I just said this to a friend:

Ecce in hac pagina vox Iohannis Ørbergii capitula a primo usque ad decimum Linguae Latinae Per Se Illustratae legentis:


I've got the genitive Linguae Latinae modifying capitula in between the genitive Iohannis Ørbergii and its modifier legentis. Can you…do that?


1 Answer 1


If you're asking if you can nest genitives, of course you can. This particular one is a bit extreme, and sounds more poetical to me, but the practice is fine. Compare Cicero's Republic 1.13.10:

unius aetatis clarissimorum ac sapientissimorum nostrae civitatis virorum disputatio repetenda memoria est.

Here, clarissimorum ac sapientissimorum modify virorum, with nostrae civitatis in the middle: "the most distinguished and wisest men of our commonwealth."

In Greek, I've seen the nesting encompass quite a lot, too, and in poetry it's not uncommon to see some examples on the extreme side.

  • 1
    That's a lot of genitives! I was thinking that it's still disambiguated by number and gender (the -orum adjectives can't modify civitatis), but wait—isn't there a third layer of nesting here? That is, does unius aetatis modify virorum (as genitive of genitive, not adjective modifying genitive)?
    – Ben Kovitz
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 3:31

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