ABLATIVE ABSOLUTES

Introduction.

In the introduction to his translation of Caesar's "De Bello Gallico", Book V, published on this blog on 31st August 2010, Sabidius wrote about Ablative Absolutes as follows:

 

"Caesar's prose, is as stated above, relatively straightforward to translate. It is full of instances of the ablative absolute construction, which is perhaps the quintessential characteristic of the Latin language. An ablative absolute is a phrase detached from the main clause of a sentence, at the heart of which is a participle, or verbal adjective, agreeing with a noun or pronoun in the ablative case (viz. an ablative of attendant circumstances), when this noun is not the subject or object of the main verb. Because orthodox verbs in Latin lack the form of a past participle in the active voice, ablative absolutes using past participles passive are often necessary to compensate for this lack, with the grammatical sense having to be inverted into the passive voice. In translating into English, it is common to restore the active construction and thus to attach the participle to the subject or object of the main verb, something which is not possible in Latin through the lack of a past participle active. At the same time ablative absolutes are often used, as indeed are participles in general, as an alternative to subordinate clauses. When translating into English, it is common to replace the participle with such a subordinate clause, e.g. a temporal or a concessive clause. The use of participles in general, and ablative absolutes in particular, facilitates that conciseness of expression and economy in the use of words which are the hallmarks of the Latin language."
 
Sabidius has recently completed a translation of Book III of the "De Bello Gallico", and in order to illustrate Caesar's fondness for this construction and to demonstrate the different ways in which it can both be used in Latin and translated into English, he has listed below117 instances of the ablative absolute in the twenty-nine chapters of this book. Each instance is accompanied by a literal translation into English and a suggested alternative of the various more colloquial translations of it that might be possible. Before that, however, Sabidius offers some further reflections on the grammatical significance of the ablative absolute which may be of interest to the student of Latin literature.
 
The Ablative Absolute as a Participial Phrase.
 
Firstly, attention is given to the ablative absolute construction as an example of the use of participles. While participles are verbal adjectives, and in that sense they qualify nouns, they are most commonly used adverbially, as an alternative to an adverbial subordinate clause, and predicatively, in that they provide an extension to the predicate of the sentence. As stated above the ablative absolute is usually a participial phrase, and the majority of these involve a past participle passive of transitive verbs, i.e. verbs which take an object. When these are translated into English, these phrases are usually rendered in one of three ways: a) into a subordinate adverbial clause, most commonly a temporal clause, but in some cases causal, concessive and conditional clauses as well; b) by the retention of a phrase, usually participial, as in the case of the ablative absolute, but sometimes prepositional, i.e. in circumstances where the need for a verb is not essential; and c) by breaking up the structure of the Latin complex sentence, which is sometimes lengthy,  and employing an additional main verb. In all of these cases, other than the prepositional phrase where no verb is present, it is usual to revert to the use of the active voice in the translation, although when the subject of the action is unclear or there is a desire to maintain the focus of attention on the object of the action the passive sense may be profitably retained. Past participle passives are, of course, only available to transitive verbs, and in the case of intransitive verbs, including verbs that take the dative case, another type of construction, usually a temporal clause with "cum" (when), must be used instead of an ablative absolute. While most participial phrases involving ablative absolutes do use the past participle passive, the use of the present participle active is quite common and can be used for all verbs, both transitive and intransitive. On the other hand, the future participle active is not found in the absolute absolute construction. However, Latin literature does make a considerable use of the past participle of deponent verbs, which, because they are active in meaning, can facilitate an escape from the somewhat tortuous convolution which the past participle passive sometimes involves, and for this reason they can be a useful device, too, to those translating English into Latin.The past participle of deponent verbs is often used with the force of a present participle, because, the present participle of such verbs, while possible, is uncommon. 
 
While the majority of ablative absolutes does involve participles, some consist of a noun with an adjective, or another, appositional, noun, in agreement with it. A number of well-known short phrases are associated with this construction: e.g. "me consule", in my consulship, (lit. with me [being] consul); "te auctore", at your suggestion, (lit. with you [being] the author); "me invito", against my will, (lit. with me [being] unwilling); "aequo Marte", on equal terms in battle, (lit. the battle [being] equal). In some cases, an adjective is used impersonally as an ablative absolute without a noun: e.g. "consulto", on purpose, (lit. [it being] deliberated on); "falso", falsely, (lit. [it being] deceived), "sereno", under a cloudless sky, lit. ([it being] clear). In such cases these single words effectively become adverbs. In all these cases, the incidence of an ablative absolute with a noun or adjective instead of a participle, or where an adjective is used impersonally, arises because the verb "sum" (I am) has no present participle. If a present participle of "sum" is understood, as in the literal translations indicated above, these phrases become participial too. 
 
Finally, with regard to the structural significance of ablative absolutes, it must be emphasised, that with very occasional exceptions, Latin authors would never use an ablative absolute if the participle could agree with either the subject or object of the sentence. So, the Latin for 'With the city captured, the soldiers proceeded to plunder it would always be "Urbem captam milites diripuebant" (lit. the soldiers plundered the having-been-captured city), and never "Urbe capta, milites eam diripiebant". The ablative absolute construction is effectively restricted to situations where the noun to which the participle in this type of phrase belongs is structurally 'detached' from the main clause of the sentence. Indeed, the word 'absolute' comes from the Latin verb "absolvo" (past participle "absolutus"), I loosen or set free. 
 
Why this construction is in the Ablative Case.
 
While attention has now been given to the participial implications of the ablative absolute, it is important to look also at the reasons for the use of the ablative case in this context. It seems most likely that the ablative absolute construction is directly linked to the 'Sociative-Instrumental or 'with'-case functions of the ablative case, and this usage should be distinguished from its True Ablative or 'from'-case, or its Locatival or 'in'-case functions. The ablative performing the Sociative-Instrumental or 'with'-case functions can be identified from these other functions of the case by the absence of a preposition or by the use of the preposition "cum" (with). Amongst its Sociative-Instrumental functions is the Ablative of Accompaniment. When used in this sense, the ablative denotes a person or thing in association with whom, or with which, an act is performed. In this context the preposition "cum" (with) is commonly used, but, when the ablative noun in the phrase is qualified by an epithet, i.e. an adjective or participle, the preposition is frequently omitted. In such instances, the words in the ablative may denote, not a concrete accompaniment of someone or something, but the circumstances under which the action is performed, or even the circumstances arising from it, e.g. 'He acted with my full blessing'; 'He attacked with great risk'. When used in this way an Ablative of Accompaniment is known as an Ablative of Attendant Circumstances, and the ablative absolute construction can best be regarded as a special type of this. 
 
The ablative absolute construction is to be distinguished from other instances of the Ablative of Attendant Circumstances in that the participle within the construction is, as stated above, predicative rather than attributive, that is it adds something additional to the predicate and does not simply adhere to its noun in an adjectival or adnominal fashion. Sometimes a phrase can be translated either as a straightforward ablative of attendant circumstances with an attributive adjective, or as an ablative absolute with a past participle being used predicatively. For instance the Latin sentence, "Ex urbe exibant capitibus opertis", can be translated  either 'They went out of the city with covered heads', or 'Having covered their heads (lit. their heads having been covered), they went out of the city'. (N.B. "opertis" comes from the past participle passive of "operio", I cover. In the first of these two translations it is used as an adjective, and in the second as the original participle.) Such ambiguity is not uncommon (See examples in Chapters 4, 12, 26 and 28 below.) 
 
It should also be pointed out that some see the ablative absolute as an outgrowth of the locatival functions of the ablative, and it is possible that certain locatival expressions, e.g. "terra marique", on land and sea, may well have contributed to its development. 



Instances of the Ablative Absolute in Caesar's "De Bello Gallico", Book III: (117)

Set out below, chapter by chapter, are all the instances of the ablative absolute construction to be found in this book. In each case, the line in which the phrase is to be found in Gould & Whiteley's text used by Sabidius in his translation, is shown, and the actual Latin words are highlighted in italics. Then two translations follow: firstly, a literal translation of Caesar's words as shown in Sabidius' translation (see the beginning of the introduction above), in which, in the case of past participles, the passive sense is retained; and, secondly, a colloquial translation is suggested. With regard to the latter it is emphasised that the number of possible alternatives is likely to be considerable. However some attempt has been made to exemplify the range of these possibilities in the different renderings offered, and the particular type of approach followed is highlighted in parenthesis at the end of each colloquial translation. Where a reversion to the active voice has occurred this is also indicated. 


Chapter 1: (6)

l.10:  secundis aliquot proeliis factis: 1) lit. several successful engagements having been conducted; 2) colloq. He fought several successful battles. (Main clause in active voice.)
 
l.10:  castellisque compluribus eorum pugnatis: 1) lit. and several of their forts having been stormed; 2) colloq. and stormed a number of their forts. (Main clause in active voice.)
 
l.11:  missis ad eum undique legatis: 1) lit. deputies having been sent to him from all sides; 2) colloq.  when envoys had been sent to him from all directions. (Temporal clause.)
 
l.12:  obsidibusque datis: 1) lit. and hostages having been given; 2) colloq. and (when they) had given hostages. (Temporal clause in active voice.)
 
l.12:  pace facta: 1) lit. peace having been made; 2) colloq. (when) peace had been made. (Temporal clause.)
 
l.16:  non magna adiecta planitie; 1) lit. not a great plain having been added nearby; 2) colloq. situated in a rather narrow valley. (Participial phrase.)  
 
Chapter 2: (1)
 
1.9:  detractis cohortibus duabus et compluribus singillatim: 1) lit. two cohorts and several men individually having been drawn off; 2) colloq. because two cohorts and several men on an individual basis had been detached. (Causal clause.)
 
Chapter 3: (9)
 
1.1:  his nuntiis acceptis: 1) lit. these messages having been received; 2) colloq. when he had received the news. (Temporal clause in active voice.)
 
l.4:  deditione facta: 1) lit. the surrender having been made; 2) colloq. after/since the enemy had surrendered. (Temporal or Causal clause in active voice.)
 
l.4:  obsidisque acceptis: 1) lit. and hostages having been received; 2) colloq. and (after/since) they had given hostages. (Temporal or Causal clause in active voice.)

l.5:  consilio celeriter convocato: 1) lit. a council having been speedily summoned; 2) colloq. he called a council. (Main clause in active voice.)

l.11:  interclusis itineribus:  1) lit. routes having been cut off; 2) colloq. because the enemy had blocked the road. (Causal clause in active voice.)
 
l.11:  prope iam desperata salute: 1) lit. their safety having now been nearly despaired of; 2) colloq. because they had now almost despaired of safety. (Causal clause in active voice.)
 
1.13:  impedimenta relictis: 1) lit. the baggage having been abandoned; 2) colloq. if they were to abandon the baggage. (Conditional clause in active voice.)
 
l.13:  eruptione facta: 1) lit. a sortie having been made; 2) colloq. (if they) were to make a sortie. (Conditional clause in active voice.)
 
l.15.  hoc reservato ad extremum consilio: this plan having been reserved for the final (resort); 2) colloq. keeping this plan as a last resort. (Participial phrase in active voice.)
 
Chapter 4:(3)
 
l.1;  brevi spatio interiecto: 1) lit. a short space (of time) having been placed between; 2) colloq. after a short interval. (Prepositional phrase.)
 
l.3:  signo dato: 1) lit. the signal having been given; 2) colloq. at/upon a given signal. (Prepositional phrase.)
 
1.5:  integris viribus: 1) lit. their strength (being) unimpaired; 2) colloq. as long as their strength was unimpaired. (Temporal clause.)

N.B. The last of these can be seen as an Ablative of Attendant Circumstances with a literal translation 'with unimpaired strength'. In this case 'integris' would then have attributive rather than the predicative force associated with the Ablative Absolute construction. See also the sixth absolute absolute in Chapter 26.

Chapter 5: (4)
 
l.3:  languidioribus nostris: 1) lit. our men (being) feebler; 2) colloq. since our men were losing their strength. (Causal clause.)
 
l.10:  eruptione facta: 1) lit. a sally having been made; 2) colloq. after they had made a sally. (Temporal clause in active voice.)
 
l.12:  convocatis centurionibus celeriter: 1) lit. the centurions having been speedily called together; 2) colloq. after/when he had speedily summoned the centurions. (Temporal clause in active voice.)
 
l.15:  dato signo: 1) lit. the signal having been given; 2) colloq. at /upon a given signal. (Prepositional phrase.)
 
Chapter 6: (9)
 
l.2:  subito ... eruptione facta: 1) lit. a sortie having suddenly been made; 2) colloq. when they had made a sudden sortie. (Temporal clause in active voice.)
 
l.4:  ita commutata fortuna: 1) so fortune having changed; 2) colloq. so there was a complete reversal of fortune. (Main clause.)

l.8:  plus tertia parte interfecto: 1) lit. more than a third part having been killed; 2) colloq. they slew more than a third of them. (Main clause in active voice.)
 
l.10:  omnibus hostium copiis fusis: 1) lit. all the forces of the enemy having been routed; 2) having put to flight all the forces of the enemy. (Participial phrase in active voice.)
 
l.11:  (omnibus hostium copiis) armisque exutis: 1) lit. and (all the forces of the enemy) having been stripped of their arms; 2) colloq. and having stripped them of their arms. (Participial phrase in active voice.)
 
l.12:  quo proelio facto: 1) lit. which battle having been undertaken; 2) colloq. after/when they had fought this battle. (Temporal clause in active voice.)
 
l.16:  omnibus eius vici aedificiis incensis: 1) lit. all the buildings of that village having been burned; 2) colloq. he burned all the buildings in that village. (Main clause in active voice.)
 
l.18:  nullo hoste prohibente: 1) lit. no enemy hindering (him); 2) colloq. as no enemy was hindering (him). (Causal clause.)
 
l.18:  (nullo hoste) iter demorante: 1) lit. (no enemy) delaying his march; 2) colloq. (as no enemy) was delaying his march. (Causal clause.) 

Chapter 7: (5)

l.1:  his rebus gestis: 1) lit. these things having been done; 2) colloq. after these events. (Prepositional phrase.)

1.2:  superatis Belgis: 1) lit. the Belgae having been defeated; 2) colloq. because the Belgae had been defeated. (Causal clause.)

l.2:  expulsis Germanis: 1) lit. the Germans having been driven out; 2) colloq. (because) the Germans had been driven out. (Causal clause.)

l.3:  victis in Alpibus Sedunis: 1) lit. the Seduni having been conquered in the Alps; 2) colloq. (because) the Seduni had been conquered in the Alps. (Causal clause.)

l.4:  inita hieme: 1) lit. winter having been entered into; 2) colloq. at the beginning of winter. (Prepositional phrase.)

Chapter 8: (3)

l.6:  paucis portibus interiectis: 1) lit. a few harbours having been placed between; 2) colloq. with only a few harbours here and there. (Prepositional phrase.)

l.13:  celeriter missis legatis per suos principes: 1) lit. envoys having been speedily sent by means of their leading citizens; 2) colloq. having despatched their leading citizens as envoys. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

l.19:  omni ora maritima celeriter ad suam sententiam producta: 1) lit. the whole sea coast having been speedily brought round to their opinion: 2) colloq. having rapidly brought the whole sea coast round to their opinion. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

Chapter 9: (3)

l.5:  his rebus celeriter administratis: 1) lit. these matters having been quickly organised; 2) colloq. when he had speedily organised these matters. (Temporal clause in active voice.)

l.8:  cognito Caesaris adventu: 1) Caesar's arrival having been learned of; 2) colloq. because they had learned of Caesar's arrival. (Causal clause in active voice.)

l.26:  his initis consiliis: 1) lit. these plans having been entered into; 2) colloq. on the adoption of these plans. (Prepositional phrase.)

Chapter 10: (2)

l.4:  datis obsidibus: 1) lit. hostages having been given; 2) colloq. after hostages had been given. (Temporal clause.)

l.6:  hac parte neglecta: 1) lit. this district having been disregarded; 2) if he were to disregard this district. (Conditional clause in active voice.)

Chapter 11: (O)

Chapter 12: (7)

l.5:  minuente aestu: 1) lit. the tide ebbing; 2) colloq. at the ebb-tide. (Prepositional phrase.)

l.8: extruso mari aggere et molibus: 1) lit. the sea having been excluded by a mound and moles; 2) colloq.  with a massive causeway keeping out the sea. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

1.9:  his oppidi moenibus adaequatis: 1) lit. these having been brought level to the walls of the stronghold; 2) colloq. when this was brought level to the walls of the stronghold. (Temporal clause.)

l.10:  magno numero navium appulso: 1) lit. a great number of ships having been brought in to land; 2) colloq. bringing up a large number of ships. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

1.16:  vasto atque aperto mari: 1) lit. the sea (being) vast and open; 2) colloq. because the sea was vast and open. (Causal clause.)

l.17:  magnis aestibus: 1) the tides (being) great; 2) colloq. (because) the tides were strong. (Causal clause)

l.17:  raris ac prope nullis portibus: 1) the harbours (being) scattered and nearly none at all; 2) colloq. (because) the harbours were few-and-far-between and almost non-existent. (Causal clause).

N.B.  The last three ablative absolutes can be seen as locatives or local ablatives, in which the preposition is often omitted where the noun has an adjective attached to it. See also Chapter 28.

Chapter 13: (0)

Chapter 14: (5)

l.1:  compluribus expugnatis oppidis: 1) lit. several strongholds having been stormed; 2) colloq. after he had stormed several strongholds. (Temporal clause in active voice.)

l.3:  captis oppidis: 1) lit. their strongholds having been stormed; 2) colloq. by the capture of their strongholds. (Prepositional phrase.)

l.12:  turribus autem excitatis: 1) lit. but towers having been raised (on deck); 2) colloq. even if towers were built (on deck). (Concessive clause.)

l.21:  quibus abscisis: 1) lit. which things having been severed; 2) with the (halyards) cut. (Participial phrase.)

l.24:  his ereptis: 1) lit. these things having been removed: 2) colloq. when these things were torn away. (Temporal clause.)

Chapter 15: (3)

l.1:  disiectis ... antemnis: 1) lit. their yard-arms having been dismantled; 2) colloq. when their ships' yard-arms had been torn down. (Temporal clause.)

l.5:  expugnatis compluribus navibus: 1) lit. several of their ships having been stormed; 2) colloq. since several of their ships had been boarded. (Temporal clause.)

l.7:  iam conversis in eam partem navibus quo ventus ferebat: 1) lit. their ships having now been turned to that quarter towards which the wind bore (them); 2) when they had steered their ships so as to run before the wind. (Temporal clause in active voice.)

Chapter 16: (2)

l.6:  quibus amissis: 1) lit. which things having been lost; 2) colloq. since all these (ships) had been lost. (Causal clause.)

l.11:  omni senatu necato: 1) the entire senate having been executed; 2) colloq. after he had executed the entire senate. (Temporal clause in active voice.)

Chapter 17: (4)

l.7:  senatu suo interfecto: 1) lit. their senate having been slain; 2) colloq. after puttting their senate to death. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

l.13:  idoneo omnibus rebus loco: 1) lit. his position (being) suitable in all respects; 2) in a spot suited to any emergency. (Prepositional phrase.) 

1.15:  cotidieque productis copiis: 1) lit. his forces having been led out daily; 2) by leading his forces out daily. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

l.22:  eo absente: 1) lit. him being absent; 2) colloq. in the absence of the man. (Prepositional phrase.)

Chapter 18: (2)

l.21:  qua re concessa: 1) lit. which thing having been granted; 2) colloq. when their request was granted. (Temporal clause.)

l.22:  sarmentis virgultisque collectis: 1) lit. faggots and brushwood having been collected; 2) colloq.  after collecting faggots and brushwood. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

Chapter 19: (1)

l.6: impeditis hostibus: 1) lit. the enemy having been encumbered; 2) colloq. while the enemy were hampered. (Temporal clause.)

Chapter 20: (9)

l.6:  exercitu pulso: 1) lit. his army having been routed; 2) colloq. after his army had been defeated. (Temporal clause.)

l.8:  impedimentis amissis: 1) lit. his baggage having been lost; 2) colloq. with the loss of all his baggage. (Prepositional phrase.)

l.10:  re frumentaria provisa: 1) lit. a corn supply having been provided; 2) colloq. he arranged for a supply of corn. (Main clause in active voice.)

l.10:  auxiliis equitatuque comparato: 1) lit. auxiliaries and cavalry having been procured; 2) colloq. he procured auxiliaries and cavalry. (Main clause in active voice.)

l.11:  multis praeterea viris fortibus ... nominatim evocatis: 1) lit. also many brave men have been called up by name; 2) colloq.  he also called up on an individual basis many brave men. (Main clause in active voice.)

l.14:  cuius adventu cognito: 1) lit. whose arrival having been learned of; 2) colloq. on hearing of his arrival (Participial phrase in active voice.)

l.15;  magnis copiis coactis equitatuque: 1) lit. great forces and much cavalry having been assembled; 2) colloq. they assembled a large force with much cavalry. (Main clause in active voice.)

l.18:  equitatu suo pulso: 1) lit. their cavalry having been routed; 2) colloq. when their cavalry had been defeated. (Temporal clause.)

l.19:  insequentibus nostris: 1) lit. our men pursuing (them); 2) colloq. with our men in pursuit. (Prepositional phrase.)

Chapter 21: (6)

l.5:  adulescentulo duce: 1) lit. their leader (being) a young man; 2) colloq. under a youthful leader. (Prepositional phrase.)

l.7:  magno numero interfecto: 1) lit. a great number having been slain; 2) colloq. after killing a large number of them. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

l.8:  quibus fortiter resistentibus: 1) lit. which men resisting bravely; 2) colloq. when/since they resisted bravely. (Temporal or Causal clause.)

1.10:  alias eruptione temptata: 1) lit. at one time a sally having been tried; 2) colloq. at first they attempted a sally. (Main clause in active voice.)

l.10:  alias cuniculis ad aggerem vineasque actis: 1) lit. at another time mines having been employed up to our rampart and mantlets; 2) colloq. then they pushed mines right up to our rampart and mantlets. (Main clause in active voice.)

l.16:  qua re impetrata: 1) lit. this request having been obtained: 2) on the acceptance of their request. (Prepositional phrase.)

Chapter 22: (3)

l.1:  in ea re omnium nostrorum intentis animis: 1) lit. the attention of all our men having been concentrated upon this matter; 2) colloq. while the attention of all our men was fully occupied with this. (Temporal clause.)

l.9:  eo interfecto: 1) lit. that man having been killed; 2) colloq. on the slaughter of that man. (Prepositional phrase.)

l.11:  clamore ... sublato: 1) a shout having been raised; 2) colloq. when a shout went up. (Temporal clause in active voice.)

Chapter 23: (2)

1.1:  armis obsidibusque acceptis: 1) lit. their arms and hostages having been received; 2) colloq. after receiving their arms and hostages.  (Participial phrase in active voice.)

l.23:  hac re ad consilium delata: 1) this plan having been referred to a council-of-war; 2) on putting the plan to a council-of-war. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

Chapter 24: (9)

1.1:  prima luce productis omnibus copiis: 1) lit. all his forces having been led out at first light; 2) colloq. at dawn he brought out all his forces. (Main clause in active voice.)

l.1:  duplici acie instituta: 1) lit. a double battle-line having been formed; 2) colloq. he deployed them in two lines. (Main clause in active voice.)

1.2:  auxiliis in mediam aciem collectis: 1) lit. the auxiliaries having been gathered in the centre of the line; 2) colloq. with the auxiliaries being grouped in the centre. (Participial phrase.)

l.6:  obsessis victis: 1) lit. the roads having been beset; 2) colloq. by blocking the roads. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

1.6:  commeatu intercluso: 1) lit. supplies having been cut off (from our men); 2) colloq. by cutting off (our men's) supplies. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

l.11:  hoc consilio probato ab ducibus: 1) lit. this plan having been approved by their leaders; 2) colloq. their leaders approved this plan. (Main clause in active voice.)

1.11: productis Romanorum copiis: 1) lit. the Roman forces having been led out; 2) colloq. although the Romans  led out their forces. ( Concessive clause in active voice.)

l.13:  hac re perspecta: 1) lit. this measure having been perceived; 2) colloq. (Crassus) noted this. (Main clause in active voice.)

l.17:  omnibus cupientibus:  1) lit. everyone desiring (this); 2) colloq. amid general enthusiasm. (Prepositional phrase.)

Chapter 25: (2)

l.1:  multis telis coiectis: 1) lit. missiles having been hurled together; 2) colloq. by a rain of missiles. (Prepositional phrase.)

l.9:  circumitis hostium castris: 1) lit. the enemy's camp having been ridden around; 2) colloq. having ridden around the enemy's camp. (Participial phrase in active voice).

Chapter 26: (8)

l.4:  eductis eis cohortibus: 1) lit. those cohorts having been led out; 2) colloq. they led out those cohorts. (Main clause in active voice.)

1.5:  (eis cohortibus) longiore itinere circumductis: 1) lit. (those cohorts) having been led around by a longer route; 2) colloq. having led them around by a wide detour. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

l.6:  omnium oculis mentibusque ad pugnam intentis: 1) lit. the eyes and minds of all having been concentrated on the battle;  2) colloq. while the eyes and minds of all were intent upon the battle. (Temporal clause in active voice.)

l.9:  his prorutis: 1) lit. these having been demolished; 2) colloq. demolishing these. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

l.11:  clamore ab ea parte audito:  1) a shout from that quarter having been heard; 2) colloq. when shouting was heard in that quarter. (Temporal clause.)

l.12:  redintegratis viribus: 1) lit. their strength having been renewed; 2) colloq. with renewed strength. (Prepositional phrase.)

N.B. The above can also be seen as an ablative of attendant circumstances, in which case the suggested colloquial translation would become the literal one as well. In this case 'redintegratis' would have attributive rather than predicative force. See also the third ablative absolute in Chapter 4.


l.15:  desperatis omnibus rebus: 1) lit. all their affairs having been despaired of; 2) colloq. in utter despair. (Prepositional phrase.)

l.19:  vix parta quarta relicta: 1) lit. scarcely a fourth part having been left (alive); 2) colloq. barely a quarter escaped. (Main clause in active voice.)

Chapter 27: (1)

l.1:  hac audita pugna: 1) lit. this battle having been heard of; 2) colloq. when they heard about this battle. (Temporal clause in active voice.)

Chapter 28: (4)

l.2:  omni Gallia pacata: 1) lit. the whole of Gaul having been pacified; 2) colloq. while all Gaul was at peace. (Temporal clause in active voice.)

l.13:  dispersis in opere nostris: 1) lit. our men having been dispersed on their duties; 2) colloq. our men were working in scattered groups. (Main clause in active voice.)

l.16:  compluribus interfectis: 1) lit. many (of the enemy) having been killed; 2) colloq. after killing many (of the enemy). (Temporal clause ina ctive voice.)

l.17: impeditioribus locis: 1) lit. the ground (being) rather difficult: 2) colloq. over rather difficult ground. (Prepositional phrase.)

N.B. The last of these can be seen as a locative or local ablative, where the preposition can be omitted with regard to a noun to which an adjective is attached. See also Chapter 12. In that case the colloquial translation shown here would become the literal translation and 'impeditioribus' would become attributive rather than predicative in function.

Chapter 29: (4)

l.2:  inermibus imprudentibus que militibus: 1) lit. our soldiers (being) unarmed and unprepared; 2) colloq.   while our soldiers were unarmed and unprepared. (Temporal clause.)

l.6:  magno spatio paucis diebus confecto: 1) lit. a great space having been cleared in a few days; 2) colloq. a great space was cleared in a few days. (Main clause.)

l.12:  vastatis omnibus eorum agris: 1) lit. all their fields having been ravaged; 2) colloq. after ravaging all their fields. (Participial phrase in active voice.)

l.12:  vicis aedificiis incensis: 1) lit. their villages and buildings having been burned; 2) colloq. (after) burning their villages and buildings. (Participial phrase in active voice.)
Last modified onTuesday, 30 December 2014 14:09

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