My question stems from a passage of Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata Familia Romana in chapter 14 on page 104 beginning at line 38 as follows.


Does "aperiēns" modify oculōs even thought it is plural, and if not, how should the sentence beginning with "Eō modō excitātur Mārcus,..." be read?

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    What may have confused you is that, in English, to open can exist as both a transitive verb ("he opened his eyes") and an intransitive verb ("his eyes opened"). I think aperio "uncover, open" is only used transitively.
    – Cerberus
    Dec 22, 2023 at 5:12
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    @Cerberus Well, not really: e.g. Foris aperit (Pl. Pers. 300) ‘The door is opening’. See latin.stackexchange.com/questions/9421/…
    – Mitomino
    Dec 22, 2023 at 8:00

1 Answer 1


Aperiēns is an active present participle, which is a verb form that can take a direct object. Aperiēns and oculōs go together, but not by means of aperiēns modifying the noun; the noun is the direct object of aperiēns.

The meaning is "Opening (his) eyes" and it serves to describe the state of the subject of the sentence, Mārcus, with which aperiēns agrees in number, gender and case.

A shorter version of the sentence with the same construction would be "Mārcus, oculōs aperiēns, servum videt." The full sentence in LLPSI has another active present participle that agrees with the word "servum".

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