I wonder is 'rigido rostro' here in dative or ablative? Under "Dative and verbs compounded with prepositions" (Gildersleeve & Lodge) it is said, that " Many verbs compounded with the prepositions ad, ante, con, in, inter, ob, (post), prae, sub, and super, take the Dative, especially in moral relations.

The Dative is found, as a rule, only when these verbs are used in transferred sense. In poetry and later prose the Dative is extended even to the local signification."

..., alteraque alterius rigido concrescere rostro ora videt ...<

Ovid Metamorphoses V 673

each saw another's face stiffening into a hard beak,..(F.J. Miller)

Altera (each; f.nom.) alterius ( of other, f.gen) rigido (stiff,hard adj. dat?) concrescere (to grow together, stiffen harden, inf.) rostro (rostrum - a beak;n.dat.?) ora (os - the mouth; n.acc.) videt (pres.ind.act.)

Or could it be ablative after all?

  • 2
    Off the top of my head I'd immediately say dative. Very few verbs take ablative objects compared to dative, and ablative on its own tends to indicate a source, not a destination.
    – Draconis
    Jan 2, 2017 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


It appears that concrescere, meaning "thicken" or "condense", is an intransitive verb, meaning that it will not take an accusative direct object. Most intransitive verbs take dative indirect objects, which represent the object that a certain action is directed at. Thus, rigido rostro would be in the dative.

The only verbs that I can think of which take the ablative are the PUFF-V deponents: potior ("get possession of"), utor ("use"), fruor ("enjoy"), fungor ("perform"), and vescor ("feed upon"). If you would like some further reading on verbs that take the ablative case and other uses for the ablative, this PDF from The Latin Library may be of use.

  • Thank you! Would you say then, that this con-preposition doesn't matter here, but what matters is 'concrescere' being intransitive verb (there is a chapter in Gildersleeve & Lodge, called "Dative with Intransitive verbs", but 'concrescere' is not mentioned under that list there)?
    – Aili J.
    Jan 2, 2017 at 17:37
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    crescere, the base verb, means "come forth" or "increase" and is also intransitive. Thus, I believe it is not the preposition that matters, but the verb itself. The preposition just makes concrescere a compound verb of crescere.
    – Sapphira
    Jan 2, 2017 at 17:40
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    This Latin-German Dictionary lists concrescere + dat. as a "poetic" construction, and in + acc. as more common. I think it's a little over-generalizing to say that "most intransitive verbs take dative indirect objects [to signify what it] is directed at."
    – brianpck
    Jan 2, 2017 at 20:17

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