A Glimpse into the Vaults.

by Carolus Raeticus

23 January 2016 (v1.1)

Knowing in what order to put the words when expressing one's thoughts is an important part of prose composition skill. In Latin, word order is far more flexible than in languages with no (or few) inflections, thus expressing emphasis by merely changing the position of a word becomes possible. This presupposes, however, the existence of a normal word order. One would expect this normal word order to be treated in minute detail in Latin grammars and textbooks, but that is not the case at all. And this is what this "glimpse into the vaults" tries to help with: find an answer to the following questions:

Some will, of course, say that reading is essential to learn this. Yet, without prior knowledge of the normal word order, how can anyone be expected to correctly interpret the specific order used by an author? What did he try to say. Therefore, what are the rules (or at least guidelines)?

To this end I have transcribed parts of books or borrowed them from elsewhere (see T.o.C.) dealing with this matter (all in the public domain). I also added Alex W. Pott's thoughts about the Period as here, too, position is of importance.

Two quotes may serve as an introduction (and caveat):

To depart in Composition from this or any other natural arrangement without an adequate reason is mere affectation, than which nothing is more opposed to the directness and simplicity of Latin writing. (Potts)

That this transpositive arrangement of words should impose a tax upon the attention was inevitable, and is obvious from the fact that even literary men like Cicero adopted mainly the syntactical order in their familiar letters and conversation. (id.)

Table of Contents

A Practical Introduction to Latin Prose Composition (1908)

T.K. Arnold & G.G. Bradley


86. The order of words in a Latin sentence differs, in many important respects, from the English order. There are very few sentences in which the natural order of one language corresponds to that of the other. There is much greater freedom and variety in Latin, especially as regards substantives, adjectives, pronouns, and verbs. For these parts of speech are each susceptible of a great variety of changes in their terminations, called inflexions. It is these inflexions, and not their place in the sentence, which mark the relations of words to other words. As we have far fewer of these inflexions in English, we are obliged to look for the precise meaning of a word, not to its form but to its position.

87. If we take the English sentence, "The soldier saw the enemy," we cannot invert the order of the two substantives, and write "The enemy saw the soldier," without entirely changing the meaning; but in Latin we may write miles vidit hostem, hostem vidit miles, or miles hostem vidit, without any further change than that of shifting the emphasis from one word to another.

But for all this the following rules should be carefully attended to in writing Latin, and variations from them noticed in reading Latin prose authors.


88. The subject of the sentence, the nominative case, stands, as in English, at the beginning of or early in the sentence.

Caesar, or Tum Caesar exercitum in Aeduorum fines ducit.

Compare—Thereupon Caesar leads his army into the territory of the Aedui.

89. The verb (or if not the verb, some important part of the predicate) comes last of all, as ducit in the sentence above.

Ea res mihi fuit gratissima.

That circumstance was most welcome to me.

Obs.Sum, when used as a link verb, rarely comes last.

90. But if great stress is laid on the verb it is placed at the beginning, and the subject removed to the last place.

Tulit hoc vulnus graviter Cicero.Cicero doubtless felt this wound deeply.
Est caeleste nūmen.There really is, or there exists, a heavenly power.

This position of sum often distinguishes its substantive from its copulative and auxiliary uses. (See 49, Obs.)

91. For it must always be remembered that

The degree of prominence and emphasis to be given to a word is that which mainly determines its position in the sentence. And,

The two emphatic positions in a Latin sentence are the beginning and the end. By the former our attention is raised and suspended, while the full meaning of the sentence is rarely completed till the last word is reached.

Hence, from the habit of placing the most important part of the predicate, which is generally the verb, last of all, we rarely see a Latin sentence from which the last word or words can be removed without destroying the life, so to speak, of the whole sentence.

This can easily be illustrated from any chapter of a Latin author.

92. The more unusual a position is for any word, the more emphatic it is for that word. Thus

Arbores seret diligens agricola, quarum adspiciet baccam ipse nunquam.—(Cic.)

Here the adverb is emphatic by position; in English we must express the emphasis differently, as by "though the day will never come when he will see their fruit."

A word that generally stands close by another receives emphasis by separation from it; especially if it be thus brought near the beginning or end of a sentence.

Voluptatem percepi maximam. Propterea quod aliud iter haberent nullum. Aedui equites ad Caesarem omnes revertuntur.

93. As regards the interior arrangement of the sentence, governed words, such as (1) the accusative or dative, expressive of the nearer or remoter objects of verbs, or (2) genitive or other cases governed by a noun or adjective or participle, come usually before, not as in English after, the words which govern them.

Hunc librum filio dedi.
Compare—I gave this book to my son.

Frater tuus tui est simillimus.
Compare—Your brother is exceedingly like you.

94. Adjectives, when used as attributes, are oftener than not placed after the noun with which they agree; but the pronoun hic, and monosyllabic pronouns and adjectives of number or quantity, before, as in English.

Vir bonus; civitas opulentissima; haec opinio; permulti homines.

When a substantive is combined both with an adjective and a genitive, the usual order is this—

Vera animi magnitudo. True greatness of mind.

95. A word in apposition generally stands, as does the adjective, after the word to which it relates.

Q. Mucius augur; M. Tullius Cicero consul; Pythagoras philosophus.

Luxuria et ignavia, pessimae artes.

96. Adverbs and their equivalents, such as ablative and other cases, and adverbial phrases, come before the verbs which they qualify.

Hic rex diu vixit.This king lived long.
Agrum ferro et igni vastavit.He laid waste the land with fire and sword.
Libenter hoc feci.I did this cheerfully.
Triginta annos regnavit.He reigned thirty years.

97. But in all these cases the usual order may be reversed to a far greater extent than in English for the sake of emphasis.

98. Enim, vero, autem, quoque, quidem (with the enclitics,[1] -que, -ve, nĕ), cannot be the first words of a clause; quoque and quidem follow the words to which they belong.

99. The negative adverbs non, haud, neque, are placed always before the words which they qualify; ne quidem, "not even," always enclose the word which they emphasise: as, ne hic quidem, "not even he."


Substantival Clauses.

100. Substantival Clauses, whether statements, questions, or commands, usually come before the verb on which they depend. (See 80.)

Errare se ait.He says that he is wrong.
Quid fiat dicam.I will tell you what is being done.
(Ut) hoc facias oro.I beg you to do this.

English and Latin here differ exactly as they do in the position of the accusative case, which in English follows, and in Latin precedes, the verb.

101. But if the dependent clause is long and important, and the principal clause short and unemphatic, the order is generally reversed.

Respondet ille, si velit secum colloqui, etc. (introducing a long speech).

Quaeris cur hoc homine tanto opere delecter

Oro ut me, sicut antea, attente audiatis.

Adjectival Clauses.

102. The relative clause is placed often where it would stand in an English sentence.

But it may be placed earlier and more in the centre of the sentence than is possible in English.

In his, quae nunc instant, periculis.In these dangers which now threaten us.

This is accounted for by the principle laid down in 91, and the relative clause often, for the same reason, precedes the main clause.

Quam quisque norit artem, in hac se exerceat.Let each practise the profession with which he is acquainted.

Adverbial clauses.

103. These, like the adverbs in a simple sentence, usually, unless very emphatic, come before the main clause.

They are placed, in fact, much as they would be in an English sentence, but with a greater tendency to place the main and more emphatic clause last. (See 91.)

104. Temporal clauses such as, haec ubi audivit, etc., together with ablative absolutes (hoc comperto, etc.), and participial phrases, id veritus, etc., often, like adverbs of time and place, tum, ibi, deinde, etc., form the opening word of a sentence.

So also clauses introduced by quum (temporal), quoniam (causal), quanquam (concessive), si (conditional), sicut (comparative), usually come before the main clause; as do final clauses (ut... ne...), more frequently than in English.

But consecutive clauses (ut, so that) usually, as in English, follow the main clause.

105. The following are examples of the usual order:—

Quum haec dixisset, abiit (temporal).Having said this, he departed.
Si futurum est, fiet (conditional).If it is to be, it will come to pass.
Ut sementem feceris, ita metes (comparative).You will reap as you have sown.
Quoniam vir es, congrediamur (causal).Since you are a man, let us close in fight.
Romani, quanquam fessi erant, tamen obviam procedunt (concessive).The Romans advanced to meet (them) in spite of their fatigue.
Esse oportet, ut vivas (final).You should eat to live.
Haec ne facias, abi (final).To avoid doing this, begone.
Quis fuit tam ferreus, ut mei non misereretur (consecutive).Who was so hard-hearted as not to pity me?

106. It may be well to add that a repeated word, or a word akin to another in the sentence (such as one pronoun to another), is generally placed as near to that word as possible.

Nulla virtus virtuti contraria est.No kind of virtue is opposed to virtue.
Te- ego aspicio?Is it you whom I see?
Aliis aliunde est periculum.Danger threatens different men from different quarters.
Timor timorem pellit.Fear banishes fear.

We see that Latin has a great advantage in this respect over English.

107. Of two corresponding clauses or groups of words of parallel construction, the order of the first is often reversed in the second: so that two of the antithetical words are as near as possible.

Fragile corpus animus sempiternus movet. Ratio nostra consentit; pugnat oratio. Quae me moverunt, movissent eadem te profecto.

To many of these rules exceptions may be found. For the order in Latin is determined, as has been already said, not by any strict rules, but by considerations of emphasis, clearness, sound, rhythm, variety, some of which sometimes defy explanation, but which may be easily noticed and understood by any one who reads Latin with observation and intelligence.

As a general rule, in any but the shortest clause the English order is sure to be ill adapted to a Latin sentence.


[1] An enclitic is a word which does not stand by itself, but is written at the end of the word which it qualifies: -nĕ (interrogative), -quĕ = and, -vĕ = or, are the commonest enclitics.

Latin Prose Composition for the Middle Forms of Schools (1913)

M.A. North and A.E. Hillard



1. Normal Order. A word receives most emphasis when placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, therefore in an ordinary Latin sentence place the Subject first and the Predicate last.

N.B.—By the Predicate we do not mean necessarily the Verb. When the verb esse is used with Adjectives or Participles it need not take the last place.

2. The middle of a single sentence must be arranged on this principle: Expressions which naturally qualify the subject (generally adjectives or adjectival expressions) must be grouped near the subject, expressions which qualify the predicate (objects, adverbial and prepositional expressions) must be grouped before the verb.

3. Before the subject, however, will naturally come any words which connect with the preceding sentence; e.g. relatives, expressions of time, &c. It is exceedingly important to remember that Latin sentences do not usually follow one another without some expressed connection. In English we constantly leave the connection to be understood from the general sense.

Thus a Latin simple sentence, in which there is no need to emphasise particular words, will usually be arranged in this order:

(1) Connecting words.

(2) Subject.

(3) Attributes of Subject.

(4) Objects and attributes of the Objects.

(5) Adverbial expressions qualifying Predicate.

(6) Predicate.

Postero die mane | [1] Servilius consul cum omnibus copiis | flumen quam celerrime transit.
Early next day the consul Servilius with all his forces crosses the river as speedily as possible.

Quibus rebus auditis | dux hostium, vir magna belli peritia | suos ex castello se recipere jubet.
When he heard this news the leader of the enemy, who had gained experience in many wars, ordered his men to leave the fort.

4. Special Emphasis. To emphasise any special word it must be placed out of its usual position. The Predicate is most emphasised by being placed first, the Subject by being placed last or nearly last. Any other word will be emphasised by taking either of these positions. An attribute separated from its noun, or an adverb separated from its verb, is thereby emphasised.

Habet senectus magnam auctoritatem.
Old age certainly has great influence.

Hac clade periit libertas.
It was liberty that perished in this disaster.

Recte igitur deos esse diximus.
We were right in saying that there are gods.

Exempla proponamus illi optima.
Let the examples we set before him be the best.

In English also we can sometimes emphasise by order; e.g. "A friend I am unwilling to accuse." But we more often put the emphatic words in a clause by themselves, as in the last three examples given above. Compare "It is not often that a rich man envies the poor" with the Latin "Haud saepe invidet pauperibus dives," where the necessary emphasis on "not often" is given by position.

5. Attributes, &c. An adjective more often follows than precedes its noun, and a slight emphasis is often given by placing it first.

e.g. Vir bonus ac sapiens.
A good and wise man.

Bonum ac sapientem virum fingimus.
It is the good and wise man that we are describing.

Nouns in apposition generally follow the noun to which they are attached. If they precede it they are thereby emphasised.

e.g. Lemnos insula = the island of Lemnos.

Insula Lemnos = the island of Lemnos (as opposed to the town).

Servilius consul = the consul Servilius.

Consul Servilius = Servilius when consul, or as consul.

Where there is both an attribute and some defining phrase (a case or a prepositional phrase) put the latter between the attribute and the noun.

e.g. Multa tua erga me beneficia.
Your many kindnesses to me.

Filius patri similis.
A son like his father.


6. The Compound Sentence consists of a Principal Clause and Subordinate Clauses. The Subordinate Clauses all stand in some relation to the principal verb or its subject, being equivalent to nouns, adjectives, or adverbs; and they will for the most part fall into the places that these would have occupied if the sentence had been simple. Compare, for instance the following sentences:

Quibus rebus auditis,
Iberorum dux,
vir magna belli peritia,
collectis omnibus copiis,
impediendi causa Romanos,
Quae quum audiisset,
Iberorum dux,
qui bellorum peritissimus erat
quum omnes copias collegisset,
ne Romani celerius advenirent,
pontem rescindi
Hearing this, the Iberian leader, a man of great experience in warfare, collected all his forces, and broke down the bridge in order to delay the Romans.When the Iberian leader, who had had great experience in warfare, heard this, he collected all his forces, and ordered the bridge to be broken down, so as to delay the Romans' advance.

The main principle therefore of the Compound Sentence is that the subordinate parts of the sentence are enclosed between the subject, which must stand near the beginning, and the principal verb, which will most frequently come at the end. The order of clauses will therefore naturally be as follows:

(1) Any Clause which connects with the previous sentence.

(2) The subject followed by any attributive clauses which belong to it.

(3) Any clauses which naturally belong to the Predicate—(a) Adverbial clauses of time, &c.; (b) Object clauses, such as Acc. and Inf., Indirect Questions or Commands.

(4) The Predicate.

Quod cum vidisset dux, quia quid hostis paret, nescit, paullum moratur.
Seeing this, the general delayed a little time, because he did not know what the enemy was preparing to do.

Reliquis diebus Caesar, ne qui inermibus militibus impetus fieri posset, omnem eam materiam, quae erat caesa, conversam ad hostem conlocabat.
During the remaining days Caesar piled up facing the enemy all the timber that had been cut, so that no attack might be made on his men when unarmed.

Tamen Senones, quae est civitas imprimis firma et magnae inter Gallos auctoritatis, Cavarinum, quem Caesar apud eos regem constituerat, interficere publico consilio conati, cum ille praesensisset ac profugisset, usque ad fines insecuti regno domoque expulerunt.
Nevertheless the Senones, who are the strongest and most influential tribe among the Gauls, tried to kill Cavarinus, whom Caesar had made king among them, and when he found out the plot and fled, pursued him as far as their boundaries, and drove him from his kingdom and home.

But these principles will be modified by many considerations of (a) Emphasis, (b) Logical Arrangement, (c) Sound. No system of rules can take the place of observation in reading, but the following suggestions may be added.

(a) Emphasis. As in the Simple Sentence, the beginning and end are emphatic positions, and a subordinate clause may be emphasised by being placed in one of these positions. It often happens that the verb which is grammatically the principal verb is not the important part of the predicate, and in that case it will not come last. This is especially frequent with the verb of "saying" that introduces Oratio Obliqua, which is not as a rule kept to the end of the sentence.

e.g. Eo cum de improviso celeriusque omni opinione venisset, Remi, qui proximi Galliae ex Belgis sunt, ad eum legatos miserunt qui dicerent se suaque omnia in fidem atque in potestatem populi Romani permittere.
But Caesar arriving there suddenly and sooner than anyone had expected, the Remi, who are the nearest to Gaul of the Belgian tribes, sent him ambassadors to say that they surrendered themselves and all they possessed to the sway and authority of the Roman people.

In this sentence miserunt is the principal verb, and dicerent the main verb of the subordinate sentence, but neither contains the main statement of the sentence, and therefore neither stands last. The object of the sentence is to give the message of the Remi "se...permittere." It is a common mistake of beginners to think they must write "legatos qui se...permittere dicerent miserunt."

For the same reason a Purpose Clause or Causal Clause will stand last, if to state the Purpose or Cause is the real object of the sentence; i.e. if it is more emphatic than the statement of the Principal Verb. Compare the following:

He said it to frighten me.
Haec dixit ut me terreret.

He threatened me with torture to frighten me.
Ut me terreret cruciatum mihi minabatur.

In the first sentence to state the purpose is the object of the sentence. In the second the principal verb contains the main idea.

(b) Logical Arrangement. It is generally essential to clearness that the statement of circumstances (e.g. time, place, etc.) should precede the main statement, and statement of cause precede the statement of the effect. For this reason a Consecutive sentence will almost always come after the verb it depends on, though grammatically subordinate.

It also tends to clearness to observe the following:

(1) When the principal verb and subordinate verb have the same subject, do not put the subject, as we do in English, inside the subordinate clause; e.g. for "When Caesar heard this, he returned," say, "Caesar, quum haec audiisset, rediit."

(2) In translating complicated English sentences into Latin avoid the frequent change of subject which we allow in English. The change of Active for Passive will often obviate difficulty.

(c) Sound. If we followed universally the rule of enclosing subordinate clauses, we should find three or four verbs sometimes together at the end of the sentence. Avoid this by altering the arrangement of words in one or more of the clauses.

Avoid generally placing together similar terminations (especially -orum, -arum). Avoid also a sentence consisting entirely of words of the same length; e.g. such a combination as "Erat quondam pastor quidam Gygis regis."

The sound often helps the sense; e.g. where the writer wishes to describe a series of events rapidly following one another he may use a series of short sentences, even without conjunctions.

e.g. Concilium dimittit, Liscum retinet. Quaerit ex solo ea quae in conventu dixerat. Dicit liberius atque audacius.[TR1] Eadem secreto ab aliis quaerit; reperit esse vera.
On dismissing the council he detained Liscus and enquired of him privately about those matters that he had mentioned at the meeting. Liscus spoke then more openly and boldly, and by private enquiries from others Caesar found that his statements were true.

7. Pronouns.

(a) The Relative always comes first in its clause where possible.

e.g. These towns, one of which has been burnt.
Haec oppida, quorum unum incensum est (never unum quorum).

Catiline is here, by whose slaves he was killed.
Adest Catilina cujus ab servis interfectus est (not ab cujus servis).

So quamobrem, qua de causa, quas inter urbes, &c.

But if the relative is used substantivally, the preposition will precede it as a rule—inter quos, ex quibus, &c.

(b) Many adjectives (especially superlatives) and words in apposition are attracted into the Relative clause in Latin contrary to English usage.

e.g. The beautiful city of Corinth, which was destroyed by L. Mummius.
Corinthus quae urbs pulcherrima ab L. Mummio diruta est.

(c) Observe that cases of se, suus, ipse, quisque in the same sentence generally stand next one another.

e.g. Suae quisque fortunae faber.
Each man is the maker of his own fortune.

Sceleris sui sibi conscius.
Conscious of his guilt.

[1] The above [TR: in the book, here the following] sentences are divided by lines into (1) Connecting words, (2) those parts which naturally go with the subject, (3) those that go with the predicate. The connection in thought between two sentences is most frequently one of time or place; e.g. postero die in the first sentence.

[TR1] "audacius," → "audacius."

New Latin Grammar (1888, 1903)

Allen & Greenough


595. Latin differs from English in having more freedom in the arrangement of words for the purpose of showing the relative importance of the ideas in a sentence.

596. As in other languages, the Subject tends to stand first, the Predicate last. Thus,—

Pausāniās Lacedaemonius māgnus homō sed varius in omni genere vītae fuit (Nep. Paus. 1), Pausanias the Lacedæmonian was a great man, but inconsistent in the whole course of his life.

NOTE:—This happens because, from the speaker's ordinary point of view, the subject of his discourse is the most important thing in it, as singled out from all other things to be spoken of.

a. There is in Latin, however, a special tendency to place the verb itself last of all, after all its modifiers. But many writers purposely avoid the monotony of this arrangement by putting the verb last but one, followed by some single word of the predicate.

597. In connected discourse the word most prominent in the speaker's mind comes first, and so on in order of prominence.

This relative prominence corresponds to that indicated in English by graduated stress of voice (usually called emphasis).

a. The difference in emphasis expressed by difference in order of words is illustrated in the following passages:—

apud Xenophōntem autem moriēns Cȳrus māior haec dīcit (Cat. M. 79), IN XENOPHON too, on his death-bed Cyrus, the elder utters these words.

Cȳrus quidem haec moriēns; nōs, sī placet,nostra videāmus (id. 82), CYRUS, to be sure, utters these words on his death-bed; let US, if you please, consider our own case.

Cȳrus quidem apud Xenophōntem eō sermōne, quem moriēns habuit (id. 30), CYRUS, to be sure, in Xenophon, in that speech which he uttered on his death-bed.

NOTE.—This stress or emphasis, however, in English does not necessarily show any violent contrast to the rest of the words in the sentence, but is infinitely varied, constantly increasing and diminishing, and often so subtle as to be unnoticed except in careful study. So, as a general rule, the precedence of words in a Latin sentence is not mechanical, but corresponds to the prominence which a good speaker would mark by skilfully managed stress of voice. A Latin written sentence, therefore, has all the clearness and expression which could be given to a spoken discourse by the best actor in English. Some exceptions to the rule will be treated later.

The first chapter of Caesar's Gallic War, if rendered so as to bring out as far as possible the shades of emphasis, would run thus:—

GAUL,[1] in the widest sense, is divided[2] into three parts,[3] which are inhabited[4] (as follows): one[5] by the Belgians, another[6] by the Aquitani, the third by a people called in their own[7] language Celts, in ours Gauls. THESE[8] in their language, [9] institutions, and laws are all of them[10] different. The GAULS[11] (proper) are separated[12] from the Aquitani by the river Garonne, from the Belgians by the Marne and Seine. Of THESE[13] (TRIBES) the bravest of all[14] are the Belgians, for the reason that they live farthest[15] away from the CIVILIZATION and REFINEMENT of the Province, and because they are LEAST[16] of all of them subject to the visits of traders,[17] and to the (consequent) importation of such things as[18] tend to soften[19] their warlike spirit; and are also nearest[20] to the Germans, who live across the Rhine,[21] and with whom they are incessantly,[22] at war. For the same reason the HELVETIANS, as well, are superior to all the other Gauls in valor, because they are engaged in almost daily battles with the Germans, either defending their own boundaries from them or themselves making war on those of the Germans. Of ALL THIS country, one part—the one which, as has been said, the Gauls (proper) occupy—BEGINS at the river Rhone. Its boundaries are the river Garonne, the ocean, and the confines of the Belgians. It even REACHES on the side of the Sequani and Helvetians the river Rhine. Its general direction is towards the north. The BELGIANS begin at the extreme limits of Gaul; they reach (on this side) as far as the lower part of the Rhine. They spread to the northward and eastward.
AQUITANIA extends from the Garonne to the Pyrenees, and that part of the ocean that lies towards Spain. It runs off westward and northward.
Gallia est omnis dīvīsa in partīs trīs, quārum ūnam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquītānī, tertiam quī ipsōrum linguā Celtae, nostrā Gallī appellantur. Hī omnēs linguā, īnstitūtīs, lēgibus inter sē differunt. Gallōs ab Aquītānīs Garumna flūmen, ā Belgīs Mātrona et Sēquana dīvidit. Hōrum omnium fortissimī sunt Belgae, proptereā quod ā cultu atque hūmānitāte prōvinciae longissimē absunt, minimēque ad eōs mercātōrēs saepe commeant atque ea quae ad effēminandōs animōs pertinent important, proximīque sunt Germānīs, quī trāns Rhēnum incolunt, quibuscum continenter bellum gerunt. Quā dē causā Helvētiī quoque reliquōs Gallōs virtūte praecēdunt, quod ferē cotīdiānīs proeliīs cum Germānīs contendunt, cum aut suīs fīnibus eōs prohibent, aut ipsī in eōrum fīnibus bellum gerunt. Eōrum ūna pars, quam Gallōs obtinēre dictum est, initium capit ā flūmine Rhodanō; continētur Garumnā flūmine, Ōceanō, fīnibus Belgārum; attingit etiam ab Sēquanīs et Helvētiīs flūmen Rhēnum; vergit ad septentriōnēs. Belgae ab extrēmīs Galliae fīnibus oriuntur: pertinent ad īnferiōrem partem flūminis Rhēni; spectant in septentriōnem et orientem sōlem. Aquitānia ā Garumnā flūmine ad Pȳrēnaeōs montīs et eam partem Ōceanī quae est ad Hispāniam pertinet; spectat inter occāsum sōlis et septentriōnēs.

b. The more important word is never placed last for emphasis. The apparent cases of this usage (when the emphasis is not misconceived) are cases where a word is added as an afterthought, either real or affected, and so has its position not in the sentence to which it is appended, but, as it were, in a new one.

598. The main rules for the Order of Words are as follows:—

a. In any phrase the determining and most significant word comes first:—

1. Adjective and Noun:—

omnīs hominēs decet, EVERY man ought (opposed to some who do not).

Lūcius Catilīna nōbilī genere nātus fuit, māgnā vī et animī et corporis, sed ingeniō malō prāvōque (Sall. Cat. 5), Lucius Catiline was born of a NOBLE family, with GREAT force of mind and body, but with a NATURE that was evl and depraved. [Here the adjectives in the first part are the emphatic and important words, no antithesis between the nouns being as yet thought of; but in the second branch the noun is meant to be opposed to those before mentioned, and immediately takes the prominent place, as is seen by the natural English emphasis, thus making a chiasmus.[23] (see f below).

2. Word with modifying case:—

quid magis Epamīnōndam, Thēbānōrum imperātōrem, quam victōriae Thēbānōrum cōnsulere decuit (Inv. i. 69), what should Epaminondas, commander of the THEBANS, have aimed at more than the VICTORY of the Thebans?

lacrimā nihil citius ārēscit (id. i. 109), nothing dries quicker than a TEAR.

nēmō ferē laudis cupidus (De Or. i. 14), hardly any one desirous of GLORY (cf. Manil. 7, avidī laudis, EAGER for glory).

b. Numeral adjectives, adjectives of quantity, demonstrative, relative, and interrogative pronouns and adverbs, tend to precede the word or words to which they belong:—

cum aliquā perturbātiōne (Off. i. 137), with SOME disturbance.

hōc ūnō praestāmus (De Or. i. 32), in THIS one thing we excel.

cēterae ferē artēs, the OTHER arts.

NOTE.—This happens because such wors are usually emphatic; but often the words connected with them are more so, and in such cases the pronouns etc. yield the emphatic place:—
causa aliqua (De Or. i. 250), some CASE.
stilus ille tuus (id. i. 257), that well-known STYLE of yours (in an antithesis; see passage). [Ille is idiomatic in this sense and position.]
Rōmam quae apportāta sunt (Verr. iv. 121), what were carried to ROME (in contrast to what remained at Syracuse).

c. When sum is used as the Substantive verb (§ 284. b), it regularly stands first, or at any rate before its subject:—

est virī māgnī pūnīre sontīs (Off.i. 82), it is the duty of a great man to punish the guilty.

d. The verb may come first, or have a prominent position, either (1) because the idea in it is emphatic; or (2) because the predication of the whole statement is emphatic; or (3) the tense only may be emphatic:—

(1) dīcēbat idem Cotta (Off. ii. 59), Cotta used to SAY the same thing (opposed to others' boasting).

idem fēcit adulēscēns M. Antōnius (id. ii. 49), the same thing was DONE by Mark Antony in his youth. [Opposed to dīxī just before.]

facis amīcē (Lael. 9), you ACT kindly. [Cf. amīcē facis, you are very KIND (you act KINDLY).]

(2) prōpēnsior benīgnitās esse dēbēbit in calamitōsōs nisi forte erunt dīgnī calamitāte (Off. ii. 62), liberality ought to be readier toward the unfortunate unless perchance they REALLY DESERVE their misfortune.

praesertim cum scrībat (Panaetius) (id. iii. 8), especially when he DOES SAY (in his books). [Opposed to something omitted by him.]

(3) fuimus Trōes, fuit Īlium (Aen. ii. 325), we have CEASED to be Trojans, Troy is now no MORE.

loquor autem dē commūnibus amīcitiīs (Off. iii. 45), but I am SPEAKING NOW of common friendships.

e. Often the connection of two emphatic phrases is brought about by giving the precedence to the most prominent part of each and leaving the less prominent parts to follow in inconspicuous places:—

plūrēs solent esse causae (Off. i. 28), there are USUALLY SEVERAL reasons.

quōs āmīsimus cīvīs, eōs Mārtis vīs perculit (Marc. 17), WHAT fellow-citizens we have LOST, have been stricken down by the violence of war.

maximās tibi omnēs grātiās agimus (id. 33), we ALL render you the WARMEST thanks.

haec rēs ūnīus est propria Caesaris (id. 11), THIS exploit belongs to Cæsar ALONE.

obiūrgātiōnēs etiam nōn numquam incidunt necessāriae (Off. i. 136), OCCASIONS FOR REBUKE also SOMETIMES occur which are unavoidable.

f. Antithesis between two pairs of ideas is indicated by placing their pairs either (1) in the same order (anaphora) or (2) in exactly the opposite order (chiasmus):—

(1) rērum cōpia verbōrum cōpiam gignit (De Or. iii. 125), ABUNDANCE of MATTER produces COPIOUSNESS of EXPRESSION.

(2) lēgēs suppliciō improbōs afficiunt, dēfendunt ac tuentur bonōs (Legg. ii. 13), the laws VISIT PUNISHMENTS upon the WICKED, but the GOOD they DEFEND and PROTECT.

NOTE.—Chiasmus is very common in Latin, and often seems in fact the more inartificial construction. In an artless narrative one might hear, "The women were all drowned, they saved the men."
nōn igitur ūtilitātem amīcitia, sed ūtilitās amīcitiam cōnsecūta est (Lael. 51), it is not then that friendship has followed upon advantage, but advantage upon friendship. [Here the chiasmus is only grammatical, the ideas being in the parallel order.] (See also p. 395: longissmē, minimē, proximī.)

g. A modifier of a phrase or some part of it is often embodied within the phrase (cf. a):—

dē commūnī hominum memoriā (Tusc. i. 59), in regard to the UNIVERSAL memory of man.

h. A favorite order with the poets is the interlocked, by which the attribute of one pair comes between the parts of the other (synchysis):—

et superiectō pavidae natārunt aequore dammae (Hor. Od. i. 2. 11).

NOTE.—This is often joined with chiasmus: as,—arm nōndum expiātīs ūncta cruōribus (id. ii. 1. 5).

i. Frequently unimportant words follow in the train of more emphatic ones with which they are grammatically connected, and so acquire a prominence out of proportion to their importance:—

dictitābat sē hortulōs aliquōs emere velle (Off. iii. 58), he gave out that he wanted to buy some gardens. [Here aliquōs is less emphatic than emere, but precedes it on account of the emphasis on hortulōs.]

j. The copula is generally felt to be of so little importance that it may come in anywhere it sounds well; but usually under cover of more emphatic words:—

cōnsul ego quaesīvī, cum vōs mihi essētis in cōnsiliō (Rep. iii. 28), as consul I held an investigation in which you attended me in council.

falsum est id tōtum (id. ii. 28), that is all false.

k. Many expressions have acquired an invariable order:—

rēs pūblica; populus Rōmānus; honōris causā; pāce tantī virī.

NOTE.—These had, no doubt, originally an emphasis which required such an arrangement, but in the course of time have changed their shade of meaning. Thus, senātus populusque Rōmānus originally stated with emphasis the official bodies, but became fixed so as to be the only permissible form of expression.

l. The Romans had a fondness for emphasizing persons, so that a name or a pronoun often stands in an emphatic place:—

[dīxit] vēnālis quidem hortōs nōn habēre (Off. iii. 58), [said] that he didn't have any gardens for sale, to be sure.

m. Kindred words often come together (figūra etymologica):—

ita sēnsim sine sēnsū aetās senēscit (Cat. M. 38), thus gradually, without being perceived, man's life grows old.

Special Rules

599. The following are special rules of arrangement:—

a. The negative precedes the word it especially affects; but if it belongs to no one word in particular, it generally precedes the verb; if it is especially emphatic, it begins the sentence. (See example, 598., f. N.)

b. Itaque regularly comes first in its sentence or clause; enim, autem, vērō, quoque, never first, but usually second, sometimes third if the second word is emphatic; quidem never first, but after the emphatic word; igitur usually second; nē ... quidem include the emphatic word or words.

c. Inquam, inquit, are always used parenthetically, following one or more words. So often crēdō, opīnor, and in poetry sometimes precor.

d. (1) Prepositions (except tenus and versus) regularly precede their nouns; (2) but a monsyllabic preposition is often placed between a noun and its adjective or limiting genitive:—

quem ad modum; quam ob rem; māgnō cum metū; omnibus cum cōpiīs; nūllā in rē (cf. § 598. i).

e. In the arrangement of clauses, the Relative clause more often comes first in Latin, and usually contains the antecedent noun:—

quōs āmīsimus cīvīs, eōs Mārtis vīs perculit (Marc. 17), those citizens whom we have lost, etc.

f. Personal or demonstrative pronouns tend to stand together in the sentence:—

cum vōs mihi essētis in cōnsiliō (Rep. iii. 28), when you attended me in counsel.

Structure of the Period

600. Latin, unlike modern languages, expresses the relation of words to each other by inflection rather than by position. Hence its structure not only admits of great variety in the arrangement of words, but is especially favorable to that form of sentence which is called a Period. In a period, the sense is expressed by the sentence as a whole, and is held in suspense till the delivery of the last word.

An English sentence does not often exhibit this form of structure. It was imitated, sometimes with great skill and beauty, by many of the earlier writers of English prose; but its effect is better seen in poetry, as in the following passage:—

High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East, with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat.—Paradise Lost, ii. 1–5

But in argument or narrative, the best English writers more commonly give short clear sentences, each distinct from the rest, and saying one thing by itself. In Latin, on the contrary, the story or argument is viewed as a whole; and the logical relation among all its parts is carefully indicated.

601. In the structure of the Period, the following rules are to be observed.—

a. In general the main subject or object is put in the main clause, not in a subordinate one:—

Hannibal cum recēnsuisset auxilia Gādēs profectus est (Liv. xxi. 21), when Hannibal had reviewed the auxiliaries, he set out for Cadiz.

Volscī exiguam spem in armīs, aliā undique abscissā, cum tentāssent, praeter cētera adversa, locō quoque inīquō ad pūgnam congressī, inīquiōre ad fugam, cum ab omnī parte caederentur, ad precēs ā certāmine versī dēditō imperātōre trāditīsque armīs, sub iugum missī, cum singulīs vestīmentīs, īgnōminiae clādisque plēnī dīmittuntur (Liv. iv. 10). [Here the main fact is the return of the Volscians. But the striking circumstances of the surrender etc., which in English would be detailed in a number of brief independent sentences, are put into the several subordinate clauses within the main clause so that the passage gives a complete picture in one sentence.]

b. Clauses are usually arranged in the order of prominence in the mind of the speaker; so, usually, cause before result; purpose, manner, and the like, before the act.

c.In coördinate clauses, the copulative conjunctions are frequently omitted (asyndeton). In such cases the connection is made clear by some antithesis indicated by the position of words.

d. A change of subject, when required, is marked by the introduction of a pronoun, if the new subject has already been mentioned. But such change is often purposely avoided by a change in structure,—the less important being merged in the more important by the aid of participles or of subordinate prhases:—

quem ut barbarī incendium effūgisse vīdērunt, tēlīs ēminus missīs interfēcērunt (Nep. Alc. 10), when the barbarians saw that he had escaped, THEY threw darts at HIM at long range and killed HIM.

celeriter cōnfectō negōtiō, in hīberna legiōnēs redūxit (B. G. vi. 3); the matter was soon finished, AND he led the legions, etc.

e. So the repetition of a noun, or the substitution of a pronoun for it, is avoided unless a different case is required:—

dolōrem sī nōn potuerō frangere occultābō (Phil. xii. 21), if I cannot conquer the pain, I will hide IT. [Cf. if I cannot conquer I will hide the pain.]

f. The Romans were careful tho close a period with an agreeable succession of long and short syllables. Thus,—

quod scīs nihil prōdest, quod nescīs multum obest (Or. 166), what you know is of no use, what you do not know does great harm.

NOTE.—In rhetorical writing, particularly in oratory, the Romans, influenced by their study of the Greek orators, gave more attention to this matter than in other forms of composition. Quintilian (ix. 4. 72) lays down the general rule that a clause should not open with the beginning of a verse or close with the end of one.


[1] GAUL: emphatic as the subject of discourse, as with a title or the like.
[2] Divided: opposed to the false conception (implied in the use of omnis) that the country called Gallia by the Romans is one. This appears more clearly from the fact that Caesar later speaks of the Gallī in a narrower sense as distinct from the other two tribes, who with them inhabit Gallia in the wider sense.
[3] Parts: continuing the emphasis begung in dīvīsa. Not three parts as opposed to any other number, but into parts at all.
[4] Inhabited: emphatic as the next subject, "The inhabitants of these parts are, etc."
[5] One: given more prominence than it otherwise would have on account of its close connection with quārum.
[6] Another, etc.: opposed to one.
[7] Their own, ours: strongly opposed to each other.
[8] THESE (tribes): the main subject of discourse again, collecting under one head the names previously mentioned.
[9] Language, etc.: these are the most prominent ideas, as giving the striking points which distinguish the tribes. The emphasis becomes natural in English if we say "these have a different language, different institutions, different laws."
[10] All of them: the emphasis on all marks the distributive character of the adjective, as if it were "every one has its own, etc."
[11] GAULS: emphatic as referring to the Gauls proper in distinction from the other tribes.
[12] Separated: though this word contains an indispensable idea in the connection, yet it has a subordinate position. It is not emphatic in Latin, as is seen from the fact that it cannot be made emphatic in English. The sense is: The Gauls lie between the Aquitani on the one side, and the Belgians on the other.
[13] Of THESE: the subject of discourse.
[14] All: emphasizing the superlative idea in "bravest"; they, as Gauls, are assumed to be warlike, but the most so of all of them are the Belgians.
[15] Farthest away: one might expect absunt (are away) to have a more emphatic place, but it is dwarfed in importance by the predominance of the main idea, the effeminating influences from which the Belgians are said to be free. It is not that they live farthest off that is insisted on, but that the civilization of the Province etc., which would soften them, comes less in their way. It is to be noticed also that absunt has already been anticipated by the construction of cultū and still more by longissimē, so that when it comes it amounts only to a formal part of the sentence. Thus,—"because the civilization etc. of the Province (which would soften them) is farthest from them."
[16] LEAST: made emphatic here by a common Latin order, the chiasmus (§ 598. f).
[17] Traders: the fourth member of the chiasmus, opposed to cultū and hūmānitāte.
[18] Such things as: the importance of the nature of the importations overshadows the fact that they are imported, which fact is anticipated in traders.
[19] Soften: cf. what is said, in note 15, p. 394. They are brave because they have less to soften them, their native barbarity being taken for granted.
[20] Nearest: the same idiomatic prominence as in note LEAST above, [TR: "note 1" → "note LEAST"] but varied by a special usage combining chiasmus and anaphora (§ 598. f).
[21] Across the Rhine: i.e. and so are perfect savages.
[22] Incessantly: the continuance of the warfare becomes the all-important idea, as if it were "and not a day passes in which they are not at war with them."
[23] So called from the Greek letter X (chī), on account of the criss-cross arrangement of the words. [TR: crisscross-image not reproduced here]

New Latin Grammar (1895, 1908, 1918)

Charles E. Bennett

CHAPTER VII.—Word-order and Sentence-Structure.


348. In the normal arrangement of the Latin sentence the Subject stands at the beginning of the sentence, the Predicate at the end; as,—

Dārīus classem quīngentārum nāvium comparāvit, Darius got ready a fleet of five hundred ships.

349. But for the sake of emphasis the normal arrangement is often abandoned, and the emphatic word is put at the beginning, less frequently at the end of the sentence; as,—

magnus in hōc bellō Themistoclēs fuit, GREAT was Themistocles in this war;

aliud iter habēmus nūllum, other course we have NONE.


350. 1. Nouns. A Genitive or other oblique case regularly follows the word upon which it depends. Thus:—

a) Depending upon a Noun:—

tribūnus plēbis, tribune of the plebs;

fīlius rēgis, son of the king;

vir magnī animī, a man of noble spirit.

Yet always senātūs cōnsultum, plēbis scītum.

b) Depending upon an Adjective:—

ignārus rērum, ignorant of affairs;

dignī amīcitiā, worthy of friendship;

plūs aequō, more than (what is) fair.

2. Appositives. An Appositive regularly follows its Subject; as,—

Philippus, rēx Macedonum, Philip, king of the Macedonians;

adsentātiō, vitiōrum adjūtrīx, flattery, promoter of evils.

Yet flūmen Rhēnus, the River Rhine; and always in good prose urbs Rōma, the city Rome.

3. The Vocative usually follows one or more words; as,—

audī, Caesar, hear, Caesar!

4. Adjectives. No general law can be laid down for the position of Adjectives. On the whole they precede the noun oftener than they follow it.

a. Adjectives of quantity (including numerals) regularly precede their noun; as,—

omnēs hominēs, all men;

septingentae nāvēs, seven hundred vessels.

b. Note the force of position in the following:—

media urbs, the middle of the city;

urbs media, the middle city,

extrēmum bellum, the end of the war;

bellum extrēmum, the last war.

c. Rōmānus and Latīnus regularly follow; as,—

senātus populusque Rōmānus, the Roman Senate and People;

lūdī Rōmānī, the Roman games;

fēriae Latīnae, the Latin holidays.

d. When a Noun is modified both by an Adjective and by a Genitive, a favorite order is: Adjective, Genitive, Noun; as,—

summa omnium rērum abundantia, the greatest abundance of all things.

5. Pronouns.

a. The Demonstrative, Relative, and Interrogative Pronouns regularly precede the Noun; as,—

hīc homō, this man;

ille homō, that man;

erant duo itinera, quibus itineribus, etc., there were two routes, by which, etc.

quī homō? what sort of man?

b. But ille in the sense of 'that well known,' 'that famous,' usually stands after its Noun; as,—

testula illa, that well-known custom of ostracism;

Mēdēa illa, that famous Medea.

c. Possessive and Indefinite Pronouns usually follow their Noun; as,—

pater meus, my father;

homō quīdam, a certain man;

mulier aliqua, some woman.

But for purposes of contrast the Possessive often precedes its Noun; as,—

meus pater, MY father (i.e. as opposed to yours, his, etc.).

d. Where two or more Pronouns occur in the same sentence, the Latin is fond of putting them in close proximity; as,—

nisi forte ego vōbīs cessāre videor, unless perchance I seem to you to be doing nothing.

6. Adverbs and Adverbial phrases regularly precede the word they modify; as,—

valdē dīligēns, extremely diligent;

saepe dīxī, I have often said;

tē jam diū hortāmur, we have long been urging you;

paulō post, a little after.

7. Prepositions regularly precede the words they govern.

a. But limiting words often intervene between the Preposition and its case; as,—

dē commūnī hominum memoriā, concerning the common memory of men;

ad beātē vīvendum, for living happily.

b. When a noun is modified by an Adjective, the Adjective is often placed before the preposition; as,—

magnō in dolōre, in great grief;

summā cum laude, with the highest credit;

quā dē causā, for which cause;

hanc ob rem, on account of this thing.

c. For Anastrophe, by which a Preposition is put after its case, see § 144, 3.

8. Conjunctions. Autem, enim, and igitur regularly stand in the second place in the sentence, but when combined with est or sunt they often stand third; as,—

ita est enim, for so it is.

9. Words or Phrases referring to the preceding sentence or to some part of it, regularly stand first; as,—

id ut audīvit, Corcyram dēmigrāvit, when he heard that (referring to the contents of the preceding sentence), he moved to Corcyra;

eō cum Caesar vēnisset, timentēs cōnfirmat, when Caesar had come thither (i.e. to the place just mentioned), he encouraged the timid.

10. The Latin has a fondness for putting side by side words which are etymologically related; as,—

ut ad senem senex dē senectūte, sīc hōc librō ad amīcum amīcissimus dē amīcitiā scrīpsī, as I, an old man, wrote to an old man, on old age, so in this book, as a fond friend, I have written to a friend, concerning friendship.

11. Special rhetorical devices for indicating emphasis are the following:—

a) Hypérbaton, which consists in the separation of words that regularly stand together; as,—

septimus mihi Orīginum liber est in manibus, the seventh book of my 'Origines' is under way;

receptō Caesar Ōricō proficīscitur, having recovered Oricus, Caesar set out.

b) Anáphora, which consists in the repetition of the same word or the same word-order in successive phrases; as,—

sed plēnī omnēs sunt librī, plēnae sapientium vōcēs, plēna exemplōrum vetustās, but all books are full of it, the voices of sages are full of it, antiquity is full of examples of it.

c) Chiásmus,[1] which consists in changing the relative order of words in two antithetical phrases; as,—

multōs dēfendī, laesī nēminem, many have I defended, I have injured no one;

horribilem illum diem aliīs, nōbīs faustum, that day dreadful to others, for us fortunate.

d) Sýnchysis, or the interlocked arrangement. This is mostly confined to poetry, yet occurs in rhetorical prose, especially that of the Imperial Period; as,—

simulātam Pompejānārum grātiam partium, pretended interest in the Pompeian party.

12. Metrical Close. At the end of a sentence certain cadences were avoided; others were much employed. Thus:—

a) Cadences avoided.

long, short, short, long, either as, esse vidētur (close of hexameter).

long, short, short, either as, esse potest (close of pentameter).

b) Cadences frequently employed.

long, short, long as, auxerant.

long, short, long, short as, comprobāvit.

long, short, short, short, long, short as, esse videātur.

short, long, long, short, long as, rogātū tuō.


351. 1. Unity of Subject.—In complex sentences the Latin regularly holds to unity of Subject in the different members; as,—

Caesar prīmum suō, deinde omnium ex cōnspectū remōtīs equīs, ut aequātō perīculō spem fugae tolleret, cohortātus suōs proelium commīsit, Caesar having first removed his own horse from sight, then the horses of all, in order, by making the danger equal, to take away hope of flight, encouraged his men and joined battle.

2. A word serving as the common Subject or Object of the main clause and a subordinate one, stands before both; as,—

Haeduī cum sē dēfendere nōn possent, lēgātōs ad Caesarem mittunt, since the Haedui could not defend themselves, they sent envoys to Caesar;

ille etsī flagrābat bellandī cupiditāte, tamen pācī serviendum putāvit, although he was burning with a desire to fight, yet he thought he ought to aim at peace.

a. The same is true also

1) When the Subject of the main clause is Object (Direct or Indirect) of a subordinate clause; as,—

Caesar, cum hōc eī nūntiatum esset, mātūrat ab urbe proficīscī, when this had been reported to Caesar he hastened to set out from the city.

2) When the Subject of a subordinate clause is at the same time the Object (Direct or Indirect) of the main clause; as,—

L. Mānliō, cum dictātor fuisset, M. Pompōnius tribūnus plēbis diem dīxit, M. Pomponius, tribune of the people, instituted proceedings against Lucius Manlius, though he had been dictator.

3. Of subordinate clauses, temporal, conditional, and adversative clauses more commonly precede the main clause; indirect questions and clauses of purpose or result more commonly follow; as,—

postquam haec dīxit, profectus est, after he said this, he set out;

sī quis ita agat, imprūdēns sit, if any one should act so, he would be devoid of foresight;

accidit ut ūnā nocte omnēs Hermae dēicerentur, it happened that in a single night all the Hermae were thrown down.

4. Sometimes in Latin the main verb is placed within the subordinate clause; as,—

sī quid est in mē ingenī, quod sentiō quam sit exiguum, if there is any talent in me, and I know how little it is.

5. The Latin Period. The term Period, when strictly used, designates a compound sentence in which the subordinate clauses are inserted within the main clause; as,—

Caesar etsī intellegēbat quā dē causā ea dīcerentur, tamen, nē aestātem in Trēverīs cōnsūmere cōgerētur, Indutiomārum ad sē venīre jussit, though Caesar perceived why this was said, yet, lest he should be forced to spend the summer among the Treveri, he ordered Indutiomarus to come to him.

In the Periodic structure the thought is suspended until the end of the sentence is reached. Many Roman writers were extremely fond of this sentence-structure, and it was well adapted to the inflectional character of their language; in English we generally avoid it.

6. When there are several subordinate clauses in one Period, the Latin so arranges them as to avoid a succession of verbs. Thus:—

At hostēs cum mīsissent, quī, quae in castrīs gererentur, cognōscerent, ubi sē dēceptōs intellēxērunt, omnibus cōpiīs subsecūtī ad flūmen contendunt, but the enemy when they had sent men to learn what was going on in camp, after discovering that they had been outwitted, followed with all their forces and hurried to the river.


[1] So named from a fancied analogy to the strokes of the Greek letter X (chi). [TR: graphic representation not reproduced here]

Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar (1903)

B.L. Gildersleeve & Gonzalez Lodge


671. The Latin language allows greater freedom in the arrangement of words than the English. This freedom is, of course, due to its greater wealth of inflections.

Two elements enter into the composition of a Latin Sentence, governing to some extent its arrangement: Grammar and Rhetoric.

672. 1. Grammatical arrangement has for its object clearness. It shows the ideas in the order of development in the mind of the speaker. By Grammatical arrangement the sentence grows under the view.

2. Rhetorical arrangement has for its objects Emphasis and Rhythm. It presents a sentence already developed in such a way that the attention is directed to certain parts of it especially.

(a) Emphasis is produced:

1. By reversing the ordinary position.

2. By approximation of similars or opposites.

3. By separation.

In all sentences Beginning and End are emphatic points. In long sentences the Means as well as the Extremes are the points of emphasis.

(b) Rhythm.—Much depends on the rhythmical order of words, for which the treatises of the ancients are to be consulted. Especially avoided are poetic rhythms. So, for example, the Dactyl and Spondee, or close of an Hexameter at the end of a period.

673. Two further principles seem to underlie the arrangement of Latin sentences: (a) that of the ascending construction; (b) that of the descending construction. In the ascending construction, which is more common, the principal word is placed last, and the subordinate ones, in the order of their prominence, precede. In the descending construction the reverse is the process. The descending construction is regular in definitions.

674. RULE I.—The most simple arrangement of a sentence is as follows

1. The Subject and its Modifiers.

2. The Predicate and its Modifiers.

1. Dionȳsius tyrannus, Syrācūsīs expulsus, 2. Corinthī puerōs docēbat, C., Tusc., III. 12, 27 (665).

Rhetorical positions:

Potentēs sequitur invidia, Quint. IV. 1, 14 (477, N. 4). Nōbīs nōn satisfacit ipse Dēmosthenēs, Cf. C., Or., 29, 104 (552, R. 1). Dīscrīptus (erat) populus cēnsū, ōrdinibus, aetātibus, C., Leg., III. 19, 44 (397). Intrā moenia sunt hostēs, S., C., 52, 35 (477).

REMARK.—The modifiers of the predicate stand in the order of their importance. The following arrangement is common:

1. Place, Time, Cause, or Means. 2. Indirect Object. 3. Direct Object. 4. Adverb. 5. Verb.

NOTE.—the postponement of the subject is rare and always for definite reasons in the classical period; later it becomes a mannerism, especially in the elder PLINY; to a less degree in NEPOS and LIVY.

675. RULE II.—Interrogative Sentences begin with the interrogative, subordinate clauses with the leading particle or relative.

Quis eum dīligat quem metuat? C., Lael., 15, 53 (629). Postquam Caesar pervēnit obsidēs popōscit, Caes., B. G., I. 27, 3 (561). Sī spīritum dūcit vīvit. C., Inv., I. 46, 86 (595). Quī timēre dēsierint ōdisse incipient, Tac., Agr., 32 (567).

Rhetorical position:

[Nātūram] sī sequēmur ducem, numquam aberrābimus, C., Off., I. 28, 100 (595). Dē fūtūrīs rēbus etsī semper difficile est dīcere, tamen interdum coniectūrā possīs accēdere, C., Fam., VI. 4, 1 (604). [Catō] mīrārī sē āiēbat quod nōn rīdēret haruspex, haruspicem cum vīdisset, C., Div., II. 24, 51 (567).

676. RULE III.—An adjective usually precedes, but often follows the word to which it belongs; a dependent Genitive usually follows the governing word; so too does a word in Apposition.

Saepe māgna indolēs virtūtis priusquam reī pūblicae prōdesse potuisset exstincta est, C., Ph., V. 17, 47 (577). Sēnsum oculōrum praecipit animus, Quint., VI. 2, 6 (540).

Rhetorical position:

[Īsocratēs] queritur plūs honōris corporum quam animōrum virtūtibus darī, Quint., III. 8, 9 (542, R.). [Ager], cum multōs annos quiēvit, ūberiōrēs efferre frūgēs solet, C., Br., 4, 16 (567). Verēmur nē parum hīc liber mellis et absinthiī multum habēre videātur, Quint., III. 1, 5 (550).

REMARKS.—1. The demonstrative pronouns regularly precede; the possessives regularly follow.

Verēmur nē hīc liber absinthiī multum habēre videātur, Quin., III. 1, 5 (550). Torquātus fīlium suum necārī iūssit, S., C., 52, 30 (540).

Rhetorical position:

Recordāre tempus illud, cum pater Cūriō maerēns iacēbat in lectō, C., Ph., II. 18, 45 (580). Ōsculātur tigrim suus cūstōs, Sen., E. M., 85, 41 (309, 2).

2. Ordinals regularly follow, Cardinals regularly precede the substantive.

3. Many expressions have become fixed formulae: so titles, proper names, and the like; see 288.

Facinus est vincīre cīvem Rōmānum, C. Verr., V. 66, 170 (535).

4. The titles rēx, imperātor, etc., frequently precede the proper name with which they are in apposition.

5. New modifiers of either element may be inserted, prefixed, or added:

Catōnem vīdī in bibliothēcā sedentem multīs circumfūsum Stōicōrum librīs, C. Fin., III. 2, 7 (536). Saepe māgna indolēs virtūtis priusquam reī pūblicae prōdesse potuisset exstincta est, C., Ph., V. 17, 47 (577). At vidēte hominis intolerābilem audāciam, C., Dom., 44, 115 (488). (Aristīdēs) interfuit pūgnae nāvālī apud Salamīna, Nep. III. 2, 1.

NOTES.—1. The tendency in Latin was to reverse the Indo-Germanic rule by which an attributive adjective and a dependent Genitive preceded the governing word. But in early Latin the adjective still holds its place more often before its substantive, while the Genitive has already succumbed for the most part to the tendency. In the classical period the adjective is more often used after its substantive. But neither position can be strictly called rhetorical. The same is true of the possessive pronoun.
2. The original force of a following adjective or Genitive was restrictive or appositional, while, when it preceded, it formed a close compound with its substantive; thus bonus homŏ̄, a good man (one idea); homŏ̄ bonus, a man (one idea) who is good (another idea). In classical Latin this distinction is no longer inevitable, though it is often essential.

677. RULE IV.—Adverbs are commonly put next to their verb (before it when it ends a sentence), and immediately before their adjective or adverb.

Zēnōnem cum Athēnīs essem audiēbam frequenter...., C., N. D., I. 21, 59 (585). Caedī dīscipulōs minimē velim, Quint., I. 3, 13 (257). Vix cuīquam persuādēbātur Graeciā omnī cēssūrōs (Rōmānōs), L., XXXIII. 32, 3 (546, R. 1). [Rīsus] interdum ita repente ērumpit ut eum cupientēs tenēre nequeāmus, C., Or., II. 58, 235 (609).

Rhetorical positions:

[Īram] bene Ennius initium dīxit īnsāniae, C., Tusc., IV. 23, 52 (440). Saepe māgna indolēs virtūtis priusquam reī pūblicae prōdesse potuisset exstincta est, C., Ph., V. 17, 47 (577).

REMARKS.—1. Ferē, paene, prope, usually follow:

Nēmŏ̄ ferē saltat sōbrius nisi forte īnsānit, C., Mur., 6, 13 (591, R. 4).

2. Negatives always precede, see 448.

NOTE.—The separation of adverbs from their adjectives is rare, except in the case of tam and quam, which PLAUTUS, TERENCE, CICERO, and later authors often separate, e.g., by a preposition: tam ab tenuī exitiō. Hyperbaton with other adverbs is rare.

678. RULE V.—Prepositions regularly precede their case (413).

à rēctā cōnscientiā trāversum unguem nōn oportet discēdere, C., Att., XIII. 20, 4 (328, 1).

REMARKS.—1. On versus, tenus, and the postposition of cum in combination with the personal pronouns and the relative, see 413, R. 1.

2. Monosyllabic prepositions are not unfrequently put between the adjective and substantive: māgnā cum cūrā. See 413, R. 2.

Less frequently they are placed between the Gen. and substantive; except when the relative is employed.

3. Dissyllabic prepositions are sometimes put after their case (Anastrophé), especially after a relative or demonstrative: most frequently contrā, inter, propter. So also adverbs. See 413, R. 1.

4. The preposition may be separated from its case by a Gen. or an adverb (413, R. 3): ad Appī Claudī senectūtem accēdēbat etiam ut caecus esset, C., Cat. M., 6, 16 (553, 4).

5. Monosyllabic prepositions, such as cum, ex, dē, post, sometimes append the enclitics -que, -ve, -ne, as, exque iīs, and from them. Usually, however, the enclitics join the dependent substantive: in patriamque rediit, and returned to his country. See 413, N. 3.

On the position of per, see 413, N. 2.

679. RULE VI.—Particles vary.

Enim commonly takes the second, seldom the third place; nam and namque are regularly prepositive. See 498, N. 1.

Ergō in the syllogism precedes, elsewhere follows; igitur is commonly second or third; itaque regularly first. See 502, N. 2; 500, R.

Tamen is first, but may follow an emphatic word. See 490.

Etiam usually precedes, quoque always follows. See 478, 479.

Quidem and dēmum (at length) follow the word to which they belong.

680. RULE VII.—A word that belongs to more than one word regularly stands before them all, or after them all, sometimes after the first (291).

Ariovistus respondit multīs sēsē nōbilibus prīncipibusque populī Rōmānī grātum esse factūrum, Caes. B. G., I. 44, 12 (657, 9). [Īsocratēs] queritur plūs honōris corporum quam animōrum virtūtibus darī, Quint., III. 8, 9 (542, R.). Longum est mūlōrum persequī ūtilitātēs et asinōrum, C., N. D., II. 64, 159 (254, R. 1).

681. RULE VIII.—Words of kindred or opposite meaning are often put side by side for the sake of complement or contrast.

Manus manum lavat, one hand washes the other. [Catō] mīrārī sē āiēbat quod nōn rīdēret haruspex, haruspicem cum vīdisset, C., Div. II. 24, 51 (567). Ēmit morte immortālitātem, Quint., IX. 3, 71 (404).

682. RULE IX.—Contrasted Pairs.—When pairs are contrasted, the second is put in the same order as the first, but often in inverse order. The employment of the same order is called Anaphora (repetition). The inverse order is called Chiasmus, or crosswise position, and gives alternate stress. The principle is of wide application, not merely in the simple sentence but also in the period.

Same order (Anaphora).

Fortūna (1) vestra (2) facit ut īrae (1) meae (2) temperem, L., XXXVI. 35, 3 (553, 1). Mālō tē sapiēns (1) hostis (2) metuat quam stultī (1) cīvēs (2) laudent, L., XXII. 39, 20 (546, R. 2).

Inverse order (Chiasmus).

Ante vidēmus (1) fulgōrem (2) quam sonum (2) audiāmus (1), Sen., N. Q., II. 12, 6 (577). Parvī sunt forīs (1) arma (2) nisi est cōnsilium (2) domī (1), C., Off., I. 22, 76 (411, R. 2).

REMARK.—Chiasmus is from the Greek Letter X (chi):

[TR: crisscross-image not reproduced here]

683. Poetical Perculiarities.—In the poets we find many varieties of arrangement of substantive and adjective, designed to draw especial attention to the idea or to colour the verse. These occur chiefly in the Hexameter and Pentameter, but to a lesser degree also in other measures. Thus the substantive and adjective are put either at the end of each hemistich, or at the beginning of each hemistich, or one is at the end of the first and the other at the beginning of the second.

Cerberus et nūllās hodiē petat improbus umbrās [|] et iaceat tacitā lapsa catēna serā, Prop., IV. (V.) II, 25. Pūniceō stābis sūrās ēvincta cothurnō, V., Ec., 7, 32. Mē similem vestrīs mōribus esse putās? Prop., II. (III.) 29 (27), 32.


684. A period is a compound sentence with one or more subordinate clauses, in which sentence the meaning is kept suspended to the close.

685. Latin periods may be divided into two classes:

1. Responsive or Apodotic, in which a Protasis has an Apodosis.

2. Intercalary or Enthetic, in which the various items are inserted in their proper place between Subject and Predicate.

Ut saepe hominēs aegrī morbō gravī, cum aestū febrīque iactantur, sī aquam gelidam bibērunt, prīmō relevārī videntur, deinde multō gravius vehementiusque afflīctantur: sīc hīc morbus, quī est in rē pūblicā relevātus istīus poenā, vehementius, reliquīs vīvīs, ingravēscet, C., Cat. I. 13, 31 (Apodotic).

Catuvolcus, rēx dīmidiae partis Eburōnum, quī ūnā cum Ambiorige cōnsilium inierat, aetāte iam cōnfectus, cum labōrem aut bellī aut fugae ferre nōn posset, omnibus precibus dētēstātus Ambiorigem, quī ēius cōnsiliī auctor fuisset, taxō, cūius māgna in Galliā Germāniāque cōpia est, sē exanimāvit, Caes.., B. G., VI. 31, 5 (Enthetic).

686. Nägelsbach's careful study of the subject has led to the following results. The simplest period is composed of one subordinate (a) and one principal (A) clause; the principal varieties are: (1) a : A, where the principal clause follows the subordinate; (2) A (a) A, where the subordinate clause is inserted within the principal clause; (83) A [|] a, where the principal clause precedes the subordinate clause; (4) a (A) a, where the principal clause is inserted within the subordinate clause. When two subordinate clauses (a, b), independent of each other, are used, the forms are: (5) a : A [|] b; (6) a : A (b) a; (7) A (a) A [|] b; (8) A (a) A (b) A; (9) a : (b : A). If the dependent clauses are of different degree (α, a, A), that is, one depending upon the other, some fifteen additional forms are allowable.

Some examples are:

a (A) a: illōrum vidēs quam niteat ōrātiō, C., Fin., IV. 3, 5.

a : (b : A): cūr nōlint, etiamsī taceant, satis dīcunt, C., Div. in Caec., 6, 21.

α : a : A: quid agātur, cum aperuerō, facile erit statuere, C., Ph., V. 2, 6.

a : A (|) α: illud quid sit, scīre cupiō, quod iacis obscūrē, C., Att., II. 7, 4.

a (|) α (A) a: nōs utī exspectārēmus sē, relīquit quī rogāret, Varro, R. R., I. 2, 32.

A (|) α (a) α: mandō tibĭ̄ plānē, tōtum ut videās cūius modī sit, C., Att., I. 12, 2.

687. Periods are also divided into Historical and Oratorical. The former are, as a rule, simple. The most common form is a : A, i.e., where a subordinate clause is followed by a leading clause: Id ubi dīxisset hastam in hostium fīnēs ēmittēbat, L., I. 42, 13. Another common period, developed and much liked by LIVY, and later by TACITUS, was α : a : A, consisting of (1) a participial clause; (2) a clause introduced by a conjunction; (3) the principal clause. Cf. TAC., Ann., II. 69, 3, dētentus ubi ... accēpit plēbem prōturbat. Historians, having much occasion for description, are also prone to use the descending period, i.e., the form in which the principal clause precedes. So especially NEPOS. LIVY likes also to use two independent subordinate clauses asyndetically.

The Oratorical periods are much more diverse and complicated, owing to the greater variety of effects at which they aim. We find, however, the ascending structure, where the emphasis is continually ascending until it culminates at the end, more common.

See an excellent example in C., Imp., 5, 11:

Vōs eum rēgem inultum esse patiēmini qui lēgātum populī Rōmānī cōnsulārem VINCULĪS ÃC VERBERIBUS ATQUE OMNĪ SUPPLICIŌ EXCRUCIÃTUM NECÃVIT?

Hints towards Latin Prose Composition (1870)

Alex. W. Potts, M.A.


The English language, in common with all those that have lost their inflexions, is compelled to obey somewhat definite and rigid rules in the arrangement of the words composing a sentence. The arrangement is generally that of syntactical analysis, and consequently the different parts of a proposition are divided with distinctness. By this much is gained in facility of expression both in conversation and in writing; and no severe mental tension is required to comprehend the statement made in a proposition. There is however a loss of emphasis, and the subjectivity of a writer is not necessarily obvious on the surface. To make this apparent, weak and careless writers often resort to the mechanical artifice of underlining words in letters, and italicizing them in print.

The Latin language, on the contrary, is transpositive, and lies under no such difficulty. It has of course its usual grammatical order; but this, owing to the inflected forms of nearly all the nouns, adjectives[TR1] and verbs, can be abandoned without obscuring the grammatical construction, whenever logical or rhetorical emphasis or the harmony of the sentence, makes such an alteration desirable. In other words, the order of syntactical analysis can, without involving confusion, yield to the order of thought, and allow the individuality of the writer to impress itself on the face of the sentence.[1] Hence in Latin the order of words is a mirror which reflects the progress of the writer's ideas, and it is therefore essential for the adequate rendering either of English into Latin or of Latin into English, that the usual order of words in Latin should be clearly understood.


On the position of the grammatical Subject and of the Verb.

i. The usual Order is:

Subject......Verb containing predication, as

Homo mortalis est.——Romulus urbem condidit.——Caesar Galliam vicit.——Camillius pedites abire jussit.

The logical subject of a subordinate clause may be the grammatic object of another sentence. The position of it in its own sentence will not be altered, as

Ita memoriae traditum est, Socratem omnem istam disputationem rejecisse.——Animadvertit Caesar, Sequanos nihil earum rerum facere.

A. As the subject then, with the words that qualify it, stands naturally at the beginning of the sentence, in order to gain emphasis it must be placed in some other marked position. The most emphatic position which it can occupy is the one usually held by the verb, viz. that at or near the end of the sentence, as

Cujus in oratione plurimum efficit ipsa concinnitas.——Scenicorum mos tantum habet verecundiam ut in scenam sine subligaculo prodeat nemo.——Quam me delectat Theramenes!——Hannibal jam subibat muros, cum in eum erumpunt Romani.——Quae si populo Romano injuste imperanti accidere potuerunt, quid debent putare singuli?——Citatur reus: agitur causa: paucis verbis accusat Canutius: incipit longe et alte petito prooemio respondere major Cepasius: primo attente auditur ejus oratio: erigebat animum jam demissum et oppressum Oppianicus.——Sensit in se iri Brutus.——Prudentiam sequitur considerata actio.——Romanum quem Caudium, quem Cannae non fregerunt, quae fregisset acies?

B. It must not however be assumed that the subject is always emphatic because it abandons its normal position. It may cede its place to some other word[2] which requires logical or rhetorical prominence, as

Nihil agere animus non potest.——Consulis enim alterius quum nil aliud offenderit, nomen civitati invisum fuit.

C. This is especially the case when the subject has been already mentioned and is known to the reader or hearer, as

Aulus Cluentius causam dicit eâ lege quâ lege senatores soli tenentur. Si obtinuerit causam Cluentius omnes existimabunt obtinuisse propter innocentiam.——Nec tamen mihi quicquam occurrit cur non et Pythagorae sit et Platonis vera sententia; ut enim rationem Plato nullam afferret, ipsâ auctoritate me frangeret.——Tulit hoc dedecus familiae graviter filius; augebatur autem ejus molestia quotidianis querimoniis et assiduo fletu sororis. [Here molestia is already contained in graviter tulit.]——Soror virgo solvit crines et flebiliter nomine sponsum mortuum appellat. Movit feroci juveni animum comploratio sororis in victoriâ suâ tantoque gaudio publico.

D. It is carefully to be noted that in Latin everything logically connected with the subject or object is to be placed in close connexion with it in the sentence, as

i. Dumnorix had much weight with the Sequani through his influence and bribery.Dumnorix gratiâ atque largitione apud Sequanos plurimum valebat.
ii. The Aedui sent ambassadors to Caesar.Aedui legatos ad Caesarem mittunt [not ad Caesarem legatos mittunt, because the legati are connected with the Aedui].
iii. They who wished to derive pleasure from the sight of his calamities owing to the hatred they bore him, used to come to Eumenes.Veniebant ad Eumenem qui propter odium fructum oculis ex ejus casu capere vellent.
iv. Democritus was of course unable to distinguish between black and white after he had lost his sight.Democritus, luminibis omissis, alba scilicet et atra discernere non poterat.
v. Since incessant showers had cut off the approach of the army by inundating all the fields, two garrisons were carried by a sudden attack.Imbres continui campis omnibus inundantes quum exercitum interclusissent, duo praesidia improviso impetu opprimuntur.
vi. Two Numidians were sent to Hannibal with a letter.Duo Numidae cum litteris ad Hannibalem missi sunt.
vii. When he was residing there with great dignity on account of his numerous virtues, the Lacedaemonians sent ambassadors to Athens.Hic cum propter multas ejus virtutes magnâ cum dignitate viveret, Lacedaemonii legatos Athenas miserunt.

Obs. The Relative, as will be shown more fully in the Chapter on the Relative, referring to what precedes always occupies the first place: referring to what follows, it is often placed after an emphatic word, sometimes after several if the sentence be interrogative, as

Alexandrum Pheraeum quo animo vixisse arbitramur?——Rex denique ecquis est qui senatorem populi Romani tecto ac domo non invitet.——Compare Themistocles nonne ob eam causam expulsus est quod prater modum justus esset?


On the Position of the Verb.

The natural and usual position for the verb is, as has been stated, at the end of the sentence. A curious example of this is supplied by an Agrarian law (B.C. 643).

Quei ager publicus Populi Romani in terrâ Italiâ P. Mucio, Q. Calpurnio[TR2] consulibus fuit, de eo agro, quem agrum locum populus ex publico in privatum commutavit, quo pro agro loco ex privato in publicum tantum modum agri locei commutavit, is ager locus domineis privatus ita ut quoi optimâ lege privatus sit, esto.

The Verb frequently preserves this position throughout long passages.[3]

Et Romani quidem ad honorem Deum insignibus armis hostium usi sunt: Campani, ab superbia et odio Samnitium, gladiatores (quod spectaculum inter epulas erat) eo ornatu armarunt, Samnitiumque nomine compellarunt. Eodem anno cum reliquis Etruscorum ad Perusiam, quae et ipsa induciarum fidem ruperat, Fabius consul nec dubia nec difficili victoria dimicat. Ipsum oppidum (nam ad moenia victor accessit) cepisset, ni legati dedentes urbem exissent. Praesidio Perusiae imposito, legationibus Etruriae amicitiam petentibus prae se Romam ad senatum missis, consul, praestantiore etiam quam dictator victoria triumphans, urbem est invectus. Quin etiam devictorum Samnitium decus magna ex parte ad legatos, P. Decium et M. Valerium, est versum: quos populus proximis comitiis ingenti consensu consulem alterum praetorem declaravit. Fabio ob egregie perdomitam Etruriam continuatur consulatus; Decius collega datur. Valerius praetor quartum creatus. Consules partiti provincias. Etruria Decio, Samnium Fabio evenit. Is profectus ad Nuceriam Alsaternam, tum pacem petentes, quod uti ea, quum daretur, noluissent, aspernatus, oppugnando ad deditionem subegit. Cum Samnitibus acie dimicatum.

Verbo sensum claudere, says Quintilian, longe optimum est, for the excellent reason that in verbis sermonis vis: the verb in fact generally contains the main predication and combines together the whole sentence. This law is not only deducible from literary criticism, but results naturally from the circumstances under which we live. Man placed in the midst of a world of sensible objects naturally has his attention directed to the changes going on around him. Motion first attracts the attention and stimulates thought. Hence verbs occupy an important place in all language.[4]

To depart in Composition from this or any other natural arrangement without an adequate reason is mere affectation, than which nothing is more opposed to the directness and simplicity of Latin writing.

The excellent critic quoted above who supplies us with the reason for the general rule, supplies us also with the first limit to the employment of it: si id asperum erit, cedet haec ratio numeris.

This arrangement therefore may be abandoned,

a. for the sake of Rhythm.[5]

b. to give importance and emphasis to a word which would not have the requisite stress in the middle of the sentence. Quale est, says Quintilian, illud Ciceronis 'ut tibi necesse esset in conspectu Populi Romani vomere postridie.' Transfer hoc ultimum, minus valebit. So also

Secuti alium ducem, sequemini nunc Camillum.——Maxime autem perturbantur officia in amicitiis.——Siccine vestrum militem ac praesidem sinitis vexari ab inimicis?——Quo magis argui praestigias jubetis vestras, eo plus vereor ne abstuleritis observantibus etiam oculos.——Quare consulite vobis, prospicite patriae, conservate vos, conjuges, liberos, fortunasque vestras.——Queruntur injurias suas, vim plebis, Voleronis audaciam.——His de causis C. Junius condemnatus est levissimis et infirmissimis.——Itaque oppressus est non tempore sed causâ.

c. to gain unusual force and importance for the verb itself.

Offendit te, A. Corneli, vos, patres Conscripti, circumfusa turba lateri meo?——Qualis habendus est is, qui non modo non repellit sed etiam adjuvat injuriam?——Movit me oratio tua.——Triumphavit, quid quaeris, Hortensius.——Disces tu quidem quamdiu voles.

d. to give antithesis and point to the sentence by means of the figure Χιασμός.

Quamdiu vixit, vixit in luctu.——Singulorum facultates et copiae divitiae sunt civitatis.——Si gladium quis apud te deposuerit, repetat insaniens, reddere peccatum est, officium non reddere.——Aedes pestilentes sint, habeantur salubres.——Patriae salutem anteponet saluti patris.——Romanis mos erat, in adversis vultum secundae fortunae gerere, moderari animos in secundis.——Bellum innoxiis Antiatibus indici, geri, cum plebe Romanâ.——Audires ululatus foeminarum, infantium queritatus, clamores virorum.

e. In explanatory clauses, where the connexion is made by autem and enim, the verb usually comes first.

Hanc cupiditatem si honestam quis esse dicit amens est: probat enim legum et libertatis interitum.——Etiam temperantiam inducunt, non facillime illi quidem, sed tamen quoquo modo possunt. Dicunt enim voluptatis magnitudinem doloris detractione finiri.——Quae res igitur gesta unquam in bello tanta? Licet enim mihi apud te gloriari.——Sed hoc vitium huic uni in bonum convertebat: habet enim flebile quiddam in questionibus.——Amicum aegrotantem visere volebat: habitat autem ille in parte urbis remotissimâ.

f. Sum comes in the middle of a sentence to acquire emphasis: often also unemphatically in definitions and in sentences containing long and weighty words, as

Virtus est una alitissimis defixa radicibus.——Durior est conditio spectatae virtutis quam incognitae.——Justitia est affectio animi suum cuique tribuens.——Temperantia est expetenda, non quia voluptates fugiat, sed quia majores consequatur.——Virtus est absolutio naturae.

g. The verb sometimes begins a sentence, in order to prevent the seperation of closely connected words.

Erat illo tempore infirmâ valetudine Habitus.——Erant ei veteres inimicitiae cum duobus Rosciis Amerinis.——Exstant epistolae, et Philippi ad Alexandrum, et Antipatri ad Cassandrum et Antigoni ad Philippum filium, quibus praecipiunt ut oratione benignâ multitudinis animos ad benevolentiam alliciant.—Eram cum Stoico Diodoro, qui nuper est mortuus domi meae.——Erat nemo quicum essem libentius, quam tecum.


On the Middle of the Sentence.

The middle of the sentence is usually occupied by qualifying words, particles and oblique cases: that is, by adverbs, by the ablative and by cases governed by verbs and prepositions.

We will consider first the position of adjectives in concord and of the governed genitive which is closely allied to them.

a. Most grammarians are agreed that the natural position of a qualifying adjective or governed genitive is after its substantive. This certainly is the case in many customary phrases, as

Civis Romanus.——Aes alienum.——Jus civile.——Nomen Latinum.——Magister equitum.——Tribunus militum.——Rex sacrorum.——Flamen Dialis.——Pater familias.——Praefectus fabrum.——Praefectus urbis.——Curatores viarum.——Princeps Senatûs.——Res publica.——Volumnius consularis.——Moderatio animi.——Ars ludicra.——Cella Jovis.——Via Appia.[6]

Hence an adjective or participle in agreement with a substantive, or a genitive in connexion with one, gains in force and distinctness by preceding the substantive. Thus

Mors tui fratris = the death of your brother. Fratris tui mors = the death of your brother.——Alexander magnus = the person commonly known by that title. Magnus Alexander, or more emphatically Magnus ille Alexander, calls attention distinctly to his greatness, as Eadem aetas rerum magni Alexandri est quem invictum bellis juvenem, fortuna morbo exstinxit. Livius.

An examination of the following passages from the same author will place the question beyond doubt.

Deme terrorem Romanis, fugamque foedam siste. Hic ego templum Statori Iovi ... voveo. I. 12.[7]——Novam ipse (urbem) sub Albano monte condidit, quae ab situ porrectae in dorso urbis Longa Alba appellata. Inter Lavinium et Albam Longam coloniam deductam triginta ferme interfuere anni. I. 3.——Id a diis immortalibus precari, ne qui casus suum consilium laudabile efficiat. VI. 23.[8]——Romanae, aquam Albanam cave lacu contineri, cave in mare manare suo flumine sinas. V. 16.

If however the substantive imparts a specific meaning to an adjective, substantive or participle, it generally precedes it, as

Juris prudens or consultus.——Terrae motus.——Senatûs consultum.——Eudoxus, Platonis auditor.——Plebis homines.——Patrum auctoritas.——Legis lator.[9]

b. Usually when several substantives have a genitive belonging to them all, they should not be separated, but all follow or precede the genitive.

Hujus autem orationis difficilius est exitum quam principium invenire.——Honestum autem illud positum est in animi curâ atque cogitatione.——Te abundare oportet praeceptis institutisque philosophiae.——Secundae res sine hominum opibus et studiis neutram in partem effici possunt.

c. The same rule holds good of several genitives dependent on a single substantive, as

Atque haec omnia honoris et amplitudinis commodo compensantur.——Inter tyrannorum et ducis Romani certamina praemia victoris periisse.——Illud honestum animi efficitur, non corporibus viribus.——Bonorum et malorum fines.——Humana natura imbecilla atque aevi brevis est.——Dedicatum inter cellam Iovis atque Minervae est.

d. And generally a word belonging to several connected words precedes or follows the connected words. Hence peculiar stress is thrown on each of the latter by separating them, as

Propter summam et doctoris auctoritatem et urbis.——Quod et aetati tuae esset aptissimum et auctoritati meae.——Illi, ut erat imperatum, circumsistunt atque hominem interficiunt.——Insula est Melita satis lato ab Siciliâ mari periculosoque disjuncta.——Justitiam cole et pietatem.——Profluens quiddam habuit Carbo et canorum.

e. A substantive with genitive or equivalent phrase and also qualified by an adjective, generally follows the genitive, the adjective preceding both substantives, as

Summa oratoris eloquentia.——Summam rei militaris prudentiam.——De communibus invidiae periculis.——Falsa veneni suspicio.——Constans omnium fama.——Una litterarum significatio.——Nostra in amicos benevolentia.

This however is not usually the case with the partitive genitive, as

Magna pars militum.——Duo genera civium.——Tria millia equitum.——Exigua pars campi.——Major pars Atheniensium.

f. If the attributes of a substantive are intended to receive great distinctness, attention is drawn to them by disconnecting them from their substantives by less important words, as

Unum a Cluento profectae pecuniae vestigium ostende.——Sanguinem suum profundere omnem (to the last drop) cupit, dummodo profusum hujus ante videat.——Quae turpia sunt, nominibus appellemus suis.——In miseriam nascimur sempiternam.——Somno consopiri sempiterno.——Permagnum optimi pondus argenti.——Recepto Caesar Orico, nullâ interpositâ morâ Apolloniam proficiscitur.——Magna nobis pueris, Quinte frater, si memoriâ teneo, opinio fuit, M. Antonium omnino omnis eruditionis expertem atque ignarum fuisse.


On the Position of Adverbs.

i. Adverbs, particularly those of degree, usually stand immediately before the adjective, verb or adverb they qualify, as

Latius patet illius sceleris contagio quam quisquam putet. Intus, intus est, inquam, equus Trojanus.——Fuit vir haud dubie dignus omni bellicâ laude.

To this rule however there are numerous exceptions, as the adverb, like other parts of speech, acquires emphasis and importance from peculiarity of position, as

His Fabriciis semper usus est Oppianicus familiarissime.——Qui mihi videntur in hac re versari accuratissime.——Hoc si Sulpicius noster faceret multo ejus oratio esset pressior.——Mors aut malum non est aut est bonum potius.——Pecunia a patre exacta est crudeliter.


On the Use of Prepositions.

ii. The investigation of the uses of Prepositions belongs to the province of Syntax. It may be well however to call attention to the following rules:

a. A preposition may govern several words, when they express one idea or are intended to be viewed as connected in thought or time, as

Ex illo caelesti Epicuri de regulâ et judicio volumine.——Percipietis voluptatem si cum Graecorum Lycurgo et Dracone et Solone nostras leges conferre volueritis.——Sub idem fere tempus et ab Attalo rege et Rhodiis legati venerunt.——Consules decreverunt secundum Caesaris decreta et responsa.——Senatus frequens convenit propter famam atque expectationem litterarum tuarum.

b. If however the substantives represent things distinct in thought or in any way separated, the preposition must always be repeated,[10] as

Quid est quod de re aut de perficiendi facultate dubitemus?——Sitius profectus est ante furorem Catilinae et ante suspicionem hujus conjurationis.——Non in appetentem regnum, sed in regnantem impetus factus est.——Primum de imbecillitate multorum et de variis disciplinis philosophorum loquar.——Deinceps de beneficientia et de liberalite dicendum est.

The case of Prepositions following a relative or demonstrative pronoun will be examined in the chapter on the Relative.


On the Position of Contrasted Words.

Love of distinctness led the Romans to place in juxtaposition all words standing in contrast or opposition to one another, in order to render the contrast as effective as possible, as

Mortali immortalitatem non arbitror contemnendam.——Datames locum delegit talem ut non multum obesse multitudo hostium suae paucitati posset.——Ex bello tam tristi laeta repente pax cariores Sabinas viris ac parentibus fecit.——E suis unum ad patrem mittit sciscitatum, quidnam se facere vellet, quandoquidem ut omnia unus Gabiis posset, ei Dei dedissent.

This is particularly observable

(1) when the same word occurs in different cases in the same sentence, as

Alium alio nequiorem.——Etrusci lege sacratâ coacto exercitu, quum vir virum legisset, dimicarunt.——Nihil est unum uni tam simile quam omnes inter nosmetipsos sumus.——Caesar quam proxime potest hostium castris castra communit.——Nihil jam aliud quaerere debetis, nisi uter utri insidias fecerit.——Ineamus aliquam viam quâ utri utris imperent, sine multo sanguine decerni possit.

(2) when a word and another derived from it occur in the same sentence:

Aliis aliunde est periculum.——Sint semper omnia homini humana meditata.——Sublato tyranno, tyrannida manere video.——Quid est aliud tollere e vitâ vitae societatem quam tollere amicorum colloquia absentium.——Ut ad senem senex de senectute, sic hoc libro ad amicum amicissimus de amicitiâ scripsi.——Haec tibi victor Romulus rex regia arma fero.

(3) particularly in the case of sibi or suus and quisque, as

Minime sibi quisque notus est, et difficillime de se quisque sentit.——Sua cuique virtuti laus propria debetur.——Gallos Hannibal, spe ingentium donorum accensos, in civitates quemque suas dimisit.——Placet Stoicis suo quamque rem nomine appellare.——In eos multitudo versa ostentare vincula deformitatemque aliam: haec se meritos dicere exprobrantes suam quisque alius alibi militiam.

Obs. Contrast may be effected in many cases not only by juxtaposition, but by marked separation,

Miluo erat naturale quoddam bellum cum corvo.——Necessitatis inventa antiquiora sunt quam voluptatis.


On Words or Phrases in Apposition.

Words or phrases in apposition to a noun are to be placed in close connexion with it. Two positions are possible.

(1) If the words in apposition convey a subordinate idea, they follow the noun as,

Fabius consul de Samnitibus triumphavit.——Dionysius tyrannus Syracusis expulsus est.——Sergius Virginiusque, noxii ambo, alter in alterum causam conferunt.——Visus est audire vocem, se postridie caenaturum Syracusis.

(2) If the appositive words require emphasis, they will precede, as

Sapientissimus rex, Philippus, Aristotelem Alexandro filio doctorem accivit.——Scipio cum collegâ, Tiberio Longo, adversus eum venit.


On the position of Negatives.

The love of distinctness led the Latin writers in negative sentences to stamp the negative form on the sentence as early as possible. Whence such phrases as nec unquam, nec quisquam, nec vero, and similar phrases, are employed, and not et nunquam, et nemo, et non, etc.

a. And yet these things are not so tightly bound together that they cannot be separated.Neque tamen haec ita adstricta sunt, ut dissolvi nequeant.
b. I am distressed that I am not receiving any information by letter from you.Doleo non me tuis litteris certiorem fieri.
c. He that shall proceed to inflict punishment in a passion, will never observe the golden mean between excess and deficiency.Nunquam, qui iratus accedet ad poenam, mediocritatem illam tenebit quae est inter nimium et parum.
d. Even the Lacedaemonians were unable to gain possession of the camp.Neque ipsi Lacedaemonienses castris potiri potuerunt.
e. You will find it better not to have uttered a sound except about what we ask your opinion.Non erit melius, inquit, nisi de quo consulimus, vocem misisse.

Hence the frequency with which nego and nolo come at the beginning of a sentence.

Nego unquam post sacra constituta tam frequens collegium judicasse.——Negant intueri lucem fas esse ei, qui a se hominem occisum fateatur.——Negabat genus hoc orationis quicquam omnino ad levandam aegritudinem pertinere.——Nolo enim eundem populum imperatorem et portitorem esse terrarum.——At Carthaginem et Numantiam funditus sustulerunt. Nollem Corinthum.——Solon se negat velle suam mortem dolere amicorum et lamentis vacare.——Negat Epicurus quemquam qui honeste non vivit, jucunde posse vivere.

This is particularly the case when the imperative of nolo is used with the infinitive of another verb periphrastically for its imperative, as

Noli putare me quicquam maluisse quam ut mandatis tuis satisfacerem.——Nolite ad vestras leges atque instituta exigere ea, quae Lacedaemone fiunt.——Nolite id, belle quod fieri non potest.——Noli turbare circulos meos.



The usual order then of words in a simple sentence is this,

i. The subject, ii. adverbs and other words definitive of time, place, instrument, etc.; iii. the remoter object; iv. the immediate object; v. the verb.

To the period, with such limitations as will be mentioned subsequently, the same arrangement is applicable; viz.

i. The word or clause containing the subject with the words or clauses immediately connected with it. ii. The words or clauses expressive of time, place, motive, means, and the like. iii. Clauses expressing the remoter object, that is the person or thing for which the action is done. iv. The object and the clauses immediately connected with it. v. The principal verb.

[1] That this transpositive arrangement of words should impose a tax upon the attention was inevitable, and is obvious from the fact that even literary men like Cicero adopted mainly the syntactical order in their familiar letters and conversation.
[2] For the Verb at the beginning of the sentence see below, 'On the position of the Verb.'
[3] Cp. Liv. III. 64. VIII. 9. Also Sall. Jugurtha, Cap. I. Cic. Cluent. XLIII. XLIV. XLV.
[4] Henri Veii, Recueil.
[5] This is particularly to be observed in compound sentences in order to avoid an accumulation of finite verbs at the end of a period, an arrangement very distasteful to the Romans. This will be found more fully discussed in the chapter on 'The Period.'
[6] It will be observed that in these phrases the substantives civis, ars, pater, via, jus, etc., are of wide application, and derive their special meaning by the addition of the genitive or adjective.
[7] See Raschig's note on the passage.
[8] See Raschig's note on the passage.
[9] Most of these phrases admit of being rendered in English by a single word, as—earthquake, Platonist, plebeians, legislator.
[10] This rule, which is invariably observed in French, is too often neglected in English.

[TR1] "nouns adjectives" → "nouns, adjectives".
[TR2] "q. Calpurnio" → "Q. Calpurnio".


The Relative in Latin has an extensive use. It is employed

A. to subjoin a remark, or a more complete definition of some person or thing in the leading proposition.

B. as a substitute for a copula and demonstrative.

C. instead of a conjunction and pronoun to express a purpose, concession, consequence or other relation to the main proposition.

The investigation of theses uses falls within the province of grammar: rhetoric is concerned only with the position of the relative in regard to its antecedent and of the relative clauses in regard to the main sentence.

The Position of the Relative.

I. When employed as a simple relative (under head A) it should be placed as near its antecedent as the balance and euphony of the sentence will permit. It is rarely separated by many words. The words in the main sentence require careful arrangement to secure this position, as the substantive to which the relative refers, should frequently be drawn to the end of the sentence in order to be brought in close connexion with the relative.

Thus when no relative is employed the natural order of words would be Res ad Camillum redierant: with a relative we should write Redierant res ad Camillum cui unico, etc.

i. Ut verum videretur in eo illud, quod, etc.

ii. Secutae sunt continuos complures dies tempestates, quae, nostros in castris continerent.

iii. Artes innumerabiles repertae sunt docente naturâ, quam imitata ratio res ad vitam necessarias consecuta est.

iv. Condemnatus est C. Junius, qui ei quaestioni praefuerat.

v. Acilius, qui Graece scripsit historiam, plures ait fuisse.

vi. Ad triginta septem millia hostium caesa auctor est Claudius, qui libros Acilianos ex Graeco in Latinum sermonem vertit.

Hence quamobrem, quare, quam ob causam, etc., necessarily begin a sentence.

The same rule is applicable to adverbs, such as hic, ibi, unde, etc., and to substantives or other words in close logical connexion with a word in the preceding sentence.

i. Necessitas ferendae conditionis humanae...admonet esse hominem: quae cogitatio magno opere luctum levat.

ii. Cogebantur et ipsi orbem colligere, quae res et paucitatem eorum insignem et multitudinem Etruscorum faciebat.

iii. Hannibal tres exercitus maximos comparavit. Ex his unum [not unum ex his] in Africam misit.

iv. Censebant decemviros quo cuique eorum videatur exercitus ducere: nec aliam rem praeverti. In hanc sententiam ut discederetur juniores patrum evincebant.

v. Mercatoribus est ad eos aditus magis eo, ut quae bello ceperint quibus vendant, habeant.

vi. Sciat orator quam plurima, unde etiam senibus major auctoritas est.

Hence in order to prevent the separation of the relative or demonstrative from its antecedent, the preposition frequently follows its case, as

Quam contra dicit.——Quos ad soleret.——Hunc adversus.——Hunc propter, and the like.

The reason for the following constructions will be at once obvious,

Quorum ad scientiam.——Cujus cum moribus.——Compare quamobrem, quemadmodum, etc.

Obs. A somewhat similar case occurs with adjectives, especially superlatives, limited by a relative sentence. Thus:

He sent the most faithful slave he had.

The immortal glory won by the Greeks.

On the nearest eminence to the Gauls which he could get possession of—

are respectively in Latin,

De servis suis quem habuit fidelissimum, misit.——Gloria quam immortalem Graeci retulerunt.——In tumulo, quem proximum Gallis capere potuit.

II. Whenever, from the arrangement of the words in the preceding sentence or from other reasons, a doubt might arise as to the antecedent of a relative or pronoun, a noun or equivalent word is added to the relative in order to render misconception impossible; as

i. Faciebant hoc idem ceteris in civitatibus grandes natu matres et item parvi liberi miserorum: quorum utrorumque aetas laborem et industriam meam, fidem et misericordiam vestram requirebat.

Here without the addition of utrorumque, the relative quorum would naturally be supposed to refer to miserorum.

ii. Venerat enim in funus, cui funeri ego quoque operam dedi.

iii. Huic tam pacatae profectioni ab urbe regis Etrusci abhorrens mos usque ad nostram aetatem inter cetera solemnia manet, bonis vendendis bona Porsennae regis vendendi. Cujus originem moris necesse est aut inter bellum natam esse aut a mitiori crevisse principio.

Here cujus would naturally be referred to Porsennae, were moris not added.

iv. Pirustis Caesar obsides imperat. His adductis arbitros inter civitates dat, qui litem aestiment. His confectis rebus in citeriorem Galliam revertitur.

Here His confectis without the addition of rebus would naturally be referred to arbitros.

v. In Samnium incertis itum auspiciis est: cujus rei vitium non in belli eventum, sed in rabiem atque iras imperatorum venit.

Obs. Caesar occasionally repeats the substantive where it seems scarcely necessary, as

i. Erant omnino itinera duo, quibus itineribus domo exire possent.

ii. Re frumentariâ comparatâ equitibusque delectis iter in ea loca facere coepit, quibus in locis esse Germanos audiebat.

III. The relative occasionally cedes its usual position at the beginning of a sentence to give emphasis and prominence to some important idea or word, as

i. Sed est iisdem de rebus quod dici possit subtilius.

ii. Nemo est, tibi qui suadere sapientius possit.

iii. Tributa vix, in foenus Pompeii quod satis sit, efficiunt.

IV. A substantive standing in apposition to a sentence or word and further defined by a relative, comes in the relative sentence in Latin, not before it as in English.

i. Volscos, quae gens ad Campaniam euntibus non longe ab urbe est, subegit.

ii. Santones non longe a Tolesatium finibus absunt, quae civitas est in provinciâ.

iii. Romulus honorem tantum est consecutus ut deorum in numero collocatus putaretur, quam opinionem nemo unquam assequi potuit.

iv. Cui civitati majores nostri maximos agros atque optimos concesserunt, haec apud te cognationis, fidelitatis, vetustatis, auctoritatis ne hoc quidem jus obtinuit, ut unius honestissimi atque innocentissimi civis mortem ac sanguinem deprecaretur.

V. The relative sentence is often separated from its antecedent,

(a) when it is not definitive, but copulative.

i. Fama est aram fuisse in vestibulo templi Laciniae Junonis, cujus cinerem nullo unquam moveri vento.

Here cujus is equivalent to et ejus.

ii. Nam illorum urbem ut propugnaculum oppositam esse barbaris, apud quam jam bis classes regias fecisse naufragium.

Apud quam is here equivalent to et apud eam.

(b) when great emphasis is thrown upon the demonstrative pronoun.

i. Hanc esse perfectam philosophiam semper judicavi, quae de maximis quaestionibus...

ii. Atque ego ut vidi, quos maximo furore et scelere esse inflammatos sciebam, eos nobiscum esse et Romae remansisse, magnopere metuebam.

iii. Esse enim stultitiam, a quibus bona precaremur, ab iis porrigentibus et dantibus nolle sumere.

VI. The relative clause in Latin frequently precedes the clause containing the antecedent, when greater force or balance of sentence is gained by the transposition; or when an emphasis is thrown on a demonstrative pronoun; or when the relative refers to a demonstrative which stands alone.

i. Plerique a quo plurimum sperant, ei potissimum inserviunt.

ii. Ex quo intelligitur quod verum simplex sincerumque sit, id esse naturae hominum aptissimum.

iii. Ego enim quae provideri poterunt, non fallar in iis; quae cautionem non habebunt, de iis non valde laboro.

iv. In quem cadit misereri, in eundem etiam invidere.

v. Laudant enim eos, qui aequo animo moriantur: qui alteri mortem aequo animo ferant, eos putant vituperandos.

vi. Quod ut ita sit, quid habet ista res aut laetabile aut gloriosum?

vii. Quam quisque norit artem, in hac se exerceat.

VII. The subject of the principal sentence is often understood from the object of the preceding relative clause.

i. Cui quum esset nuntiatum, surrexit.

ii. Quorum uti cujusque ingenium erat, ita nuntiavere.

iii. Cui quum Lysimachus rex crucem minaretur, istis, quaeso, inquit, ista horribilia minitare purpuratis tuis.

VIII. The subject often stands in the relative sentence, when it precedes the main sentence.

i. Quae in re militari versata est virtus, summo honore florebit.

ii. Quae prima innocentis mihi defensio oblata est, suscepi.

iii. Quae cupiditates a naturâ profiscuntur, facile explentur sine ullâ inuriâ.

IX. The wish to secure distinctness and emphasis often led the Latin writers to repeat the relative at the beginning of each clause of a sentence. This figure is called Anaphora, and frequently produces a fine rhetorical effect, as in the following examples.

Tigranes igitur qui et ipse hostis fuit populi Romani et acerrimum hostem in regnum recepit, qui conflixit, qui signa contulit, qui de imperio paene certavit, regnat hodie.——Movit tum patris moestitia, tum Brutus castigator lacrymarum atque inertium querelarum, auctorque, quod viros, quod Romanos deceret, arma capiendi adversus hostilia ausos.——Concepit animo eam amplitudinem Jovis templi quae digna deum hominumque rege, quae populo Romano, quae ipsius etiam loci majestate esset.

Anaphora is frequent with other words, as

Sua quemque fraus, et suus terror maxime vexat: suum quemque scelus agitat: suae malae cogitationes conscientiaeque animi terrent.——Itaque tantus pavor, tanta trepidatio fuit, quanta si urbem, non castra hostes obsiderent.——Videtis Verrutium? Videtis primas litteras integras? Videtis extremam partem nominis demersam in liturâ?——Promisit sed difficulter, sed subductis superciliis, sed malignis verbis.——Si loca, si fana, si campum, si canes, si equos adamare solemus, quantum id in hominum consuetudine facilius fieri poterit?——Vercingetorix, proditionis insimulatus, quod castra propius Romanos movisset, quod cum omni equitatu discessisset, quod sine imperio tantas copias reliquisset, quod ejus discessu Romani tantâ opportunitate et celeritate venissent ... tali modo accusatus ad haec respondit.——Verres calumniatores apponebat; Verres adesse jubebat; Verres cognoscebat; Verres judicabat.——Nihilne te nocturnum praesidium Palatii, nihil urbis viligiae, nihil timor populi, nihil consensus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatûs locus, nihil horum ora vultusque moverunt?[1]——Alter fessum vulnere, fessum cursu trahens corpus victusque fratris ante se strage, victori objicitur hosti.——Tu a civitatibus pecunias classis nomine coegisti, tu pretio remiges dimisisti: tu navis cum esset a legato capta praedonum, archipiratam ab oculis omnium removisti: tu tuam domum piratas abducere ausus es.

Quintilian[2] compares with this figure that of Epiphora, by which the same word is repeated at the close of a number of clauses, as

Qui sunt qui foedera saepe ruperunt? Carthaginienses. Qui sunt qui crudele bellum in Italiâ gesserunt? Carthaginienses. Qui sunt qui Italiam deformaverunt? Carthaginienses. Qui sunt qui sibi ignosci postulant? Carthaginienses.——Doletis tres exercitus populi Romani interfectos. Interfecit Antonius. Desideratis clarissimos viros. Eos quoque vobis eripuit Antonius. Auctoritas hujus ordinis afflicta est. Afflixit Antonius.

Sometimes Anaphora and Epiphora are effectively united, as

Quis eos postulavit? Appius. Quis produxit? Appius. Unde? Ab Appio.——Adhibe solatia mihi, non haec 'senex erat, infirmus erat' (haec enim novi), sed nova aliqua, sed magna, quae audierim, nunquam, legerim nunquam.

Concluding remarks on the arrangement of Words in Latin.

The arrangement of words in a Latin sentence is regulated mainly, as may be seen in the preceding pages, by two principles.

I. Word connected in thought must not be separated in writing.

II. The moment of thought, the emphasis, must be obvious from the structure of the sentence.

Without sacrificing either of these principles, the transpositive character of the language allowed great concessions to be made to euphony and rhythm. In no other language are logic and sound so happily united.[3]

The means by which this union is secured is particulary deserving of the attention of English students. The investigation will not only impart a keener appreciation of the beauties of Latin literature, but will also supply the best means of cultivating writing as an art in England. English writers yield to none in energy of expression, in vigour of thought and imagination, but in style they are far behind their neighbours.

The French deny that the art of writing exists in England, and they twit us, not without justice, with the awkward collocations of words, the Janotismes, which disfigure English literature. In any volume of passages from our great authors selected for translation into French, a good portion of the notes is always occupied with pointing out the verbal dislocations which are inadmissible in French. French in fact is far more Latin than English not only in derivation, but in expression.

Hence a study of French literature and composition is of undeniable service to English students: but far more valuable is it to penetrate to the fountain-head from which French writing derives its characteristic excellencies: there will be found the most perfect arrangements which subtle linguistic machinery could produce: there may be studied the productions of a strong logical faculty, of an inflected and transpositive language, and of expression assiduously cultivated as an art, to which, on account of its political importance, the noblest and ablest citizens were encourage to devote their powers.

[1] See Heinichen, Schönheit des Lateinischen Stils, § 107.
[2] Lib. XI. c. 3. Et ab iisdem verbis plura acriter et instanter incipiunt et iisdem desinunt.
[3] Cicero, the founder of rhythmical prose composition at Rome, says of himself, Jejunas hujus multiplicis et aequalibiter in omnia genera fusae orationis aures civitatis accipimus: easque nos primi quicunque eramus et quantulumcunque dicebamus, ad hujus generis dicendi incredibilia studia convertimus. Yet no one was more opposed to bizarreries of arrangement with no other object than to please the ear. Sed magnam exercitationem res flagitat, ne quid eorum, qui genus hoc secuti, non tenuerunt, simile faciamus, ne aut verba trajiciamus aperte quo melius aut cadat aut volvatur oratio.


The treatment of the grammatical Subject and Object.

Latin Prose is distinguished by distinctness and concinnity of style. This is secured

I. by avoiding change of the subject or the introduction of several independent subjects into the same sentence. The neglect of this rule is one of the commonest causes of the obscurity which marks the prose composition of beginners, because the English and Latin usages in this respect are widely different, as will be seen by the following examples.

a. This matter was soon accomplished, and the legions returned to winter quarters.
Eo celeriter confecto negotio, in hiberna legiones redierunt.

b. The plan was universally approved, and the consul was entrusted with the execution of it.
Cunctis rem approbantibus, negotium consuli datur.

c. The jury flamed up at his answer and condemned an entirely guiltless man to death.
Cujus responso judices ita exarserunt ut capitis hominem innocentissimum condemnarent.

Obs. The following sentences therefore are not to be imitated.

a. Cum (ille) causam mirabatur neque (causa) reperiebatur.

b. Adeo neminem noxiae paenitebat ut etiam insontes fecisse videri vellent, palamque ferretur (impersonal) malo domandam tribunitiam potestatem.

c. Carthaginiensibus conditiones displicuerunt, jusseruntque Hannibalem pugnare.

d. Statim Carthaginienses pacem petierunt, tributaque est eis pax.

e. Ubi is dies quem constituerat cum legatis venit, et legati ad eum redierunt, etc.

II. by keeping a noun, as far as is possible, in the same case throughout the period,

a. When Crito asked Socrates for his opinion, he replied:
Socrates a Critone sententiam rogatus respondit.

b. When Zophyrus, who professed to be able to read every one's character from his outward appearance, had at a party made a large catalogue of moral defects to reproach him with, the rest laughed him to scorn, but Socrates came to his assistance...
Cum multa in conventu vitia collegisset in eum Zophyrus, qui se naturam cujusque ex formâ perspicere profitebatur, derisus est a ceteris, ab ipso autem Socrate sublevatus, quum illa sibi insita, sed ratione a se dejecta esse diceret.

c. After he had discoursed on the immortality of the soul, when Crito asked him how he wished to be buried, 'I have wasted,' said he 'much time to no purpose.'
Quum enim de immortalitate animorum disputavisset, rogatus quemadmodum sepeliri vellet, multam vero, inquit, operam frustra consumpsi.

d. Inter haec ab Hasdrubale, postquam a Placentiae obsidione abscessit, duo Numidae, cum literis ad Hannibalem missi, quum per medios hostes totam ferme longitudinem Italia emensi essent, dum Metapontum cedentem Hannibalem sequuntur, incertis itineribus Tarentum delati, a vagis per agros pabulatoribus Romanis ad Q. Claudium propraetorem deducuntur.

e. Sabini magnâ manu incursionem in agrum Romanum fecere: lateque populati, quum hominum atque pecudum inulti praedas egissent, recepto at Eretum, quod passim vagatum erat, agmine, castra locant, spem in discordiâ Romanâ ponentes, eam impedimentum delectui fore.

Obs. Hence it frequently follows that the pronoun is not to be repeated in Latin where the English usage would require it.

a. Dolore superante [not eum], exlamavit.

b. Praeclare Anaxagoras qui cum Lampsaci moreretur, quaerentibus amicis velletne Clazomenas, si quid accidisset auferri, nihil necesse est, inquit, undique enim ad inferos tantundem viae est.

We should say, 'when his friends asked him.'

c. At vero Diogenes liberius, ut Cynicus, Alexandro roganti (not eum) ut diceret si quid opus esset: Nunc quidem paullulum, inquit, a sole.

III. by giving emphasis and distinctness to the subject, which with this view often takes precedence of words which grammatically would begin the sentence. In other words the subject should be placed at the beginning of the period, and in the principal sentence, not in a sentence of time or cause, as frequently happens in English.

a. When Hannibal had reviewed his auxiliary forces, he set out for Gades.
Hannibal, cum recensuisset auxilia, Gades profectus est.

b. When Darius had fled to Babylon, he implored Alexander by letter to allow him to redeem the captive ladies.
Darius, cum Babyloniam profugisset, per epistolas Alexandrum deprecatur, redimendarum sibi captivarum potestatem faciat.

c. After Alexander had killed his friend Clitus, he nearly committed suicide.
Alexander, quum interemisset Clitum familiarem suum, vix a se manus abstinuit.

IV. by making sentences co-ordinate in English subordinate in Latin.

a. Hannibal had taken Saguntum and retired to New Carthage.
Hannibal, Sagunto capto,[1] novam Carthaginem concesserat.

b. This he persistently repeated and his whole discourse was spent in eulogizing virtue.
Quae cum diceret constanter, omnis ejus oratio in virtute laudandâ consumebatur.

c. Hannibal allowed him to leave the camp, but he soon returned because he said he had forgotten something.
Cum Hannibalis permissu exiisset de castris, rediit paulo post, quod se oblitum nescio quid diceret.

d. This was observed, and they altered their plan.
Id ubi vident, mutant consilium.

e. Dionysius was afraid to take his stand on the ordinary platform, and used to deliver his public addresses from a lofty tower.
Dionysius, quum in communibus suggestis consistere non auderet, concionari ex turri altâ solebat.

f. That I cannot admit: every one is not to be actuated towards his friend by the feeling he entertains for himself.
Illa sententia non vera est, ut quemadmodum in se quisque, sic in amicum sit.

It will be seen from the examples given above and from others that whenever two or three sentences have the same subject, they are in Latin formed into Period.

V. by marking a change of subject by the introduction of a pronoun, if the new subject has been already mentioned in the preceding sentence.

i. Quo facto eum barbari magis etiam contempserunt, quod eum ignorantiâ bonarum rerum illa sumpsisse arbitrabantur. Hic quum ex Aegypto reverteretur in morbum implicitus decessit.

ii. Pergamum ad regem venerunt. Is legatos comiter exceptos Pessinuntem deduxit.

iii. Principium defectionis ab Othone factum est. Is cum magnâ popularium manu transfugit.

iv. Alterius factionis principes partim interfecerant, alios in exilium ejecerant. Hi omnes fere Athenas se contulerant.

v. Nemo Epaminondam responsurum putabat quod quid diceret non haberet. At ille in judicium venit, omniaque confessus est.

vi. Hujus filiam virginem auro corrupit Tatius, ut amatos in arcem accipiat. Aquam forte ea extra moenia petitum ierat.

vii. P. Volumnius vidit cadentem. Is dato negotio suis ut corpus protegant, ipse in locum vicemque consulis provolat.

VI. by giving prominence and distinctness to the subject and object in principal sentence and subordinate clauses. Four cases here require especial consideration.

A. When the subject is the same for both principal sentence and subordinate clauses.

B. When the object is the same in both principal sentence and subordinate clauses.

C. When the subject of the principal sentence is the object of the subordinate clauses.

D. When the object of the principal sentence is the subject of the subordinate clauses.

The following examples of each case will render the matter plain.

A. When the subject is the same for principal sentence and subordinate clause, it should be placed at the beginning of the Period before the conjunction, and the accessory clauses qualifying the subject immediately after it. By this arrangement only one mention of the subject is necessary.

a. When Brennus had the temple in view, he began to point out the richness of the booty to his soldiers.
Brennus, quum in conspectu haberet templum, praedae ubertatem militibus ostendebat.

b. If the elevation of mind which is discerned in dangers have no admixture of justice, it is faulty.
Ea animi elatio[TR1] quae cernitur in periculis, si justitiâ vacat, in vitio est.

c. Had Croesus ever been a happy man, he would have prolonged his happiness to the well known pyre which Cyrus made for him.
Croesus, si beatus unquam fuisset, beatam vitam usque ad illum a Cyro exstructum rogum pertulisset.

d. After Pausanias discovered that the prisoners he had taken at Byzantium were relatives of yours, he sent them to you without ransom.
Pausanias, dux Spartae, quos Byzantii ceperat, postquam propinquos tuos cognovit, tibi muneri misit.

e. Dionysius, cum gravior crudeliorque indies civitati esset, iteratâ conjuratione obsidetur.

B. When the object is the same for the principal sentence and subordinate clauses, a prominent position must be assigned to it at the beginning of the Period, as the interest is centered upon it.

a. Augurem Tiresiam, quem sapientem fingunt poetae, nunquam inducunt deplorantem caecitatem suam.

b. Since Homer had conceived Polyphemus as inhuman and brutal, he introduces him in conversation with a ram.

Polyphemum Homerus cum immanem ferumque finxisset, cum ariete colloquentem facit.

c. He continued to perfect in crime the youths whom he had ensnared.
Juventutem quam illexerat, multis modis mala facinora edocebat.

d. If the occasion be favourable for the change, we shall effect it with more ease and facility.
Eam mutationem si tempora adjuvabunt, commodius et facilius faciemus.

e. If I cannot crush my annoyance, I will conceal it.
Dolorem si non potero frangere, occultabo.

f. Cn. Pompeius made preparations for the campaign at the close of winter, began it at the beginning of spring, finished it by the middle of summer.
Bellum Cn. Pompeius extremâ hieme apparavit, ineunte vere suscepit, mediâ aestate confecit.

g. He won by the common consent of the competitors the prize for valour, but resigned it to Alcibiades whom he devotedly loved.
Praemia[TR2] virtutis communi petitorum consensu tulit, concessit autem Alcibiadi quem magno opere dilexit.

h. Quem ut barbari incendium effugisse viderunt, telis eminus emissis interfecerunt.

C. When the subject of the principal sentence is the object of the subordinate clause, the subject is placed at the head of the Period, and the object is represented by a pronoun in the subordinate clause.

a. When their territory was inadequate for the Gauls they despatched 300,000 men to seek a new settlement.

b. Xenocrates quum legati ab Alexandro quinquaginta ei talenta attulissent ... abduxit legatos ad caenam in Academiam, et iis apposuit tantum quod satis esset, nullo apparatu.

c. Rex Prusias, quum Hannibali apud eum exsulanti depugnare placeret, negabat se audere, quod extra prohiberent.

[This form of sentence is not to be imitated so much as A and B. There is less distinctness about it, as may be felt in many cases by the hesitation as to whether the demonstrative or reflexive pronoun is to be employed in the subordinate clauses.]

D. When the subject of the subordinate clause is the object of the principal sentence, place the object in front, and let the subject of the dependent clause be understood.

a. Captis, quum poenitentiam profiterentur, ut parceretur edixit.

b. Idem Cretensibus, cum legatos deprecatoresque misissent, spem deditionis non ademit.

c. Timotheum, clarum hominem Athenis et principem civitatis, ferunt, quum coenavisset[TR3] apud Platonem eoque convivio admodum delectatus esset vidissetque eum postridie, dixisse....

d. Manlio Auli filio, cum dictator fuisset, M. Pomponius tribunus plebis diem dixit.

e. Midae illi Phrygio quum puer esset, dormienti formicae in os tritici grana congesserunt.

f. Scipionem Hannibal eo ipso, quod adversus eum dux esset potissimum lectus, praestantem virum credebat.

NOTE: It would perhaps appear at first sight that it would be more natural in the first example to write poenitentiam profitentibus, or professis, but the object of the writer is to bring prominently forward that the profession of repentance was the reason for obtaining pardon. A somewhat similar explanation will apply to the subordinate clauses in most instances of this construction.

It will be readily seen that all the arrangements illustrated in this Chapter spring naturally from that love of directness and distinctness of expression which, as has been repeatedly insisted upon, is the essential characteristic of all good writing, and particularly of Roman Literature. It is of course necessary to reach the end of a sentence or paragraph in Latin in order to arrive at the judgment or views of the author; but as to the subject about which he is talking, there can be no mistake. This, in whatever case the grammatical construction may introduce it, always fronts us in a striking position. Nor is this less obvious in poetry than in prose, and indeed there is no more instructive writer in this respect than Horace, who, though largely influenced by Grecian examples in choice of subject and sometimes in niceties of phrase, was nevertheless in expression thoroughly Roman. If, for example, he would impress upon us that human rage and even the collapse of nature herself is impotent to shake the purpose of a righteous soul, he writes:

Justum et tenacem propositi virum

non civium ardor prava jubentium

non vultus instantis tyranni

mente quatit solidâ, etc.

That the accidents of life are powerless to disturb the serenity of Content, he tells us thus:

Desiderantem quod satis est, neque

tumultuosum sollicitat mare

nec saevus arturi cadentis

impetus aut orientis haedi, etc.

Compare also:

Dulce et decorum est pro patriâ mori:

mors et fugacem persequitur virum,

nec parcit inbellis juventae

poplitibus timidove tergo.

Virtus repulsae nescia sordidae

intaminatis fulget honoribus,

nec sumit aut ponit secures

arbitrio popularis aurae.

Virtus, recludens immeritis mori

caelum, negatâ temptat iter viâ,

coetusque vulgares et udam

spernit humum fugiente pinnâ.

Est et fideli tuta silentio

merces: vetabo, qui Cereris sacrum

vulgarit arcanae, sub isdem

sit trabibus fragilemque mecum

solvat phaselon: saepe Diespiter

neglectus incesto addidit integrum;

raro antecedentem scelestum

deseruit pede Poena[2] claudo.

[1] The action which indicates the time of the main action, or the occasion, means or condition of its accomplishment, is frequently thrown into the Ablative Absolute. In other words the Ablative Absolute should stand only for a subordinate clause, and not for any part of the main sentence. Exceptions to this rule are not unfrequent, but should not be imitated by a learner. See Madvig, Lat. Gr. p. 376.
[2] On the position of Poena see above, 'On the position of the Subject.' C.

[TR1] "anima elatio" → "animi elatio".
[TR2] "Proemia" → "Praemia".
[TR3] "quam coenavisset" → "quum coenavisset".



Definition of a Period.

A Period is a Compound Proposition, consisting of at least two, frequently of many, sentences, so mutually dependent and connected that the sense and the grammatical construction of the proposition is incomplete without the last clause.

A Period (circuitus or ambitus verborum) is so called because the reader, in order to collect together the words of the principal sentence, must make a circuit, so to say, round the interpolated clauses.[1] These are the conditions and limitations to which the main predication is subjected, and which are woven with it into a stately whole, which satisfies the ear by the fulness of its sound, while it strains the mind to attention by its length.[2] Yet the clauses of a well written Period, though intertwined, are never entangled; they are separate links adroitly connected so as to form a symmetrical chain.

[1] See some good observations in the Introduction to the 'Essay on Man' by Mark Pattison, p. 20.
[2] Hence the following sentences are not strictly periods:
Nihil omitti debet, quod ad humanum felicitatem pertinere videatur.——Quemadmodum concordiâ res parvae crescunt ita discordiâ etiam maximae dilabuntur. Scheller, Praecept Styli Ciceroniani, Part i. c. 5.


Frequent use of it in Latin.

The aptitude of the Latin language for the formation of lengthy Periods involving no confusion of meaning or construction, is unique, and the essentially oratorical style of the Roman writers, particularly of Cicero and Livy, led them to adopt in the main a periodic style which flows on with the full stream of a noble river, or, to change the figure, moves onward majestically, like a well disciplined army, in the full confidence of oratorical victory. They abandoned occasionally the periodic for the detached style, as will be seen below, when the nature of the subject required the change, but they returned to the Period by a natural instinct.

The investigation of the Period in Latin deserves especial attention, partly because, as belonging to the province of rhetoric rather than of syntax, it usually meets with but slight notice in grammars, and partly because the periodic style, so carefully cultivated by the Romans, is usally discarded by modern English writers, whose usage it is to make clauses logically subordinate and interdependent into co-ordinate and independent sentences, as may be seen in any modern historian or philosopher. The condition and requirements of modern society demand facile and rapid expression.

The following passages may serve as illustrations of this.

Early in June the Fellows were cited to appear before the High Commission. Five of them, deputed by the rest, obeyed the summons. Jeffrey treated them in his usual fashion. When one of them, a grave doctor named Fairfax, hinted some doubt as to the validity of the Commission, the Chancellor began to roar like a wild beast.

In examining the different opinions which are or may be entertained on this subject, it will simplify the exposition very much if we at first limit ourselves to the case of physical, or what we commonly call material objects. These objects are of course known to us through the senses. By those channels and no otherwise do we learn what we do learn concerning them. Without the senses we should not know or suspect that such things exist... There are, however, conflicting opinions as to what it is that the senses tell us concerning objects. About one part of the information they give there is no dispute. The objects excite or awaken in us certain states of feeling.

These passages, as any one may see at a glace, if rendered into Latin by a corresponding number of independent sentences, would not be Latin prose at all, nor could they be adequately translated without a knowledge of the structure and characteristics of the Latin period.

An attempt to contrast the Latin and English usage on this point may not be out of place, and will form the subject of the next division.


Contrast of the English and Latin usage.

I. During this harangue of Horatius the decemviri were at a loss to discover a method either of indignation or indulgence, and did not see what issue the matter would have. C. Claudius,[TR1] the uncle of the Decemvir Appius, delivered a speech savouring rather of entreaty than that of opprobrium. He implored him by the spirit of his brother and his brother's father to retain a recollection of the society in which he was born rather than of a compact impiously formed with his colleagues.

This in Latin admits of being expressed and is naturally expressed in a single Period, because there is only one statement of importance, viz. the speech of Caius Claudius. The first part of the paragraph only gives us an account of how an opportunity arose for delivering it. The passage therefore stands in Latin as follows,

Haec vociferante Horatio cum decemviri nec irae nec ignoscendi modum reperirent nec quo eversura res esset cernerent, C. Claudii, qui patruus Appii decemviri erat, oratio fuit precibus quam jurgio similis, orantis per sui fratris parentisque ejus manes ut civilis potius societatis in quâ natus esset, quam foederis nefarie icti cum collegis meminisset.

II. The Volscians found that now they were severed from every other hope, there was but little in prolonging the conflict. In addition to other disadvantages they had engaged on a spot ill-adapted for fighting and worse for flight. Cut to pieces on every side they abandoned the contest and cried for quarter. After surrendering their commander and delivering up their arms, they passed under the yoke, and with one garment each, were sent to their homes covered with disgrace and defeat.

In these several sentences there is one subject only, and one main idea, that of the ignominious return of the Volscians to their homes; the rest consists of the attendant circumstances of the surrender and the causes that led to it. Hence the whole may be in Latin expressed in one Period as folllows,

Volsci exiguam spem in armis, aliâ undique abscissâ, quum tentassent, praeter cetera adversa loco quoque iniquo ad pugnam congressi, iniquiore ad fugam, quum ab omni parte caederentur, ad preces a certamine versi, dedito imperatore traditisque armis, sub jugum missi, cum singulis vestimentis ignominiae cladisque pleni dimittuntur.

III. But gloomy silence and voiceless sorrow had paralysed the minds of the inhabitants. For very dread they forgot what they were leaving behind, what they were carrying with them. With no fixed idea, and inquiring every man of his neighbour, they were at one moment standing at their thresholds, at another wandering restlessly through their homes to see the end.

Here again there is one main idea. The people were stricken with fear, and all that they did and did not do, was the consequence of it. Hence the whole is represented in Latin as a Period composed mainly of consecutive sentences.

Sed silentium triste ac tacita moestitia ita defixit omnium animos, ut, prae metu obliti quid relinquerent, quid secum ferrent, deficiente consilio, rogitantesque alii alios, nunc in liminibus starent, nunc errabundi domos suas, ultimum illud visuri, pervagarentur.

IV. And so they passed under the yoke, and, what was almost heavier to bear, amidst the gaze of their foes. They emerged from the defile like men rescued from the nethermost pit. They seemd to behold the sun-light then for the first time, yet as they gazed on the column in such degredation, the sun was a sight more sad than any death.

These sentences contain one main predication, that in the last line: 'life was to the Romans sadder than death.' This is qualified by a concessive sentence, and preceded by sentences containing the reasons that made life hateful. The logical connexion requires to be exhibited with much greater clearness in Latin, and the whole is formed into a Period thus,

Ita traducti sub jugum, et, quod paene gravius erat, per hostium oculos. Quum e saltu evasissent, etsi, velut ab inferis extracti tum primum lucem adspicere visi sunt, tamen ipsa lux ita deforme intuentibus agmen omni morte tristior fuit.

V. He sent a number of embassies by land and sea to the surrounding nations, but effected no result beyond the importation of an insignificant amount of corn from Etruria, and produced no effect upon the market. On applying himself to the administration of the meagre supplies, he compelled people to make a return of the corn they held, and to offer for sale all that exceeded the necessary supply of their wants for a month. He robbed the slaves of a part of their daily rations, and proceeded to libel the corn-merchants and expose them to the fury of the populace. By this galling inquisitorial policy he revealed rather than relieved the distress. Many of the lower orders in utter despair, bandaged their eyes and threw themselves into the Tiber sooner than endure the torment of a prolonged existence.

Here the principal fact is that many of the poorer citizens preferred a voluntary death to the miseries inflicted on them by tyranny. The official policy which drove them to suicide is the prelude and cause, and is therefore in the Latin construction thrown into due subordination.

Qui quum, multis circa finitimos populos legationibus terrâ marique nequicquam missis, (nisi quod ex Etruriâ haud ita multum frumenti advectum est) nullum momentum annonae fecisset; et, revolutus ad dispensationem inopiae, profiteri cogendo frumentum et vendere quod usu menstruo superesset, fraudandoque parte diurni cibi servitia, criminando inde et objiciendo irae populi frumentarios, acerbâ inquisitione aperiret magis quam levaret, inopiam; multi ex plebe, spe amissâ, potius quam ut cruciarentur trahendo animam, capitibus obvolutis se in Tiberim praecipitaverunt.

[TR1] "C. Claudius" → "C. Claudius,".


The Characteristics of the Period in Latin.

The essentials of a Period in Latin are clearness, proportion, harmony of sound and rhythm and freedom from monotony.


A Latin Period must be more than intelligible; it should be lucid, even luminous.

This lucidity will be secured

I. by putting the leading conception of the thought or description into the principal sentence, an arrangement which often requires much care.

a. Hannibal shifted his camp to Nola. The Consul summons Pomponius, the propraetor, and prepares to march against the enemy, as soon as he was aware of his approach.

The leading statement here is the Consul's determination to march. His 'summons' to Pomponius precedes his starting; both are subsequent to his knowledge of Hannibal's approach. The Latin therefore stands thus—

Hannibal ad Nolam castra movet. Quem ubi adventare Consul sensit, Pomponio propraetore accito, hosti obviam ire parat.

The examples from Livy already cited on the frequency of the Period in Latin will suppy examples of this.

II. by admitting nothing into the period but what is essentially connected with the main conception, i.e. the principal sentence. In other words, when several sentences are to be formed into a period, select the one containing the central idea and subordinate to it the accessory sentences necessary to complete it.

Much of the difficulty of Tacitus' style is caused by neglect of this rule. He frequently introduces into his periods accessory sentences deserving and requiring distinct consideration. This makes an excessive demand on the attention of the reader and tends to obscure the main idea. In Livy, on the contrary, the accessory sentences are intelligible without effort and throw a light on the main conception which they are intended to introduce or illustrate.

Hence the frequency of parenthesis in his writing.

Tantisper tutelâ muliebri (tanta indoles in Laviniâ erat) res Latina et regnum avitum paternumque puero stetit. Haud nihil ambigam, (quis enim rem tam veterem pro certâ affirmet?) hiccine fuerit Ascanius, an major, quam hic, Creusâ matre Ilio incolumi natus, comesque inde paternae fugae, quem Iulum eundem Julia gens auctorem nominis sui nuncupat. Is Ascanius, ubicunque et quacunque matre genitus (certe natum Aeneâ constat) abundante Lavinii multitudine, florentem jam (ut tum res erant) atque opulentam urbem matri seu novercae, reliquit: novam ipse aliam sub Albano monte condidit.

III. by arranging the accessory sentences in their natural order, i.e. in the order of the logical sequence of thought or details, which in narrative means the order of time.[1]

i. The consul summoned the senate away from that spot to the Flaminian meadows, where the Temple of Apollo now stands, in order to give no opportunity for the insinuation.

The 'insinuation' is of course connected with the previous meeting place, not with the Flaminian meadows. The Latin is therefore.

Itaque inde consules ne crminiationi locus esset, in prata Flaminia, ubi nunc aedes Apollinis est, avocavere senatum.

ii. He did not venture to make any objection (to giving up the slave to torture), although he considered that the slave was devoted to him and had been so to his father; for he was a mere boy at the time, etc.

Here the subject of the subordinate clauses being the subject of the principal sentence also, should be placed at the beginning, the circumstances connected with the subject following in their natural logical order, thus,

Hic cum esset illo tempore puer, et illa quaestio de patris sui morte constitui diceretur, etsi illum servum et sibi benevolum esse et patri fuisse arbitraretur, nihil ausus et recusare.

iii. Interea Oppianicus, cum jam convalesceret, neque in Falerno improbitatem coloni diutius ferre posset, et huc ad urbem profectus esset, cecidisse ex equo dicitur.

Observe the order. He was well enough to go out, he had a reason for leaving home, he started to town and had a fall from his horse.

iv. Adopting an expedient employed of old by the founders of cities, who by convoking a crowd of men of unknown and low origin imposed upon the world by the assertion that the population had sprung from the earth, Romulus opened as a sanctuary the spot which now lies in enclosures between the two sacred groves as you come down (from the Capitol), with the intention of attracting population, for he was afraid his great city would be uninhabited.

Will this translate into Latin in its present order? Examine it for a moment. Something is done—in a particular way—with a motive—in consequence of a misgiving. The real order in which the thing developed itself in the mind of Romulus is this: first comes a misgiving; then the desire to obviate the evil; then the determination how to do so, and lastly the thing done. This then is the Latin order.

Deinde, ne vana urbis magnitudo esset, adjiciendae multitudinis causâ, vetere consilio condentium urbes, qui, obscuram atque humilem conciendo ad se multitudinem, natam e terrâ sibi prolem ementiebantur, locum, qui nunc septus descendentibus inter duos lucos est, asylum aperit.

v. Cativolcus rex dimidae partis Eburonum, qui una cum Ambiorige consilium inierat, aetate jam confectus quum laborem aut belli aut fugae ferre non posset, omnibus precibus detestatus Ambiorigem qui ejus consilii auctor fuisset, taxo cujus magna in Galliâ Germaniâque copia est, se exanimavit.

Here the leading thought is Cativolcus se exanimavit, subordinated to it are the means by which his purpose was effected, the occupation of his last moments, and the motive for the act. The arrangement in Latin is natural and logical. 1st the subject and all connected with it in explanatory apposition; 2nd the sense of the growing evils of age; 3rd the resolve arising from it; 4th the conduct which followed and the means selected for the act, and lastly the act itself.

IV. by beginning every sentence as far as possible with the word in closest connexion with the preceding sentence.

This is the natural and logical course. By proceeding from the known to the unknown in an intelligible manner the connexion of ideas is made apparent to the reader, and each sentence introduces him to its successor.

This colligatio sententiarum was, Cicero informs us, one of the results of studying writing and speaking as an art in his day. Among preceding masters of expression there had been no lack of matter or sweetness in isolated sentences, but these were inadequately connected together.

The point de départ (as the French appropriately term it) or 'starting point' of each sentence deserves study, particularly in the unperiodic or detached style: for short sentences are not necessarily easy to follow, and indeed make a far greater strain upon the attention than periods do, unless the connexion of thought is obvious from the arrangement of words. A number of illustrations of the Latin usage are subjoined.

a. Bellum propter nos suscepistis: susceptum quartum decimum annum pertinaciter geritis.

b. Princeps Labienus jurat se eum non esse deserturum. Hoc idem jurant ceteri legati.

c. Vacuam noctem operi dedere, pugnatumque cum consule ad lucem est. Luce primâ jam circumvallati ab dictatore erant.

d. Noli avarus esse. Avaritiâ enim quid potest esse foedius?

e. Consules partiti provincias: Etruria Decio, Samnium Fabio evenit. Is profectus ad Nuceriam Alfaternam tum pacem petentes, quod uti eâ quum daretur voluissent, aspernatus oppugnando subegit. Cum Samnitibus acie dimicatum. Haud magno certamine hostes victi: neque ejus pugnae memoria tradita foret, ni Marsi eo primum praelio cum Romanis bellassent. Secuti Marsorum defectionem Peligni eandem fortunam habuerunt.

Whenever connecting particles are dispensed with, the point de départ alone supplies the mind with the logical connexion and is especially important, as may be seen in the following passage:

Brevis consultatio senatus fuit. Ad unum omnes jungendum foedus cum Lucanis, resque repetendas ab Samnitibus, censent. Benigne responsum Lucanis, ictumque foedus. Feciales missi, qui Samnitem decedere agro sociorum ac deducere exercitum finibus Lucanis juberent, quibus obviam missi ab Samnitibus, qui denunciarent, si[TR1] quod adissent in Samnio concilium, haud inviolatos abituros. Haec postquam audita sunt Romae, bellum Samnitibus et Patres censuerunt et populus jussit. Consules inter se provincias partiti sunt. Scipioni Etruria, Fulvio Samnites obvenerunt; diversique, ad suum quisque bellum, proficiscuntur.

V. Avoid a 'precipitate' or agglomeration of verbs at the end of a period. This is one of the commonest faults in the Latin writing of the inexperienced. Sentences, of which the following is a fair specimen, are familiar enough to all teachers:

Ad te servum quam quid novi afferres ignorarem misi.

The following sentence from Livy is therefore justly censured by Madvig.

Constituerunt, nuntios in castra remissos, qui, quid sibi, quando prater spem hostis occurrisset, faciendum esset, consulerent, quieti opperientes (xxxiii. 6).

In such sentences distinctness, proportion and rhythm are alike lost.

It should be observed, therefore, that the Principal Verb generally precedes

A. the subordinate proposition in final and consecutive sentences, as

i. Talis est ordo actionum adhibendus, ut in vitâ omnia sint apta inter se et convenientia.

ii. Verres Siciliam ita vexavit et perdidit, ut restitui in antiquum statum nullo modo possit.

iii. Ager non semel aratur, sed novatur et iteratur, quo meliores fetus possit et grandiores edere.

iv. Accepti obrutam armis necavere, seu ut vi capta arx videretur, seu prodendi exempli causâ, ne quid usquam fidum proditori esset.

v. Quam rem Tarquinius aliquando quam videbatur aegrius ferens, confestim Turno necem machinabatur, ut eundem terrorem, quo civium animos domi oppresserat, Latinis inferret.

vi. Ipse autem Ariovistus tantos sibi spiritus, tantam arrogantiam sumpserat, ut ferendus non videretur.

B. the substantive clauses in long periods in the oratio obliqua.

i. Si obtinuerit causam Cluentius...omnes existimabunt obtinuisse propter innocentiam, quoniam ita defensus sit.

ii. Non enim mihi exemplum summi et clarissimi viri P. Africani praetereundum videtur: qui quum esset censor, et in equitum censu C. Licinius sacerdos prodiisset, clarâ voce ut omnis concio audire posset, dixit se scire illum conceptis verbis pejerasse.

iii. Cum jam tortor atque essent tormenta ipsa defessa neque tamen finem facere vellet (Sassia), quidam ex advocatis intelligere se dixit, non id agi ut verum inveniretur, sed ut aliquid falsi dicere cogeretur.

C. and in oblique petition, as

i. Commilitones appellans orabat ne quod scelus Ap. Claudii esset, sibi attribuerent.

ii. Dicebat se communi jure civitatis civem Romanum postulare, ut dicere liceat, ut judicium populi Romani experiri.

iii. Is magno jam natu sordidatus in Foro prensabat singulos orabatque ne Claudiae genti eam inustam maculam vellent, ut carcere et vinculis viderentur digni.

VI. To preserve the balance of the clauses and to avoid the accumulation of verbs at the end of a period, the principal sentence is frequently introduced in the subordinate clause.

i. Haec res, metuo, ne fiat.

ii. Sed vos squalidius: illorum, vides, quam niteat oratio.

iii. C. Corconius quem tu dirumperis quum aedilicium vides.

iv. Stoicorum autem non ignoras quam sit subtile vel spinosum potius disserendi genus.

Madvig points out that this is particularly to be observed in propositions in which a dependent clause is drawn to the beginning by a pronoun or relative referring to something antecedent, or in those which contain antithesis or emphasis.

[1] This is a point which always demands attention, because, even in our standard authors, there is often great negligence about the order in which the incidents of a narrative or the motives of an action are detailed, whether the form of the narrative be periodic or not.

[TR1] "denunciarent, Si" → "denunciarent, si".


On Proportion and Balance in the Period.

A period to be satisfactory should have its clauses well proportioned and evenly balanced in length, a slight preponderance being generally given to the final clause, as

i. Quid autem agatur, | cum aperuero, | facile erit statuere, | qaum senentiam dicatis | .

ii. Quam vagus et exsul erraret | atque undique exclusus Oppianicus, | in Falernum se ad C. Quintilium contulisset; | ibi primum in morbum incidit, | ac satis vehementer diuque aegrotavit.

iii. Larinum ipsa proficiscitur cum suis, | moerens quod jam certe incolumem filium fore putabat, | ad quem non modo verum crimen, se ne ficta quidem suspicio perveniret.

iv. Quaerenti mihi multumque et diu cogitanti, | quanam re possem prodesse quam plurimis, | ne quando intermitterem consulere rei publicae; | nulla major occurrebat, | quam si optimarum artium vias traderem meis civibus; | quod compluribus jam libris me arbitror consecutum | .

v. Et quisquam dubitabit, | quin huic tantum bellum transmittendum sit, | qui ad omnia nostrae memoriae bella conficienda, | divino quodam consilio natus esse videatur? |

To this desire for proportion and balance commentators refer some peculiarities in style adopted by Cicero, particularly redundancy, as

i. Nihil mihi ad aestimationem turpius, nihil ad dolorem acerbius accidere posset.

ii. Partes neque ad usum meliores, neque ad speciem pulchriores.

iii. Qui consul insidias reipublicae consilio investigasset, veritate aperuisset.

This artifice, however, in clumsy hands is transparent and ineffective as the same authority informs us: 'Apud alios autem numero servientes, inculcata reperias inania verba quasi complementa numerorum.'[TR1]

[TR1] "complementa numerorum." → "complementa numerorum.'".


On the Rhythm and Cadence of Periods.

Besides clearness, the observance of the logical order of thought, the subordination of details to the leading conception or fact by a grouping as artistic as the arrangement of accessories in an exquisite picture, the classical writers demanded in a period rhythm and cadence. The ears were to be considered as well as the intellect. Those who were insensible to the charm of rhythmical writing were more or less than man.[1] 'My ears,' says Cicero, 'find pleasure in perfection and completion of periods, are sensitive to abruptness, and dislike redundancy.' The rhythm of prose is, he tells us, as essential as that of verse, and is more difficult to obtain, inasmuch as the one is regulated by definite laws, and of necessity repeats itself to a certain extent; while the charm of prose rhythm consists largely in its variety. On this topic the advice of Quintilian is well worthy of consideration.

Etiam monosyllaba si plura sunt male continuabuntur quia necesse est compositio multis clausulis concisa subsultet. Ideoque etiam brevium verborum et nominum vitanda continuatio, ex diverso quoque longorum: afferunt enim quandam tarditatem. Illa quoque vitia sunt ejusdem loci, si cadentia similiter et similiter desinentia et eodem modo declinata jungantur.

An exhaustive examination of the rhythmical laws to be observed in the whole period, would be out of place in a treatise of this kind, the limits of which only admit of a few hints on the Cadence and Close. Many, said Cicero, considered that a rhythmical cadence was all that could be demanded; and, though he rightly asserts that the entire period should flow on evenly from the beginning to the end, and there come to a natural close, the pre-eminent importance of the cadence is indisputable. The ear expects it; it rests there; it has time to criticise the last period before the next begins.

I shall therefore give a few of the canons which found favour with Cicero and Quintilian.

I. Avoid closing a period with the end of a verse, as placuisse Catoni;[2] esse videtur; quo me vertam nescio.

The same objection applies to beginning a sentence with the beginning of a verse. The reason is the same in both cases. The metrical fragment either hurries or slackens the time and reading of prose.

The beginning of a verse rhythm may frequently be employed with effect as a cadence, as in Africâ fuisse.

The final spondee therefore cannot be preceded by a dactyl. It may by a cretic foot, (— ‿ —), as criminis causâ.

A less forcible termination is produced when the spondee and cretic form one word, as Archipiratae: a still weaker termination is a spondee preceded by a tribrach, temeritates. A less appropriate foot to precede the spondee is an anapest, as verum etiam notâ. Two spondees are rarely employed unless they are composed of three words, as is contra nos.

II. A molossus in one word (— — —) gives a sonorous termination, as conclusionesque verborum—atque vobiscum.

III. The ditrocheus, or double trochee in one word was an especial favourite: collocavit, comprobavit, postulabat, magnitudo, temperata.

IV. The termination esse videatur, was considered so good that Quintilian called it 'hacknied,' 'jam minus frequens.'

V. The following arrangements of a final cretic (— ‿ —) are common; two cretics, servare quam plurimos—amphibrachys and cretic, carere versibus.

These however are not intended to form models to be slavishly observed, and a short time spent in studying some of the finer passages of Cicero will convey more information than can be given by rules, however numerous and precise. The following table may nevertheless be found convenient.[3]

Creticus cum ditrochaeo — ‿ — | — ‿ — ‿gloriam comparavit.
Trochaeus cum molosso — ‿ | — — —membra firmantur
Creticus vel duo cretici cum cretico
— ‿ —
— ‿ — — ‿ —

cogitans sentio.
perpeti turpiter maluit.
Dochmius ‿ — — ‿ —(i)ra victoriae.
Tribrachys cum spondeo ‿ ‿ ‿ — —(es)se videatur.
Trochaeus cum dispondeo — ‿ — — — —
Iambus cum dispondeo ‿ — — — — —
pluribus de causis
virum condemnarunt.
Bacchius ‿ — —videri.
Palimbacchius — — ‿novisse.

[1] Quid in his hominis simile sit nescio. Cic.
[2] This Ciceronian canon is repeatedly violated by Livy, who has a fondness for such endings, as in vincula duci: impedienda gerebant: optare licebat. Indeed the rhythm of Livy is often poetical thus Tum repente quibus census equestris erat, narrowly escapes being a pentameter. Nor is his diction less so, as Primo robore virorum caeso.——Pleni lacrymarum procubuerunt.——Numisius affirmabat communem vere Martem belli utramque aciem pari caede prostravisse.
[3] Ramshorn, Lateinische Grammatik, IV. § 202.


On the limitations to the employment of the Period.

It must not however be supposed from what has been said of the frequency of the periodic structure of sentences in the best Latin writers, that Latin prose is composed of nothing but a succession of lengthy, well arranged and duly proportioned periods. Balance and proportion of clauses and due subordination of logically connected propositions have unquestionably a peculiar dignity and beauty, but when carried beyond certain limits they grow monotonous and ineffective. Such regularity is purchased by the loss of movement, of interest and of life.

Livy could write periods of exquisite arrangement and proportion which might well have tempted him to adopt the sonorous period throughout: but from this he was saved by his love of precision and simplicity, his force and above all by his rhetorical faculty. With him the subordinate features of a narrative which are logically connected with and lead up to another more important event, gather round it in due subordination. Incidents merely contemporaneous and unconnected are given co-ordinately or disconnectedly: for there is a native truth in his descriptions, and indeed in Latin writing generally, which was entirely opposed to a pedantic formation of periods out of sentences logically distinct. All writers on this subject quote a passage in Liv. 1. 6,[1] as a specimen of the union of symmetry and effect in a Latin period: and so it is, but si sic omnia dixisset, where would have been his vivacity, variety, naturalness and charm?

Cicero again, the great master of the periodic style, derives much of his imposing dignity and argumentative force from the artistic perfection of his periods; but he was too great a master of rhetorical effects not to know that sometimes the period must be thrown aside. He knew that an adversary is not to be driven step by step from a position by lengthy periods, but by a shower of detached sentences.[2]

The detached style then should be adopted

I. In argument and refutation, as

A rebus gerendis senectus abstrahit! Quibus? An iis, quae juventute geruntur, et viribus? Nullaene igitur res sunt seniles, quae, vel infirmis corporibus, animo tamen administrentur? Nihil ergo agebat Q. Maximus? Nihil L. Paulus, pater tuus, Scipio, socer optimi viri, filii mei? Ceteri senes, Fabricii, Curii, Coruncanii, cum Rempublicam consilio et auctoritate defendebant, nihil agebant?

II. Excitement, passion, denunciation and irony do not wait for periods.

Sin autem servire meae laudi et gloriae mavis, egredere cum importunâ sceleratorum manu: confer te ad Mallium: concita perditos cives: secerne te a bonis: infer patriae bellum. Cat. I. ix.

Quae cum ita sint, Catilina, perge quo coepisti: egredere aliquando ex urbe; patent portae: proficiscere. Nimium nimium diu te imperatorem tua illa Malliana castra desiderant. Educ tecum etiam omnes tuos: si minus, quam plurimos. Purga urbem. Magno me metu liberabis, dummodo inter me atque te murus intersit. Nobiscum versari jam diutius non potes: non feram, non patiar, non sinam. Id. I. 5.

Servio propere accito, quum pene exsanguem virum ostendisset; dextram tenens orat, ne inultam mortem soceri, ne socrum inimicis ludibrio esse sinat. Tuum est, inquit, Servi, si vir es, regnum; non eorum, qui alienis manibus pessimum facimus fecere. Erige te, Deosque duces sequere, qui clarum hoc fore caput divino quondam circumfuso igni portenderunt. Nunc te illa coelestis excitet flamma. Nunc expergiscere vere. Et nos peregrini regnavimus. Qui sis, non unde natus sis, reputa. Si tua re subitâ consilia torpent, at tu mea sequere. Liv. I. xli.

P. Valerius, collegâ senatum retinente, se ex curiâ proripit, inde in templum ad tribunos venit: Quid hoc rei est, inquit, tribuni? Ap. Herdonii ductu et auspicio rempublicam eversuri estis? Tam felix vobis corrumpendis fuit, qui servitia vestra non commovit auctor? Quum hostes supra caput sint, discedi ab armis legesque ferri placet? Inde ad multitudinem oratione versâ: Si vos urbis, Quirites, si vestri nulla cura tangit; at vos veremini Deos vestros ab hostibus captos. Jupiter optimus maximus, Juno regina, et Minerva, alii Dii Deaeque obsidentur. Castra servorum publicos vestros penates tenent. Haec vobis forma sanae civitatis videtur? Tantum hostium non solum intra muros est, sed in arce supra forum curiamque: comitia interim in foro sunt: senatus in curiâ est: velut quum otium superat, senator sententiam dicit: alii Quirites suffragium ineunt. Id. III. xvii.

III. Admiration and astonishment like other emotions, must come with a natural outburst from the heart, as

Quam me delectat Theramenes! quam elato animo est!

Gladiatores, aut perditi homines aut barbari, quas plagas perferunt! quo modo illi, qui bene instituti sunt, accipere plagam malunt quam turpiter vitare! quam saepe apparet nihil illos malle quam vel domino satisfacere vel populo!

O spectaculum miserum atque acerbum! Ludibrio esse urbis gloriam, populi Romani nomen! hominum conventum atque multitudinem![TR1] piratico myoparone, in portu Syracusano, de classe populi Romani triumphum agere piratam!

IV. The incidents of a panic should be narrated not as they might be grouped together subsequently in the mind of a historian, but as they broke upon the helpless spectators and sufferers, as

Hinc atrox rixa oritur. Valerium Horatiumque lictor decemviri invadit. Franguntur a multitudine fasces. In concionem Appius ascendit. Sequuntur Horatius Valeriusque. Eos concio audit: decemviro obstrepitur. Jam pro imperio Valerius discedere a privato lictores jubebat: quum fractis animis, Appius, vitae metuens, in domum se propinquam foro, insciis adversariis, capite obvoluto, recepit. Sp. Oppius, ut auxilio collegae esset, in forum ex alterâ parte irrumpit.

The following passage from Q. Claudius Quadrigarius is well worthy of examination, not only from its descriptive merits, but as a specimen of the simple vigour of the early prose writers of the republic, of whose works unfortunately so little remains. Of this particular fragment Favorinus, the philosopher, said that his heart beat as he read it, as though he were watching the conflict itself.

Cum interim Gallus quidam nudus praeter scutum et gladios duos torque atque armillis decoratus processit: qui et viribus et magnitudine et adolescentiâ simulque virtute ceteris antistabat. [TR: sic] Is maxime prelio commoto atque utrisque summo studio pugnantibus manu significare coepit, utrimque quiescerent pugnae. Facta pausa est. Extemplo silentio facto voce maximâ conclamat, si quis secum depugnare vellet, uti prodiret. Nemo audebat propter magnitudinem et immanitatem facie. Deinde Gallus irridere coepit atque linguam exertare. Id subito perdolitum est cuidam T. Manlio, summo genere nato, tantum flagitium civitati accidere, e tanto exercitu neminem prodire. Is, ut dico, processit: neque passus virtutem Romanam a Gallo turpiter spoliari, scuto pedestri et gladio Hispanico cinctus contra Gallum constitit. Metu magno ea congressio in ipso ponte utroque exercitu inspectante facta est. Ita, ut ante dixi, constiterunt. Gallus suâ disciplinâ scuto projecto cantabundus: Manlius animo magis quam arte confisus, scutum scuto percussit atque statum Gallo conturbavit. Dum se Gallus iterum eodem pacto constituere studet, Manlius iterum scutum scuto percutit atque de loco hominem iterum dejecit. Eo pacto sub Gallicum gladium successit, atque Hispanico pectus hausit. Deinde continuo humerum dexterum eodem concessu incidit, neque recessit usquam donec subvertit, ne Gallus impetum icti haberet. Utque eum evertit, caput praecidit: torquem detraxit, eamque sanguinolentam sibi in collum imponit. Quo ex facto ipse posterique ejus Torquati sunt cognominati.

V. The detached style is frequently employed in conclusion to wind up a narrative, as

Diu cum esset pugnatum, impedimentis castrisque nostri potiti sunt. Ibi Orgetorigis filia, atque unus e filiis captus est. Ex eo praelio circiter millia hominum CXXX superfuerunt, eaque totâ nocte continenter ierunt: nullam partem noctis itinere intermisso, in fines Lingonum die quarto pervenerunt, cum, et propter vulnera militum et propter sepulturam occisorum, nostri, triduum morati, eos sequi non potuissent. Caesar ad Lingones literas nuntiosque misit, ne eos frumento, neve aliâ re juvarent: qui si juvissent, se eodem loco, quo Helvetios, habiturum. Ipse, triduo intermisso, cum omnibus copiis eos sequi coepit. Caesar, Bell. Gall. I. 26.

Nostri ad unum omnes incolumes, perpaucis vulneratis, ex tanti belli timore, cum hostium numerus capitum CDXXX millium fuisset, se in castra receperunt. Caesar his, quos in castris retinuerat, discedendi potestatem fecit: illi supplicia cruciatusque Gallorum veriti, quorum agros vexaverant, remanere se apud eum velle dixerunt. His Caesar libertatem concessit. Caesar, Bell. Gall. IV. 15.

VI. With asyndeton, as

Utrinque clamore sublato, excipit rursus ex vallo atque omnibus munitionibus clamor. Nostri, emissis pilis, gladiis rem gerunt. Repente post tergum equitatus cernitur: cohortes aliae appropinquant: hostes terga vertunt: fugientibus equites occurrunt: fit magna caedes. Sedulius, dux et princeps Lemovicum, occiditur: Vergasillaunus Arvernus vivus in fuga comprehenditur: signa militaria LXXIV ad Caesarem referuntur: pauci ex tanto numero se incolumes in castra recipiunt. Conspicati ex oppido caedem et fugam suorum, desperatâ salute, copias a munitionibus reducunt. Fit protinus, hac re auditâ, ex castris Gallorum fuga. Quod nisi crebris subsidiis ac totius diei labore milites essent defessi, omnes hostium copiae deleri potuissent. De mediâ nocte missus equitatus novissimum agmen consequitur: magnus numerus capitur atque interficitur, reliqui ex fugâ in civitates discedunt. Id. VII. 89.

VII. Since a letter may be defined to be a 'conversation in writing,' the period is not generally suitable to the epistolary style, of which the great charm is simplicity, naturalness and ease.

VIII. Periods, from their oratorical character, are out of place also in a summary or detailed description, such as

Duo exercitus erant: scuta alterius auro, alterius argento caelaverunt. Forma erat scuti, summum latius, qua pectus atque humeri teguntur, fastigio aequali; ad imum cuneatior, mobilitatis causâ. Spongia pectori tegumentum: et sinistrum crus ocreâ tectum. Galeae cristatae, quae speciem magnitudini corporum adderent. Tunicae auratis militibus versicolores, argentatis linteae candidae. His dextrum cornu datum: illi in sinistro consistunt.

Eodem anno Q. Fabius Maximus moritur, exactae aetatis; siquidem verum est, augurem duos et sexaginta annos fuisse, quod quidam auctores sunt. Vir certe fuit dignus tanto cognomine, vel si novum ab eo inciperet. Superavit paternos honores, avitos aequavit. Pluribus victoriis et majoribus preliis avus insignis Rullus: sed omnia aequare unus hostis Hannibal potest. Cautior tamen, quam promptior, huic habitus fuit: et, sicut dubites, utrum ingenio cunctator fuerit, an quia ita bello proprie, quod tum gerebatur, aptum erat, sic nihil certius est, quam unum hominem nobis cunctando rem restituisse, sicut Ennius ait. Augur in locum ejus inauguratus Q. Fabius Maximus, filius: in ejusdem locum pontifex (nam duo sacerdotia habuit) Ser. Sulpicius Galba.

Stantibus ac confertis postremo turba equis, vir virum amplexus detrahebat equo, pedestre magnâ jam ex parte certamen factum erat: acrius tamen, quam diutius pugnatum est; pulsique Romani equites terga vertunt. Sub equestris finem certaminis coorta est peditum pugna. Primo et viribus et animis pares constabant ordines Gallis Hispanique: tandem Romani, diu ac saepe connisi, aequâ fronte acieque densâ impulere hostium cuneum nimis tenuem, eoque parum validum, a ceterâ prominentem acie.

An examination of any of Cicero's speeches or philosophical treatises will show how the rapid succession of question and answer, the outburst of admiration, the decisive precise statement of isolated facts, and above all, the logical, balanced Period contribute, each in its turn, as the theme suggests, to the interest, force, vivacity, dignity, sonorousness and modulation which are the characteristics of the best Latin prose.

It may be remarked that some misappreciation of the Period in Latin is due to the idea that it is adequately represented by the periodic style of modern classical writers. This is not the case. These writers have reproduced the balance, connexion, gravity and even the elegance and music of the classical period: but the variety is gone. The Period is all absorbing. It bears upon it the curse of imitation; it is affected, unnatural and prone to excess.[3] 'La période continue,' says an excellent critic (et moderne may I venture to add?), 'ressemble aux ciseaux de La Quintinie, qui tondent tous les arbres en boule, sous prétexte de les orner.—Le rhythme régulier mutile l'élan de l'invention naturelle.—Les commentateurs qui notent dans Addison le balancement des périodes lui font tort. Ils expliquent ainsi pourquoi il ennui un peu.'[4]

[1] Numitor inter primum tumultum hostes invasisse urbem atque adortos regiam dictitans, cum pubem Albanam in arcem praesidio armisque obtinendam avocasset, postquam juvenes perpetratâ caede pergere ad se gratulantes vidit, extemplo [TR: "exemplo" → "extemplo"] advocato concilio, scelera in se fratris, originem nepotum, ut geniti, ut educati, ut cogniti essent, caedem deinde tyranni seque ejus auctorem ostendit.
[2] Incisum autem et membratim tractata oratio in veris causis plurimum valet maximeque his locis cum aut arguas aut refellas, ut nostra in Cornelianâ secundâ. Cic. de Orat. LXVII.
[3] It must not be supposed that excessive use of the periodic style is necessarily the result of studying Latin authors. French prose was extravagantly periodic before the Renaissance, and found its best corrective in the study of Latin. Géruzez remarks that in the hands of Calvin 'elle atteint a la hauteur de la prose latine, qui lui a servi de modèle.'
[4] Taine, Littérature Anglaise. L'âge Classique, Liv. IV. c. 5.

[TR1] "multitudinen" → "multitudinem".