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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Declaratory Sentences in Indirect Discourse

580. In Indirect Discourse the main clause of a Declaratory Sentence is put in the Infinitive with Subject Accusative. All subordinate clauses take the Subjunctive:—

    sciō paene incrēdibilem rem pollicērī (B. C. 3.86), I know that I am promising an almost incredible thing. [Direct: polliceor.]

    nōn arbitror ita sentīre (Fam. 10.26.2), I do not suppose that you feel thus. [Direct: sentīs.]

    spērō mē līberātum [esse] dē metū (Tusc. 2.67), I trust I have been freed from fear. [Direct: līberātus sum.]

    [dīcit] esse nōn nūllōs quōrum auctōritās plūrimum valeat (B. G. 1.17), he says there are some, whose influence most prevails. [Direct: sunt nōn nūllī ... valet.]

    nisi iūrāsset, scelus sē factūrum [esse] arbitrābātur (Verr. 2.1.123), he thought he should incur guilt, unless he should take the oath. [Direct: nisi iūrāverō, faciam.]

a. The verb of saying etc. is often not expressed, but implied in some word or in the general drift of the sentence:—

    cōnsulis alterīus nōmen invīsum cīvitātī fuit: nimium Tarquiniōs rēgnō adsuēsse; initium ā Prīscō factum; rēgnāsse dein Ser. Tullium, etc. (Liv. 2.2), the name of the other consul was hateful to the state; the Tarquins (they thought) had become too much accustomed to royal power, etc. [Here invīsum implies a thought, and this thought is added in the form of Indirect Discourse.]

    ōrantēs ut urbibus saltem—iam enim agrōs dēplōrātōs esse —opem senātus ferret (id. 41.6), praying that the senate would at least bring aid to the cities—for the fields [they said] were already given up as lost.

b. The verb negō, deny, is commonly used in preference to dīcō with a negative:—

    [Stōicī] negant quidquam [esse] bonum nisi quod honestum sit (Fin. 2.68), the Stoics assert that nothing is good but what is right.

c. Verbs of promising, hoping, expecting, threatening, swearing, and the like, regularly take the construction of Indirect Discourse, contrary to the English idiom:—

    minātur sēsē abīre (Pl. Asin. 604), he threatens to go away. [Direct: abeō, I am going away.]

    spērant maximum frūctum esse captūrōs (Lael. 79), they hope to gain the utmost advantage. [Direct: capiēmus.]

    spērat sē absolūtum īrī (Sull. 21), he hopes that he shall be acquitted. [Direct: absolvar.]

    quem inimīcissimum futūrum esse prōmittō ac spondeō (Mur. 90), who I promise and warrant will be the bitterest of enemies. [Direct: erit.]

    dolor fortitūdinem sē dēbilitātūrum minātur (Tusc. 5.76), pain threatens to wear down fortitude. [Direct: dēbilitābō.]

    cōnfīdō quod velim facile ā tē impetrātūrum (Fam. 11.16.1), I trust I shall easily obtain from you what I wish. [Direct: quod volō, impetrābō.]

Note— These verbs, however, often take a simple Complementary Infinitive (§ 456) So regularly in early Latin (except spērō):— 1

    pollicentur obsidēs dare (B. G. 4.21), they promise to give hostages.

    prōmīsī dōlium vīnī dare (Pl. Cist. 542), I promised to give a jar of wine.

d. Some verbs and expressions may be used either as verbs of saying, or as verbs of commanding, effecting, and the like. These take as their object either an Infinitive with subject accusative or a Substantive clause of Purpose or Result, according to the sense.

  1. Infinitive with Subject Accusative (Indirect Discourse): —

    laudem sapientiae statuō esse maximam (Fam. 5.13), I hold that the glory of wisdom is the greatest. [Indirect Discourse.]

    rēs ipsa monēbat tempus esse (Att. 10.8.1), the thing itself warned that it was time. [Cf. monēre ut, warn to do something.]

    fac mihi esse persuāsum (N. D. 1.75), suppose that I am persuaded of that. [Cf. facere ut, bring it about that.]

    hōc volunt persuādēre, nōn interīre animās (B. G. 6.14), they wish to convince that souls do not perish.

  2. Subjunctive (Substantive Clause of Purpose or Result):—

    statuunt ut decem mīlia hominum mittantur (B. G. 7.21), they resolve that 10,000 men shall be sent. [Purpose clause (cf. § 563).]

    huic persuādet utī ad hostīs trānseat (id. 3.18), he persuades him to pass over to the enemy.

    Pompêius suīs praedīxerat ut Caesaris impetum exciperent (B. C. 3.92), Pompey had instructed his men beforehand to await Cæsar's attack.

    dēnūntiāvit ut essent animō parātī ; ( id . 3.86), he bade them be alert and steadfast (ready in spirit).

    Note— The infinitive with subject accusative in this construction is Indirect Discourse, and is to be distinguished from the simple infinitive sometimes found with these verbs instead of a subjunctive clause (§ 563. d).

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Compare the Greek aorist infinitive after similar verbs.