ORDER OF WORDS[*] 595. Latin differs from English in having more freedom in the arrangement of words for the purpose of showing the relative importance of the ideas in a sentence. [*] 596. As in other languages, the Subject tends to stand first, the Predicate last. Thus,—
- “ Pausāniās Lacedaemonius māgnus homō sed varius in omnī genere vītae fuit ” (Nep. Paus. 1) , Pausanias the Lacedœmonian was a great man, but inconsistent in the whole course of his life.
[*] Note.--This happens because, from the speaker's ordinary point of view, the subject of his discourse is the most important thing in it, as singled out from all other things to be spoken of.[*] a. There is in Latin, however, a special tendency to place the verb itself last of all, after all its modifiers. But many writers purposely avoid the monotony of this arrangement by putting the verb last but one, followed by some single word of the predicate. [*] 597. In connected discourse the word most prominent in the speaker's mind comes first, and so on in order of prominence. This relative prominence corresponds to that indicated in English by a graduated stress of voice (usually called emphasis). [*] a. The difference in emphasis expressed by difference in order of words is illustrated in the following passages:—
- apud Xenophōntem autem moriēns Cȳrus “mâior haec dīcit” (Cat. M. 79) , IN XENOPHON too, on his death-bed Cyrus the elder utters these words.
- Cȳrus quidem haec moriēns; nōs, sī placet, nostra videāmus (id. 82), CYRUS, to be sure, utters these words on his death-bed; let US, if you please, consider our own case.
- Cȳrus quidem apud Xenophōntem eō sermōne, quem moriēns habuit (id. 30), CYRUS, to be sure, in Xenophon, in that speech which he uttered on his death-bed.
[*] Note.--This stress or emphasis, however, in English does not necessarily show any violent contrast to the rest of the words in the sentence, but is infinitely varied, constantly increasing and diminishing, and often so subtle as to be unnoticed except in careful study. So, as a general rule, the precedence of words in a Latin sentence is not mechanical, but corresponds to the prominence which a good speaker would mark by skilfully managed stress of voice. A Latin written sentence, therefore, has all the clearness and expression which could be given to a spoken discourse by the best actor in English. Some exceptions to the rule will be treated later.The first chapter of Cæsar's Gallic War, if rendered so as to bring out as far as possible the shades of emphasis, would run thus:—
|GAUL,1 in the widest sense, is divided 2 into three parts,3 which are inhabited 4 (as follows): one 5 by the Belgians, another 6 by the Aquitani, the third by a people called in their own 7 language Celts, in ours Gauls. THESE8 in their language,9 institutions, and laws are all of them10 different. The GAULS11 (proper) are separated12 from the Aquitani by the river Garonne, from the Belgians by the Marne and Seine. Of THESE13 (TRIBES) the bravest of all 14 are the Belgians, for the reason that they live farthest 15 away from the CIVILIZATION and REFINEMENT of the Province, and because they are LEAST16 of all of them subject to the visits of traders,17 and to the (consequent) importation of such things as18 tend to soften 19 their warlike spirit; and are also nearest 20 to the Germans, who live across the Rhine,21 and with whom they are incessantly 22 at war. For the same reason the HELVETIANS, as well, are superior to all the other Gauls in valor, because they are engaged in almost daily battles with the Germans, either defending their own boundaries from them, or themselves making war on those of the Germans. Of ALL THIS country, one part—the one which, as has been said, the Gauls (proper) occupy—BEGINS at the river Rhone. Its boundaries are the river Garonne, the ocean, and the confines of the Belgians. It even REACHES on the side of the Sequani and Helvetians the river Rhine. Its general direction is towards the north. The BELGIANS begin at the extreme limits of Gaul; they reach (on this side) as far as the lower part of the Rhine. They spread to the northward and eastward. AQUITANIA extends from the Garonne to the Pyrenees, and that part of the ocean that lies towards Spain. It runs off westward and northward.||Gallia est omnis dīvīsa in partīs trīs, quārum ūnam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquītānī, tertiam quī ipsōrum linguā Celtae, nostrā Gallī appellantur. Hī omnēs linguā, īnstitūtīs, lēgibus inter sē differunt. Gallōs ab Aquītānīs Garumna flūmen, ā Belgīs Mātrona et Sēquana dīvidit. Hōrum omnium fortissimī sunt Belgae, proptereā quod ā cultū atque hūmānitāte prōvinciae longissimē absunt, minimēque ad eōs mercātōrēs saepe commeant atque ea quae ad effēminandōs animōs pertinent important, proximīque sunt Germānīs, quī trāns Rhēnum incolunt, quibuscum continenter bellum gerunt. Quā dē causā Helvētiī quoque reliquōs Gallōs virtūte praecēdunt, quod ferē cotīdiānīs proeliīs cum Germānīs contendunt, cum aut suīs fīnibus eōs prohibent, aut ipsī in eōrum fīnibus bellum gerunt. Eōrum ūna pars, quam Gallōs obtinēre dictum est, initium capit ā flūmine Rhodanō; continētur Garumnā flūmine, Ōceanō, fīnibus Belgārum; attingit etiam ab Sēquanīs et Helvētiīs flūmen Rhēnum; vergit ad septentriōnēs. Belgae ab extrēmīs Galliae fīnibus oriuntur: pertinent ad īnferiōrem partem flūminis Rhēnī; spectant in septentriōnem et orientem sōlem. Aquītānia ā Garumnā flūmine ad Pȳrēnaeōs montīs et eam partem Ōceanī quae est ad Hispāniam pertinet; spectat inter occāsum sōlis et septentriōnēs.|
- Adjective and Noun:—
- omnīs hominēs decet, EVERY man ought(opposed to some who do not).
- Lūcius Catilīnanōbilī genere nātus fuit, māgnāvī et animī et corporis, sedingeniō malō prāvōque (Sall. Cat. 5), Lucius Catiline was born of a NOBLE family, with GREAT force of mind and body, but with a NATURE that was evil and depraved. [Here the adjectives in the first part are the emphatic and important words, no antithesis between the nouns being as yet thought of; but in the second branch the noun is meant to be opposed to those before mentioned, and immediately takes the prominent place, as is seen by the natural English emphasis, thus making a chiasmus. 23]
- Word with modifying case:—
- “quid magis Epamīnōndam,Thēbānōrumimperātōrem, quamvictōriaeThēbānōrum cōnsulere decuit ” (Inv. 1.69) , what should Epaminondas, commander of the THEBANS, have aimed at more than the VICTORY of the Thebans?
- lacrimā nihil citius ārēscit (id. 1.109), nothing dries quicker than a TEAR.
- “nēmō ferēlaudis cupidus ” (De Or. 1.14) , hardly any one desirous of GLORY (cf. Manil. 7, avidī laudis, EAGER for glory).
- “cum aliquā perturbātiōne ” (Off. 1.137) , with SOME disturbance.
- “ hōc ūnō praestāmus ” (De Or. 1.32) , in THIS one thing we excel.
- cēterae ferē artēs, the OTHER arts.
[*] Note.--This happens because such words are usually emphatic; but often the words connected with them are more so, and in such cases the pronouns etc. yield the emphatic place:—
- “ causa aliqua ” (De Or. 1.250) , some CASE.
- stilus ille tuus (id. 1.257), that well-known STYLE of yours (in an antithesis; see passage). [ Ille is idiomatic in this sense and position.]
- “ Rōmam quae apportāta sunt ” (Verr. 4.121) , what were carried to ROME (in contrast to what remained at Syracuse).
- (1) dīcēbat idem Cotta (Off. 2.59), Cotta used to SAY the same thing (opposed to others' boasting).
- idem fēcit adulēscēns M. Antōnius (id. 2.49), the same thing was DONE by Mark Antony in his youth. [Opposed to dīxī just before.]
- facis amīcē; (Lael. 9), you ACT kindly. [Cf. amīcē facis, you are very KIND (you act KINDLY).]
- (2) “prōpēnsior benīgnitās esse dēbēbit in calamitōsōs nisi forte erunt dīgnī calamitāte” (Off. 2.62) , liberality ought to be readier toward the unfortunate unless perchance they REALLY DESERVE their misfortune.
- praesertim cum scrībat (Panaetius) (id. 3.8), especially when he DOES SAY (in his books). [Opposed to something omitted by him.]
- (3) fuimus Trōes, “ fuit Īlium” (Aen. 2.325) , we have CEASED to be Trojans, Troy is now no MORE.
- “ loquor autem dē commūnibus amīcitiīs ” (Off. 3.45) , but I am SPEAKING NOW of common friendships.
- “plūrēs solent esse causae ” (Off. 1.28) , there are USUALLY SEVERAL reasons.
- quōs āmīsimus cīvīs, “eōs Mārtis vīs perculit” (Marc. 17) , WHAT fellow-citizens we have LOST, have been stricken down by the violence of war.
- maximās tibi omnēs grātiās agimus (id. 33), we ALL render you the WARMEST thanks.
- haec rēs ūnīus est propria Caesaris (id. 11), THIS exploit belongs to Cæsar ALONE.
- “obiūrgātiōnēs etiam nōn numquam incidunt necessāriae” (Off. 1.136) , OCCASIONS FOR REBUKE also SOMETIMES occur which are unavoidable.
- (1) “rērum cōpia verbōrum cōpiam gignit” (De Or. 3.125) , ABUNDANCE of MATTER produces COPIOUSNESS of EXPRESSION.
- (2) lēgēs suppliciō improbōs afficiunt, “dēfendunt ac tuentur bonōs” (Legg. 2.13) , the laws VISIT PUNISHMENTS upon the WICKED, but the GOOD they DEFEND and PROTECT.
[*] Note.--Chiasmus is very common in Latin, and often seems in fact the more inartificial construction. In an artless narrative one might hear, “The women were all drowned, they saved the men.”
- “nōn igitur ūtilitātem amīcitia sed ūtilitās amīcitiam cōnsecūta est ” (Lael. 51) , it is not then that friendship has followed upon advantage, but advantage upon friendship. [Here the chiasmus is only grammatical, the ideas being in the parallel order.] (See also p. 395: longissimē , minimē , proximī .)
- “dictitābat sē hortulōs aliquōs emere velle ” (Off. 3.58) , he gave out that he wanted to buy some gardens. [Here aliquōs is less emphatic than emere , but precedes it on account of the emphasis on hortulōs .]
- cōnsul ego quaesīvī, cum vōs mihi essētis in cōnsiliō; (Rep. 3.28), as consul I held an investigation in which you attended me in council.
- falsum est id tōtum (id. 2.28), that is all false.
[*] Note.--These had, no doubt, originally an emphasis which required such an arrangement, but in the course of time have changed their shade of meaning. Thus, senātus populusque Rōmānus originally stated with emphasis the official bodies, but became fixed so as to be the only permissible form of expression.[*] l. The Romans had a fondness for emphasizing persons, so that a name or a pronoun often stands in an emphatic place:—
- [dīxit] “vēnālīs quidem sē hortōs nōn habēre” (Off. 3.58) , [said] that he did n't have any gardens for sale, to be sure.
- “ita sēnsim sine sēnsū aetās senēscit ” (Cat. M. 38) , thus gradually, without being perceived, man's life grows old.
Special Rules[*] 599. The following are special rules of arrangement:— [*] a. The negative precedes the word it especially affects; but if it belongs to no one word in particular, it generally precedes the verb; if it is especially emphatic, it begins the sentence. (See example, 598. f. N.) [*] b. Itaque regularly comes first in its sentence or clause; enim , autem , vērō , quoque , never first, but usually second, sometimes third if the second word is emphatic; quidem never first, but after the emphatic word; igitur usually second; nē ... quidem include the emphatic word or words. [*] c. Inquam , inquit , are always used parenthetically, following one or more words. So often crēdō, opīnor , and in poetry sometimes precor . [*] d. (1) Prepositions (except tenus and versus) regularly precede their nouns; (2) but a monosyllabic preposition is often placed between a noun and its adjective or limiting genitive:—[*] e. In the arrangement of clauses, the Relative clause more often comes first in Latin, and usually contains the antecedent noun:—
- “ quōs āmīsimus cīvīs, eōs Mārtis vīs perculit ” (Marc. 17) , those citizens whom we have lost, etc.
Structure of the Period[*] 600. Latin, unlike modern languages, expresses the relation of words to each other by inflection rather than by position. Hence its structure not only admits of great variety in the arrangement of words, but is especially favorable to that form of sentence which is called a Period. In a period, the sense is expressed by the sentence as a whole, and is held in suspense till the delivery of the last word. An English sentence does not often exhibit this form of structure. It was imitated, sometimes with great skill and beauty, by many of the earlier writers of English prose; but its effect is better seen in poetry, as in the following passage:—
- High on a throne of royal state, which far
- Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
- Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
- Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
- Satan exalted sat.—Paradise Lost, ii. 1-5.
- “Hannibal cum recēnsuisset auxilia Gādēs profectus est ” (Liv. 21.21) , when Hannibal had reviewed the auxiliaries, he set out for Cadiz.
- Volscī exiguam spem in armīs, aliā undique abscissā, cum tentāssent, praeter cētera adversa, locō quoque inīquō ad pūgnam congressī, inīquiōre ad fugam, cum ab omnī parte caederentur, ad precēs ā certāmine versī dēditō imperātōre trāditīsque armīs, sub iugum missī, cum singulīs vestīmentīs, “īgnōminiae clādisque plēnī dīmittuntur” (Liv. 4.10) . [Here the main fact is the return of the Volscians. But the striking circumstances of the surrender etc., which in English would be detailed in a number of brief independent sentences, are put into the several subordinate clauses within the main clause so that the passage gives a complete picture in one sentence.]
- “quem ut barbarī incendium effūgisse vīdērunt, tēlīs ēminus missīs interfēcērunt ” (Nep. Alc. 10) , when the barbarians saw that he had escaped, THEY threw darts at HIM at long range and killed HIM.
- “celeriter cōnfectō negōtiō, in hīberna legiōnēs redūxit ” (B. G. 6.3) , the matter was soon finished, AND he led the legions, etc.
- dolōrem sī nōn potuerō frangere occultābō; (Phil. 12.21), if I cannot conquer the pain, I will hide IT. [Cf. if I cannot conquer I will hide the pain.]
- “quod scīs nihil prōdest, quod nescīs multum obest ” (Or. 166) , what you know is of no use, what you do not know does great harm.
[*] Note.--In rhetorical writing, particularly in oratory, the Romans, influenced by their study of the Greek orators, gave more attention to this matter than in other forms of composition. Quintilian (ix. 4.72) lays down the general rule that a clause should not open with the beginning of a verse or close with the end of one.