I was wondering whether there is any difference between the following partitive expressions in Latin: ūnus tribūnōrum and ūnus ex tribūnīs 'one of the tribunes' (cf. the so-called 'partitive genitive' and prep. ex + ablative, respectively).

Another related question is whether there is any difference between the following use of ex and de: e.g., cf. unus ex captivis (Caes. Gall., 6, 35, 8) and nulla de virtutibus tuis plurimis (Cic. Pro Lig. 37).

Are there any subtle differences involved? If so, could you please recommend any bibliographical source where these are mentioned/described?

  • The first example, "unus tribunorum", may have only one translation; the second, "unus ex tribunis" will depend on the alternative meanings of "ex" e.g. "one from (the group of) tribunes"; "one (circumstance) on account of the tribunes"; one (thing) in accordance with the tribunes". – tony Mar 13 '20 at 13:46
  • I agree with your point that ūnus ex tribūnīs can be literally translated as 'one from (the group of) tribunes'. The source construal with 'from' would not be encoded in the partitive genitive. – Mitomino Mar 13 '20 at 17:17

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