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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Possesive Genitive

343. The Possessive Genitive denotes the person or thing to which an object, quality, feeling, or action belongs:—

Alexandrī canis, Alexander's dog.

potentia Pompêī (Sall. Cat. 19), Pompey's power.

Ariovistī mors (B. G. 5.29), the death of Ariovistus.

perditōrum temeritās (Mil. 22), the recklessness of desperate men.

Note 1— The Possessive Genitive may denote (1) the actual owner (as in Alexander's dog) or author (as in Cicero's writings), or (2) the person or thing that possesses some feeling or quality or does some act (as in Cicero's eloquence, the strength of the bridge, Catiline's evil deeds). In the latter use it is sometimes called the Subjective Genitive; but this term properly includes the possessive genitive and several other genitive constructions (nearly all, in fact, except the Objective Genitive, § 347).

Note 2— The noun limited is understood in a few expressions:—

ad Castoris [aedēs] (Quinct. 17), at the [temple] of Castor. [Cf. St. Paul's. ]

Flaccus Claudī, Flaccus [slave] of Claudius.

Hectoris Andromachē ; (Aen. 3.319), Hector's [wife] Andromache.

a. For the genitive of possession a possessive or derivative adjective is often used,—regularly for the possessive genitive of the personal pronouns (§ 302 . a):—

liber meus, my book. [Not liber meī.]

aliēna perīcula, other men's dangers. [But also aliōrum.]

Sullāna tempora, the times of Sulla. [Oftener Sullae.]

b. The possessive genitive often stands in the predicate, connected with its noun by a verb ( Predicate Genitive ):—

haec domus est patris meī, this house is my father's.

iam mē Pompêī tōtum esse scīs (Fam. 2.13), you know I am now all for Pompey (all Pompey's).

summa laus et tua et Brūtī est (Fam. 12.4.2), the highest praise is due both to you and to Brutus (is both yours and Brutus's).

compendī facere, to save (make of saving).

lucrī facere, to get the benefit of (make of profit).

Note— These genitives bear the same relation to the examples in § 343 that a predicate noun bears to an appositive (§§ 282, 283).

c. An infinitive or a clause, when used as a noun, is often limited by a genitive in the predicate:—

neque suī iūdicī [erat] discernere (B. C. 1.35), nor was it for his judgment to decide (nor did it belong to his judgment).

cûiusvīs hominis est errāre (Phil. 12.5), it is any man's [liability] to err.

negāvit mōris esse Graecōrum, ut in convīviō virōrum accumberent mulierēs (Verr. 2.1.66), he said it was not the custom of the Greeks for women to appear as guests (recline) at the banquets of men.

sed timidī est optāre necem (Ov. M. 4.115), but't is the coward's part to wish for death.

stultī erat spērāre, suādēre impudentis (Phil. 2.23), it was folly (the part of a fool) to hope, effrontery to urge.

sapientis est pauca loquī, it is wise (the part of a wise man) to say little. [Not sapiēns (neuter) est, etc.]

Note 1— This construction is regular with adjectives of the third declension instead of the neuter nominative (see the last two examples).

Note 2— A derivative or possessive adjective may be used for the genitive in this construction, and must be used for the genitive of a personal pronoun:—

mentīrī nōn est meum [not meī], it is not for me to lie.

hūmānum [for hominis] est errāre, it is man's nature to err (to err is human).

d. A limiting genitive is sometimes used instead of a noun in apposition (Appositional Genitive) (§ 282):—

nōmen īnsāniae (for nōmen īnsānia ), the word madness.

oppidum Antiochīae (for oppidum Antiochīa, the regular form), the city of Antioch.

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