Suetonius, Caius (Caligula) 58:

...alii Sabinum summota per conscios centuriones turba signum more militiae petisse et Caio "lovem" dante Chaeream exclamasse: "accipe ratum" respicientique maxillam ictu discidisse.

The present participle, respicienti(que), is it linked to the ablative absolute Caio dante—with Caligula giving; continuing—with Caligula looking up; if so, respicienti would require the case-ending "e", not "i"?


1 Answer 1


As Sumelic says, both -i and -e can be used as the ablative ending of a participle. Even so, mixing them in the same sentence would probably be unusual.

Respicienti is really a dative here; the new a.c.i. (discidisse) has a different construction from the previous one (exclamasse with an ablative absolute Caio dante). The new construction is like Chaerea [Gaio] respicienti maxillam discidit: "Chaerea split (for) him his jaw when he looked back". The archetype is alicui maxillam discindere: to split the jaw for someone = to split someone's jaw.

Cf. Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum Aug. 67.2.4:

Thallo a manu, quod pro epistula prodita denarios quingentos accepisset, crura ei fregit; ...

"He broke his (Thallus's) legs", with dative ei.

  • Cerberus: Thanks (yet) again: taking "respicienti" as dative gives "Chaerea split the jaw, with a blow, to/ for Caius, he-who-was-looking-back" a relative clause but it fits.
    – tony
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 22:14
  • @tony: Yes, exactly!
    – Cerberus
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 17:49

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