Caesar milites cohortatus est ne ea, quae accidissent, graviter ferrent neve his rebus terrentur

We have indirect speech, the main verb is a deponent verb who is in the perfect past but shouldn't it be "esse" instead of "est" on the main clause? Since the verb of the main clause always goes to infinitive in the indirect speech?

The source of the problem is the portuguese book "Gramática Latina de Napoleão Mendes, on the notes of p. 343"

  • 1
    Why do you think the cohortatus est clause is indirect speech? If the sentence before the one that you quoted provides that context, you should quote it too. Otherwise, it appears to be a simple declarative statement that triggers indirect command.
    – cnread
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 16:36

2 Answers 2


The key is, this is not an indirect statement (which generally uses an accusative and infinitive), but an indirect command (which generally uses the subjunctive). Caesar isn't stating a fact, here; he's urging his troops to do something (or in this case, not to do something). And when this happens, Latin generally uses ut or ne with a subjunctive verb.

One way to think about it is: how would you phrase this in direct speech? Would you use the indicative, or the imperative?

  • commands go to the imperative, right? Yeah I think that is it, thanks! Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 4:20
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    All true, but isn’t the question about est? Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 4:41

Leaving aside the matter of it being an indirect command, about which Draconis is right, you can do indirect speech with an ACI (accusative + infinitive) construction, but it's the main verb of the thing being said that goes to the infinitive, not the main verb of the resulting sentence:

Caesar dicit: "Galli veniunt." → Caesar dicit Gallos venire.

Caesar says: "The Gauls are coming." → Caesar says that the Gauls are coming.

You obviously wouldn't have Caesar dicere here: the main verb of a complete sentence must always be in a finite tense. Likewise for cohortatus est in your example.

  • ah good catch, thanks Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 17:03

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