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In the beginners-book "Julia" by Maud Reed we find this sentence:

"Non falsa," inquit, "Solon, vir sapiens, dixit. Ego me omnium hominum beatissimum tot annos putabam. Nunc autem nemo per omnes gentes miserior est.

I'm not sure as to why annos takes the accusative case here. I thought there might be implied "per" here that would produce the "for(thorough) so many years" - but does this ever happen? I would rather expect the ablative and even the nominative instead.

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It's the accusative of time, answering the question “how long?” (And not “when?” or “during which time?” – that would call for the ablative.)

“I thought myself the happiest of people for so many years.”

One might consider the ablative defensible here, which would then answer the question “within which time,” although that would strike me as an unusal choice, because the action is being in a state of mind, which is not something one “completes within” a certain time even in English. In any event that's not what the text uses.

The nominative is completely out of the question.

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    Thanks! somewhat surprised I haven't heard about up until now, as that looks pretty basic. though not entirely surprising as my "way" of studying this language is anything but organized; yet I'm certain - all roads lead to Rome :)
    – d_e
    Aug 19 '20 at 18:59

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