Ablative of Dignity

(It’s not an official ablative, I realize, but play along.)


The adjectives dīgnus, -a, -um and indīgnus, -a, -um take an ablative object.

  • She was a woman most worthy of her mother, grandmother and forebears: fēmīna matre, avā et abaviīs dīgnissima fuit.
  • He judged you entirely unworthy of every honor: tē omnī honōre indīgnissimum iūdicāvit.

Dīgnus and indīgnus can also initiate a subjunctive relative clause (or more rarely a clause with ut).

  • Dignified things are those which you labor over: dīgna sunt in quibus ēlabōrārēs.
  • He is worthy who kills the thief: dīgnus quī fūrem interficiat.
  • They are unworthy of our ransom: indīgnī sunt ut redimerēmur.

The adjectives will sometimes take a genitive instead, but only in colloquial usage or poetry.

Occasionally, the poet will also use these adjectives with an infinitive.

  • You were worthy to spare: parcere dīgna erās.

The verb dīgnor, dīgnārī, dīgnātus also takes an ablative.

  • I am unworthy of such an honor: nōn mē tālī honōre dīgnor.
  • She was worthy of the prize: praemiō dīgnāta est.

The Essential AG: 318b

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