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227. All formation of words is originally a process of composition. An element significant in itself is added to another significant element, and thus the meaning of the two is combined. No other combination is possible for the formation either of inflections or of stems. Thus, in fact, words (since roots and stems are significant elements, and so words) are first placed side by side, then brought under one accent, and finally felt as one word. The gradual process is seen in sea voyage, sea-nymph, seaside. But as all derivation, properly so called, appears as a combination of uninflected stems, every type of formation in use must antedate inflection. Hence words were not in strictness derived either from nouns or from verbs, but from stems which were neither, because they were in fact both; for the distinction between noun-stems and verb-stems had not yet been made.

After the development of Inflection, however, that one of several kindred words which seemed the simplest was regarded as the primitive form, and from this the other words of the group were thought to be derived. Such supposed processes of formation were then imitated, often erroneously, and in this way new modes of derivation arose. Thus new adjectives were formed from nouns, new nouns from adjectives, new adjectives from verbs, and new verbs from adjectives and nouns.

In course of time the real or apparent relations of many words became confused, so that nouns and adjectives once supposed to come from nouns were often assigned to verbs, and others once supposed to come from verbs were assigned to nouns.

Further, since the language was constantly changing, many words went out of use, and do not occur in the literature as we have it. Thus many Derivatives survive of which the Primitive is lost.

Finally, since all conscious word-formation is imitative, intermediate steps in derivation were sometimes omitted, and occasionally apparent Derivatives occur for which no proper Primitive ever existed.


228. Roots1 are of two kinds:—

  1. Verbal, expressing ideas of action or condition (sensible phenomena).
  2. Pronominal, expressing ideas of position and direction.
From verbal roots come all parts of speech except pronouns and certain particles derived from pronominal roots.

229. Stems are either identical with roots or derived from them. They are of two classes: (1) Noun-stems (including Adjective-stems) and (2) Verb-stems.

Note.--Noun-stems and verb-stems were not originally different (see p. 163), and in the consciousness of the Romans were often confounded; but in general they were treated as distinct.

230. Words are formed by inflection: (1) from roots inflected as stems; (2) from derived stems (see § 232).

231. A root used as a stem may appear—

a. With a short vowel: as, duc-is ( dux ), DUC; nec-is ( nex ); i-s, i-d . So in verbs: as, es-t , fer-t (cf. § 174. 2).

b. With a long vowel2: as, lūc-is ( lūx ), LUC; pāc-is ( pāx ). So in verbs: dūc-ō , ī-s for †eis, from , īre; fātur from fārī .

c. With reduplication: as, fur-fur, mar-mor , mur-mur. So in verbs: as, gi-gnō (root GEN), si-stō (root STA).


232. Derived Stems are formed from roots or from other stems by means of suffixes. These are:—

  1. Primary: added to the root, or (in later times by analogy) to verbstems.
  2. Secondary: added to a noun-stem or an adjective-stem. Both primary and secondary suffixes are for the most part pronominal roots (§ 228. 2), but a few are of doubtful origin.

    Note 1.--The distinction between primary and secondary suffixes, not being original (see § 227), is continually lost sight of in the development of a language. Suffixes once primary are used as secondary, and those once secondary are used as primary. Thus in hosticus (hosti + cus) the suffix -cus, originally ko- (see § 234. 2.12) primary, as in paucus , has become secondary, and is thus regularly used to form derivatives; but in pudīcus , aprīcus , it is treated as primary again, because these words were really or apparently connected with verbs. So in English -able was borrowed as a primary suffix (tolerable, eatable), but also makes forms like clubbable, salable; -some is properly a secondary suffix, as in toilsome, lonesome, but makes also such words as meddlesome, venturesome.

    Note 2.--It is the stem of the word, not the nominative, that is formed by the derivative suffix. For convenience, however, the nominative will usually be given.

Primary Suffixes

233. The words in Latin formed immediately from the root by means of Primary Suffixes, are few. For—

  1. Inherited words so formed were mostly further developed by the addition of other suffixes, as we might make an adjective lone-ly-some-ish. meaning nothing more than lone, lonely, or lonesome.
  2. By such accumulation of suffixes, new compound suffixes were formed which crowded out even the old types of derivation. Thus,—
A word like mēns, mentis , by the suffix ōn- (nom. -ō), gave mentiō , and this, being divided into men + tiō, gave rise to a new type of abstract nouns in -tiō: as, lēgā-tiō, embassy.

A word like audītor, by the suffix io- (nom. -ius), gave rise to adjectives like audītōr-ius, of which the neuter ( audītōrium ) is used to denote the place where the action of the verb is performed. Hence tōrio- (nom. -tōrium), N., becomes a regular noun-suffix (§ 250. a).

So in English such a word as suffocation gives a suffix -ation, and with this is made starvation, though there is no such word as starvate.

234. Examples of primary stem-suffixes are:—

I. Vowel suffixes:—

  1. o- (M., N.), ā- (F.), found in nouns and adjectives of the first two declensions: as, sonus , lūdus , vagus , toga (root TEG).
  2. i-, as in ovis , avis; in Latin frequently changed, as in rūpēs, or lost, as inscobs ( scobis , root SCAB).
  3. u-, disguised in most adjectives by an additional i, as insuā-vis (for †suādvis, instead of †suā-dus, cf. ἡδύς), ten-uis (root TEN in tendō ), and remaining alone only in nouns of the fourth declension, as acus (root AK, sharp, in ācer, aciēs , ὠκύς), pecū , genū .
II. Suffixes with a consonant:—

  1. to- (M., N.), - (F.), in the regular perfect passive participle, as tēctus , tēctum; sometimes with an active sense, as in pōtus , prānsus; and found in a few words not recognized as participles, as pūtus (cf. pūrus ), altus ( alō ).
  2. ti- in abstracts and rarely in nouns of agency, as messis , vestis , pars , mēns. But in many thei is lost.
  3. tu- in abstracts (including supines), sometimes becoming concretes, as āctus , lūctus .
  4. no- (M., N.), - (F.), forming perfect participles in other languages, and in Latin making adjectives of like participial meaning, which often become nouns, as māgnus , plēnus , rēgnum .
  5. ni-, in nouns of agency and adjectives, as īgnis , sēgnis .
  6. nu-, rare, as in manus , pīnus, cornū .
  7. mo- (-), with various meanings, as inanimus, almus , fīrmus , forma .
  8. vo- (-) (commonly uo-, -), with an active or passive meaning, as in equus ( equos ), arvum , cōnspicuus , exiguus , vacīvus ( vacuus ).
  9. ro- (-), as in ager (stem ( ag-ro- ), integer (cf. intāctus ), sacer , plērī-que (cf. plēnus, plētus).
  10. lo- (-), as in caelum (for † caed-lum ), chisel, exemplum , sella (for † sedla ).
  11. yo- (-), forming gerundives in other languages, and in Latin making adjectives and abstracts, including many of the first and fifth declensions, as eximius , audācia , Flōrentia , perniciēs .
  12. ko- (-), sometimes primary, as in paucī (cf. παῦρος), locus (for stlocus ). In many cases the vowel of this termination is lost, leaving a consonant stem: as,apex, cortex, loquāx .
  13. en- (on-, ēn-, ōn-), in nouns of agency and abstracts: as, aspergō , compāgē (-ĭnis), gerō (-ōnis).
  14. men-, expressing means, often passing into the action itself: as, agmen flūmen , fulmen .
  15. ter- (tor-, tēr-, tōr-, tr-), forming nouns of agency: as, pater (i.e. protector), frāter (i.e. supporter), ōrātor.
  16. tro-, forming nouns of means: as, claustrum (CLAUD), mūlctrum (MULG).
  17. es- (os-), forming names of actions, passing into concretes: as, genus ( generis ), tempus (see § 15. 4). The infinitive in -ere (as in reg-ere ) is a locative of this stem ((--er-e for-es-i).
  18. nt- (ont-, ent-), forming present active participles: as, legēns , with some adjectives from roots unknown: as, frequēns , recēns .
The above, with some suffixes given below, belong to the Indo-European parent speech, and most of them were not felt as living formations in the Latin.

Significant Endings

235. Both primary and secondary suffixes, especially in the form of compound suffixes, were used in Latin with more or less consciousness of their meaning. They may therefore be called Significant Endings.

They form: (1) Nouns of Agency; (2) Abstract Nouns (including Names of Actions); (3) Adjectives (active or passive).

Note.--There is really no difference in etymology between an adjective and a noun, except that some formations are habitually used as adjectives and others as nouns (§ 20. b. N. 2).


Nouns of Agency

236. Nouns of Agency properly denote the agent or doer of an action. But they include many words in which the idea of agency has entirely faded out, and also many words used as adjectives.

a. Nouns denoting the agent or doer of an action are formed from roots or verb-stems by means of the suffixes—

-tor (-sor), M.; -trīx, F.

can-tor, can-trīx, singer; can-ere (root CAN), to sing.
vic-tor, vic-trīx, conqueror (victorious); vinc-ere (VIC), to conquer.
tōn-sor (for † tond-tor ), tōns-trīx (for
tond-trīx ), hair-cutter; tond-ēre (TOND as root), to shear.
petī-tor, candidate; pet-ĕre (PET; petī- as stem), to seek

By analogy -tor is sometimes added to noun-stems, but these may be stems of lost verbs: as, viā-tor, traveller, from via, way (but cf. the verb inviō ).

Note 1.--The termination -tor (-sor) has the same phonetic change as the supine ending -tum (-sum), and is added to the same form of root or verb-stem as that ending. The stem-ending is tōr- (§ 234. 2.15), which is shortened in the nominative.

Note 2.--The feminine form is always -trīx. Masculines in -sor lack the feminine, except expulsor ( expultrīx ) and tōnsor ( tōnstrīx ).

b. t-, M. or F., added to verb-stems makes nouns in -es (-itis, -etis; stem it-, et-) descriptive of a character:—

  1. prae-stes, -stitis , (verb-stem from root STA, stāre, stand), guardian.
  2. teges, -etis (verb-stem tege-, cf. tegō, cover), a coverer, a mat.
  3. pedes, -itis ( pēs , ped-is, foot, and I, root of īre, go), foot-soldier.

c. -ō (genitive -ōnis, stem ōn )-, M., added to verb-stems3 indicates a person employed in some specific art or trade:—

  1. com-bibō (BIB as root in bibō , bibere, drink), a pot-companion.
  2. gerō, -ōnis (GES in gerō , gerere, carry), a carrier.

Note.--This termination is also used to form many nouns descriptive of personal characteristics (cf. § 255).

Names of Actions and Abstract Nouns

237. Names of Actions are confused, through their terminations, with real abstract nouns (names of qualities), and with concrete nouns denoting means and instrument.

They are also used to express the concrete result of an action (as often in English).

Thus legiō is literally the act of collecting, but comes to mean legion (the body of soldiers collected); cf. levy in English.

238. Abstract Nouns and Names of Actions are formed from roots and verb-stems by means of the endings—

a. Added to roots or forms conceived as roots—

NOM. -or, M. -ēs, F. -us, N.
GEN. -ōris -is -eris or -oris
STEM ōr- (earlier ōs- i- er- (earlier ( e/os-

Note.--Many nouns of this class are formed by analogy from imaginary roots: as facinus from a supposed root FACIN.

tim-or, fear; timēre, to fear.
am-or, love; amāre, to love.
sēd-ēs, seat; sedēre, to sit.
caed-ēs, slaughter; caedere, to kill.
genus, birth, race; GEN, to be born (root of gignō, bear).

b. Apparently added to roots or verb-stems—

NOM. -, F. -tiō (-siō), F. -tūra (-sūra), F. -tus, M.
GEN. -iōnis -tiōnis (-siōnis -tūrae (-sūrae -tūs (-sūs
STEM iōn- tiōn- (siōn- tūrā- (sūrā- tu- (su-

Note 1.-- -tiō, -tūra, -tus are added to roots or verb-stems precisely as -tor, with the same phonetic change (cf. § 236. a. N. 1). Hence they are conveniently associated with the supine stem (see § 178). They sometimes form nouns when there is no corresponding verb in use: as, senātus, senate (cf. senex ); mentiō, mention (cf. mēns ); fētūra, offspring (cf. fētus ); litterātūra, literature (cf. litterae ); cōnsulātus, consulship (cf. cōnsul ).

Note 2.--Of these endings, -tus was originally primary (cf. § 234. 2.3.); - is a compound formed by adding ōn- to a stem ending in a vowel (originally i): as, diciō (cf. -dicus and dicis ); -tiō is a compound formed by adding ōn- to stems in ti-: as, gradātiō (cf. gradātim ); -tūra is formed by adding -ra, feminine of -rus, to stems in tu-: as, nātūra from nātus; statūra from status (cf. figūra , of like meaning, from a simple u<*> stem, †figu-s; and mātūrus, Mātūta).

leg-, a collecting (levy), a legion; legere, to collect.
reg-, a direction, a region; regere, to direct.
vocā-tiō, a calling; vocāre, to call.
mōlī-tiō, a toiling; mōlīrī, to toil.
scrīp-tūra, a writing; scrībere, to write.
sēn-sus (for † sent-tus ), feeling; sentīre, to feel.

239. Nouns denoting acts, or means and results of acts, are formed from roots or verb-stems by the use of the suffixes—

-men, N.; -mentum, N.; -mōnium, N.; -mōnia, F.

ag-men, line of march, band; AG, root of agere, to lead.
regi-men, rule; regi-mentum, rule; regi- (rege-), stem of regere, to direct.
certā-men, contest, battle; certā-, stem of certāre, to contend.


colu-men, pillar; -men, movement; -men, name; flū-men, stream.
testi-mōnium, testimony; testārī, to witness.
queri-mōnia, complaint; querī, to complain.

-mōnium and -mōnia are also used as secondary, forming nouns from other nouns and from adjectives: as, sāncti-mōnia, sanctity (sānctus, holy); mātrimōnium, marriage (māter, mother.

Note.--Of these endings, -men is primary (cf. § 234. 2.14); -mentum is a compound of men- and to-, and appears for the most part later in the language than -men: as, mōmen, movement (Lucr.); mōmentum (later). So elementum is a development from L-M-N-a, l-m-n's (letters of the alphabet), changed to elementa along with other nouns in -men. -mōnium and -mōnia were originally compound secondary suffixes formed from mōn- (a by-form of men-), which was early associated with mo-. Thus almus

(stem almo-), fostering; Almōn, a river near Rome; alimōnia, support. But the last was formed directly from alō when -mōnia had become established as a supposed primary suffix.

240. Nouns denoting means or instrument are formed from roots and verb-stems (rarely from noun-stems) by means of the neuter suffixes—

-bulum, -culum, -brum, -crum, -trum

Note.-- -trum (stem tro-) was an old formation from tor- (§ 234. 2.15), with the stem suffix o-, and -clum (stem clo- for tlo-) appears to be related; -culum is the same as -clum; -bulum contains lo- (§ 234. II. 9, 10) and -brum is closely related.

-bulum, fodder; pāscere, to feed.
sta-bulum, stall; stāre, to stand.
vehi-culum, wagon; vehere, to carry.
candēlā-brum, candlestick; candēla, candle (a secondary formation).
sepul-crum, tomb; sepelīre, to bury.
claus-trum († claud-trum ), bar; claudere, to shut.
arā-trum, plough; arāre, to plough.

a. A few masculines and feminines of the same formation occur as nouns and adjectives:—

-bula, tale; fārī, to speak.
rīdi-culus, laughable; rīdēre, to laugh.
fa-ber, smith; facere, to make.
late-bra, hiding-place; latēre, to hide.
tere-bra, auger; terere, to bore.
mulc-tra, milk-pail; mulgēre, to milk.

241. Abstract Nouns, mostly from adjective-stems, rarely from noun-stems, are formed by means of the secondary feminine suffixes—

-ia (-iēs), -tia (-tiēs), -tās, -tūs, -tūdō

audāc-ia, boldness; audāx, bold.
pauper-iēs, poverty; pauper, poor.
trīsti-tia, sadness; trīstis, sad.
sēgni-tiēs, laziness; sēgnis, lazy.
boni-tās, goodness; bonus, good.
senec-tūs, age; senex, old.
māgni-tūdō, greatness; māgnus, great.

  1. In stems ending in o- or ā- the stem-vowel is lost before -ia (as superb-ia ) and appears as i before -tās, -tūs, -tia (as in boni-tās , above).
  2. Consonant stems often insert i before -tās: as, loquāx (stem loquāc-),loquāci-tās; buthones-tās,mâies-tās (as if from old adjectives in -es),ūber-tās, volup-tās . o after i is changed toe: as, pius (stem pio-),pie-tās; socius , socie-tās.
a. In like manner - and - (F.) form abstract nouns, but are associated with verbs and apparently added to verb-stems:—
  1. cupī-, desire, from cupere, to desire (as if from stem cupī-).
  2. dulcē-, sweetness (cf. dulcis, sweet), as if from a stem dulcē-, cf. dulcē-scō.
  3. lumbā-, lumbago (cf. lumbus, loin), as if from †lumbō, -āre.

Note.--Of these, -ia is inherited as secondary (cf. § 234. 2.11). -tia is formed by adding -ia to stems with a t-suffix: as, mīlitia, from mīles (stem mīlit-); molestia from molestus; clēmentia from clēmēns; whence by analogy, mali-tia , avāri-tia . -tās is inherited, but its component parts, - + ti-, are found as suffixes in the same sense: as, senecta from senex; sēmen-tis from sēmen. -tūs is - + ti-, cf. servitū- . - and - appear only with long vowels, as from verb-stems, by a false analogy; but - is do- + ōn-: as, cupidus , cupīdō; gravidus, gravēdō (cf. gravē-scō ); albidus , albēdō (cf. albēscō ); formidus, hot, formīdō (cf. formīdulōsus ), (hot flash?) fear; - is possibly co- + ōn-; cf. vorāx , vorāgō , but cf. Cethēgus . -tūdō is compounded of - with tu-stems, which acquire a long vowel from association with verb-stems in u- (cf. volūmen , from volvō ): as, cōnsuētū- , valētū- , habitū-dō; whence servitūdō (cf. servitūs , tūtis ).

b. Neuter Abstracts, which easily pass into concretes denoting offices and groups, are formed from noun-stems and perhaps from verb-stems by means of the suffixes—

-ium, -tium

hospit-ium, hospitality, an inn; 4 hospes (gen. hospit-is ), a guest.
collēg-ium, colleagueship, a college; collēga, a colleague.
auspic-ium, soothsaying, an omen; auspex (gen. auspic-is ), a soothsayer.
gaud-ium, joy; gaudēre, to rejoice.
effug-ium, escape; effugere, to escape.
benefic-ium, a kindness; benefacere, to benefit; cf. beneficus .
dēsīder-ium, longing; dēsīderāre, to miss, from †-sīdēs, out
of place, of missing soldiers.
adverb-ium, adverb; ad verbum , [added] to a verb.
interlūn-ium, time of new moon; inter lūnās, between moons.
rēgifug-ium, flight of the kings; rēgis fuga, flight of a king.
servi-tium, slavery, the slave class; servus, a slave.

Vowel stems lose their vowel before -ium: as, collēg-ium, from collēga .

Note.-- -ium is the neuter of the adjective suffix -ius. It is an inherited primary suffix, but is used with great freedom as secondary. -tium is formed like -tia, by adding -ium to stems with t: as, exit-ium, equit-ium (cf. exitus, equitēs); so, by analogy, calvitium , servitium (from calvus, servus).

c. Less commonly, abstract nouns (which usually become concrete) are formed from noun-stems (confused with verb-stems) by means of the suffixes—

-nia, F.; -nium, -lium, -cinium, N.

pecū-nia, money (chattels); pecū, cattle.
contici-nium, the hush of night; conticēscere, to become still.
auxi-lium, help; augēre, to increase.
lātrō-cinium, robbery; latrō, robber (cf. latrōcinor, rob, implying an adjective † latrōcinus ).

For Diminutives and Patronymics, see §§ 243, 244.


242. Derivative Adjectives, which often become nouns, are either Nominal (from nouns or adjectives) or Verbal (as from roots or verb-stems).

Nominal Adjectives

243. Diminutive Adjectives are usually confined to one gender, that of the primitive, and are used as Diminutive Nouns.

They are formed by means of the suffixes—

-ulus (-a, -um), -olus (after a vowel), -culus, -ellus, -illus

Note 1.--These diminutive endings are all formed by adding -lus to various stems. The formation is the same as that of -ulus in § 251. But these words became settled as diminutives, and retained their connection with nouns. So in English the diminutives whitish, reddish, are of the same formation as bookish and snappish, -culus comes from -lus added to adjectives in -cus formed from stems in n- and s-: as, iuven-cus, Aurun-cus (cf. Aurunculêius ), prīs-cus, whence the cu becomes a part of the termination, and the whole ending (-culus) is used elsewhere, but mostly with n- and s- stems, in accordance with its origin.

Note 2.--Diminutives are often used to express affection, pity, or contempt: as, dēliciolae, little pet; muliercula, a poor (weak) woman; Graeculus, a miserable Greek.

rīv-ulus, a streamlet; rīvus, a brook.
gladi-olus, a small sword; gladius, a sword.
fīli-olus, a little son; fīlius, a son.
fīli-ola, a little daughter; fīlia, a daughter.
ātri-olum, a little hall; ātrium, a hall.
homun-culus, a dwarf; homō, a man.
auri-cula, a little ear; auris, an ear.
mūnus-culum, a little gift; mūnus , N., a gift.
cōdic-illī, writing-tablets; cōdex, a block.
mis-ellus, rather wretched; miser, wretched.
lib-ellus, a little book; liber, a book.
aure-olus (-a, -um), golden; aureus (-a, -um), golden.
parv-olus (later parv-ulus ), very small; parvus (-a, -um), little.
mâius-culus, somewhat larger; mâior (old mâiōs ), greater.

a. -ciō, added to stems in n-, has the same diminutive force, but is used with masculines only: as, homun-ciō, a dwarf (from homō, a man).

244. Patronymics, indicating descent or relationship, are formed by adding to proper names the suffixes—

  1. -adēs, -idēs, -īdēs, -eus, M.; -ās, -is, -ēis, F.

These words, originally Greek adjectives, have almost all become nouns in Latin:—

  1. Atlās: Atlanti-adēs, Mercury; Atlant-idĕs (Gr. plur.), the Pleiads.
  2. Scīpiō : Scīpi-adēs, son of Scipio.
  3. Tyndareus : Tyndar-idēs, Castor or Pollux, son of Tyndarus; Tyndar-is, Helen, daughter of Tyndarus.
  4. Anchīsēs : Anchīsi-adēs, Æneas, son of Anchises.
  5. Thēseus: Thēs-īdēs, son of Theseus.
  6. Tȳdeus: Tȳd-īdēs, Diomedes, son of Tydeus.
  7. Oīleus : Âiāx Oīl-eus, son of Oileus.
  8. Cisseus : Cissē-is, Hecuba, daughter of Cisseus.
  9. Thaumās : Thaumant-iās, Iris, daughter of Thaumas.
  10. Hesperus: Hesper-ides (from Hesper-is, -idis), plur., the daughters of Hesperus, the Hesperides.

245. Adjectives meaning full of, prone to, are formed from nounstems with the suffixes—

-ōsus, -lēns, -lentus

fluctu-ōsus, billowy; fluctus, a billow.
form-ōsus, beautiful; forma, beauty.
perīcul-ōsus, dangerous; perīculum, danger.
pesti-lēns, pesti-lentus, pestilent; pestis, pest.
vīno-lentus, vīn-ōsus, given to drink; vīnum, wine.

246. Adjectives meaning provided with are formed from nouns by means of the regular participial endings—

-tus, -ātus, -ītus, -ūtus

Note.-- -ātus, -ītus, -ūtus, imply reference to an imaginary verb-stem: -tus is added directly to nouns without any such reference.

fūnes-tus, deadly; fūnus (st. fūner-, older ( fūne/os- ), death.
hones-tus, honorable; honor, honor.
faus-tus (for † faves-tus ), favorable; favor, favor.
barb-ātus, bearded; barba, a beard.
turr-ītus, turreted; turris, a tower.
corn-ūtus, horned; cornū, a horn.

247. Adjectives of various meanings, but signifying in general made of or belonging to, are formed from nouns by means of the suffixes—

-eus, -ius, -āceus, -īcius, -āneus (-neus), -ticus

Note.-- -ius is originally primitive (§ 234. 2.11); -eus corresponds to Greek -eios, eos , and has lost a y-sound (cf. yo-, § 234. 2.11); -īcius and -āceus are formed by adding -ius and -eus to stems in ī-c-, ā-c- (suffix ko-, § 234. 2.12); -neus is no- + -eus (§ 234. 2.4); -āneus is formed by adding -neus to ā-stems; -ticus is a formation with -cus (cf. hosti-cus with silvā-ticus), and has been affected by the analogy of participial stems in to- (nominative -tus).

aur-eus, golden; aurum, gold.
patr-ius, paternal; pater, a father.
uxōr-ius, uxorious; uxor, a wife.
ros-āceus, of roses; rosa, a rose.
later-īcius, of brick; later, a brick.
praesent-āneus, operating instantly; praesēns, present.
extr-āneus, external; extrā, without.
subterr-āneus, subterranean; sub terrā, underground.
salīg-neus, of willow; salix, willow.
volā-ticus, winged (volātus, a flight); volāre, to fly.
domes-ticus, of the house, domestic; domus, a house.
silvā-ticus, sylvan; silva, a wood.

248. Adjectives denoting pertaining to are formed from nounstems with the suffixes—

-ālis, -āris, -ēlis, -īlis, -ūlis

Note.--The suffixes arise from adding -lis (stem li-) to various vowel stems. The long vowels are due partly to confusion between stem and suffix (cf. vītā-lis, from vītā-, with rēg-ālis ), partly to confusion with verb-stems: cf. Aprīlis ( aperīre ), edūlis ( edere ), with senīlis ( senex ). -ris is an inherited suffix, but in most of these formations -āris arises by differentiation for -ālis in words containing an 1 (as mīlit-āris ).

nātūr-ālis, natural; nātūra, nature.
popul-āris, fellow-countryman; populus, a people.
patru-ēlis, cousin; patruus, uncle.
host-īlis, hostile; hostis, an enemy.
cur-ūlis, curule; currus, a chariot.

249. Adjectives with the sense of belonging to are formed by means of the suffixes—

  1. -ānus, -ēnus, -īnus; -ās, -ēnsis; -cus, -acus (-ācus), -icus; -eus, -êius, -icius

  1. So from common nouns:—

    mont-ānus, of the mountains; mōns (stem monti-), mountain.
    veter-ānus, veteran; vetus (stem veter-), old.
    antelūc-ānus, before daylight; ante lūcem, before light.
    terr-ēnus, earthly; terra, earth.
    ser-ēnus, calm (of evening stillness); sērus, late.
    coll-īnus, of a hill; collis, hill.
    dīv-īnus, aivine; dīvus, god.
    lībert-īnus, of the class of freedmen; lībertus, one's freedman.
    cûi-ās, of what country? quis, who?
    īnfim-ās, of the lowest rank; īnfimus, lowest.
    for-ēnsis, of a market-place, or the Forum; forum, a market-place.
    cīvi-cus, civic, of a citizen; cīvis, a citizen.
    fullōn-icus, of a fuller; fullō, a fuller.
    mer-ācus, pure; merum, pure wine.
    fēmin-eus, of a woman, feminine; fēmina, a woman.
    lact-eus, milky; lac, milk (stem lacti-).
    plēb-ēius, of the commons, plebeian; plēbēs, the commons.
    patr-icius, patrician; pater, father.

  2. But especially from proper nouns to denote belonging to or coming from:

    Rōm-ānus, Roman; Rōma, Rome.
    Sull-ānī, Sulla's veterans; Sulla .
    Cyzic-ēnī, Cyzicenes, people of Cyzicus; Cyzicus .
    Ligur-īnus, of Liguria; Liguria.
    Arpīn-ās, of Arpinum; Arpīnum .
    Sicili-ēnsis, Sicilian; Sicilia, Sicily.
    Īli-acus, Trojan (a Greek form); Īlium, Troy.
    Platōn-icus, Platonic; Platō.
    Aquil-êius, a Roman name;Aquil-êia, a town in Italy; Aquila.

    a. Many derivative adjectives with these endings have by usage become nouns:—

    Silv-ānus, M., a god of the woods; silva, a wood.
    membr-āna, F., skin; membrum, limb.
    Aemili-ānus , M., name of Scipio Africanus; Aemilia ( gēns ).
    lani-ēna, F., a butcher's stall; lanius, butcher.
    Aufidi-ēnus, M., a Roman name; Aufidius ( Aufidus ).
    inquil-īnus, M., a lodger; incola, an inhabitant.
    Caec-īna , used as M., a Roman name; caecus, blind.
    ru-īna, F., a fall; ruō, fall (no noun existing).
    doctr-īna , F., learning; doctor, teacher.

    Note.--Of these terminations, -ānus, -ēnus, -īnus are compounded from -nus added to a stem-vowel: as, arca , arcānus; collis, collīnus . The long vowels come from a confusion with verb-stems (as in plē-nus,fīnī-tus, tribū-tus), and from the noun-stem in ā-. as, arcānus . A few nouns occur of similar formation, as if from verb-stems in ō- and ū-: as, colōnus (colō, cf. incola), patrōnus (cf. patrō , -āre), tribūnus (cf. tribuō, tribus), Portūnus (cf. portus ), Vacūna (cf. vacō, vacuus).

250. Other adjectives meaning in a general way belonging to (especially of places and times) are formed with the suffixes—

ter (-tris), -ester (-estris), -timus, -nus, -ernus, -urnus, -ternus (-turnus)

palūs-ter, of the marshes; palūs, a marsh.
pedes-ter, of the foot-soldiers; pedes, a footman.
sēmēs-tris, lasting six months; sex mēnsēs, six months.
silv-ester, silv-estris, woody; silva, a wood.
fīni-timus, neighboring, on the borders; fīnis, an end.
mari-timus, of the sea; mare, sea.
vēr-nus, vernal; vēr, spring.
hodi-ernus, of to-day; hodiē, to-day.
di-urnus, daily; diēs, day.
hes-ternus, of yesterday; herī (old hesī ), yesterday.
diū-turnus, lasting; diū, long (in time).

Note.--Of these, -ester is formed by adding tri- (cf. tro-, § 234. 2.16) to stems in t- or d-. Thus †pedet-tri-becomes pedestri-, and others follow the analogy. -nus is an inherited suffix (§ 234. 2.4). -ernus and -urnus are formed by adding -nus to s-stems: as, diur-nus (for † dius-nus ), and hence, by analogy, hodiernus ( hodiē ). By an extension of the same principle were formed the suffixes -ternus and -turnus from words like paternus and nocturnus .

a. Adjectives meaning belonging to are formed from nouns by means of the suffixes—

-ārius, -tōrius (-sōrius)

ōrdin-ārius, regular; ōrdō, rank, order.
argent-ārius, of silver or money; argentum, silver.
extr-ārius, stranger; extrā, outside.
meri-tōrius, profitable; meritus, earned.
dēvor-sōrius, of an inn (cf. § 254. 5); dēvorsus, turned aside.

Note 1.--Here -ius (§ 234. 2.11) is added to shorter forms in -āris and -or: as, pecūliārius (from pecūliāris ), bellātōrius (from bellātor ).

Note 2.--These adjectives are often fixed as nouns (see § 254).

Verbal Adjectives

251. Adjectives expressing the action of the verb as a quality or tendency are formed from real or apparent verb-stems with the suffixes—

-āx, -idus, -ulus, -vus (-uus, -īvus, -tīvus)

-āx denotes a faulty or aggressive tendency; -tīvus is oftener passive.

pūgn-āx, pugnacious; pūgnāre, to fight.
aud-āx, bold; audēre, to dare.
cup-idus, eager; cupere, to desire.
bib-ulus, thirsty (as dry earth etc.); bibere, to drink.
proter-vus, violent, wanton; prōterere, to trample.

Note.--Of these, -āx is a reduction of -ācus (stem-vowel ā- + -cus), become independent and used with verb-stems. Similar forms in -ĕx, -ōx, -īx, and -ūx are found or employed in derivatives: as, imbrex , M., a rain-tile (from imber ); senex, old (from seni-s ); ferōx, fierce (from ferus ); atrōx, savage (from āter, black); celōx, F., a yacht (cf. cellō ); fēlīx, happy, originally fertile (cf. fēlō, suck); fīdūcia , F., confidence (as from † fīdūx ); cf. also victrīx (from victor ). So mandūcus, chewing (from mandō ).

noc-uus ( noc-īvus ), hurtful, injurious; nocēre, to do harm.
recid-īvus, restored; recidere, to fall back.
cap-tīvus, captive; M., a prisoner of war; capere, to take.

-idus is no doubt denominative, as in herbidus, grassy (from herba, herb); tumidus, swollen (cf. tumu-lus, hill; tumul-tus, uproar); callidus, tough, cunning (cf. callum, tough flesh); mūcidus, slimy (cf. mūcus, slime); tābidus, wasting (cf. tābēs, wasting disease). But later it was used to form adjectives directly from verb-stems.

-ulus is the same suffix as in diminutives, but attached to verb-stems. Cf. aemulus, rivalling (cf. imitor and imāgō); sēdulus, sitting by, attentive (cf. domi-seda, homestaying, and sēdō, set, settle, hence calm); pendulus, hanging (cf. pondō , ablative, in weight; perpendiculum, a plummet; appendix, an addition); strāgulus, covering (cf. strāgēs ); legulus, a picker (cf. sacri-legus, a picker up of things sacred).

-vus seems originally primary (cf. § 234. 2.8), but -īvus and -tīvus have become secondary and are used with nouns: as, aestīvus, of summer (from aestus, heat); tempestīvus, timely (from tempus ); cf. domes-ticus (from domus ).

252. Adjectives expressing passive qualities, but occasionally active, are formed by means of the suffixes—

-ilis, -bilis, -ius, -tilis (-silis)

Note.--Of these, -ius is primary, but is also used as secondary (cf. § 241. b. N.). -ilis is both primary (as in agilis, fragilis) and secondary (as in similis, like, cf. ὅμος, ὅμαλος, English same); -bilis is in some way related to -bulum and -brum (§ 240. N.); in -tilis and -silis, -lis is added to to- (so-), stem of the perfect participle: as, fossilis, dug up (from fossus, dug); volātilis, winged (from volātus, flight).

frag-ilis, frail; frangere (FRAG), to break.
-bilis, well known, famous; nōscere (GNO), to know.
exim-ius, choice, rare (cf. ē-greg-ius ); eximere, to take out, select.
ag-ilis, active; agere, to drive.
hab-ilis, handy; habēre, to hold.
al-tilis, fattened (see note); alere, to nourish.

253. Verbal Adjectives that are Participial in meaning are formed with the suffixes—

-ndus, -bundus, -cundus

a. -ndus (the same as the gerundive ending) forms a few active or reflexive adjectives:—

secu-ndus, second (the following), favorable; sequī, to follow.
rotu-ndus, round (whirling)5; rotāre, to whirl.

b. -bundus, -cundus, denote a continuance of the act or quality expressed by the verb:—

Note.--These must have been originally nominal: as in the series, rubus, red bush; rubidus (but no † rubicus ), ruddy; Rubicōn, Red River (cf. Miniō , a river of Etruria; Minius, a river of Lusitania); rubicundus (as in averruncus, homun-culus). So turba, commotion; turbō, a top; turbidus, roily, etc. Cf. apexabō , longabō , gravēdō , dulcēdō .

vītā-bundus, avoiding; vītāre, to shun.
treme-bundus, trembling; tremere, to tremble.
mori-bundus, dying, at the point of death; morīrī, to die.
-cundus, eloquent; fārī, to speak.
-cundus, fruitful; root , nourish.
īrā-cundus, irascible; cf. īrāscī, to be angry.

c. Here belong also the participial suffixes -minus, -mnus (cf. Greek -μενος), from which are formed a few nouns in which the participial force is still discernible:—6

-mina, woman (the nourisher); root , nourish.
alu-mnus, a foster-child, nursling; alere, to nourish.

Nouns with Adjective Suffixes

254. Many fixed forms of the Nominal Adjective suffixes men tioned in the preceding sections, make Nouns more or less regularly used in particular senses:—

    -ārius, person employed about anything:—
    1. argent-ārius , M., silversmith, broker, from argentum, silver.
    2. Corinthi-ārius, M., worker in Corinthian bronze (sarcastic nickname of Augustus), from ( aes ) Corinthium, Corinthian bronze.
    3. centōn-ārius, M., ragman, from centō, patchwork.
    -āria, thing connected with something:—
    1. argent-āria, F., bank, from argentum, silver.
    2. arēn-āriae, F. plural, sandpits, from arēna, sand.
    3. Asin-āria, F., name of a play, from asinus, ass. 7
    -ārium, place of a thing (with a few of more general meaning):—
    1. aer-ārium, N., treasury, from aes, copper.
    2. tepid-ārium, N., warm bath, from tepidus, warm.
    3. sūd-ārium, N., a towel, cf. sūdō , -āre, sweat.
    4. sal-ārium, N., salt money, salary, from sāl, salt.
    5. calendārium, N., a note-book, from calendae, calends.
    -tōria (-sōria):—
    1. Agitā-tōria, F., a play of Plautus, The Carter, from agitātor.
    2. vor-sōria, F., a tack (nautical), from vorsus, a turn.
    -tōrium (-sōrium), place of action (with a few of more general meaning):
    1. dēvor-sōrium, N., an inn, as from dēvortō, turn aside.
    2. audī-tōrium, N., a lecture-room, as from audiō, hear.
    3. ten-tōrium, N., a tent, as from tendō, stretch.
    4. tēc-tōrium, N., plaster, as from tegō , tēctus, cover.
    5. por-tōrium, N., toll, cf. portō, carry, and portus, harbor.
    -īle, animal-stall:
    1. bov-īle, N., cattle-stall, from bōs , bŏvis, ox, cow.
    2. ov-īle, N., sheepfold, from ovis , stem ovi-, sheep.
    -al for -āle, thing connected with the primitive:—
    1. capit-al, N., headdress, capital crime, from caput, head.
    2. penetr-āle (especially in plural), N., inner apartment, cf. penetrō, enter.
    3. Sāturn-ālia, N. plural (the regular form for names of festivals), feast of Sat urn, from Sāturnus .
    -ētum, N. (cf. -ātus, -ūtus, see § 246. N.), -tum, place of a thing, especially with names of trees and plants to designate where these grow:
    1. querc-ētum, N., oak grove, from quercus, oak.
    2. olīv-ētum, N., olive grove, from olīva, an olive tree.
    3. salic-tum, N., a willow thicket, from salix, a willow tree.
    4. Argil-ētum, N., The Clay Pit, from argilla, clay.
    -cus (sometimes with insertedi, -icus), -īcus, in any one of the genders, with various meanings:—
    1. vīli-cus, M., a steward, vīli-ca, F., a stewardess, from vīlla, farm-house.
    2. fabr-ica, F., a workshop, from faber, workman.
    3. am-īcus , M., am-īca, F., friend, cf. amāre, to love.
    4. būbul-cus, M., ox-tender, frombūb-ulus, diminutive, cf. bōs, ox.
    5. cant-icum, N., song, from cantus, act of singing.
    6. rubr-īca, F., red paint, from ruber, red.
    -eus, -ea, -eum, with various meanings:—
    1. alv-eus, M., a trough, from alvus, the belly.
    2. capr-ea, F., a wild she-goat, from caper, he-goat.
    3. flamm-eum, N., a bridal veil, from flamma, flame, from its color.
    -ter (stem tri-), -aster, -ester:—
    1. eques-ter, M., knight, for †equet-ter.
    2. sequ-ester, M., a stake-holder, from derivative of sequor, follow.
    3. ole-aster, M., wild olive, from olea, an olive tree.


255. The suffix -ō (genitive -ōnis, stem ōn-), usually added to verb-stems (see § 236. c), is sometimes used with noun-stems to form nouns denoting possessed of. These were originally adjectives expressing quality or character, and hence often appear as proper names:—
  1. epulae, a feast; epul-ō, a feaster.
  2. nāsus, a nose; nās-ō, with a large nose (also as a proper name).
  3. volus (in bene-volus ), wishing; vol-ōnēs (plural), volunteers.
  4. frōns, forehead; front-ō, big-head (also as a proper name).
  5. cūria, a curia; cūri-ō, head of a curia (also as a proper name).
  6. restis, a rope; resti-ō, a rope-maker.

a. Rarely suffixes are added to compound stems imagined, but not used in their compound form:—

  1. ad-verb-ium, adverb; ad, to, and verbum, verb, but without the intervening †adverbus.
  2. lāti-fund-ium, large estate; lātus, wide, fundus, estate, but without the inter vening †lātifundus.
  3. su-ove-taur-īlia, a sacrifice of a swine, a sheep, and a bull; sūs, swine, ovis, sheep, taurus, bull, where the primitive would be impossible in Latin, though such formations are common in Sanskrit.


256. Verbs may be classed as Primitive or Derivative.

  1. Primitive Verbs are those inherited by the Latin from the parent speech.
  2. Derivative Verbs are those formed in the development of the Latin as a separate language.
257. Derivative Verbs are of two main classes:—

  1. Denominative Verbs, formed from nouns or adjectives.
  2. Verbs apparently derived from the stems of other verbs

Denominative Verbs

258. Verbs were formed in Latin from almost every form of noun-stem and adjective-stem.


  1. Verbs of the First Conjugation are formed directly from ā-stems, regularly with a transitive meaning: as, fuga, flight; fugāre, put to flight.
  2. Many verbs of the First Conjugation are formed from o- stems, changing the o- into ā-. These are more commonly transitive:—
    1. stimulō , -āre, to incite, from stimulus, a good (stem stimulo-).
    2. aequō , -āre, to make even, from aequus, even (stem aequo-).
    3. hībernō , -āre, to pass the winter, from hībernus, of the winter (stem hīberno-).
    4. albō , -āre, to whiten, from albus, white (stem albo-).
    5. piō , -āre, to expiate, from pius, pure (stem pio-).
    6. novō, -āre, to renew, from novus, new (stem novo-).
    7. armō , -āre, to arm, from arma, arms (stem armo-).
    8. damnō , -āre, to injure, from damnum, injury (stem damno-).
    A few verbs, generally intransitive, are formed by analogy from consonant and i- or u-stems, adding ā to the stem:—8
    1. vigilō , -āre, to watch, from vigil, awake.
    2. exsulō , -āre, to be in exile, from exsul, an exile.
    3. auspicor, -ārī, to take the auspices, from auspex (stem auspic-), augur.
    4. pulverō , -āre, to turn (anything) to dust, from pulvis (stem pulver- for pulvis-), dust.
    5. aestuō, -āre, to surge, boil, from aestus (stem aestu-), tide, seething
    6. levō, -āre, to lighten, from levis (stem levi-), light.
260. A few verbs of the Second Conjugation (generally intransitive) are recognizable as formed from noun-stems; but most are inherited, or the primitive noun-stem is lost:—
  1. albeō, -ēre, to be white, from albus (stem ( albo/e- ), white.
  2. cāneo, -ēre, to be hoary, from cānus (stem ( cāno/e- ), hoary.
  3. clāreō , -ēre, to shine, from clārus, bright.
  4. claudeō , -ēre, to be lame, from claudus, lame.
  5. algeō, -ēre, to be cold, cf. algidus, cold.

261. Some verbs of the Third Conjugation in -, -uere, are formed from noun-stems in u- and have lost a consonant i:—

  1. statuō (for † statu- ), -ere, to set up, from status, position.
  2. metuō , -ere, to fear, from metus, fear.
  3. acuō , -ere, to sharpen, from acus, needle.
  4. arguō , -ere, to clear up, from inherited stem †argu-, bright (cf. ἄργυρος).

Note.--Many verbs in u are inherited, being formed from roots in u: as, fluō , fluere, flow; so-lvō (for †sē-luō, cf. λύω), solvere, dissolve. Some roots have a parasitic u: as, loquor , locūtus, speak.

262. Many ī-verbs or verbs of the Fourth Conjugation are formed from i-stems:—

  1. mōlior, -īrī, to toil, from mōlēs (-is), mass.
  2. fīniō , -īre, to bound, from fīnis, end.
  3. sitiō , -īre, to thirst, from sitis, thirst.
  4. stabiliō , -īre, to establish, from stabilis, stable.

a. Some arise by confusion from other stems treated as i-stems:—

  1. bulliō, -īre, to boil, from bulla (stem bullā-), bubble.
  2. condiō, -īre, to preserve, from condus (stem condo-), storekeeper.
  3. īnsāniō, -īre, to rave, from īnsānus (stem īnsāno-), mad.
  4. gestiō, -īre, to show wild longing, from gestus (stem gestu-), gesture.

Note.--Some of this form are of doubtful origin: as, ōrdior, begin, cf. ōrdo and exōrdium . The formation is closely akin to that of verbs in - of the third conjugation (p. 102).

b. Some are formed with - from consonant stems:—

  1. cūstōdiō, -īre, to guard, from cūstōs (stem cūstōd-), guardian.
  2. fulguriō , -īre, to lighten, from fulgur, lightning.

Note.--Here probably belong the so-called desideratives in -uriō (see § 263. 4. N.).

Verbs from Other Verbs

263. The following four classes of verbs regularly derived from other verbs have special meanings connected with their terminations.

Note.--These classes are all really denominative in their origin, but the formations had become so associated with actual verbs that new derivatives were often formed directly from verbs without the intervention of a noun-stem.

    Inceptives or Inchoatives add -scō 9 to the present stem of verbs. They denote the beginning of an action and are of the Third Conjugation. Of some there is no simple verb in existence:—
    1. calē-scō, grow warm, from caleō, be warm.
    2. labā-scō, begin to totter, from labō, totter.
    3. scī-scō, determine, from sciō, know.
    4. con-cupī-scō, conceive a desire for, from cupiō, desire.
    5. alē-scō, grow, from alō, feed.
    6. So īrā-scor, get angry; cf. īrā-tus .
    7. iuvenē-scō, grow young; cf. iuvenis, young man.
    8. mītē-scō, grow mild; cf. mītis, mild.
    9. vesperā-scit, it is getting late; cf. vesper, evening.

    Note 2.--Inceptives properly have only the present stem, but many use the perfect and supine systems of simple verbs: as, calēscō, grow warm, caluī; ārdēscō, blaze forth, ārsī; proficīscor, set out, profectus .

    Intensives or Iteratives are formed from the Supine stem and end in- or -itō (rarely -). They denote a forcible or repeatedaction, but this special sense often disappears. Those derived from verbs of the First Conjugation end in -itō (not -ātō).
    1. iac-, hurl, from iaciō, throw.
    2. dormī-, be sleepy, from dormiō, sleep.
    3. vol-itō, flit, from volō, fly.
    4. vēndi-, try to sell, from vēndō, sell.
    5. quas-, shatter, from quatiō, shake.
    They are of the first conjugation, and are properly denominative.

    a. Compound suffixes -titō, -sitō, are formed with a few verbs. These are probably derived from other Iteratives; thus, cantitō may come from cantō, iterative of canō, sing.

    b. Another form of Intensives—sometimes called Meditatives, or verbs of practice—ends in -essō (rarely -issō). These denote a certain energy or eagerness of action rather than its repetition:—

    1. cap-essō, lay hold on, from capiō, take.
    2. fac-essō, do (with energy), from faciō, do.
    3. pet-esso, pet-issō, seek (eagerly), from petō, seek.

    These are of the third conjugation, usually having the perfect and supine of the fourth:—

    1. arcessō , arcessĕre , arcessīvī , arcessītum, summon.
    2. lacessō , lacessĕre , lacessīvī , lacessītum, provoke.

    Note.--The verbs in -essō, -issō, show the same formation as levāssō, impetrāssere, iūdicāssit, etc. (§ 183. 5), but its origin is not fully explained.

    Diminutives end in -illō, and denote a feeble or pettyaction:—
    1. cav-illor, jest, cf. cavilla, raillery.
    2. cant-illō, chirp or warble, from cantō, sing.

    Note 2.--Diminutives are formed from verb-stems derived from real or supposed diminutive nouns.

    Desideratives end in -turiō (-suriō), and express longing or wishing.They are of the fourth conjugation, and only two are in common use:—
    1. par-turiō, be in labor, from pariō, bring forth.
    2. ē-suriō (for † ed-turiō ), be hungry, from edō, eat.
    Others are used by the dramatists.

    Note 3.--Desideratives are probably derived from some noun of agency: as, ēmpturiō, wish to buy, from ēmptor, buyer. Vīsō, go to see, is an inherited desiderative of a different formation.

1 For the distinction between Roots and Stems. see §§ 24. 25.

2 The difference in vowel-quantity in the same root (as DŪ˘C) depends on inherited variations (see § 17. a).

3 So conceived, but perhaps this termination was originally added to noun-stems.

4 The abstract meaning is put first.

5 Cf. “volvendīs mēnsibus(Aen. 1.269) , in the revolving months; cf. “oriundī ab Sabinīs(Liv. 1.17) , sprung from the Sabines, where oriundī = ortī .

6 Cf. § 163. footnote 1.

7 Probably an adjective with fābula, play, understood.

8 The type of all or most of the denominative formations in §§ 259-262 was inherited, but the process went on in the development of Latin as a separate language.

9 For -scō in primary formation, see § 176. b. 1.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 1.269
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 17
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