In the Grammatica Latina at the end of Cap. V of LLPSI Pars I, Ørberg has the following examples for singular and plural ablative of each gender:

[A] Masculinum. In horto Iulii. In hortis Italiae.

[B] Femininum. In villa Iulii. In villis Romanis.

[C] Neutrum. In oppido Tusculo. In oppidis Graecis.

In the plural masculine ablative example, why is Italiae used rather than Italis when Graecis is used with the neuter example? I'm assuming Italiae is the nominative plural of the noun, Italia, but Graecis is the ablative plural of the noun Graecus.

1 Answer 1


Graecus, -a, -um is an adjective “Greek”, put in the ablative plural Graecis to agree with the ablative plural noun oppidis: “In (the) Greek towns.”

Italia is a noun “Italy”; Italiae is the genitive singular: “In (the) gardens of Italy.” Genitive nouns don’t show any agreement in Latin, so only hortis is marked for ablative plural. The same goes for “In horto Julii” “In (the) garden of Julius”.

The ablative plural adjective Italis (a form of the adjective Italus, -a, -um) would also be grammatical; I’m not sure why a genitive vs. an adjective would be used.

(In oppido Tusculo is a third construction, an apposition where both the common noun and the proper noun are inflected for the appropriate case, rather than one being inflected in agreement with the other. In this case they happen to have the same gender and number but some towns have feminine or plural names in Latin: e.g. in oppido Athenis literally “in (the) town Athens” meaning “in the town of Athens.”)

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    I believe the adjective Italus is very uncommon in prose. The ordinary adjective is Italicus. But, as you say, there is no real reason why Ørberg should have used Italiae rather than Italicis.
    – Cerberus
    Nov 3, 2020 at 2:05
  • Thank you for the answer! I was expecting that each example would use adjectives, and was scratching my head as to why the first example didn't follow the same pattern as the others. I suppose this is Ørberg slyly throwing in other structures. I understood the meaning of each in general, but not the distinction of each type.
    – Adam
    Nov 3, 2020 at 2:33

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