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Ablative of Quality.
415. The quality of a thing is denoted by the
Ablative with an adjective or genitive modifier.
This is called the Descriptive Ablative or Ablative of
Quality: - [It was originally instrumental and appears to bave
developed from accompaniment (§413) and manner (§412).]
- animi meliore sunt gladi*tores
(Cat. ii. 26), the gladiators are of a better mind.
- quae cum esset civitits aequissnn5 ifire ac
foedere (Arch. 6), as this was a city with perfectly equal
- mulierem eximii pulcnrittidine
(Verr. ii. 1.64), a woman of Tare beauty.
- Anstoteles, vir sunmo ingenic, scientih,
c5pit (TuSc. i. 7), Aristotle, a man of the greatest genius,
learning, and g*ft of expression.
- d* Domiti* dixit versum Graecum eAdem
sententiit (Deiot. 25), concerning Domitius he recited a Greek
line of the same tenor.
NOTE: The Ablative of Quality (like the Genitive of Quality, §345) modifies a substantive by describing it. It is therefore
equivalent to an adjective, and may be either attributive or predicate.
In this it differs from other ablatives, which are equivalent to adverbs.
a. In expressions of quality the Genitive
or the Ablative may often be nsed indifferently; but physical qualities
are oftener denoted by the Ablative (cf. §345. N.):
- *pIUo sunt pronisso- (B. G. v.14), they have long hair.
- ut capite operto sit (Cat. II. 34), to have his head covered (to be with covered head).
- quam fuit inbe*cillus P. A frican I fulus,
quam tenui aut nCllA potius valstCdine (i* 85), how weak was
the son of Africanus, of what feeble health, or rather none at all!