In a comment on this answer, luchonacho comments that tenus is a preposition taking the genitive; this seemed odd to me, since I'd never considered tenus anything akin to a preposition.

Tenus seems to be a "postposition", in that it comes after a noun. But how does this work, syntactically? Are "postpositions" a proper category in Latin, like prepositions are? If not, what are they?

  • 2
    Causā, gratiā are other common examples.
    – TKR
    Jan 15, 2019 at 18:02
  • You will have to rewrite other parts of the textbooks too. Cum amicis eius 'With his/her friends' Ablativus Collativus.
    – Hugh
    Jan 16, 2019 at 3:25
  • 1
    Related: latin.stackexchange.com/questions/883/…
    – Rafael
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:37
  • Plus, especially in the poets, words that are usually prepositions are sometimes used as postpositions – e.g., super in Lucretius, DRN 6.186: scilicet hoc densis fit nubibus et simul alte / extructis aliis alias super impete miro. I'm sure I've also seen this done occasionally in prose too.
    – cnread
    Jun 15, 2019 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


Can we broaden the discussion to cover these five postpositional prepositions, please.

scuolaeculturaoggi lists "PREPOSIZIONI CHE REGGONO IL GENITIVO (generalmente premesso):

causa = per
gratia = per
tenus = *fino a
instar = a mo' di, a somiglianza di, come un
N.B. tenus si può costruire indifferentemente e con lo stesso significato anche con l’ablativo

Paulo Barbosa, gives these five with Genitive (4 sempre posposições)

Emolumendi sui gratia = por amor do seu interesse.
Usurpandi juris causa = por motivos de exercer jurisdição.
Voluminis instar = à maneira de volume
Forminidis ergo = por causa do medo. (porém Tito Lívio a emprega como preposição.)
Clam patris = às escondida do pai.

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