Characteristics of Caesar’s Latin


Ablative Absolute (Especially at the beginning of a sentence, and often at the beginning of a paragraph, summarizing/concluding the preceding and transitioning to the next event) duplicatō . . . cohortium numerō (5.1.4)  with the number of cohorts having been doubled; when/since the number of cohorts had been doubled For more information on the translation of participles in ablative absolutes, see “Translation of Participles”
Gerund(ive) and Passive Periphrastic gerund: ad iniquam pugnandi condicionem (5.10.2) to terms/condition unfavorable/unequal for fighting gerundive: pacis petendae causā (5.6.2) for the sake of seeking peace
Passive Periphrastic: sibi de bello cogitandum [esse] putavit (5.2.3) He thought that he had to consider/make a plan about war
Causā + (preceding) genitive (often gerund/gerundive) reī publicae causā (5.1.2) for the sake of the republic
Indirect Statement [initium belli . . . hoc esse] arbitratus (5. 3.4) thinking [that this was the beginning of war] For more information on Indirect Statements, see Translations in Indirect Statements on the “Translation of Latin Infinitives” page.
Omission of in with ablative (of place) (especially with locō) iniquo loco (5.8.1) in an unfavorable place
Impersonal Passive pugnatum est it was/is _____ed i.e. there was/is _____ing (emphasizing the verbal action; the participants are general or vague) cogniscitur (5.45.5)  it was (historic present) learned
Deponent Verbs “Lucium Plancum cum legione . . . proficisci iubet” (5.25.4) He ordered Lucius Plancum to set out with the legion “nihil hunc . . . facturum arbitratus” (5.7.7) Having thought (/thinking) that he would do nothing . . .
Dative of Purpose (or Double Dative: Dative of Reference and Dative of Purpose) Ea quae sunt usui ad armandas naves (5.1.4) ut alter alteri inimicus auxilio salutique esset (5.44.13)
Ablative of Respect “horridiores sunt in pugna aspectū” (5.14.2) they are (more savage) in battle in (respect to) appearance 

Word Order

Genitive-Noun word order populī Romanī disciplina (5.1.4)  the discipline of the Roman people
Separation of an attributive adjective and its noun by a verb(al): A. adjective-[verb(al)]-noun word order maior-ibus augeri copi-is (5.1.3) Or B. noun-[verb(al)]-adjective word order


Third Person Narration (Caesar refers to himself as “Caesar” or “ipse” rather than “I”) multīs de causīs Caesar . . . (5.1.1) Gapping (omission of words in parallel clauses or phrases) “Gallia est omnis dīvīsa in partēs trēs, quārum ūnam [partem] incolunt Belgae, aliam [partem incolunt] Aquītānī, tertiam [partem incolunt eī], quī ipsōrum linguā Celtae [appellantur], nostrā [linguā] Gallī appellantur.” (1.1.1)
Tricolon (three parallel items, usually with no connective) specie et colore et figura (5.28.1)


Idioms “certiorem facere” to inform “magnum iter” a forced march “proelium committere” to engage in battle
Connecting Relative (translate as a demonstrative “this,” etc.) correlatives adjectival is, ea, id leading to a defining relative clause (translate as “the ______ that” “earum cohortium . . quas” (5.1.4) of the cohorts that . . . quod: in that; because; (often set up by proptereā, eō, ect.) nostrī [mīlitēs/virī]  (e.g. 5.39.3)

Prefixes & Suffixes

Prefix Frequency Meaning Suffix Frequency Meaning
con- 86, 41 together; completely; (forcefully) -tiō/-siō, -tiōnis,/-siōnis -iō, -iōnis 592 10 abstract noun; the act/process of a _______ing; a _____ing
de- 66 down -tās, -tātis 49 abstract noun: act, office, condition or characteristic; sometimes also a collective idea
ex- 60 out; exceedingly -tus/-sus, -ūs 43 verb 4th principal part; the result or act of ________ing
re- 54 back; (back again; back against) -(t)ia, -ae 33 abstract noun; office, act, condition, or characteristic (English -[t]y)
ad- 51 toward, to; near -(t)ium, -ī 27 abstract noun; denotes an act, office, condition, or characteristic
in- (verb) 48 (+ verb) in, on (i)-ter 253 3rd declension adverb
in- (adj.) 38 in- (+ adjective) not; un- -tor, -tōris 19 (agent) noun; person who _______s
pro- 35 forth, forward -scō, -ere 19 inceptive; to become or to enter a state
per- 28, 31 through; thoroughly, through and through -ārius,-a,-um 17 adjective; pertaining to, belonging to
ob- 25 against; towards; opposite -tūdō, -inis 16 abstract noun; often from adjective of quantity/size
sub- 25 under; (from) under; somewhat; secretly -tō/-sō, -āre 16 frequentative; to do repeatedly
dis/d&#299:- 24 in different directions, apart, away; not -mentum, -ī 14 noun; denotes a means or instrument
prae- 20 ahead; before; in front of -or, -oris 9 forms an abstract noun, signifies an activity, condition, or state often an emotion; from a verb stem
inter- 13 between -tūra, -ae 7 noun; denotes an act
ab- 12 away -ālis (/-āris), -e 6, 2 adjective; relating to or pertaining to
circum- 10 around -ānus, -a, -um 6, 14 adjective
trans- 9 across -inus, -a, -um 6 adjective
intro- 4 within; inside -ius, -a, -um 4, 64 adjective; pertaining to, belonging to
se- 4 aside, apart, by one’s self -tim 7 adverb
Figures indicate number of words, not occurrences. 1. First number is verbs, second is adjectives. 2. Jenks also gives first conjugation denominatives: Caesar 68. I do not have these broken down by type yet. 3. Not included in Jenks. The figure is mine. I do not yet have a figure for adverbs in –ē. 4. The first number is common adjectives; the second, proper adjectives. Based on  Paul R. Jenks,  A Manual of Latin Word Formation for Secondary Schools (Boston: D.C. Heath & Co., Publishers, 1911), who used BG I-V.