In Cicero's letter to Atticus from November 68 BC, he writes this:
Porrō autem neque mihi accidit ut habērem quī in Ēpīrum proficīscerētur nequedum tē Athēnīs esse audiēbāmus.

This is how I translated it:
"And furthermore it didn't happen to me that I have to set out for Epirus, and we didn't hear yet that you were in Athens."

Would haberem here be indeed introducing a relative clause of purpose or did I miss something here with this verb?

1 Answer 1


There is an implied aliquem, which is the antecedent of the purpose qui clause. In my translations, I use an infinitive rather than a relative clause to represent purpose, which is appropriate for English idiom.

Here's a good parallel passage, from Ep. 14.16:

Etsi eius modi tempora nostra sunt ut nihil habeam quod aut a te litterarum exspectem aut ipse ad te scribam, tamen nescio quo modo et ipse vestras litteras exspecto et scribo ad vos cum habeo qui ferat.

Even though our times are such that I have no letter either to expect from you or to write to you, nevertheless somehow I both expect your letters and write [my own] to you, whenever I have [someone] to deliver [them].

Following the same logic, your passage reads:

I didn't happen to have anyone to set out for Epirus...


It so happened that I didn't have anyone who would set out for Epirus...

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