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Metamorphoses Book V, the story of Proserpina. At this point Proserpina's mother Ceres is still looking for her daughter.

Sicaniam repetit, dumque omnia lustrat eundo,
venit et ad Cyanen. ...

"while everything she wanders over... by going (?)"

Loeb offers this "she came back to Sicily, and in the course of her wanderings here she came to Cyane".

The thing is, I'm trying to understand why eundo would be in that particular case, dat./abl. m./n. s. (and indeed which of these cases?).

I'm puzzled not least because here we learn that a gerundive is passive (and also the future passive participle).

But in the first place, eo, ire is not transitive. So how can you have a passive participle at all?

As for any suggestion in this context that it might have some future meaning, I don't get that at all.

I'm quite happy to just accept that eundo is maybe abl. n. s. and means "by going", if I must, but I feel that I'm somehow missing some meaning: why (apart from metrical requirements) did Ovidius add this word: what does it add and mean?

And why this case, gender and number, whatever the former are?

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It's a gerund, not a gerundive. Gerunds are verbal nouns, and you actually translated it as so: "[in/by] going."

Sicaniam repetit, dumque omnia lustrat eundo, venit et ad Cyanen.

She returned to Sicily, and while she surveyed everything by going [i.e. while she went around and surveyed the island], she came upon Cyane.


I'm quite happy to just accept that eundo is maybe abl. n. s. and means "by going", if I must, but I feel that I'm somehow missing some meaning: why (apart from metrical requirements) did Ovidius add this word: what does it add and mean?

She isn't stationary when she omnia lustrat, but is actively searching for her daughter.

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    "She isn't stationary when she omnia lustrat" ← true enough, although lustrare already pretty unequivocally implies wandering around, so I feel lustrat eundo is indeed somewhat redundant. Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 23:32
  • @SebastianKoppehel Fair enough, but just dropping eundo would mess up the meter. :)
    – Figulus
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 1:12
  • @cmw Thanks. Sorry, I confused gerund and gerundive. The reason was Wiktionary which says "eundo" comes from the gerundive, saying nothing about the gerund. But on the substantive issue I'm still not clear (disregarding all questions arising from metrical demands) a) how would you characterise what is actually added to the phrase by adding this word? As has been said, lustro (at least the meaning used here, "wander over") is necessarily a verb of motion; and b) why are gerunds in the neuter? (possibly this is unanswerable and just a feature of the language). Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 7:04
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    @mikerodent a) Similarly, "he went to look around" is technically redundant, but redundancy in language isn't bad. It helps clarify, especially since lustrat can mean other things besides "wander"; b) it's just the way it is, but why would it be anything besides neuter?
    – cmw
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 18:04
  • OK, thanks for the insight. Thought there might be more to it! Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 19:52

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