It should also be pointed out that some see the ablative absolute as an outgrowth of the locatival functions of the ablative, and it is possible that certain locatival expressions, e.g. in circumstances where the need for a verb is not essential; and c) by breaking up the structure of the Latin complex sentence, which is sometimes lengthy, and employing an additional main verb.

While participles are verbal adjectives, and in that sense they qualify nouns, they are most commonly used adverbially, as an alternative to an adverbial subordinate clause, and predicatively, in that they provide an extension to the predicate of the sentence. In some cases, an adjective is used impersonally as an ablative absolute without a noun: e.g. When used in this way an Ablative of Accompaniment is known as an Ablative of Attendant Circumstances, and the ablative absolute construction can best be regarded as a special type of this. So, the Latin for 'With the city captured, the soldiers proceeded to plunder it would always be "Urbem captam milites diripuebant" (lit. a temporal or a concessive clause. Sometimes a phrase can be translated either as a straightforward ablative of attendant circumstances with an attributive adjective, or as an ablative absolute with a past participle being used predicatively.

'He acted with my full blessing'; 'He attacked with great risk'. Finally, with regard to the structural significance of ablative absolutes, it must be emphasised, that with very occasional exceptions, Latin authors would never use an ablative absolute if the participle could agree with either the subject or object of the sentence.

It is full of instances of the ablative absolute construction, which is perhaps the quintessential characteristic of the Latin language. In all of these cases, other than the prepositional phrase where no verb is present, it is usual to revert to the use of the active voice in the translation, although when the subject of the action is unclear or there is a desire to maintain the focus of attention on the object of the action the passive sense may be profitably retained.

an adjective or participle, the preposition is frequently omitted.

"terra marique", on land and sea, may well have contributed to its development. However, Latin literature does make a considerable use of the past participle of deponent verbs, which, because they are active in meaning, can facilitate an escape from the somewhat tortuous convolution which the past participle passive sometimes involves, and for this reason they can be a useful device, too, to those translating English into Latin.The past participle of deponent verbs is often used with the force of a present participle, because, the present participle of such verbs, while possible, is uncommon.

([it being] clear).

As stated above the ablative absolute is usually a participial phrase, and the majority of these involve a past participle passive of transitive verbs, i.e. "opertis" comes from the past participle passive of "operio", I cover. Amongst its Sociative-Instrumental functions is the Ablative of Accompaniment. A number of well-known short phrases are associated with this construction: e.g. the battle [being] equal). However some attempt has been made to exemplify the range of these possibilities in the different renderings offered, and the particular type of approach followed is highlighted in parenthesis at the end of each colloquial translation. The ablative absolute construction is effectively restricted to situations where the noun to which the participle in this type of phrase belongs is structurally 'detached' from the main clause of the sentence. While attention has now been given to the participial implications of the ablative absolute, it is important to look also at the reasons for the use of the ablative case in this context. Where a reversion to the active voice has occurred this is also indicated. Past participle passives are, of course, only available to transitive verbs, and in the case of intransitive verbs, including verbs that take the dative case, another type of construction, usually a temporal clause with "cum" (when), must be used instead of an ablative absolute. When used in this sense, the ablative denotes a person or thing in association with whom, orwith which, an act is performed. In all these cases, the incidence of an ablative absolute with a noun or adjective instead of a participle, or where an adjective is used impersonally, arises because the verb "sum" (I am) has no present participle. In this context the preposition "cum" (with) is commonly used, but, when the ablative noun in the phrase is qualified by an epithet, i.e.

with you [being] the author); "me invito", against my will, (lit. Because orthodox verbs in Latin lack the form of a past participle in the active voice, ablative absolutes using past participles passive are often necessary to compensate for this lack, with the grammatical sense having to be inverted into the passive voice. When these are translated into English, these phrases are usually rendered in one of three ways: a) into a subordinate adverbial clause, most commonly a temporal clause, but in some cases causal, concessive and conditional clauses as well; b) by the retention of a phrase, usually participial, as in the case of the ablative absolute, but sometimes prepositional, i.e. "me consule", in my consulship, (lit. the soldiers plundered the having-been-captured city), and never "Urbe capta, milites eam diripiebant". ", Sabidius has recently completed a translation of Book III of the "De Bello Gallico", and in order to illustrate Caesar's fondness for this construction and to demonstrate the different ways in which it can both be used in Latin and translated into English, he has listed below. "consulto", on purpose, (lit.

When translating into English, it is common to replace the participle with such a subordinate clause, e.g. (N.B.

[it being] deceived), "sereno", under a cloudless sky, lit. In translating into English, it is common to restore the active construction and thus to attach the participle to the subject or object of the main verb, something which is not possible in Latin through the lack of a past participle active. In the first of these two translations it is used as an adjective, and in the second as the original participle.)

In such instances, the words in the ablative may denote, not a concrete accompaniment of someone or something, but the circumstances under which the action is performed, or even the circumstances arising from it, e.g. with me [being] consul); "te auctore", at your suggestion, (lit.

Such ambiguity is not uncommon (See examples in Chapters 4, 12, 26 and 28 below.). an ablative of attendant circumstances), when this noun is not the subject or object of the main verb. The ablative performing the Sociative-Instrumental or 'with'-case functions can be identified from these other functions of the case by the absence of a preposition or by the use of the preposition "cum" (with). An ablative absolute is a phrase detached from the main clause of a sentence, at the heart of which is a participle, or verbal adjective, agreeing with a noun or pronoun in the ablative case (viz. verbs which take an object. While most participial phrases involving ablative absolutes do use the past participle passive, the use of the present participle active is quite common and can be used for all verbs, both transitive and intransitive. The ablative absolute construction is to be distinguished from other instances of the Ablative of Attendant Circumstances in that the participle within the construction is, as stated above, predicative rather than attributive, that is it adds something additional to the predicate and does not simply adhere to its noun in an adjectival or adnominal fashion. On the other hand, the future participle active is not found in the absolute absolute construction. If a present participle of "sum" is understood, as in the literal translations indicated above, these phrases become participial too.

At the same time ablative absolutes are often used, as indeed are participles in general, as an alternative to subordinate clauses.

While the majority of ablative absolutes does involve participles, some consist of a noun with an adjective, or another, appositional, noun, in agreement with it. Firstly, attention is given to the ablative absolute construction as an example of the use of participles. With regard to the latter it is emphasised that the number of possible alternatives is likely to be considerable. In each case, the line in which the phrase is to be found in Gould & Whiteley's text used by Sabidius in his translation, is shown, and the actual Latin words are highlighted in italics. their heads having been covered), they went out of the city'. Set out below, chapter by chapter, are all the instances of the ablative absolute construction to be found in this book. In the introduction to his translation of Caesar's "De Bello Gallico", Book V, published on this blog on 31st August 2010, Sabidius wrote about Ablative Absolutes as follows: "Caesar's prose, is as stated above, relatively straightforward to translate. with me [being] unwilling); "aequo Marte", on equal terms in battle, (lit. The use of participles in general, and ablative absolutes in particular, facilitates that conciseness of expression and economy in the use of words which are the hallmarks of the Latin language. For instance the Latin sentence, "Ex urbe exibant capitibus opertis", can be translated either 'They went out of the city with covered heads', or 'Having covered their heads (lit. Indeed, the word 'absolute' comes from the Latin verb "absolvo" (past participle "absolutus"), I loosen or set free. [it being] deliberated on); "falso", falsely, (lit. In such cases these single words effectively become adverbs. Then two translations follow: firstly, a literal translation of Caesar's words as shown in Sabidius' translation (see the beginning of the introduction above), in which, in the case of past participles, the passive sense is retained; and, secondly, a colloquial translation is suggested. It seems most likely that the ablative absolute construction is directly linked to the 'Sociative-Instrumental or 'with'-case functions of the ablative case, and this usage should be distinguished from its True Ablative or 'from'-case, or its Locatival or 'in'-case functions.