In Cicero's "ad Familiares" 12.10.2 there is:

"quem quidem ego exercitum quibuscumque potuero rebus ornabo;" =

"This army, indeed, I will compliment by all the means in my power." (Perseus)

Why isn't the accusative, (from "ornabo"), "this army", given as, (masculine) "hunc exercitum"; why use a relative pronoun, (masculine, accusative) "quem"? This, usually, introducing a relative clause would be deployed for something like, "The army (nominative) which ("quem") I will compliment". In this example, such translating does not apply and "the army" ("exercitus") is in the accusative, "exercitum", anyway.

How does "quem" work, here?

A secondary point: Shouldn't future-perfect, "potuero", be completed before the future, "ornabo", can be invoked? Here, they will occur together, inevitably?

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    On potuero and ornabo, I imagine an elided verb such as parare or collocare. Gathering the resources logically proceeds the outfitting. "I will outfit this army with whatever resources I will have been able (to amass)." Jul 10, 2023 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


This is very common. Relative pronouns are often used to introduce the next clause when the meaning is something like "et [is,ea,id]."

See Allen and Greenough:

When the antecedent is in a different sentence, the relative is often equivalent to a demonstrative with a conjunction: quae cum ita sint (=et cum ea ita sint), [and] since this is so.

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