In Latin a relative clause can be causal and the causal nature can be emphasized with quippe, ut, utpote or praesertim. A causal relative clause can always be replaced with a causal clause, but not vice versa. Is there a preference to use a causal relative clause rather than a causal clause in classical Latin?

For example, would classical Roman authors rather write

Caesar domi manebat, quippe/ut/utpote qui aegrotaret.


Caesar domi manebat, cum aegrotaret. or
Caesar domi manebat, quia aegrotabat.

or are both choices equally common when both are possible? Both are grammatically valid, so it is a question of style.

If there is no clear preference for one or the other in general, what is the difference in tone between a causal relative clause and a causal clause? When might one prefer one and when the other?

  • This is an interesting question but I'm not sure it can be answered in this form -- both types of construction are common, so it's hard to say that one is preferred to the other. It might make more sense to ask e.g. what differentiates the various constructions (really more than two -- cum aegrotaret and quia aegrotabat aren't identical either) or what contexts each tends to be used in.
    – TKR
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 19:27
  • @TKR, you are right, it may not be easy to answer. I added a paragraph at the end that hopefully makes it more answerable. Does it look better now? I didn't know there is any difference between cum aegrotaret and quia aegrotabat, but figuring that out should probably be done in a separate question.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 20:07
  • Yes, I think putting in terms of "difference in tone" may be a more fruitful way to frame the question.
    – TKR
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 20:28


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