The Allen and Greenough is still under construction;
so some links may not work quite the way you would expect.
Dative of Possession.
373. The Dative is used with esse and similar words to denote Possession:
- est mihi domí
pater (Eccl. iii.33), I have a father at home (there is to me).
- hominí cum deó similitúdó est
(Legg. i. 25), man has a likeness to God.
- quibus opés núllae sunt (Sall. Cat. 37),
[those] who have no wealth.
NOTE: The Genitive or a Possessive with esse emphasizes the possessor; the
Dative, the fact of possession: as, - liber est meus, the book is MINE (and no one's else); est mihi liber, I
HAVE a book (among other things).
a. With nómen est, and similar expressions, the
name is often put in the Dative by a kind of apposition with the
person; but the Nominatuve us also common: -
- (1) cui
Áfricánó fuit cógnómen
(Liv. xxv. 2), whose (to whom) surname was Africanus.
- pueró ab inopiá
Egerió inditum nómen (id. i. 34), the name
Egerius was given the boy from his poverty.
- (2) pueró nómen est
Márcus, the boy's name is Marcus (to the boy is, etc.).
- cui nomen Arethúsa (Verr. iv. 118), [a fount]
NOTE: In early Latin the dative is usual; Cicero prefers the
nominative, Livy the dative; Sallust uses the dative only. In later Latin
the genitive also occurs (cf. § 343. d): as, - Q.
Metelló Macedonicí nómen inditum est
(Vell. i. 11), to Quintus Metellus the name of Macedonius was
b. Désum takes the dative; so occasionally
absum (which regularly has the ablative): -
- hóc únum
Caesarí défuit (B. G. iv. 26), this only
was lacking to Caesar.
- quid huic abesse poterir (De Or. i. 48), what can be wanting to him?