[*] 415. The quality of a thing is denoted by the Ablative with an adjective or genitive modifier. This is called the Descriptive Ablative or Ablative of Quality:—1
- “ animō meliōre sunt gladiātōrēs ” (Cat. 2.26) , the gladiators are of a better mind.
- “quae cum esset cīvitās aequissimō iūre ac foedere ” (Arch. 6) , as this was a city with perfectly equal constitutional rights.
- “mulierem eximiā pulchritūdine ” (Verr. 2.1.64) , a woman of rare beauty.
- “Aristotelēs, vir summō ingeniō, scientiā, cōpiā ” (Tusc. 1.7) , Aristotle, a man of the greatest genius, learning, and gift of expression.
- “dē Domitiō dīxit versum Graecum eādem sententiā ” (Deiot. 25) , concerning Domitius he recited a Greek line of the same tenor.
[*] Note.--The Ablative of Quality (like the Genitive of Quality, § 345) modifies a substantive by describing it. It is therefore equivalent to an adjective, and may be either attributive or predicate. In this it differs from other ablatives, which are equivalent to adverbs.[*] a. In expressions of quality the Genitive or the Ablative may often be used indifferently; but physical qualities are oftener denoted by the Ablative (cf. § 345. N.):—
- “ capillō sunt prōmissō ” (B. G. 5.14) , they have long hair.
- “ut capite opertō sit ” (Cat. M. 34) , to have his head covered (to be with covered head).
- quam fuit inbēcillus P. Āfricānī fīlius, quam tenuī aut nūllā potius valētūdine (id. 35), how weak was the son of Africanus, of what feeble health, or rather none at all!