Sententiae, Unit 2

7.  Labor Me vitare turbam iubes

Me: accusative, singular of the first person singular personal pronoun. There are two ways to understand the grammar of this simple sentence. First: me may be the direct object of iubes: whom do you order? you order me. Therefore me must be in the accusative case. By this analysis, turbam vitare is a further explantion of the order. Second (and probably more like what the Romans felt): the infinitive phrase, me vitare turbam is like one big noun and it is the direct object of the verb iubes. What do you order? "that I avoid the crowd" or "me to avoid the crowd".

Turbam is the accusative singular of the noun turba, -ae F. This noun is the direct object of the infinitive vitare: what do I avoid? I avoid the crowd. Note: infinitives are not finite verbs, but they can take objects and adverbs and, except that they do not indicate person or number, they are like verbs.

Iubes: second person, singular, present, active, indicative from iubeo, iubere, iussi, iussum

Iubere is a second conjugation verb because it has a long "e" before the -ere in the present active infinitive (second principal part). To form the present tense for second conjugations you must drop the re from the infinitive to find your present stem and then attach personal endings. Remember that you can always find the first person, singular, present, active, indicative form from the first principal part.

Therefore, the present, active, indicative of iubere is:


1. iubeo
2. iubes
3. iubet

1. iubemus
2. iubetis
3. iubent




You order me to avoid the crowd.

In a context of connected prose, me would be emphatic: "It is I whom you order to flee the crowd." A sentence like this would be more common as a question. This kind of sentence comes from practical advice for living.

9. Philosophia est ars vitae.

Philosophia: feminine, nominative, singular, 1st declension noun

est: third person, singular, present, active, indicative from the verb sum, esse, fui, futurum (to be)

Esse is a linking verb and intransitive. It can never take a direct object; therefore, it will always connect two nouns in the nominative case. In this sentence it links together philosophia and ars which are both singular and nominative.

ars: feminine, nominative, singular, art, skill
Philosophy is the art of life.
Sentences like this and #7 display the Roman interest in "how to live." For the Greeks, Philosophia was "love of wisdom", but for the Romans it tended to be more practical. Do you sense a potential pun in vitare = "to avoid" and vita = "life"?

10. Sanam formam vitae tenete.

tenete: second person, plural, present active imperative

To form the imperatives of first, second and fourth conjugation verbs, you begin with the present active infinitive (second principal part). Drop the -re, which is the infinitive ending and that will be your second person singular imperative (the same as your present stem). To form the plural imperative you must add the ending -te to the present stem. i.e.

First ConjugationSecond ConjugationFourth Conjugation
"amare" (to love)"tenere" (to have)"venire" (to come)
2nd singular "ama"2nd singular "tene"2nd singular "veni"
2nd plural "amate"2nd plural "tenete"2nd plural "venite"

Have a sound way of life.

Sanam is an adjective, agreeing with formam (feminine, singular, accusative). It is in the emphatic position and the sentence means "Hold to a way of life that is healthy."

12. Debemus iram vitare.

Iram is a noun from ira, -ae F in the accusative singular because it is the direct object of vitare: "We ought to avoid anger." It is the thing directly affected by our avoidance; it is the object of our avoidance. One could also have an accusative noun as the direct object after debemus: the thing we owe, but here Latin uses the infinitive phrase iram vitare as a direct object: what do we owe in terms of right action? we ought to avoid anger.

Vitare: present active infinitive. This word is a complementary infinitive with the verb, debemus. By itself debemus does not complete a meaning: "we ought ...", but what is it we ought to do. Such verbs take an infinitive to complete their meaning: "we ought to do something"

We ought to avoid anger.

Debere, like the English "debt" which comes from it, refers to something owed.