In Rōma Æterna, p. 239, in a passage from Eutropius, book 28, comes the paragraph:

P. Scīpiō in Hispāniā cum Poenīs dēbellāvit quārtō decimō annō eius bellī; et ā Tarracōne in Āfricam ad Syphācem, rēgem Massȳlōrum, trānsvectus, foedus cum eō iūnxit. Et amīcitiā factā cum Masinissā, rēge Numidārum (quī illī auxilium 'sī in Āfricam trāiēcisset' pollicēbātur), Rōmam reversus cōnsulque creātus.

I'd expect trāiceret or trāiectūrus esset. Why the pluperfect subjunctive here?

1 Answer 1


This is a quirk of conditions in indirect statement: a perfect subjunctive in the protasis of a future less vivid condition turns to pluperfect subjunctive when in indirect statement. For examples see Allen and Greenough 589, 2.a.3.

What's a little unusual about this example is that pollicebatur isn't introducing a full indirect statement, but just takes an object auxilium. However, the 'if' clause is still behaving as if it's part of a complete condition (e.g. pollicebatur se auxilium laturum esse si...).

  • Thank you so much! I've been trying to figure this one out for hours. . . . May 4, 2019 at 19:46

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