Date of this Version
UNIVERSITY STUDIES VoL. XXXVI Nos. 1-4, 1936
That type of the participial construction which has been the main object of the present investigation is known among English-speaking scholars by the name of the "ab urbe candita construction." This designation is derived from one of the outstanding examples of the type of expression in view. Ab urbe candita, "from the year of the founding of the city": thus the Romans were accustomed to reckon their chronology. The current name of this syntactical phenomenon, which is at once too vague and too narrow, might be misleading. The field of the construction is limited neither to a prepositional use exclusively, nor to the perfect participle. Rather, as the collected data will prove, it comprises all cases of the Latin noun, with the exception of the vocative, independent uses as well as those depending on a preposition, and the participle of all three tenses.
In the phrase ab urbe candita the participle candita, standing in the relation of an attribute to the noun urbe, has replaced the verbal noun canditia, and conveys the leading thought of the sentence. The ablative of the noun involved, urbe in the present illustration, would, in the case of the substitution of a verbal noun, become an objective genitive; i.e., ab urbe candita=ab urbis canditiane. In rendering ab urbe candita into English, then, candita must be replaced by the verbal noun "founding" or "foundation", and the attributive relation has to be expressed by the preposition "of", which changes the Latin ablative into an English genitive.