"nōn modo filiō, sed etiam frātri meō bracchium vulnerātum est."

By Kyle Jain, in 'Latin to English Translation', Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Kyle Jain Member

    Hi, I came across the following sentence

    "nōn modo filiō, sed etiam frātri meō bracchium vulnerātum est."

    I think I understand the basic idea of the sentence. However I want to be able to understand the grammar of what is going on. My best attempt is "The arm was wounded, not only to the son, but also to my brother." However, this is not a very clean translation. I checked Allen and Greenough's and I couldn't find anything with vulneratum and a a dative like this. I then checked Lewis and short, which gave me many definitions, but nowhere could I find a dative with vulneratum. Is my translation correct?
  2. Iáson Cívis Illústris

    • Civis Illustris
    Literally, that is what it means. In more natural English, 'Not only my son, but also my brother has been wounded in the arm.'

    The dative of fīliō and frātrī is either the dative of (dis)advantage (with the action of having an arm wounded), or the dative of possession (of the arm).

    It's true that there are no exact parallels in L&S for this. It could equally have been phrased eg. nōn modo fīlius, sed etiam frāter meus bracchium vulnerātī sunt. I also found it hard to find any parallels in attested Latin, except for one rather technical instance in Celsus which focuses on the place of injury:

    But there's nothing wrong with the construction - it is perfectly comprehensible. Perhaps the author was emphasising the fact that it was the arm itself that was wounded.
    Last edited by Iáson, Aug 4, 2018
  3. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    It is the former. I think you can also call it a dative of reference. This sort of dative always goes with the verb; it never modifies a noun as a possessive like meus etc. or genitive would.

    In other words, bracchium alicui vulneratum est = (literally) "the arm was wounded to someone", NOT "the arm to someone was wounded", see what I mean?

    It is sometimes (carelessly) called a dative of possession because it usually translates to a possessive in English (because English idiomatically expresses things from a different perspective), but it isn't really. Furthermore, the dative of possession proper isn't even used where you would use a possessive in English, but where you would use the verb "have", e.g. Marco duo filii sunt = "To Marcus are two sons" = "Marcus has two sons".

    For more on the topic, in case either of you needs it: http://latindiscussion.com/forum/la...-translates-to-a-possessive-in-english.28298/
    Iáson likes this.
  4. Kyle Jain Member

    Yeah that makes sense. Thanks!
  5. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    Accusative of respect is rather rare, rather poetic. Ablative of respect is the usual choice in Latin (if at all), so in such case "bracchiō vulnerātī sunt"
    Iáson likes this.
  6. Matthaeus Vemortuicida strenuus

    • Civis Illustris
    I hate the accusative of respect, as it looks confusing to me.

Share This Page


Our Latin forum is a community for discussion of all topics relating to Latin language, ancient and medieval world.

Latin Boards on this Forum:

English to Latin, Latin to English translation, general Latin language, Latin grammar, Latine loquere, ancient and medieval world links.