CONSTRUCTION OF CASES[*] 338. The Cases of nouns express their relations to other words in the sentence. The most primitive way of expressing such relations was by mere juxtaposition of uninflected forms. From this arose in time composition, i.e. the growing together of stems, by means of which a complex expression arises with its parts mutually dependent. Thus such a complex as armi-gero- came to mean arm-bearing; fidi-cen-, playing on the lyre. Later, Cases were formed by means of suffixes expressing more definitely such relations, and Syntax began. But the primitive method of composition still continues to hold an important place even in the most highly developed languages. Originally the Indo-European family of languages, to which Latin belongs, had at least seven case-forms, besides the Vocative. But in Latin the Locative and the Instrumental were lost1 except in a few words (where they remained without being recognized as cases), and their functions were divided among the other cases. The Nominative, Accusative, and Vocative express the simplest and perhaps the earliest case-relations. The Nominative is the case of the Subject, and generally ends in -s. The Vocative, usually without a termination, or like the Nominative (§ 38. a), perhaps never had a suffix of its own.2 The Accusative, most frequently formed by the suffix -m, originally connected the noun loosely with the verb-idea, not necessarily expressed by a verb proper, but as well by a noun or an adjective (see § 386). The Genitive appears to have expressed a great variety of relations and to have had no single primitive meaning; and the same may be true of the Dative. The other cases perhaps at first expressed relations of place or direction (TO, FROM, AT, WITH), though this is not clear in all instances. The earlier meanings, however, have become confused with each other, and in many instances the cases are no longer distinguishable in meaning or in form. Thus the Locative was for the most part lost from its confusion with the Dative and Ablative; and its function was often performed by the Ablative, which is freely used to express the place where (§ 421). To indicate the case-relations—especially those of place—more precisely, Prepositions (originally adverbs) gradually came into use. The case-endings, thus losing something of their significance, were less distinctly pronounced as time went on (see § 36, phonetic decay), and prepositions have finally superseded them in the modern languages derived from Latin. But in Latin a large and various body of relations was still expressed by caseforms. It is to be noticed that in their literal use cases tended to adopt the preposition, and in their figurative uses to retain the old construction. (See Ablative of Separation, §§ 402-404; Ablative of Place and Time, § 421 ff.) The word cāsus, case, is a translation of the Greek πτῶσις, a falling away (from the erect position). The term πτῶσις was originally applied to the Oblique Cases (§ 35. g), to mark them as variations from the Nominative, which was called ὀρθή, erect ( cāsus rēctus ). The later name Nominative ( cāsus nōminātīvus ) is from nōminō , and means the naming case. The other case-names (except Ablative) are of Greek origin. The name Genitive ( cāsus genetīvus ) is a translation of γενική [πτῶσις], from γένος (class), and refers to the class to which a thing belongs. Dative ( cāsus datīvus , from dō ) is translated from δοτική, and means the case of giving. Accusative ( accūsātīvus , from accūsō ) is a mistranslation of αἰτιατική (the case of causing), from αἰτία, cause, and meant to the Romans the case of accusing. The name Vocative ( vocātīvus , from vocō) is translated from κλητική (the case of calling). The name Ablative ( ablātīvus , from ablātus, auferō) means taking from. This case the Greek had lost.
NOMINATIVE CASE[*] 339. The Subject of a finite verb is in the Nominative:—[*] a. The nominative may be used in exclamations:—
- “ēn dextra fidēsque ” (Aen. 4.597) , lo, the faith and plighted word!
- “ecce tuae litterae dē Varrōne ” (Att. 13.16) , lo and behold, your letters aoout Varro!
[*] Note.--But the accusative is more common (§ 397. d).
VOCATIVE CASE[*] 340. The Vocative is the case of direct address:—
- “ Tiberīne pater, tē, sāncte, precor ” (Liv. 2.10) , O father Tiber, thee, holy one, I pray.
- “rēs omnis mihi tēcum erit, Hortēnsī ” (Verr. 1.33) , my whole attention will be devoted to you, Hortensius.
- “quō moritūre ruis ” (Aen. 10.811) , whither art thou rushing to thy doom?
- “cēnsōrem trabeāte salūtās ” (Pers. 3.29) , robed you salute the censor.
- “iubērem tē macte virtūte esse ” (Liv. 2.12) , I should bid you go on and prosper in your valor.
- “ macte novā virtūte puer ” (Aen. 9.641) , success attend your valor, boy!
GENITIVE CASE[*] 341. The Genitive is regularly used to express the relation of one noun to another. Hence it is sometimes called the adjective case, to distinguish it from the Dative and the Ablative, which may be called adverbial cases. The uses of the Genitive may be classified as follows:—
|I. Genitive with Nouns:||1. Of Possession (§ 343).|
|2. Of Material (§ 344).|
|3. Of Quality (§ 345).|
|4. Of the Whole, after words designating a Part (Partitive, § 346).|
|5. With Nouns of Action and Feeling (§ 348).|
|II. Genitive with Adjectives:||1. After Relative Adjectives (or Verbals) (§ 349).|
|2. Of Specification (later use) (§ 349. d).|
|III. Genitive with Verbs:||1. Of Memory, Feeling, etc. (§§ 350, 351, 354).|
|2. Of Accusing, etc. (Charge or Penalty) (§ 352).|
GENITIVE WITH NOUNS[*] 342. A noun used to limit or define another, and not meaning the same person or thing, is put in the Genitive. This relation is most frequently expressed in English by the preposition of, sometimes by the English genitive (or possessive) case:—
- librī Cicerōnis, the books of Cicero, or Cicero's books.
- inimīcī Caesaris, Cæsar's enemies, or the enemies of Cæsar.
- talentum aurī, a talent of gold.
- vir summae virtūtis, a man of the greatest courage.
- vacātiō labōris, a respite FROM toil.
- petītiō cōnsulātūs, candidacy FOR the consulship.
- rēgnum cīvitātis, royal power OVER the state.
Possessive Genitive[*] 343. The Possessive Genitive denotes the person or thing to which an object, quality, feeling, or action belongs:—
- Alexandrī canis, Alexander's dog.
- potentia Pompêī (Sall. Cat. 19), Pompey's power.
- “ Ariovistī mors ” (B. G. 5.29) , the death of Ariovistus.
- “ perditōrum temeritās ” (Mil. 22) , the recklessness of desperate men.
[*] Note 1.--The Possessive Genitive may denote (1) the actual owner (as in Alexander's dog） or author (as in Cicero's writings), or (2) the person or thing that possesses some feeling or quality or does some act (as in Cicero's eloquence, the strength of the bridge, Catiline's evil deeds). In the latter use it is sometimes called the Subjective Genitive; but this term properly includes the possessive genitive and several other genitive constructions (nearly all, in fact, except the Objective Genitive, § 347).
[*] Note 2.--The noun limited is understood in a few expressions:—
- “ad Castoris [aedēs] ” (Quinct. 17) , at the [temple] of Castor. [Cf. St. Paul's.]
- Flaccus Claudī, Flaccus [slave] of Claudius.
- Hectoris Andromachē; (Aen. 3.319), Hector's [wife] Andromache.
- liber meus, my book. [Not liber meī .]
- aliēna perīcula, other men's dangers. [But also aliōrum .]
- Sullāna tempora, the times of Sulla. [Oftener Sullae .]
- haec domus est patris meī, this house is my father's.
- “iam mē Pompêī tōtum esse scīs ” (Fam. 2.13) , you know I am now all for Pompey (all Pompey's).
- “summa laus et tua et Brūtī est ” (Fam. 12.4.2) , the highest praise is due both to you and to Brutus (is both yours and Brutus's).
- compendī facere, to save (make of saving).
- lucrī facere, to get the benefit of (make of profit).
[*] Note.--These genitives bear the same relation to the examples in § 343 that a predicate noun bears to an appositive (§§ 282, 283).[*] c. An infinitive or a clause, when used as a noun, is often limited by a genitive in the predicate:—
- “neque suī iūdicī [erat] discernere ” (B. C. 1.35) , nor was it for his judgment to decide (nor did it belong to his judgment).
- “ cûiusvīs hominis est errāre ” (Phil. 12.5) , it is any man's [liability] to err.
- “negāvit mōris esse Graecōrum, ut in convīviō virōrum accumberent mulierēs ” (Verr. 2.1.66) , he said it was not the custom of the Greeks for women to appear as guests (recline) at the banquets of men.
- “sed timidī est optāre necem ” (Ov. M. 4.115) , but't is the coward's part to wish for death.
- “ stultī erat spērāre, suādēre impudentis ” (Phil. 2.23) , it was folly (the part of a fool) to hope, effrontery to urge.
- sapientis est pauca loquī, it is wise (the part of a wise man) to say little. [Not sapiēns (neuter） est, etc.]
[*] Note 1.--This construction is regular with adjectives of the third declension instead of the neuter nominative (see the last two examples).