We argue that the basic facts about the clitic string are best accounted for without having recourse to anything but a minimalist syntactic component, i.e. making no use of a specialized morphological component or of optimality-type comparisons between derivations/representations. In particular, we assume that clitics correspond to specialized inflectional categories and are merged directly into the positions where they surface; such categories are furthermore ordered in a universal hierarchy, as we will detail below. The aim of this chapter is to consider datives in the light of this framework. We will conclude that there is no evidence for the category dative in the Romance dialects we shall consider, while in fact there is evidence for categorizations of so-called dative clitics as quantificational elements or as locatives. In all cases the relevant categorization relies entirely on referential properties, or more generally on interpretive properties intrinsic to the lexical items involved, calling into question the traditional notion of case itself.