Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutamus.

By mhuffman, in 'Latin to English Translation', Oct 3, 2008.

  1. mhuffman New Member

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Okay, I know what it means, but can you explain in detail how the word 'morituri' came to be in that form. I get that it's from a deponent verb, and the future active participle is moriturus, but after that I'm not sure. Thanks.
  2. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. It is the future active participle of a deponent verb, as you said. If you're wondering why it still has an active form despite being deponent, this is because the participles of deponent verbs aren't affected by the switch to passive forms like the infinitive and the finite forms of the verb are. The reason for this is pretty obvious: there was no present passive participle to accommodate it, and the future passive participle had already acquired rather distinct grammatical functions: the gerundive and passive periphrastic. Also, the perfect passive participle form of deponent verbs had (usually) an active meaning, making them the only case in Latin where a functional perfect active participle exists.

    On the other hand, if you're asking what the grammatical function of the word morituri is in this particular sentence is: it's nominative masculine plural, agreeing with (or in apposition to) the implicit subject nos, which is implied by the first person plural ending of the main verb salutamus. It is masculine because it's a group of men, as gladiators tended to be.

    Very literally: "Hail, Caesar! We, [the ones] being about to die, salute you." Or slightly better: "Hail, Caesar! We who are about to die salute you."

    The common English rendering of the phrase as "Hail, Caesar, those about to die salute you" isn't quite correct, as you can see.
  3. mhuffman New Member

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sorry, I should have been clearer with my question. Thank you for the detailed response, I actually needed to know a little bit of both. I think I was trying to figure out how it fit the common English rendering, when in fact it doesn't. That makes more sense now.

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