Pliny's letter re Christians -- subjunctive?

By Callaina, in 'Reading Latin', Aug 13, 2019.

  1. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Hi! Just wondering what you guys think about this passage from Pliny's letter to Trajan regarding the Christians.

    Interrogavi ipsos an essent Christiani. Confitentes iterum ac tertio interrogavi supplicium minatus; perseverantes duci iussi. Neque enim dubitabam, qualecumque esset quod faterentur, pertinaciam certe et inflexibilem obstinationem debere puniri. Fuerunt alii similis amentiae, quos, quia cives Romani erant, adnotavi in urbem remittendos.

    How would you classify those subjunctives? Relative clause within acc+inf?
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Yes, basically. Subjunctive in dependent clause within indirect statement.
    Callaina likes this.
  3. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Yes, I guess it's not quite a "relative" clause as such, but obeys the same principle. Thanks. :)
  4. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    They are relative clauses, but the verbs aren't in the subjunctive because they're in relative clauses; in this situation, any sort of dependent clause* would have taken the subjunctive.

    *Except acc.-inf., obviously.
  5. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Hmm -- quod faterentur is definitely a relative clause, but is qualecumque esset? It doesn't really have any antecedent.
  6. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I believe so.
  7. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I mean, qualis(cumque) is a relative.
  8. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena

    Why? These are two relative clauses, aren't they?

    I'm not sure if they have to be dependent ... they can also be taken as some kind of parenthesis.
  9. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    They wouldn't be in the subjunctive in that case.
  10. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena

    You're probably right.
    So you take the relative clause to be an apposition to pertinaciam and obstinationem (or vice versa)?
  11. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    No.
  12. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    But it is set apart from the main thought:

    Neque enim dubitabam, qualecumque esset quod faterentur,pertinaciam certe et inflexibilem obstinationem debere puniri.

    "For I did not doubt that, whatever it was that they confessed (i.e. "no matter what they confessed"), their persistence and their inflexible obstinacy ought to be punished."

    Is this sort of "no matter what" clause really a relative clause?
  13. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena

    What's the syntactic function of the relative clause then?
  14. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    It is still part of Pliny's reported thought.
    I don't think it is one in English, but the qualecumque clause in the Latin is.
  15. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I don't know.
  16. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena

    I also took it that way, but in that case it wouldn't be a dependent relative clause.
  17. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Pliny was thinking: "Qualecumque est quod fatentur, pertinacia certe et inflexibilis obstinatio debet puniri". This is the direct speech. Then, in his letter, he reported his own thought, casting it into indirect speech depending on neque dubitabam.
  18. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena

    If it's no apposition, it only makes sense as a parenthesis ... and if, as you say, it is still part of his reported thought, wouldn't the subjunctive still be justified?
  19. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Maybe we aren't talking about the same thing when we say "dependent". By "dependent" I mean dependent on — part of — the indirect statement.
  20. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena
    Well, it doesn't have to be a parenthesis actually ... it's probably more like an adverbial of something like circumstances.
    Pacifica likes this.

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