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  5. "The gods kill their enemies."

"The gods kill their enemies."

Translation:Dei hostes eorum interficiunt.

September 12, 2019



Note that the "their" in the sentence cannot refer to the gods. It would be someone else's enemies.


Right. Lucky people, who have the gods killing off their enemies for them! (The gods' own enemies are hostes suos.)

NON-reflexive possessives for the 3rd person (his, her, its; their) are the genitive forms of is, ea, id: his/her/its: eius their (masc/neuter): eorum their (fem): earum

So, if I carry his books: Libros eius porto. He carries their (the girls') books: Libros earum portat.

But, in 3rd person reflexive situations, there's the possessive adjective, suus, sua, suum.

He's carrying his (own) books: Libros suos portat. (And so forth)


Still, why can't we answer "dei hostes suorum interficiunt" here?


Because that would mean `The gods kill the enemies of their own (i.e. the gods')people'



Supposing that sentence was what we wanted to tell, why would it not be "Dei hostes suOS interficiunt"?


okay, so in your examples:

"Libros earum portat" is the use of a NON-reflexive (possessive) pronoun


"Libros suos portat." is the use of a reflexive (possessive) pronoun, because it refers back to the subject.

Is that correct?

And it looks like English doesn't make this distinction between reflexive and non-reflexive POSSESSIVE pronouns. So this is a new skill to learn in Latin.


Yes--just so. Latin allows you to specify whether the possessive refers to the subject or not. English doesn't. It is one way Latin is better than English. On the other hand, Latin doesn't have enough verbs, so it compounds verbs and uses them to mean a whole bunch of things. Which makes translating Latin (especially without context) really difficult.


Why is it incorrect to say Dei hostes suos interficiunt. ? I bet they do kill their [own] enemies


Because that would be translating your own sentence, not Duolingo's.


what is the difference between horum, illorum, istorum and eorum ? and why only eorum is accepted here ? Thank you


Horum = of these (from hic) Illorum = of those (from ille) Istorum = of those (near you, from iste) eorum = of them (from is, ea, id)


It should be perfectly acceptable without "eorum". It's rarely used in Latin, except emphatically. I don't see why they would be killing someone else's enemies, anyway.


The problem is that, in a war, the gods usually split up evenly between the sides.


'Their" here would naturally refer to the gods' enemies since no-one else has been mentioned. I translated "Dei hostes interficiunt"; i.e. the gods kill their (own) enemies. No need for "suos" where it can obviously be understood.


Dei hostes suos interficiunt



Why is "eorum" in genitive while "hostes" is in accusative?


There is not an possessive adjective for the third person demonstratives is, ea, id so we have to make due with the genitive forms.

But for the pronouns ego, tu, nos, vos, and the reflexive pronoun we do have possessive adjectives and must use them.



Thank you!



I did some research and found out that "genitive forms of ejus, eorum, earum are often used as possessive for non-reflexive third person".

It helps to think of "ejus/eorum/earum" not as "his/her/their" but "of him/of her/of them".

Caesar, Bello Gallico I, 11, 1 : "eorumque agros populabantur" => "and they ravaged the fields of them" (=their fields)

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