The Ablative of Comparison

Originally an Ablative of Separation. This Ablative is used most often with prepositions meaning "from" (de, ex, ab) and with certain expressions of origin or birth, like natus deo = "born from a god." The Ablative of Separation is a metaphorical use of the idea of separtion: it imagines the entity to which another entity is compared as a kind of standard from which the thing-compared "departs." To tediously translate the metaphor, one might say something like "Moving from the standard set by Balbus, Marcus is stupider." That would be: Balbo Marcus stultior est. or "From Balbus, Marcus is stupider." In fact, even in Augustan Latin the basic sense of a Standard of Comparison from which something departed was so strong that a new idiom develops: a Venere non est pulchrior ulla = "from Venus none is more lovely" or "No one is more lovely than Venus."

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