In the following passage from Fabulae Faciles:

Amāzonēs impetum virōrum fortissimē sustinuērunt, et contrā opīniōnem omnium tantam virtūtem praestitērunt ut multōs eōrum occīderint, multōs etiam in fugam coniēcerint. Virī enim novō genere pugnae perturbābantur nec magnam virtūtem praestābant. Herculēs autem cum haec vidēret, de suīs fortūnīs dēspērāre coepit.

Why would the subjunctive (videret) be used? The last sentence seems to read "However, when Hercules saw these (things), he began to despair of his fortunes." So, if that is right, shouldn't it just be vidit (saw), not videret?

Also, why haec? Shouldn't these things be haes, not haec? Haec is the neuter nominative, not accusative.

1 Answer 1


In Latin, cum is a standard way to introduce a dependent clause. These cum clauses can indicate circumstance ("when he saw it"), cause ("because he saw it"), or adversity ("even though he saw it"); the exact translation depends on context.

And notably, finite verbs in these subordinate clauses are almost always subjunctive. This is actually how the subjunctive mood gets its name: these clauses and the verbs in them are subordinated to (subjunctus) the main clause.

For your second question, I'm not sure where you're getting "haes" from—neuter forms, as a rule, look exactly the same in the nominative and the accusative, for reasons going back to Proto-Indo-European. So haec is the neuter plural accusative as well as nominative.

  • This is the table where haes is given as the neuter plural accusative: online-latin-dictionary.com/… Is this web site just wrong? Oct 25, 2020 at 22:45
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    @TylerDurden Yep. Haec is standard; I checked to make sure there wasn't some obscure variant form, and a corpus search shows no attestations of "haes".
    – Draconis
    Oct 25, 2020 at 22:48
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    Right. And when the verb after cum is in the indicative, you know the subordinate clause is independent, indicating the events happened at the same time, but independent of each other, e.g. Eo tempore cum Romae vivebam, Colosseum etiam stabat. Oct 25, 2020 at 22:57
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    @TylerDurden Yes, that is a terrible site. You can find reliable tables at Wiktionary and Collatinus-web, for example. I mean seriously. This is like somebody creating the website "Online English Dictionary" and claiming the demonstrative pronouns are "this" and "thut". Oct 25, 2020 at 23:01
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    @Sebastian brings to mind the Scottish wikipedia fake by some teenager who had no deeper knowledge of Scottish than me. Maybe he switched languages after getting exposed?? Still an amazing feat -- like the guy who fixed one of the car wrecks on my mother-in-law's Texas farm only in order to steal it. You would want to give them a legit job putting their commitment and skill to better use. Oct 26, 2020 at 10:51

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