I apologize if there's an obvious answer here I'm missing, but I can't figure out why this line from De Bello Gallico 5.33 is subjunctive: "At Cotta, qui cogitasset haec posse in itinere accidere atque ob eam causam profectionis auctor non fuisset..."

Is fuisset subjunctive in an indirect question, or is this subjunctive in a causal clause describing a motivation of someone other than the speaker/writer?

Thank you!


2 Answers 2


The sentence structure is "Cotta, qui cogitasset ... atque ... non fuisset, ... deerat..." The verbs are subjunctive because the relative clause is explaining the cause of the upcoming main verb, deerat. Relative clauses of cause often have an additional word to help identify them (quippe/ut/utpote qui...), but this one does not.

  • Thank you for your help!
    – Joan
    May 15, 2021 at 16:32
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    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    May 15, 2021 at 18:00

I believe these are all causal relative clauses. "But Cotta, since he had thought that these things were able to happen on the march and since on account of that reason he had not been a promoter of the departure..." It's the same as providisset in the previous sentence.

For the relevant grammar, see Gildersleeve & Lodge § 633 or Allen and Greenough § 535 n. e.

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