Objective (and subjective) genitive
The objective genitive expresses the recipient of verbal action implicit in an accompanying noun. For example, in the phrase cūra mātris (“care for a mother”) mātris is the recipient of the verbal action implicit in the noun cūra. We can compare this phrase with the statement cūrat mātrem “she cares for her mother” in which “mother” is the direct object of the verb. Following this example, we can identify many nouns with an implicit verbal action, such as metus (“fear”), odium (“hatred”), or laus (“praise”). When these nouns are accompanied by an objective genitive, this genitive expresses the recipient of that verbal action.
The objective genitive is usually translated into English with the prepositions “of” or “for”.
Sapiēns sine metū deōrum vīvit. “The wise person lives without fear of the gods.”
Frūctum nōminis perpetuī tibi dōnāvī.
“I have given the enjoyment of an everlasting name to you.”
Nūllus cupiditāte pugnae intāctus erat.
“No one was untouched by a desire for battle.”
An objective genitive cannot accompany a noun whose verbal force is intransitive, including: sermō (“speech”), voluntās (“will”), adventus (“arrival”). That said, the objective genitive does appear with nouns even when the cognate verb does not normally take an accusative object.
Ūsus nāvium ē Gallīs ēripiēbātur. “Use of the navy was snatched away from the Gauls.”
Invidia rēgnī omnia īnfēsta fēcit. “Jealousy of rule made everything unsafe.”
Like the objective genitive, the subjective genitive is understood in relation to nouns expressing verbal action. Understood in the abstract, this genitive supplies the subject of that verbal force of an accompanying noun. For example, from the phrase voluntās multōrum (“the will of the many”) we can imagine a phrase multī volunt (“many wish”) in which "many" is now the subject of the verbal action. Practically speaking, however, there is little difference between a subjective genitive and a genitive showing possession.
A subjective genitive may accompany a noun whose verbal force is either transitive or intransitive.
A subjective genitive is usually translated into English with the preposition “of” (occasionally “from”) or with the English possessive.
Licēbat eōs id voluntāte Caesaris facere.
“It was permitted for them to do this by the will of Caesar.”
Vectīgālia populī Rōmānī sub arbitriō eius erant.
“The revenues of the Roman people were subject to his judgment.”
Sometimes only context can determine whether a genitive is subjective or objective in nature. Lacking context, amor Caesaris could be either “Caesar’s affection” or “affection for Caesar”.
The possessive adjective (meus, tuus, suus, etc.) is regularly used rather than a genitive of the possessive or reflexive pronoun to express the subject of a noun with verbal force.
Dē fugā meā cōnsilium capere possum. “I am able to form a plan about my flight.”
On the other hand, the genitive of the pronoun (meī, tuī, suī, etc.) is usually used to express the objective genitive.
Avia tua dēsīderiō tuī mortua est. “Your grandmother has died due to a longing for you.”
Philosophia omnēs mortālēs in admīrātiōnem suī rapit.
“Philosophy impels all mortals toward into an admiration of herself.”
When the personal pronouns nōs and vōs are used to express an objective genitive, the forms nostrī and vestrī are regular (rather than nostrum and vestrum).
Hic est nostrī contemptor!
“This is the one who scorns us.” (literally, “This is the scorner of us.”)
Occasionally, however, the possessive adjective is used to express the object of a noun with verbal force.
Sua clādēs Rōmae īnfāmis iam erat. “Their ruin was already infamous in Rome.”
The sense of sua clādes here is “their being ruined”.
The objective genitive may also accompany an a variety of adjectives. Examples of adjectives which are frequently accompanied by an objective genitive include those expressing desire, fear, memory, capability, guilt, fullness, participation, and awareness.
The objective genitive with the adjective is most often translated in English with the prepositions “of” “for” and sometimes “over”.
Cēterī esse cupidiōrēs prōvinciae videntur.
Other men seem to be more eager for a province.”
Hippolytus equōs pavidōs vōcis ciet.
“Hippolytus drove the horses which were fearful of his voice.”
Memorēs ventūrae hiemis aestāte labōrem experiuntur.
“Mindful of the winter which will come they undertake their work in the summer.”
Circus capāx populī multa commoda habet.
“The Circus, big enough for the multitude, possesses many advantages.”
Impotēns animī cucurrit in rēgiae vestibulum.
“Having no control over his mind he rushed into the forecourt of the palace.”
Genitives are also found with adjectives expressing the opposite meaning of those listed above, including adjectives expressing forgetfulness, fearlessness, powerlessness, etc.
Oblītus tuī esse nōn poterō. “I will not be able to be forgetful of you.”
Sēcūrus famae īre mementō. “Remember to go unconcerned for fame .”
Also, an objective genitive may accompany any adjective with a clear verbal sense.
Tempus, edāx rērum, omnia dēstruis cōnsūmisque.
“Time, devourer of things, you destroy and consume all.”
Some additional notes
A gerund or gerundive phrase (see Assignment 12) will frequently function as an objective genitive and occasionally as a subjective genitive.
Fīnem rogandī nōn faciam. “I shall not make an end of asking.”
Dumnorīx in spem obtinendī rēgnī vēnit.
“Dumnorix came into a hope of obtaining rule.”
Initium scrībendārum lēgum factum est. “An outset of establishing laws occured.”
An objective genitive may sometimes be found accompanying adjectival participles in place of an accusative direct object (see the additional notes in Assignment 1). See also Allen and Greenough §349b.
Identify whether the highlighted phrase would be best expressed in Latin by an objective genitive or a subjective/possessive genitive.
Sample: Wherever I turn, I see indications of my old age. Answer: objective genitive
Sample: Nothing was heard about the return of Caesar. Answer: subjective/possessive genitive
My desire for fame increased.
Jove sensed in advance the arrival of his wife.
The favorable disposition of the province toward Caesar was ascertained.
At Rome there is the greatest fear of a war in Gaul.
I am wounded by the constant blows of Fortune.
The bull laments the injuries from his haughty victor.
The experience of friendship bestows great pleasure.
I will look away from the sight of these evils!
He heard the clamor of men fighting.
The escape of Cleopatra is no annoyance to me.
I was touched by a love for glory.
Caesar sustained the attack of his enemies.
Hope for a province compelled Scipio.
Tarquin the Proud persuaded everyone into a hatred of himself.
The memory of my consulship is revived.
I do all things on account of a concern for myself.
Manlius thought the country could not be saved by Camillus from the siege of the enemies.
Luxury of food and dress are indications of an ailing city.
The chatter of good men, of whom there are none, does not affect me.
The house resounded with the groan of the Dido as she lamented.
Translate the highlighted phrases including an adjective with an accompanying objective genitive.
Sample: Particeps meōrum cōnsiliōrum esse solēs. Answer: “participant in my plans”
Sample: Virtūs et mēns interrita lētī eō inest. Answer: “unterrified of death”
Sample: Sed nōn potēns meī sum. Answer: “in possession of myself”
Omnia plēna lūctūs erant.
Homō terrīs īnscius scelerum dābitur.
Prōteus memor suae artis sē trānsfōrmat.
Aenēās avidus pugnae sūrās aurō inclūserat.
Hoc nōn sinit tē esse oblītam meī.
Sapiēns vīvit sēcūrus fūturī.
Nox sōla cōnscia factōrum Ulixis est.
Plēminius impotēns īrae tribūnōs attrahī ad sē iussit.
Mīlitēs Scīpiōnis volunt esse participēs praemiōrum.
Ō Somne, cōgis genus hūmānum pavidum lētī discere longam noctem.
Statuētis hominēs cupidiōrēs possessiōnis quam vītae esse oportēre.
Meum pectus animī ināne fuit.
Beāta vīta nūllīus indigēns est.
Dīdō Aenēāsque immemorēs rēgnōrum suōrum hiemem fōvērunt.
Nihil est tam capāx fortuitōrum quam mare.
Translate the following sentences using grammar from this assignment.
Tua voluntas nota mihi est.
Carmina plēna laetitiae tibi dabō.
Sermōnēs istōrum hominum ferre nōn possum.
Significātur in tuīs litterīs suspīciō et dubitātiō tua.
Marcellinus ostendit sē ācerrimum dēfēnsorem tuī esse.
Nātūra nōbīs cūram nostrī mandāvit.
Ille diēs caede hostium et dīreptiōne urbis cōnsūmptus est.
Illī avidī certāminis in proelium ruunt.
Caesar sē ā contumēliīs inimīcōrum dēfendit.
Catō multa dē mē cum meā summā laude dīxit.
Examples in Context
Translate the following modified examples.
n) Context for the sentence(s)
Modified example sentence(s)
[grammatical and contextual notes, if any]
1) Apollo laments the death of his lover Hyacinthus who was killed by an errant bounce of the discus.
Ego sum tibi fūneris auctor.
2) Turnus replies to the taunts of Alecto, who has taken the form of Juno’s priestess Calybe.
Rēgia Iūnō nōn immemor meī est.
[Rēgia, adj. here “queen”]
3) Seneca argues that wisdom is an end in itself.
Quid est ūsus sapientiae? Sapere.
4) After his visitation from Hector’s ghost, Aeneas awakens to sounds of war.
Et clāmor virōrum exorītur et clangor tubārum.
5) Phaethon hurdles through the sky having lost control of his father’s chariot.
Nescit quō eat aut ubi sit et arbitriō volucrum equōrum raptātur.
[quō, “to where” or simply “where”; volucrum, gen. plur. “winged”]
6) Threat of a war with the Sabines causes a disturbance in Rome.
Nōn sōlum nūntiī sed fuga agrestium per urbem trepidātiōnem iniēcit.
[iniēcit, here “inspire” or “cause”; per urbem, best take with the action of the main verb]
7) Cicero reminds Lucceius of his eager desire that the latter record the story of his consulship.
Illa cupiditās fēstīnātiōnis mē incendit, dē quā in initiō scrīpsī.
[initiō, referring to the outset of the same letter]
8) There is word that some of the Fidenates had joined in raids perpetrated by the Veians against the Romans.
Fāma fuit quōsdam ex iuventūte Fīdēnātium participēs hūius populātiōnis fuisse.
[Fāma fuit, introduces an indirect statement; quōsdam ex iuventūte, “certain ones from the youth”; populātiōnis, “pillaging”]
9) Seneca explains that goodness obtained through philosophy is not at all equivalent to the innocence of children.
Īnfāns nōn magis bonī capāx est quam arbor aut aliquod mūtum animal.
10) Tityrus recalls his laziness while he was with his previous lover, Galatea.
Dum Galatēa mē tenēbat, nec spēs lībertātis erat nec cūra pecūliī.
[pecūliī, here perhaps “personal property”]
11) Writing from exile to his patron Messalinus, Ovid recalls that individuals are sometimes aided even by those whom they have wronged.
Violātor templī interdum ad āram cōnfugit nec opem offēnsī nūminis petere horret.
[horret, “be afraid of” with a complementary infinitive]
12) Cicero makes excuses for Caelius despite his association with Cicero’s nemesis Catiline.
Erant apud Catilīnam multae illecebrae libīdinum. Erant etiam quīdam stimulī industriae ac labōris.
[libīdinum, gen. plur.; quīdam, “certain” (see Assignment 5)]
13) Orgetorix plots to take over the Gallic territories.
Orgetorīx inductus cupiditāte regnī coniūrātiōnem nōbilitātis fēcit et cīvitātī persuāsit ut dē fīnibus suīs cum omnibus copiīs exīrent.
[exīrent, plural in agreement with the multitude implicit in nōbilitātis in cīvitātī]
14) The fleet of Nasidius is ineffective due to their lack of urgency compared to the Massilians, who fought bravely for their native land.
Nec cōnspectus patriae nec praecepta propinquōrum nāvēs ad extrēmum vītae perīculum adīre cōgēbant.
[praecepta, here perhaps “admonitions”; propinquōrum here “kinsfolk”; nāvēs, acc.; cōgēbant, “compel X to Y” where X is an accusative and Y is an infinitive]
15) Numa decides to fabricate a supernatural encounter to keep people in check during times of peace.
Numa metum deōrum, rem efficācissimam ad multitūdinem imperītam et illīs saeculīs rudem, iniciendum esse ratus est.
[Rem… rudem is in apposition to metum; ad, here perhaps “with regard to” ; illīs saeculīs, abl. expressing time when; iniciendum esse, here “incite” or “inspire”; ratus est, here “he determined that”]