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391. Some transitive verbs take a second accusative in addition to their Direct Object. This second accusative is either (1) a predicate accusative or (2) a secondary object.


Predicate Accusative

392. An accusative in the predicate referring to the same person or thing as the direct object, but not in apposition with it, is called a predicate accusative.

393. Verbs of naming, choosing, appointing, making, esteeming, showing, and the like, may take a predicate accusative along with the direct object.

ō Spartace, quem enim tē potius appellem? (Phil. 13.22)
O Spartacus, for what else shall I call you (than Spartacus)?

Cicerōnem cōnsulem creāre
to elect Cicero consul

augurem nōmināvērunt. (Phil. 2.4)
They nominated me for augur.

cum grātiās ageret quod sē cōnsulem fēcisset (De Or. 2.268)
when he thanked him because he had made him consul
(supported his candidacy)

Hominem prae sē nēminem putāvit. (Rosc. Am. 135)
He thought nobody a man in comparison with himself.

Ducem sē praebuit. (Vat. 33)
He offered himself as a leader.

Note— The predicate accusative may be an adjective.

hominēs mītīs reddidit et mānsuētōs (Inv. 1.2)
has made men mild and gentle

a. In changing from the active voice to the passive, the predicate accusative becomes predicate nominative (§ 284).

Rēx ab suīs appellātur (B. G. 8.4)
He is called king by his subjects.
[Active: suī eum rēgem appellant.]


Secondary Object

394. The Accusative of the Secondary Object is used (along with the direct object) to denote something more remotely affected by the action of the verb.

395. Transitive verbs compounded with prepositions sometimes take (in addition to the direct object) a secondary object, originally governed by the preposition.

Caesar Germānōs flūmen trāicit. (B. C. 1.83)
Cæsar throws the Germans across the river.

Idem iūs iūrandum adigit Afrānium. (id. 1.76)
He exacts the same oath from Afranius.

quōs Pompêius omnia sua praesidia circumdūxit (id. 3.61)
whom Pompey conducted through all his garrison

Note 1— This construction is common only with trādūcō, trāiciō, and trānsportō. The preposition is sometimes repeated with compounds of trāns, and usually with compounds of the other prepositions. The ablative is also used.

dōnec rēs suās trāns Halyn flūmen trāicerent (Liv. 38.25)
till they should get their possessions across the river Halys

(Exercitus) Padō trāiectus Cremōnam (id. 21.56)
The army was conveyed across the Po to Cremona
(by way of the Po, § 429.a).

Note 2— The secondary object may be retained with a passive verb.

Belgae Rhēnum trāductī sunt. (B. G. 2.4)
The Belgians were led over the Rhine.

Note 3— The double construction indicated in § 395 is possible only when the force of the preposition and the force of the verb are each distinctly felt in the compound, the verb governing the direct, and the preposition the secondary object.

But often the two parts of the compound become closely united to form a transitive verb of simple meaning. In this case the compound verb is transitive solely by virtue of its prepositional part and can have but one accusative,—the same which was formerly the secondary object, but which now becomes the direct. So trāiciō comes to mean either (1) to pierce (anybody) [by hurling] or (2) to cross (a river etc.).

Gladiō hominem trāiēcit.
He pierced the man with a sword.

[Here iaciō has lost all transitive force, and serves simply to give the force of a verb to the meaning of trāns, and to tell the manner of the act.]

Rhodanum trāiēcit.
He crossed the Rhone.

[Here iaciō has become simply a verb of motion, and trāiciō is hardly distinguishable from trānseō.]

In these examples hominem and Rhodanum, which would be secondary objects if trāiēcit were used in its primary signification, have become the direct objects. Hence in the passive construction they become the subjects and are put in the nominative.

Homō trāiectus est gladiō
The man was pierced with a sword.

Rhodanus trāiectus est.
The Rhone was crossed.

The poetical trāiectus lōra [(Aen. 2.273) pierced with thongs] comes from a mixture of two constructions: (1) eum trāiēcit lōra (he drove thongs through him1) and (2) eum trāiēcit lōrīs (He pierced him with thongs.) In putting the sentence into a passive form, the direct object of the former (lōra) is irregularly kept, and the direct object of the latter (eum) is made the subject.

396. Some verbs of asking and teaching may take two accusatives, one of the person (direct object), and the other of the thing (secondary object).

Mē sententiam rogāvit.
She asked me my opinion.

Otium dīvōs rogat. (Hor. Od. 2.16.1)
He prays the gods for rest.

Haec praetōrem postulābās. (Tull. 39)
You demanded this of the prœtor.

aedīlīs populum rogāre (Liv. 6.42)
to ask the people [to elect] œdiles

docēre puerōs elementa
to teach children their A B C's.

Note— This construction is found in classical authors with ōrō, poscō, reposcō,rogō, interrogō, flāgitō, doceō.

a. Some verbs of asking take the ablative of the person with a preposition instead of the accusative. So, always, petō (ab), quaerō (ex, ab, ); usually poscō (ab), flāgitō (ab), postulō (ab), and occasionally others.

Pācem ab Rōmānīs petiērunt (B. G. 2.13)
They sought peace from the Romans.

quod quaesīvit ex mē P. Apulêius (Phil. 6.1)
what Publius Apuleius asked of me

b. With the passive of some verbs of asking or teaching, the person or the thing may be used as subject (cf. c, Note 2, below).

Caesar sententiam rogātus est.
Cæsar was asked his opinion.

Id ab eō flāgitābātur. (B. C. 1.71)
This was urgently demanded of him.

Note— The accusative of the thing may be retained with the passive of rogō, and of verbs of teaching, and occasionally with a few other verbs.

Fuerant hōc rogātī. (Cael. 64)
They had been asked this.

Poscor meum Laelapa. (Ov. M. 7.771)
I am asked for my Lælaps.

Cicerō cūncta ēdoctus (Sall. Cat. 45)
Cicero, being informed of everything.

But with most verbs of asking in prose the accusative of the thing becomes the subject nominative, and the accusative of the person is put in the ablative with a preposition.

Nē postulantur quidem vīrēs ā senectüte. (Cat. M. 34)
Strength is not even expected of an old man (asked from old age).

c. The verb cēlō (conceal) may take two accusatives, and the usually intransitive lateō (lie hid) an accusative of the person.

Nōn cēlāvī sermōnem T. Ampī. (Fam. 2.16.3)
I did not conceal from you the talk of Titus Ampius.

Nec latuēre dolī frātrem Iūnōnis. (Aen. 1.130)
Nor did the wiles of Juno escape the notice of her brother.

Note 1— The accusative of the person with lateō is late or poetical (§ 388.c, Note 1).

Note 2— All the double constructions indicated in § 396 arise from the wavering meaning of the verbs. Thus doceō means both to show a thing, and to instruct a person; cēlō, to keep [a person] in the dark, and to hide a thing; rogō, to question a person, and to ask a question or a thing. Thus either accusative may be regarded as the direct object, and so become the subject of the passive (cf. b. above), but for convenience the accusative of the thing is usually called secondary.



1.Perhaps not found in the active, but cf. trāiectō fūne (Aen. 5.488).

Suggested Citation

Meagan Ayer, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7.