Thale
Milesio de deorum natura philosophorum sententias. For you enumerated the opinions of
philosophers from Thales of Miletus onwards concerning the nature of the gods.


chapter three

(44) Quod et in iis libris dictum est, qui sunt de natura deorum, et hac disputatione
id maxume egimus.
I stated this in my treatise On the Nature of the Gods, and I tried to prove it in
the present discussion. (Cic. Div. 2.148)
(45) (Leptitani ) Sed quoniam in eas regiones per Leptitanorum negotia venimus
(the people of Leptis) Now that the events at Leptis have taken us to this
region (Sal. Jug. 79.1)

Inanimate referents behave, in principle, in the same way. Specifying genitives occur in postposition, two examples of which are given in (46) and
(47); foederis has a contextually given, specific referent; lapidum is generic,
not expressed in the previous context. Genitives occur post-nominally when
they provide specification of the noun, e.g. ad fauces portus to the mouth
of the harbour (Caes. Civ. 3.24.1), ad liniamenta oris (Cic. Div. 2.48) to the
lineaments of the face, ante frontem castrorum in front of his camp (Caes.
Civ. 3.37.1). By contrast, pre-nominal genitives are used when the genitive
resumes old information and forms a referential unit with its noun; in (48),
the verb adfers makes an explicit reference to what has been said before.23
See also example (49).
(46) quod iis navem contra pactionem foederis imperarint
because they required them to provide a ship in violation of the terms of the
treaty (Cic. Ver. 5.49)
(47) Multum autem ab ictu lapidum, quod unum nostris erat telum, viminea tegimenta galeis inposita defendebant.
But the osier coverings placed on their helmets protected them to a great
extent from the blows of stones, which were the only weapon our men had.
(Caes. Civ. 3.63.7)
(48) Sed adfers in tauri opimi extis immolante Caesare cor non fuisse.
But you say that when Caesar was offering a sacrifice, there was no heart in
the entrails of the sacrificial bull. (Cic. Div. 2.36)
(49) (thesaurum inventum iri ) Quid habere mundus potest cum thesauri inventione coniunctum?
(the finding of a treasure) What connection can there be between the universe and the finding of a treasure? (Cic. Div. 2.33)

The placement of the genitive rerum, with a generic referent, which cooccurs with the noun natura in Cicero, is a delicate issue. In my corpus, it
23 The passage concerned is Div. 1.119 where Quintus has said: in extis bovis opimi cor non
fuit no heart was found in the vitals of the votive ox. Notice that in this case the genitive is
in postposition.

the prepositional phrase


stands three times in anteposition (50), two times in postposition (51). Here
again, I would interpret the post-nominal genitive as semantically prominent, but the pre-nominal genitive as forming a referential unit with the
governing noun. In Ciceros works, both orderings are found, but anteposition of the genitive prevails: rerum natura (39 A vs. 19 P).
(50) Necesse est eam (vim) aut cum rerum natura esse coniunctam aut conformari
quodam modo numine deorum vique divina.
This force is necessarily in accord with the laws of nature, or is fashioned in
some way by the will and power of the gods. (Cic. Div. 2.29)
(51) Videsne Epicurum, quem hebetem et rudem dicere solent Stoici, quem ad
modum, quod in natura rerum omne esse dicimus, id infinitum esse concluserit?
Do you see how Epicurus, whom you Stoics usually call stupid and rude, has
concluded that what we term the whole in the nature, is infinite? (Cic. Div.
2.103) Genitives with a Modifier

Genitives expanding a noun are mostly without a modifier; only a small
number of them have one (38 occ. in total). Complexity of the genitive complement as such does not seem to influence anteposition or postposition:
genitives with a modifier are postposed 21 times, and anteposed 17 times.
The pre-nominal position of the genitives can be attributed to the contextually given status of the referent, e.g. in earum cohortium virtute on those
cohorts courage (Caes. Civ. 3.89.4) or to the idea of a referential unit that
they form with the governing noun (52).
(52) Tu vates Boeotios credis Lebadiae vidisse ex gallorum gallinaceorum cantu
victoriam esse Thebanorum, quia galli victi silere solerent, canere victores.
You believe that the Boeotian bards at Lebadia foretold victory for the Thebans from the crowing of cocks; for cocks are wont to be silent when defeated
and to crow when victorious. (Cic. Div. 2.56)

My corpus also offered five instances of two genitive complements with

distinct functions, for example in (53) where capite governs statuae and the
latter governs Lysandri. They mostly occur in framed phrases but this may
be by chance.
(53) At in Lysandri statuae capite Delphis exstitit corona ex asperis herbis.
However, a crown of wild herbs suddenly appeared on the head of Lysanders
statue at Delphi. (Cic. Div. 2.68) Measure Expressions

Among the prepositional phrases gathered, there are cases for which the distinctions between animate and inanimate referents and between singular


chapter three

and plural number are not useful, namely measure expressions. The group
of measure expressions (14 occ.) includes nominal quantifiers such as paucitas small quantity, multitudo, copia great number and pars part, as well
as nouns like longitudo length, summa total number, and altitudo (54).
Magnitudo can be added to these, expressing extent, e.g. ad magnitudinem
frigorum against the severe cold (Cic. Ver. 5.26) or denoting greatness or
importance, e.g. pro magnitudine imperi for the majesty of your empire (Sal.
Jug. 14.16). In all these cases, the genitives occur post-nominally.
On the other hand, in the expressions ex numero (55) from the number
of and in numero in the number of, the genitive complement frequently
comes before the noun, or more exactly, is inserted between the preposition
and the noun (9 occ. out of 11).
(54) turres extruxit et in altitudinem pedum XV effectis operibus vineis eam
partem castrorum obtexit.
he constructed towers and having carried his works to a height of 15 feet,
protected that part of his camp with mantlets. (Caes. Civ. 3.54.1)
(55) Nam illud mirarer, si crederem, quod apud Homerum Calchantem dixisti ex
passerum numero belli Troiani annos auguratum.
If I believed it, I should marvel at that famous story you got out of Homer
about Calchas predicting the years of the Trojan War from the number of
sparrows. (Cic. Div. 2.63)

2.6.2. Genitives Governed by Nouns with a Modifier

I will turn now to prepositional phrases consisting of a head + genitive
noun and another modifier. Their ordering is indicated in Table 4. Genitive
complements are with or without a modifier.
Table 4: Genitive complements governed by a noun with a modifier


Prep. > Det. > Noun > Gen.

Prep. > Adj. > Noun > Gen.
Prep. > Det. > Gen. > Noun
Prep. > Adj. > Gen. > Noun
Det. > Prep. > Noun > Gen.
Adj. > Prep. > Noun > Gen.




the prepositional phrase


The data show that the genitive complement quite often comes last in
the sequence (22+ 14 occ.). It is thus common to find the genitive in postnominal position, e.g. ex prima admiratione hominum from the first astonishment of men (Cic. Div. 2.42), where hominum contrasts with praepotentem Iovem, and this applies even if the noun (eam partem) is expanded by
a relative clause, as in (56). On the other hand, a genitive with a contextually given referent can also occur between the modifier and the noun (57).
Adjectives coming first in the sequence mainly express location (medius in
the middle, infimus lowest, dexter right-hand), for which anteposition is
usual, and also subjective evaluation, such as gravissimas in (58).
(56) De media nocte cohortes LX ad eam partem munitionum ducit quae pertinebat ad mare longissimeque a maximis castris Caesaris aberat.
At about midnight he led 60 cohorts towards that part of the fortifications
which adjoined the sea and was furthest away from Caesars main camp.
(Caes. Civ. 3.62.2)
(57) (Achillas) occupabat Alexandriam praeter eam oppidi partem quam Caesar
cum militibus tenebat.
(Achillas) occupied Alexandria except for the part of the town which Caesar
held with his soldiers. (Caes. Civ. 3.111.1)
(58) Iam de sacerdotio Caesaris Domitius Scipio Spintherque Lentulus cotidianis contentionibus ad gravissimas verborum contumelias palam descenderunt.
Already Domitius, Scipio, and Lentulus Spinther, in daily rivalry for the priesthood of Caesar, publicly descended to the gravest insolence of speech. (Caes.
Civ. 3.83.1)

2.6.3. Coordination
Very complex prepositional phrases containing coordinated elements exhibit various orderings (Table 5).
Table 5: Complexes phrases with coordinated elements


Prep. > Noun & Noun > Gen.

Prep. > Noun > Gen. & Gen.
Prep. > Gen. & Gen. > Noun
Prep. > Gen. > Noun & Noun





chapter three

Despite occurring in a multitude of arrangements, it is interesting to

see, here again, that the genitive complement manifests a tendency for
postposition. It usually expands two coordinated nouns, e.g. senatus in (59)
and templi in (60).24 In my corpus, it is less common to find such a genitive
in another position. Example (61) illustrates contrastive instances; Cicero is
contrasting Verres qualities with those of famous Roman commanders.
(59) At C. Memmius inter dubitationem et moras senatus contionibus populum
ad vindicandum hortari
But while the senate hesitated and delayed, Gaius C. Memmius excited the
people by his harangues to take vengeance (Sal. Jug. 30.3)
(60) Pergamique in occultis ac reconditis templi, quo praeter sacerdotes adire fas
non est, quae Graeci adyta appellant, tympana sonuerunt.
And at Pergamum drums sounded in the secret hidden parts of the sanctuary,
which the Greeks call adyta, and where none but the priests may go. (Caes.
Civ. 3.105.5)
(61) neque ad Pauli rationem ac disciplinam neque ad Gai Mari vim atque virtutem
nor the method and discipline of Paulus, nor the vigour and valour of Gaius
Marius (Cic. Ver. 5.25)

When two coordinated genitives depend on one noun, they are either both
in postposition (62), or in anteposition (63). The first instance provides
further specification, while the second noun phrase contains information
belonging to shared knowledge.
(62) Praeclara classis in speciem sed inops et infirma propter dimissionem propugnatorum atque remigum.
To all appearances a magnificent fleet, but weak and ineffective because of
the exemptions given to sailors and oarsmen. (Cic. Ver. 5.86)
(63) (occiso Ti. Graccho ;) post C. Gracchi et C. Fulvi caedem item vostri ordinis
multi mortales in carcere necati sunt.
(after the assassination of Tiberius Gracchus ;) after the murders of Gaius
Gracchus and Marcus Fulvius, many of your order were executed in prison.
(Sal. Jug. 31.7)

3. Adnominal Prepositional Phrases

Relatively few studies have been devoted to prepositional phrases which
depend on a noun. After the work of Jnicke (1886), who provides a col-

24 This is the sole example in Caesar of the neuter plural of an adjective followed by a
genitive, see Carter (1993: 225).

the prepositional phrase


lection of adnominal prepositional phrases in Ciceros works (several of his

examples are not correct), this question has been taken up again by Wharton
(1996 and 2009).
Latin grammars mention adnominal prepositional phrases on several
occasions. The first are verbal nouns which present constructions parallel
to verbs and hence accept the same syntactic type of complements (K.&St.
I: 213217). Secondly, it is sometimes claimed that nouns other than verbal
nouns must be accompanied by a modifier (such as an adjective, determiner,
or possessive genitive) in order to admit a prepositional phrase as expansion
(Menge 2000: 343 and Szantyr 1972: 428). This results in framed constructions, which grammarians often call a closed order, with the complement
enclosed by the modifier and the governing noun as in (64).25 However,
Wharton (1996: 169) argues that insertion of the complement occurs in only
about 42% of the cases, with great variation in individual authors.26
(64) tria cum Carthaginiensibus bella three wars against Carthaginians

It has been argued that prepositional phrases manifest a tendency for postposition with respect to their governing nouns (K.&St. I: 213). This observation is confirmed by Whartons (1996: 167) study.
Another question which arises is that of the frequency of adnominal
prepositional phrases. According to Wharton (1996), prepositional phrases
functioning as noun complements make up 10% of all prepositional phrases
gathered in his corpus.27 From the point of view of noun complements,
we have seen (chapter 1, section 3.2, p. 37) that only about 5 % of noun
complements take the syntactic form of a prepositional phrase.28 In sum,
prepositional phrases are atypical noun complements in Latin.
This section will be devoted to prepositional phrases governed by a noun,
an adjective, and a quantifier. After several remarks concerning problems of
attachment (3.1), I will focus on the types of nouns that take an adnominal prepositional phrase (section 3.2), and on the internal ordering of these


See K.&St. (I: 217) and Szantyr (1972: 428); cf. Gettert (1999: 33).
Cf. also Hoffs study (1995) on complex sequences {adjective + noun + genitive}, concerning noun and prepositional phrases. In his corpus, 40% of the phrases are framed.
27 It is worth remembering that my data presented in the previous section only concern
prepositional phrases in which the nouns have a modifier; for the purposes of this section,
all prepositional phrases functioning as noun complements have been collected. Data from
my sections 2 and 3 cannot thus be compared.
28 Wharton (2009: 191194) also evaluates the frequency of adnominal prepositional
phrases in Latin with respect to other languages. Their frequency is two times greater in
Ancient Greek and ten times or even more in modern languages, such as French or English.


chapter three

constructions. Section 3.3 will deal with adjectives expanded by a prepositional phrase, and section 3.4, with partitive constructions. Unlike Wharton
(1996 and 2009), I will pay attention to the type of nouns involved, and to an
explanation of the placement of the prepositional phrases, contiguity, and
support verb constructions. Instances have been collected from the same
corpus as in section 2. Unlike section 2 where only prepositional phrases
with a noun accompanied by a modifier (preposition + noun + modifier)
were examined, in this section all adnominal prepositional phrases have
been collected, simple ones (preposition + noun) as well as complex ones
(preposition + modifier + noun). Before coming to an analysis, I will first
evaluate the distribution of adnominal prepositional phrases in individual
authors and will formulate some more general observations.
Table 6 presents the numbers of prepositional phrases governed by a
noun and by an adjective. Caesar uses them most frequently but they are
also found in Sallusts highly stylistically elaborated historical narrative.29
Table 6: Adnominal prepositional phrases


Cic. Div.

Cic. Ver.









As for prepositions involved, in, de, ex, and cum are the most frequent. In
broad outline, the distribution of individual preposition in my corpus agrees
with the figures presented by Wharton (2009: 202), and I will not go into
more details on this topic.
3.1. Problems of Attachment
My examination of the corpus makes it clear that it is not always easy to
recognise the relationship that holds between constituents.30 Place complements especially pose a problem. Formal criteria such as framing or adjacency of the prepositional phrase to its governing noun cannot serve, in
my opinion, as reliable criteria for the identification of adnominal prepo-

29 Szantyr (1972: 428) states that adnominal prepositional phrases are typical of colloquial
Latin and elliptical expressions. This is unlikely.
30 Wharton (2009: 189191) also mentions difficulties with the interpretation. I use the
same method as he does: prepositional phrases that can be associated with a verb or a
participle are regarded not adnominal.

the prepositional phrase


sitional phrases. For a good interpretation, it is necessary to have recourse

to semantics. For example, one would be tempted to interpret the segment
nullum bellum in (65) as a framed phrase, but at the semantic level, in
Sicilia is a place complement that should be associated with the verb and
not with bellum. Accordingly, nullum bellum is a discontinuous noun
phrase with the intervention of alien elements in the middle, and nullum
stands with emphasis at the beginning of the colon. In (66), the proximity
of castra and in Thessalia does not necessarily entail an interpretation as
a noun phrase; here again, we have a place complement (which would be
expected, as the setting, at the beginning of the sentence). Another example
of unreliable proximity is that in (67); sine corde is not a complement of
victuma but expresses the modalities of the process vivo to live.
(65) Nos enim post illud bellum quod M. Aquilius confecit, sic accepimus, nullum
in Sicilia fugitivorum bellum fuisse. At in Italia fuit.
For we have understood that since the war which Marcus Aquilius finished,
there has been no slave war in Sicily. But there was one in Italy. (Cic. Ver. 5.5)
(66) Castra enim in Thessalia castris conlata audiebamus.
For news was coming to us that the both camps were facing each other in
Thessaly. (Cic. Div. 2.114)
(67) Id quia non potuerit accidere, ut sine corde victuma illa viveret, iudicandum
esse tum interisse cor, cum immolaretur.
Since it would have been in impossible for the victim to live without a heart,
the heart must have disappeared at the moment of immolation. (Cic. Div.

Before we start the analysis of nouns governing a prepositional phrase, it is

also important to point out that a language has various competing means
available for expressing an idea. I will give one example for illustration:
with a verb of saying, the prepositional phrase with de expresses what we
talk about (68). Verba as a product of the action of speaking can receive
the same construction, especially with the support verb facio to make in
(69). As a consequence of the ellipsis of the word verbawhich seem to be
only allowed in the case of verbs with a full meaning (dico to say, addo to
add, loquor / dico to talk, dissero to expound), not with support verbsthe
prepositional phrase falls under the dependency of addit pauca in (70).
(68) Nondum de mea sententia dico, impudentiae primum respondebo tuae.
I am not yet speaking of my opinion; I will first of all reply to your impudence.
(Cic. Dom. 4)
(69) cum multa de collegi iudicio verba fecissent
when they had discussed the judgment of the College at some length (Cic.
Har. 13)


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(70) Huc addit pauca de causa et de copiis auxiliisque suis.

To this he adds a few words about the cause and about his own forces and
auxiliaries. (Caes. Civ. 3.16.5)

3.2. Nouns Governing Prepositional Phrases

My corpus offered a great number of nouns governing prepositional phrases
(194 in total). First of all, I will give a global evaluation of the results. We have
already seen that Latin grammars usually argue that with nouns other than
verbal nouns, prepositional phrases are not allowed unless they depend
on a complex noun, i.e. a noun with a modifier.31 In my corpus, there are
117 instances of nouns without any modifiers and 77 instances of nouns
with a modifier. As the number of head nouns without a modifier is higher
than the number of verbal nouns (Table 7), the phenomenon of adnominal
prepositional phrases is not conditioned by the presence of a modifier
accompanying the governing noun.
The types of nouns occurring in my corpus are summarised in Table 7.
Table 7: Types of the nouns governing a prepositional phrase
concrete inanimate
concrete animate


It is interesting to see that verbal nouns (99 occ.), to which six instances of
agent nouns included in the category of concrete animate nouns can be
added, roughly represent a half of all the nouns that take a prepositional
phrase as expansion. Here, I should specify that, as verbal nouns, I classified nouns derived from verbs (pactio treaty) and nouns associated with an
action (spes hope); by contrast, among abstract nouns there figure temporal entities (autumnus autumn), properties (crudelitas cruelty) and results
of actions (poena punishment). The facts are more complex (cf. chapter 1,

31 Cf. Menge (2000: 343) and Szantyr (1972: 428). Wharton (2009: 185) claims that the presence of a modifier of the governing noun is not required, without discussing this point in
detail. However, when the governing noun is in a prepositional phrase, framing is only possible for nouns with a modifier; sequences such as *in de re publica libris are not acceptable.

the prepositional phrase


section 2.4.2, p. 27) and complicated, especially because of the presence of

support verb constructions (47 occ.) that I will examine in detail in section In the next section, I will discuss the individual categories separately.
3.2.1. Types of Nouns Governing Adnominal Prepositional Phrases Concrete Inanimate Nouns
The first category is represented by concrete inanimate nouns (43 occ.)
mostly denoting first-order entities. It includes zero-valent nouns the complement of which is optional, e.g. liber de book on, exemplum de example of, corona ex crown made of, vulnus ex wound from, pugna in fight
in,33 lacrimae de tears because of, flamma ex flame coming from. Nouns
expressing results of a process also belong to this category, such as remedium
ad medicine for or mandata ad instructions for34 (one could consider
the complement of the latter one as required by valency). Other examples
are given in (71)(73). The prepositional phrases involved express, respectively, content (de), material (ex), source (ex) (72), goal or purpose (ad),
location (in, contra (73), iuxta), or various modalities (sine in (71)). These
optional complements are for the most part postposed (25 P, 12 A and 6
framed) because they specify the noun. They refer to entities not expressed
in the previous context. Variability of position mainly concerns prepositional phrases expressing content (de).35 Example (74) clearly shows that
anteposition of the prepositional phrase sine capite results from the contrast
established with cum capite.36
(71) oppida temere munita aut sine praesidio capit
he captures towns that were ill fortified or undefended (Sal. Jug. 54.6)
(72) Audiebantur prius se cortice ex arboribus victuros quam Pompeium e manibus dimissuros.
(The soldiers) were heard to say that they would rather live off bark from the
trees than let Pompey slip out of their hands. (Caes. Civ. 3.49.1)

32 Nouns entering into support verb constructions figure among the verbal nouns in
Table 7.
33 I classify pugna as a first-order entity because it denotes a concrete confrontation in
space and time. On the other hand, bellum is rather a second-order entity involving more
abstraction because it comprises a series of conflicts.
34 Two times in the third book of Caesars Civil War (e.g. 3.57.5): haec ad eum (Scipionem)
mandata Clodius refert Clodius reported this commission to Scipio.
35 For expressions of content, cf. chapter 2, p. 206 on liber de.
36 The head of a liver is its superior part, the lobe; for its description and importance for
divination, see Pease (1963: 95).


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(73) Erat eo loco fossa pedum XV et vallum contra hostem in altitudinem pedum X.
There was in that place a ditch 15 feet wide and a rampart facing the enemy
10 feet high. (Caes. Civ. 3.63.1)
(74) An censes, eundem vitulum si alius delegerit, sine capite iecur inventurum? Si
alius, cum capite?
Do you believe that the same bullock, if chosen by one man, will have a liver
without a head, and if chosen by another will have a liver with a head? (Cic.
Div. 2.36)

Frequent postposition of this type of complements also correlates with the

fact that they expand single nouns without a modifier. When the governing
noun has oneI will come back to this point later (section, p. 248)
the prepositional phrase may be framed between the noun and its modifier.
Two examples of such a framing are given in (75), with contrastive Graecis
at the beginning of the sequence, and in (76), where the phrase is opened
by the indefinite pronoun quidam and closed by versus. Anteposition of the
complement also sometimes correlates with the fact that it resumes old
information, such as in (77).
(75) Magnificum illud etiam Romanisque hominibus gloriosum, ut Graecis de
philosophia litteris non egeant.
Furthermore, it would redound to the fame and glory of the Roman people to
be made independent of Greek writers in the study of philosophy. (Cic. Div.
(76) Est quidam Graecus vulgaris in hanc sententiam versus.
There is a much-quoted Greek verse to this effect. (Cic. Div. 2.12; cf. 25)
(77) Iamque de Caesaris adventu fama ad civitates perferebatur.
And already a rumour about Caesars arrival was going round the cities. (Caes.
Civ. 3.102.8) Animate Nouns

The animate nouns (24 occ.) are in majority bivalent nouns and the prepositional phrases they govern are optional, e.g. dux ad guide to, interpres in
interpreter in terms of, socius in associate in. Several nouns are accompanied by a prepositional phrase expressing source: legati ex legates taken
among, or remex de in (80). Such complements are both anteposed and
postposed (A 12, P 11, 1 framed). This variation seems to be linked with the
functions of the prepositional phrases involved. The ordering in (78) is due
to the idea of contrast (with respect to victoriae Pompei comitem); socius has
one valency complement (Caesaris) and one optional complement (in rebus
adversis). A part taken from a whole (79) often goes together with the contextual giveness of the referent (ex amicis). By contrast, in (80) the postposed
prepositional phrase specifies the category to which it belongs.

the prepositional phrase


(78) Itaque Androsthenes, praetor Thessaliae, cum se victoriae Pompei comitem

esse mallet quam socium Caesaris in rebus adversis
So Androsthenes, the praetor of Thessaly, preferring to associate himself with
Pompey in victory than to be Caesars ally in adversity (Caes. Civ. 3.80.3)
(79) Igitur, quamquam in priore actione ex amicis quinquaginta vades dederat
Therefore, although in the first hearing of the case he had given fifty of his
friends as sureties (Sal. Jug. 35.9)
(80) Quid?, inquies, remex ille de classe Coponi nonne ea praedixit quae facta sunt?
What, you will say, did not that oarsman in Coponius fleet truly foretell what
afterwards came to pass? (Cic. Div. 2.114)

A special case is that of legati de delegates with a mission or a message

about. The prepositional phrase, which depends on the noun, seems to
result from analogy with verbs of saying that admit complements with de (to
talk, to negotiate) about.37 Anteposition of such phrases probably correlates
with the fact that they convey contextually given information.
(81) Postremo de omnibus rebus legatos Romam brevi missurum.
In conclusion, (he promised that) he would shortly be sending envoys to
Rome to explain the whole affair. (Sal. Jug. 22.4) Abstract Nouns

This category comprises various second- and third-order entities (28 occ.).
They are zero-valent and monovalent nouns with optional complements:
scelus in crime against, inimitiae cum enmity towards, periculum ab danger
coming from. Other examples are quoted below: crudelitas (82) has an
optional complement expressing direction (towards who it is oriented),
autumnus (83) an optional complement of place.
(82) Facile ostendam tua crudelitate in alios omnes tibi aditus misericordiae iudicum iam pridem esse praeclusos.
I might easily show how your own treatment of other men has altogether
debarred this court from showing any mercy to yourself (Cic. Ver. 5.21)
(83) Gravis autumnus in Apulia circumque Brundisium ex saluberrimis Galliae et
Hispaniae regionibus omnem exercitum valetudine temptaverat.
The oppressive autumn in Apulia and around Brundisium, coming after the
healthiness of the countries of Gaul and Spain, had spread sickness throughout the whole army. (Caes. Civ. 3.2.3)

37 A prepositional phrase with de can also accompany the verb mitto to send itself, cf.
ThLL, s. v. mitto, 1185.75 f.


chapter three

Optional place and time complements prefer postposition (18 P, 6 A, 6

framed), which is understandable from the point of view of their semantic
prominence. This also holds true for purpose prepositional phrases with ad
(84). In anteposition, the phrase seems to form a referential unit with its
noun or, at least, to be less informative than the head noun, as in (85); this
prepositional phrase presents contextually given information.
(84) Neque vero Pompeius cognito consilio eius moram ullam ad insequendum
When he realised Caesars plan, Pompey did not allow any delay in pursuit.
(Caes. Civ. 3.75.3)
(85) (Haruspices) Ab aqua aut ab igni pericula monent; tum hereditates, tum
damna denuntiant.
(Soothsayers) They warn us of dangers by fire and flood, and sometimes they
prophesy the inheritance, sometimes, the loss, of money. (Cic. Div. 2.32) Verbal Nouns

Verbal nouns and nouns associated with states-of-affairs (68 occ.) other than
verbal nouns of movement (see next section) take obligatory complements:
spes in hope in, voluntas ad wish to, invidia in jealousy towards, iudicium de judgment about; further examples are in (86)(87). Some words
from this group figure in support verb constructions, e.g. spes hope (89),
pactio treaty, coniectura conjecture. The placement of their prepositional
phrases is variable (36 A, 23 P, 9 framed). However, frequent anteposition
does not seem to be linked with obligatoriness of expansions; it especially
occurs in support verb constructions (see below). An example with a postposed complement is given in (88), one with an anteposed complement in
(86) Aut tanta inter eos dissensio ut Apollinis exta bona sint, Dianae non bona?
Or is there such discord among the gods that the entrails are favourable
when offered to Apollo and when offered to Diana, unfavourable? (Cic. Div.
(87) Reperta est eadem istius hominis avarissimi ratio in praesidiis quae in classibus.
It appeared that this grasping man treated the troops and the fleet in the same
way. (Cic. Ver. 5.87)
(88) in ea querimonia quam sum habiturus de istius crudelitate et de civium Romanorum indignissuma morte
in the complaint that I will make of this mans cruelty and of the scandalous
murder of the Roman citizens (Cic. Ver. 5.72)
(89) (reputans) timere populum Romanum neque advorsus iram eius usquam nisi
in avaritia nobilitatis et pecunia sua spem habere

the prepositional phrase


He began to be afraid of the Roman people against whose resentment he had

no hopes of security but in the avarice of the nobility and in his own wealth.
(Sal. Jug. 13.5)

Verbal nouns also take optional complements: auguratio ex divination from

(90), laus ex praise of, or responsum de answer to. Place complements with
the nouns such as dilectus in levies in (91) and admurmuratio in murmur
during are optional. This type of prepositional phrase is most frequently
postposed to its noun (9 out of 13).
(90) Quae tandem ista auguratio est ex passeribus annorum potius quam aut
mensuum aut dierum?
But by what principle of augury does he deduce years rather than months or
days from the number of sparrows? (Cic. Div. 2.65)
(91) Hae copiae quas videtis ex dilectibus horum annorum in citeriore Gallia sunt
These forces you see have been reconstituted from the levies of recent years
in Cisalpine Gaul. (Caes. Civ. 3.87.4) Verbal Nouns of Movement

Nouns derived from verbs of movement (31 occ.) form a special category of
verbal nouns. They admit a set of prepositional phrases expressing destination, source, or path, according to their meaning, e.g. adventus ex arrival
from, aditus ad access to, introitus in entrance to, iter ex / in / ad / per march
from, to, towards, through. Sometimes they present a double complement.
Such prepositional phrases, which can be partly regarded as valency complements, have variable placement (17 P vs. 14 A). Complements in postposition specify the place or destination and hence they are more semantically
prominent than their governing nouns ((92)(93)).
(92) theatrum quod arcis tenebat locum aditusque habebat ad portum et ad
regia navalia.
a theatre which served as a citadel and had access to the harbour and the
royal dockyards. (Caes. Civ. 3.112.8)
(93) Pompeius erat eo tempore in Candavia iterque ex Macedonia in hiberna Apolloniam Dyrrachiumque habebat.
Pompey was at that time in Candavia and was on his way from Macedonia to
winter quarters in Apollonia and Dyrrachium. (Caes. Civ. 3.11.2)

Complements expressing known information are typically found in anteposition (94). This is often the case with the support verb construction impetum facio to make an attack, for example in nostros, in hostes, in Pompei equites on our (soldiers), the enemies, the Pompeian cavalry (5 A vs. 2 P). In Caesar, place complements in anteposition (96) compete with complements


chapter three

in postposition (93), which is not easy to explain. From a pragmatic point of

view, they form a pragmatic unit with the verbal group.38
Nouns derived from verbs of movement enter into support verb constructions, e.g. iter facio to make ones way and impetum facio in to make an
attack on; they are chiefly used by Caesar.
(94) Cum praetor quaereretur et constaret neminem ei nuntiasse, fit ad domum
eius cum clamore concursus atque impetus.
When it was impossible to find the praetor and it became clear that no one
had reported the news to him, the crowd with loud cries made a rush to his
house. (Cic. Ver. 5.93)
(95) impetuque facto in Cassianam classem quinqueremes duas in quarum altera
erat Cassius ceperunt
and making an attack on the Cassian fleet, they captured two quinqueremes,
in one of which was Cassius himself (Caes. Civ. 3.101.6)
(96) quique erant ex vulneribus aegri depositis per Epirum atque Athamaniam iter
facere coepit.
and after leaving the wounded, began to make his way through Epirus and
Athamania. (Caes. Civ. 3.78.4)

After this presentation of the instances I have gathered, I will concentrate on

the internal structure of the phrases containing a noun and a prepositional
phrase (3.2.2) and the question of support verbs (3.2.3).
3.2.2. The Placement of Prepositional Phrases
In order to describe the placement of the adnominal prepositional phrases,
it is important to separate the discussions of governing nouns with and
without a modifier. Nouns without a Modifier
The placement of the noun and its prepositional phrase is presented in
Table 8. A distinction is established between contiguous phrases, i.e. phrases
where the complement is adjacent to the governing noun, and non-contiguous phrases that present elements intervening in the middle.
Table 8: Single noun + prepositional phrase


Noun PP
contiguous non-contiguous


PP Noun
contiguous non-contiguous


The underlying question is what does he do next?, see Spevak (2010a: 38).

the prepositional phrase


Global results show a practically equal ratio between postposition and

anteposition (58 P vs. 59 A). According to my data, prepositional phrases
that precede the governing noun are not rare, as Wharton (2009: 194)
claims. As for contiguity, we can notice that in general, the noun and its complement occur next one to another; they are separated by alien elements
in 25 cases (21%). Among intervening elements, there are especially verbs
(97), various satellites, and relative clauses (98). However, some of the noncontiguous sequences involve support verb constructions (99).
(97) at Scipionem properantem sequi litterae sunt consecutae a M. Favonio, Domitium cum legionibus adesse
Scipio preparing to follow him, received letters from M. Favonius, that Domitius was coming up with his legions (Caes. Civ. 3.36.6)
(98) Sed eo fama iam praecurrerat, quam supra docuimus, de proelio Dyrrachino
quod multis auxerat partibus.
But he was preceded there by the rumour we have mentioned above about
the battle of Dyrrachium, which it had grossly exaggerated. (Caes. Civ. 3.80.2)
(99) Deinde Iugurtha postero die cum Aulo in conloquio verba facit.
The next day Jugurtha had a conference with Aulus. (Sal. Jug. 38.9)

The 25 non-contiguous instances only concern the intervention of elements

that do not belong to the phrase; for example, the genitive Libonis,39 standing
between the governing noun and the prepositional phrase, marks the agent
of discessu and is thus part of the phrase. This example belongs to the
contiguous group.
(100) Discessu Libonis ex Illyrico M. Octavius cum iis quas habebat navibus Salonas
After Libos departure from Illyricum, Marcus Octavius reached Salonae with
the ships he had with him. (Caes. Civ. 3.9.1)

In this section, I will summarise principal tendencies of the placement of

prepositional phrases with respect to their governing nouns with references
to the examples already quoted. Neither the semantic character of obligatory and optional complements nor the length of the prepositional phrase
determines their placement: complements required or not by valency, as
well as short and long complements may precede or follow the governing
noun. Their placement seems to depend rather on pragmatic principles,

39 The manuscript reading is Liburnarum the Liburnian (galleys); Carter (1993: 32 and 151)
adopts this conjecture by Paul because, he explains, discessus is elsewhere used by Caesar
only of persons or bodies constituted of persons (armies, cavalry).


chapter three

and/or the semantic functions that they fulfil. We have seen that prepositional phrases expressing material or source (ex, de), location (contra, iuxta),
or direction (in, ad) often refer to entities not inferable from the previous
context and are semantically prominent (cf. above, for example (71) and
(83)). Sometimes, they carry on their own the function of Focus (cf. (88) and
(92)). In contrast, anteposition concerns phrases referring to entities known
from the context or deducible from it (cf. (81) and (112)). This is the case
of prepositional phrases with apud, indicating a person (often mentioned
in the previous context), and those with de expressing what is concerned.
They have a pragmatic role (function of Topic) or simply resume a known
fact. Consider the following example. As de eius adventu (101), containing an
anaphoric pronoun that explicitly signals contextual giveness, de Caesaris
adventu in (77) simply resumes old information and forms a referential unit
with the noun.
(101) quod prius ad continentem visus est Caesar quam de eius adventu fama
omnino in eas regiones perferretur
because Caesar was sighted at the mainland before any report of his arrival
could reach the area (Caes. Civ. 3.7.2)

Prepositional phrases in anteposition can be contrastive (74) or carry the

function of Focus: I suggest interpreting example (89) in this way. Nouns with a Modifier
The ordering of elements in complex phrases containing a noun with a
modifier is presented in Table 9.
Table 9: Noun with a modifier + prepositional phrase


Det. > PP > Noun

Adj. > PP > Noun
Adj. > Noun > PP
Det. > Noun > PP
Noun > Det. > PP
Gen. > PP > Noun
PP > Det. > Noun




Table 9 shows, as in the case of genitive complements (section 2.6.2, p. 234),

that there is competition between framed phrases, opened by a modifier
and closed by the noun (14+10 occ., to which also four phrases opened by

the prepositional phrase


a genitive can be added), and phrases with the complement coming last
in the sequence (9+16+7 occ.); the latter pattern is the most frequent
I will start with framed phrases that are delimited as units. However, it
is important to specify that this strategy is mainly found in Cicero; I have
noted 9 instances in Caesar and none in Sallust. The prepositional phrase in
the middle is not necessarily an argument (cf. (75)(76)) but it may be (102).
Sometimes, other elements, alien to the phrase, intervene in the sequence,
as Caesar in (102) and in consilio fuit in (103). The adjectives that open the
phrase are also often significant from the pragmatic point of view; magnus
appearing at the head of the sequence is emphatic (103); Graecis in (75)
is contrastive. Framed phrases sometimes contain prepositional phrases
resuming information given by the context. Example (104) shows that the
phrase opened by magnam and closed by auctoritatem forms a referential
unit and carries pragmatic saliency.
(102) ut si forte Pompeius vacuam existimans Italiam eo traiecisset exercitum ,
aliquam Caesar ad insequendum facultatem haberet
that if Pompey, thinking Italy to be empty of troops, should cross over there
with his army , Caesar would have some means of pursuing him (Caes. Civ.
(103) magnaque inter eos in consilio fuit controversia oporteretne Lucili Hirri
proximis comitiis praetoriis absentis rationem haberi
They also had a great dispute in council about whether Lucilius Hirrus
should be permitted to be a candidate in absentia at the next praetorian
elections. (Caes. Civ. 3.82.3)
(104) (rex) A quo missi Dioscorides et Serapion, qui ambo legati Romae fuerant
magnamque apud patrem Ptolomaeum auctoritatem habuerant, ad Achillan
(the king) He sent Dioscorides and Serapion, who had both been at Rome as
ambassadors and had possessed great influence with his father Ptolemy. They
reached Achillas. (Caes. Civ. 3.109.4)

Sequences with prepositional phrases coming last represent the most frequent pattern. A possible explanation for this ordering is that the prepositional phrase is semantically relevant, and not necessarily that it is heavy,
i.e. lengthy. Example (105) illustrates the most common arrangement. The
modifier nullas in (106) is emphatic. The prepositional phrases involved
sometimes contain a modifier, for example a genitive as in (107).
(105) ut illud Uticense exemplum de Hadriano transferretur Syracusas
to transfer to Syracuse the precedent set with Hadrianus at Utica (Cic. Ver.


chapter three

(106) Et non, si significant futura, nullas dant vias nobis ad significationum scientiam.
And it is not true, if they (gods) give us signs (of the future), that they give us
no means of understanding those signs. (Cic. Div. 2.102)
(107) nisi eo ipso tempore quidam nuntii de Caesaris victoria per dispositos equites
essent adlati
and if not some news of Caesars victory had not been brought at this very
moment by relays of horsemen (Caes. Civ. 3.101.3)

It is interesting to note that in the case of non-framed phrases, modifiers

follow the governing noun several times (8 occ.), especially indefinite pronouns (quidam, aliquis) and negative pronouns (nullus, ullus), as is shown
in (108). Adjectives coming first are mainly evaluative (gravis, longus, maximus) but not necessarily; annuum in (109) is a descriptive adjective in
anteposition with emphasis.
(108) Medici signa quaedam habent ex venis et ex spiritu aegroti multisque ex aliis
futura praesentiunt.
Physicians obtain certain indications from the condition of the pulse and
breath of the sick man and they foretell the future from many other symptoms. (Cic. Div. 2.145)
(109) Pompeius annuum spatium ad conparandas copias nactus quod vacuum a
bello atque ab hoste otiosum fuerat
Pompey, who had gained the space of a year free from war to gather forces
undisturbed by any enemy (Caes. Civ. 3.3.1)

3.2.3. Support Verb Constructions

Support verb constructions contain semantically light verbs such as facio
to make, habeo to have, ago to do, gero to bear and a verbal noun, or
a noun related to a verb.40 The noun is the bearer of the meaning and,
furthermore, it imposes the syntactic form of the expansion, for example,
the prepositional phrase with cum in (110). The verb actualises the process.
This point is proved by the fact that the constructions with support verbs
allow conversion into a relative clause: bellum quod gessit (111); as well as

40 For the theoretical framework addressing support verbs, see Gross (1993) and Gross and
de Pontonx (2004); for constructions with support verbs in Latin, see Pinkster (fc., chapter 4),
Flobert (1996), Hoffmann (1996), Roesch (2001) and Rosn (1981: 130159 and 190) for Early
Latin. They are used in all periods of Latin (cf. Lfstedt 1911: 162165) and cannot be attributed
to the popular register of the language: see Pinkster (ibid.) and Hoffmann (1996: 203), pace
Szantyr (1972: 754756).

the prepositional phrase


the deletion of the verb in a noun phrase: bellum cum Iugurtha war with
(110) Rhodii qui prope soli bellum illud superius cum Mithridate rege gesserint
The Rhodians who, almost single-handed, carried on the first war against
Mithridates (Cic. Ver. 2.159)
(111) Bellum scripturus sum, quod populus Romanus cum Iugurtha, rege Numidarum, gessit.
I propose to write of the war which the Romans fought with Jugurtha, king of
the Numidians. (Sal. Jug. 5.1) The Syntactic Form of the Expansion

Support verb constructions (47 occ. in total) collected are indicated below.
They are used by all three authors in my corpus, including Sallust.
Support verb constructions
aditum habeo ad to have access to
bellum gero cum to wage war with
cognationem habeo cum to have affinity with
concursus fit ad there is rush to
consilium capio ad to take counsel, deliberate about
facultatem habeo ad to be able to
impetum facio in to make an attack on
iter habeo, facio ex / in / per to march from / to / through
pactionem facio cum + de to arrange a compact with + about
querimoniam habeo de to have complaint about
sententiam fero de to give judgement about
societatem facio cum to make an alliance with
triumphum ago de to celebrate a triumph for
auctoritatem habeo apud to have influence with
(caedem facio in to massacre somebody)41
colloquia habeo inter to have discourse among
coniecturam facio de to make a conjecture about
contionem habeo apud to deliver a speech before
fuga fit ad there is flight to
iter conficio ab / ad to achieve march from / to

41 I will disregard caedem in vos fecisse they massacred you (lit. they undertook massacre
against you) in Sal. Jug. 31.13. Caedes slaughter is a verbal noun, derived from caedo to slay,
but the prepositional phrase with in, expressing the patient of the action in the meaning
of against, seems to be peculiar to Sallust, who was followed by Livy (22.24.7). Cicero uses
the phrase with in only in a locative meaning: caedem in foro fecisti you caused a massacre
in the forum (Cic. Parad. 4.30). Koestermann (1971: 133) states in his commentary that this
expression is close to everyday speech, probably in connection with other expressions with
the verb facio, already considered as colloquial by Kroll (1927: 302).


chapter three
iudicium fit de there is judgment on
quaestiones habeo in to make enquiries on
responsum do de to give answer about
sermones habeo de to have a conversation about
spem habeo in to put hope in
verba habeo, facio cum to talk with

The formation of such periphrastic constructions results, on the one hand,

from the fact that these combinations of a verbal noun and a verb with a
weak semantic value make it possible to express aspectual nuances explicitly (cf. Flobert 1996): iter facio to make a march marks the accomplishment
of iter; impetum facio to make an attack, the execution of impetus. The corresponding verbs could not render this meaning (eo to go, and impeto to
assail, the latter is only used by poets, see ThLL, s. v.). On the other hand,
the formation of a support verb construction sometimes compensates for
the absence of the verb as such: this is the case with cognationem habeo
to have affinity and auctoritatem habeo to have influence with, for which
we could only find valeo to be powerful as a matching expression in the
verbal domain. Several studies have already been devoted to support verb
constructions in Latin (see note 40). They have described their variety and
pointed out their syntactic and semantic properties. However, a question
that does not seem to have been asked yet is that concerning the syntactic
form of the expansions they take.
We have seen (chapter 1, section 2.4.2, p. 31) that verbal nounsand verbal nouns are the best candidates for entering into support verb constructionsgenerally encode their complements in the genitive to express the
agent or the patient; prepositional complements often retain the syntactic construction of the source verb. This rule hold true for several instances
in my corpus: pactio cum a compact with and paciscor cum to arrange an
agreement with; coniectura de a conjecture about and conicio de to conjecture about, quaestio de an enquiry about and quaero de to enquire about42
and sententia de a judgment about (with a special meaning) and sentio to
think, to judge about. Verbal nouns derived from verbs of movement such
as iter from eo to go, receive the same type of complements as the related
verbs: direction (in, ad), source (a, ex), or path (per).

42 The couple coniecturaconicio illustrates the fact that verbal nouns present, in general,
reduced semantic value with respect to their source verbs. The meaning of conjecture is only
one among multiple meaning of conicio to throw together, to put, to dispatch. In contrast,
quaestio is a semantically rich verbal noun, but still less so than its verb quaero.

the prepositional phrase


However, there are verbal nouns that do not copy a verbal construction.
Firstly, verbum43 word, discourse and bellum war are not deverbal nouns
and, furthermore, do not have morphologically cognate verbs. The question
to be asked is, where the syntactic form of their complements comes from,
since it cannot be modelled on the verbal construction like paciscor / pactio
cum. The construction verba facio cum seems to be explained as analogous
to loquor cum to talk with and bellum gero cum with pugno cum to fight
with. Secondly, auctoritas authority, influence (derived from auctor) has
no morphologically related verb.44 The syntactic form of their complements
results from analogy with semantically associated verbs. For auctoritas apud
influence with we could envisage, for example, the influence of valeo apud
to have influence on somebody (e.g. Cic. Brut. 193, Ver. 5.112). As for the
complement of contio (< co, ventio meeting) speech before an assembly,
which provides the verb contionor to deliver a speech, apud can come
from analogous expressions indicating who listens to a speech and, at the
same time, is the addressee of it. It is analogous with verbs of speaking.45
The de-phrase accompanying triumphus triumph, from which the verb
triumpho is derived, is also due to analogy. Finally, the word spes hope
represents on its own a very interesting case. Spes, which provides the
denominative verb spero to hope, is constructed in various ways (cf. OLD, Le
Grand Gaffiot): apart from the genitive, the adnominal case par excellence,
spes allows expansions by a gerund, an accusative and infinitive clause,
and prepositional phrases with in, de and ad (see chapter 1, 2.4.2, example
(72)). The verb spero is not attested with in; it can only take prepositional
phrases with ex and ab expressing source. Spem habeo in seems to stem
from expressions where the prepositional phrase has a locative value: spes
(sita) est in: in Publio spes est (Cic. Att. 2.15.2) our hope is in Publius and spes
ponere in: omnem spem salutis in virtute ponerent (Caes. Gal. 3.5.3) to place
in their valour all their hope of safety.

43 Rosn (1983: 192) considers verbum as a case of suppletism of dico to say but this does
not make it possible to explain the construction verba cum because there is no *dico cum; it
could stem from loquor cum aliquod de aliqua re to speak to sb about st.
44 For the association auctorauctoritas who authorisesauthority (Pl. Poen. 146147),
see Rosn (1983: 185). For auctoritas in the meaning of authority, influence, which the
expression auctoritatem habeo presents, an autonomous and independent evolution with
respect to auctor is highly probable.
45 Cf. mihi apud vos de meis maioribus dicendi facultas non datur as for myself, I have no
opportunity of speaking of my ancestors before you (Cic. Agr. 2.1) or neque apud vos ante feci
mentionem I have avoided mentioning to you before (Cic. Agr. 3.4).


chapter three

The examples quoted suffice to conclude that verbal nouns are by no

means slaves of their verbs. They often pursue their own path and insert
themselves into already established, semantically related groups from
which they also borrow the syntactic form of their expansions.46 The Placement of Prepositional Phrases
In my corpus, nouns used in support verb constructions have their prepositional phrases in anteposition and postposition (32 A vs. 15 P). Especially,
the expansions of spes stand in anteposition (89). This ordering is difficult to
explain. Sometimes, the prepositional phrase refers to a contextually given
entity (112) but not always (113). In some cases, the complements are pragmatically relevant: de passerculis in (114) functions as Topic. By contrast, the
complement in postposition specifies the nounthat of spes in (115) or with
a verbal noun of a movement verb, such as aditus in (92).
(112) (Caesar) eundemque (Vibullium Rufum) apud Cn. Pompeium auctoritatem
habere intellegebat.
(Caesar) and he understood that Vibullius Rufus carried weight with Pompey.
(Caes. Civ. 3.10.2)
(113) item qui de pace aut bello cum hostibus pactiones fecissent
and those who had struck agreements with the enemy concerning peace and
war (Sal. Jug. 40.1)
(114) Cur autem de passerculis coniecturam facit, in quibus nullum erat monstrum,
de dracone silet
Why does he base his prophecy on little sparrows, which are not abnormal
sights, but he says nothing about the dragon (Cic. Div. 2.65)
(115) Iugurtham spem salutis in solitudine aut fuga coegisset habere
he had forced Jugurtha to rest his hopes of safety on the desert or on flight
(Sal. Jug. 55.1)

3.3. Adjectives Governing Prepositional Phrases

I will now come back to adjectives governing prepositional phrases, presented in Table 6 (p. 238). The majority of them are bivalent adjectives (39
out of 64 occ.) which, by their semantic value, require a complement. To this
category belong adjectives and adjectival participles, e.g. paratus ad ready
for, tutus ab safe from, meritus de deserving of, idoneus ad convenient for,
difficilis ad difficult for, insolitus ad unaccustomed to, par cum equal with,
46 A detailed study is necessary to determine the semantic relationship between the
verbal noun and the related verb (because reductions and specialisations of the meaning
are expected) as well as the syntactic form of the complement.

the prepositional phrase


coniunctus cum associated with. Three examples are given in (116)(118).

Some of these adjectives can also take another preposition. This does not
have any influence on the interpretation as argument in the case of paratus, for example, animo parati in posterum mentally ready for the next day
(Caes. Civ. 3.86.5), but in other cases, we are dealing with optional complements, e.g. tutum ad custodiam safe for guarding (of prisoners) (Cic. Ver.
5.68), meritos in proeliis (who had) distinguished themselves in the battles
(Sal. Jug. 54.1) and pro suis beneficiis idoneum, applied to a person, suitable
on account of the favour he had done him (Caes. Civ. 3.10.2).
(116) locum se aequum ad dimicandum dedisse
he had given them a favourable situation for fighting (Caes. Civ. 3.73.5)
(117) Difficilis augurii locus ad contra dicendum.
To argue against auspices is a hard thing for an augur to do. (Cic. Div. 2.70)
(118) Quem Caesar ut erat de se meritus et de re publica donatum milibus CC.
To him Caesar gave 200,000 sesterces for his services to himself and to the
State. (Caes. Civ. 3.53.5)

About twenty adjectives are monovalent with optional prepositional

phrases. Into this group fall: alacer ad quick for, firmus contra solid against,
crudelis in (aliquem) cruel to, vehemens in energetic in, sapiens in wise in.
Other examples are quoted in (119)(121).
(119) Nihil tam clausum ad exitum cogitari potest.
Nothing can be imagined so closed against all escape (Cic. Ver. 2.68)
(120) relictis quique erant ex vulneribus aegri depositis
and deposition of those who were suffering from wounds (Caes. Civ. 3.78.4)
(121) complures novi atque nobiles , factiosi domi, potentes apud socios
many new men and nobles , active in party intrigues at home and influential with our allies (Sal. Jug. 8.1)

Adjectives with a prepositional phrase as expansion, whether required by

valency or not, are used in two ways: predicatively or attributively in a noun
phrase. These functions are summarised in Table 10.
Table 10: Functions of adjectives with a prepositional phrase


attributive in a noun phrase





chapter three

Table 10 shows that bivalent and monovalent adjectives expanded by a

prepositional phrase do not frequently occur in noun phrases (19%); they
are used predicatively in the majority of the cases (66 %), with verbs such as
sum to be, fio to become, puto, arbitror to think, iudico to judge, facio to
make, habeo to have. The other function covers four instances in appositions, one secondary predicate, and four adjectives used substantively.
The examples of expanded adjectives used attributively in noun phrases
are therefore not very numerous. This fact could be explained by a tendency
to avoid overly complex noun phrases. Nevertheless, their components exhibit two orderings: either the sequence is opened by the noun and closed by
the adjective, as is shown in (122) (4 occ.), or the prepositional phrase comes
last (123) (3 occ.). The remaining phrases show different arrangements.
(122) Totidem subsecuti libri Tusculanarum disputationum res ad beate vivendum
maxime necessarias aperuerunt.
Next, and in the same number of volumes, came the Tusculan Disputations,
which made plain the means most essential to a happy life. (Cic. Div. 2.2)
(123) quinqueremes aptae instructaeque omnibus rebus ad nauigandum
quinqueremes fitted and equipped with everything necessary for navigation
(Caes. Civ. 3.111.3)

Bivalent and monovalent adjectives with a prepositional phrase as their

complement are typically used predicatively (Helbig 1982: 40). The placement of the prepositional phrase is not easy to explain. The criterion of
valency, i.e. the obligatory or optional character of the complement, does
not seem to play any role here: prepositional phrases follow or precede their
governing adjectives in both cases with equal frequency. The criterion of
lightness or heaviness, i.e. short or long phrases, does not, a priori, have any
influence either. However, three times prepositional phrases containing a
personal or reflexive pronoun are anteposed (124) and four times with an
anaphoric or demonstrative pronoun47 (125). These elements refer to contextually or situationally given entities.
(124) Sic enim Caesar existimabat eo proelio excellentissimam virtutem Crastini
fuisse optimeque eum de se meritum iudicabat.
For Caesar was of the opinion that Crastinus courage in the battle had been
outstanding and judged that he had rendered him a great service. (Caes. Civ.


With one exception: minumus ex illis (Sal. Jug. 11.3).

the prepositional phrase


(125) si ulla in Sicilia praesidia ad illorum adventum opposita putarentur

if it had been supposed that there were forces stationed in Sicily to oppose
them (slaves) upon their arrival (Cic. Ver. 5.5)

After an examination of these occurrences, I propose, here again, to interpret the prepositional phrases in postposition as semantically prominent.
For example, prepositional phrases with ad (10 P vs. 11 A) convey the idea
of finality or goal and follow the adjective (cf. also above, examples (116),
(117) and (119)). The complements in anteposition can be interpreted either
as being pragmatically relevant or as forming a referential unit with the
adjective (cf. (120)). In anteposition are found, for example, ad beate vivendum (127), which is the central point discussed in the fifth book of Ciceros
Tusculan Disputationssee example (122) for the immediately preceding
context, functioning as Topic, and ad omnem laborem in (128), which
is carrying emphasis. In addition, the adjective itself can be semantically
prominent: this is the case of tutam in (129), which follows its prepositional
(126) (cives Romani) cum essent infirmi ad resistendum propter paucitatem hominum ad extremum auxilium descenderunt
(the Roman citizens) since their resistance was weak because of their lack of
numbers they adopted their last resort (Caes. Civ. 3.9.3)
(127) Docet enim ad beate vivendum virtutem se ipsa esse contentam.
(The book) teaches that virtue is sufficient of itself for the attainment of
happiness. (Cic. Div. 2.2)
(128) Qui etsi magno aestu fatigati , tamen ad omnem laborem animo parati
imperio paruerunt.
And though fatigued by the great heat , they nevertheless obeyed his command, with a spirit ready for every toil. (Caes. Civ. 3.95.2)
(129) Ita enim causa constituitur provinciam Siciliam virtute istius a fugitivis
atque a belli periculis tutam esse servatam.
The argument now being built up is this, that the province of Sicily has
been safely defended against the revolted slaves and the perils of war by the
courage of this man. (Cic. Ver. 5.1)

3.4. Partitive Expressions

This section will deal with prepositional phrases with de and ex expanding
a non-numerical quantifier (omnes all, plerique most, multi many, nihil
nothing) or a numerical quantifier (unus one, duo two).
The phrases with de and ex have a partitive value and, as is well known,
they can interchange with the partitive genitive (K.&St. I: 426). However, it
is worth recalling (Pinkster LSS 5.3.2, p. 69) that whereas the function of


chapter three

the genitive is to mark the syntactic relationship between two elements, e.g.
plerique and nostrorum oratorum (130), the preposition makes explicit the
semantic relationship that holds between them (131).
(130) plerique nostrorum oratorum
most of our orators (Cic. Orat. 143)
(131) plerisque ex factione eius conruptis
when most members of his party had already been corrupted (Sal. Jug. 29.2)

In my corpus, partitive expressions follow the governing word in the majority of the cases (17 P vs. 8 A).48 The most frequent arrangement, which is not
surprising if we admit that the prepositional phrase is more semantically
prominent than the quantifier, is presented in (132). Postposition is also justified in the case of further expanded nouns, such as in (133): ex eo numero,
containing a cataphoric pronoun, is specified by a relative clause.
(132) Huic (legioni) sic adiunxit octavam ut paene unam ex duabus efficeret.
To this legion he added the Eight, so that he almost made a single legion out
of the two. (Caes. Civ. 3.89.1)
(133) Igitur unus ex eo numero, qui ad caedem parati erant, paulo inconsultius
Massivam adgreditur.
One of the men who were hired for killing him, sprung rather incautiously
upon Massiva. (Sal. Jug. 35.6)

Eight prepositional phrases in anteposition are easy to explain by pragmatic

reasons. Firstly, anteposition concerns contextually given elements: ex omni
multitudine in (134) is deducible from the context and we can observe that
non amplius quadraginta, specifying the number, is more informative than
the prepositional phrase governed by it. The phrases with contextually given
referents sometimes contain anaphoric pronouns, e.g. ex illo numero reliqui
the remaining from this group (Cic. Ver. 5.101), or connecting relatives, e.g.
ex quibus plerique very many of them (Caes. Civ. 3.110.2), for which anteposition is required. Secondly, contrastive elements are found in anteposition:
the origin of money, ex aerario, depending on nil in (135), contrasts with the
idea of private money.

48 Wharton (1996: 168) argues that prepositional phrases with in and cum show a certain
tendency for postposition in contrast to those with ex, which are often in anteposition. I
myself did not notice different behaviour of the prepositional phrases with ex.

the prepositional phrase


(134) Ceterum ex omni multitudine non amplius quadraginta memores nominis

Romani grege facto locum cepere editiorem
Out of the entire number no more than forty men, mindful of the honour of
Rome, gathered together and took a position a little higher up (Sal. Jug.
(135) Primum video potuisse fieri ut ex aerario nil darent.
Firstly, I observe that possibly no money was taken out of the city treasury.
(Cic. Ver. 5.48)

The examples introduced concern prepositional phrases governed by a

quantifier; in addition, there are four partitive expressions depending on
noun phrases. On two occasions, the prepositional phrase is framed by the
modifier and the head noun (136); this phrase functions as a referential unit
conveying contextually given information.
(136) (aliae Punicae urbes ) Igitur bello Iugurthino pleraque ex Punicis oppida et
finis Carthaginiensium populus Romanus per magistratus administrabat.
(other Punic towns ) At the time of the war with Jugurtha most of the
Punic towns, as well as the territory held by Carthage were administered
by Roman officials. (Sal. Jug. 19.7)

Additionally, my corpus offered four prepositional phrases with praeter

except which express exclusion of an entity from a certain unit. Their
number is negligible but the case of praeter gives us the opportunity of
mentioning that from a pragmatic point of view, the entity excluded is
focused (Torrego 1998). The phrase thus comes after omnes, because of its
pragmatic saliency.
(137) Eos omnes praeter Turpilium inter epulas obtruncant.
They butchered them all except Turpilius. (Sal. Jug. 66.3)

4. Conclusions
It is time to sum up the main findings of this chapter in two points that,
together, provide answers to the research questions formulated in the introductory section. Firstly, the internal ordering of prepositional phrases does
not differ from that of noun phrases. The preposition that opens a prepositional phrase does not have any influence on the placement of the modifier(s) of the noun. In other words, there are no syntactic constraints such
as insertion of the modifier between the preposition and the noun (this
conclusion accords with Wharton 1996). On the other hand, prepositional
phrases often contain adjectives with a relative meaning referring to space
or time, which occur in anteposition. This correlates with the semantic


chapter three

functions the prepositional phrases fulfil because they often function as

place or time complements. The placement of modifiers is roughly the
same as in noun phrases: determiners, indefinite pronouns, quantifiers, and
identifiers are usually in anteposition. Adjectives with a relative meaning
(superior, proximus ) and subjectively evaluative adjectives are frequently
anteposed; the others prefer postposition. Postposition of the adjectives and
genitive complements signal their semantic prominence. Anteposition is
used for pragmatically relevant modifiers (contrastive, emphatic, or carrying the function of Topic) and, especially in the case of the genitives, for
complements the referents of which are known from the preceding context.
Secondly, prepositional phrases are atypical adnominal complements.
They do not necessarily expand a noun with a modifier and their governing nouns are not necessarily verbal nouns, as is traditionally claimed. The
placement of adnominal prepositional phrases is variable: they may follow
as well as precede their governing nouns. However, the length of the prepositional phrases does not seem to be the decisive criterion responsible for
ante- or postposition. Postposition of such phrases is better explained by
semantic reasons, i.e. semantic prominence; anteposition is due to pragmatic reasons: emphasis, contrast, function of Topic, to which I would also
add contextual giveness. Adnominal prepositional phrases are in a strong or
weak relationship with their nouns and, accordingly, represent obligatory
and optional expansions. Although this semantic distinction between complements required and not required by valency does not manifest itself at
the formal level, it is important for the interpretation of concrete instances.
Adjectives with prepositional phrases as expansions are mostly used
predicatively and the majority of them are bivalent adjectives. The placement of the prepositional phrase is difficult to explain, but in general, it
seems to correspond to the same tendencies that have been formulated for
prepositional phrases which expand nouns.

chapter four

1. Introduction
In traditional Latin grammars, the term apposition is used for noun complements that have the form of a noun; the complements with the usual
form of an adjective are called attributes.1 In this study, Cicero consul Cicero
the consul and Cicero, consul designatus Cicero, the consul-elect will be
termed appositional constructions. They consist of two elements: the first
element, the head of the construction (Cicero), is specified by the second element, a close apposition (consul) or a free apposition (consul designatus).
On the surface, the apposition looks like an unproblematicand maybe
also an unattractivetopic that has not drawn much attention from Latin
scholars.2 As we will see in this chapter, there are a number of questions that
it raises and problems it implies. The main issues addressed in this chapter
will be the identification of close and free appositions, a description of their
properties, and a survey of their functions.
The best, and also the most comprehensive, typology of appositions is
the one presented by Quirk et al. (1985: 13001321) for English. The authors
define apposition as a combination of two or more noun phrases that function at the same level and are identical in reference. They establish a distinction between a full apposition and a partial apposition. A full apposition
requires three conditions: (i) each of the elements can be separately omitted
without affecting the acceptability of the sentence; (ii) each element fulfils the same syntactic function; (iii) both elements are co-referential. In (1),
both a neighbour and Fred Brick are omissible; they both function as the subject of the sentence and are co-referential.

1 See K.&St. (I: 243) and Szantyr (1972: 427). I will not take into consideration the presumed appositional constructions mentioned by Ernout & Thomas (1953: 127) and Szantyr
(1972: 439), such as subjects apposed to the verb, etc.
2 Several articles have been devoted to it: Fugier (1973), Longre (1990), and Heberlein
(1996). By contrast, Marouzeau (1922 and 1953) and Devine & Stephens (2006) do not discuss
appositions at all.


chapter four
A neighbour, Fred Brick, is on the telephone.
A neighbour is on the telephone.
Fred Brick
is on the telephone.

Partial apposition concerns the situations when at least one of these three
conditions is not satisfied. For example in (2), omission of the first element
would result in an unsatisfactory sentence.

An unusual present was given to him for his birthday, a book on ethics.
An unusual present was given to him for his birthday.
*Was given to him for his birthday, a book on ethics.

Full appositions can be further subdivided into restrictive and nonrestrictive appositions. Whereas restrictive appositions form an information unit, non-restrictive appositions represent two separate information
units. This fact manifests itself by an intonation pause orally and by punctuation in writing. The restrictive apposition in (3a) implies a virtual class to
which Mr Campbell might belong (the lawyer, the poet, the critic ) and the
apposition serves to identify the correct Mr Campbell. The non-restrictive
apposition (3b) conveys additional information about the person.
(3a) Mr Campbell the lawyer was here last night.
(3b) Mr Campbell, the lawyer, was here last night.

Furthermore, a language such as English has explicit indicators of appositions, e. g. that is to say, namely, as follows, especially, that express the semantic relationship between the two elements.3
This brief overview of the types of appositions in English will serve as
a general frame for my description of Latin appositions. In this chapter, I
will focus on full appositions and their two main forms, the restrictive
appositionwhich will be called close appositionand the non-restrictive apposition, for which I will keep the traditional term of free apposition.
This chapter has two objectives: firstly, to examine the internal ordering of
appositional constructions, and secondly, to look at distribution of various
types of appositions. Consequently, I will use data taken from two corpora:
the LLT and a sample of texts. Section 2 will deal with these two types and
their general properties. Sections 3 and 4 will present detailed studies of
them and deal with the principal types of close and free appositions that
occur in a concrete sample of texts. Section 5 will be devoted to remaining
appositional constructions and their peculiarities. Partial apposition will

Especially equivalence, inclusion, and attribution (see Quirk et al. 1985: 1308).



be examined in the last section; this concept covers the so-called partitive
apposition (in the traditional sense) as well as the phenomenon of right
2. Two Types of Apposition:
Close Apposition and Free Apposition
2.1. First Overview
Appositions pose a certain number of problems related to their syntactic,
semantic, and pragmatic properties. They will be discussed in this section
in a detailed fashion.
Criteria for identifying close appositions (4) and free appositions (5)4 in
Latin have been proposed by Longre (1990: 8).5 According to him, they
exhibit the following properties:
the two elements agree in case (and, if need be, in gender and number);
the second element in apposition belongs to the morphosyntactic
category of nouns;6
the two elements are identical in reference.

rex Ancus coloniam deduxit.

king Ancus founded a colony. (Cic. Rep. 2.5)


Dionysius, servus meus, qui meam bibliothecen multorum nummorum tractavit, , aufugit.
Dionysius, my slave, who had the charge of my very costly library, , has
absconded. (Cic. Fam. 13.77.3)

Ancus and servus meus (second elements) present the same caseand also
the same gender and numberas rex and Dionysius (first elements). They
are nouns and they refer to the same entity as rex and Dionysius do. On the
other hand, they have distinct functions: whereas the apposition in (5) can
interchange with a parenthetical clause this is (5a), such substitution is
excluded for (4a).
(4a) *rexis est Ancuscoloniam deduxit

For relative clauses, expansions of appositions, see section 4.1, p. 298.

Both examples are borrowed from Longre (1990: 8).
6 However, according to Lavency (1986/87: 377), it is not the morphosyntactic class of
nouns, but the semantic relationship of referential identity and the syntactic function that
are decisive.


chapter four

(5a) Dionysiusis est servus meusaufugit

As a consequence of this, servus meus is more loosely related to Dionysius

than Ancus to rex, a looseness which manifests itself by a pause in spoken
languages. Although this feature is not directly observable for Latin, we can
nevertheless postulate that in (4), no intonation break intervenes between
rex and Ancus but in (5), servus meus is preceded and followed by a pause
(Longre 1990: 11) and by a comma in writing.7
At the semantic level, the close apposition functions as specification of
the first element by the other one. By contrast, the free apposition comprises two sub-categories: Lavency (1997: 120) talks about determining and
qualifying appositions. In Dionysius, servus meus (5), the apposition helps
to determine the proper name, by giving information about the identity of
the person. The apposition of the qualifying type assigns a property to the
referent (6).

Balventius, vir fortis

Balventius, a brave man (cf. Caes. Gal. 5.35.6)

In both cases, the free appositions (5) and (6) expand nouns whose the reference is complete, saturated (Lavency 1997: 120). Unlike attributive modifiers, which classify or qualify a noun, free appositions only provide complementary information that sometimes serves as a reminder of known facts.
This characteristic property makes free appositions in principle omissible.8
Besides, a free apposition competes with a relative clause, called explicative or non-restrictive, which can also be left out (7).

Hi rem ad virum primarium, summo officio ac virtute praeditum, M. Marcellum, qui erat pupilli tutor, deferunt.
They report the matter to that eminent man, endowed with the greatest
benevolence and virtue, Marcus Marcellus, who was a guardian of the minor.
(Cic. Ver. 1.135)

Unlike the close apposition, the free appositionalthough it is without

a finite verb formrepresents a kind of autonomous predication at the
syntactic level, as has been observed by Lavency (1997: 120) and Touratier

7 This point is uncontroversial for modern languages: two elements of constructions with
a close apposition form one intonation unit (Keizer 2007: 25). For prosodic properties of both
types of appositions in English, see Keizer (2005: 393) and Hannay & Keizer (2005: 160).
8 For this reason, the term non-restrictive apposition is commonly used in English literature, cf. Quirk et al. (1985: 1308), quoted above, and Hannay & Keizer (2005). For Latin, this
terminology, restrictive apposition and non-restrictive apposition, is retained by Pinkster
(LSS 6.8 and n. 49a, as well as fc., chapter 11).



(1994: 442). Recently, Hannay & Keizer (2005: 165) have identified several
properties supporting this idea for free appositions in English, which can
be applied to Latin as well. Free appositions admit adverbs situating events
in time (such as olim once, nuper recently),9 which indicate a temporal
circumstance (8), and adverbs modifying a sentence, for example adverbs
and epistemic expressions such as fortasse perhaps in (9),10 or modifying
a speech act as in (10). Furthermore, free appositions do not fall under
the scope of questions: the property expressed in the apposition is not
questioned but is asserted in (11).

ille Gallus, olim testis in Pisonem

that Gallus, who once upon a time gave evidence against Piso (Cic. de Orat.


Quin etiam parens tuus, Torquate, consul reo de pecuniis repetundis Catilinae
fuit advocatus, improbo homini, at supplici, fortasse audaci, at aliquando
Furthermore, even your own father, Torquatus, when consul, was the advocate of Catiline prosecuted on a charge of extortion; rogue he may have been,
but he was a suppliant; reckless perhaps, but he had once been a friend. (Cic.
Sul. 81)

(10) Labienus, vir mea sententia magnus, Teanum venit a. d. VIIII Kal.
Labienus, a great man in my opinion, arrived at Teanum on the 22nd. (Cic.
Att. 7.13a.3)

An M. Anni, gravissimi atque honestissimi viri, summa auctoritas paulo diligentiorem timidioremque fecerat?
Had the great influence of Marcus Annius, a most respectable and most
honourable man, made you a little more cautious and circumspect? (Cic. Ver.

However, Hannay & Keizer (2005) criticise the traditional definition of the
free apposition, which I presented above (example (1)), especially the points
concerning co-reference and omissibility. Firstly, the criterion of referential

9 For expressions situating events in the past, cf. also, for example, Heraclius , homo ante
hunc praetorem vel pecuniosissimus Syracusanorum, nunc pauperrimus Heraclius , one of
the most wealthy of the Syracusans before Verres came as praetor, now a very poor man (Cic.
Ver. 2.35). Furius , homo quamdiu vixit, non domi suae solum, post mortem tota Sicilia clarus
et nobilis Furius , a man, as long as he lived, illustrious in his own city, and after his death
celebrated over all Sicily (Cic. Ver. 5.112).
10 Cf. also, e.g. homo sane levis a person certainly of little resolution (Cic. Tusc. 2.60);
Chrysippus homo sine dubio versutus et callidus Chrysippus , undoubtedly an adroit and
clever man (Cic. N.D. 3.25); Matius , homo mehercule temperatus Matius , a man of
moderation indeed (Cic. Att. 9.11.1).


chapter four

identity presupposes that both elements are referential. Servus meus in (5),
which classifies Dionysius, is indeed referential, but vir fortis in (6), which
only assigns a property to Balventius, is not. Consequently, free appositions
can be either referential or non-referential.
Secondly, Hannay & Keizer refine the idea of the omissibility of free appositions. Omissibility must solely be understood as a theoretical possibility at
the syntactic level. From the pragmatic point of view, deletion of either element would affect the cohesion of the discourse.
Finally, according to Hannay & Keizer (2005: 160), one typical characteristic property of free appositions is to be added: they represent an independent unit that does not have the form of a clause but fulfils a function in the
discourse. Its autonomy manifests itself orally by intonation, and by punctuation in writing.
The distinctive features of free appositions can be resumed as follows:
the second element (the free apposition) is referential (in which case
it is co-referential with the first element) or non-referential;
both elements fulfil the same syntactic function and are, in theory,
omissible; however, omission of either element would affect the coherence of the discourse;
free appositions are independent units of information that have a
function in the discourse.
2.2. Close Appositions
Keizer (1995 and 2005) and Hannay & Keizer (2005) provide a detailed
analysis of the functions of close and free appositions. I will start with the
first category.11 Keizer (1995 and 2005) distinguishes three main functions
depending on the nature of the first element to which a close apposition is
added: descriptive, introductory, and contrastive functions. The descriptive
function (descriptionally-identifying use) is exemplified in (12).
(12) A friend of mine Andy will be able to help you.

The descriptive element (a friend of mine) provides information that helps

the addressee to anchor the referent in the discourse, to situate it in his
mind. A friend of mine has an inferrable status in that people usually have

11 Their typology takes as its point of departure Declercks (1988) description of predicative sentences.



friends; the proper namewith which the addressee may not be familiar
is expressed to make future reference to this person easier: the speaker considers it useful to give his name. The descriptive type of apposition could
alternate with (12a) but not with (12b) because the proper name alone is not
sufficient to identify the referent in the given context.
(12a) A friend of mine will be able to help you.
(12b) *Andy will be able to help you.

The first element can have an introductory function when the common
noun is not anchored in the discourse. In (13), the descriptive element (the
author) is new as well as the proper name; it provides background information that facilitates identification of the person. This introductory type
is irreducible; omission of either element would result in a pragmatically
unacceptable sentence.
(13) The author Roald Dahl has died.
(13a) *The author has died.

Which one?

(13b) *Roald Dahl has died.

Who is he?

Finally, a common noun used with a close apposition has a contrastive

function when it serves to distinguish one referent from another one. In (14)
a contrast is established between two persons with the same name (Paul
Jones); the descriptive elements (the critic, the author) are indispensable for
differentiating them.
(14) Who are you referring to? The critic Paul Jones or the author Paul Jones?

2.3. Free Appositions

As for free appositions, Hannay & Keizer (2005) define three main categories: identification, justification, and labelling; each of them is further
subdivided. I will only present the most important types.
This category of apposition helps the addressee to identify the referent
(who is X?, which one is X?) by specifying it or by describing it. Constructions that specify a referent contain a descriptive element indicating
the role of the referent, and a proper name in apposition. This type allows
paraphrases by that is to say, or namely (15).
(15) The winners will be and the deputy prime minister, John Prescott.


chapter four

The descriptive type is the reverse of the former: the proper name is the
first element, the common noun stands in apposition. This appositional
construction serves to provide a description of the referent (who is X?).
The element in apposition can be preceded by that is to say but not namely
(16) A service conducted by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The second category of free apposition is represented by justifying constructions. They serve to assign a property to a referent, a property that is
important from the point of view of the context. Whereas identifying constructions are oriented towards the referent, justifying ones are oriented
towards the discourse. They indicate the relevance of a particular aspect in
the context (17). Intelligence and ambition are, of course, Johns properties,
but the function of this apposition is not merely to describe the referent: it
justifies the speakers statement (to be the ideal candidate) by providing the
motive for which it is made.
(17) I consider John, an intelligent an ambitious young man, to be the ideal candidate.

The third category of apposition, labelling, concerns the introduction of a
proper name (18). This type does not identify the referent and does not
appeal to the knowledge of the addressee, as is the case for specifying or
descriptive appositions. I will not use the term labelling; I will talk about
appositions with an introductory function instead.
(18) The performance culminated in a speech to the congregation by the groups
leader and full-time organiser, Matt OConnor, 37, dressed in a costume

Keizers (1995 and 2005) and Hannay & Keizers (2005) typology will serve as
a general framework for my description of appositions. However, I will not
apply it in a direct way but only use these concepts in order to explain how
appositions function in Latin.
2.4. Problems with the Description of Appositions
As we will see in section 2.6, constructions with close appositions in Classical Latin prose typically consist of two elements, one of which is a common noun and the other is a proper name: Cicero consul Cicero the consul,



oppidum Gadis the town of Gadis, flumen Garunna the river Garunna.12
These elements are linked together without any explicit syntactic means.13
There are several problems with the description of close appositions, and in
this section, I will first focus on the crucial question that is often discussed
in connection with modern languages: which element functions as the head
of the construction and which element is in apposition?
Grevisse (1993: 516517), for example, when defining the relationship
between the apposition and the attribute, establishes equivalence between
appositions and subject complements. According to him, the element that
stands in the predicate (capitale de la France) in the following transformation (19) is to be interpreted as an apposition.
(19) Paris, capitale de la France, est divise en vingt arrondissements.
Paris est la capitale de la France.

This transformation is used not only for free appositions (19) but also for
close appositions (20): the element le pote, making part of the predicate,
functions as an apposition.
(20) le pote Hugo Jai rencontr Hugo; Hugo est un pote.

However, Grevisse admits himself that many grammarians regard the second element (Hugo) as a (close) apposition. This situation would correspond to the following paraphrase (21).
(21) le pote Hugo Jai rencontr un pote; ce pote tait Hugo.

Similar hesitations are found in studies of English. In the poet Burns, some
linguists identify the second element as the head and the first one as the
apposition (Haugen 1953: 166) because it figures in the predicate (22).14
(22) the poet Burns Burns is a poet.

Quirk et al. (1985: 1305) admit that the question is difficult to resolve: It may
not be clear which of the appositives is the defining one. In contrast, Keizer
(2005: 382) considers the first element as the head.15

12 In technical or didactic treatises, the proportion between constructions consisting

of proper name + common noun and common noun + common noun is expected to be
13 Unlike, for example, constructions with an explicative genitive; cf. below, note 17.
14 For other transformations, see Burton-Roberts (1975). For Latin, see Fugier (1983: 224);
she suggests paraphrasing urbs Roma in the following way: (haec) urbs Roma est this city is
15 Heberlein (1996: 353) also identifies the first element as the head of the construction in


chapter four

Another problem, closely linked with the previous one, concerns the
nature of the relationship that holds between the two elements. Scholars
generally talk about dependency. For Grevisse (1993: 516), the apposition is
a nominal element put under dependency of another nominal element; for
Haugen (1953: 170), the poet Burns is a modifier-head construction. Keizer
(2007: 58), in her recent study on the English noun phrase, interprets the
poet Burnsas well as Burns the poetas a head-modifier construction.16
The same question has also been asked by Latinists. Longre (1990: 9) has
applied substitution tests to close appositions, especially substitution by the
anaphoric pronoun is (23).
(23) rex Ancusis rex / *is Ancus
urbs Romaea urbs / *ea Roma

Longre identifies Ancus and Roma as attributes, as well as the adjective

Romana, the explicative genitive Romae (24),17 and the possessive genitive Armeniorum (25). Lavency (1997: 119) calls Roma and Ancus nominal
(24) urbs Roma / urbs Romana / urbs Romae
(25) rex Ancus / rex Armeniorum

In his article devoted to close appositions, Heberlein (1996: 352354) formulates several points of criticism and suggests regarding the relationship
between the two elements not as a case of dependency, but as Soziation,
solidarity, inspired by Lavencys observations.18 For Heberlein, the construction consists of two referentially autonomous nominal elements that
are equivalent as regards their distribution. The internal relationship they
have is that of juxtaposition, and not that of dependency.

Latin. For more details concerning discussions about the internal structure of close appositions in English, see Keizer (2005: 382 and 2007: 24). In English and French, the presence and
the scope of the article is an additional complication.
16 Cf. below, note 23.
17 For competition between urbs Roma and urbs Romae, cf. Hahn (1953: 97); for urbs Roma
/ urbs Romae / urbs Romana, Fugier (1983: 245). The explicative genitive is not attested in the
case of urbs Roma but in that of other cities, e.g. ex oppido Thysdrae (B. Afr. 36.2), in oppido
Antiochiae the town of Antioch (Cic. Att. 5.18.1), with textual problems, and urbem Patavi
(Verg. A. 1.247).
18 Two units are in solidarity when they cannot function one without the other; in the
unit AB, there is no A without B, no B without A (Lavency 1997: 10). As an example, he gives
discipulus optimae spei a pupil of such brilliant promise where both elements optimae and
spei are in solidarity because they cannot be dissociated (neither *discipulus optimae nor
*discipulus spei) and, together, can be interchanged with fortis. Cf. also Lehmann (1983: 341).



Furthermore, Heberlein (1996: 350) addresses an issue that has not been
discussed before. He disagrees with Longres (1990: 9) rejection of is rex and
ea urbs in (23) arguing that a close apposition may be interpreted in two
ways (26)(27).
(26) Plato philosophus
there is one philosopher and several Platos (philosophus, comicus, etc.)
philosophus is restrictive is Plato
(27) Plato philosophus
there is one Plato and several philosophers (Socrates, Chrysippus, etc.)
Plato is restrictive is philosophus

This observation, which shows that either element may be restrictive, will
serve as a point of departure for my demonstration in next section, which
will examine the ordering of the elements that form an appositional construction. Unlike Heberlein, I will attempt to show that the second case (27),
with Plato restrictive, corresponds to the order philosophus Plato.
2.5. Sp. Albinus consul vs. consul Albinus
Before starting the analysis, I must emphasize that close appositions are not
to be regarded as one homogeneous group. In particular, it is necessary to
separate instances referring to persons from those referring to localities and
other entities (cf. Heberleins typology, 1996: 345), because of the semantic properties of the nouns involved. Constructions with personal proper
names refer to individuals, animate and agentive entities. They may bear
the same or similar name and be in charge, not necessarily simultaneously,
with various official functions; as is well known, Roman public functions
were shared by colleagues. In other words, compared with inanimate entities such as cities, combinations of proper names with administrative functions are significant.
On the basis of the examination of a particular corpus (see section 2.6,
p. 276), I propose to establish a difference19 between:
(28) Sp. Albinus consul (cf. Sal. Jug. 35.2)20 which Sp. Albinus?

is Sp. Albinus

(29) consul Albinus (Sal. Jug. 39.2)

is consul

which consul?

19 Typological considerations, evoked for example by Hackstein (2003) and Bauer (2008:
42) cannot, in my view, explain this point.
20 In this example, I replaced the relative explicative clause qui consulatum gerebat,
which figures in the given passage, by Sp. Albinus consul, see example (37). Such a substitution
is justified by the existence of analogous instances as in (38).


chapter four

In (28), we have a personal proper name (Spurius Albinus) followed by the

title consul that serves to indicate the category to which Sp. Albinus belongs.
This construction implies the underlying question which Sp. Albinus?, who
is Sp. Albinus? It is indeed Sp. Albinus consul and not praetor, for example.
In (29), consul Albinus corresponds to the question which consul?: consul
Albinus and not Metellus. In the first case, consul modifies Sp. Albinus by
specifying his function; in the second case, Albinus specifies which consul
is meant.21 What I suggest is that the order of the elements involved is
relevant: the first one is specified by the second one. At the same time, the
two elements function together and form a noun phrase: the relative qui in
(30) resumes P. Mucius consul as a unit, and not only consul. By contrast, a
construction with ille22 such as in (31) functions as a free apposition.
(30) P. Mucius consul, qui in gerenda re [publica] putabatur fuisse segnior
Publius Mucius the consul, who was considered to have been somewhat
remiss in pursuing the action (Cic. Dom. 91)
(31) Si Q. Scaevola, ille augur, cum de iure praediatorio consuleretur
If Quintus Scaevola, that famous augur, on being consulted about the law of
mortgaged properties (Cic. Balb. 45)

From these observations, the following conclusion becomes obvious: the

construction of close apposition is a combination of two nominal elements;
each of them may function as the head or the modifier and, consequently,
stand as the first or the second element.23 The ability to function sometimes
as head, and sometimes as modifier allows both elements to appear in the
subject position as well as in the predicate when the construction is transformed into a predicative sentence. I assume that from such ambivalence
arise hesitations over the interpretation of these constructions (examples

21 We will see below that example (28) is the first mention of Sp. Albinus, with the
indication of his full name and function; consul Albinus is a reminder of which consul is
22 For these combinations, see ThLL, s. v. ille, 361.50f. By contrast, ille with a cognomen,
agnomen or a name indicating origin can form a noun phrase with the head, for example:
ut noster Scaevola Septumuleio illi Anagnino, cui as our friend Scaevola observed to the
notorious Septumuleius of Anagnina to whom (Cic. de Orat. 2.269). The whole phrase is
resumed by the relative pronoun cui.
23 In modern languages such as English, French, or German, inversion of the order is
possible to some extent: the poet BurnsBurns the poet. For the reversibility of the order
of the two elements, see Keizer (2007: 37). For her, Burns the poet is not an inversion of the
poet Burns; these constructions do not have the same internal structure because of the scope
of the article.



(19)(22)). My Latin examples (28) and (29) correspond to the following

(28a) Sp. Albinus consul est. Spurius Albinus is consul.
(29a) (Hic) consul Albinus est. This/the consul is Albinus.

The elements in apposition, specifying the first elements, enter into following virtual classes:
(32) Sp. Albinus consul / tribunus plebis / tribunus militum / praetor / legatus, etc.
(33) consul Albinus / Baebius / Metellus / Marius, etc.

The close apposition in (32) describes the referent by indicating his function. As we will see below, this ordering {name > title} is typically, but not
exclusively, used for the first mention of a protagonist, which often corresponds to the introduction of a new entity into the discourse. It is noteworthy that the full name, the praenomen, the nomen, and often also the
cognomen, is commonly used in this ordering: the person is named in the
formal way.24 In contrast in (33), a consul known from the preceding context
is meant; the proper name, usually the nomen, specifies him or reminds us
of his identity. Both strategies, description (32) and specification (33), help
the addressee to identify the referent. I will come back later to the question
of their distribution in my corpusin fact, they are not limited to the first
mention and to reference to a known protagonist, as we will see in section
3.1, p. 280only mentioning here that they are not equivalent in a given
context, from the point of view of omissibility.25
The ordering {name > title} corresponds to a relative appositive clause
(34). Lucius Cassius is the first reference to the person. In the given context,
both L. Cassius and praetor must be expressed because they are needed for
the identification of the referent. Omission of either element would cause
difficulties for the coherence of the text and would raise questions such as
who is L. Cassius?; what function enables him to act in such a way? (35).
Likewise, which praetor?; who is this praetor? in (36). However, the second
solution would be acceptable, given that there was a praetor anyway; only
the author would have considered it unnecessary to provide his name.

24 Cf. Adams (1978: 145147) on conventions of naming in Cicero; the full name corresponds to formal contexts.
25 This is what Hannay & Keizer (2005: 164) claim for free appositions: their omission
would affect the coherence of the discourse.


chapter four

(34) Memmius populo persuadet, uti L. Cassius, qui tum praetor erat, ad Iugurtham mitteretur
Memmius persuaded the people to send Lucius Cassius, who was then praetor, to Jugurtha (Sal. Jug. 32.1)
(35) ? Memmius populo persuadet, uti L. Cassius ad Iugurtham mitteretur
(36) Memmius populo persuadet, uti praetor ad Iugurtham mitteretur

In contrast, when a protagonist is already established in the discourse,

further references to him can be made with the help of consul Albinus (and
also Albinus consul),26 consul, or Albinus (37); anaphoric pronouns such as
ille can also be used. Either element, consul or Albinus, is omissible. Another
example, taken from Caesar, is given in (38).
(37) Huic Sp. Albinus, qui proxumo anno post Bestiam cum Q. Minucio Rufo consulatum gerebat, persuadet Avidus consul belli gerundi Interim Albinus
renovato bello Ob ea consul Albinus
Spurius Albinus, who was consul with Quintus Minucius Rufus the year after
Bestia, persuaded him The consul, being eager for the conduct of a war
Meanwhile Albinus, when the war was renewed Therefore the consul
Albinus (Sal. Jug. 35.236.1; 39.1)
(38) Pollicetur L. Piso censor sese iturum ad Caesarem, item L. Roscius praetor, qui
de his rebus eum doceant Eadem fere atque eisdem verbis praetor Roscius
agit cum Caesare.
Lucius Piso the censor, and also Lucius Roscius the praetor, promised to go
to Caesar to inform him of these developments Praetor Roscius discussed
almost the same things with Caesar in the same terms. (Caes. Civ. 1.3.6 and

Another alternative to Sp. Albinus consul is the appositive construction with

is qui in (39).
(39) Nam et A. Albinus, is qui Graece scripsit historiam, qui consul cum L. Lucullo
fuit, et litteratus et disertus fuit.
Thus Aulus Albinus, the writer of a history in Greek, consul with Lucius
Lucullus, was not only a man of letters but a good speaker as well. (Cic. Brut.

At the syntactic level, the pronoun is does not form a noun phrase with
A. Albinus: it marks the relative clause as definite.27 This example confirms

26 But not with the full name consul Sp. Albinusunless the function of a person is given
prominence, cf. example (50).
27 See Pinkster (fc., chapter 17); the other relative clause in the same sentence (qui consul)
is not marked as such.



the substitutions proposed in (23). On the other hand, I thinkwith Heberlein (1996: 350)that Longre (1990: 9) is wrong in rejecting the phrase is
Ancus. Admittedly, personal proper names combine only exceptionally with
is (cf. ThLL, s. v.) but they do co-occur with hic and ille.28 Two examples
are given in (40) and (41) as an illustration. The use of such determiners is
explained by the existence of several people bearing the same name who
have to be identified and distinguished one from another.
(40) Istic est is Iupiter quem dico, quem Graeci vocant Aerem
That one is the Jupiter of whom I speak, who Grecians call Air (Enn. var.
54 ap. Var. L. 5.65)
(41) Quis in tabulis scriptus est? C. Claudius, C. f., Palatina. Non quaero quis hic sit
Whose name is written in the records? Gaius Claudius, son of Gaius, of the
Palatine tribe. I do not ask who this Claudius is. (Cic. Ver. 2.107)

The type consul Albinus competes with constructions containing nomine

(42) or an explicit indicator of appositions, such as hoc est in (43). Apart from
references to a person known from the context (cf. (37)(38)), this pattern
is also used for specifying a referent by providing his name, as we will see
below (example (55)).
(42) Erat in procuratione regni propter aetatem pueri nutricius eius, eunuchus
nomine Pothinus.
On account of the boys age, his guardian, a eunuch called Pothinus, was in
charge of the kingdom. (Caes. Civ. 3.108.1)
(43) Iubet lex ea iudicem quaestionis, hoc est Q. Voconium, quaerere de
The law prescribes the president of the court, that is, Quintus Voconius,
to try cases of poisoning. (Cic. Clu. 148)

The difference between Sp. Albinus consul and consul Albinus, which I have
been explaining, is best observable in narrative texts: in Caesars and Sallusts historical narrative and in narrative passages in Cicero.29 The fact that
the type consul Albinus is statistically much less frequent seems to be due to
the omissibility of either element.

28 For ille, cf., for example: ille Q. Papirius qui (Cic. Dom. 127) or P. ille Scipio (Cic. Har. 6).
Cf. also: Quem tu mihi, inquit Mucius, Staseam narras? What Staseas are you talking to
me about?, said Mucius (Cic. de Orat. 1.105).
29 Cf. below, Table 3 (p. 280) and Table 6 (p. 302). In Livy, e.g. consul Servilius (2.26.2),
consul Appius (2.56.11), alter consul Aemilius (2.62.2), consul Postumius (3.5.3) are references
to persons established in the discourse.


chapter four
2.6. Distribution of Appositions in a Sample

This section presents an overall evaluation of appositions occurring in a

sample of texts. This consists of: Ciceros On Divination 2 and Against Verres 2.5.1120, Caesars Civil War 3, and Sallusts The Jugurthine War 180. Each
text contains about 15,000 words. Table 1 provides an overview of the appositional constructions collected on the basis of the types of the nouns used.30
Proper names entering into appositional constructions, without a distinction between close and free appositions, may appear in the first or in the
second position; the other element is a common noun.
Table 1: Types of nouns entering into appositional constructions (sample)
Construction containing
personal simple

Cic. Div. Cic. Ver. Caes. Civ. Sal. Jug. Total





inhabitants, people


cities, countries


rivers, mountains


Common noun + common noun


Pronoun + common noun












Proper names



Discontinuous constructions
Multiple appositions

It is apparent from this table that constructions with close and free appositions mainly concern individuals (116+59 occ., 75%); less frequently, inhabitants, people, or places such as cities, regions, rivers. Constructions involving
two common nouns are relatively rare (12 occ., 5 %), as well as those with a
pronoun and a common noun (10 occ., 4%). Discontinuous constructions
are infrequent (8 occ.), but they do occur. Multiple appositions are sometimes found (25 occ.), especially in Sallust, as Fugier (1973: 98) has already
30 There are also several instances of partitive appositions, not included in this table. They
will be discussed in section 5.4.2, p. 320.



As appositional constructions typically consist of a proper name in combination with a common noun, I will look now at the types of common
nouns that are associated with proper names. Regardless of the type of appositions, the common nouns used fall into several semantic groups:
kinship nouns, e.g. pater father, mater mother, frater brother, filius
nouns denoting a function in the administration of the State: consul,
praetor, tribunus plebis plebeian tribune, or in the army: dux commander, princeps leader, praefectus equitum cavalry commander;
the noun rex king;31
nouns denoting another function, status, or activity in the society:
Stoicus Stoic, libertus freedman, meretrix courtesan, pirata pirate,
ianitor carceris porter of the prison.
common nouns such as homo and vir man that serve as supports
for properties assigned to an individual. Nouns with a more specific
meaning also belong in this category, denoting for example an activity;
unlike the next group, they occur with adjectives expressing a quality, e.g. locupletissimi auctores the most respectable authors, summi
astrologi the greatest astronomers.
relational nouns other than kinship nouns, e.g. familiaris relative,
amicus friend, expressing relationships between individuals.
These data are summarised in Table 2: nouns expressing official functions
are the most frequent; then come kinship nouns and appositions with homo
accompanied by an evaluative adjective.
Table 2: Common nouns used in appositional constructions (sample)
Official function
Homo (nobilis)
Kinship nouns
Familiaris (meus)
Other function or occupation





31 The noun rex is treated as a separate category because it differs from official functions
in some respects; see section 5.2, p. 317 for more details.


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This account will serve as a general basis for further investigation. I will
firstly discuss close appositions concerning individuals and localities (sections 3.2 and 3.3), then free appositions (section 4). For the purpose of this
demonstration, I will use material provided by the sample mentioned and,
additionally, material obtained from LLT in order to gather more examples,
making it possible to deduce more general tendencies. Remaining appositions with kinship nouns, rex, and other functions will be discussed in
section 5.
3. Close Appositions
The aim of this section is to examine semantic and pragmatic properties
as well as the internal ordering of appositional constructions with common
nouns expressing functions (consul and praetor) and geographical localities
(urbs, oppidum, and flumen). The other element is a proper name. Proper
names, as we have seen in chapter 1, section (p. 19), refer, in principle,
to unique entities. In principle, because we can encounter, especially with
personal proper names, cases in which two persons bear the same (or nearly
the same) name. However, uniqueness of the referent does not imply that
the referent is also accessibleor identifiablefor the addressee or the
reader: Arar, for example, could refer to a mountain, a river, a lake, a slave.
In addition, accessibility of the referents varies: some belong to common
knowledge, others are expected to be little known or entirely unknown. The
latter must be inserted into the addressees knowledge by linguistic means,
for example, Arar is a river in Gaul, in order to enable the addressee to
classify them and to identify them in later references.
3.1. Appositions with consul and praetor
This section will be devoted to two words, consul and praetor, used in
close appositions. First of all, I will dwell on two difficulties concerning the
identification of a construction as a close apposition.
The first problem is that of expansions. Whereas the form of the personal
proper name, simple (Tullius) or complex (Marcus Tullius Cicero), does not
play any role, that of the common noun is significant. The presence of a
modifier with the common noun: an adjective (consul designatus consulelect, praetor urbanus urban praetor) or an adverb (bis for the second time,
iterum again) excludes interpreting it as a close apposition when it stands
as the second element (44). When the common noun comes first, the interpretation of the second element (T. Manlio Mancino) as a close apposition



is still plausible (45), because this sequence is still pronounceable as one

intonational unit.32 The second element, however, could be realised as a free
apposition, after a pause.
(44) ut Q. Hortensius, consul designatus, domum reducebatur e campo
as Hortensius, the consul-elect, was being escorted home from the Campus
Martius (Cic. Ver. 18)
(45) et postea populus a tribuno plebis T. Manlio Mancino rogatus
and afterwards, when the people were asked by the plebeian tribune Manilius
Mancinus (Sal. Jug. 73.7)

The second difficulty is linked with the fact that both nouns under examination refer to functions entrusted to an individual for a certain period. This
point makes it sometimes difficult to decide whether consul and praetor figure in a construction with a close apposition (the consul Caesar) or they
function as secondary predicates with a circumstantial value (Caesar as a
consul).33 The distinction is not easy to establish. Nevertheless, I will rely on
the semantic value of the sentence: for activities that fall under the duties of
a consul, interpretation as a secondary predicate is often obvious. For example, Caesar presides over the meeting of the senate as a consul (46) but
consul in (47) is simply a title of M. Tullius, and not necessarily a secondary
predicate. In any case, accomplishing an action concerning private interests
(48) does not represent duty of a consul.
(46) cum sermo esset institutus senatu misso, quem senatum Caesar consul habuisset, reprendit eas res, quas
while the conversation began after a session of the senate which Caesar had
convoked as a consul, he proceeds to censure the acts that (Cic. Brut. 218)
(47) Tum M. Tullius consul orationem habuit luculentam atque utilem rei publicae, quam postea scriptam edidit.
It was then that Marcus Tullius the consul delivered that splendid speech,
so beneficial to the republic, which he afterwards wrote and published. (Sal.
Cat. 31.6)34
(48) P. Lentulus consul, optime de me ac de re publica meritus
the consul Publius Lentulus, who has done signal service to myself and to the
State (Cic. Dom. 7)

32 This is of course a hypothesis; but recall that distinction between close and free appositions is without difficulties for modern languages (see note 7, p. 264).
33 On secondary predicates, see Pinkster (1983) and (LSS 8.5.2) and Touratier (1991).
34 A Catilinarian speech is meant. Vretzka (1976: 388) qualifies the expression of full name
and title as auffallend, noteworthy.


chapter four

Table 3 presents data gathered with the help of LLT, for constructions
with a close apposition containing the words consul and praetor, referred
to as the function, in combination with a proper name, single (X: Tullius)
or complex (XX: M. Tullius). Only instances in the nominative singular have
been considered for consul. Evident uses as secondary predicate have been
eliminated. Appositional constructions with consul and praetor did not
provide any instance of discontinuity.35
Table 3: Close appositions with consul (nom. sg.) and praetor (LLT)
Close apposition





X function
XX function
function X
function XX









In the majority of the cases, appositional constructions exhibit the ordering

{proper name > title}, and the proper name is mostly complex. This pattern
appears for the first mentions of new protagonists who will play an important role afterwards in the narrative. It serves to introduce a person into the
discourse (cf. p. 274, examples (37)(38)). The full name followed by the title
is also used when a person unknown from the preceding context is simply
mentioned once, without persisting in the discourse, such as in (49).
(49) Hoc Decimus Silanus consul in hoc ordine, hoc meus etiam collega dicebat.
That is what Decimus Silanus the consul said in this body; that is what my
colleague also said. (Cic. Pis. 56)

The full name followed by the title in a close apposition can also be used
when the author reminds us of the official title of a person known from the
preceding context in order to focus on his duties (50).36
(50) Is ab inimicis suis apud C. Sacerdotem praetorem rei capitalis cum accusatus
esset, facile eo iudicio est liberatus.
Having been accused by his enemies on a capital charge before the praetor
Gaius Sacerdos, he was easily acquitted. (Cic. Ver. 2.68)
35 The following instance: ut a Scaevola est praetore salutatus Athenis Albucius (Cic. Fin.
1.8) has been eliminated because of textual problems. Manuscripts are unanimous as for
praetor but this function had been performed by Scaevola, and not by Albucius; this is why
Manutius emended the text.
36 Apud praetorem before the praetor is a juridical formula, cf. ThLL, s. v. apud 341.42f.



The ordering {proper name > title} with a simple name is found in Caesars and Sallusts historical narrative for references to persons already established in the discourse. However, three times (for consul), interpretation as
a secondary predicate cannot be excluded (51);37 one reliable example of a
close apposition is given in (52). In this case, the expression of consul gives
prominence to the function performed by Servilius.
(51) (legiones) duas ex Asia quas Lentulus consul conscribendas curaverat
(legions) two from Asia, levied by the care of the consul Lentulus (Caes. Civ.
(52) cum resisteret Servilius consul reliquique magistratus
as the consul Servilius and the rest of the magistrates opposed this (Caes. Civ.

Cicero chiefly uses this pattern in his letters for references to individuals
known to his addressees. The fact that he gives only the family name may
be ascribed to the type of text, which is less formal, or to references to shared
knowledge (53).38
(53) Id cum Sulpicius consul passurum se negaret, multa nos quidem questi sumus.
When the consul Sulpicius declared that he would not allow it, we protested,
it is true, on many grounds. (Cic. Fam. 3.3.1)

The number of the instances of the ordering {title > proper name} is relatively low. This pattern is used for further reference to an already known
person39 and is linked with the underlying question which praetor? (54).
(54) Ut ille Siculus, cui praetor Scipio patronum causae dabat hospitem suum
So that Sicilian to whom the praetor Scipio was assigning as counsel in a
law-suit his host (Cic. de Orat. 2.280)

The same arrangement also appears for persons unknown from the preceding context, in which case the proper name is given in its full form. The performer of a function is thus specified by indication of his name. The name
could have remained unexpressed but in these cases the author thought it
best to provide it. In (55), apud praetorem Cn. Domitium does not anticipate
any further information about this person but simply specifies the praetor
who was at this moment Cn. Domitius.


The other two are Caes. Civ. 1.14.1 and 3.21.3.

Cf. also, e.g. Cato et Servilius praetores the praetors Cato and Servilius (Att. 4.18.4 and
Q. fr. 3.4.6); Tubulum praetorem (Att. 12.5b).
39 Cf. example (38). Outside historical narrative, cf. e.g. Cic. Phil. 2.84.


chapter four

(55) A. d. III Id. Febr. dixi pro Bestia de ambitu apud praetorem Cn. Domitium in
foro medio maximo conventu.
On 11 February I defended Bestia on a bribery charge before praetor Gnaeus
Domitius in mid forum; there was a large crowd. (Cic. Q. fr. 2.3.6)

The ordering {title > proper name} also appears in another, contrastive,
context. The title of consul in (56) contrasts with Sullas action (a consul
is supposed to devote himself to his fatherland and not to ruin it in a
civil war).40 Example (57), with two full proper names, illustrates a contrast
between two persons sharing the same office who are given different tasks
(56) Civile bellum consul Sulla gessit, legionibus in urbem adductis quos voluit
The consul Sulla waged a civil war; he marched his legions into Rome, banished whom he chose (Cic. Phil. 14.23)
(57) Sed praetores Q. Pompeius Rufus Capuam, Q. Metellus Celer in agrum Picenum
But the praetors Quintus Pompeius Rufus and Quintus Metellus Celer were
sent off, the one to Capua, the other to Picenum. (Sal. Cat. 30.3)

3.2. Appositions with urbs and oppidum

3.2.1. Urbs Roma
I will turn now to inanimate entities, starting with cities. The phrase urbs
Roma is quoted in many works to illustrate a close apposition (Fugier 1983:
242 and Bauer 2008, among others). Urbs Roma has, of course, the same
syntactic properties as oppidum Gadis but, as I will try to show, it cannot be
regarded as a prototypical case from the pragmatic point of view, for two
reasons. The first is that this phrase is seldom attested in Classical authors:
in Cicero, there are 638 instances of Roma alone and only 2 instances of urbs
Roma (see Table 4.1 in the Appendix).41
This point leads naturally to the second reason why urbs Roma is atypical for explaining the use of close appositions containing a place name: the
semantic properties of the proper name involved. Roma is indeed referentially self-sufficient and does not require the presence of a common noun
40 However, it is impossible to exclude the interpretation as secondary predicate (when
consul). In the passage cited, Cicero relates incidents in the civil wars of 8882 between Sulla
(consul in 88) and Marius (consul in 86) with Cinna, who held the consulship from 8784.
41 In Livy, there are 30 instances of urbs Roma vs. 885 of Roma. This number, higher than
in Classical authors, is easy to explain, not by any diachronic considerations, but by the fact
that Livy was writing a history of Rome. In all these cases, Roma is postposed to urbs.



that would help to classify the referent: it was available to every Roman
citizen, and also to the inhabitants of the provinces. There is, of course, referential identity between urbs and Roma, and examples such as (58) and (59)
make it clear that they function at the same syntactic level and may interchange (urbs the city is a part of the personal sphre of the speaker and is
identifiable by the addressee).
(58) A. d. III Non. Ian. ad urbem cogito.
I am thinking of going to town on the 3rd of January. (Cic. Att. 7.4.3)
(59) Inde cogito Romam ad Kal. Iun.
Then I am thinking of reaching Rome on the 1st of June. (Cic. Att. 2.8.2)

However, in the same context, Cicero would not use ad urbem Romam
cogito, as an English speaker would not say I am thinking of going to the
city of London. The phrase urbs Roma functions as an official appellation of
the city, an appellation that is especially convenient for solemn or formal
circumstances, as in Catilines speech before the senators (60).42 The choice
of urbs Roma, instead of urbs or Roma, can also result from the idea of
contrast, for example in (61) between urbs and civitates that were situated
in the provincia.43
(60) Catilina postulare a patribus coepit, ne existumarent sibi, patricio homini perdita re publica opus esse, quom eam servaret M. Tullius, inquilinus
civis urbis Romae.
Catiline entreated the senators not to suppose that he, a patrician should
want to ruin the State, when Marcus Tullius, a mere adopted citizen of Rome,
was eager to preserve it. (Sal. Cat. 31.7)
(61) (Verres) qui ab urbe Roma cum sibi in provinciam proficiscendum putaret,
litteras ad Siciliae civitates miserit
(Verres) from the city of Rome when he was thinking to set forth for his
province, he sent a letter to the Sicilian communities (Cic. Ver. 3.44)

The use of close appositions is inseparable from the question of identifiability or accessibility of the referent. The speaker has a choice between a proper
name (Roma), a common noun (urbs), or the combination of both. We have
seen what reasons determine the choice of the close apposition in the case
of urbs Roma; I will look now at other cities.

42 It is an offensive allusion to Ciceros origin. However Arpinum, his hometown, had

obtained civil rights sine suffragio in 303 and full civil rights in 188 (see Vretzka 1976: 391).
43 This example concerns a scandalous action: before setting off for Sicily, Verres sent a
letter to the Sicilians exhorting them to plough and sow, so that he could start collecting
taxes upon his arrival.


chapter four

In Cicero, according to the database LLT, the names of cities such as

Athenae, Alexandria, Sparta, or Carthago are not used in close appositions;
that of Syracusae three times attests the construction urbs Syracusae, which
is infrequent with respect to Syracusae alone.44 All these cities belong to
the common knowledge shared by a linguistic and cultural community and
there is no need to specify the category which the referent is to be classified
in. The three instances deserve quotation because the choice of a close
apposition is fully justified. In (62), Cicero recalls the credit due to Marcus
Marcellus who, after having captured Syracuse, did not deliver it for pillaging
but preserved its treasures and master works. Urbs serves here as support
for the adjective pulcherrimam.45 Example (63) is taken from the beginning
of the famous description of Syracuse; urbem Syracusas functions as the
Topic.46 Urbem Syracusas in (64) enters into implicit contrast with hiberna
(castra); Cicero describes Verres as a commander who, instead of enduring
toil and cold, spent the winter period in a city with urban provisions and
mild weather, occupied with feasts and debauchery.
(62) (M. Marcellus) urbem pulcherrimam Syracusas non solum incolumem passus est esse, sed ita reliquit ornatam, ut
(Marcus Marcellus) not only allowed the beautiful city of Syracuse to remain
unharmed, but he left it so richly adorned that (Cic. Ver. 2.4)
(63) Urbem Syracusas maximam esse Graecarum, pulcherrimam omnium saepe
The city of Syracuse is, as you have often heard, the largest of the Greek cities
and the most beautiful of all cities. (Cic. Ver. 4.117)
(64) Primum temporibus hibernis ad magnitudinem frigorum et ad tempestatum
vim ac fluminum praeclarum hoc sibi remedium compararat. Urbem Syracusas elegerat
First, to counteract the extreme cold in winter and the violence of the storms
and swollen rivers, he devised for himself the perfect expedient. He chose the
city of Syracuse (Cic. Ver. 5.26)

In Classical authors, appositions with urbs are rather rare (10 occ. in my
data). A possible explanation for this is the topics of their works,47 as we


Out of 114 instances; there is also one free apposition.

For qualification of proper names, cf. section 4.1, p. 297.
46 In this case, we can hesitate whether urbem Syracusas forms a phrase or urbem is
predicative. This example is usually quoted as a close apposition.
47 In contrast, in Livy, in the first ten books concerning the beginnings of the Roman
republic, the capture of Veii and the conquest of Italy, close appositions with urbs are frequent
because cities in Italy are discussed, cf. urbem Antium (Liv. 2.63.6), in urbem Fidenas (4.22.2),



will see in the next section. Another instance occurs in a passage where
Cicero mentions administrative centres of the province Gallia, where Marcus Fonteius was praetor. Urbs Massilia (65) is (re-)introduced into the discourse.
(65) (in eadem provincia) Est item urbs Massilia, de qua ante dixi, fortissimorum
fidelissimorumque sociorum, qui
(in this same province) There is also the city of Massilia, which I have mentioned, inhabited by brave and faithful allies, who (Cic. Font. 13)

3.2.2. Appositions with oppidum

Unlike urbs, oppidum is commonly used in appositional constructions by
Classical authors. They principally appear in narrative texts that take place
outside Italy:48 Sallusts Jugurthine War in North Africa, Caesars Gallic War in
Gaul, Civil War in Spain, Greece, and Africa, and Ciceros Verrines in Sicily.49
Data are presented in Table 4. X stands for a proper name, for intervening
Table 4: Close appositions with oppidum (LLT)
Close apposition





oppidum X
oppidum X
X oppidum










ad urbem Allifas (9.42.6), also in the inverted order, e.g.: Satricum urbem (6.33.4), Thurias
urbem (10.2.1). In the latter two cases, the phrases are pragmatically salient; see note 59, p. 288.
48 The distinction is not only geographical. Oppidum is a fortress, a colonised small town,
especially in the mountains, with natural protection, in the Celtic or another civilisation.
Urbs is a large town, founded according to a ritual ceremony and provided with ramparts,
representing a religious and political centre. This term is convenient for ancient Greek
colonies as well as Mediterranean cities. See Bedon (1994). Cf. also Volkmanns article on
oppidum in Brills New Pauly.
49 Caesar and Cicero knew personally the places they described. Sallust, who had been
living in Africa for some periodhe was governor of the province Africa Nova established by
Caesar (Syme 1964: 37, 151153)did not manage to, or did not aim to benefit from his stay
for collecting evidence for geographic descriptions. For the imprecision of the geographical
setting of the Jugurthine War, see Syme (1964: 147149), Tiffou (1974), and Koestermanns commentary (1971). In his 1974 article, Desanges quotes Picards pertinent observation (p. 143):
Sallust wrote in Rome for people who had never been to Africa and did not have maps. He
did not care much about exactness and only wanted to please with a picturesque narrative
from which one could draw political and moral conclusions.


chapter four

It is apparent from table 4 that constructions containing close appositions with oppidum predominantly occur in the order {oppidum > proper
name}; seven times, the elements are not contiguous. There are only three
instances of the pattern {proper name > oppidum}.50
The order {oppidum > proper name} appears in various contexts. Firstly,
it is chosen when the author mentions a place for the first time, especially
to introduce it into the discourse as a new setting.51 The common noun
indicates the category, the proper name specifies which entity belonging to
the group is involved. Sallust uses this strategy four times, Caesar ten times,
and Cicero four times. The following examples concern towns that have not
been mentioned in the preceding context.
(66) et magno itinere ad oppidum Noviodunum contendit. Id ex itinere oppugnare
and making a forced march, he hastens to the town of Noviodunum. Having
attempted to assault it direct from the march (Caes. Gal. 2.12.12)
(67) Sed Hiempsal in oppido Thirmida forte eius domo utebatur, qui
It happened that Hiempsal was lodging in the town of Thirmida at the house
of (Sal. Jug. 12.3)

Neither the Numidian town Thirmida, nor the town of the Haedui Noviodunum belong to shared knowledge. The constructions with close appositions (or another alternative) are essential in the given context because the
use of the proper names alone, Thirmida and Noviodunum, would require
more specification and the expression ad oppidum / in oppido would remain
incomplete. These constructions are irreducible in that they can interchange neither with the common noun alone, nor with the proper noun
alone. This type of construction competes with other syntactic means: a
free apposition (68), a determinative relative clause (69), a phrase containing nomine (70), or an independent sentence (71).52 These constructions are
also used to introduce a new entity into the discourse that will serve as the
spatial setting afterwards.
50 These tendencies of placement are confirmed by data gathered from my sample involving oppidum, fluvius and also other nouns referring to spatial entities such as provincia, colonia, campus, lacus: 19 times (out of 23), the common noun precedes the proper name in the
case of close appositions.
51 Especially but not necessarily: the town of Thirmida in (67) does not play any role in
the subsequent context.
52 There also other possibilities, cf. nos in Cappadocia ad Taurum cum exercitu ad Cybistra I am in Cappadocia near the Taurus mountain with my army close to Cybistra (Cic. Att.
5.18.1), where the town of Cybistra is identifiable by the mention of the province (in Capadocia), followed by the more specific ad Taurum.



(68) Dein Thalam pervenit, in oppidum magnum atque opulentum, Inter Thalam
Then he reached Thala, a large and wealthy town, Between Thala (Sal.
Jug. 75.1)
(69) Coniuncto exercitu Caesar Gomphos pervenit, quod est oppidum primum
Thessaliae venientibus ab Epiro. Quae gens
With his forces united, Caesar went on to Gomphi, which is the first town in
Thessaly as you come from Epirus. The people (Caes. Civ. 3.80.1)
(70) Ab his castris oppidum Remorum nomine Bibrax aberat milia passuum octo.
From this camp a town of the Remi called Bibrax was eight miles distant. This
town (Caes. Gal. 2.6.1)
(71) Labienus cum IIII legionibus Luteciam proficiscitur. Id est oppidum Parisiorum positum in insula fluminis Sequanae.
Labienus marches with four legions to Lutetia. It is a town of the Parisii,
situated on an island on the river Sequana. (Caes. Gal. 7.57.1)

Examples (68)(71) show different strategies which serve to make a referent

that does not belong to shared knowledge accessible for the addressee. Once
the entity is established in the discourse, it can be further referred to by
oppidum (with a definite reading), a proper name alone (72) or, occasionally,
a construction with a close apposition {oppidum > proper name}, where
the common noun reminds us of the category to which the proper name
belongs.53 In other words, when the referent is already identifiable, the
construction with a close apposition is reducible to either element.
(72) (legiones) Sex ipse in Arvernos ad oppidum Gergoviam secundum flumen
Elaver duxit Gergoviam pervenit ; castris prope oppidum positis
He led in person six legions into the country of the Arverni, towards the town
of Gergovia, along the river Elaver He reached Gergovia ; after having
pitched camp near the town (Caes. Gal. 7.34.1; 36.12)

However, I noted three instances where the pattern {proper name > oppidum} is used for entities not yet established in the discourse.54 All of them
pose problems. Cirta oppidum in (73), the first mention of this town, is difficult to explain.55 This ordering could be related to its pragmatic saliency


Cf. p. 193, example (82) with flumen.

The instance Bidis oppidum est tenue sane non longe a Syracusis Bidis is a quite small
town not far from Syracuse (Cic. Ver. 2.53) is likely to be interpreted as a predicative construction.
55 Cirta (modern Constantine) was the capital of the kingdom of Numidia. If Cirta belonged to common knowledge (I consider it unlikely), the word oppidum would not be


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in that Cirta will represent the setting of further events; likewise, ad Cirtam
oppidum in Jug. 81.2 (a text with a lacuna), where the town is reintroduced
into the discourse.56
(73) Interim haud longe a mari prope Cirtam oppidum utriusque exercitus consedit
et, quia diei extremum erat, proelium non inceptum.
Meanwhile both armies encamped not far from the sea near the town of Cirta;
because it was late in the day, they did not join battle. (Sal. Jug. 21.2)

The third instance of the ordering {proper name > oppidum} is found in
Caesar. However, the sequence ad Buthrotum oppidum is not guaranteed
because of the presence of Corcyrae; insertion of oppositum is plausible on
the basis of geographical facts.57 This example could indeed be segmented
ad Buthrotum, oppidum oppositum Corcyrae as well. Furthermore, there is
reason to believe that Buthrotum, a holiday resort on the coast of Epirus,
belonged to shared knowledge and, consequently, could be used without
(74) Caesar eo tempore cum legione una profectus ad recipiendas ulteriores civitates erat ad Buthrotum oppidum oppositum Corcyrae. Ibi
Caesar had at that point set out with one legion to win over the more distant
communities and he was at the town of Buthrotum opposite Corcyra. There
(Caes. Civ. 3.16.1)

It is worth adding that the variation in the ordering with oppidum does
not involve the difference that I envisaged for Sp. Albinus consul and consul
Albinus.59 In the case of place names, the proper name specifies the common

expressed. On the other hand, Sallust himself does not seem to have a precise idea about its
location, saying haud longe a mari: Cirta was situated at 65km from the sea (correctly Mela
1.30: Cirta procul a mari), on a 200 m high hill (see Koestermann 1971: 100); cf. also Syme (1964:
152). Cf. note 49, p. 285.
56 Apart from the first mention ( Jug. 21.2), and the reintroduction of Cirta into the discourse ( Jug. 81.2) with the help of the close appositions already mentioned (Cirta oppidum),
Sallust uses references with the proper name alone (Cirta). Afterwards, he continues with
oppidum Cirta, three times, very close one to another ( Jug. 88.3, 101.1, 102.1).
57 The manuscript readings are Butrotum and Brutotum (bur totum). I adopt Carters (1993:
40) reading; other editors add quod est oppositum.
58 Cf. Cic. Att. 4.8.1: hoc scito, Antium Buthrotum esse Romae ut Corcyrae illud tuum. Let me
tell you that Antium is the Buthrotum of Rome, as your Buthrotum is of Corcyra.
59 However, cf. Heberlein (1996: 354). He considers that the ordering urbs Satricum builds
up the referent (referenz bildend) but Satricum urbs clarifies it (referenz klrend). I would
interpret this example from Livy in a different way. In (rabies Latinorum) eo erupit, ut Satricum
urbem, quae receptaculum primum eis adversae pugnae fuerat, igni concremarent the rage of
the Latins rose to such a pitch that they set fire to Satricum, the town which had been their
first place of refuge after their defeat (Liv. 6.33.4), the ordering Satricum urbs (Satricum, a



noun. The descriptive type would be expected for homonymous names such
as Thirmida oppidumThirmida flumen; however, my corpus did not offer
instances of this type.
The examples introduced in the sections devoted to place names have
shown two extreme situations: on the one hand, commonly known cities
(Roma, Syracusae, Massilia), on the other hand, towns in Gaul, Sicily, or
Africa that are expected to be unknown (Gergovia, Lampsacum, Thala).
In the latter case, the common noun could not be used alone without
the proper name and the proper name alone would not be referentially
self-sufficient. The choice of a construction with a close appositionor
another linguistic means providing the same servicethat puts together
a common noun and a proper name is justified for pragmatic reasons. At
the same time, it presupposes a judgment on the availability of the referent
to the addressee. For us, it is not always easy to recognise the degree of
identifiability of such or such a place. In any case, it is likely that in Caesars
Civil War, cities as Ilerda, Oricum, Apollonia, or Dyrrachium are expected
to be known or identifiable because during their first appearances, they
occur without the support of a common noun.60 In addition, it must be
pointed out that the choice between a close apposition and a proper name
alone depends on the aims of the discourse. The localities to which the
authors refer with the help of appositional constructions often serve as
spatial settings for the events that will be related, as we have seen in the
case of Gergovia (72) in the Gallic War. By contrast, in the Civil War Caesar
says, in a speech exhorting his soldiers before a decisive battle:
(75) ut detrimentum in bonum verteret, uti ad Gergoviam accidisset
that their loss would turn to profit, as had happened at Gergovia (Caes. Civ.

In this passage, Gergovia is considered identifiable to the soldiers present:

it is a reminder of a memorable battle (in the year 52), in which Caesar

city in Latium, is known from the context) may result from the fact that it is a pragmatically
salient constituent. However, this instance poses the same problem of segmentation as ad
Buthrotum oppidum in (74): Satricum, urbem quae receptaculum is plausible as well.
60 For Ilerda, a town in the northeast of Spain, cf. Civ. 1.38.4 (with a previous mention
of Hispania) and 41.2; the fact that this proper name co-occurs with oppidum afterwards
(1.43.1) can be attributed to Caesars aim to be as precise as possible. For Oricum, see 3.7.1;
Apollonia, 3.5.2, and Dyrrachium (Epidamnos) 1.25.2; these were ancient Greek colonies in
Illyria. However, due to mentions of crossing the sea and of Brundisium, the chief point of
embarkation for Greece, it is more or less possible to infer from the context where they are


chapter four

suffered a serious reverse, and not a beginning of a description of this town.

Its geographic situation and the type of the referent do not matter in such a
In Table 4 we have seen that the common noun is not always contiguous
with the proper name (7 occ.). Two different situations belong to this category: (i) the presence of a modifier expanding oppidum and (ii) disjunction
caused by an intervening alien element.
3.2.3. Oppidum with a Modifier
When oppidum has a modifier, the first element of the construction becomes
complex, which could have relevance for the interpretation of the construction: is the second element still a close apposition or is it now a free apposition? When the modifier is an adjective (as devium), attributing a property to
the noun, there is no difficulty in interpreting the second element as close
apposition (76). In contrast, a genitive complement, which expresses the
people or the person to whom the town belongs, specifies the word oppidum
(77) in some way. In such cases, we can hesitate over the type of the construction. Intonation would make it possible to decide whether Vellaunodunum
stands in close apposition with respect to the first element or whether there
is a pause after Senonum, in which case we would have a free apposition.
Instead, we must rely on the context. In (77), the town of Vellaunodunum
is mentioned for the first time; the Senones have already been referred to
before.61 In principle, there is no reason to reject the interpretation of the
second element as a close apposition. It is very possible that oppidum has a
double specification, one provided by the possessive genitive, and the other
by a proper name.
(76) Cum concursum plorantium ac tempestatem querellarum ferre non posses,
in oppidum devium Beroam profugisti.
When you could not endure the throng of people weeping and storm of
complaints, you fled to Beroa, a town off the beaten track. (Cic. Pis. 89)
(77) Altero die cum ad oppidum Senonum Vellaunodunum venisset
On the second day, when he came to Vellaunodunum, a town of the Senones,
(Caes. Gal. 7.11.1)

61 The expression of Senonum is necessary. Caesar indeed must specify that a town of the
Senones is meant because otherwise the town would be related to the Boii mentioned in the
immediately preceding context.



3.2.4. Discontinuity
Constructions with close appositions allow discontinuity (pace Fugier 1973:
99), although this is exceptional.62 My corpus offers two examples of discontinuity for oppidum + proper name.
(78) (ad oppidum Ilerdam) et sub montem in quo erat oppidum positum Ilerda
succedunt. Hinc
(to the town Ilerda) and came up beneath the hill on which the town of
Ilerda stood. From there (Caes. Civ. 1.45.2)
(79) Oppidum est in Hellesponto Lampsacum, iudices, in primis Asiae provinciae
clarum et nobile.
On the Hellespont, there is a town called Lampsacum, members of the jury,
among the best of the provinces of Asia, famous and renowned. (Cic. Ver. 1.63,
transl. Gildenhard)

The first one (78) poses a problem: the expression ad oppidum Ilerdam
figures in the immediately preceding sentence and two full references
occurring close to one another are surprising.63 Furthermore, oppidum Ilerda
is not a pragmatically salient constituent; sub montem is more informative;
the explicative relative clause recalls known facts.
The second example (79) may be interpreted in two ways: oppidum with
an indefinite reading: on the Hellespont, there is a town, Lampsacum,64 or
forming a phrase with the proper name (the town of Lampsacum). Cicero
uses this sentences for opening the case of Lampsacum in his Verrine
speech (the events of Lampsacum occupy sections 6386). For this reason, I
would reject the indefinite reading of oppidum. The author does not want to
inform us about the existence of a town on the Hellespont; it is more likely
that he is aiming to introduce oppidum Lampsacum into the discourse and,
at the same time, to situate it (in Hellesponto).65 The separation of the two
elements is justified by pragmatic saliency of the phrase that conveys new


Note also discontinuity with flumen (section 3.3.3, p. 195).

Meusel (the editor) suggested deletion of the second Ilerda.
64 For presentational sentences, see Rosn (1998: 734).
65 Cf. the following translation in French: Sur les bords de lHellespont slve la ville
de Lampsaque, une des plus renommes et des plus clbres de lAsie (uvres compltes
de Cicron, dir. M. Nisard, Paris 1840,


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3.3. Appositions with flumen / fluvius

In Table 5 I present data for constructions with close appositions containing

flumen and fluvius river.66 These are very often used in Caesars historical
narrative, where they usually serve to demarcate territories.
Table 5: Close apposition with flumen / fluvius (LLT)
Close apposition
flumen X
flumen X
X flumen












The ordering { flumen > proper name} is the most common (54 occ.); discontinuity is rare, the ordering {proper name > flumen} is infrequent.
Rivers that enter into constructions with close appositions do not belong
to shared knowledge, unlike Tiberis, for example, which does not co-occur
with flumen.67 Rhenus68 also usually goes without the common noun; in
Caesar, Rhenus alone appears 55 times, flumen Rhenus only 8 times.69
3.3.1. Flumen Arar
The ordering flumen Arar can be regarded as the usual expression. It is
chosen for the first mentions of rivers, especially when a new spatial setting
is being introduced into the discourse (80). This ordering is also used for
references to an already established river, as in (81). This ordering concerns
pragmatically salient constituents, as in (80), but also constituents that do
not have any special pragmatic function, as in (81).


The word fluvius is not used by Sallust and Caesar.

In Cicero, the name Tiberis alone occurs 12 times. Livy has 67 instances of Tiberis, one of
which occurs with the common noun (prope Tiberim fluvium in 1.7.4, pragmatically salient);
there is also Tiberi amne in 4.32.8.
68 Classical authors do not frequently mention rivers such as Nilus or Indus, for which I
would not expect co-occurrence with a common noun. Cicero, in his philosophical treatises
and letters, has 13 references to Euphrates with the proper name alone; Sallust (Hist. 4, frg.
59) mentions it once as ad flumen Euphraten.
69 The first mention of Rhenus is made using the proper name alone (Gal. 1.1.3). The case of
Rhodanus is less clear: Caesar has 9 instances of the proper name and 5 of flumen Rhodanus.



(80) Flumen Axonam, quod est in extremis Remorum finibus, exercitum traducere
maturavit atque ibi castra posuit.
He hastened to lead his army across the river Axona, which is upon the
outermost borders of the Remi, and there pitched his camp. (Caes. Gal. 2.5.4)
(81) Qui cum ad flumen Ligerim venissent, quod Bituriges ab Haeduis dividit,
paucos dies ibi morati
When they came to the river Loire, which separates the Bituriges from the
Aedui, they delayed a few days there (Caes. Gal. 7.5.4)

References to an entity established in the discourse can be made by various

linguistic means. The well-known passage in (82) contains strong and weak
forms of anaphora: the pronoun (id), the common noun ( flumen), also
accompanied by an anaphoric pronoun (id flumen), a proper name referring
to a known entity (Arar), and a close apposition (circa flumen Ararim). Only
constructions with a simply anaphoric value are reducible to one or the
other element. For the first discontinuous instance ( flumen Arar), see
below, example (89).
(82) Flumen est Arar, quod influit Id Helvetii ratibus ac lintribus iunctis transibant tres iam partes copiarum Helvetios id flumen traduxisse, quartam
vero partem citra flumen Ararim reliquam esse ad eam partem pervenit,
quae nondum flumen transierat pontem in Arari faciendum curat.
There is a river Arar, which flows through This the Helvetii were crossing
by rafts and boats fastened together that three-quarters of the Helvetian
forces had actually crossed, but that the fourth part was left behind on this
side of the river Arar came up came up with that division, which had not
yet crossed the river he procures a bridge to be made across the Arar. (Caes.

3.3.2. Garunna flumen

Table 5 shows that the ordering {proper name > flumen} is in the minority
(9 occ.). Almost all the instances I gathered can be given an explanation
involving pragmatic reasons. In (83), Garunna flumen70 is a pragmatically
significant constituent; a contrast is established between the rivers separating the Gauls from the Aquitani and the Belgae: Garunna from one side,
Matrona and Sequana from the other. Two other instances of Garunna flumen are also contrastive (Caes. Gal. 1.1.5 and 7).
70 This example from the beginning of the Gallic War is quoted in Latin grammars (K.&St.
II: 604, among others). It cannot be taken as an illustration of the presumable basic order;
for this point, cf. Hackstein (2003: 138) who considers Hypanis fluvius (Plin. Nat. 11.120) as an
archaism, a residuary case of the basic order {proper name > common noun} in Latin; see,
however, the next note.


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(83) Gallos ab Aquitanis Garunna flumen, a Belgis Matrona et Sequana dividit.

The river Garunna separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Matrona and
the Sequana separate them from the Belgae. (Caes. Gal. 1.1.2)

An idea of contrast between two or more entities indeed produces inversion of the order, or, more exactly, a special disposition of the internal
order of the phrase, as may happen with other pragmatically significant constituents. In (84), Sabim flumen is the Focus of its sentence conveying salient
information. In (85), in Sicori flumine functions as a New Topic, set up without any special introduction (it is the first mention). It will play the role of
the spatial setting in the subsequent context.
(84) Cum per eorum fines triduo iter fecisset, inveniebat ex captivis Sabim flumen
a castris suis non amplius milibus passuum X abesse; trans id flumen omnes
Nervios consedisse.
After a three days march through their territories, Caesar found out from
prisoners that the river Sabis was not more than ten miles from his camp;
that all the Nervii had been stationed across the river. (Caes. Gal. 2.16.12)
(85) In Sicori flumine pontes effecerat duos distantes inter se milia passuum IIII.
He had laid two bridges over the Sicoris, four miles distant from each other.
(Caes. Civ. 1.40.1)

Apart from five instances of the ordering {proper name > flumen} already
mentioned, which occur in the historical narrative, there are additional four
in Cicero. However, their analysis is more difficult because they appear in
texts that do not follow a direct narrative line. In any case, I would interpret
example (86) as an expression of the spatial setting, analogous to (85).71
(86) Apud Hypanim fluvium, qui ab Europae parte in Pontum influit, Aristoteles ait
bestiolas quasdam nasci, quae unum diem vivant.
By the river Hypanis, which flows into the Pontus from a part of Europe,
Aristotle says that a kind of small animal is born, which lives for a single day.
(Cic. Tusc. 1.94)

71 However, Cicero is dealing with the same topic as Pliny (mentioned in the preceding
note): the may-flies. Their source is Aristotle, History of Animals 552b:
, etc. It is therefore likely that both authors imitate
the order used by Aristotle. In Ancient Greek, the sequence article + proper name +
is used of fairly well-known rivers (Gildersleeve 1900: 249), as opposed to proper names with
the article ( ), referring to well-known rivers, and proper names with (
or ) referring to unknown rivers. This explains the appositional
construction used by Aristotle and the further specification of the place where this river flows
(Hypanis, the name of two rivers flowing into the Black sea, was hardly accessible). Both
Roman authors also further specify it: Cicero adds a relative clause, Pliny, a prepositional
phrase: Hypanis fluvius in Ponto making it possible to situate the river.



A comparison of parallel passages in the two books of Ciceros On Divination reveals that the constituent Atratum fluvium in (87) is salient and
exhibits a special disposition of its elements.72 Its focal nature is supported
by the additive particle etiam also. In the first book of the On Divination (88),
the common order fluvius Atratus is used (the focus is on sanguine fluxit).
(87) Sanguine pluisse senatui nuntiatum est, Atratum etiam fluvium fluxisse sanguine, deorum sudasse simulacra.
It was announced to the senate that it had rained blood, that the river Atratus
flowed with blood, and that the statues of the gods dripped with sweat. (Cic.
Div. 2.58)
(88) Cum fluvius Atratus sanguine fluxit?
When did the river Atratus run with blood? (Cic. Div. 1.98)

3.3.3. Flumen Arar

I noted two instances of discontinuity with flumen. The first one is the
well-known flumen Arar, quoted above in (82). It figures in an existential
sentence: there is a river (called) the Arar; an interpretation as a predicative
sentence the Arar is a river that is not convenient in the given context.
Caesar is introducing a New Topic into the discourse that becomes the
spatial setting afterwards; discontinuity is justified by the fact that flumen
Arar conveys salient information. Discontinuity in (89) can also be ascribed
to the pragmatic saliency of flumen Apsus.73
(89) Inter bina castra Pompei atque Caesaris unum flumen tantum intererat Apsus
crebraque inter se conloquia milites habebant
Between the two camps of Pompey and Caesar there was only the single
stream of the river Apsus; the soldiers frequently talked to each other (Caes.
Civ. 3.19.1)

3.4. Agreement
Latin grammars (K.&St. I: 4244; cf. Heberlein 1996: 348) state that in constructions with a close apposition, agreement is usually made with the common noun; for example maximam agrees with urbem in (63) and circumductum (90) with flumen (Dubis is a masculine noun).

72 Cf. apud Haletem fluvium on the river Hales (Cic. Att. 16.7.5), which is also focal. By
contrast, a Lusio flumine in N.D. 3.57 is not pragmatically significant.
73 However, this passage in Caesar (Civ. 3.19.1) has been emended in various ways: the
editor Ciacconius suppressed unum, Kraner tantum. Furthermore, Apsus is a conjecture:
manuscripts are unanimous in presenting Thapsus.


chapter four

(90) propterea quod flumen Dubis ut circino circumductum paene totum oppidum
inasmuch as the river Dubis almost surrounds the whole town, as though it
were traced by compasses (Caes. Gal. 1.38.4)

Agreement with the proper name is exceptional: flumen Axona quod (Caes.
Gal. 2.5.4) alongside flumen Rhenus qui in (91). Considerations of gender,
especially in the case of foreign proper names, play an important role, as
has been pointed out by Khner & Stegmann themselves (ibid.). Whereas
Rhenus is clearly a masculine noun (91), there are proper names the gender
of which is not obvious. A common noun such as flumen makes a convenient
support for inserting them into the syntactic structure of a sentence.
(91) (Helvetii continentur) una ex parte flumine Rheno, latissimo atque altissimo,
qui agrum Helvetium a Germanis dividit
(the Helvetii are confined) on one side by the river Rhine, very broad and
deep, which separates the Helvetian territory from the Germans (Caes. Gal.

The examination of constructions with close appositions has confirmed the
necessity of separating the instances concerning human entities from geographical names. Appositions related to persons present two orderings: Sp.
Albinus consul, where the second element describes the referent by indicating the function he performs, and consul Albinus, where the second element specifies the identity of the person by indicating his name. Constructions concerning geographical entities usually appear in the order oppidum
Gadis / flumen Arar; the common noun is thus specified by the proper
name. Inversion of the order is linked with the pragmatic saliency of the
4. Free Appositions
The purpose of this section is to survey the general properties of free apposition and to briefly examine constructions with nouns expressing official
functions. Special attention will be paid to appositions containing homo and
4.1. General Properties
Free appositions are expansions of a noun with which they do not constitute
a noun phrase. Free appositions typically have a complex form, a noun



phrase. They indicate the category to which the referent belongs (92) or they
express a quality of the referent (93). As in the case of constructions with
close appositions, the first or the second element usually contains a proper
(92) L. Cotta, homo censorius, in senatu iuratus dixit
Lucius Cotta, an ex-censor, declared under oath in the senate (Cic. Dom.
(93) Pericles Ephesius, homo nobilissimus, Romam evocatus est.
Pericles the Ephesian, a most noble man, was summoned to Rome. (Cic. Ver.

Free appositions that describe a referent compete with close appositions

(94), a genitive complement (Lutetia Parisiorum), or other similar constructions.
(94) Occisus est cum liberis M. Fulvius consularis.
Marcus Fulvius, an ex-consul, was killed together with his children. (Cic.
Catil. 1.4)

For the topic at hand, it is important to remember that except in special circumstances proper names cannot be combined with adjectives. Instances
such as those in (95) and (96) represent, respectively, a poetic and a familiar expression.74 Indeed, for assigning a property to an entity referred to by a
proper name, free appositions with a common noun such as homo or urbs,
which serve as support for it, are more usual.75
(95) Quintus frater ad me scripsit se, quoniam Ciceronem suavissimum tecum
haberes, ad te Non. Mai. venturum.
My brother Quintus has written that he will pay you a visit on the 7th of May
since you have this dear child Cicero with you. (Cic. Att. 4.9.2)
(96) Patria est clarae mihi, dixit, Athenae.
I came from far-famed Athens. (Ov. Met. 5.652)

74 Cf. also Roma quadrata (Enn. frg. Ann. 3.157 apud Fest., p. 312 ed. Lindsay) square
Rome, denoting Ancient Rome constructed in square form, or otiosa Neapolis idle Naples
(Hor. Epod. 5.43); for other examples, see K.&St. (I: 479). For personal proper names, cf. also
expressions such as Terentianus Chremes (Cic. Fin. 1.3) Chremes in Terences play; see K.&St.
(I: 227 and II: 211).
75 See Lebreton (1901: 82) and Juret (1933: 304). Ille may fulfil this function as well, as is
stated by K.&St. (II: 226), for example in Gellius (6.2.10): Hannibal, ille audentissimus atque


chapter four

Among syntactic properties of free appositions, co-occurrence of several appositions deserves mention. A proper name accompanied by a close
apposition may function as a free apposition; see A. Hirtius consul in (97).
Likewise, a free apposition may modify a construction with a close apposition, as in (98). These properties confirm Fugiers (1973) claim that close
appositions are more narrowly related to the noun than free appositions and
that the two constructions belong to distinct hierarchic levels.
(97) Quid igitur profectus est vir fortissimus, meus conlega et familiaris, A. Hirtius
Why then has that very brave man, my colleague and friend, Aulus Hirtius,
the consul set out? (Cic. Phil. 7.12)
(98) Sed quaero a vobis num istam legem ex isto senatus consulto L. Lucullus
consul, homo sapientissimus, tulerit.
But I ask you, did this so-called decree of the senate result in the proposal of
this law by the consul Lucius Lucullus, one of the most learned men? (Cic.
Clu. 137)

Free appositions may also contain a relative clause (99) or govern one (100).
(99) C. Annaeus Brocchus senator, homo eo splendore, ea virtute qua omnes existimatis
Gaius Annaeus Brocchus, a senator, a man of a reputation, and of a virtue
with which you are all acquainted (Cic. Ver. 3.93)
(100) Repente ad me venit Heraclius, is qui tum magistratum Syracusis habebat,
homo nobilis qui sacerdos Iovis fuisset.
On a sudden Heraclius came to me; he was then a magistrate in Syracuse, a
noble who had been priest of Jupiter. (Cic. Ver. 4.137)

4.1.1. Identification of Free Appositions

It is sometimes difficult to decide whether we have to do with a free apposition or a close apposition. For an interpretation of specific instances, it is
necessary to differentiate between two orderings, {proper name > common
noun} and {common noun > proper name}.
In general, constructions with the ordering {proper name > common
noun} do not pose problems of identification because the complexity of
the common noun phrase as such produces a free apposition. Common
nouns with one or more adjectives, genitive complements, or other complex
expressions in the second element are therefore to be interpreted as free
appositions, e.g. consul designatus consul-elect, tribunus plebis plebeian
tribune, praetor Thessaliae praetor of Thessaly, vir honestissimus a most
virtuous man. Multiple adjectives occurring in free appositions are always



coordinated, by et or zero, never juxtaposed: homo nobilis, impiger, factiosus

a noble, energetic, and factious man. In addition, when a common noun,
which usually functions as a close apposition (e.g. consul), is coordinated
with another noun (101), it forms a free apposition.76
(101) At vero meam domum P. Lentulus, consul et pontifex (liberavit).
But my house (has been absolved from all sanctity) by Publius Lentulus,
consul and pontiff. (Cic. Har. 12)

When a complex common noun phrase has a proper name in apposition,

we may hesitate about the status of the latter. Interpretation depends on
the complexity of the common noun: a single expansion such as the genitive Iugurthae in (102) does not exclude the interpretation of Vagam as a
close apposition. Likewise, familiaris accompanied by one modifier (noster)
followed by a complex proper name can still be analysed as a construction
with a close apposition (103). This interpretation is supported by the presence of a free apposition (homo sapiens) that modifies the noun phrase as
a whole.
(102) mittitur a consule Sextius quaestor in oppidum Iugurthae Vagam.
the consul sent his quaestor Sextius to one of Jugurthas towns, Vaga. (Sal.
Jug. 29.4)
(103) Quo quidem in genere familiaris noster M. Buculeius, homo neque meo iudicio
stultus et suo valde sapiens , nuper erravit.
In that kind of action too our friend Marcus Buculeius, no fool in my opinion,
and mightily wise in his own went wrong later on. (Cic. de Orat. 1.179)

When the expansion is more complex, two interpretations can sometimes

be imagined:
(104) Quid de L. Mummio, qui urbem pulcherrimam atque ornatissimam Corinthum,
plenissimam rerum omnium, sustulit?
(Why should I speak) of Lucius Mummius, who took the most beautiful and
elegant city of Corinth, full of all sorts of art treasures? (Cic. Ver. 1.55)

The two coordinated adjectives that expand urbem favour an interpretation of Corinthum as a free apposition, in which case, there should be a
pause (and a comma) before this proper name. On the other hand, the
element urbem pulcherrimam atque ornatissimam Corinthum could still be
pronounced as one intonation unit, without a pause before Corinthum. I

76 From this point of view, a free apposition that describes a noun can present a succession
of functions (pace Fugier 1973: 99) assigned to an individual.


chapter four

would opt for the second solution, because of the presence of a free apposition, plenissimam rerum omnium, that refers to the whole phrase urbem
Corinthum. By contrast, example (105), where both elements are complex, is
more likely a case with the proper name in free apposition.
(105) Dissensit cum Mario, clarissimo cive, consul nobilissimus et fortissimus, L.
A most noble and gallant consul, Lucius Sulla, quarrelled with Marius, a
renowned citizen. (Cic. Har. 54)

When the noun phrase in the first element is modified by a relative clause
(106), a numerical quantifier (cf. (117)), an indefinite pronoun such as quidam (107), and similar expressions, the interpretation of the second element
as a close apposition is excluded. The reference of meus amicus (with an
indefinite reading) in (106) being saturated, the proper name in apposition
represents additional specification, providing the name of the person. The
referent in (107) is delimited by quidam; the proper names Tlepolemus et
Hiero function as a free apposition specifying the persons. In this latter case,
new protagonists are introduced into the discourse.
(106) Quid est quod aut Sex. Pompeius aut meus amicus, qui cum Panaetio vixit,
M. Vigellius, de virtute hominum Stoici possint dicere ?
What Stoics such as Sextus Pompeius or a friend of mine, who lived with
Panaetius, Marcus Vigellius, can say about mens virtue ? (Cic. de Orat. 3.78)
(107) Cibyratae sunt fratres quidam, Tlepolemus et Hiero, quorum alterum fingere
opinor e cera solitum esse, alterum esse pictorem.
There are two brothers from Cibyra, Tlepolemus and Hiero, one of whom, I
believe, was a modeller in wax, the other was a painter. (Cic. Ver. 4.30)

Consider also two illuminating examples taken from Caesar. In (108), we

have a close apposition (the river is mentioned here for the first time),
in (109), a free apposition. The relative clause with a determining value
modifies the whole phrase ad flumen Haliacmonem in (108) but only ad
flumen in (109). The river being well defined and its reference saturated,
Haliacmonem in (109) cannot be interpreted as a close apposition. The
proper name serves as a reminder and brings additional information.
(108) M. Favonium ad flumen Haliacmonem, quod Macedoniam a Thessalia dividit,
cum cohortibus VIII praesidio impedimentis legionum reliquit.
He left Marcus Favonius at the river Haliacmon, which divides Macedonia
from Thessaly, with eight cohorts to guard the legions baggage. (Caes. Civ.
(109) Scipio biduum castris stativis moratus ad flumen, quod inter eum et Domiti
castra fluebat, Haliacmonem; tertio die



For two days Scipio stayed in his fixed camp by the river, the Haliacmon,
which flowed between him and Domitius. On the third day (Caes. Civ.

4.1.2. Multiple Appositions

Free appositions can contain multiple constituents. Series of free appositions are organised in a hierarchy, as Fugier (1973: 103) has observed, in the
sense that a more inherent property or a permanent function is given priority over a subjectively assigned property or a temporary function. Several
examples are given below.
(110) Cn. Pompeius, Sexti filius, consul, , cum P. Vettio Scatone, duce Marsorum,
conlocutus est.
The consul Gnaeus Pompeius, son of Sextus, , conferred with Publius Vettius Scato, the Marsian leader (Cic. Phil. 12.27)
(111) Venit ad Chelidonem C. Mustius, eques Romanus, publicanus, homo cum primis honestus.
Gaius Mustius, a Roman knight, a collector of revenue, as honourable a man
as lives, came to Chelidon. (Cic. Ver. 1.137)
(112) P. Lentulus consul, parens, deus, salus nostrae vitae, fortunae nihil humanarum rerum sibi prius quam de me agendum iudicavit.
Publius Lentulus, the consul, the parent, the god, the restorer of my life, my
fortune thought that all other human measures should be postponed to one
dealing with myself. (Cic. Red. Pop. 11)

Expressions such as kinship affiliation (Sexti filius (110)) have an absolute

priority; the function (consul) comes after it. In (111), the expression of social
rank (eques Romanus) stands before the official function that the person
performs (publicanus tax collector). In (112), several free appositions follow
a noun phrase consisting of a proper name and a close apposition (consul),
and are serialised in the order going from the most objective item (parens)
towards the most subjective one (salus).
Multiple free appositions admit correlative expressions such as et et, cum
tum, or adversative constructions such as non sed, for example:
(113) Aeserninus, non spurcus homo, sed acer et doctus
Aeserninus, not a nasty fellow, but bold and clever (Cic. Opt. Gen. 17)


chapter four
4.2. Free Appositions with Official Functions

In this section, I will present data collected from my sample of Classical texts, starting with animate entities. Table 6 illustrates a comparison
between the use of close (X consul) and free appositions (X, tribunus plebis).
Table 6: Proper name + official function (sample)

Cic. Div.

Cic. Ver.

Caes. Civ.

Sal. Jug.


X consul
consul X
X, tribunus plebis
tribunus plebis X











Both types are almost equally represented and in both cases, the ordering
{proper name > function} prevails. We have seen above that complexity of
the second element represented by a common noun entails a free apposition, e.g. praefectus equitum master of the horse, praetor in Sicilia praetor
in Sicily, eques Romanus Roman knight. The second element in apposition describes the head noun. Such an indication of the official function
of an individual is important for the cohesion of the text because it justifies the authority which enables him to act (114). A free apposition can also
remind us of known facts as in (115); Vibullius Rufus as Pompeys prefect had
appeared in the first book of the Civil War (e.g. 1.15).
(114) Post Auli foedus exercitusque nostri foedam fugam Metellus et Silanus, consules designati, provincias inter se partiverant.
After Aulus treaty and the shameful flight of our army, Metellus and Silanus,
the consuls-elect, had shared the provinces between them. (Sal. Jug. 43.1)
(115) Demonstravimus L. Vibullium Rufum, Pompei praefectum, bis in potestatem
pervenisse Caesaris.
We have explained that Lucius Vibullius Rufus, an officer of Pompeys, twice
fell into Caesars hands. (Caes. Civ. 3.10.1)

The ordering {function > proper name}, infrequent as it is in the case of

close appositions (cf. Table 3, p. 280), is used for providing the name of the
person. A good example to illustrate this ordering is found in (116). The first
element is contextually given: ipsum praefectum oppidi is deducible from the
fact that the town of Vaga, in which this episode takes place, had a prefect.
His name might remain unexpressed but its mention is useful for the further



(116) Centuriones tribunosque militares et ipsum praefectum oppidi, T. Turpilium

Silanum, alius alium domos suas invitant. Eos omnes praeter Turpilium inter
epulas obtruncant.
They invited the centurions, military tribunes, and even the prefect of the
town himself, Titus Turpilius Silanus, to their various homes. They butchered
them all except Turpilius. (Sal. Jug. 66.3)

4.3. Free Appositions with urbs, oppidum, and flumen

For an examination of free appositions with common nouns referring to
localities, I will only use the LLT corpus because my sample of texts does
not offer many instances of it. Data are presented in Table 7.
Table 7: Free appositions with urbs, oppidum, and flumen / fluvius (LLT)
Free apposition





X, urbs
urbs, X
X, oppidum
oppidum, X
flumen, X








Proper names commonly form the first element. In comparison with close
appositions (= CA) (Tables 56), free appositions (= FA) are less represented,
except for urbs where the difference is not so striking (urbs: 10 CA vs. 8 FA;
oppidum: 43 CA vs. 6 FA; flumen: 65 CA vs. 2 FA). The low number of free
appositions might be explained by the fact that competing constructions
are used instead.
As several examples with nouns referring to inanimate entities have been
introduced above (section 4.1.1, p. 299), in connection with the identification of free appositions, I will add two additional examples that illustrate
true free appositions (117)(118). The referent of flumina duo as well as that of
duas urbes is saturated; in the latter case, there is another modifier (infestissimas huic imperio). The function of these appositions is to provide additional
information. As reminders of known facts, they do not represent partitive
appositions (on which see p. 323, section 5.4.5).
(117) Castra enim cum essent inter flumina duo, Sicorim et Cingam, spatio milium XXX neutrum horum transiri poterat
Since his camp lay between two rivers, the Sicoris and the Cinca, it was
impossible to cross either for thirty miles (Caes. Civ. 1.48.3)


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(118) Ornetur alter eximia laude Africanus, qui duas urbes huic imperio infestissimas, Carthaginem Numantiamque, delevit.
Let the second Africanus be extolled with conspicuous praise for destroying
the two cities most hostile to this empire, Carthage and Numantia. (Cic. Catil.

The first element and its free apposition are usually contiguous. Intervention of alien elements between them is rare but possible, for example in (119)
and (120).77
(119) Dein Thalam pervenit, in oppidum magnum atque opulentum, ubi
Then he reached Thala, a large and wealthy town, where (Sal. Jug. 75.1)
(120) Capuam colonia deducetur, urbem amplissimam atque ornatissimam.
A colony will be conducted to Capua, a very large and magnificent city. (Cic.
Agr. 2.76)

4.4. Free Appositions with homo and familiaris

I will now turn to common nouns such as homo and familiaris, which typically form free appositions because they are always accompanied by a modifier. They represent about a third of all the appositional constructions gathered from my sample (see Table 2, p. 277). However, the instances with homo
are mainly found in Ciceros speech Against Verres (19 occ. out of 35).
Appositions referred to as with homo in Table 2 cover constructions
containing a common noun and an adjective expressing a quality: not only
common nouns such as vir man but also nouns with a more precise semantic value, e.g. adulescens young man (121) and auctor authority (122), which
also serve as support for properties.
(121) Petraeus, summae nobilitatis adulescens
Petraeus, a young man of the highest birth (Caes. Civ. 3.35.2)
(122) Iam Pythagoras et Plato, locupletissimi auctores, quo in somnis certiora videamus, praeparatos quodam cultu atque victu proficisci ad dormiendum iubent.
Then Pythagoras and Plato, the most respectable authorities, invite us to go
to bed prepared by a certain lifestyle and food in order to have trustworthy
dreams. (Cic. Div. 2.119)

The appositions of the familiaris type, which describe the referent by indicating his or her relationship with other individuals, include expressions
such as necessarius noster our friend, hospes meus my guest, amicus meus

77 For the use of prepositions in free appositions expanding accusatives of direction, see,
section 4.6, p. 312.



my friend, or comes in (123); eius refers to Jugurtha. These are anchoring

expressions, available to the addressee, which make it possible to classify
the referent.
(123) Bomilcar, comes eius
Bomilcar, his companion (Sal. Jug. 35.7)

I will focus now on two frequently attested words, homo and familiaris, in
order to better capture the functions the appositions containing them fulfil.
Data were collected from Ciceros works with the help of LLT.
4.4.1. Appositions with homo
Table 8 presents data for homo man (only nominative sg.). Three points
mark the presence of alien elements, appos., the intervention of another
Table 8: Free appositions with homo (nom. sg.) in Cicero (LLT)

Single name

Full name


name, homo
name , homo
name, appos., homo
name, appos., , homo
name , appos., homo
homo fortis, name








The results from this table confirm that the ordering {proper name > homo}
is the most common. Both elements are contiguous in general (73 occ.) but
they may be separated by an alien element (17 occ.), by another apposition
(10 occ.), or by a combination of both (5 occ.). It is without doubt significant that appositions containing homo very often accompany a full name
(praenomen, nomen, and cognomen); a single name is used in about one
third of the cases.
Appositions with homo generally express how the referent is: the common noun plays the role of support for a quality because, as we have seen
above, it is not usual to qualify proper names directly with the help of an
attributive adjective. The properties involved are for the most part subjective evaluations, e.g. honestus honest, illustris famous, locuples rich,
insanus mad, loquax loquacious. When more properties are assigned to
a person, the adjectives expressing them are coordinated (124). Other


chapter four

expressions equivalent at the syntactic level can be used instead, such as

ablatives or genitives of quality.78 Less frequently, appositions with homo
indicate the category to which the referent belongs, for example homo
censorius ex-censor and homo consularis ex-consul (three times in my
corpus); see above, (92) and (111).
(124) Diodorus, homo frugi ac diligens
Diodorus, a honest and careful man (Cic. Ver. 4.39)

What functions free appositions fulfil, in our case, those with homo? The
following typology is in accordance with the functions identified by Hannay & Keizer (2005).79 Firstly, they have a descriptive function: they serve
to describe a referent, especially a new entity that has been introduced
into the discourse. In the Verrines, Cicero often accompanies the names
of Sicilians by a quidam (nine times in my corpus) for signalling that the
person is unknown to the addressee but identifiable by himself.80 Descriptions of new protagonists are usually complex and appositions are presented in series (125). Descriptive appositions with the ordering {proper
name > homo nobilis} make it possible to identify the referent (what is
(125) Erat eius honoris cupidus Artemo quidam, Climachias cognomine, homo sane
locuples et domi nobilis. Sed is
This position was coveted by one Artemo, surnamed Climachias, admittedly
a man of wealth and of high rank in his town. However, he (Cic. Ver. 2.128)

Appositions with the ordering {homo > proper name} serve to specify a
referent by providing his name. In (126), Cicero introduces the testimony
of a man from a good family whose name was Archonidas. This person
is mentioned for the first time and he does not become a Topic afterwards. His name is indicated but it might have remained unexpressed,
since there are no further references to him. Example (127) is of the same
(126) Tyracinum, principem civitatis, eadem ratione mortem oppetisse dixit apud
vos homo nobilissimus, Archonidas Helorinus, cum audisset

78 Cf., for example: vir magni ingenii summaque prudentia, L. Cotta a man of great talent
and the highest wisdom, Lucius Cotta (Cic. Leg. 3.45) or Metello, acri viro et fama tamen
aequabili et inviolata (Sal. Jug. 43.1), quoted in (147). For the equivalence of these constructions, see Pinkster (LSS 6.6, p. 94).
79 For the functions of free appositions, cf. section 2.3, p. 267.
80 See chapter 1, section 2.2, p. 7.



A man of high birth, Archonidas of Helorus, stated in your hearing that

Tyracinus, the chief man in his town, killed himself in the same way on
learning that (Cic. Ver. 3.129)
(127) homo non acerrimus nec fortissimus, C. Norbanus, in summo otio fuit.
a man neither very active nor very valiant, Gaius Norbanus, was at perfect
ease. (Cic. Ver. 5.8)

Another function that free appositions may fulfil is that of justification.

The apposition in (128) attributes a property to a person, Scipio, but not
in order to describe him. The quality is important from the point of view
of the context because the apposition provides an interpretative setting
for the argument: although most educated and cultivated, Scipio did not
recognise valuable objects. In Ciceros ironic utterance, there is, of course,
a contrast established between Scipios qualities and Verres ignorance.81 In
(129), Balbus judgment is reliable because of his experience and knowledge.
In free appositions with a justifying function, competence, authority, or
another excellent aspect of a person are provided as guarantees of this or
that fact or action.
(128) Haec Scipio ille non intellegebat, homo doctissimus atque humanissimus, tu
sine ulla bona arte, sine humanitate, sine ingenio, sine litteris, intellegis et
What the great Scipio, a most educated and cultivated man, could not understand, you, who have no skills and no culture, no brains and no education, can
understand and appreciate! (Cic. Ver. 4.98)
(129) Si vero illud quoque accedit ut praetor in ea verba iudicium det, ut vel L.
Octavius Balbus iudex, homo et iuris et officii peritissimus, non possit aliter
And if in addition to this the praetor states the issue in such a form of words
that even Lucius Octavius Balbus, the judge, a man so well versed in the law
and the duty, could not decide otherwise (Cic. Ver. 2.31)

Whereas appositions with homo occurring in the order {proper name >
homo} describe a referent, the appositions {homo > proper name} further
specifies the referent. The following example illustrates this difference very
(130) Ornate et copiose L. Crassus, homo longe eloquentissimus, iudicio centumvirali hanc sententiam defendit et facile, cum contra eum prudentissimus homo,
Q. Mucius, diceret, probavit omnibus M. Curium

81 For the antithesis between Scipios intellectual qualities (humanitas) and his Greek
and their absence in Verres, see Baldos commentary (2004: 460).


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This opinion was supported by Lucius Crassus, by far the most eloquent of
all men, in an elegant and ample speech before the centumviral court
and although that very sagacious man, Quintus Mucius, was against him, he
proved to everyone, with ease, that Manius Curius (Cic. Caec. 53)

In this passage, two orators, Lucius Crassus and Quintus Mucius, are mentioned for the first time. The apposition that follows the first proper name
indicates how the referent is, his quality. The situation is different for the
other orator: Cicero says that L. Crassus had an adversary, a very sagacious
man, and then he specifies who it was: Q. Mucius.82 The mention of the
proper name is additional: it could have remained unexpressed. Furthermore, the given section is about L. Crassus: he is the Topic (and the subject
of probavit), and not Q. Mucius.
When homo serves as the head of an apposition containing a proper
name, it usually has an indefinite reading (130). A definite reading is possible
as well, but such a construction fulfils a different function (131).
(131) Silanionis opus tam perfectum quisquam non modo privatus, sed populus
potius haberet quam homo elegantissimus atque eruditissimus, Verres?
That work of Silanion, so exquisite nobody, either a private person or a
nation, should have it rather than this man of great elegance and learning,
Verres? (Cic. Ver. 4.126)

The referent of homo elegantissimus atque eruditissimus belongs to shared

knowledge, for we know how Cicero enjoys being ironic about Verres. The
proper name added at the end of the sentence functions as a reminder or an
additional specification of what is already known. This example illustrates
not a regular apposition but a constituent dislocated to the right-hand side
of the sentence. This specific pragmatic function (Tail constituent) will be
examined in section 6 (p. 326).
As homo always occurs with one or more modifiers (coordinated adjectives, adjectives modified by adverbs, ablatives of quality)a construction
such as Verres homo would lack any meaning or, at least, would require a very
special context, none of the examples with the ordering {proper name
> homo} offered by my corpus allow the interpretation as a close apposition. With the ordering {homo > proper name}, one might hesitate about
the status of the second element, as in (132), when deciding whether homo
clarissimus is likely to form an intonation unit with Cn. Domitius, or not. In

82 Quintus Mucius Scaevola, the Pontifex Maximus, consul in 117, was Ciceros and Atticus



my view, this example may still be regarded as a close apposition, because

there is only one expansion of homo and its reference is not saturated, as
would be the case of quidam homo, for example.
(132) Fecit etiam nuper homo clarissimus Cn. Domitius qui M. Silanum, consularem
hominem, accusavit
Lately, too, that most eminent man Gnaeus Domitius did so, who accused
Marcus Silanus, an ex-consul, for (Cic. Ver. 2.118)

The two elements of appositional constructions may be separated by various

intervening items. One example is given in (133). However, discontinuity is
to be differentiated from cases such as that in (134), where the apposition at
the end of the sentence represents an accessory addition, an afterthought.
(133) Multa Sosippus Agrigentinus apud Cn. Pompeium consulem nuper, homo
disertissimus et omni doctrina atque virtute ornatissimus, pro tota Sicilia
Not so long ago, Sosippus of Agrigentum, a most eloquent man, adorned with
every sort of learning and with every virtue, is said to have spoken before the
consul Gnaeus Pompeius, on behalf of all Sicily (Cic. Ver. 3.204)
(134) Nam cum hanc paginam tenerem, L. Flavius, praetor designatus, ad me venit,
homo mihi valde familiaris.
As I was on this page, I received a visit of Lucius Flavius, the praetor-elect, a
close friend of mine. (Cic. Q. fr. 1.2.10)

4.4.2. Appositions with familiaris

This section will be devoted to free appositions with familiaris friend, relative in Ciceros works. The data are resumed in Table 9.
Table 9: Free appositions with familiaris in Cicero (LLT)

Single name

Full name


name, familiaris meus

name , familiaris meus
name, appos., familiaris meus
familiaris meus, name
familiaris meus , name








As in the case of homo, appositions with the order {proper name > familiaris} prevail. However, the ordering { familiaris > proper name} makes up
24% of the instances, more than {homo > proper name} (Table 8), which
only reaches 15 %. The first element is usually contiguous with the second


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element but separation by intervening material (5 + 5 cases) is possible,

sometimes by another apposition (18 occ.). Unlike appositions with homo,
the proper names involved are more often simple than complex.
The substantival adjective familiaris is bivalent; it co-occurs with a possessive pronoun ( familiaris meus, eius) or a possessive genitive ( familiaris
T. Rosci). It does not serve as support for a quality as homo does; appositions containing it indicate the category to which the referent belongs. As a
relational noun, it is likely for rendering the relationship between persons,
one identifiable: familiaris and its complement, the other, unidentifiable:
the proper name. This semantic capacity makes it possible that familiaris,
when it figures in the first element, has an inferrable status (Keizer 1995 and
2005): people usually have relatives and friends but their name need not be
always available to the addressee.
Constructions with the order {proper name > familiaris} can have a
descriptive function and express who is X as regards alliance or friendship
(135). This function is used for new entities introduced into the discourse or
for protagonists mentioned for the first time who will play an important role
further on in the narrative.
(135) Occiso Sex. Roscio primus Ameriam nuntiat Mallius Glaucia quidam, homo
tenuis, libertinus, cliens et familiaris istius T. Rosci.
After Sextus Roscius had been killed, the first to bring the news to Ameria was
a certain Mallius Glaucia, an impoverished freedman, and a dependant and
friend of Titus Roscius here. (Cic. S. Rosc. 19)

Appositions with familiaris can also express a circumstance that is important for the argumentation, namely, justifying the motive why someone
acts in such or such way. For example, Socrates confides in Criton because
of the friendship that holds between them; he would probably not have
announced his approaching death to anyone else. Likewise, the apposition
in (137) relates Scylax of Halicarnassus with Panaetius, a Stoic philosopher
with whom the reader is already familiar. Notice that Scylax is the Topic of
the sentence.
(136) Est apud Platonem Socrates dicens Critoni, suo familiari, sibi post tertium
diem esse moriendum.
In Plato, Socrates said to Crito, his friend, that he was to die in three days.
(Cic. Div. 1.52)
(137) Scylax Halicarnassius, familiaris Panaeti, excellens in astrologia totum hoc
Chaldaeicum praedicendi genus repudiavit.
Scylax of Halicarnassus, an intimate friend of Panaetius, and an eminent
astronomer, utterly repudiated the Chaldean method of foretelling the
future. (Cic. Div. 2.88)



Appositions presenting the order { familiaris > proper name} provide the
name of a referent unspecified until now. The first element containing the
common noun familiaris prepares us, so to speak, for the mention of the
proper name. For example, ad optimum virum, familiarem nostrum in (138)
anticipates the mention of Cratippus, the person who becomes the Topic of
the subsequent passage. A convincing example is that in (139) where the
author informs us about the fact that Antiochus was present in Alexandria; this point serves as an anchor for the mention of Antiochus friend,
Heraclitus, who becomes the Topic afterward. However, in the latter case,
it is difficult to decide whether the apposition is close or free; interpretation as a free apposition is more likely because of the indefinite reading of
(138) Veniamus nunc ad optumum virum, familiarem nostrum, Cratippum. Si sine
oculis, inquit
Now let us come to the argument of that most worthy gentleman, our intimate friend, Cratippus. Though without eyes, he says (Cic. Div. 2.107)
(139) At ille Cum Alexandriae pro quaestore inquit essem, fuit Antiochus mecum,
et erat iam antea Alexandriae familiaris Antiochi, Heraclitus Tyrius, qui
He said: When I was deputy-quaestor at Alexandria, Antiochus was in my
company, and a friend of Antiochus, Heraclitus of Tyr, was at Alexandria
already; he (Cic. Ac. 2.11)

4.5. Agreement
In the case of constructions with free appositions, agreement in gender
and number is commonly made with the first element. However, there
are instances where this rule is not observed (K.&St. I: 42); for example
the participle extinctum in (140) agrees with the immediately preceding
element, lumen, and not with Corinthum, the head of the construction,
which is a feminine noun. Agreement with the animate entities in (141) is
naturally preferred to agreement with the inanimate, metaphorically used
noun propugnacula.
(140) Corinthum patres vestri, totius Graeciae lumen, extinctum esse voluerunt.
Your forefathers decided to snuff out Corinth, the brightest light of all Greece.
(Cic. Man. 11)

83 This apposition is not included in Table 9. There is another similar apposition with
familiaris in my corpus, Cic. N.D. 2.88.


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(141) Quid? Duo propugnacula belli Punici, Cn. et P. Scipiones, qui Carthaginiensium adventum corporibus suis intercludendum putaverunt, quid?
Or of the two bulwarks of the Punic War, Gnaeus and Publius Scipio, who
deemed it their duty to bar with their own bodies the onset of the Carthaginians? (Cic. Parad. 12)

The example in (142) cannot be regarded as an instance illustrating the

absence of agreement in number, a point which is envisaged in Latin grammars. In fact, genus is a collective noun that, though formally in the singular
number, applies to the idea of plurality.
(142) Iugurtha pervenit ad Gaetulos, genus hominum ferum incultumque et eo
tempore ignarum nominis Romani.
Jugurtha reached the Getulians, a savage and barbarous people who at that
time were unaware of the name of Rome. (Sal. Jug. 80.1)

4.6. The Use of Prepositions in Free Appositions

Free appositions fulfil the same syntactic function in the sentence as their
head. If the latter is a prepositional phrase, the preposition is not repeated
before the apposition (*a Lentulo, a familiari meo). My corpus (examined
in section 4) offers 18 instances of the type indicated in (143).84 This rule
of reduction of the preposition (a sort of conjunction reduction) also
concerns place names used with a preposition (144).
(143) A Lentulo autem, familiari meo, qui honoris causa nominatur.
But from Lentulus, my friend, whom I name in all honour (Cic. Clu. 118)
(144) A Bibracte, oppido Haeduorum longe maximo et copiosissimo, non amplius
milibus passuum XVIII aberat.
He was not more than eighteen miles from Bibracte, by far the largest and
best-provided town of the Aedui. (Caes. Gal. 1.23.1)

The case of the names of towns (and small islands) in the accusative of
direction, the locative, and the ablative of source is more complicated.85
84 K.&St. (I: 582), when mentioning repetition of the preposition, only give examples of
partitive appositions, for which see section 5.4.5, p. 323.
85 If we accept the distinction between close and free appositions established in this
chapter, close appositions do not pose this problem. As the common noun usually comes
first, a preposition is used before it: pervenit in oppidum Cirtam he reached the town of
Cirta (Sal. Jug. 102.1). I know of no examples such as pervenit in Cirtam oppidum (where a
simple, non-prepositional accusative should be used for the place name) but I would reject
the ordering *pervenit Cirtam in oppidum in close apposition. With prepositions that are used
with names of towns, such as ad, the place name may come first: ad Cirtam oppidum iter
constituunt they decided to march on the town of Cirta (Sal. Jug. 81.2). Cf. examples quoted
in section 3.2.2, p. 288.



Latin grammars (K.&St. I: 480481) state that the preposition is usually

expressed before the common noun in apposition as in (145); absence of
the preposition is less common (146).
(145) Sed Neapoli, in celeberrimo oppido, + maeciappella +86 saepe videri chlamydatum illum L. Sullam imperatorem.
But at Naples, in a much-frequented town, we have even seen the great
general Lucius Sulla wearing a cloak. (Cic. Rab. Post. 27)
(146) (Catoni) Certe licuit Tusculi se in otio delectare, salubri et propinquo loco.
Cato could have remained at Tusculum, a healthy spot and not far off, enjoying peace and quiet. (Cic. Rep. 1.1)

In order to explain this variation, Traina (1951/1952) distinguishes between

completive apposition (with a preposition) and determinative apposition (without a preposition). In the first case, the preposition emphasises
the content or signals a contrast; in the second, the apposition provides
additional information in the same way as a non-restrictive relative clause
or a parenthesis. The question has recently been re-examined by Rosn
(2002); in her corpus of Latin authors from the first century bc, there are
96 instances of free appositions, where 55 (57%) appear without a preposition, and 41 (43%) with a preposition (Rosn 2002: 213). Rosn deserves
credit for having demonstrated that the presence or absence of the preposition depends neither on the length of the apposition, nor on the distance
between the apposition and the head noun. She argues (Rosn 2002: 223)
that the difference between the two constructions lies in the value of the
content expressed: whereas appositions without a preposition are objective
judgments (having valid truth value), appositions with a preposition are
subjective (empirical ones which need validation by experience).87
4.7. Discontinuity
Table 1 (p. 276) contains eight instances (4%) of discontinuous appositions
because of the intervention of one or more alien elements. Although discontinuity is infrequent, it is important to point out that the two elements of
close and free appositions allow separation. Several instances have been introduced in sections 3 and 4; in this section, I will quote additional examples.


The textual problem with this word does not have any consequences for the apposition

87 I confess that I am not entirely convinced by either Trainas or Rosns explanation,
but I do not have an alternative solution. My corpus only provides five examples of such
constructions; only one of them is with a preposition.


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In general, discontinuity affects constituents that are significant at the

pragmatic level. Metello in (147) is pragmatically salient and, for this reason,
occupies the first position in the sentence; intervening elements (Numidia
evenerat) separate it from its free apposition. Example (148) illustrates discontinuity of a close apposition with respect to the noun by the verb erat.
Here again, rex Ptolomaeus is the most informative constituent of the sentence.
(147) Metelloque Numidia evenerat, acri viro et, quamquam advorso populi partium, fama tamen aequabili et inviolata.
Numidia had fallen to Metellus, a man of action, and, though an opponent
of the popular party, yet of consistent and unblemished reputation. (Sal. Jug.
(148) Ibi casu rex erat Ptolomaeus, puer aetate, magnis copiis cum sorore Cleopatra
bellum gerens
There by chance was king Ptolomaeus, a boy in years, waging war with large
forces against his sister Cleopatra (Caes. Civ. 3.103.2)

On the other hand, example (149) is not an instance of discontinuity but

of an apposition providing additional information, an afterthought.88 Such
an interpretation is obvious because of the intervention of a determinative
relative clause.89
(149) Erat Crastinus evocatus in exercitu Caesaris, qui superiore anno apud eum
primum pilum in legione X duxerat, vir singulari virtute. Hic signo dato
In Caesars army, there was Crastinus, a re-enlisted veteran, who in the previous year had served under him as leading centurion in the Tenth legion, a
man of extraordinary courage. On the given signal (Caes. Civ. 3.91.1)

In addition, free appositions themselves may be separated, by a parenthetical clause90 for example, as in (150).
(150) ut cum C. Fabricio P. Cornelius, homo, ut existimabatur, avarus et furax, sed
egregie fortis et bonus imperator, gratias ageret
as when Publius Cornelius, regarded as a covetous and dishonest man, but
conspicuously brave and a competent commander, thanked Gaius Fabricius
(Cic. de Orat. 2.268)

88 The same phenomenon is found with participial clauses, especially absolute ablatives
in historical narrative (see Longre 1991 and 1996).
89 The hierarchical ordering mentioned above (section 4.1.2, p. 301), does not apply to syntactically different constructions such as relative clauses and appositions. If the apposition
were not an afterthought here, the sentence would run as: Erat Crastinus evocatus in exercitu
Caesaris, vir singulari virtute, qui superiore anno
90 For parentheses preceding a pragmatically salient element, see Bolkestein (1998).



Free appositions are typically expansions of proper names. Their function is
to assign a property to a referent or to indicate the class to which it belongs. A
common noun, such as homo, standing in apposition, functions as a support
for a quality; apart from special situations, proper names do not take adjectives directly. The adjectives used are of the evaluative type and figure in
postposition with respect to homo. Appositions with a relational noun such
as familiaris indicate relationships between individuals and make it possible
to classify a referent. The ordering of the elements in constructions with free
appositions is significant. When the proper name stands in the first element,
the second one, containing a common noun, serves to describe the referent.
It may also convey information that justifies an argument or an action. In
contrast, the ordering {common noun > proper name} functions as a specification of the referent by providing his name. In principle, appositions
concerning inanimate entities (e.g. cities, rivers) fulfil the same functions.
5. Other Appositions
This section will deal with other noteworthy appositional constructions
gathered from my sample, presented in Table 2 (p. 277), especially with
kinship nouns, the noun rex, and nouns expressing an activity.
5.1. Kinship Nouns
I will start with constructions containing kinship nouns. Their ordering is
indicated in Table 10. X stands for a proper name.
Table 10: Proper name + kinship noun (sample)


X kinship noun
kinship noun X
X, gen. + kinship noun
X, kinship noun + possessive
kinship noun + possessive X




For this type of nouns, the pattern {proper name > kinship noun} prevails,
with the kinship noun in close apposition (19 occ.). It usually serves to


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describe the referent by indicating the category to which it belongs (151).

The close apposition makes it possible to distinguish, in a family, individuals
bearing the same name: Cn. Pompeius filius Gnaeus Pompeius the son with
respect to Cn. Pompeius pater (= Magnus) Gnaeus Pompeius the father.91
(151) Pompeius filius
Pompeius the younger (Caes. Civ. 3.4.4)
L. Torquatus pater
Lucius Torquatus the elder (Cic. Pis. 77)

Kinship expressions can be realised as free appositions, in the standard

affiliation formula: Cn. Pompeius, Sexti filius92 Gnaeus Pompeius, son of
Sextus (Cic. Phil. 12.27), or in freer expressions, such as Sex. Roscius, pater
huiusce Sextus Roscius, my clients father (Cic. S. Rosc. 15).
However, appositions containing a kinship noun do not always have
such a distinctive function. For example, the close apposition frater in (152)
reminds us of the kinship relation between two individuals and rather has
the value of a title (cf. Svennung 1958: 153).93 The free apposition in (153) is a
reminder of affiliation, possibly used with personal emphasis; the Numidian
king Micipsa was an ally of the Romans and his identity must have been
known to the senators who Adherbal addresses in his speech.
(152) cum de divinatione Quintus frater ea disseruisset quae
after my brother Quintus had delivered his views on divination as (Cic.
Div. 2.8)
(153) Micipsa, pater meus, moriens mihi praecepit, uti
Micipsa, my father, advised me on his death-bed to (Sal. Jug. 14.1)

Appositions formed with a kinship noun also appear in apostrophes, e.g.

Quinte frater brother Quintus (Cic. Div. 2.150), and in invocations of ancestors (154) or gods, e.g. Mars pater father Mars (Cato Agr. 141.2), Vesta mater
Vesta our mother (Cic. Dom. 144), often quoted for demonstrating the putative basic order of appositions in Latin.94 However, these kinship nouns

91 For the necessity of distinguishing people in order to avoid confusion, cf. an Ti. Gracchus
patrem dico, cuius tantam laudem est adeptus did Tiberius Gracchus (I am speaking
of the father, whose ) gain such great glory (Cic. Prov. 18).
92 In this formula, Sexti filius, the genitive precedes the noun. On the fixed order of the
genitive, see Adams (1976a: 75) and Lisn (2001: 178), among others. For name + filius and
other relational nouns, cf. Devine & Stephens (2006: 352361).
93 For the form of address to his brother Quintus used by Cicero, cf. Dickey (2002: 257261).
94 See for example, Hackstein (2003: 138) and Bauer (2008: 42). However, already Schwyzer
(1947: 12) interprets in the apostrophe as Titulatur.



do not describe the referent as in (151) but function as honorific epithets

applied to gods (cf. Schwyzer 1947: 12).
(154) Hucine, Micipsa pater, beneficia tua evasere
Is this, my father Micipsa, the result of your kindness ? (Sal. Jug. 14.9)

The ordering with the proper name in apposition is sometimes found, at

least with pater and mater.95 In (155) and (156), the referents are not distinguished one from another as in (151) but are specified by the indication of their name: materher name was Olympiasand a pater (note its
indefinite reading)whose name was Dexo. The kinship nouns come first
because they are inferrable in the sense that people usually have fathers and
mothers; their names may but need not be specified.
(155) Tum secundum quietem visus ei (= Alexandro) dicitur draco is, quem mater
Olympias alebat.
Then, in his slumber, he is said to have seen the serpent that his mother
Olympias cherished. (Cic. Div. 2.135)
(156) Pater aderat Dexo Tyndaritanus, homo nobilissimus, hospes tuus. Cuius
There was a father, Dexo of Tyndaris, a man of the highest rank, your host.
His (Cic. Ver. 5.108)

5.2. Rex
Compared with constructions expressing official functions (Table 6, p. 302),
those containing rex king frequently present the ordering {rex X} with the
proper name in apposition (Table 11). A possible explanation may lie in the
semantic properties of rex king. Unlike functions such as consul or tribunus
plebis, performed by an individual for a certain period, rex is a definitive title
attributed to a unique individual for life. In the texts of my sample, it applies
to foreign governors.
Table 11: Proper name + rex (sample)
rex X
X rex
X, rex + gen.


95 As for frater, Cicero always uses the order Quintus frater (93 occ. in the whole Ciceronian
corpus), never frater Quintus. Such an ordering would be expected for distinguishing between
several brothers; Cicero had only one.


chapter four

The most frequent ordering is exemplified in (157); it is the first mention

of king Bocchus in the Jugurthine War.
(157) Mauris omnibus rex Bocchus imperitabat, praeter nomen cetera ignarus populi Romani
All the Moors were ruled by king Bocchus who knew nothing of the Roman
people apart from their name (Sal. Jug. 19.7)

The proper name in apposition provides the name of the king who ruled
in Mauretania; rex, coming first, is in a sense inferrable. It can be assumed
that Mauretania and Numidia were identified as kingdoms by Sallusts readers, and kingdoms are usually ruled by kings. Bocchus thus represents a
specification of the common noun by naming the referent. In this passage,
king Bocchus is only mentioned; he will play a greater role later on in the
narrative (especially starting from section 80). In contrast, when Sallust
introduces king Masinissa, Jugurthas grandfather and the founder of the
kingdom of Numidia,96 he uses a free apposition with rex accompanied by
a possessive genitive (158). The first construction with a close apposition,
dux Carthaginiensium (deducible from the context) Hannibal, provides the
name of the commander of Carthaginians (even if it is well known); the
free apposition Masinissa, rex Numidarum, makes the status of the person
referred to by the proper name explicit.97
(158) Bello Punico secundo, quo dux Carthaginiensium Hannibal Italiae opes
maxime attriverat, Masinissa, rex Numidarum, multa et praeclara rei militaris facinora fecerat.
During the Second Punic War, in which Hannibal, the leader of the Carthaginians had dealt Italys resources the severest blow, Masinissa, king of the
Numidians, had performed many brilliant feats of arms. (Sal. Jug. 5.4)

5.3. Status and Activity

In this section, I will briefly mention various constructions consisting of
a proper name and a common noun denoting a status or an activity of
an individual, e.g. adherence to a philosophical school: Diogenes Stoicus
Diogenes the Stoic (Cic. Div. 2.90); belonging to a nation: Poenus Hamilcar
Hamilcar the Carthaginian (Cic. Div. 2.136) and Allobroges perfugae the
Allobrogan deserters (Caes. Civ. 3.63.3); social status: libertus Timarchides


For more details, see Sal. Jug. 5.

The two appositions form a chiasmus, it is true, but the status of the two people is
different. The first one, dux Carthaginiensium Hannibal, is reducible to either element.



the freedman Timarchides (Cic. Ver. 5.81). As they are infrequent in my

corpus, I will only give two examples. The first one (159) shows the proper
name of a person unknown from the preceding context, described by a
free apposition. The pronoun ille98 makes a reference to shared knowledge, so the apposition is presented as a reminder of a known fact. The
second example (160) concerns the introduction of a new entity into the
discourse: Sextius. The author starts with elements given in the preceding
context: ianitor carceris and carnifex praetoris; the third element (mors
Romanorum) is authors personal comment (cf. below, section 5.4.2). Lictor
is also in some way anchored in the context; his name is provided afterwards.
(159) Si aufugisset, si vincla rupisset ita ut Nico,99 ille nobilissimus pirata, fecit, quem

If he had escaped, if he had broken his chains as Nico, that famous pirate, did,
who (Cic. Ver. 5.79)
(160) (in lautumiis ad ostium carceris ) Aderat ianitor carceris, carnifex praetoris, mors terrorque sociorum et civium Romanorum, lictor Sextius, cui ex
omni gemitu doloreque certa merces comparabatur.
(in quarries at the prison entrance ) The prison warder stood by, the
praetors executioner, the bringer of death and terror to allies and Roman
citizensthe lictor Sextius, to whom every shriek and cry of pain was worth
a specific sum of money. (Cic. Ver. 5.118)

5.4. Two Common Nouns

Appositions with two common nouns, both free and close appositions, are
infrequent in my sample (12 occ., 5%). However it is important to mention
5.4.1. Free Appositions
Free appositions with a common noun usually complete a noun with a
definite reading. For example, duo imperatores in (161) refer to Metellus
and Jugurtha, protagonists well known from the preceding context. The
head noun is sometimes accompanied by an anaphoric or demonstrative
pronoun, e.g. iste homo, adulescens nobilissimus that man, a most noble
youth (Cic. Ver. 5.105), or a quantifier, such as omnes (162); this apposition


For ille, see Pinkster (2005).

Nico is a conjecture; the manuscript reading is in eo.


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justifies the process expressed in the main clause. The referent is generic in
(161) Eo modo inter se duo imperatores, summi viri, certabant.
Thus did these two commanders, eminent men, struggle with each other.
(Sal. Jug. 52.1)
(162) statuit navarchos omnes, testes sui sceleris, vita esse privandos.
he decided that all the captains, witnesses of his guilt, must be put to death.
(Cic. Ver. 5.103)
(163) decere illos relicuom laborem aequo animo pati, dum pro civibus suis, viris
fortissumis atque miserrumis, poenas caperent.
that they ought to endure without complaint the toil that remained, for the
sake of avenging their fellow-citizens, the bravest and most unfortunate of
men. (Sal. Jug. 68.3)

I noted several free appositions that resume the referent by paraphrasing

it in a subjective way: cupidine atque ira as pessumis consultoribus in (164).
Such glosses provide the authors personal comment. Evaluative resumption
concerns here only one constituent; sentence appositions (see next section)
resume a larger portion of a text.
(164) (Marius) Ita cupidine atque ira, pessumis consultoribus, grassari.
Marius was driven by desire and anger, the worst of counsellors. (Sal. Jug.

My sample did not offer examples illustrating agreement. Nevertheless, in

the case of constructions with two common nouns, agreement in gender
and number is usually made with the first element (K.&St. I: 42). The participle incensa thus agrees with classis, and not with praesidium.
(165) An quod paucorum adventu myoparonum classis pulcherrima, Siciliae
praesidium propugnaculumque provinciae, piratarum manibus incensa
Was it because that beautiful fleet, the bulwark of Sicily and the defence of
the province, was set on fire by the pirates arrived in a few schooners? (Cic.
Ver. 3.186)

5.4.2. Sentence Appositions

A peculiar case of an appositional construction involving common nouns is
that of sentence appositions (cf. also section 6.2, p. 328). They do not modify a constituent, as regular free appositions do, but resume a more complex idea that has been expressed. For example, praeclara classis resumes
the preceding content; it involves the common noun classis fleet, hypernym
encompassing quadriremis and navis (166), which appeared in the harbour.



Such resumptions express the authors personal evaluation or comment on

the situation related.
(166) Egreditur in Centuripina quadriremi Cleomenes e portu; sequitur Segestana
navis, Tyndaritana Herbitensis Heracliensis Apolloniensis Haluntinapraeclara classis in speciem sed inops et infirma propter dimissionem propugnatorum atque remigum.
Cleomenes leaves the harbour in a quadrireme from Centuripae, followed by
ships from Segesta, Tyndaris, Herbita, Heraclia, Apollonia, and Haluntium
to all appearances a magnificent fleet, but weak and ineffective because of the
exemptions given to sailors and oarsmen. (Cic. Ver. 5.86)

5.4.3. Close Appositions

Constructions with two common nouns the second of which forms a close
apposition, can be divided into several categories on the basis of the functions they fulfil.
The first group involves an agent noun, e.g. contemptor animus (Sal. Jug.
64.1) arrogant spirit, exercitus victor victorious army (Sal. Jug. 58.5), to
which tirones milites recruits (Cic. Phil. 11.39) and servi homines slaves
(Cic. Ver. 3.91) can be added. According to Khner & Stegmann (I: 232),
the agent nouns are used adjectivally. This interpretation is plausible.100
Indeed, such expressions compensate for the lack of an adjective formed
from contemptor and victor, or contain an old substantival adjective (servus).
However, not all these constructions function in the same way. A good
example for illustration is homo histrio in (167): the expression of homo is
justified by a contrast established between the persona mask and the actor,
the animate being who bore it (histrio).101
(167) ex persona mihi ardere oculi hominis histrionis viderentur
the actor-mans eyes seemed to me to be blazing behind his mask (Cic. de
Orat. 2.193)

Additionally, instances such as puer Midas the infant Midas (Cic. Div. 2.66)
and Iuppiter puer the infant Jupiter (Cic. Div. 2.85), referring to age, also
seem to represent nouns used adjectivally.
100 These constructions are traditionally considered as archaic, see Kroll (1927: 303). On
the other hand, it does not seem necessary to evoke vague borderlines between nouns and
adjectives and the hypothesis that many adjectives originated from nouns in Indo-European
(cf. Brugmann & Delbrck 1911 II: 652). To explain them, I would not introduce either Homeric
examples such as herdsmen (Hom. Il. 13.571), or expressions with man
in the sacral sphere, discussed by Schwyzer (1947: 4).
101 Cf. Leeman & Pinkster (1989: 149). For combinations of homo + noun, see ThLL, s. v.
homo, 2885.60.


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The second category is represented by the words mas male and femina
female which accompany nouns denoting animals: they make it possible to
distinguish the gender of epicene nouns. They have a distinctive function.
In my sample, femina anguis and mas anguis female, male snake occur
(Cic. Div. 2.62) but here, the ordering of the two elements results from an
idea of contrast. Other instances presenting the reverse order seem to be
more common: porcus femina female pig (Cic. Leg. 2.57), and boves feminae
female oxen (Var. R. 2.1.17).
There also other types, absent from my sample. Constructions such as
arbor alnus alder tree (Var. R. 1.7.7), arbor olea olive tree (Var. R. 3.16.24),
avis psittacus bird (called) parrot (Plin. Nat. 6.184), herba plantago plant
(called) plantain (Plin. Nat. 25.80), lapides silices hard stones (Cato Agr.
18.3) are formed with a common noun and a noun denoting a species.102
In some cases, competing constructions with an explicative genitive are
Finally, the type nomen Marcus deserves mention; in Latin, it is habitually not realised as a close apposition but as a construction with an explicative genitive, e.g. (168) and (169).104
(168) (Cato) propterea quasi cognomen iam habebat in senectute Sapientis.
(Cato) therefore, in his old age, he bore the title of the Wise as a sort of
cognomen. (Cic. Amic. 6)
(169) O nomen dulce libertatis!
The sweet name of liberty! (Cic. Ver. 5.163)

In other languages, appositive constructions are common in such cases, for

example in English:
(170) I really hate the word background paintings.


See K.&St. (II: 232) and Szantyr (1972: 63).

For example, arbor olivae olive tree and arbor fici fig tree (Col. 5.11.1314). However,
in this case, the tree might be distinguished from its fruit (oliva / olea denotes olive tree as
well as olive, ficus fig tree and fig). Cf. also piperis arbor pepper tree (Plin. Nat. 12.29 and
16.136). For the explicative genitive, see K.&St. (I: 419). Furthermore, it is often claimed that
this explicative genitive, which is regarded as secondary, has developed from an appositive
construction, and a parallel is established with oppidum Thysdrae (B. Afr. 36.2); see Hahn
(1953: 97) and Szantyr (1972: 63), among others. Further research should be undertaken in
order to investigate these constructions in detail.
104 Hahn (1953: 97) states that nomen Marcus became nomen Marci without giving examples. Some are quoted by K.&St. (I: 421), for example nomenque Danuvium habet (Sal. Hist.



This example is discussed by Keizer (2005: 403). According to her, the

descriptive term, the word, indicates that the following expression is not
used in its habitual function. Indeed, the omission of the word would lead to
interpret background paintings as referring to objects; however, the speaker
does not affirm that he does not like this type of paintings but that he dislikes
the word. This analysis applies very well to my Latin examples: Sapientis and
libertatis are not used as referential but only as names.
5.4.4. Pronouns
Appositional constructions containing a personal pronoun (10 occ., 4 %) are
mainly used by Sallust in my sample. The personal pronoun forming the first
element of the construction is followed by a close or a free apposition. The
element in apposition specifies the status or the function of the individual
referred to. Nos augures (182) can serve as an example of a close apposition,
which is a noun phrase functioning as the subject; augures is not the predicative. Another example is vos amici you, our friends in Sal. Jug. 14.10.
(171) Huic simile est, quod nos augures praecipimus
His method is of a kind with the advice which we augurs give (Cic. Div.

In free appositionbecause of the expansion of the noun in the second

elementthere is, for example vos, patres conscripti you, conscript fathers
(Sal. Jug. 14.6 and 51.26), a usual form of address to the senators, or the ironic
qualification of Verres in (172).
(172) Sed tamen tu, sancte homo ac religiose, cur Tauromenitanis item foederatis
navem imperasti?
But still you, pious and scrupulous man, why did you require a ship from the
people of Tauromenium, a federate city? (Cic. Ver. 5.49)

5.4.5. Partitive Apposition

This section will be devoted to partitive appositions, constructions consisting of a noun denoting the whole and a noun denoting one or more
parts extracted from it (K.&St. I: 249). At the syntactic level, the partitive
apposition is always realised as a free apposition expanding a noun (phrase)
expressing plurality.
In the literature, the term of partitive apposition is used for heterogeneous phenomena. However, if we accept the definition of the appositional
constructions as the juxtaposition of two nominal elements without any
syntactic link (section 1, p. 261), constructions such as genitives of content


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or accusatives of relation should not be labelled as partitive appositions.105

Likewise, subjects expressed alongside verbs (173) and constructions syntactically realised as clauses (174) are not partitive appositions.
(173) Errastis, Rulle, vehementer et tu et nonnulli collegae tui, qui sperastis
You made a great mistake, Rullus, you and some of your colleagues, in hoping
that (Cic. Agr. 1.23)
(174) In occupandis praesidiis magna vi uterque nitebatur, Caesar ut quam angustissime Pompeium contineret, Pompeius ut quam plurimos colles occuparet.
In seizing strongpoints both sides expended great efforts: Caesar, to hem
Pompey in as much as he could, Pompey, to occupy as many hills as possible.
(Caes. Civ. 3.45.1)

True constructions with partitive appositions exhibit, in the first element,

personal pronouns in the plural, non-numerical quantifiers such as omnes,
cuncti all, multi many, numerical quantifiers (175), nouns in the plural
(176), or nouns with a collective meaning. The second element in apposition
specifies the content of the first element, and this, by enumerating it entirely
or partially.106 Partitive appositions do not represent reminders of known
facts but bring something new, more specific. In (177), the referent of classes
is specified by an apposition of the distributive type, alteram alteram (cf.
also pars alii in Sal. Jug. 74.1).
(175) ut de ceteris divinandi generibus dubitares, ista duo, furoris et somnii, quae ,
while you doubt about all other kinds of divination, you approve of these two,
divination by frenzy and divination by dreams, which (Cic. Div. 2.101)
(176) Verbera atque ignes et illa extrema ad supplicium damnatorum, metum ceterorum, cruciatus et crux.
The lash, the fire, and those ultimate measures which serve to punish convicted and deter the resttorture and the cross. (Cic. Ver. 5.14)
(177) Si enim fatum fuit classes populi Romani bello Punico primo, alteram naufragio, alteram a Poenis depressam interire
For, if it was the will of Fate that the Roman fleets in the First Punic War
should perish, the one by shipwreck and the other at the hands of the Carthaginians (Cic. Div. 2.20)

105 For such a large semantic conception of partitive appositions, cf. Hofmann (1924),
Hahn (1953), and Szantyr (1972: 428), among others.
106 Cf. the partitive appositions in Plautus listed by Bennett (1914: 67).



Unlike in the case of free appositions (cf. section 4.6, p. 312), prepositions are repeated in the second element of partitive appositions, as in
(178) Duxisti autem divinationem omnem a tribus rebus: a deo, a fato, a natura.
You derived every form of divination from three sources: God, Fate, and
Nature. (Cic. Div. 2.27)

5.5. Explicit Indicators of Appositions

Free appositions can be explicitly marked as such, for example by hoc est
that is in (179). The second element in apposition paraphrases the content
of the first element, latronum.
(179) Sed de latronum, hoc est de comitum suorum sententia condemnat omnes.
He condemns them all on the advice of robbersthat is, on the advice of his
suite. (Cic. Ver. 5.114)

Adverbs such as scilicet of course, I mean, are used as explicit indicators

of appositions introducing a qualification assumed to be obvious, or the
explanatory videlicet that is to say, namely,108 for example in (180) and (181).
These markers introduce a further specification of a phrase that has just
been expressed.
(180) At te, videlicet inventorem rerum optimarum ac principem, imitabuntur omnes.
But, no doubt, all men will imitate you, the investor and first parent of such
excellent methods. (Cic. Ver. 3.41)
(181) Similiter nunc de oratore, vestro impulsu, loquor, summo scilicet.
The same applies now when at your instigation I am talking about the orator,
the ideal orator, I assume. (Cic. de Orat. 3.84)

The verb dico I mean (ThLL, s. v. 980.83f.) may fulfil a similar function, for
example in (182). The author uses this parenthetical clause to restrict the
noun phrase sanctissimas leges, by specifying which laws he means exactly
(Aelia et Fufia).

107 See K.&St. (I: 582) and cf. Cic. de Orat. 2.78 or Inv. 2.112. Klussmann (1877) makes the
same statement about appositions announced by id est or hoc est that explain or paraphrase
the first element, for example: ad nobilitatem, hoc est ad suos, transisse passed over to the
nobility, that is, to his own party (Cic. Ver. 1.35) or ut in Capitolio, hoc est in terrestri domicilio
Iovis, poneret to put it on the Capitol, the earthly home of Jupiter (Cic. Ver. 4.129). Cf. the
next section.
108 For a description of scilicet and videlicet, see Schrickx (2011).


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(182) Deinde sanctissimas leges, Aeliam et Fufiam dico, quae in Gracchorum ferocitate vixerunt.
Then those most holy laws, I mean the Aelian and Fufian laws, which subsisted through the furious times of the Gracchi. (Cic. Vat. 23)

The examples quoted in this section have some affinity with Tail constituents, to which the next section is devoted. Unlike them, they are contiguous
with the phrase specified.
6. Right Dislocation (Tail Constituents)
This section deals with constituents dislocated to the right-hand side of a
sentence; if they are mentioned in traditional grammars, they fall into the
category of appositions.
The phenomenon of right dislocation, typical of spontaneous language,
has drawn the attention of modern linguists.109 Right dislocation represents
some kind of afterthought, an addition that specifies, clarifies, or corrects
something that has been said (183). It is a strategy of reparation (Geluykens
1987): the speaker provides more explicit information about a word uttered
in order to avoid a sentence that lacks clarity. Right dislocated constituents,
called Tail constituents in Functional Grammar, represent a matching case
for left dislocated constituents, termed Theme constituents (184).110
(183) I didnt like it very much, that book of yours.
(184) That book of yours, I didnt like it very much.

The two following sections will present right dislocated constituents related
to noun phrases or pronouns (6.1) and right dislocated constituents resuming and evaluating a previous content (6.2).
6.1. Tail Constituents Related to a Noun or a Pronoun
Classical Latin prose, with which this book is mainly concerned, does not
consist of literary genres that would favour the use of right dislocation;111
however, Tail constituents do appear, even if seldom. Right dislocated con-


See Geluykens (1987) and Dik (1997 II: 401405), among others.
For more details about these pragmatic functions as well as further references, see
Spevak (2010a: 107 and 111114).
111 For a detailed discussion of this phenomenon in Plautus, Ciceros letters, and Petronius,
see Spevak (2013).



stituents are defined from a pragmatic point of view: they complete a previously uttered phrase (cf. Cabrillana in Baos Baos 2009: 120). A good example is given in (185):112 the right dislocated constituent (tuos servos) specifies
the content of homo, which is co-referential with it. Likewise in (186), sex
voltures indicates what augurium consisted of.113
(185) Em, istic homo te articulatim concidit, senex, / tuos servos.
Well, old man, the fellow has cut you to pieces limb by limb, that servant of
yours. (Pl. Epid. 488489)
(186) Priori Remo augurium venisse fertur, sex vultures,
Remus is said to have been the first to receive the augury, six vultures, (Liv.

In both cases, the first noun is generic with a definite reading (homo, augurium); the right dislocated constituent is a noun with a more specific meaning (servus, vultures). In (187), mater is specified by luxuries.114
(187) Avaritiam si tollere voltis, mater eius est tollenda, luxuries.
If you would abolish covetousness, you must abolish its mother, profusion.
(Cic. de Orat. 2.171)

Right dislocated constituents are typically a posteriori specifications of an

element uttered, the reference of which is saturated, in the direction going
from the generic to the specific. It is less easy to exemplify the case of coreference with an anaphoric pronoun, as in the English example in (183).115
The instance in (188) can be taken for certain:116 illam manum refers to shared
knowledge between Cicero and Atticus; the constituent Pompei, nostri amici
functions as an a posteriori specification.

112 See also Panhuis (1982: 85) and his example taken from Plautus (Ps. 12221223), with
argentum, specified by viginti minae.
113 This example is quoted by Cabrillana in Baos Baos (2009: 120). She claims that unlike
regular apposition, agreement in gender and number (cf. section 3.4, p. 295) is not required
for right dislocated constituents.
114 Cf. also example (131), p. 308.
115 It is worth pointing out that an example of this type is in Scipios funeral inscription:
(L. Cornelio L.F. Scipio ) Honc oino ploirvme cosentiont Romai dvonoro optvmo
fvise viro, Lvciom Scipione (CIL I2 9). Romans for the most part agree that this man,
Lucius Scipio, was one of the best of good men. However, see Adams (2013: 217) for another
116 This example is quoted by Amacker (2001: 195). However, many other examples quoted
in his article pose a problem (see Spevak 2013 for discussion): neither the instances containing cataphoric pronouns, nor subjects standing at the end of the sentence, illustrate the
phenomenon of right dislocation.


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(188) Illam manum tu mihi cura ut praestes, quoniam propius abes, Pompei, nostri
You must answer for the other phalanx, since you are not so far away, I mean
our friend Pompeys. (Cic. Att. 1.1.3)

Identification of right dislocated constituents is made easier by the presence

of particles such as et quidem, videlicet, scilicet and other similar ones with
the meaning that is, I mean. Also additions articulated by et or other means,
labelled by Rosn (1990, 2008: and 2009: 413) epitaxis or asymetric coordination, fall into this group. In such cases, an additional element is applied
to a phrase that is complete from a semantic point of view, as in (189); the
appending clause forms a parenthesis here. An element that is specified a
posteriori can be a noun with a wide reference: in Asiam in (190) or a pronoun: permulti alii in (191). The specifying element has a narrow meaning:
maxime Cyzicum and omnes Lanuvini. Another example of the same type is
given in (192);117 the Tail constituent is introduced by id est (Atticus is speaking).
(189) Super terga gladii et scuta, verum ea Numidica ex coriis, ponderis gratia simul
et offensa quo levius streperent.
On their backs, they carried their swords and shields, namely Numidian
shields made of leather, because they were lighter and would make less noise
when struck. (Sal. Jug. 94.1)
(190) Nobis iter est in Asiam, maxime Cyzicum.
I am starting for Asia, for Cyzicus in particular. (Cic. Att. 3.6)
(191) Sed erant permulti alii ex quibus id facillime scire posset, omnes scilicet Lanuvini.
But there were many others from whom he could easily have found this out,
all people of Lanuvium, for instance. (Cic. Mil. 46)
(192) Sed illud tamen quale est, quod paulo ante dixisti, hunc locum, id est, ut ego
te accipio dicere, Arpinum, germanam patriam esse vestram?
But what did you really mean by what you said a while ago, that this place
by which I take it you mean Arpinumis your own fatherland? (Cic. Leg.

6.2. Right Dislocated Constituents Expressing Subjective Evaluation

For the phenomenon I am dealing with, it is worth recalling that Szantyr
(1972: 28) reports the use of the nominative in the manner of an exclamation, without agreement in gender and number:


Id est is Muellers plausible conjecture for the idem offered by the manuscripts.



(193) Sequebatur raeda cum lenonibus, comites nequissimi.

There followed a carriage full of pimps, a most iniquitous retinue. (Cic. Phil.

Comites nequissimi refers to raeda cum lenonibus but unlike the type described in the preceding section, where right dislocated constituents relate
to a noun (phrase), in this case, specification is not the striking property of
such constructions. Comites nequissimi resumes the preceding phrase and,
at the same time, expresses the authors subjective judgment of the situation: he qualifies the carriage full of pimps as a most iniquitous retinue.
Instances of sentence appositions118 which Khner & Stegmann (I: 248)
have explicitly interpreted as e