The Beginner's Latin Exercises. Ablative Absolute: explaination.


  • Exercise A shows what has to be learnt and written in preparation for the next exercises (and future lessons).
  • Exercise B contains viva voce Exercises.
  • Exercise C (from Latin) contain the sentences to be translated, either orally or in writing.

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Explanation of Ablative Absolute. An independent clause, consisting of a Noun and a Participle in agreement with each other in the Ablative Case, is called in Latin the Ablative Absolute; as,

  1. Gallis victis, Caesar rediit, after the Gauls having been conquered, Caesar returned;
  2. duce hortante, milites fortiter pugnant, the general cheering-on, the soldiers fight bravely;
  3. urbe captura, cives terrentur, the city just going to be taken, the citizens are alarmed.

When a Noun or Adjective is used instead of the Participle in the Absolute Clause, the word being must be supplied in English; as,

  1. Cicerone consule, Cicero being consul;
  2. mortuo Sulla, Sulla being dead.

There are many ways of translating the Ablative Absolute, e.g., Hoc facto, tutus eris:

  1. This being done, you will be safe;
  2. Having done this, etc.;
  3. After doing this, etc.;
  4. If you do this, etc.;
  5. When you have done this, etc.;
  6. On doing this, etc.

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Exercise A

  1. Learn the many ways of translating the Ablative Absolute.

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Exercise B

1. Form the Ablative Absolute:

  1. By using the Perfect Participle of occido with rex, duces, hic homo, is, timida ovis, regina, servi, haec puella, qui, ferox lupus.
  2. By using the Present Participle of vivo with the same.
  3. By using moriturus, the Future Participle of mori, with the same.

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Exercise C: read and translate from Latin.

  1. Urbe capta, cives fugerunt.
  2. Equo vulnerato, dux fugere non poterat.
  3. Navibus fractis, Romani redire nonpoterant.
  4. Vastatis omnibus agris, hostes urbem oppugnant.
  5. Pace facta, Marius in Italiam rediit.
  6. Helvetii, Caesare invito, flumen transire non potuerunt.
  7. Cognito Caesaris adventu, Galli obsides ad eum mittunt.
  8. His rebus auditis, Germani Rhenum transeunt.
  9. Servus, abjecto gladio, fugit.
  10. Alpibus superatis, Hannibal in Italiam venit.
  11. His paratis rebus, Marius aciem instruxit.
  12. Hieme ventura, multae aves in alias terras migrant.

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C.Sherwill Dawe, The Beginner's Latin Exercises Book, 1880, Rivington, Waterloo Place, London; read the book on

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