It says "Lucus quidem ille et haec Arpinatium quercus agnoscitur", but shouldn't "agnoscuntur" be used instead? As it says "the grove and those oak trees of Arpinums are recognized(by me)". I'm still struggling with the basics, so maybe I'm simply missing something important here.


You are correct. If you as a beginner wrote agnoscitur, it would be wrong.

There are two possible explanations.
Grammatical Sometimes the verb agrees with the nearest subject, and in a perfect passive this might include gender as well as number. Quercus is feminine; so haec quercus is Nominative Singular; so, 'haec quercus agnota est, would be the Perfect.

Figura There is a figure of speech known as 'hendiadys,' in which the subject is described in two ways. 'The grove, and' then more precisely 'the oak tree, is known.'

Wikipedia on Hendiadys gives a Latin example: "There are many examples in Virgil's Aeneid, e.g., Book 1, line 54: vinclis et carcere, literally translated as "with chains and prison" but the phrase means "with prison chains"."

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  • wow this is super helpful, they all make sense (I like the second explanation even more), thanks a lot!!! – 饿羊吃狼 Feb 27 at 12:24
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    I'm curious – and maybe this should made into a separate question – whether you think this really could be an example of hendiadys. If the ille and haec were omitted, I'd say 'yes.' But those demonstrative separate the grove and the oak so much, putting them in such different degrees of proximity to the speaker, that it seems strange (to me) to bridge that distance and take them together as single concept. But I admit that, when I've encountered examples of hendiadys in the past, I've never given much thought to how far the 'one through two' approach can be stretched before it 'breaks.' – cnread Feb 27 at 22:06

How do you know that "quercus" is plural? If it's singular and the grove belongs to someone else (ille lucus = that grove yonder i.e. some distance away, possibly belonging to another) then the one, single oak tree, of the Arpinums, is recognised (= "agnoscitur"). The masculine, singular, nominative demonstrative pronoun "ille" = "that yonder"; as opposed to masc., sing., demonstr., nom., "is" = "that (near to me)". Similarly: feminine, singular, nominative, demonstrative pronoun, "haec" = this", indicating one oak tree; plural form, "hae", would have indicated "trees", plural.

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  • oops I just assumed it's masculine because of the ending, my bad...that one solved, I think it has to be singular and the verb goes with the closest subject. since later it went "saepe a me lectus in Mario", so I think he read both about that grove and this tree (otherwise he wouldn't mention the forest). then lectus is used which is even more confusing, cuz by that logic given by Hugh lecta should be used not lectus, lecta can be f.sg and n.pl and they would both work... – 饿羊吃狼 Feb 27 at 12:10
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    but I think the sentence is "sloppy" because it's a dialogue, I'll just have to be less fussy about the infection (languages with inflection are scary...), and just read more(as soon as my brain returns from the state of scrambled eggs) – 饿羊吃狼 Feb 27 at 12:16

Not necessarily. Like Hugh said, sometimes in Classical Latin, the verb agrees with the nearest noun. You can find examples in Caesar's >>De Bello Gallico<< as well.

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  • yes so it would appear...it's so cool...and uh...not pedantic as "classical" would sound like... – 饿羊吃狼 Feb 27 at 12:26
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    Can you add an example fro De bello Gallico? A concrete example would make this point stronger. – Joonas Ilmavirta Feb 27 at 14:53

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