Moreland has this line:

Cognoscebamus quo tempore dux mortem illis patriam neglegentibus minatus esset

This is an indirect question, hence the sequence of tenses: main verb takes Imperfect; secondary verb takes pluperfect.

Minatus esset is obviously Pluperfect Passive Subjunctive yet the translation I found at utoronoto's website was:

We learned when the leader had threatened death to those neglecting the fatherland.

But why is the passive minatus esset being translated as active? I tried taking the illis neglegentibus as Ablative of Cause instead of Dative and translated it (wrongly, because dux is nominative) as:

We learned at what time leader death by those neglecting the fatherland had been threatened.

Could anyone please help?


1 Answer 1


The verb in question (minor, -ari, -atus) is a deponent verb, which means that it has a passive form but an active meaning.

There are many such verbs in Latin. Consider the following cases:

Multa passus est.

He suffered many things.


Te hortamur...

We urge you...


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