Talking about Places
Talking about places is a little more complicated than talking about time. There are more dynamics involved. You can go to a place, come from a place, or just be at a place. Earlier in this chapter you learned that ideas involving motion toward were the domain of the accusative case. You also saw how place where — staying put — went in the ablative case.
Confusion can arise because the “place where from” idea is also handled by the ablative case. Thus, the Latin ablative can show both location and point of origin. This potential confusion is resolved with prepositions.
The prepositions ad and in with the accusative have a not-so-subtle difference. Ad means “to” in the sense of “toward.” Ad Italiam navigā vē runt. (“They sailed to Italy” — in that direction, maybe as a destination, but not necessarily.) In Italiam navigā vē runt. (“They sailed to Italy” — in that direction, got there, and went on shore. Mission completed!)
Going to a Place
Early in this chapter you saw how the prepositions in and sub take the accusative when they show motion toward. Even more common than those two prepositions to show motion toward is the preposition ad (to, toward; near). You can expect to see it a lot!
Coming from a Place
Many of the prepositions that require an object in the ablative case have a “from” idea: ā (“from, away from”),ē (“out of”), dē(“from, down from”), and even sine (“without”). These prepositions naturally have objects in the ablative.
Dē tectī cecidit iuvenis. (The young man fell [down] from the roof.)
The formal name for this use is ablative of place where from.
Being at a Place
The most common prepositions to show location are in and sub with the ablative.
Mī litēs castra in monte posuē runt. (The soldiers pitched camp on the mountain.)
Mī litēs castra sub monte posuē runt. (The soldiers pitched camp at the foot of the mountain.)
The formal name for this use is ablative of place where.