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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Dative of Agent

375. The Dative of the Agent is common with perfect participles (especially when used in an adjective sense), but rare with other parts of the verb:—

mihi dēlīberātum et cōnstitūtum est (Leg. Agr. 1.25), I have deliberated and resolved (it has been deliberated by me).

mihi rēs prōvīsa est (Verr. 4.91), the matter has been provided for by me.

sīc dissimillimīs bēstiolīs commūniter cibus quaeritur (N. D. 2.123), so by very different creatures food is sought in common.

a. The Dative of the Agent is used by the poets and later writers with almost any passive verb:—

neque cernitur ūllī (Aen. 1.440), nor is seen by any.

fēlīx est dicta sorōrī (Ov. Fast. 3.1.597), she was called happy by her sister.

Aelia Paetina Narcissō fovēbātur (Tac. Ann. 12.1), Ælia Pœtina was favored by Narcissus.

b. The dative of the person who sees or thinks is regularly used after videor, seem:

vidētur mihi, it seems (or seems good) to me.

dīs aliter vīsum [est] (Aen. 2.428), it seemed otherwise to the gods.

videor mihi perspicere ipsīus animum (Fam. 4.13.5), I seem (to myself) to see the soul of the man himself.

Note The verb probāre, approve (originally a mercantile word), takes a Dative of Reference (§ 376), which has become so firmly attached that it is often retained with the passive, seemingly as Dative of Agent:—

haec sententia et illī et nōbīs probābātur (Fam. 1.7.5), this view met both his approval and mine (was made acceptable both to him and to me).

hōc cōnsilium plērīsque nōn probābātur (B. C. 1.72), this plan was not approved by the majority. [But also, cōnsilium ā cūnctīs probābātur id. 1.74).]

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