This is a follow-up question of this question on difference between future participle and simple future

Apparently from the very question and the answers it seems my previous understanding of future participle was not so accurate. I've viewed future participle as being quite "independent" from the future itself.

I now wonder, are there classical examples where the future participle is used, but the final result turned out (or at least have the possibility) to be contrary to the anticipation as implied by the participle. something like:

Caesar victurus erat, sed demum victus est, ut videmus.

moenia casura sunt, sed deis potentibus manebunt

  • Morituri te salutantaut non?
    – gmvh
    Apr 12, 2021 at 7:31

1 Answer 1


I doubt this is the only possible solution (it may not even be the best), but I think it works reasonably well for your two examples.

The passive of videre can be paired with the future active participle to indicate the outcome that's anticipated (even if only by the speaker). This construction is amply attested, being found in Cicero, Livy, Seneca, Tacitus, and others. Here are just two examples:

Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum 15.11.2:

sed et Cassius mihi videbatur iturus (etenim Servilia pollicebatur se curaturam ut illa frumenti curatio de senatus consulto tolleretur) et noster Brutus cito deiectus est de illo inani sermone <quo se Romae> velle esse dixerat.

'…Cassius seemed to me (to be) about to go…'/'…it seemed to me that Cassius would go…'/'…Cassius seemed to me likely to go…'/etc.

Tacitus, Historiae 3.78:

quidam omnium id ducum consilium fuisse, ostentare potius urbi bellum quam inferre, quando validissimae cohortes a Vitellio descivissent, et abscisis omnibus praesidiis cessurus imperio videbatur:

'…he [Vitellius] seemed (to be) about to abdicate'/'…it seemed that he would abdicate'/'…he seemed likely to abdicate'/etc.

For your examples, the clause that expresses the anticipated outcome can then be attached as a concessive subordinate clause to a main clause that expresses the actual outcome.

cum Caesar victurus videretur, demum tamen victus est.

Although it seemed that Caesar would prevail/was certain to prevail, in the end he was defeated.

etsi moenia casura videantur, deis tamen potentibus manebunt.

Even though it seems that the walls will fall/are certain to fall, they will endure if the gods are powerful.

Alternatively, in theory, since the actual outcome for your first example is in the past and the anticipated outcome has been proven false, you're dealing with a contrafactual situation and could do something like the following sentence from Livy (Ab urbe condita 5.26.10):

videbaturque aeque diuturnus futurus labor ac Veiis fuisset, ni fortuna imperatori Romano simul et cognitae rebus bellicis virtutis specimen [et] maturam victoriam dedisset.

And it seemed that the toil was likely/certain to be as long-lasting as it had been at Veii, (and it would have been too) if not for the fact that fortune gave the Roman general....

Nevertheless, meaning-wise, I have to admit that this approach doesn't work particularly well for your example – or at least it isn't a very satisfying sentence:

Caesar victurus videbatur, ni demum victus esset.

It seemed that Caesar would prevail/was certain to prevail, (and he would have done too) if not for the fact that he was defeated in the end.

  • Thank for your answer. It is indeed seems that the usage of future active participle is strong and forcing: A thing cannot be venturum and not come in the end, it can only seem venturum and not come (i.e. it wasn't venturum in the first place) . that's at least how I read it.
    – d_e
    Apr 13, 2021 at 8:46
  • @cnread: In a number of examples the alternative, contrasting, translations are predicated upon: "it seems that"/ "it is certain that": can both be correct?
    – tony
    Apr 13, 2021 at 12:53
  • @tony, Note that it isn't 'it seems that'/'it is certain that' but 'it seems that'/it seems certain that.' The seeming is key here, as d_e has also noted in the other comment. As for using 'certain' in a translation for a future participle, that's discussed in answers to the question that's linked to at the beginning of the current question.
    – cnread
    Apr 13, 2021 at 16:22

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