Psalm 92 v. 1

Dóminus regnávit, decórem indútus est: * indútus est Dóminus fortitúdinem, et præcínxit se.

The Lord hath reigned, he is clothed with beauty: * the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded himself.

Here, I understand that we have the passive perfect participle indutus. Induo roughly means "I clothe," so indutus est would seem to mean "he is clothed."

Now, being a native English speaker, if I wanted to say "he is clothed in beauty," I would probably say in decore indutus est or cum decore indutus est or simply decore indutus est. (In the last case, allowing the ablative without the preposition to answer the question "how?").

I was taught from day one that the accusative is used for the direct object, but that doesn't seem to be what's going on in this psalm verse. What grammatical structure is Jerome using here? Is it a peculairity of the verb induo, induere? Or is it a grammatical structure that can be used with other verbs too?

1 Answer 1


You've indeed stumbled upon an interesting construction. The Lewis & Short entry for induo mentions several ways of using induo:

  • induo vestem
  • induor vestem
  • me in vestem induo
  • me veste induo

The second construction, which you are interested in, employs a so-called Greek accusative, though Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar remarks that it is "different" from the typical examples of this accusative. The second note of §338 merits a full quotation, since it also points out parallel constructions:

Different is the Accusative with induor, I don; exuor, I doff; cingor, I gird myself, and other verbs of clothing and unclothing, as well as passives, when the Subject is also the Agent; in which verbs the reflexive or middle signification is retained. These uses are poetical or post-classical.

  • Inutile ferrum cingitur, V[irgilius], A[eneid], II.510; he girds on (himself) a useless blade.
  • Loricam induitur fidoque accingitur ense, V., A. VII.640; he dons a corselet and begirds himself with his trusty glaive. . . .

E. Adelaide Hahn, "The Origin of the Greek Accusative in Latin," Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 91 (1960): 221-238 addresses this construction (often with specific reference to induor + acc.) in some depth.

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