The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

The Local Ablative in Statius1

R. D. Williamsa1


Of the unusual grammatical constructions which Statius employs for the sake of variety and novel effect, among the most remarkable is his use of the ablative case. There are striking instances at Th. 8. 157, Th. 10. 309, Ach. 1. 219, Ach. 2. 129; and W. C. Summers was led to say: ‘We see some traces in Valerius of the lax use of this case which became almost a disease with Statius, who employs it for almost any kind of idea.’ There are three passages in Statius which have been misinterpreted or emended through the failure to recognize a use of the ablative to which he was especially prone—the local ablative where the poetic dative of ‘motion towards’ would seem more normal. I shall first list examples of this use in Statius where there is little or no doubt about interpretation or reading, and in the light of this accumulated evidence consider the three passages which are disputed.


1 I am indebted to Professor L. J. D. Richardson and Mr. O. A. W. Dilke for helpful suggestions in connexion with this article.