Augustus Caesar, Rēs Gestae Dīvī Augustī, beginning
Augustī, populī Rōmānī , et quās rem publicam populumque Rōmānum fēcit, in duābus ahēneīs pilīs, quae sunt Romae , exemplar .
 , per in lībertātem . senātus in ordinem suum mē , , , et imperium mihi dedit. rēs publica quid , mē simul cum cōnsulibus prōvidēre . populus autem eōdem annō mē cōnsulem, cum bellō , et creāvit.
Operative, in this mission you have seen participles used in a new and exciting way. Study the following pair of sentences:
vēnātor dē monte ambulat.
The hunter walks down from the mountain.
aprō occīsō , vēnātor dē monte ambulat.
With the boar having been slain, the hunter walks down from the mountain.
In the second sentence there is a phrase made up of a noun and a participle called an ablative absolute.
Ablative absolutes are loosely connected to the rest of the sentence and they describe some general circumstance under which the action of the sentence happens. So above, although knowing that the boar is slain is not key to understanding that the hunter came down from the mountain, it gives the general circumstance in which the hunter did come down from the mountain.
There are four different kinds of ablative absolutes.
1. with a noun and a perfect passive participle.
hīs rēbus dictīs , Recentiī surrexērunt et ē villā discessērunt.
With these things having been said, the Recentii got up and left the house.
Operatives, please note that ablative absolutes can be translated in different ways and the sentence above could also be translated as such:
When these things had been said, the Recentii got up and left the house.
Since these things had been said, the Recentii got up and left the house.
Although these things had been said, the Recentii got up and left the house.
Each of these sentences is technically correct, but you must really really on the context of the sentence to choose the best translation.
2. with a noun and a present active participle.
mīlitibus urbem oppugnantibus , omnēs civēs fugērunt.
With the soldiers attacking the city, all the citizens fled.
3. with a noun and a perfect deponent participle.
Sinistrō haec locūtō , Recentiī attonitī erant.
With Sinistrus having spoken these things, the Recentii were astonished.
4. with two nouns in the ablative.
Cincinnātō duce , mīlites hostēs vincent.
With Cincinnatus as the leader, the soldiers will conquer the enemy.
Although it is possible and more grammatically correct to choose one of the alternate translations to an ablative absolute, it is always best to start off with the most literal "with the something having been verbed" translation. In this way, you know that you are dealing with an ablative absolute as opposed to a cum clause or some other construction which uses the English auxiliaries, when, since, or although.
Mission Control has also secured a video briefing courtesy of latintutorial.com on the ablative absolute.
Operative, it looks like we've got quite an interesting situation here. You probably won't need much cultural guidance for part one, but as you head back into Maecenas' house, we think you may be ready to take on some of the real stuff. What we've got here for you is a real honest-to-goodness scholarly article; your task, should you choose to accept it, is to take one fact from it that you can use in the immersion-response: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1086017
(JSTOR allows you to view three articles for free every 14 days. You only need to create a free account to access the entire article.)
Maecenas and the Poets
Phoenix , Vol. 10, No. 4 (Winter, 1956), pp. 151-162
Published by: Classical Association of Canada
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1086017
If you want to read a bit of scholarly writing about patronage at Rome, feel free to also view this article as well:
Poets and Patrons at Rome
Greece & Rome, Second Series, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Apr., 1978), pp. 46-54
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/642272