Hi all—I’m making my way through De Bello Gallico and came across the following (from Ch. 3): “His rebus adducti et auctoritate Orgetorigis permoti, constituerunt ea quae ad proficiscendum pertineret comparare, iumentorum et carrorum quam maximum numerum coemere, sementis quam maximum facere ut in itinere copia frumenti suppeteret, cum proximis civitatibus pacem et amicitiam confirmare.”

I would expect the verb “confirmare” to be conjugated since it follows “cum,” but it’s in the infinitive like the rest of the verbs in the list; is “cum” being used here as a coordinating conjunction?


1 Answer 1


This is cum = com "with", rather than cum = quom "when". As such, it takes a noun in the ablative (proximis civitatibus) rather than a verb in the subjunctive.

All the verbs in this list are infinitives, as the objects of constituerunt: these are all the things the Helvetii agreed to do. But those verbs can also have objects and modifiers of their own. For example, in the item before the one you're asking about:

sementes quam maximas facere, ut in itinere copia frumenti suppeteret
to do as many sowings as possible, so that plenty of grain would be available during the journey

Here we've got a direct object of the verb (sementes quam maximas) and also a purpose clause attached to it (ut…suppeteret).

The last item is similar:

cum proximis civitatibus pacem et amicitiam confirmare
to establish peace and friendship with the nearby communities

The verb is in the infinitive because it's yet another object of constituerunt (they agreed to ___), but it can still take a direct object (pacem at amicitiam) and other modifiers, in this case a prepositional phrase (cum proximis civitatibus).


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