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I am not sure about the grammatical reason behind this, however I can say the translation in English sounds fine, and the language doesn't really give/require anything else than "was"; the translation in French could use subjonctif instead of indicatif imparfait, but it still sounds ok; in Italian I would translate "quanto sia stato (congiuntivo passato) ...


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This is an indirect question and indirect questions always use the subjunctive (also known as conjunctive) mood. If you want more examples and details, please the linked discussion in Allen and Greenough. Although not needed here, I thought I should mention a relatively common use of this mood where the reason is semantic rather than syntactic. From Allen ...


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