I recently came across this sentence (a practice sentence with no given answer) in my Latin textbook:

mare nostrum plurimos portus habet

I translated this as 'The sea has most of our harbour.'

However I am not sure that I have got this translation right as nostrum and plurimos are both accusative plural. Is portus a partitive genitive?

Should it not be:

mare plurimos nostrorum portus habet

Where nostrorum agrees in case with portus?

  • While there are languages where possessives, other adjectives or even nouns give information about a counterpart (like the owner, for example), it is not the case of Latin
    – Rafael
    May 15, 2016 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, the most likely translation of the sentece is:

Our sea has many docks

Mare Nostrum was a common name given by the Romans to the Mediterranean Sea around the I century AD, since the empire possesed all of its coast by that time.

Regarding your question in the title, yes adjectives and pronouns must agree in gender, number and case with the respective noun. In this case, nostrum acts as an adjective, since it isn't replacing any nouns.

Mare and nostrum are neuters in nominative, singular (sing. neut. are the same in nom., voc., and acc.).

Portus belongs to the fourth declension, meaning that it forms its accusative plural with -us, just as its nom. singular. In this case, portus agrees with plurimos to say many docks as the object of the verb habere (hence it is not in genitive).

Edit: about the alternative sentence you offered: Since portus is plural, mare plurimos nostrorum portus habet agrees in number: no need for partitive plural. However, as @brianpck notes, portus should change to portuum in order to be in genitive and agree with nostrorum, so that the sentence can mean The sea has most of our harbours.

Hope it helps

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.