The Allen and Greenough is still under construction;
so some links may not work quite the way you would expect.
Dative of the Purpose or End.
382. The Dative is used to denote the Purpose or
End, often with another Dative of the person or thing affected.
This use of the dative, once apparently general, remains in only a few
constructions, as follows: -
1. The dative of an abstract noun is used to show that for which a
thing serves or which is accomplishes, often with another
dative of the person or thing affected: -
- reí públicae
cládi sunt (Iug. 85. 43), they are ruin to the
state (they are for a disaster to the state).
úsuí nostrís fuit (B. G. iv. 25), it
was of great service to our men (to our men for great use).
- tertiam aciem nóstrís
subsidió mísit (id. i. 52), he sent the
third line as a relief to our men.
- suís salútí
fuit (id. vii. 50), he was the salvation of his men.
- événit facile quod dís
cordí esset (Liv. i. 39), that came to pass easily
which was desired by the gods (was for a pleasure [lit. heart] to the gods).
NOTE 1: This construction is often called the Dative of
Service, or the Double Dative construction. The verb is usually sum. The noun expressing the end for
which is regularly abstract in singular in number and is never
modified by an adjective, except one of degree (mágnus, minor, etc.), or by a genitive.
NOTE 2: The word frúgí used as an adjective is a
dative of this kind: -
- cógis mé dícere
inimícum Frúgí (Font. 39), you compel me
call my enemy Honest.
- hominés satis fortés et
pláné frúgí (Verr. iii. 67),
men brave enough and thoroughly honest. Cf. eró frúgí bonae
(Plaut. Pseud. 468), I will be good for something. [See § 122. b.]
2. The Dative of Purpose of concrete nouns is used in prose in a few
military expressions, and with freedom in poetry: -
- locum castrís
déligit (B. G. vii. 16), he selects a site for a
- receptuí canere, to sound a retreat (for a retreat).
- receptuí sígnum (Phil. xiii. 15), the signal for
- optávit locum
régnó (Aen. iii. 109), he chose a place for
- locum ínsidiís
circumspectáre (Liv. xxi. 53), to look about for a place
for an ambush. [Cf. locum
séditiónis quaerere (id. iii. 46).]
For the Dative of the Gerundive denoting Purpose, see § 505. b.