Ablative Absolutes
Look at how we have translated each of the
following phrases:
• omnes clientes, occulis in ianua defixis, patroni favorem exspectabant.
• All the clients, their eyes fixed on the doorway, waited for the favour of their patron.
• puella, servo adstante, in extrema parte mutitudine constitit.
• The girl, her slave standing by her, stopped at the furthest part away of the crowd.
• ianua subito aperta, in limine apparuit praeco.
• The door suddenly being opened, there appeared on the threshold a herald.
• clientes, praecone viso, clamare statim coeperunt.
• The clients, the herald being seen, straightaway began to shout.
• omnibus tandem silentibus, praeco ita coepit.
• All at last falling silent, the herald began as follows.
The words underlined are made up of an
ablative noun and an ablative participle
• Perfect Passive Participles
• omnes clients, occulis in ianua defixis, patroni favorem exspectabant.
• All the clients, their eyes fixed on the doorway, waited for the favour of their patron.
• ianua subito aperta, in limine apparuit praeco.
• The door suddenly being opened, there appeared on the threshold a herald.
• clientes, praecone viso, clamare statim coeperunt.
• The clients, the herald being seen, straightaway began to shout.
• Present Active Participles
• puella, servo adstante, in extreme parte mutitudine constitit.
• The girl, her slave standing by her, stopped at the furthest part away of the crowd.
• omnibus tandem silentibus, praeco ita coepit.
• All at last falling silent, the herald began as follows.
We can take the whole phrase out and it has no
effect on the meaning of the rest of the sentence.
• puella, servo adstante, in extrema parte multitudinis constitit.
• The girl, her slave standing by her, stood at the furthest part away of
the crowd.
• Could just be…..
This sort of grammar feature is called
the Ablative Absolute
• puella in extrema parte multitudinis consitit.
• The girl stood at the furthest part away of the crowd.
The ablative absolute often expresses WHEN
or WHY something happened.
• When (temporal)
• clientes, praecone viso, clamare statim coeperunt.
• The clients, when they saw the herald, started to shout straightaway.
• Why (causal)
• clientes, praecone viso, clamare statim coeperunt.
• The clients, because they saw the herald, started to shout straightway.
Some examples to try out with WHEN (temporal)
or WHY (causal) or something else…
• clientes, nominibus suis auditis, celeriter progressi domum intraverunt.
• The clients, ---------------------------, quickly went forward and entered the house.
• ceteri autem, oculis in vultu praeconis defixis, spe favoris manebant.
• But the rest, ---------------------------------, stayed out of hope of favour.
• his verbis dictis, paucos denarios in turbam sparsit.
• ------------------------------, he threw a few coins into the crowd.