Can multiple singular things act as a collective subject? I am trying to understand the following expression from Horace:

fama decus divitiis parent

So, fama and decus are both singular nominatives. However, the verb of the sentence is third person plural, parent (they appear). So, it appears (paret) that fama and decus seem to be acting as a collective subject of the sentence, so take a plural form of a verb. Is that right? If so, then the sense of the sentence seems to be, reputation and honor appear with wealth.

Also, should I treat divitiis as ablative with cum understood, or should I treat it as ablative of agency? It changes the meaning. So, does it mean "with wealth" or "by wealth"?


Yes, your supposition is correct about the two singular nominatives agreeing with a plural verb:

317. Two or more singular subjects take a verb in the plural.

Pater et avus mortuī sunt. His father and grandfather are dead.

(Allen and Greenough, Latin Grammar)

However, the sense of pareo is to submit to:

Fame and glory submit to riches.

To answer your question about divitiis, it's in the dative and serves as a complement the verb pareo:

to submit to riches

  • 1
    I.e. "dīvitiīs" is a dative (with "pārēre").
    – Batavulus
    Mar 12 '21 at 17:44
  • @Batavulus. Yes, I should have mentioned that. Mar 12 '21 at 19:01
  • Just b/c Tyler had suggested abl. :-)
    – Batavulus
    Mar 12 '21 at 19:42

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