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Beginners' Latin
Henry II on his deathbed and the writing of his will, historiated initial. 13th century. Cat ref: E 164/12 f 1. Crown copyright

Lesson 8: Prepositions; possession

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To show possession

To indicate who something belongs to, we use:

Latin Means Declines like
meus, mea, meum my novus, -a, -um
tuus, tua, tuum your, yours (one person) novus, -a, -um
suus, sua, suum his, her, its, their (own) novus , -a, -um
noster, nostra, nostrum our, ours pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum
vester , vestra, vestrum your, yours (two or more people) pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum

These decline like the adjectives novus and pulcher, so you will be familiar with the endings. They are fully declined for you in the Grammar tableGrammar table - opens in a new window

They agree with whatever is owned in

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For example

anima mea              my soulGlossary - opens in a new window

The Latin word for soul is               anima, -e (f.).

A soul is feminine, regardless of whether it belongs to a woman or a man.

In our example, ‘soul’ is feminine, nominative, singular and therefore ‘my’ is too.

pater noster our father nominative, masculine, singular
testamentum suum his/her will nominative, neuter, singular


abbas terras cum pertinenciis militibus dat pro serviciis suis. The abbot gives lands with appurtenances to the knights for their services.  
solvit sex solidos de fine suo. Et quietus est. He pays six shillings of his fine. And he is quit. solidus , -i (m.)
shillingGlossary - opens in a new window
condo testamentum meum in hunc modum lego totam terram meam uxori mee. I make my will in this manner: I leave all my land to my wife. modus , -i (m.)
manner, method
condere to make a will
ordino Henricum et Agnetem meos veros executores. I appoint Henry and Agnes my true executors. verus, -a, -um true
ordinare to appoint
juratores dicunt super sacramentum suum quod Jacobus est heres Johannis The jurors state on their oath that James is the heir of John.

sacramentum , -i (n.)
oathGlossary - opens in a new window

Jacobus , -i (m.) James

jurator, juratoris (m.) jurorGlossary - opens in a new window

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Latin document points Latin document points
The king or queen often referred to himself or herself as ‘we’ (nos) and to his or her possessions as ‘our’ (noster).
in curia nostra               in our court (phrase used by king/queen for the royal court)

You will also find eius used for ‘of him, of her, of it’ and eorum, earum, eorum (masculine, feminine and neuter plural respectively) used for ‘of them, theirs’.

Edwardus et uxor eius finem de duobus solidis debent Edward and his wife owe a fine of two shillings.

Checklist Checklist:
Are you confident with:
The words for ‘my’, ‘our’ and ‘his’?
How a man or a woman would say ‘my soul’ in Latin?

Practice Sentences

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