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In the famous latin expression

"nōn uidēmus manticae quod in tergō est".

We see the word manticae. I always considered that this word must be the direct object of the sentence, however, if it was the case, one should expect the form manticās. Why does it happen? Why is it manticae?

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It is a partitive genitive, but the word order may be slightly misleading: the direct object of videmus is quod in tergo est and manticae modifies that, not the other way around.
If the object were manticae and quod in tergo est were a subordinate clause depending on that, as might be the natural reading, the sentence would have to be "non videmus manticam quae in tergo est", with manticam in the accusative as you expected, and quae feminine because it refers to mantica.

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  • Ah yes! It makes sense, a partitive was my second guess, but I totally forgot that it would be "quae" if "manticam" was the object! Thank you! Mar 27, 2023 at 18:54

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