De concordia adiectivi cum substantivo
Summary: There were three Punic wars. The Mamertini, a band of brigands in control of Messana, were at war with Hiero of Syracuse. The Mamertini appealed to Rome to help. This meant war with Carthage, whose trade interests were involved in Sicily. Carthage, a great sea power, had the advantage. But Rome overcame it, and won the war.
Roma gessit tria (III) bella cum Carthagine. Fuerunt ergo tria bella Punica. Bellum Punicum est bellum Carthaginiense. Primum bellum Punicum venit in medio saeculo tertio (III) ante Christum. Messana fuit urbs in Sicilia. Viri mali regnaverunt in Messana. Nomen eorum fuit Mamertini. Mamertini pugnaverunt cum Hierone. Hiero fuit rex in alia urbe in Sicilia. Hiero fuit rex Syracusarum. Ergo Mamertini, viri mali, pugnaverunt cum rege Syracusarum. Mamertini in periculo fuerunt. Mamertini miserunt legatos ad senatum Romanum. Legati rogaverunt senatum mittere auxilium. Romani miserunt exercitum ad Mamertinos.
Sed Carthaginienses non voluerunt Romanos esse in Sicilia. Carthaginienses voluerunt mercaturam facere in Sicilia. Ergo voluerunt expellere Romanos. Itaque Romani bellum gesserunt cum Carthaginiensibus. Primum bellum Punicum fuit. Punici habuerunt multas et bonas naves. Romani non habuerunt bonas naves. Sed Romani fecerunt naves multas. Miserunt viros fortes multos in naves. Carthaginienses non habuerunt multos fortes viros in navibus. Ergo Romani potuerunt vincere Carthaginienses. Punici non remanserunt in Sicilia. Punici dederunt pecuniam multam. Itaque Romani vicerunt Carthaginem in primo bello Punico. Vicerunt anno ducentesimo quadragesimo primo ( 241 ) ante Christum. Carthaginienses non amaverunt Romanos. Oderunt Romanos. Sed Romani laeti fuerunt. Habuerunt victoriam egregiam.
Use of Medius: Notice the expression above: in medio saeculo tertio : in the middle of the third century. The word medius in Latin is an adjective. But when it goes with a noun, we must supply the word of in English between the word middle and the noun: that is, we must say: middle of.
Gender: There are three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. In English we say a word is masculine if it stands for anything male—feminine if it stands for anything female, and neuter if it stands for a thing. But in Latin we do not care about the sex of the object that the word stands for—Latin has an artificial, grammatical type of gender. For example: a ship is a thing, but the word for ship, navis is feminine—a ship is a she. And trade, mercatura, is a thing, but the Latin word is feminine. We do not need to memorize the gender of every noun in Latin. We have handy rules that cover many (not all) words. Here they are:
- All nouns of first declension are feminine unless they obviously denote a male. For example: nauta is obviously masculine (or used to be before the Waves came).
- In the second declension, nouns in -um are neuter: others are masculine.
- In the fourth declension, all -us nouns are masculine except domus (feminine—means house ) and manus (feminine—means hand or band).
- In the fifth declension, all are feminine except dies, which is masculine.
- In the third declension, neuters have the nominative singular in: -n, -t, -men, -ma (these will have ablative in -e); or in: -e, -al, -ar. (These will have ablative singular in -i) . But there is no good rule to distinguish masculines and feminines in the third declension; hence it is necessary to learn the gender with each noun.
Practical Rule: We shall indicate the gender of all third declension nouns (and any others that are not obvious) by means of an adjective in the vocabulary. It is easier to learn a pair of words, than to memorize the gender separately. The form of the adjective will show the gender: for example: (here are all the third declension nouns we have learned thus far)
- bonus civis—the -us ending is masculine (see rule 2 above)
- bona lex—the -a ending is feminine (see rule 1 above)
- magnum mare—the -um ending is neuter (see rule 2 above)
- bonum nomen—neuter
- magna navis—feminine
- bonus pons—masculine
- magna potestas—feminine
- bonus rex—masculine
- magna urbs—feminine
- magna veritas—feminine
Agreement of Adjectives and Nouns: The list of forms we have just seen brings us to study another rule. It will not disturb us, as we have been seeing it used in the stories all along. Here it is:
AN ADJECTIVE MUST AGREE WITH ITS NOUN IN THREE THINGS:
1. GENDER 2. NUMBER 3. CASE
Take the example: bonus civis. The word civis is masculine—so is bonus. The word civis is singular—so is bonus. The word civis is nominative—so is bonus. But notice that bonus does not agree with civis in declension —bonus has second declension endings when it is masculine or neuter (and first declension when it is feminine)—but bonus never gets a third declension ending.
There are two classes of adjectives:
- The bonus type has three sets of endings—
second declension for masculine
first declension for feminine
second declension for neuter.
- Third declension type has all its endings in the third declension (for all genders).
Therefore, the bonus type uses first and second declension endings—the third declension type uses only third declension endings. We already know nearly all these endings. But today we shall review those of the bonus type. In Lesson 13, we shall see about the third declension type. Here are all the endings of bonus (all of which we know).
N.B. In the vocabulary WE SHALL LIST ALL BONUS TYPE ADJECTIVES THUS: BONUS, A, UM: THE THREE FORMS ARE THE NOMINATIVE SINGULAR MASCULINE, FEMININE, AND NEUTER.
And now, to help us get used to this idea of agreement—
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English to Latin
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