In Vulgate in Apocalypsis 20:4, why does it say "et regnaverunt cum Christo mille annis" (ablative? Or is it dative?), rather than "et regnaverunt cum Christo mille annos" (accusative)? They reigned with Christ for a thousand years. As far as I know, "for (some period of time)" is usually expressed with an accusative, rather than with an ablative.

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    Even among the classical writers (though perhaps mainly later ones), the ablative is sometimes found instead of an accusative to express duration/extent of time. I've definitely seen examples in the letters of Pliny the Younger and possibly Seneca the Younger.
    – cnread
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 17:41
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    Pliny 4.13: ipse pauculis adhuc diebus in Tusculano commorabor, ut opusculum quod est in manibus absolvam.
    – cnread
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 17:52
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    It's interesting that the Greek does have an accusative there.
    – Cairnarvon
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


According to the grammars, the accusative answers the question “how long”, and the ablative tells us “when” or “within which time”. But I suspect that by the time of Jerome this distinction was no longer operative.

  • I thought that, in the spoken language at the time of Jerome, it is the ablative that was going lost, not the accusative. Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 11:01
  • @FlatAssembler That's a little later.
    – cmw
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:32
  • @cmw What do you mean? Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:49

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