Home/Index of Chapters
©Damen, 2015



Chapter 38

RULE 1: Relative clauses with subjunctive verbs show characteristic or purpose.

RULE 2: Subordinate clauses in indirect statement may take subjunctive verbs.

RULE 3: The dative case shows reference.

RULE 4: The dative of purpose + the dative of reference = the double dative.

I. Grammar

A. Relative Clauses of Characteristic

In a relative clause of characteristic, the subjunctive "generalizes" the sense of the clause by making the antecedent indefinite, i.e. the antecedent no longer refers to a specific person or thing:

INDICATIVE: These are the men who did it (the very ones who did it);
SUBJUNCTIVE: These are men who would do it (they didn't actually do it, but they could have).

INDICATIVE: He is the man who did it (and he actually did it);
SUBJUNCTIVE: He is the sort of man who would do it (but he might not have done it).

In other words, it describes the character rather than the actions of the antecedent, which is how the construction got its name.

B. Two Other Subjunctive Constructions

There are two other important subjunctive constructions to know. Wheelock's text includes the second (Subordinate Clauses in Indirect Discourse), but not the first (Relative Clauses of Purpose). Both may appear on tests.

1. Relative Clauses of Purpose

A relative clause of purpose entails the simple substitution of qui, quae, quod for ut in purpose clauses. For this to occur, the subject of the purpose clause must be cited somehow in the main sentence, which allows the relative pronoun to link the dependent clause to the main sentence, e.g. Milites miserunt qui dicerent . . ., "They sent the soldiers to say . . ." (literally, "They sent the soldiers who would say . . ."). If the purpose clause contains a comparative adjective or adverb, quo is used: Scutum deiecit quo celerius fugeret, "He threw away his shield in order to flee more quickly." Note that relative clauses of purpose are often associated with verbs of motion and that the rules for sequence of tenses apply.

Because Wheelock does not introduce this construction formally—however, see " Roman Witticisms Cited by Cicero" (page 203, note 15)—here are some examples of relative clauses of purpose:

Milites misit qui hostes interficerent. "He sent the soldiers to kill the enemy."
Haec habui quae de senectute dicerem. "I have these things to say about old age."
Dignus est qui imperet. "He is worthy to command."

2. Subordinate Clauses in Indirect Discourse (see Wheelock, page 378)

The subjunctive is often seen in clauses embedded in indirect discourse (Indirect Statement, Indirect Question, Indirect Command). This has less to do with the sense of uncertainty which originally defined the subjunctive than with the ancient Romans' habitual use of the mood in various types of subordinate clause. That is, by the Classical Age the Latin subjunctive had begun to lose its association with specific functions (prohibition, volition, potentiality, etc.)—the job of relating the particular connotation of a clause had devolved onto specific adverbs like cum, dum, ut, etc.—and this mood ended up serving as little more than a way of signalling that a clause is dependent. In other words, the subjunctive had become the mood of "general subordination."

B. The Dative Case: Dative of Reference + Dative of Purpose = "Double Dative"

At heart, the dative shows "reference"—and when it signifies only that, it's called the "Dative of Reference"—that is, it implicates a person or thing in the action of the sentence or puts it in a certain perspective. See the examples in Wheelock (page 183). Another use of this case is the dative of purpose ("he came to us for help"), so named because it explicates the reason "for" something. The datives of purpose and reference are often seen together in a construction called "the double dative." Study carefully page 375 in Wheelock where he explains these constructions and gives examples of them. All these uses of the dative (Reference, Purpose, Double Dative) may appear on tests.

C. Reading and Recitation

Here is a link to the Reading for this chapter, a passage from Horace's Sermones.

II. Vocabulary

consul: A political term, this word designates one of two annually elected magistrates. The consulship was the most powerful executive office in Rome.

opus: This noun is often seen in the idiom opus est, "it is necessary," literally "there is work (to be done in regard to . . .)." It may take (1) the dative case + infinitive ("for him to do something"), or (2) ut + subjunctive ("that he do something").

consumo: This verb is a compound of sumo, sumere, sumpsi, sumptum ("take"). The prefix con- adds the sense "completely, wholly" ("take completely" = "use up").

defendo: Note that there is no difference between the present and perfect bases of this verb. Thus, defendit/defendimus can be interpreted as present- or past-tense.

dubito: If followed by a direct object, this verb means "doubt"; with an infinitive, it means "hesitate (to . . .)." Originally a frequentitive (dub- + frequentitive suffix -ito), dubito is built upon the base dub- ("[torn] in two ways") which is linguistically related to duo ("two"). Frequentitives show repetitive or habitual action, cf. exagito ("keep on the move"), essito ("be accustomed to eating"), loquitor ("chatter"). For the most part, they belong to first conjugation and are regular.

metuo: Like timeo with which it shares meaning, metuo has no passive participle. It is often followed by a clause of fearing.

fatum: This noun originated as the neuter substantive of the perfect passive participle of for, fari, fatum ("speak"); it means literally "the thing having been said," i.e. "what has been pronounced as one's destiny (i.e. by the gods), one's sentence or doom."


Home/Index of Chapters


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.