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Latin Online

Lesson 1

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

This selection is taken from Livy's History of Rome, Book I.1.7-11. It describes the arrival of Aeneas and his troops in Latium after the fall of Troy. The account is mythological, presumably originated to provide the Romans with a pedigree comparable to that of the Greeks. It is given here partly to relate the myth, and partly to provide a narrative account parallel to the opening of Vergil's Aeneid, the text for the tenth unit.

The author, Titus Livius, referred to as Livy (59 B.C. - 17 A.D.), was born in Patavium, modern Padua, to an aristocratic family. He was well educated in Latin and Greek, and also in literature and rhetoric. While details of his life are scanty, it is assumed that he settled in Rome about 17 B.C., when he began his history. He was a friend of Emperor Augustus, and apparently so situated that he was able to devote himself to his great historical work. As may be assumed from this selection, he was primarily concerned with glorifying his country, for which he incorporated myths as well as facts. He was and is greatly admired for his control of the language, which as in this selection often leads to intricate and lengthy sentences.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The selection is the latter part of the account of the landing. Aeneas and his men are reported to have sailed north from Sicily, with nothing in their possession but their ships and weapons. They landed to obtain supplies. The local king, Latinus, set out to drive them off, but as stated here he first arranged a parley with Aeneas.

Cum instructae acies constitissent, priusquam signa canerent, processisse Latinum inter primores ducemque advenarum evocasse ad conloquium.

  • cum -- conjunction; <cum> since, when -- when
  • instructae -- adjective; nominative plural feminine of <instructus, instructa, instructum> arranged, ready -- ready
  • acies -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <acies, aciei> line of battle -- lines of battle
  • constitissent -- verb; 3rd person plural pluperfect subjunctive of <cōnstituō, cōnstituere, cōnstituī, cōnstitūtum> decide -- had drawn up
  • priusquam -- adverb; <priusquam> before -- before
  • signa -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <signum, signi> sign -- signals
  • canerent -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect subjunctive of <canō, canere, cecinī, cantum> sing -- had sounded
  • processisse -- verb; perfect infinitive of <prōcēdō, procedere, processī, processum> advance -- advanced
  • Latinum -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Latinus, Latini> Latinus -- Latinus
  • inter -- preposition; <inter> between, among -- among
  • primores -- adjective used as substantive; accusative plural masculine of <primoris, primoris, primore> chieftain, leader -- his chieftains
  • ducemque -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <dux, ducis> leader + conjunction <-que> and -- and ... the leader
  • advenarum -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <advena, advenae> stranger, foreigner -- of the strangers
  • evocasse -- verb; perfect infinitive of <ēvocō, evocare, evocāvī, evocatum> call forth, summon -- summoned
  • ad -- preposition; <ad> to, towards -- to
  • conloquium -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <conloquium, conloqui> conference -- a conference

Percunctatum deinde qui mortales essent, unde aut quo casu profecti domo quidve quaerentes in agrum Laurentinum exissent.

  • percunctatum -- deponent verb; 3rd person perfect passive indicative of <percūnctor, percunctārī, percunctātus sum> inquire with est understood -- he inquired
  • deinde -- adverb; <deinde> then -- then
  • qui -- interrogative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <quis, quis, quid> who, what -- what
  • mortales -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <mortalis, mortalis, mortale> mortal -- men
  • essent -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect subjunctive of <sum, esse, fuī> I am -- they might be
  • unde -- adverb; <unde> from whence -- from which place
  • aut -- conjunction; <aut> or -- or at least
  • quo -- adverb; <quo> what -- by which
  • casu -- noun, masculine; ablative singular of <casus, casus> fall, misfortune, chance -- chance
  • profecti -- deponent verb; nominative plural masculine of perfect participle passive of <proficīscor, proficiscī, profectus sum> set out -- had set out
  • domo -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <domus, domi> house -- from home
  • quidve -- interrogative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <quis, quis, quid> who, what + conjunction <-ve> or -- or what
  • quaerentes -- verb; nominative plural masculine of present participle of <quaerō, quaerere, quaesīvī, quaesītum> look for, search -- seeking
  • in -- preposition; <in> in, on -- in
  • agrum -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <ager, agri> land -- into the lands
  • Laurentinum -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <Laurentinus, Laurentina, Laurentinum> Laurentinus -- of Laurentum
  • exissent -- verb; 3rd person plural pluperfect subjunctive of <exeō, exire, exiī, exitum> go out, leave -- they had gone out to

Postquam audierit multitudinem Troianos esse, ducem Aeneam, filium Anchisae et Veneris, cremata patria domo profugos sedem condendaeque urbi locum quaerere.

  • postquam -- conjunction; <postquam> after -- after
  • audierit -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect subjunctive of <audiō, audīre, audīvī, audītum> hear -- he heard
  • multitudinem -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <multitudo, multitudinis> multitude -- people
  • Troianos -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <Troianus, Troiana, Troianum> Trojan -- Trojans
  • esse -- verb; infinitive of <sum, esse, fuī> I am -- were
  • ducem -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <dux, ducis> leader -- leader
  • Aeneam -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Aeneas, Aeneae> Aeneas -- Aeneas
  • filium -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <filius, filii> son -- son
  • Anchisae -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Anchises, Anchisae> Anchises -- Anchises
  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- and
  • Veneris -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Venus, Veneris> Venus -- Venus
  • cremata -- verb; ablative singular feminine of perfect passive participle of <cremō, cremāre, cremāvī, cremātum> burn -- having been burnt
  • patria -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <patria, patriae> fatherland -- fatherland
  • domo -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <domus, domi> house -- home
  • profugos -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <profugus, profuga, profugum> fugitive -- fugitives
  • sedem -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <sedes, sedis> seat, habitation -- dwelling place
  • condendaeque -- verbal adjective; dative singular feminine of <condō, condere, condidī, conditum> found + conjunction <-que> and -- and for founding
  • urbi -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <urbs, urbis> city -- city
  • locum -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <locus, loci> place -- place
  • quaerere -- verb; infinitive of <quaerō, quaerere, quaesīvī, quaesītum> look for, search -- to seek

Et nobilitatem admiratum gentis virique et animum vel bello vel paci paratum, dextra data fidem futurae amicitiae sanxisse.

  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- and
  • nobilitatem -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <nobilitas, nobilitatis> renown -- renown
  • admiratum -- deponent verb; perfect participle passive accusative singular masculine of <admīror, admirārī, admirātus sum> admire -- admiring
  • gentis -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <gens, gentis> race, clan -- of the race
  • virique -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <vir, viri> man + conjunction <-que> and -- and of the man
  • et -- conjunction; <et> and -- as well as
  • animum -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <animus, animi> soul, mind -- spirit
  • vel -- conjunction; <vel> either - or -- either
  • bello -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <bellum, belli> war -- for war
  • vel -- conjunction; <vel> either - or -- or
  • paci -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <pax, pacis> peace -- for peace
  • paratum -- verb; accusative singular masculine of perfect participle passive of <parō, parāre, parāvī, parātum> prepare, obtain -- prepared
  • dextra -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <dextra, dextrae> right hand -- right hand
  • data -- verb; ablative singular feminine of perfect participle passive of <dō, dare, dedī, dātum> give -- having been given
  • fidem -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <fides, fidei> faith, pledge -- pledge
  • futurae -- future participle; genitive singular feminine of <sum, esse, fuī> I am -- (of) future
  • amicitiae -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <amicitia, amicitiae> friendship -- of friendship
  • sanxisse -- verb; perfect infinitive of <sanciō, sancīre, sānxī, sānctum> enact -- he enacted

Inde foedus ictum inter duces, inter exercitus salutationem factam.

  • inde -- adverb; <inde> from that -- then
  • foedus -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <foedus, foederis> treaty -- a treaty
  • ictum -- defective verb; 3rd person singular perfect passive indicative of <īcere, īcī, ictum> strike with est understood -- was made
  • inter -- preposition; <inter> between, among -- between
  • duces -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <dux, ducis> leader -- the leaders
  • inter -- preposition; <inter> between, among -- between
  • exercitus -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <exercitus, excercitus> army -- the armies
  • salutationem -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <salutatio, salutationis> saluting -- saluting
  • factam -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect passive indicative of <faciō, facere, fēcī, factum> do, make -- was carried out

Aeneam apud Latinum fuisse in hospitio.

  • Aeneam -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Aeneas, Aeneae> Aeneas -- Aeneas
  • apud -- preposition; <apud> among, with -- at (Latinus') house
  • Latinum -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Latinus, Latini> Latinus -- Latinus
  • fuisse -- verb; perfect infinitive of <sum, esse, fuī> I am -- was
  • in -- preposition; <in> in, on -- in
  • hospitio -- noun, neuter; ablative singular of <hospitium, hospitii> hospitality -- hospitality

Ibi Latinum apud penates deos domesticum publico adiunxisse foedus filia Aeneae in matrimonium data.

  • ibi -- adverb; <ibi> there, then -- thereupon
  • Latinum -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Latinus, Latini> Latinus -- Latinus
  • apud -- preposition; <apud> among, with -- in the presence of
  • penates -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <Penates, Penatium> household gods -- household gods
  • deos -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <deus, dei> god -- gods
  • domesticum -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <domesticus, domestica, domesticum> domestic -- domestic
  • publico -- adjective; ablative singular neuter of <publicus, publica, publicum> public -- in public
  • adiunxisse -- verb; perfect infinitive of <adiungō, adjungere, adjūnxī, adjūnctum> add -- added
  • foedus -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <foedus, foederis> treaty -- treaty
  • filia -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <filia, filiae> daughter -- daughter
  • Aeneae -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <Aeneas, Aeneae> Aeneas -- to Aeneas
  • in -- preposition; <in> in, on -- in
  • matrimonium -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <matrimonium, matrimoni> marriage -- marriage
  • data -- verb; ablative singular feminine of perfect participle passive of <dō, dare, dedī, dātum> give -- having given

Ea res utique Troianis spem adfirmat tandem stabili certaque sede finiendi erroris.

  • ea -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <is, ea, id> him, her, this -- this
  • res -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <res, rei> thing, matter -- event
  • utique -- adverb; <utique> certainly -- definitely
  • Troianis -- adjective used as substantive; dative plural masculine of <Troianus, Troiana, Troianum> Trojan -- for the Trojans
  • spem -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <spes, spei> hope -- hope
  • adfirmat -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative of <adfīrmō, adfirmāre, adfirmāvī, adfirmātum> confirm -- confirmed
  • tandem -- adverb; <tandem> finally -- finally
  • stabili -- adjective; ablative singular feminine of <stabilis, stabilis, stabile> stable -- stable
  • certaque -- adjective; ablative singular feminine of <certus, certa, certum> certain + conjunction <-que> and -- and secure
  • sede -- noun, feminine; ablative singular of <sedes, sedis> seat, habitation -- home
  • finiendi -- verb; gerund(ive) genitive singular masculine of <finiō, finīre, finīvī, finītum> finish, end -- ended
  • erroris -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <error, erroris> wandering -- their wandering

Oppidum condunt.

  • oppidum -- noun, neuter; accusative singular <oppidum, oppidi> city -- a city
  • condunt -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative of <condō, condere, condidī, conditum> found -- they founded

Aeneas a nomine uxoris Lavinium appellat.

  • Aeneas -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Aeneas, Aeneae> Aeneas -- Aeneas
  • a -- preposition; <ab> from, after -- after
  • nomine -- noun, neuter; ablative singular of <nomen, nominis> name -- the name
  • uxoris -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <uxor, uxoris> wife -- of his wife
  • Lavinium -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <Lavinium, Lavinii> Lavinium -- Lavinium
  • appellat -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative of <appellō, appellāre, appellāvī, appellātum> call -- called

Lesson Text

Cum instructae acies constitissent, priusquam signa canerent, processisse Latinum inter primores ducemque advenarum evocasse ad conloquium. Percunctatum deinde qui mortales essent, unde aut quo casu profecti domo quidve quaerentes in agrum Laurentinum exissent. Postquam audierit multitudinem Troianos esse, ducem Aeneam, filium Anchisae et Veneris, cremata patria domo profugos sedem condendaeque urbi locum quaerere. Et nobilitatem admiratum gentis virique et animum vel bello vel paci paratum, dextra data fidem futurae amicitiae sanxisse. Inde foedus ictum inter duces, inter exercitus salutationem factam. Aeneam apud Latinum fuisse in hospitio. Ibi Latinum apud penates deos domesticum publico adiunxisse foedus filia Aeneae in matrimonium data. Ea res utique Troianis spem adfirmat tandem stabili certaque sede finiendi erroris. Oppidum condunt. Aeneas a nomine uxoris Lavinium appellat.

Translation

When the arranged lines of battle had been drawn up, before the signals were sounded, Latinus advanced among his chieftains and summoned the leader of the strangers to a conference. He then asked what men they were, where they had come from, what misfortune had caused them to leave their home, and what they were seeking in the land of Laurentinum. After he heard that the people were Trojans and their leader was Aeneas, the son of Anchises and Venus, and that their city had been burned, and driven from their home they were seeking a dwelling place and a site where they might build a city, in admiration of both the renown of the race and the spirit of the hero who was prepared either for war or for peace, he gave him his right hand and enacted a pledge of future friendship. A treaty was then struck by the leaders, and the armies saluted. Aeneas received guest friendship with Latinus. And then Latinus in the presence of his household gods added to the public treaty a domestic one by giving his daughter in marriage to Aeneas. This event definitely confirmed the hope of the Trojans of having ended their wanderings in a stable and certain home. They founded a city. Aeneas called it Lavinium after the name of his wife.

Grammar

1. Latin, a Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) Language.

The basic word order of Latin is SOV. Typical sentences then have the verb in final position, as in the sentence Oppidum condunt. Because personal subjects are included in the verb form, a separate subject may be lacking.

A fuller pattern is found in the following sentence: Aeneas ab nomine uxoris Lavinium appellat. The sentence also includes an adverbial phrase placed, as frequently, before the object, which typically stands directly before the verb. Similar sentences are found at the beginning of this passage.

2. Modifications of the basic sentence pattern, with non-finite forms making up the verbs in clauses.

Like many writers in the Classic Latin period, Livy introduced many modifications of the basic sentence pattern. As in this passage, he often used clauses with nominal forms of verbs, such as infinitives, participles, gerunds and gerundives rather than finite verbs.

Among them are clauses consisting of an infinitive with an accusative as subject, as in processisse Latīnum 'Latinus advanced', (Latinum) evocāsse 'Latinus summoned', Latīnum adiunxisse 'Latinus added'. As in the translations here, these are best treated as finite clauses in English. But many infinitives are used, like in English, as complements to finite verbs, e.g. postquam audierit multitudinem Trōiānōs esse 'after he heard that the people were Trojans'.

Participles may also be used instead of finite verbs, as in Inde foedus ictum 'Then a treaty was struck'. Such clauses may be viewed as simple sentences with a form of 'be' as verb omitted. The passage contains many examples, such as percunctatum, profectī, quaerentēs and so on. But a highly characteristic use of participles in Latin is found with both a noun and a participle in the ablative case -- the so-called ablative absolute construction. These are comparable to subordinate clauses; an example is dextrā datā, literally 'the right hand given' but often best treated as a finite clause as in 'he gave him his right hand'. The later example, filiā datā, literally 'daughter given', could be treated similarly, though here it is translated as a participial clause.

Gerundives are adjectival and gerunds are nominals that may be inflected in the oblique cases. They are characterized by an -nd- ending. An example of a gerundive in the text is condendae urbī 'for founding a city'. An example of a gerund is finiendī erroris 'for ending of their wandering'.

As this text illustrates, classical Latin syntax is highly stylized. It should be noted that it contains few particles. These are used in many languages for indicating emphasized items. In Latin such emphasis is indicated by shifts in word order, and often with separation of connected words. Besides shifts in word order, the inflection of nouns and of verbs is highly important for conveying nuances of meaning in the language.

3. Noun inflection.

Latin nouns are classed in five declensions that are determined by their endings. In this unit we will exemplify the first declension, which has final -a in the stem form, e.g. patria 'fatherland', and the second, most of which have final -us (from Proto-Indo-European -os), e.g. filius 'son'. Second declension nouns with bases ending in -r, e.g. vir 'man', may lack the final ending. Neuter nouns end in -um.

Nouns are inflected for gender, number, and case. There are three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Most nouns of the first declension are feminine; those of the second are masculine, e.g. filius 'son', or neuter, e.g. bellum 'war'.

There are two numbers: singular, and plural.

There are five cases -- plus the vocative, a case of address for nouns to which it may apply, such as proper nouns. In declensions, the cases are listed as follows; the basic uses given here:

  • Nominative, the case of the subject
  • Genitive, the case indicating possession and relationship
  • Dative, the case of the indirect object and to indicate direction
  • Accusative, the case of the direct object
  • Ablative, the case indicating separation
    1st declension         2nd declension
Case   Sg.   Pl.   Sg.   Pl.   Sg.   Pl.   Sg.   Pl.
Nom.   patria   patriae  |  filius   filiī   vir   virī   bellum   bella
Gen.   patriae   patriārum  |  filiī   filiōrum   virī   virōrum   bellī   bellōrum
Dat.   patriae   patriīs  |  filiō   filiīs   virō   virīs   bellō   bellīs
Acc.   patriam   patriās  |  filium   filiōs   virum   virōs   bellum   bella
Abl.   patriā   patriīs  |  filiō   filiīs   virō   virīs   bellō   bellīs

Greek nouns of the first declension, e.g. Aeneas and Anchises, have a final -s in the nominative, but are regular in the other cases. Like other first declension nouns they have -a in the vocative.

The vocative of regular second declension nouns ends in -e, e.g. filie 'oh son'; those nouns ending in -r have no ending, e.g. vir 'oh man'.

Adjectives are inflected like nouns, but may be inflected for all three genders, e.g. m. certus, f. certa, n. certum 'certain'.

4. Verb inflection.

Verbs are classed in four conjugations, in accordance with their stem vowels:

  1. those with infinitive ending in -āre belong to the first conjugation;
  2. those ending in -ēre belong to the second;
  3. those ending in -ere belong to the third;
  4. those ending in -īre belong to the fourth.

Verbs are inflected for two voices (active and passive), six tenses (present, imperfect, future, perfect, past perfect and future perfect), and for two moods (indicative and subjunctive). In addition there are two numbers (singular and plural), and three persons (first, second, and third). Moreover, there is an imperative for second and third persons.

Verbs have nominal forms: three infinitives (present, perfect, and future), two participles (present and future), a gerund, gerundive, and a supine.

Dictionaries list verbs in their first person singular present indicative, or a comparable form if the verb in question is inflected only in the passive. Moreover, dictionaries and grammars provide four principal parts, from which all forms can be made. These are given below, with examples from each of the four conjugations.

Conj.   Pres.
Indic.
  Pres.
Infin.
  Perf.
Indic.
  Perf. Part.
Passive
1   laudō 'praise'   laudāre   laudāvī   laudātum
2   moneō 'advise'   monēre   monuī   monītum
3   tegō 'cover'   tegere   tēxī   tectum
4   audiō 'hear'   audīre   audīvī   audītum

Although the texts included in the ten units present historical and literary information, so that verbs are chiefly in the third person, the six present indicative forms are given here to provide a basis for recognizing all forms.

      Conjugation  
      1   2   3   4  
  1 sg.   laudō   moneō   tegō   audiō  
  2 sg.   laudās   monēs   tegis   audīs  
  3 sg.   laudat   monet   tegit   audit  
 
  1 pl.   laudāmus   monēmus   tegimus   audīmus  
  2 pl.   laudātis   monētis   tegitis   audītis  
  3 pl.   laudant   monent   tegunt   audiunt  
5. The phonological system.

The phonological system of Latin is remarkably simple. It consists of sixteen consonants and five vowels, which may be long or short. In printed texts, length is not usually marked; when it is, a macron is placed over the long vowels.

The system is as follows:

    Labials   Dentals   Palato-velars
Voiceless:   p   t   k (also spelled c and q)
Voiced:   b   d   g
Fricatives:   f   s   h
Nasals:   m   n   ŋ (before k, g)
Semivowels:   w (v)       j (often spelled i)
             
Liquids:     l   r  
             
Vowels:   i             u
      e   o  
        a    

The vowels have "continental" values: i and e are pronounced as in cliché; a as in father, o as in note, u as in flute.

Diphthongs are pronounced as sequences of the two successive vowels, e.g. ae as in aisle, oe as in soil, ei as in rein, au as in rout.

Latin has a stress accent. In words of more than one syllable, the stress falls on the second to last syllable if it is long, but if not, then on the third to last.