Given the following sentence:

The ways of the high mountains are rough.

Is there any reason to prefer "Altorum montium itinera confragosa sunt" over "Montium altorum itinera cofragosa sunt"?

1 Answer 1


The difference isn't one of meaning, but emphasis. As a rule of thumb, whichever word you put first is getting the most emphasis in the sentence. But Latin word order is extremely free, and altōrum montium itinera, montium altōrum itinera, itinera montium altōrum, altōrum itinera montium, and so on are all perfectly valid ways to phrase it.

Out of those options, itinera montium altōrum reads the most neutrally to me: no specific emphasis, a default and unmarked way to phrase it. Altōrum itinera montium, on the other hand, puts a lot of emphasis on the height; breaking up a phrase like this tends to be a poetic thing.

  • Indeed, I always forget about the emphasis.
    – sidney
    Apr 5 at 8:38

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