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Как же здесь оказались книги, которым больше семи веков?

I'm a bit stumped with this part...

1) Why use the dative relative pronoun "которым" rather than the nominative?

2) I suppose "больше семи веков" means "more than seven centuries". Is "семи веков" in the genitive because "больше", just like "много", takes the genitive case?

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  • You're correct about больше taking a genitive object. – CocoPop Jun 24 '18 at 13:54
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This is so called "dative of possession".

It's used for things like age, name, kinship etc. instead of possessive or genitive:

(возраст) мне семь лет

имя мне легион

я ему отец

человек человеку волк

and so on.

Note that this is a thing in Latin as well: nomen mihi legio est, homo homini lupus est, etc.

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All comparatives without чем govern genitive. Пёс больше кота, толще кота, красивее кота. Автомобиль дороже велосипеда, тяжелее велосипеда, быстрее велосипеда.

There is an expression about age with dative: кому-то (или чему-то) столько-то лет (дней, месяцев, веков etc.) Этим книгам больше семи веков is an example of such expression. Since которым replaces этим книгам, it should be in dative.

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1) This is a normal way to talk about ages in Russian:

Ему(dat.) десять лет. - He is ten years old.

There is (was) a kind of verb implied in this sentence which is used with dative noun:

Ему [уже] исполнилось десять лет.

2) Yes, больше takes genitive (if it is in the same clause). You may say either

Десять больше пяти(gen.).

or

Десять больше, чем пять(nom.).

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