Can ire be used in this way? "Iosaphatum salutem ite." (I go to Iosephat for shelter.) Furthermore, is the two accusatives correct? This sentence is based on a Sanskrit construction, and I do not know if Latin can do this in the way that Sanskrit can.

  • 1
    Can you provide a little more context for this usage? Is this just your translation attempt of "I go to Iosephat for shelter", or are you seeing it in some work?
    – brianpck
    Apr 25, 2017 at 17:59
  • 1
    It is an adaption of the Sanskrit phrase "Buddhaṃ śaraṇaṃ gacchāmi" (Buddha+accusative, shelter+accusative, then "I go" (gacchāmi) , I am trying to explain declension to someone and I was wondering if I could make the same grammatical construction in Latin so that is was less confusing.
    – Caoimhghin
    Apr 25, 2017 at 18:08
  • It seems that you have not yet taken the site tour. I warmly recommend that you go all the way through it. It will only take a minute.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:20
  • Say, does the Sanskrit verb gacchāmi take two accusatives? The Wiktionary entry doesn't mention anything, but of course they might have omitted that or it might be a common feature of Sanskrit verbs. If not, though, then śaraṇaṃ might be an appositive (explained further in my answer).
    – Ben Kovitz
    Apr 25, 2017 at 23:12
  • Answering my own question, from p. 27 of this book, it appears that gacchāmi does have a sense of going to X to ask for or to receive Y, where X and Y are both in the accusative—analogous to some Latin verbs, but not (AFAIK) ire.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Apr 25, 2017 at 23:28

2 Answers 2


"I go" is . Īte is the plural imperative: "Go, y'all!"

Some Latin verbs take two accusatives, like dīcō, "I tell [person] [what I say]", or rogō, "I request [person] [what I want]." However, I don't think that works with īre because it doesn't naturally have two things that could serve as its object. Consequently, in this sentence:

Iosaphatum salutem eo.

salūtem will be understood as an appositive: "I go to Buddha the salvation" or "I go to Buddha as salvation." This might be exactly what you're looking for even though grammatically it doesn't parallel the use of two accusatives with Sanskrit "gacchāmi", which seems to work like Latin rogō.

Going beyond your question about īre, there may be better ways to word a Latin translation of "Buddhaṃ śaraṇaṃ gacchāmi": different word choices that might echo the Latin tradition more poetically or more clearly. For example, salūs might be perfect, due to its use in Christianity for "salvation", but a more literal translation of śaraṇaṃ, like perfugium, might convey the meaning better. In particular, there may be a better-fitting verb, maybe something like dēcurrō. Wiktionary reports that gacchāmi is cognate with Latin veniō, which might offer some possibilities for a translation that retains the terseness and character of the original.

  • Do you know of any examples where ire is used transitively like that? I don't recall ever seeing it used with a pure accusative of a person. (Also: salus is a state, perfugium is a place. Especially if it's something spiritual, I would vote for salus.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:23
  • @JoonasIlmavirta Indeed ire is a choice I'm doubtful about, both because it usually takes a preposition and because I'm not sure how well it agrees with the notion of seeking aid. I'd suggest petere, but that verb definitely wants a preposition. I'm checking further into this right now.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:33
  • @BenKovitz Petere also changes the meaning quite a bit. It's a different thing to go to someone for something than to ask someone for something. As always, the best choice of words depends on context and precise meaning, more than can be conveyed with a simple English translation "I go to him for shelter".
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:38
  • @JoonasIlmavirta Lewis & Short mention some examples where ire is used transitively, like i domum (repeatedly in this scene), and mention that in poetry it occurs "with the acc. of the terminus".
    – Ben Kovitz
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:44
  • 1
    Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure this isn't a well-formed construction: the dative of purpose is almost always in the context of a double dative and usually is with a form of esse. Furthermore, the "purpose" in such a sentence would be what a thing is for, not what my intention is. It would have to be: "Sit mihi saluti Iosaphatus"
    – brianpck
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:50

I would not use a single plain accusative with ire in cases like this. As per Ben Kovitz's comment, I will refer to the person as Jehosaphat in English.

The verb ire is mostly used intransitively. As in English, a preposition is needed: ad Iosaphatum ire is "to go to Jehosaphat". Alterinatively, the compound verb adire can be used transitively, so Iosaphatum adire means (almost) the same thing. The simplest way to say "I go to Jehosaphat" is ad Iosaphatum eo.

I would translate "for shelter" as salutis causa (genitive and ablative, "for the reason of safety") if you want to use salus. Salus refers to the state of safety, not to a place. If you want "shelter" to be a physical safe place, then I would use something like confugium, tectum, or tutum. For a religious tone, also ara is also possible. Any of these words needs to be in genitive: congugii, tecti, tuti.

Thus, I would translate you phrase as ad Iosaphatum salutis causa eo.

You could also do other things for a different tone. For example, ad Iosaphatum fuga eo, "I go to Jehosaphat as a refugee".

  • "Refuge/safety" is the Sanskrit original that I was trying to replace with "salutem", is this incorrect?
    – Caoimhghin
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:00
  • @Caoimhghin For that purpose salus is indeed a good word. I would just use it in genitive (salutis) to go with the ablative causa.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:03
  • Prompted by C.M. Weimer, I just learned that what I also misread as Iosephatum is actually the accusative of Iosaphatus, commonly called in English "Jehosaphat", an oft-referenced Biblical king of Judah.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:04
  • It is also a name for the Buddha in Latin! History is a strange thing.
    – Caoimhghin
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:06
  • Is Latin able to form grammatically sound sentences using two accusatives and a verb at all then? Or is this a particular feature of Sanskrit?
    – Caoimhghin
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.