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Latin Declension Issue

by Steve

Dear Latin Teacher: Why do Roman families like Furia or Julia end in ia after the word gens (3rd declension) (Gens Furia, etc.)

BUT when it is in a Roman name it looks 2nd declension like Furius or Julius? There must be a rule here, but I don't get it.


Dear Steve,

The difference is in the gender of the noun modified. The word gens, gentis is feminine, so any adjective modifying it must be feminine.

The Roman names usually refer to men, and so they are masculine.

For example, the adjective Julius, Julia, Julium can be masculine (-us), feminine (-a), or neuter (-um).

Gaius Julius Caesar was part of the Gens Julia.

Hope this helps, and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.



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