maculis albis equus

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English - America
Hi! I know "maculis albis equus" means "a/the horse with white stains", but why are maculīs and albīs in the ablative?
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    This is a description from Wheelock's Grammar: Sixth Edition, revised (2005):

    Genitive and Ablative of Description:
    A noun in either the ablative or genitive case plus a modifying adjective may be employed to modify another noun; both the ablative of description and the genitive of description (...) might describe a noun by indicating its character, quality, or size, although the ablative usage was especially common in describing physical traits.

    I suggest that you look in your textbook or grammar for 'ablative of description.'


    Senior Member
    saluete amici. And a hearty welcome to CVDM

    As well as by Wheelock, the Descriptive Ablative is also treated (with examples) by Gildersleeve and Lodge, Latin Grammar, § 400, and by Allen and Greenough, A New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges (available free online with Perseus) § 415.


    Edited afterthought (@CVDM): if you are a student or a beginner, the Perseus website, emanating from the Classics Faculty at Tufts University (Perseus Collections/Texts), is a very useful resource to know about.
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