I translated this as "Therefore death is nothing, since the nature of the death is held by the mind."

Nihil igitur mors est, quoniam nātūra animī habētur mortālis.

Original sentence from the book

Wouldn't mortalis have to be the direct object since natura and animi are already ablative and genitive respectively? Why is mortalis not accusative or ablative, given that it only makes sense for it to be the direct object of the passive verb habetur in this context? How do you suggest that I translate this?

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    Since this text shows macrons, "nātūra" cannot be ablative. Given that habētur is passive, there cannot be a direct object. Habeō has other usages than as an equivalent of "hold" or "have." Try using the meaning "consider." Commented May 25, 2022 at 16:28

1 Answer 1


A couple of things:

  • The fact that there are already an ablative and a genitive in a sentence doesn't preclude their being other ablatives and genitives in that sentence.
  • Mortalis is an adjective, not a form of the noun mors. It's nominative. Even if it were genitive, it would be very odd to construe it with natura, as you've done in your translation, because the 2 words are so far apart.
  • Natura is nominative, not ablative. You know this because your text (Wheelock's Latin if I'm not mistaken) has provided the long marks over vowels.
  • Although you correctly state that animi is genitive in your last paragraph, you translated it as an ablative.
  • Passive verbs can't take direct objects.
  • Habere can mean to 'to consider.' Therefore, in the passive, it means 'to be considered,' and can function as a copula (linking verb) connecting a subject and a complement.
  • So "Since the nature of the mortal mind is considered", considering what you told me that seems correct. Commented May 25, 2022 at 16:51
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    Hmm, I think the answer is still missing a roundup sentence to put it all together. Very comprehensive BTW!
    – Rafael
    Commented May 25, 2022 at 17:42
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    @Hydrolox3552 "since the nature of the mind is considered mortal", I think
    – Rafael
    Commented May 25, 2022 at 17:44
  • Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it. This is exactly why I wanted to go back and translate these sentences, I had forgotten most of what I learned about passive verbs. Commented May 25, 2022 at 17:55

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