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III. The Adjective.

Just as an Adjective may play the part of a Noun, e.g. boni ‘good men,’ bonum ‘a good thing’ (cf. proxumum ‘next door,’ e.g. Asin. 54; Rud. 767quin inhumanum exuras tibi” ‘cauterize your inhumanity’), so a Noun occasionally plays the part of an Adjective. Instances from Plautine Latin are Of the equivalence of an Adjective to the Genitive Case of a Noun the common phrase erilis filius ‘our young master’ may serve as example.

An Adjective plays the part of an Adverb in lines like Men. 154dies quidem iam ad umbilicum est dimidiatus mortuus”. Besides invitus (e.g. Mil. 449vi atque invitam ingratiisrapiam te domum”, Aul. 106invitus abeo”), we often find totus, miser, divorsus, citus used Adverbially, e.g.

Adjective and Adverb are often found side by side, e.g. (For other examples see Sjögren ‘de part. copulat.’, p. 58.)

On the use of the Pronoun Adjective for a Conjunction, nullus for non, e.g. Asin. 408is nullus venit”, ‘he did not turn up,’ see IV. 28 The Adjective varius plays the part of a Perfect Participle Passive variatus in Mil. 216nisi quidem hic agitare mavis varius virgis vigilias.

In regard to the Comparison of the Adjective (see W. Fraesdorff: de Comparativi Gradus usu Plautino. Halle, 1881), two Plautine peculiarities call for notice, the pleonastic use of magis with a Comparative (see Seyffert in Bursian's Jahresbericht, 1895, p. 296), e.g. Capt. 644quin nihil, inquam, invenies magis hoc certo certius” (cf. Trin. 1029), and the association of aeque (adaeque) with the same Degree, e.g. Merc. 335homo me miserior nullust aeque, opinor.

The genesis of the phrase, common both in Plautine and classical Latin, certiorem facere ‘to inform,’ may be seen in lines like these:

Similarly we find potior fieri, Cas. 112hercle me suspendio, quam tu eius potior fias, satiust mortuum.” On the Positive use of the Comparative ocius, see VI. 4

Some Participles receive Comparison like Adjectives, often with comical intention, e.g.

Other examples of comic Comparison are Poen. 991nullus me est hodie Poenus Poenior”, and the often quoted ipsissumus (cf. αὐτότατος), Trin. 989A. is ipsusne es? B. aio. A. ipsus es? B. ipsus, inquam, Charmides sum. A. ergo ipsusne es? B. ipsissumus.” Notice that the construction verior quam gratior, etc., is unknown to Plautus and Terence. There is an example in a speech of Cato (10, 2) “quantoque suam vitam superiorem atque ampliorem atque antiquiorem animum inducent esse quam innoxiorem.” On quam and atque after Comparatives, see VIII. 2

The Predicative use of the Adjective may be illustrated by these lines:


Nequam, lit. ‘nohow,’ is an Adjective in the colloquial Latin of Plautus' time, e.g. Like other Adjectives, it may act as a Noun, e.g. Poen. 159A. vin tu illi nequam (= malum) dare nunc? B. cupio. A. em, me dato”. Frugi bonae Dative (II. 27) was shortened to frugi 1, and associated with frugalis, as may be seen from these lines: Nihili (II. 32) too became an Adjective, e.g.


Unus. (M. Paul: Quaestionum Grammaticarum part. I. Deunusnominis numeralis apud priscos scriptores usu. Jena (diss.) 1884.) The colloquial use with the Superlative is frequent in Plautus (cf. Seyffert in Bursian's Jahresbericht, 1895, p. 293). Other notable uses are: Some find an anticipation of the Indefinite Article of the Romance languages in a line like Capt. 482dico unum ridiculum dictum de dictis melioribus.

Mille is a Neuter Noun, and takes the Genitive, e.g.

1 Ennius coined the word frux for homo frugi in Ann. 314 V. “dictum factumque facit frux.

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hide References (55 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (55):
    • Plautus, Cistellaria, 1.3
    • Plautus, Mostellaria, 2.2
    • Plautus, Mostellaria, 3.1
    • Plautus, Mostellaria, 5.1
    • Plautus, Persa, 4.1
    • Plautus, Poenulus, 1.1
    • Plautus, Poenulus, 1.2
    • Plautus, Poenulus, 3.1
    • Plautus, Poenulus, 3.2
    • Plautus, Poenulus, 3.4
    • Plautus, Poenulus, 3.5
    • Plautus, Poenulus, 5.2
    • Plautus, Pseudolus, 1.1
    • Plautus, Pseudolus, 4.2
    • Plautus, Pseudolus, 4.6
    • Plautus, Rudens, 3.4
    • Plautus, Rudens, 4.7
    • Plautus, Stichus, 1.2
    • Plautus, Trinummus, 1.2
    • Plautus, Trinummus, 2.1
    • Plautus, Trinummus, 2.3
    • Plautus, Trinummus, 4.2
    • Plautus, Trinummus, 4.3
    • Terence, The Self-Tormenter, 3.3
    • Terence, The Self-Tormenter, 4.1
    • Terence, The Self-Tormenter, 4.8
    • Plautus, Amphitruo, 1.1
    • Plautus, Amphitruo, 5.1
    • Plautus, Asinaria, 1.1
    • Plautus, Asinaria, 2.4
    • Plautus, Aulularia, 1.2
    • Plautus, Aulularia, 2.4
    • Plautus, Aulularia, 3.1
    • Plautus, Aulularia, prologue.0
    • Plautus, Bacchides, 2.2
    • Plautus, Bacchides, 3.3
    • Plautus, Captivi, 3.1
    • Plautus, Captivi, 3.4
    • Plautus, Captivi, 5.2
    • Plautus, Casina, 1.1
    • Plautus, Casina, 2.3
    • Plautus, Casina, 3.5
    • Plautus, Epidicus, 3.4
    • Plautus, Menaechmi, 1.2
    • Plautus, Mercator, 2.3
    • Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, 2.2
    • Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, 2.5
    • Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, 2.6
    • Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, 4.1
    • Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, 4.2
    • Plautus, Truculentus, 1.1
    • Plautus, Truculentus, 1.2
    • Plautus, Truculentus, 2.6
    • Plautus, Truculentus, 4.3
    • Terence, The Brothers, 4.3
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