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417. Certain adjectives of quantity are used in the Genitive to denote indefinite value. Such are māgnī , parvī , tantī , quantī , plūris , minōris :—
  1. meā māgnī interest, it is of great consequence to me.
  2. illud parvī rēfert (Manil. 18) , this is of small account.
  3. est mihi tantī (Cat. 2.15) , it is worth the price (it is of so much).
  4. Verrēsne tibi tantī fuit (Verr. 2.1.77) , was Verres of so much account to you?
  5. tantōne minōris decumae vēniērunt (id. 3.106), were the tithes sold for so much less?
  6. ut redimās captum quam queās minimō: nequeās paululō, at quantī queās (Ter. Eun. 74) , to ransom yourself, when captured, at the cheapest rate you can; if you can't for a small sum, then at any rate for what you can.

Note.--These are really Genitives of Quality (§ 345. b).

a. The genitive of certain colorless nouns is used to denote indefinite value. Such are nihilī ( nīlī ), nothing; assis, a farthing (rare); floccī (a lock of wool), a straw:

    nōn floccī faciō; (Att. 13.50), I care not a straw. [Colloquial.]
  1. utinam ego istuc abs factum nīlī penderem (Ter. Eun. 94) , O that I cared nothing for this being done by you! [Colloquial.]

b. With verbs of exchanging, either the thing taken or the thing given in exchange may be in the Ablative of Price. Such are mūtō , commūtō , permūtō , vertō :—

  1. fidem suam et religiōnem pecūniā commūtāre (Clu. 129) , to barter his faith and conscience for money.
  2. exsilium patriā sēde mūtāvit (Q. C. 3.7.11) , he exchanged his native land for exile (he took exile in exchange for his native land).
  3. vēlōx saepe Lucrētilem mūtat Lycaeō Faunus (Hor. Od. 1.17.1) , nimble Faunus often changes Lycœus for Lucretilis. [He takes Lucretilis at the price of Lycæus, i.e. he goes from Lycæus to Lucretilis.]
  4. vertere fūneribus triumphōs (id. 1.35.4), to change the triumph to the funeral train (exchange triumphs for funerals). [Poetical.]

Note.--With verbs of exchanging cum is often used, perhaps with a different conception of the action: as,—ariēs ... “ cum croceō mūtābit vellera lūtō(Ecl. 4.44) , the ram shall change his fleece for [one dyed with] the yellow saffron.

c. With verbs of buying and selling the simple Ablative of Price must be used, except in the case of tantī , quantī , plūris , minōris :—

  1. quantī eam ēmit? vīlī ... quot minīs? quadrāgintā minīs (Pl. Epid. 51) , what did he buy her for? Cheap. For how many minœ? Forty.

Ablative of Specification

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