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Are you tired of using the "genitive of specification" copout that has plagued Latin students' Aeneid booklets? Do you not know enough genitive uses to put even that? Do you not know any genitives at all? Then read this article and educate yourself on the uses of the genitive case in Latin.


1. Special Adjective: Certain adjectives are followed by the genitive case. If, in your translation, you see a genitive noun ("of noun") after an adjective, parse the noun as "genitive - special adjective."

EXAMPLES:

  • immemorēs regnōrum - unmindful of kingdoms
  • egenus amoris - destitute of love


2. Special Verb:

Verbs of Remembering and Forgetting: Some verbs whose definitions relate to remembering or forgetting may take a genitive object. Parse the genitive object as "genitive - special verb."

  • meminimus mortis - we remember the death
  • Oblivisceminine huius urbis? - Will you forget this city?

Verbs of Filling: Occasionally, a genitive may take the place of what would ordinarily be an ablative of means with a verb of filling. Still just parse the genitive noun as "genitive - special verb," even though in this case the genitive noun is not technically the object. Still translate it as "of".

  • implentur veteris Bacchī - they are filled of old Bacchus


3. Genitive of Quality/of Description: Used to describe an intangible or abstract quality of something, usually a person.

  • Es vir summae stultitiae - You are a man of greatest stupidity
  • Trojanī sunt militēs magnārum virium - The Trojans are soldiers of great strength


NOTE: Please note that #4 and #5 do not appear on Mrs. Altieri's answer keys. On a test, you might be better off parsing the following two as possession or specification, depending upon the context.


4. Subjective Genitive: Used with a noun of action*, feeling/attitude, thought, or rule to indicate that the genitive noun DOES the action, feeling/attitude, thought, or rule.

  • NOTE: "Nouns of action" are nouns closely related to verbs. For instance, the noun "love" is closely related to the verb "to love". The noun "death" is closely related to the verb "to die". The noun "hatred" is closely related to the verb "to hate", etc.
  • jussa Jovis - the orders of Jupiter (Jupiter does the ordering or is ordering)
  • saevae memorem Junonis ob iram - on account of the mindful anger of Juno (Juno feels the anger)
  • lapsūs rotārum - the glidings of wheels (the wheels do the gliding or are gliding)
  • mors servī - the death of the slave (the slave does the dying or is dying)


5. Objective Genitive: Used with a noun of action*, feeling/attitude, thought, or rule to indicate that the genitive noun RECEIVES the action, feeling/attitude, thought, or rule.

  • NOTE: "Nouns of action" are nouns closely related to verbs. For instance, the noun "love" is closely related to the verb "to love". The noun "death" is closely related to the verb "to die". The noun "hatred" is closely related to the verb "to hate", etc.
  • odium Paridis - the hatred of Paris (Paris receives the hatred or is hated)
  • metus mortis - the fear of death (death receives the fear or is feared)
  • caedes Priamī - the murder of Priam (Priam receives the murder or is murdered)


6. Possession. The genitive can indicate ownership.

  • Coturnīvirginis - The boots of the maiden


7. Specification: The purpose of this genitive is to specify or narrow down the meaning of another word. This is also what I like to call the cop-out genitive. If you don't know how to parse the genitive, put this and you just might get it right.

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