[*] 345. The Genitive is used to denote Quality, but only when the quality is modified by an adjective:—
- vir summae virtūtis, a man of the highest courage. [But not vir virtūtis .]
- māgnae est dēlīberātiōnis, it is an affair of great deliberation.
- “ māgnī formīca labōris ” (Hor. S. 1.1.33) , the ant [a creature] of great toil.
- “ille autem suī iūdicī ” (Nep. Att. 9) , but he [a man] of independent (his own) judgment.
[*] Note.--Compare Ablative of Quality (§ 415). In expressions of quality, the genitive or the ablative may often be used indifferently: as, praestantī prūdentiā vir, a man of surpassing wisdom; maximī animī homō, a man of the greatest courage. In classic prose, however, the genitive of quality is much less common than the ablative; it is practically confined to expressions of measure or number, to a phrase with êius , and to nouns modified by māgnus , maximus , summus , or tantus . In general the Genitive is used rather of essential, the Ablative of special or incidental characteristics.[*] a. The genitive of quality is found in the adjective phrases êius modī , cûius modī (equivalent to tālis, such; quālis, of what sort):—[*] b. The genitive of quality, with numerals, is used to define measures of length, depth, etc. (Genitive of Measure):—
- fossa trium pedum, a trench of three feet [in depth].
- mūrus sēdecim pedum, a wall of sixteen feet [high].