Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
Previous Sub2Sect

Next Sub2Sect

7.4.7 Dominant participle construction

Examples of the so-called dominant participle [60] have been given in (19b) and (30e):

(19b) occisus dictator … pulcherrimum facinus videbatur

(30e) cum … valde absoluto Scaevola gauderet

In (19b) the constituent occisus dictator is an argument in the syntactic function Subject; in (30e) the constituent absoluto Scaevola is also an argument, but here in the syntactic function Complement. In crosssection 7.3.1 (vii) `Accompanying circumstances' (on p. 117) we have given examples of dominant participle constructions as satellites (the so-called ablative absolute): 60a

(52) (Cethegus) recitatis litteris … repente conticuit

-- 133 --

We have also seen the dominant participle construction on the noun phrase level (p. 79). Examples are:

(108) suspicio acceptae pecuniae (`The suspicion of having received money', Cic. Ver. 38)

(109) ante conditam … urbem (`Before the foundation of the city', Liv. 1, pr. 6) [61]

The dominant participle construction differs both from constructions in which the participle occurs as Praedicativum (see crosssection 8.5.5. on p. 160) and from constructions in which the participle occurs as Attribute. In the dominant participle construction the participle cannot be omitted. The result of omission of the participle from (19b), for instance, is ungrammatical:

(19b') * dictator … pulcherrimum facinus videbatur

The non-omissibility can also be illustrated with the aid of an instance such as (50). The sentence which remains after imperatore has been omitted is ungrammatical: [62]

(50) * Bellum Gallicum C. Caesare gestum est

As becomes clear from the series of examples of gaudere in (30), the dominant participle construction is merely one of the possible forms of an embedded predication. Alternatives for example (19b) cited above might be:

(19b") quod dictator occisus erat, pulcherrimum facinus videbatur

(19b"') dictatorem occisum esse pulcherrimum facinus videbatur

In many cases the dominant participle construction may also be replaced by a noun phrase consisting of an action noun and a noun phrase in the genitive:

(19b"") caedes dictatoris pulcherrimum facinus videbatur

Both the non-omissibility of the participle and the fact that the construction as a whole can be replaced by alternative constructions show that the construction must be regarded as one whole.

Above I have shown how the dominant participle construction may be replaced by alternative constructions. It is, however, not the case that these alternatives are equivalent and mutually interchangeable. A dominant participle construction functioning as argument occurs only if it is implied that the state of affairs referred to by the dominant participle construction has in fact been realized, is being realized or will be realized, in other words, if the event referred to is `factive'. [63] Consequently, an embedded predication in the form of a dominant participle construction can only occur as argument with certain, `factive', main predications; we do, for instance, find such an embedded predication with pulcherrimum facinus videbatur, but not with difficilis esse:

(19b""') * Caesar occisus difficilis fuit

-- 134 --

There are no restrictions on the noun phrases and the predicates which may occur in the dominant participle construction itself. Also, there are no restrictions on the tense of the participle. An example of a dominant participle construction with a present participle is (110): [64]

(110) fugiens … Pompeius … homines movet (`The fact that P. is fleeing shocks the people', Cic. Att. 7.11.4)

The Predicate of a dominant participle construction need not necessarily be a verb, but may also be an adjective or a noun. Examples are (51), (111) and (112), respectively:

(51) qui tranquillo mari gubernare se negent posse (`Who say they cannot sail on a calm sea', Cic. Rep. 1.11)

(111) augebat metum gnarus Romanae seditionis et, si omitteretur ripa, invasurus hostis (`The fear was increased by the fact that the enemy was aware of the rebellion among the Romans and would make an invasion if the river bank were no longer guarded', Tac. Ann. 1.36.2)

(112) filius legati orator publicae causae satis ostenderet necessitate expressa quae per modestiam non obtinuissent (`The fact that the son of a legate acted as champion of the public cause made clear that they had exacted with force that which they had not been able to obtain with modest behaviour', Tac. Ann. 1.19.5)

Previous Sub2Sect

Next Sub2Sect

Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
Powered by PhiloLogic