I hope this is the right place to ask this, and I hope it seems I have done enough research before asking. Basically, I am working my way through translating Tacitus' Annals, and have come across something that I cannot for the life of me find out what is going on. I will show the whole sentence and then explain my specific concern.
milesque nullo illic hominum cultu fame absumptus, nisi quos corpora equorum eodem elisa toleraverant.
Most of this I am fine with, and I shall give my rough and more polished translation up to where I am certain:
And the soldiers [Tacitus has often been using the singular for the plural during this episode], there [the islands the soldiers have been shipwrecked on - there is a storm happening on the north sea] with not any civilization of humans, were ruined by hunger [understanding some form of
essewith to create a passive construction],
And the soldiers, as these islands had no trace of the civilization of humans, were ruined by hunger,
However, when moving onto the second clause of this sentence, I am bewildered by the use of "
quos". Everything online as well as Loeb seems to take the "
quos" [those soldiers, those, those who] to be the subject, and translate it along the lines of
"save those who fed upon the bodies of the horses washed to the same island".
This patently seems to be the gist of the sentence, but I cannot understand why Tacitus wouldn't use
qui. Is there some arcane use I am not aware of?
I tried very hard to find this out before asking, googling and looking around stack exchange with stuff such as "accusative relative pronoun as subject", but had no luck. All I turned up was a discussion of the shift of the nominative singular ending in this stack exchange post. This led me to my only guess - it's a wild guess, and probably wrong, but as yet my only way of rationalizing this: Tacitus is using an archaic form of the nominative singular that looks like an accusative, frustratingly paired with a plural verb. I feel, however, that this is a bit of a reach.
I would be very grateful to anyone who could explain what is going on here and what I am missing! I am sorry if this is very obvious and I am just being thick.
F. De Vries.