'est illis strigibus nomen' Ovid Fasti 6.139

Phoebus Apollo

Civis Illustris
I've seen this translated as 'Screech-owl is their name', but strictly speaking isn't it a dative of possession and therefore 'those screech-owls have a name'? I've had a bit of a mental block so just wanted to check...
Thanks in advance!
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
You can say nomen mihi est Phoebus, literally "To me the name is Phoebus", and that means in normal English "My name is Phoebus", but you can also put the name in the dative and say nomen mihi est Phoebo.

It's frequent for the name to be attracted into the dative. I guess an instinctive confusion happened in Romans' minds because the dative and the name represent the same person or thing so it can feel like they should agree together.

I think the dative here is more of reference than of possession.
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
Interestingly there are also cases of a similar, but rarer phenomenon after licet: eg. atqui licet esse beatīs (Horace), Verberor et tūtae nōn licet esse nucī? (Ovid). Kennedy cites Cicero as having mihi nōn licet esse negligentī but I haven't been able to find the example.

I think the dative here is more of reference than of possession.
Kennedy, Allen, and Gildersleeve classify it as possessive.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Interestingly there are also cases of a similar, but rarer phenomenon after licet: eg. atqui licet esse beatīs (Horace), Verberor et tūtae nōn licet esse nucī? (Ovid). Kennedy cites Cicero as having mihi nōn licet esse negligentī but I haven't been able to find the example.
Rarer? I thought that was pretty common and in fact more so than the version with dat. + licet + acc. + inf.

By the way, this phenomenon happens basically with all such dative constructions, so with placet, libet...
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
Rarer? I thought that was pretty common and in fact more so than the version with dat. + licet + acc. + inf.
Oh, right. I haven't noticed it much, but it stands out to me less than the nōmen est construction, and I haven't read as much Latin as you.
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
You can say nomen mihi est Phoebus, literally "To me the name is Phoebus", and that means in normal English "My name is Phoebus", but you can also put the name in the dative and say nomen mihi est Phoebo.
We were discussing this in Cork. It was suggested that the name in the dative was the older construction.
 
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