The Allen and Greenough is still under construction;
so some links may not work quite the way you would expect.
419. A noun or pronoun, with a participle in
agreement, inay be put in the Ablative to define the time or circumstances
of an action. This construction is called the Ablative Absolute: -
[The Ablative Absolute is perhaps of instrumental origin. It is,
however, sovu* times explained as an outgrowth of the locative, and in any
event certain locative constructions (of place and time) must have
contributed to its development.]
- Caesar, acceptis litteris, nintium
mittit (B. G. v.46), having received the letter, Cav'ar sends
a messenger (the letter having been received).
- quibus rebus c5gnitis Cacsar spud militts
co-utiOnittur (B. C. i. 7), having learned this, Casar makes
a speech to the soldiers.
- fuga*to- omni equitati (B. G. vii. 68), all the cavalry being put to flight.
- interfecto InditioniSr5 (id. vi. 2), upon the death of Indutiomarus.
- uSudum hienie c5nfecta in finis NerviOrum
contendit (id. vi. 3), though the winter was not yet over,
hastened into the territory of the Nervii.
- compress! [sunt] conattis nillS tumulti
piblice concitatS (Cat. i. 11), the attempts were put down
without erciting any general alarm.
- ni vo-bis quidem omnibus re etiam turn
probati (id. ii. 4), since at that time the facts were not
yet proved even to all of you.
NOTE: The ablative absolute is an adverbial modifier of the
predicate. It is, however, not grammaticaHy dependent on any word in the
Sentence: hence its name absolute (absolitus, i.e. free or unconnected).
A substantive in the ablative absolute very seldom denotes a person or
thing elsewhere mentioned in the same clause.
a. An adjective, or a second noun, may
take the place of the parti2iple in the Ablative Absolute construction:
[The present participle of esse, wanting in Latin (§170. b), is
used in Sanskrit and Greek as in English.]
- exigna parte aesttttis rellqua
(B. G. iv. 20), when but a small part of the summer was left (a small part of the summer remaining).
- I'. DomitiS Ap. Clandie- c5nsulibus
(id. v.1), in the consulship of Lucius Domitius and Appius
Claudius (Lucius Domitius and Appius Claudius being consuls). [The
regular way of expressing a date, see §424. g.]
- nil d*p*andum Tencr5 duA et auspice TenorS
(Hor. Od. i. 7.27), there should be no despair under
Teucer's leadership and auspices (Teucer being leader, etc.).
b. A phrase or *ause, used substantively,
sometimes occurs as ablative absolute with a participle or an adjective
- incert5 quid peterent (Liv. xxviii. 36), as it was uncertain what they sho*: aim at (it being uncertain, etc.).
- compertS v5num esse formidinem
(Tac. Ann. i. 66), when it was found that the alarm was
- cer praeterestur dsmbnstrAt5 (mv. ii. 84), when the reason for omitting it has been erplained (why it is passed by being explained).
NOTE: This construction is very rare except in later Latin.
c. A participle or an adjective is
sometimes used adverbially in the ablative absolute without a substantive:
- consultS (Off. i. 27), on
purpose (the matter having been deliberated on).
- mihi optato veneris (Att. xiii. 28. 8), *ou will come in accordance with my' wish.
- aersn5 (Liv. xxxi. 12), under
a clear sky (it [being] clear).
- nec auspicatS nec htatS (id. v.38), with no auspices or favorable sacrylce.
- tranqullib, ut *unt, quilibet guberrator
est (Sen. Ep. 85. 34), in goo* weather, as they say, any man
'5 a pilot.