ESEARCH IN THE
Direct commands in Latin can be expressed in the following ways:
Using an imperative: e.g. ‘Noli quemquam mittere.’
Do not send anyone.
Using a jussive subjunctive: e.g. ‘Ne hic maneamus.’
Let us not stay here.
When a command is being
, however, it can assume one of two forms:
(I order) and
(I forbid) are always followed by an
is never followed by a negative.
Domina servum iussit fenestram reficere.
The misress ordered the slave to mend the window
Spectatores vetabantur cibum bestiis dare.
The spectators were forbidden to feed the animals
All verbs other than
are followed by a clause introduced either by
and a subjunctive. Whereas
introduces positive commands,
introduces negative commands.
The tense of the subjunctive in a reported command follows what is often called ‘the sequence of tenses’ and it is important to understand this before proceeding further. In Latin, the tense of the verb in a subordinate clause is usually affected by the tense of the verb in the main clause on which it depends. As in English, the main verb ‘sets the pace’ for the whole sentence.
There are two groups of tenses. Those referring to the present or future are called the
tenses, while those which refer to the past are called the
Perfect (in subord. clauses)
Perfect (in main clauses)
Whichever of the two groups the verb of the main clause belongs to, the verb in the subordinate clause will also be chosen from the same group: if a main verb is in a primary tense, so the subordinate verb will be in a primary tense.
The sequence of tenses is of greater importance for some types of subordinate clause than for others. Those subordinate clauses which are concerned primarily with
(e.g. relative clauses and adverb clauses of result) are wont to disregard the sequence, but those types of subordinate clauses which are concerned with
in English, ‘he would do’; in Latin (in the subjunctive)
. We will discuss this more closely in dealing with reported questions.
commands, reported questions, and purpose clauses) tend to follow the sequence of tenses rigorously.
In a reported command, the subjunctive in the subordinate clause is either in the
(where the main clause includes a verb in a primary tense) or in the
(where the main clause includes a verb in an historic tense).
Rex militibus imperavit ut captivos liberarent.
The king ordered the soldiers to set the prisoners free.
Hortatur eos ne animo deficiant.
He exhorts them not to lose courage.
Decrevit senatus ut Opimius videret.
The senate decreed that Opimius should see.
As in reported statements,
refer to the speaker.
Avunculus me rogavit ut secum irem.
My uncle asked me to go with him
Certain verbs connected with prohibiting, hindering, deterring etc. – such as
etc. – use the conjunctions
to introduce their subordinate clauses.
Per Afranium stetit quominus proelium dimicaretur. Caesar
It was owing to Afranius that no battle was fought
Atticus, ne qua sibi statua poneretur, restitit.
Atticus opposed having any statue raised to him.
Nihil abest quin sim miserrimus.
Nothing is wanting to my being most miserable.
Common verbs introducing reported commands
(te) rogo, -are
(te) oro, -are
(te) moneo, -ere
(te) hortor, -ari
(tibi) persuadeo, -ere, -suasi, -suasum
(tibi) impero, -are
(tibi) praecipio, -cipere, -cepi, -ceptum
(abs te) peto, petere, petivi, petitum
to ask to beg, entreat to warn, advise to exhort, encourage, urge to persuade to command, order to instruct to ask, beg
(1) Servo magnis praemissis persuadet ut litteras ad Caesarem deferat.
(2) Consuli permissum est ut duas legiones scriberet. (Livy)
(3) Dominus ancillis imperavit ut vinum ferrent.
(4) Agricola nos monuit ut prima luce proficisceremur.
(5) Sacerdos pueros vetuit in templo loqui.
(6) Amici mihi persuadere conantur ne in hoc oppido maneam
(7) Senex nautem hortabatur ut navem venderet et tabernam emeret.
q. 1 – defero, -ferre, -tuli, -latum = to bear, carry, deliver q. 2 – scribo, scribere, scripsi, scriptum =
to enrol q. 4 – proficiscor, -ficisci, -fectus = to begin, go forward, set out