Per peccatum cecidit diabolo faciente: On the causal/instrumental uses of “faciente + (pro)noun” in imperial and late Latin

This present paper is concerned with the causal/instrumental uses of faciente + (pro)nominal head within an ablative absolute. We only examine the instances in which the participle does not govern a direct object and is not accompanied by further arguments and/or satellites, as in Jer. In psalm. 89 l. 28 qui per peccatum cecidit, diabolo faciente, rursum per Christum resurgat ad gloriam (“he who fell through sin under devil’s influence, shall soon be reborn to the Glory through Christ”). The analysis is restricted to the imperial and late period because the construction is not attested until Ovid (Met. 2, 540–541 lingua faciente loquaci / qui color albus erat, nunc est contrarius albo “through his tongue’s fault the talking bird, which was white, was now the opposite of white”, transl. Loeb). The discussion consists of four main sections. After a short survey of the main studies on the topic, we introduce the analysed corpora, the selection criteria of the data and the overall results. In section 5 we discuss some possible reasons behind the origin of the syntagm. Subsequently, the use and expansion of the syntagm in later centuries is analysed in the light of recent studies on the reanalysis of participles as prepositions. We show that faciente began a categorial shift into the class of causal/instrumental prepositions, but for reasons that shall be explained, this process remained unaccomplished. In the last section, we make a brief comparison with other absolute ablatives that include semantically related participles (operante, instigante, praestante), pointing out the main differences between them.

  Galdi G. Per peccatum cecidit diabolo faciente