From what I understand ancient Latin had no punctuation marks, like commas and periods. So, presumably later editors sort of decided where sentences began and ended. Thus, if there is, say an adverb at the beginning of a sentence, then is it fair to characterize it as being used conjunctively since no period was there originally? Also, what about -que? For example:

Qua die togam virilem Verus accepit... populo liberalis fuit. mediusque inter Pium et Marcum idem resedit,...

"On the day when Verus received the toga virilis... he gave gave a gladiatorial show to the people at which he sat between Pius and Marcus..."

So, here there is a period between fuit and mediusque which the English translation (Loeb) does not reproduce, so should we consider the -que here being a conjunction? (By the by, does idem here refer to Pius (who is mentioned in elipsis of the previous sentence) or to Verus? I guess it must be Pius, but in that case why is it after Marcus, not Pius)

Also, in many cases I see, for example, words like unde, an adverb, beginning a sentence meaning "from this", so does that mean we can consider unde to be used conjunctively in those cases?

What are the implications of this from the standpoint of composition? For example, if there is an idea like "I stumbled on the stairs so I thought it was time to fix them." In this sentence can we translate it as one sentence with unde replacing "so"?

  • It's a bit of a difficult question to answer, because it's not clear if you have a correct conception of what constitutes a conjunction. -que, for one thing, most definitely is a conjunction in all its uses and any dictionary should tell you. I think most linguists would be very reluctant to let punctuation have any say in how to determine parts of speech. Pragmatics like your examples with 'unde' doesn't always rule the case either. A conjunction isn't just any linker word. I don't feel quite confident enough to write a proper answer, however. Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 17:11
  • @consistebat Maybe it's just a meaningless distinction. E.g. if I wrote the sentence with unde then maybe the reaction would be: "the sentence is correct... but we put a period before the unde" ... thus sort of de-conjunctifying it by form rather than meaning. Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 18:04


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