1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Latin
  4. >
  5. "We visit the sacred bard in …

"We visit the sacred bard in the city."

Translation:Vatem sacrum in urbe visitamus.

August 31, 2019



I have a word order question, I guess. I said "Vatem in urbe sacrum visitamus" and was marked wrong. As far as I can tell, sacrum can only modify vatem due to case/gender/number matching, so I assume this was marked wrong because of my eccentric word order. What are the rules for word order, if any?


Please report it.
Yes "sacrum" could only modify "Vatem" because they are both declinated to the masculine (and accusative).
I think that if it was "sacrum" for "urbs", it would be "in urbe sacra". (feminine, both declinated to the locative).

Grammatically it works, but it's unusual, because the adj and the noun are not "adj+noun" or "noun+adj", so we should avoid those grammatical constructions, but they explain in grammar books that it is used in poetry, (several words between the noun and its modifier) so it should be correct 'or not, if we don't write poetry). Not working for any kind of modifiers though.

Does someone know what it the difference in the emphasis in a poem with this kind of construction, in the sentence given by Sparky?


The effect of the separation of noun and adj. (not particularly unusual) is something like, in English: "We're visiting the bard in the city--the holy one," where the adj. is added 'as an afterthought.'


The 'Vates', which were Celtic sacred bards, is cognate with English 'wode' and the god Woden/Óðin, whose name means fury and related to Norse óðr and Old English wōþ, poetic inspiration.


Here also "soothsayer" would be the better word to use in the English sentence.


As I recall, 'vates' is not neuter, but masculine/feminine depending on the gender of the priest in question. Consequently, 'sacrum' should be 'sacer' or 'sacra'.


‘Vatem ’ is masculine here, and the adjective ‘sacrum,’ agrees with it in gender (m.), number (singular) and case (accusative.) ‘Vatem sacrum’ is the direct object of the verb.

The neuter and masculine accusative singular forms of the adjective ‘sacer, sacra, sacrum’ are identical. If the soothsayer/bard of the sentence were female, the adjective would be ‘sacram.’

Learn Latin in just 5 minutes a day. For free.