Hobbitvs Ille: Part I Posted by on Aug 31, 2018 in Latin Language

underground house covered with green grass and plants

Salvete Omnes,

I hope you have reviewed the previous blog posts for basic noun and verbs as well as some prepositions:

Imperfect Active Indicative

The last thing we are going to review before translating is the Imperfect Tense of Verbs:

The imperfect active indicative is often translated as a past action that occurred over time. For example:

“What were you doing last night?” “I was running.” or “We were watching a movie.”

The same idea could be conveyed using a simple past statement as well:

“What were you doing last night?” “I ran.” or “We watched a movie.”

 However, in Latin the Imperfect tense is not always optional in Latin. There are reasons for it use grammatical

The following are the endings for most verbs in the Imperfect. We have so far covered this year, the 1st and 2nd conjugation as well as the irregular verb “esse” meaning “to be” or ero “I am”.

singular plural
1st -bam -bamus
2nd -bas -batis
3rd -bat -bant

Although, we have not revied infinitives yet nor other conjugations of verbs – here is a chart of the imperfect tens:

Conjugation in the Imperfect tense
1st 2nd 3rd mixed 4th Irregular
Infinitive: amare sedere legere capere venire ire velle esse
1st person: amabam sedebam legebam capiebam veniebam ibam volebam eram
2nd person: amabas sedebas legebas capiebas veniebas ibas volebas eras
3rd person: amabat sedebat legebat capiebat veniebat ibat volebat erat
1st person: amabamus sedebamus legebamus capiebamus veniebamus ibamus volebamus eramus
2nd person: amabatis sedebatis legebatis capiebatis veniebatis ibatis volebatis eratis
3rd person: amabant sedebant legebant capiebant veniebant ibant volebant erant


I would review the Gerund forms for two words in this month’s homework that may be a little awkward.

Gerunds vs. Gerundives

Notes for the Homework:

  1. Use a trusted dictionary online or paper (I still use my Oxford Latin Dictionary), but I would recommend these two dictionaries: Dictionary A and Dictionary B.
  2. When translating sentences or paragraphs, DO NOT WRITE ABOVE OR NEAR THE LATIN TEXT. For your running list of vocabulary, definitions, and figuring out the noun and verb form, keep it on a separate piece of paper.
  3. In Latin texts, sentences can run on for a while and translating each word at a time in order can be daunting and not make much sense in terms of translating (what are they trying to say?!). However, once you get to a comma, colon, semicolon, the sentence may make more sentence – IF NOT, wait until you get to the end of the sentence.
  4. Sometimes the subject or verb may be implied based on a previous sentence.


Here is the text we will be tackling over the next few posts. It is from the beginning of Hobbitvs Ille:

in foramine terrae habitabat *hobbitus: nec foedum,sordidum madidumque foramen, nec extremis lumbricorum atque odore caenoso impletum, nec etiam foramen aridum, inane, harenosum, in quo nihil erat ad considendum aut
edendum aptum; immo foramen-hobbitum, ergo commodum.


  • hobbitus is an invented word for this adaptation meaning “Hobbit” (2nd Declension Noun)
  • que(added to the end of another word) means “and”
  • Considendum and Edendum are gerunds from the verbs consido and edo.
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About the Author: Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.