Elements of Latin Lesson 57
The Third Declension; Consonant Stems

Salūs populī suprēma est — The safety of the people shall be the supreme law
Motto of the state of Missouri, quoted from a famous code of Roman laws.

403. Nouns that end in -is in the genitive singular are of the Third Declension. They may be masculine, feminine, or neuter.

Classes of the Third Declension

404. Nouns of the third declension are divided into two classes, known as consonant stems and i-stems.

   a. The stem is the body of a word to which the teminations are added. When the stem ends in a consonant, the stem is the same as the base. In vowel stems the stem is formed by adding the stem vowel to the base: thus, the base of hostis, enemy, is host-, and the stem is host + i = hosti-. Consonant stems and i-stems differ somewhat in declension, so the distinction is an important one.

Consonant Stems, Masculine and Feminine

405. Masculines and feminines are declined alike. The nominative is often the same as the base or nearly so. Often it is formed by adding -s to the base. In that case the added -s causes various changes in spelling. Always learn the genitive along with the nominative, for the genitive gives the key to all the other forms.

cōnsul, M.
(base cōnsul-)
legiō, F.
(base legiōn-)
pater, M.
(base patr-)
Nom. cōnsul legiō pater ----
Gen. cōnsulis legiōnis patris -is
Dat. cōnsulī legiōnī patrī
Acc. cōnsulem legiōnem patrem -em
Abl. cōnsule legiōne patre -e
Nom. cōnsulēs legiōnēs patrēs -ēs
Gen. cōnsulum legiōnum patrum -um
Dat. cōnsulibus legiōnibus patribus -ibus
Acc. cōnsulēs legiōnēs patrēs -ēs
Abl. cōnsulibus legiōnibus patribus -ibus

prīnceps, M.
(base prīncip-1)
mīles, M.
(base mīlit-1)
rēx, M.
(base rēg-)
Nom. prīnceps mīles rēx -s (-x)
Gen. prīncipis mīlitis rēgis -is
Dat. prīncipī mīlitī rēgī
Acc. prīncipem mīlitem rēgem -em
Abl. prīncipe mīlite rēge -e
Nom. prīncipēs mīlitēs rēgēs -ēs
Gen. prīncipum mīlitum rēgum -um
Dat. prīncipibus mīlitibus rēgibus -ibus
Acc. prīncipēs mīlitēs rēgēs -ēs
Abl. prīncipibus mīlitibus rēgibus -ibus

1 An i in the last syllable of the base is often changed in the nominative to e: as, prīnceps, base prīncip-; mīles, base mīlit-.

   a. The nominative case termination s combines with a final c or g of the base and makes x: thus, rēg + s gives rēx, king; and duc + s gives dux, leader. A final d or t is dropped before s: thus, lapid + s gives lapis, stone; mīlet + s gives mīles, soldier.

   b. The base or stem is found by dropping -is in the genitive singular.

   c. Review § 108 and apply the rules to this declension.


Print Lesson 57 Exercises

406. 1. Sī mīlitēs rēgis oppidum nostrum oppugnābunt, ab legiōnibus Rōmānīs vincentur.

2. Cum tēla nostra iacere incipiēmus, paucī resistent; reliquī statim fugient.

3. Mīlitēs nostrī ā patre cōnsulis dūcēbantur.

4. Multīs interfectīs, rēx prīncipēs rēgnī lēgātōs1 mīsit et pācem petiit.

5. Lēgātīs audītīs, pāx rēgī data est.

6. Pater cōnsulis iussit rēgem in suum rēgnum discēdere nec iniūriam agrīs nostrīs facere.

7. Rēx, quī legiōnēs nostrās magnopere timuit, imperiō2 Rōmānō pāruit et statim discessit.

8. Numquam posteā bellum cum legiōnibus nostrīs gerere poterit.

1 In appostion with prīncipēs   2 Why dative? See § 224.

407. 1. The consul commmanded the soldiers to move the camp quickly from that unfavorable place.

2. The legions could not fight bravely there.

3. The king, who was eager to make peace, sent ambassadors.

4. After peace had been made,1 the chiefs forbade the king's father to call out the legions.

1 Ablative Absolute.


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