In Lingua Latina per se Illustrata: Roma Aeterna: Ch. 37 Line 173:

Cui (=Priamō) Pyrrhus “Nunc morere!” inquit, senemque ... ad ipsam āram trāxit, ubi laevā comam eius prehendēns dextrā ēnsem sustulit atque in latere rēgis dēfīxit!

sufferre means "to offer" "to put under" or "to suffer" according to dictionaries, but the agent of sustulit seems to be Pyrrhus, who wanted to kill Priamus. Is there any reason that "he offered (/suffered/...) the sword with right hand"?

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    Rogō prius responsum accipiās tē 24 hōrās opperīrī ut aliī peritiōrēs alternātum prōpōnere possint—praesertim sī responsum illum ego scripsī. Latīnē tīrō sum; capitulum profectō idem Ørbergiī quod legis nunc legō!
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jan 4, 2022 at 18:29

2 Answers 2


The verb that is intended here is almost certainly tollo, tollere, which shares third and fourth principal parts with sufferre*. Although sufferre can, according to Lewis & Short, mean 'hold up,' the entry also notes that this sense of the verb is 'very rare.' On the other hand, meanings such as 'pick up,' 'raise,' and 'lift' are primary for tollere.

Here, Pyrrhus 'lifted the sword with his right hand' as a preliminary to stabbing it into Priam's body.

* For the reason why this is the case, see, for example, Does suffero have perfect forms?

  • Sānē responsum tuum rectius est. Auctor quaestiōnis mox regredi atque eum accipere spērēmus.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jan 4, 2022 at 23:16

"…with his right hand he held up the sword…"

See sense II.B in Lewis & Short, "To hold up, bear, support, sustain."

The sub- prefix here means "up". Amazingly, sub is cognate with English "up". Here's an explanation of the connection, with more examples.

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    Perhaps it would be worth mentioning that sustulit is also the perfect of tollere. I suspect that's actually the verb that's intended in the passage.
    – cnread
    Jan 4, 2022 at 17:20
  • @cnread Hmm, how would you like to post that as a separate answer? I had completely forgotten that sustulit is also the perfect of tollere. I'll also post a comment suggesting waiting 24 hours before accepting an answer. Come to think of it, I don't think that Ørberg has introduced the verb sufferō yet.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jan 4, 2022 at 17:30

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