Genitivus (Genitivus)

The circumflex accent (^) is used to mark the long vowels.


A. Genitive at nouns (Genitivus adnominalis)


 

1. Possessive Genitive (Genitivus possessivus)

    Denotes the possession; the question is “whose?”:
        naves Romanorum
       the Romans' ships.
    The Possessive Genitive is used often at the auxiliary esse to be:
        Naves sunt Romanorum.
       The ships are Romans' = Ships belong to the Romans.
    By using ellipsis there are possible phrases like this:
        Vado ad Dianae [fanum].
       I am going to the sanctuary of Diana.
    The derived adjectives are used sometimes instead of the Possessive Genitive, cf.:
        Campus Martius (Martius -- adj.) or Campus Martis (Martis -- gen.) the camp of Mars
    In the purely possessive sense, however, the Genitive has a regular usage even in the earliest Latin texts, while the adjectives are of the wider and vaguer sense ‘connected with’.
 

2. Charecteristic Genitive (Genitivus characteristicus)

It is used at the auxiliary esse to be to designate the person or the object, to whom or to which something is characterstic:
     Cujusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare. (Cicero)
     To every one is to err, but to nobody, except to the stupid one, is to persevere in his error.
 

3. Partitive Genitive (Genitivus partitivus)

Here the genitive stands to the noun defined in the relationships of the whole to its parts. Obviously its usage was developed out of the transition from belonging to towards part of. It is met:

    a) at the nouns as: pars part, dimidium half, multitudo multitude, great number:
        pars equitum  part of the horsemen
        multitudo hominum  great number of men
    b) at the comparative and superlative degree of adjectives and adverbs:
     Gallorum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgi. (Caesar)
     Of all the Gauls the Belgi (an ancient tribe) are the strongest.
    c) at numerals ­- unus one, primus first, secundus second etc.:
        Sicilia prima omnium provincia est appellata.  Sicily was appealed a province first of all.
    d) at nemo no one, nobody:
        Nemo nostrum non peccat.  Nobody of us do not sin = Everyone of us sins.

    Originally the partitive genitive could be used freely in the sentence as subject, object etc. like in modern English phrases as Some of the thieves were caught or They took some food. The classical purists, however, suppresed such usage.
    The construction de + ablative with the same meaning appeared later on in the Latin vernaculars, where it became ancestor of the partitive article in French and Italian: cf.
    F: Je veux du pain,  It: Voglio di pane = I want some bread.
 

4. Genitive of Quality (Genitivus qualitatis)

    The possessive genitive was not defined to designate a physical possession only, but was used also in place-names to designate the name of the presiding god or goddess:

lacus Averni the lake of Avernum,
urbs Patavi the city of Patavum  etc.
    This usage gave rise to the so-called epexegetic or appositional genitive (see also Explicative Genitive).
    Possessives were progressively extended to other relations till the notion of possession was blurred:
corporis candor the body whiteness
adventus hostium the arrival of the hosts
fides clientum the clients' loyalty
    In expression like
Poenorum bellum the war of the Carthaginians
the information whether the war is waged by or against the Carthaginians may be obtained from the context and on this account some grammarians have defined particular Subject and Object genitives (see Genitive of the Subject and Genitive of the Object).

    In some expressions the partitive merged with the possessive to form the genitive of quality. In this function the relation of whole to part was extended to that of genus to species, class to individual etc.:

    In Old Latin the genitives of quality were largely concentrated also around expressions of price and measurement, that made some grammarians to define a special genitive of quantity (see Genitive of Quantity).
 

5. Explicative Genitive (Genitivus explicativus)

    It reveals the content of a notion:

Cognomen Africani Scipioni datum est.  Scipio was given the surname of Africanus.
premium pecuniae money award
urbs Romae  the city of Rome
    The last usage was inherited by the modern Romance expressions like:
la cité de Paris (Fr.), la ciudad de México (Sp.) etc.


6. Genitive of Quantity (Genitivus quantitatis)

    The development of this function is related to the previous one. It is used at words of quantity and defines their content:
    a) at nouns of quantity and measure like: multitudo multitude, great number, copia plenty, modius Roman dry measure of 5 lb, libra Roman pound = 327.456 g, pondo a Roman pound, uncia ounce:

argenti pondo viginti milia  silver of 20,000 (Roman) pounds
modius frumenti modius of grains (crops)
    b) at substantivized adjectives or pronouns in accusative or nominative like: multum much, many, plus more, plurimum much, many, maximum most, paulum a little, bit, minus very little, tantum of such size, so great, so much, quantum how great, how much’, id it, quid anything; what thing?, aliquid anything, something, nihil (nil) nothing:
Quid novi? What new?
Nil novi sub sole. (Ecclesiastes, 1:9) T here is no new thing under the sun.
    Nota bene:
nihil humili nothing insignificant.
    c) at adverbs of quantity and place as: satis enough, parvum small, nimis very much, ubi where, ubicumque everywhere:
ubicumque terrarum everywhere on the earth.


7. Genitive of Sphere (Genitivus limitationis)

It is used with adjectives and delimits the sphere to which it refers:

aeger timoris ill of fear
atrox odii  atrocious in his (her) hatred
contentus pacis content with the peace


8. Genitive of the Subject (Genitivus subjectivus)

    Denotes a person or an object, to whom or to which something belongs. The expression may be transformed into a sentence, where the genitive is made a subject:


9. Genitive of the Object (Genitivus objectivus)

    Denotes a person or an object, that are the object of the action:

    It is used:

    a) at the nouns desiderium desire, odium hatred, oblivio oblivion, forgetfulness:

    b) at the adjectives avidus greedy, cupidus longing for, peritus skillful, memor mindful of, insuetus unaccustomed to, similis similar, like, dissimilis dissimilar, unlike:     Nota bene: similis and dissimilis may be used with dative.
 
 

B. Genitive at verbs (Genitivus adverbalis)

This name implies the usage of the genitive case with some typical verbs and verbal constructions.
 

1. Genitive of Memory (Genitivus memoriae)

    Denotes the person or the object that are to be remembered or forgotten. It is used with the verbs memini to remember, kepp in mind, admonêre to admonish, remind, reminisci to call to mind, oblivisci to forget.

    Note that with neuter nouns instead of Genitive of Memory may be used Accusative:


2. Genitive of Price (Genitivus pretii)

    The adjectives, expressing the price or the estimation of something, used at verbs like esse to be, stâre to stand, aestimâre to value, estimate, putâre to think, consider, habêre to think, consider, emere to buy, vendere to sell’, facere to do, make are put in Genitive.

    As Genitive of price are used magni (magnus) great, pluris (plus) more, too much, plurimi (plurimus) much, many, parvi (parvus) small, little, minoris (minor) smaller, lesser, minimi (minimus) smallest, least, tanti (tantus) of such size, quanti (quantus) of what size.


3. Genitive of Crime (Genitivus criminis)

    Denotes the guilt or the crime at verbs as accusâre, reum facere to accuse, damnâre, condemnâre to find guilty, condamn, liberâre to free, acquit, absolvere to release, set free.


4. Genitive with Verbs of affect (Genitivus ad verba affectuum)

    It is used to indicate the phenomenon arising the affection at impersonal verbs as:

piget  it disgusts, irks, annoy
pudet  it shames, make ashamed
taedet  to be tired of, be sick of
paenitet  it displeases, makes angry, offends, makes sorry
miseret me  it grieves, it distresses for
    Examples
Pudet me stultitiae meae.  I am ashamed of my stupidity.
Me tui pudet.  I am ashamed of you.
Me miseret.  I pity.

Nec Catonem, nec Flaccum consilii paenituit.
Neither Cato, nor Flaccus regretted the decision.


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