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Currently doing some beginner practice with Alexander Lenard's translation of Winnie the Pooh. It says, "Ecce Eduardus Ursus scalis nunc tump-tump-tump occipite gradus pulsante post Christophorum Robinum descendens."

'Occipite' is in the imperative mood, but why? I don't see how the context calls for it. Any help is appreciated.

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It isn't imperative. It's the ablative singular of occiput, occipitis, 'the back of the head.' So occipite gradus pulsante is ablative absolute: 'the back of his head striking the stairs'

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    It should probably be noted that the more regular word is occipitium. Weird that that wasn't chosen for clarity's sake. – C. M. Weimer Jul 31 '17 at 4:12
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    Lenard was a (medical) doctor, who would use occiput professionally. – Tom Cotton Jul 31 '17 at 16:40
  • Thank you all! 'Occipitium' is in my Latin dictionary and not 'occiput'. I appreciate all your clarifications. <3 – David Shorten Aug 1 '17 at 15:34
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    The answer "So occipite gradus pulsante is ablative absolute" turned on a light for me, a Latin dilettante, and it also answered other snippets that I was struggling to understand. The secret was in finding out what the ablative absolute is and what it does; until I looked that up, I was still in mystery. Thanks very much. – user3261298 Dec 1 '17 at 18:50
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    Can't resist observing that occiput is probably just as acceptable as occipitium, Persius I, 61-2 : vos, o patricius sanguis, quos vivere fas est occipiti caeco, posticae occurrite sannae. – Tom Cotton Dec 1 '17 at 20:33

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