Subordinate Clauses in Indirect Discourse

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583. A subordinate clause merely explanatory, or containing statements which are regarded as true independently of the quotation, takes the indicative.

Quis neget haec omnia quae vidēmus deōrum potestāte administrārī? (Cat. 3.21)
Who can deny that all these things we see are ruled by the power of the gods?

cûius ingeniō putābat ea quae gesserat posse celebrārī (Arch. 20)
by whose genius he thought that those deeds which he had done could be celebrated

Here the fact expressed by quae gesserat, though not explanatory, is felt to be true without regard to the quotation: quae gessisset would mean, what Marius claimed to have done.

Note— Such a clause in the indicative is not regarded as a part of the indirect discourse; but it often depends merely upon the feeling of the writer whether he shall use the indicative or the subjunctive (cf. §§ 591 - 593).

a. A subordinate clause in indirect discourse occasionally takes the Indicative when the fact is emphasized.

factum êius hostis perīculum . . . cum, Cimbrīs et Teutonīs . . . pulsīs, nōn minōrem laudem exercitus quam ipse imperātor meritus vidēbātur (B. G. 1.40)
that a trial of this enemy had been made when, on the defeat of the Cimbri and Teutoni, the army seemed to have deserved no less credit than the commander himself.

b. Clauses introduced by a relative which is equivalent to a demonstrative with a conjunction are not properly subordinate, and hence take the accusative and infinitive in indirect discourse (see § 308.f).

Mārcellus requīsīsse dīcitur Archimēdem illum, quem cum audīsset interfectum permolestē tulisse. (Verr. 4.131)
Marcellus is said to have sought for Archimedes, and when he heard that he was slain, to have been greatly distressed.
[quem = et eum]

cēnsent ūnum quemque nostrum mundī esse partem, ex quō [ = et ex eō] illud nātūrā cōnsequī. (Fin. 3.64)
They say that each one of us is a part of the universe, from which this naturally follows.

Note— Really subordinate clauses occasionally take the accusative and infinitive.

quem ad modum sī nōn dēdātur obses prō ruptō foedus sē habitūrum, sīc dēditam inviolātam ad suōs remissūrum (Liv. 2.13)
[he says] as in case the hostage is not given up he shall consider the treaty as broken, so if given up he will return her unharmed to her friends

c. The infinitive construction is regularly continued after a comparative with quam.

Addit sē prius occīsum īrī ab eō quam mē violātum īrī. (Att. 2.20.2)
He adds that he himself will be killed by him, before I shall be injured.

Nōnne adfīrmāvī quidvīs mē potius perpessūrum quam ex Ītaliā exitūrum? (Fam. 2.16.3)
Did I not assert that I would endure anything rather than leave Italy?

Note— The subjunctive with or without ut also occurs with quam (see § 535.c).

Suggested Citation

Meagan Ayer, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7.