The ablative absolute
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The Ablative Absolute. Compare these sentences in terms of the time difference between the verbs :. When the city had been captured, the soldiers departed. After the city had been captured, the soldiers departed. With the city having been captured, the soldiers departed.

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The Ablative Absolute

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The ablative absolute

The Ablative Absolute

Compare these sentences in terms of the time difference

between the verbs :

When the city had been captured, the soldiers departed

After the city had been captured, the soldiers departed

With the city having been captured, the soldiers departed

In each case the verb in the first part of the sentence expresses

an action which has occurred before the action of the second verb


The ablative absolute

In English we use the pluperfect tense to express an action which

occurs before another action in the past. Latin, however, has a very

neat way of expressing this time difference which follows the

construction of the third sentence:

With the city having been captured, the soldiers departed

urbe capta, milites discesserunt

This type of structure is called the ablative absolute

It is made up of a noun ‘urbe’ and a participle ‘capta’

in the ablative case and is very common in Latin

Grammatically, it is completely separate from the rest of the

sentence and this is why it is called ‘absolute’ from the Latin

verb ‘absolvere’ or ‘untied’


The ablative absolute

In the example we have just looked at, the participle in the

ablative absolute phrase is a perfect passive participle. Ablative

absolute phrases can also be formed with a present participle:

omnibus tacentibus, libertus nomina recitavit

With everyone being quiet, the freedman read out the names

Or, in more natural English:

When everyone was quiet, the freedman read out the names

n.b.: the present participle declines like a third declension adjective


Translation of the ablative absolute

Translation of the Ablative Absolute

bello confecto, Agricola ad Italiam rediit

With the war having been finished, Agricola returned to Italy

or, in better English:

When the war had been finished, Agicola returned to Italy

or

After finishing the war, Agricola returned to Italy


Translations latin english

Translations (Latin > English)

ponte deleto, nemo flumen transire poterat

After the bridge had been destroyed, nobody could cross

his verbis auditis, cives plauserunt

When they heard these words, the citizens applauded

nave refecta, mercator a Britannia discessit

When the ship had been repaired, the merchant left Britain

iuvenes, togis depositis, balneum intraverunt

After taking off their clothes, the young men entered the baths

latrones, omnibus dormientibus, tabernam incenderunt

The thieves set fire to the inn when everybody was sleeping


The ablative absolute

Imperator, sacerdotibus adstantibus, preces divo Tito obtulit

consule ingresso, omnes senatores surrexerunt

clientes, denariis raptis, abierunt ut cibum emerent

mercator, clamoribus auditis, e lecto perterritus surrexit


The ablative absolute

Imperator, sacerdotibus adstantibus, preces divo Tito obtulit

The Emperor offered prayers to the god Titus when the priests

were present

consule ingresso, omnes senatores surrexerunt

All the senators stood up when the consul entered

clientes, denariis raptis, abierunt ut cibum emerent

After grabbing the money, the clients went away to buy food

mercator, clamoribus auditis, e lecto perterritus surrexit

When he heard the shouts, the merchant got out of bed terrified


Translations english latin

1. The citizens returned home when the arch had been dedicated

Translations (English > Latin)

2. After losing her money, the slave girl began to cry

3. The captives escaped while the guards were sleeping

4. The soothsayer announced the omens once the victims had been

sacrificed

5. The enemy was in despair when their leader was killed

6. When the cat is away, the mice are accustomed to play

7. The clients went away unwillingly when the door had been shut

1. arcu

dedicato

cives

domum

redierunt

ancilla

2. pecunia

amissa

lacrimare

coepit

dormientibus

captivi

effugerunt

3. custodibus

haruspex

4. victimis

sacrificatis

omina

nuntiavit

desperabant

5. duce

interfecto

hostes

6. fele

absente

mures

luderunt

clausa

clientes

inviti

discesserunt

7. ianua


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