Syntax: genitive Posted by leire on Aug 31, 2012 in Latin Language
The genitive is, firstly, the complement of the noun (it means that a noun determines another noun), but it still mantains some uses in Latin as a verb complement.
It expresses possession of something and, rarely, the thing possessed:
A person’s name in genitive complementing another person’s name was the way to express kinship (wife, son, etc..) or belongings (slaves):
Hectoris Andromacha, ‘Andromaca, Hector’s wife’
Palinūrus Phaedromī , ‘Palinuro, Fedromo’s slave’
Alternating with ablative, genitive is used to indicate the qualities of a noun. It appears frequently accompanied by an adjective such as magnus, maximus, tantus:
Homō magnae virtūtis
Also called appositional genitive, this genitive needs the meaning of another noun with a wider significance:
- nouns expressing quantity or measure: pars hostium
- superlative adjectives: optimus civium
- pronouns: quis nostrum?, nēmō vestrum
- Adverbs: satis eloquentiae, multum pecūniae
Subjective and objective genitive
This two kind of genitives are usually accompanying verbal nouns. If the genitive is the subject of the verbal action it is called subjective genitive:
Genitive as a verb complement
We defined genitive as the case of the name complement. However, we can find some uses of Latin genitive as verb complement, some believe that these genitives were not verbal complements, but complements of a noun that they did not say so, but it was implied:
Verbs of memory and forgetting: vīvōrum meminī, oblīviscitur nostrī
- Verbs of plenty and deprivation: implēre aquae purae, auxiliī egēre
Estimation verbs (estimation and pricegenitive ): normally this genitive is a neutral adjective: multi aestimāre, magnī facere, minōris vēndere. The price can also be expressed in ablative.
- Impersonal verbs of feeling: impersonal verbs as miseret (to have pity on), paenitet (to regret, to be sorry), taedet (to be tired), piget (to sadden, to be burden), pudet (to be ashamed have the person affected by the feeling in accusative and the cause of the feeling in genitive.
Miseret mē fratris
Mē civitātis mōrum pudet taedetque
- Judicial verbs: verbs meaning ‘accuse, condemn, acquit’, etc., have the complement that expresses the offense or the punishment in genitive.