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Latin/Prep. + Subj. Accusative + Participle


Hello Maria,

there is a construction in Latin of restricted written usage, but I would like to ask your opinion on whether we can generalise it when translating into Latin.

The construction is "Preposition + Subject Accusative + Participle". I have encountered the following: ab urbe condita (i.e. urbs condita est), post urbem conditam/captam/constitutam, post bellum initum/indictum/transactum etc.

Can we say, then, phrases such as: "post pontem factum" or "ab Carthaginiensibus victis", "post cenam (ab matre) paratam" or even extend it to other prepositions of time, goal or whatever, such as "ante Ciceronem (dolore ab inimicis) occisum" or "ad urbem plane necatam" (instead e.g. ad urbem necandam)?- How restricted are the attested examples I mentioned in the previous paragraph?

Thank you.


first of all the expression  “ab urbe condita”, in the ablative case, literally means “from the city founded”, i.e. “from the founding of the city”, not “urbs condita est”, but instead “postquam urbs condita est “ (literally, “after the city has been founded”), just to indicate how the Romans reckoned  dates from 753 BC when Rome was founded, according to tradition.

As for  “post urbem conditam/captam/constitutam” and “ post bellum initum/ indictum/ transactum “, they are correct as well as “ab urbe condita”, and are composed of the preposition “post” (which takes the accusative) or the preposition “ab” (which takes the ablative)  and a noun (urbem, urbe, bellum) followed by the past participles “conditam/ captam/constitutam/ initum/indictum/transactum” in the accusative agreeing with the noun they refer to, or the past participle “condita” in the ablative agreeing with “urbe” which is the noun it refers to.

These  participles are called  “Attributive participles” as they are sometimes used as attributives, nearly like adjectives.
Moreover  the noun and the passive participle are often so united that the participle, and not the noun, contains the main idea, just as in “ante urbem conditam” (before the founding of the city),  “ post bellum initum” (literally, "after the war begun", i.e."after the beginning of the war), etc.

To conclude, you can say phrases such as: "post pontem factum" or "a Carthaginiensibus victis", "post cenam paratam"  and  even extend it to other prepositions of time, goal or whatever, such as "ante Ciceronem  occisum” (literally, "after Cicero killed", i.e. "after Cicero's murder", “post natos homines”(literally, "after men born", i.e. "after the creation of man").

But you cannot say "ad urbem plane necatam" instead  of e.g. “ad urbem necandam” because “ad urbem plane necatam" means “toward the city wholly killed/ destroyed”, whereas “ad urbem necandam”, which is a gerundive,  means “to destroy the city”/”for destroying the city”.

In short, the attributive participle has nothing to do with the gerundive, as you can see.

Moreover I have to point out that the verb “necare” means “to kill” rather than “to destroy” and so it should not be used with reference to a city.

Hope this is clear enough.

Best regards,



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