I've seen "Carmen Glaciei Ignisque", but I have some doubt with the use of genitive here.

Can someone help me find examples from classical works that support the use of genitive?

Or find an explanation in a grammar book, since I can't seem to find a fitting one. It's not possessive genitive, partitive, genitive of quality, of material...

Do you think "Carmen de Glacie Igneque" will work?

Stuff I've found so far:
*I'm not sure about the date, since I guess titles may be added a lot later, and some are for Greek works.


Carmen de Duobus Populis
Carmen De Moribus

Carmen Fratrum Arvalium (performed by Fratres Arvales)
Carmen Saliorum (performed by Salii)
Carmen Naupactium (attributed to a Naupactus)

*Carmen Nelei (about Neleus)
"In Carmine Priami quod est" (probably about Priamus) - Varro
"et in Nelei Carmine" - Varro

It looks like Nelei Carmine/Carmen Nelei supports using genitive.

Another pro genitive:
"ut a Naeuio narratum est in carmine belli Punici"

I think I have enough reason to believe it's OK to use genitive in this case, although I have the feeling that these authors chose genitive for a shorter and more concise name to refer to a work, also more casual perhaps.

2 Answers 2


Consider these classical titles:

  • Commentarii de bello Gallico (Caesar)
  • Commentarii de bello civili (Caesar)
  • De inventione (Cicero)
  • De oratore ad Quintum fratrem libri tres (Cicero)
  • De re publica (Cicero)

Using the preposition de to denote the topic of a work is the typical choice in classical Latin. The best option alongside de is to use an adjective: carmen de glacie and carmen glaciale are not exactly identical but both worth considering.

As you have found, carmen is a good word for a song.

I recommend taking a look at this site's very first question about the difference between et and -que. In this case -que is indeed a good choice.

It seems to me that the word ignis has two attested singular ablatives: igni and igne. As a brief classical corpus study shows both (although it might be a matter of later editorial choices), both are perfectly fine. Cairnavon pointed out in a comment that the original ablative igni is mostly reserved for rare special uses in classical Latin and the general ablative is igne — in light of this your choice of igne is indeed better.

The best choice depends on what "of" means in "of ice and fire". If it means topic ("about ice"), then de is the best choice. If it means type ("like ice", "made of ice", "icy"), then an adjective or indeed the genitive will work. You can think of the genitive of material, either literally or figuratively.

In conclusion, you suggestion Carmen de glacie igneque works well, and you may want to consider variations such as Carmen de glacie ignique and Carmen glaciale igneumque and Carmen glaciei ignisque.

  • Originally all i-stems had an abl. sg. in -i and consonant stems had -e, but by the Classical period analogy had extended the consonant stem forms to the i-stems except for i-stems with an acc. sg. in -im and a handful of others. Ignis retained the old ending some common expressions (ferro ignique, aqua et igni interdicere), so both forms coexisted; I think the average contemporary grammarian would prescribe using igne outside of those expressions, though.
    – Cairnarvon
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 15:15
  • @Cairnarvon Thanks! I updated the answer regarding the ablative ending.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 19:30
  • Thanks! I thought of adjectives too, but for ice and fire, I found them (with no reason) too specifically suggesting 'icy and fiery'. I just updated some thoughts at the end of my question, what do you think?
    – Eugene
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 12:23
  • @杨Eugene I expanded my answer to discuss the genitive too. It depends on what kind of an "of" you want to have. Let me know if that was unclear.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 13:08
  • @JoonasIlmavirta Do you mean the part about "like ice"? Is it Genitive of Material?
    – Eugene
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 3:48

The genitive is fine (carmen amoris, fabula amoris, etc.; I personally couldn't care less what anybody would like to call that genitive). My own preference here would be with et or atque instead of -que: Carmen glaciei et/atque ignis. The option with de is not wrong (carmen de bello Troiano), it just strikes me as a bit too formal in this context.

  • 2
    But if I'm not mistaken, those aren't classical works. So far I've found Carmen de Duobus Populis, Carmen De Moribus through google. I only found Carmen Fratrum Arvalium, but to me it sounds like it implies that's a song made or sung by Fratres Arvales. I would really like an example from classical works, or to find an explanation in a grammar book, if not all grammarians missed it.
    – Eugene
    Commented Apr 8, 2021 at 4:35
  • I didn't cite titles, I cited language. You can, of course, believe me or not.
    – Batavulus
    Commented Apr 8, 2021 at 6:16
  • 2
    Well, languages change. A valid construction for mediaeval or modern speakers may not be valid for the ancient Romans. It'll be much appreciated if you can cite some classical work. The idea that "of" represents is so vague, I don't know how it fits into the list of explanations (possession/quality .. etc.)
    – Eugene
    Commented Apr 8, 2021 at 10:26
  • Eugene, you're mistaken, but all I can say is: You're welcome.
    – Batavulus
    Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 11:49
  • 2
    Well, you shared your opinion and I appreciate it, even though I'm looking for more than opinions.
    – Eugene
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 9:16

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