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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

CLAUSES OF CHARACTERISTIC

535. A Relative Clause with the Subjunctive is often used to indicate a characteristic of the antecedent, especially where the antecedent is otherwise undefined:

    neque enim tū is es quī nesciās (Fam. 5.12.6), for you are not such a one as not to know. [Here is is equivalent to such, and is defined only by the relative clause that follows.]

    multa dīcunt quae vix intellegam (Fin. 4.2), they say many things which (such as) I hardly understand.

    pācī quae nihil habitūra sit īnsidiārum semper est cōnsulendum (Off. 1.35), we must always aim at a peace which shall have no plots.

a. A Relative Clause of Characteristic is used after general expressions of existence or non-existence, including questions which imply a negative.

So especially with sunt quī, there are [some] who; quis est quī, who is there who?

    sunt quī discessum animī ā corpore putent esse mortem (Tusc. 1.18), there are some who think that the departure of soul from body constitutes death.

    erant quī cēnsērent (B. C. 2.30), there were some who were of the opinion, etc.

    erant quī Helvidium miserārentur (Tac. Ann. 16.29), there were some who pitied Helvidius. [Cf. est cum (N.3, below).]

    quis est quī id nōn maximīs efferat laudibus (Lael. 24), who is there that does not extol it with the highest praise?

    nihil videō quod timeam (Fam. 9.16.3), I see nothing to fear.

    nihil est quod adventum nostrum extimēscās (Fam. 9.26.4), there is no reason why you should dread my coming.

    unde agger comportārī posset nihil erat reliquum (B. C. 2.15), there was nothing left from which an embankment could be got together.

Note 1— After general negatives like nēmō est quī, the Subjunctive is regular; after general affirmatives like sunt quī, it is the prevailing construction, but the Indicative sometimes occurs; after multī (nōn nūllī, quīdam) sunt quī, and similar expressions in which the antecedent is partially defined, the choice of mood depends on the shade of meaning which the writer wishes to express:—

    sunt bēstiae quaedam in quibus inest aliquid simile virtūtis (Fin. 5.38), there are certain animals in which there is something like virtue.

    But,—inventī multī sunt quī vītam prōfundere prō patriā parātī essent (Off. 1.84), many were found of such a character as to be ready to give their lives for their country.

Note 2— Characteristic clauses with sunt quī etc. are sometimes called Relative Clauses with an Indefinite Antecedent, but are to be carefully distinguished from the Indefinite Relative in protasis (§ 520 ).

Note 3— The phrases est cum, fuit cum, etc. are used like est quī, sunt quī: as,— ac fuit cum mihi quoque initium requiēscendī fore iūstum arbitrārer (De Or. 1.1), and there was a time when I thought a beginning of rest would be justifiable on my part.

b. A Relative Clause of Characteristic may follow ūnus and sōlus:

    nīl admīrārī prope rēs est ūna sōlaque quae possit facere et servāre beātum (Hor. Ep. 1.6.1), to wonder at nothing is almost the sole and only thing that can make and keep one happy.

    sōlus es cûius in victōriā ceciderit nēmō nisi armātus (Deiot. 34), you are the only man in whose victory no one has fallen unless armed.

c. A clause of Result or Characteristic with quam ut, quam quī (rarely with quam alone), may be used after comparatives:—

    Canachī sīgna rigidiōra sunt quam ut imitentur vēritātem (Brut. 70), the statues of Canachus are too stiff to represent nature (stiffer than that they should).

    mâiōrēs arborēs caedēbant quam quās ferre mīles posset (Liv. 33.5), they cut trees too large for a soldier to carry (larger than what a soldier could carry).

Note— This construction corresponds in sense to the English too ... to.

d. A relative clause of characteristic may express restriction or proviso (cf. § 528. b):—

    quod sciam, so far as I know (lit. as to what I know).

    Catōnis ōrātiōnēs, quās quidem invēnerim (Brut. 65), the speeches of Cato, at least such as I have discovered.

    servus est nēmō, quī modo tolerābilī condiciōne sit servitūtis(Cat. 4.16), there is not a slave, at least in any tolerable condition of slavery.

e. A Relative Clause of Characteristic may express cause or concession:—

    peccāsse mihi videor quī ā tē discesserim (Fam. 16.1), I seem to myself to have done wrong because I have left you. [Causal.]

    virum simplicem quī nōs nihil cēlet (Or. 230), O guileless man, who hides nothing from us! [Causal.]

    egomet quī sērō Graecās litterās attigissem, tamen complūrēs Athēnīs diēs sum commorātus (De Or. 1.82), I myself, though I began Greek literature late, yet, etc. (lit. [a man] who, etc.). [Concessive.]

Note 1— In this use the relative is equivalent to cum is etc. It is often preceded by ut, utpote, or quippe:—

    nec cōnsul, ut quī id ipsum quaesīsset, moram certāminī fēcit (Liv. 42.7), nor did the consul delay the fight, since he had sought that very thing (as [being one] who had sought, etc.).

    Lūcius, frāter êius, utpote quī peregrē dēpūgnārit, familiam dūcit(Phil. 5.30), Lucius his brother, leads his household, inasmuch as he is a man who has fought it out abroad.

    convīvia cum patre nōn inībat, quippe qui nē in oppidum quidem nisi perrārō venīret (Rosc. Am. 52), he did not go to dinner parties with his father, since he did not even come to town except very rarely.

Note 2— The Relative of Cause or Concession is merely a variety of the Characteristic construction. The quality expressed by the Subjunctive is connected with the action of the main verb either as cause on account of which (SINCE) or as hindrance in spite of which (ALTHOUGH).

f. Dīgnus, indīgnus, aptus, idōneus take a subjunctive clause with a relative (rarely ut). The negative is nōn:—

    dīgna in quibus ēlabōrārent (Tusc. 1.1), (things) worth spending their toil on (worthy on which they should, etc.).

    dīgna rēs est ubi tū nervōs intendās tuōs (Ter. Eun. 312), the affair is worthy of your stretching your sinews (worthy wherein you should, etc.).

    idōneus quī impetret (Manil. 57), fit to obtain.

    indīgnī ut redimerēmur (Liv. 22.59.17), unworthy to be ransomed.

Note 1— This construction is sometimes explained as a relative clause of purpose, but it is more closely related to characteristic.

Note 2— With dīgnus etc., the poets often use the Infinitive:—

    fōns rīvō dare nōmen idōneus (Hor. Ep. 1.16.12), a source fit to give a name to a stream.

    aetās mollis et apta regī (Ov. A. A. 1.10), a time of life soft and easy to be guided.

    vīvere dīgnus erās (Ov. M. 10.633), you were worthy to live.

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