The answer key to North & Hillard, Ex. 235 proposes the following Latin translation of:"...until the king, frightened by the ambassador's boldness, promised to do what the Senate decreed."

...donec rex audacia legati perterritus promisit se omnia quae Senatus decerneret facturum.

I have two questions about this proposed translation:

  • Normally, I would expect in indirect discourse that there should be an "esse" after the future participle, e.g.: "dixi me venturum esse" = "I said that I would come." In the above example, the king promised that he would do what the Senate decreed. Is it acceptable to omit esse after facturum?
  • Secondly, the answer key uses the imperfect subjunctive decerneret, while I used the pluperfect active decreverat. Would both options make grammatical sense?

Omitting esse in future infinitives like facturum esse is very common and perfectly acceptable. In fact, if something doesn't seem to quite make sense syntactically, it is often a good idea to check whether there could be an implicit est or esse somewhere.

I would consider conjunctive to be slightly more natural. The decision in this sentence is subordinate to promisit, a promise by the king. When a subordinate clause has someone's point of view — like king's here — the predicate is often in conjunctive. The king made a promise based on his knowledge of the decision.

If you want to emphasize that the decision was a factual event, the indicative is possible. But here it is a reason for a personal action, so conjunctive is a better choice.

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