In chapter XII of the 2003 edition of Lingua latina per se illustrata, one can read the following sentence (lines 93-94):

Aemilius in castrīs habitat mīlle passūs ā fīne imperīi.

I understand its meaning, but I can't figure out the grammatical role of "mīlle passūs". Since "habito" is a transitive verb, should "mīlle passūs" be interpreted as the direct object for such verb? I.e., is "passus" in accusative plural case?

  • 1
    Adverbial accusative is used for measuring length Oct 1, 2023 at 7:18
  • @KotobaTrilyNgian: But I would say this is distance.
    – Charo
    Oct 1, 2023 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


Mille passus a fine imperii is an adverbial phrase modifying habitat. Habitat is used intransitively in this sentence. Mille passus is in the accusative because that's generally the case used to denote length or extent. Allen and Greenough 425 cites for example Caesar:

fossās quīndecim pedēs lātās (B. G. 7.72)
trenches fifteen feet broad

  • For my question, a relevant piece of information in your source is: "Distance when considered as extent of space is put in the accusative" (it's below the excerpt you have reported). The example given, also from Caesar B. G ("Mīlia passuum tria ab eōrum castrīs castra pōnit"), is somewhat confusing because of the presence of the word "mīlia", which is always accompanied by a plural genitive. But I suppose "tria" should be interpreted as accusative plural neuter. Anyway, for completeness, can you please add this to your answer?
    – Charo
    Oct 1, 2023 at 15:59
  • Here one can find a good explanation in Spanish (section 3.4).
    – Charo
    Oct 10, 2023 at 12:55

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