In the Commentaries, Caesar writes:

Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae, propterea quod a cultu atque humanitate provinciae longissime absunt, minimeque ad eos mercatores saepe commeant atque ea quae ad effeminandos animos pertinent important

So, I am guessing he is using the subjunctive with commeant because it is an explanation or reason for the primary thought, however, in that case shouldn't he also be using the subjunctive with importo and write "importent"? Instead he just uses the normal active "important", which does not seem to be parallel with commeant which is subjunctive.


1 Answer 1


The answer is perhaps surprisingly simple: they're all indicatives! Commeant is from commeare, which is of the first conjugation: the a is part of the present stem of the verb, so the a does not indicate a subjunctive. The imperative, for example, is commea.

The present indicative goes like this:

commeo, commeas, commeat

The present subjunctive:

commeem, commees, commeet

The imperfect indicative:

commeabam, commeabas, commeabat

  • I guess I don't understand this. The word I have in my dictionary is "commeo" and I know for a fact that the indicative of habeo is habent and the subjunctive is habeant. So, how is that commeant is not subjunctive in the same way that habeant is subjunctive? Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 15:36
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    Commeo is first conjugation: the -e- is part of the stem comme-, and endings (mostly including -a- in the indicative) are added after it. The subjunctive would be commeent. Habeo is second conjugation: the stem is hab-, and most of the indicative endings include -e-. Its subjunctive would be habeant.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 16:55
  • 1
    Ok, that makes sense. Might want to make that part of the answer. Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 20:36

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