Chapter 24 – Ablative Absolute The Latin word absolutus means detached, set off, or loosened. Ablative absolutes are Latin phrases based on a word in the ablative case and in a way detached or set off or loosened from the rest of the sentence. This means that they do not grammatically interrelate very closely with the other words of the sentence. They have a certain independence.
Chapter 24 – Ablative Absolute Ablative absolutes usually consist of a noun and an adjective. The adjective is often a participle (present like running, or past like done). The noun is usually not mentioned at all in the sentence's main clause.
Chapter 24 – Ablative Absolute This structure is best learned by examples. First consider some phrases in English that are used absolutely. Notice the nouns and adjectives: (Absolute) (main clause) Weather permitting, we will have the picnic there.
Chapter 24 – Ablative Absolute Some Latin examples: (Ablsolute) (main clause) Hāc fāmā nārrātā, dūx urbem sine morā reliquit. With this rumor having been told, the leader left the city without delay.
Chapter 24 – Ablative Absolute (Absolute) (main clause) Cane currente, equus magnō cum timōre campum reliquit. With the dog running, the horse left the field with great fear.
Chapter 24 – Ablative Absolute Equō cursūrō, canis magnō cum timōre campum reliquit. With the horse about to run, the dog left the field with great fear.
Chapter 24 – Ablative Absolute Rēge haec dīcente, omnēs cīvēs terrēbantur. With the king saying these things, all the citizens were terrified. In the ablative ablsolute, the ablative noun/pronoun regularly comes first, the participle last; when the phrase contains additional words, like the direct object of the participle, they are usually enclosed within the noun/participle “frame.”
Chapter 24 – Ablative Absolute As seen in the following examples, even two nouns, ora noun and an adjective, can function as an ablative absolute, with the present participle of sum to be understood. Caesare duce, nihil timēbimus. With Caesar as leader, we will fear nothing.
Chapter 24 – Ablative Absolute Caesare incertō, bellum timēbāmus. With Caesar being uncertain, we were fearing the war.
Chapter 24 – Ablative Absolute There are basically three types of ablative absolutes in Latin: 1. ablative noun + ablative perfect participle (the most common type): "with X having been Y-ed" 2. ablative noun + ablative present participle: "with X Y-ing" 3. ablative noun + ablative noun/adjective: "with X (being) Y" [there is no present participle for sum].
Chapter 24 – Passive Periphrastic The passive periphrastic consists of the future passive participle (also called the gerundive) plus a form of sum. The participle (being an adjective) agrees with the subject. The participle carries a sense of necessity (must or ought): this is what is emphasized in the passive periphrastic. It's important to remember that the Latin construction is always passive, implying "must be, should be."
Chapter 24 – Passive Periphrastic id faciendum est. It must be done. liber cum cūrā legendus est. The book must be read with care.
Chapter 24 – Dative of Agent The passive periphrastic is passive, but if the 'doer' is specified, it is not by ablative of agent, but by the dative of agent: id faciendum est tibi. it must be done by you. liber mihi cum cūrā legendus est. The book must be read with care by me.
Chapter 24 – Dative of Agent illa puella [subj.] omnibus [dat. of agent] laudanda est [pass. periphrastic] That girl must be praised by everyone. pax ducibus nostrīs petenda erat. Peace must be sought by our leaders
Quiz On Wednesday: Translate 3 sentences from practice and review 1-10 Chapter 24 and answer grammar questions.