Propitius an adverb?

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by benstox, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. benstox New Member

    Nottingham, UK
    English - Canada
    Many prayers in the Mass contain the phrase 'concede propitius (ut whatever...)' or sometimes 'da propitius'. For example:

    Deus, qui Indiarum gentes beati Francisci praedicatione et miraculis Ecclesiae tuae aggregare voluisti: concede propitius; ut cuius gloriosa merita veneramur, virtutum quoque imitemur exempla. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.

    English editions often translate this as 'graciously grant' or 'mercifully grant'. Is 'propitius' acting as an adverb here somehow? If not then what noun is it agreeing with? If it's agreeing with 'Deus' then shouldn't I expect it to be in the vocative case, ie 'propitie'?

  2. langnerd Member

    English (NE US), Hindi/Urdu, Punjabi
    It's definitely an adjective, so there must be an implied noun. Perhaps it's not in the vocative because it's sort of an implied predicative nominative?

    "... grant, You who are gracious, that ..."
    "concede[, tu qui es] propitius; ut ..."
  3. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    English - British
    Yes, it is a predicative adjective, but the sense is not so much 'Grant, you who are gracious' as 'Grant of your grace': in other words, 'Grant in the exercise of your grace'. This in turn means in effect, 'Be gracious and grant ...'
  4. benstox New Member

    Nottingham, UK
    English - Canada
    Ah, that clears this up for me. I wasn't aware of this implied predicate nominative construction. Thanks very much!
  5. CapnPrep Senior Member

    See also the following thread:

    And this remark from A&G §340 (also linked to in the other thread):
    This also applies to appositive adjectives.
  6. langnerd Member

    English (NE US), Hindi/Urdu, Punjabi
    Thanks, that's helpful to understand this!

    I recently saw a similar use (though not with an imperative) in the Vulgate Psalm 8 (verse 2, repeated again at the end of the Psalm), "Domine Dominus noster quam admirabile est nomen tuum in universa terra quoniam elevata est magnificentia tua super caelos."

    The Lord is addressed as "Domine" in the vocative, but then he is called "Dominus noster" in the nominative ... as if to apply it predicatively and say, "Oh Lord, Our Lord ..."
  7. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member


    Livy 1.16.3 has the Roman citizenry praying to the ascended Romulus uti volens propitius suam semper sospitet progeniem. I am no expert in pre-Christian Roman religion, but it's a fair bet that this was therefore already formulaic before the RC church adopted it.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012

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