The Allen and Greenough is still under construction;
so some links may not work quite the way you would expect.
302. The Possessive Pronouns are derivative
adjectives, which take the gender, number, and case of the noun to
which they belong, not those of the possessor: -
- haec órnámenta sunt
mea (Val. iv. 4), these are my jewels. [mea is neuter plural, though the speaker is a
- meí sunt órdinés, mea díscríptió (Cat. M. 59),
mine are the rows, mine the arrangement. [mea is feminine, though the speaker is Cyrus.]
- multa in nostró
collégió praeclára (id. 64), [there are]
many fine things in our college. [nostro is neuter singular, though men are
- Germání suás
cópiás castrís édúxérunt
(B. G. i. 51), the Germans led their troops out of the camp.
a. To express possession and similar ideas
the possessive pronouns are regularly used, not the genitive of the
personal or reflexive pronouns (§ 343. a): -
- domus mea, my
house. [Not domus mei.]
- pater noster, our
father. [Not pater nostri.]
- patrimónium tuum,
your inheritance. [Not tui.]
NOTE 1: Exceptions are rare in classic Latin, common in later
writers. For the use of a possessive pronoun instead of an Objective
Genitive, see § 348. a.
NOTE 2: The Interrogative Possessive cûius -a, -um, occurs in poetry and early
Latin: as, - cûium pecus
(Ecl. iii. 1), whose flock? The genitive cûius is generally used instead.
b. The possessives have often the acquired
meaning of peculiar to, favorable or propitious towards, the
person or thing spoken of: -
- [petere] ut suá
clémentiá ac mánsuétúdine
útátur (B. G. ii. 14), they asked (they said)
that he would show his [wonted] clemency and humanity.
- ígnórantí quem portum
petat núllus suus ventus est (Sen. Ep. 71. 3), to
him who knows not what port he is bound to, no wind is fair (his own).
- tempore tuó
púgnástí (Liv. xxxviii. 45. 10), did you
fight at a fit time?
NOTE: This use is merely a natural development of the meaning
of the possessive, and the pronoun may often be rendered literally.
c. The possessives are regularly omitted
(like other pronouns) when they are plainly implied in the context: -
- socium fraudávit, he
cheated his partner. [socium suum
would be distinctive, his partner (and not another's); suum socium, emphatic, his own partner.]
d. Possessive pronouns and adjectives
implying possession are often used substantively to denote some special
class or relation: -
- nostrí, our countrymen,
or men of our party.
- suós continébat (B. G. i. 16), he held his men
- flamma extréma
meórum (Aen. ii. 431), last flames of any
- Sullání, the
veterans of Sulla's army; Pompêiání, the partisans of
NOTE: There is no reason to suppose an ellipsis here. The
adjective becomes a noun like other adjectives (see § 288).
e. A possessive pronoun or an adjective
implying possession may take an appositive in the genitive case agreeing
in gender, number, and case with an implied noun or pronoun: -
- meá sólíus
causá (Ter. Haut. 129), for my sake only.
- in nostró omnium
flétú (Mil. 92), amid the tears of us all.
- ex Anniáná
Milónis domó (Att. iv. 3. .3), out of Annius
Milo's house. [Equivalent to ex Anní
- nostra omnium patria, the
country of us all.
- suum ipsíus
régnum, his own kingdom.
For the special reflexive use of the possessive suus, see §§ 299, 300.