Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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11 The Latin tense system

This chapter concentrates on the morpho-semantic category tense and the way in which this category functions in Latin verb forms. In the first, more theoretical, part of the chapter I will deal with the definition of the notions `tense' and `verbal aspect' and offer a more detailed classification of states of affairs than in crosssection 2.4. In crosssection 11.2. separate verb forms are discussed. crosssection 11.3. treats the use of the tenses in narrative texts, crosssection 11.4. the use of the tenses in individual authors. [1]

11.1. Definitions 11.1.1 States of affairs and `Aktionsart'

In crosssection 2.4. we have encountered `dynamic' and `non-dynamic' states of affairs. Examples are (1) and (2), respectively (cf. (48) and (55) in crosssection 2.4.):

(1) the boy got a book

(2) the boy had a book

(1) describes a change (the transition from a state of `not-having' to one of `having'); (2), on the other hand, describes a state. With the aid of the distinction `dynamic' (example (1)) vs. `non-dynamic' (example (2)) we indicate how the state of affairs expressed by the nuclear predication evolves in time.

In reality, a finer distinction can be made within the category of dynamic states of affairs, viz. between `terminative' and `non-terminative' states of affairs, cf. (3)–(4):

(3) the boy wrote a book

(4) the boy read a book

[1a] (3) concerns an action which, unless it is interrupted, naturally results in a finished book (a book in this example is often called an `effected Object'). In (4) the action can be finished, just as in (3), but does not involve a natural end product. The difference between (3) and (4) can be brought to light by adding

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Time Adjuncts. `In three hours' can be added to (3), `for three hours' cannot; this does not apply to (4).

(3') the boy wrote a book in three hours/* for three hours

(4') the boy read a book? in three hours [2]/for three hours

The category of terminative states of affairs can be subdivided into `momentaneous' and `non-momentaneous' states of affairs, see (5) and (3), respectively:

(5) the boy found a book

(3) the boy wrote a book

Whereas (3) can be interrupted, (5) cannot:

(5') *the boy stopped finding a book

(3") the boy stopped writing a book [3]

These distinctions between types of states of affairs can be schematized as in figure 11.1: [4]

Latin examples of the distinctions made here are:

(6) duodequadraginta annos tyrannus Syracusanorum fuit Dionysius, cum … (`D. had been ruler of S. for 38 years, when …', Cic. Tusc. 5.57) [(a): –dyn.]

(7) cum iam tot horas de uno genere … dicam (`Now that I have been speaking about one subject for so many hours already', Cic. Ver. 5.159) [(b):-term.]

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(8) ut una hora … reo … spem … praeciderem (`That within one hour I robbed the accused of the hope …', Cic. Ver. 1.20) [(c):-mom.]

(9) ipse … Tarraconem paucis diebus pervenit (`He himself reached T. in a few days', Caes. Civ. 2.21.4) [(d): + mom.]

In all honesty I should remark that it is not always easy to distinguish between non-dynamic and non-terminative states of affairs in Latin. In English the difference appears from the fact that non-dynamic states of affairs cannot very well be used in the progressive (* I was having a book), whereas to read a book does allow this construction. Furthermore, adverbs indicating the tempo (e. g. celeriter (`rapidly') or another aspect of the manner in which the action takes place (e. g. diligenter (`diligently') cannot very well be added to non-dynamic states of affairs. Yet, these are not absolute rules.

In Latin linguistics little attention has been devoted to the classification of states of affairs on the basis of well-defined criteria (but see note 4). The grammars (e. g. Sz. 303 ff.) do offer a more or less intuitive subdivision of verbs (rather than states of affairs!) into verbs with an `imperfective' `Aktionsart' and verbs with a perfective `Aktionsart'. [5] In this connection, `imperfective' roughly coincides with non-dynamic and non-terminative in figure 11.1, i. e. the division largely coincides with the addibility of Time-during-which Adjuncts and Time-within-which Adjuncts, respectively. An important difference between the approach of Sz. (and others) and that outlined above lies in the fact that the former concerns the Aktionsart of verbs and the latter that of states of affairs. In crosssection 3.1. (p. 26) it has already been pointed out that the addibility of Adjuncts like those mentioned here does not merely depend on the meaning of the verb, but also on properties of the arguments required by the verb. See (3') and (10), with a singular and a plural Object, respectively:

(3') *the boy wrote a book for three hours

(10) the boy wrote rhymes for three hours

Another significant factor is negation. In states of affairs with the verb venire (`to come', with or without a Direction Adjunct) we do not as a rule find Duration Adjuncts, but see (11):

(11) Philippus nullus usquam nec nuntius ab eo per aliquot horas veniebat (`P. was nowhere in sight, and for several hours no messenger arrived from him', Liv. 32.35.2)

While `to come from someone to something' is terminative, `not to come' is, in turn, non-dynamic and thus allows a Duration Adjunct. The verb alone, therefore, is not a satisfactory starting-point.

In Latin morphology there are means to create verbs on the basis of a verbal stem (e.g. derivation); the resulting verbs differ from the verbum simplex in meaning and, together with the arguments they govern, indicate a different state of affairs. Examples are the formation of so-called inchoatives from

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non-dynamic verbs by means of the infix -sc- (e. g. calere → calescere (`to be/become warm')), and the formation of causatives by means of composition with facere (e.g. calere → calefacere (`to be/make warm')). These verbs occur in different states of affairs: non-dynamic (calere) vs. terminative (calescere, calefacere). Similar differences may be seen between active and passive. A fourth example is offered by compounds formed by means of a preverbial prefix, e.g. edere → comedere (`to eat/to consume'), suere → consuere (`to sew/to stitch together'). Preverbial prefixes often turn a one-place verb (or a two-place verb with a `reduced' one-place counterpart, see p. 8) into a two-place verb (or a non-reducible two-place verb) (in traditional terms: they turn intransitives into transitives). This is often accompanied by a difference in the type of state of affairs of the nuclear predication in which these verbs occur (non-dynamic → terminative) (see Sz. 287; 304). [6]

Much attention has been devoted in Latin linguistics to the distinction between the so-called perfective (i.e. terminative) and imperfective (i.e. non-dynamic and non-terminative) verbs, without, however, producing many reliable results. Sz. (303), for instance, remarks that of the so-called `perfective' verbs (i. e. terminative states of affairs) the imperfect as a rule does not occur and that, if it does occur, such an imperfect is to be interpreted as iterative or as `conative'. I return to this in crosssection on p. 227. Generally speaking, it has been observed that verbs of certain semantic classes predominantly occur in certain tenses. This is, of course, correlated with the fact that owing to their meaning verbs are especially suited for certain contexts: verbs meaning `to consider', for instance, often (but not always) present background information to certain main actions and in narrative texts, therefore, often occur in the imperfect (see crosssection [7] See (12):

(12) sic primum existimabam … Simul et verebar … Itaque … eram, … exquirebam … cognoscebam … revertebar … explicabam … exspectabam … erat in animo. Cum haec agerem, repente ad me venit Heraclius (`First I thought … At the same time I was afraid … So I was …, I enquired …, I tried to find out …, I returned to …, I explained …, I expect ed …, I was planning … While I was busy with all this, suddenly H. came to me', Cic. Ver. 4.136–7)

11.1.2 Tense

`Tense' is a `deictic' category, by which the state of affairs expressed by the predication is located in time. The state of affairs can either be related to the moment of writing or speaking, or to another moment known from context or situation. Thus, laudo as a rule means that the action of praising is contemporaneous with the moment of speaking (`I am (now) praising'), laudaveram that the praising was anterior to a moment that itself is anterior to the moment of speaking (`I had praised at a moment that precedes the present

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moment'). In other words, tense is a morpho-semantic category which allows the chronological ordering of events. Besides marking of the verb form, also lexical means can be used to indicate this chronological order of states of affairs, such as temporal adverbs (heri (`yesterday'), nunc (`now'), postea (`afterwards'), deinde (`then'))-in a number of languages the only possibility-or simply by the order in which the events are mentioned, e. g. (13):

(13) veni, vidi, vici (`(first) I came, (then) I saw and (after that) I conquered', Suet. Jul. 37)

In this chapter I only deal with tense as a verbal category.

In locating a certain state of affairs in time (and, thus, in choosing a verb form), the language user is as a rule bound by the actual chronological relation between events. This appears, for instance, from obvious impossibilities such as (14):

(14) *heri laudabo (*`Yesterday I shall praise')

On the other hand, it is not true that the language user has no choice at all. Thus, in Latin, as in English, the imperfect can be used also if there is no cogent temporal reason for this, e.g. example (15):

(15) sed si domi est, Demaenetum volebam (`But I wanted to see D., if he is at home', Pl. As. 452)

By locating his request in the past, the speaker in this example presents this request as less urgent or immediate, and thus as slightly more modest or polite. Tense can, therefore, to some extent be used, like the category mood, to express the attitude of the speaker. [8]

With the aid of the examples laudo and laudaveram I have shown that a specific tense can be related either to the moment of speaking (the `present' moment) or to another moment that itself is related to the moment of speaking. In some grammars the former (laudo) is called `absolute' use of the tense, the latter (laudaveram) `relative' use of the tense. In reality, both are relative, but the latter has, as it were, two stages. The Latin verb turns out to be construed systematically according to two dimensions:

(i) most verb forms contain information as to the chronological order (anterior, contemporaneous, posterior) of the predication [9] with regard to a past, present or future moment known from context or situation;

(ii) part of the verb forms, especially indicative forms, also contain information (apart from that mentioned in (i)) as to the location of the predication in time (past, present, future).

Note that in subjunctive forms only present and past are distinguished. They are left out of account here.

Examples of the two dimensions mentioned above are:

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(i) (a) Participles indicate whether the (embedded) predication expressed by them is anterior, contemporaneous or posterior with regard to another predication (as a rule the main predication): locutus/loquens/locuturus (`after speaking/while speaking/before speaking'). The participles do not indicate when the action in question occurred: in loquens abiit (`While speaking he left') the speaking occurred in the past; in loquens abibit (`while speaking he will leave') the speaking will occur at the future moment of leaving.

(b) In a similar way, infinitives indicate anteriority, contemporaneous|ness or posteriority of the predication with regard to the (main) predication: Cicero dicit Caesarem in senatu locutum esse/loqui/locuturum esse (`Cicero says that Caesar has spoken/is speaking/will speak in the senate').

(c) Finite verb forms of the perfectum stem as a rule [10] indicate that the predication has occurred before a moment known from context or situation, see above laudaveram and (16):

(16) rogo quid fecerit (`I ask what he has done')

N.B.: see also (ii) (a) below.

(d) Finite verb forms of the infectum stem indicate that the predication occurs contemporaneously with a moment known from context or situation, see above laudo and (17):

(17) rogavi quid faceret (`I asked what he was doing')

N.B.: see also (ii) (b) below.

(ii) (a) Perfect, pluperfect and future perfect locate a predication anterior to present, past and future, respectively. Caesar locutus erat (`Caesar had spoken') means that Caesar's speaking preceded a certain moment in the past.

(b) Present, imperfect and (simple) future locate a predication in present, past and future, respectively; on the basis of what was said under (i) (d) e.g. Caesar loquebatur means that at a certain moment in the past Caesar was speaking.

(c) The periphrastic forms locuturus sum/eram/ero offer a limited possibility to locate predications posterior to present, past and future, respectively.

Tables 11.1 and 11.2 offer a schematic representation of what has been remarked above. In a different form, table 11.2 returns in the discussion of Table 11.1 Non-finite verb forms (participles, infinitives)
locutus esseloquilocuturus esse

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Table 11.2 Finite verb forms (1st person singular indicative)
Location with regard to orientation moment
Orientation momentAnteriorContemporaneousPosterior
Presentlocutus sumloquorlocuturus sum
Pastlocutus eramloquebarlocuturus eram
Futurelocutus eroloquarlocuturus ero
Table 11.3 Sequence of tenses
Tense of main clauseTense of subordinate clause
Present Futureperfectpresentperiphrastic
(locuturus sim)
(locuturus essem)
the rules concerning the correspondence between the tenses of main and subordinate clauses in the subjunctive governed by them (the sequence of tenses (consecutio temporum)). See table 11.3. From table 11.2 it may be deduced that the system apparently contains some elements of redundancy. What is, for instance, the de facto difference between anterior to the present (locutus sum) and contemporaneous with the past (loquebar)? After all, both forms concern past events. Likewise: what is the difference between loquar and locuturus sum (two forms that in reality are not often distinguished, as has been pointed out above)? I return to this in crosssection 11.2. on p. 223 ff. [11]

11.1.3 Aspect

The notion `aspect' appeared in the second half of the nineteenth century, first in Greek and later also in Latin linguistics, following the use of the notion `vid' in Slavic linguistics, where it had been introduced owing to the inadequacy of the category `tense'. It served, among other things, to explain differences between pairs of non-compound and compound verbs that may ostensibly be used to refer to the same actions, e.g. the paradigms of the Russian verbs meaning `to write' in table 11.4. The difference between these verbs was described as `in progress' (the left-hand column) vs. `gone by' (the right-hand column), or as `not (yet) completed' vs. `completed' (`imperfective' vs. `perfective'). Assuming this difference, one can also explain why the form ya napishú is not a present tense (comparable to ya pishú): a `gone by', `completed' present is difficult to imagine. Practically the form functions as a future.

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Table 11.4
Act. infinitivepisát'napisát'(`to write')
1st pers. sing imperf.ya pisállya napisáll(`I wrote')
Pres.ya pishú-(`I write')
Fut.ya búdu pisát'ya napishú(`I shall write')

The notions `aspect', `imperfective' and `perfective' also seemed useful for describing the semantic difference between the Latin perfect and imperfect. In this connection, scholars also pointed at the terminology used by the Greek and Latin grammarians, e.g. the Latin terms `praeteritum perfectum' and `praeteritum imperfectum'. `Perfective aspect' was ascribed to the perfect, `imperfective aspect' to the imperfect. We see that the notion `aspect', mainly used in Slavic grammar to explain differences between pairs of verbs, was introduced into Greek and Latin grammar in order to explain differences between forms of one and the same verb.

N.B.: In the preceding section I have stated that the terms `imperfective' and `perfective' are also used to describe properties of verbs. I return to this in crosssection 11.1.4 on p. 223.

The question of whether or not in Latin `aspect' `exists' or is necessary for the description of the uses of the various verb forms has led to a flood of scholarly publications. The communis opinio is that in an earlier stage of Latin aspect was probably or certainly a productive category, but that the Latin of the texts we have at our disposal contains few (or no) traces of this. In Classical Latin contemporaneousness and anteriority are the most important factors. There is a rather persistent tendency to explain statistically remarkable, idiomatic uses of certain verb forms as relics of an earlier aspectual system. An example of such an expression is (18):

(18) cuius ego iudicium, pace tua dixerim, longe antepono tuo (`Whose judgment, if I may say so with your permission, I value much more than yours', Cic. Tusc. 5.12)

In instances of this kind, dixerim cannot be taken as anterior to the present. More of these instances will be discussed below.

One explanation for the popularity of the aspectual view of the Latin tense system might be the unspoken wish to find in Latin a system similar to that found in Greek. Yet, the usefulness of the category `aspect' for Greek is by no means undisputed. [12] Moreover, an important difference between Latin and Greek is the fact that Greek almost always offers the language user a `choice' between pairs of verb forms. In Latin this is not the case (apart from the perfect and imperfect indicatives and some idiomatic uses). Cf. the Greek examples (19a–b) and (20a–b) of present and aorist imperatives and infinitives, respectively: [13]

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(19a) ἀναγνώσεται πρῶτον ὑμῖν τὸν τούτου νόμον, εἶτα τοὺς ἄλλους ... ἀναγίγνωσκε (`First he will read to you his law, then the other laws, … Please read', Dem. 24.39)

(19b) ἀνάγνωθι δὲ καὶ τούτους τοὺς νόμους (`And read those laws as well', Dem. 24.104)

(20a) … . . . οἱ μάγοι ἀνεβίβασαν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ πύργον καὶ ἀγορεύειν ἐκέλευον (`The Magi brought him up on to a tower and ordered him to speak', Hdt. 3.75.1)

(20b) κεῖνον . . . ἐκέλευον ἀναβάντα ἐπὶ πύργον ἀγορεῦσαι ὡς … (`They ordered him to go up on to a tower and declare that … ', Hdt. 3.74.3)

Another explanation may be found in the fact that it is not made very clear what exactly `aspect' is. It is usually described as different from tense, e.g. as a non-deictic temporal category covering phenomena such as `completeness', `iteration', etc. In Latin linguistics the notions `progress' and `completeness' are most often used. I will now further discuss these two notions.

The grammarian Priscian (sixth century AD) describes the value of the Latin imperfect and perfect as follows:

(21) si incipiam in praeterito versum scribere et imperfectum eum (scil. versum) relinquam tunc utor praeterito imperfecto dicens `scribebam versum'; … continuo enim scripto ad finem versu dico `scripsi versum' (`If in the past I begin writing a verse and I leave it unfinished, I use the praeteritum imperfectum and say "scribebam versum"; … for immediately after writing the entire verse I say "scripsi versum", Prisc. In G.L. 8. 52–3)

In this example of the perfect the notion `complete', `finished' is entirely clear. The example is, however, not representative. We are dealing with a `terminative' state of affairs and in such cases a `result' interpretation of the perfect is obvious. With other Object constituents with scribere or with other verbs this interpretation is less obvious, see (22) and (23), respectively:

(22) nostri praeceptores servum cervumque u et o litteris scripserunt (`My teachers wrote servus and cervus with uo' (i. e. seruos and ceruos), Quint. Inst. 1.7.26)

(23) tun heri hunc salutavisti? (`Have you greeted him yesterday?', Pl. Am. 717)

Examples (21)–(23) have in common that before the moment of speaking the state of affairs has `ended', is `over' or at least that the statement of the language user refers to a phase of a situation or event that has at that moment been finished. See also (24):

(24) satis … vixi: invictus enim morior (`I have lived long enough; for I die without having been defeated', Nep. Ep. 9.4)

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Here the speaker is not dead, but is speaking of the stretch of life he has lived until then (*satis vivebam would be absolutely impossible). (See further also examples (69)–(71) in crosssection 11.3.1. on p. 238). Evidence for the `endedness' of a state of affairs marked by a perfect form may be found in the distribution of quantifying expressions such as semel (`once'), bis (`twice'), ter (`thrice'). These occur with the perfect, not with the imperfect, e.g. (25a–b):

(25a) sed fui … bis in Bithynia (`But I have twice been in Bithynia', Cic. Planc. 84)

(25b * sed eram bis in Bithynia

Quantifying expressions of this kind can typically be applied in retrospect to ended states of affairs (see further crosssection on p. 230).

Thus, inasmuch as Latin linguists have used the ancient grammarians' notion `endedness' to support an aspect theory, it is not clear what exactly is the difference between the notion `completeness' and the notion `anteriority' as mentioned in crosssection 11.1.2 above. To my mind, the difference is solely terminological. I conclude, therefore, that it would be better from a methodological point of view to explain as much as possible the various uses of the individual verb forms with the aid of the two-dimensional description of crosssection 11.1.2 rather than to use the notion `aspect' in isolated cases.

11.1.4 A terminological digression

I have already pointed out (p. 217; p. 221) that in Latin linguistics the terms `imperfective' and `perfective' are often used for semantic differences between verbs as well as for semantic differences between verb forms, i.e. both for Aktionsart (more or less equivalent to state of affairs) and for aspect. In reality, the confusion is even greater. In many German publications the notion Aktionsart is used to indicate what I have called Aktionsart and aspect; in French works, on the other hand, these two notions are covered by the single term `aspect'. In English studies `lexical aspect' (Aktionsart) and `grammatical aspect' (aspect) are sometimes distinguished, but often the term `aspect' is used indiscriminately.

11.2. The individual verb forms 11.2.1 The finite verb forms

In this section I first treat the forms of the indicative, then the forms of the subjunctive and finally the forms of the imperative. Within each subsection I follow the order present, future, future perfect, imperfect, perfect, pluperfect. Indicative Present (i) The present indicates that the predication is contemporaneous with the moment of speaking (or with another predication that

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in its turn is contemporaneous with the moment of speaking), e.g. (26):

(26) P. Servilius … adest de te sententiam laturus (`P.S. is here to pronounce a judgment on you', Cic. Ver. 1.56)

In this instance P. Servilius was present in person during Cicero's oration. Furthermore, as in English, the present is also used:

(a) in predications that refer to general situations, e.g. the sun sets in the west, all's well that ends well; see (27):

(27) ut enim magistratibus leges, ita populo praesunt magistratus (`For as the magistrates are subordinate to the laws, so the people is subordinate to the magistrates', Cic. Leg. 3.2)

(b) in predications that refer to a future, posterior situation, e.g. I am at home tomorrow (so-called present for future (praesens pro futuro); see below under (ii)).

(c) in predications that refer to a past, anterior situation (so-called historic present; see below under (iii)).

Some linguists have concluded from the fact that the present (more precisely: the present indicative) can be used in utterances that do not refer to the speech situation as such that the present indicative is a neutral or unmarked verb form. [14] It is true that in terms of temporal reference (and illocutionary force) the present indicative is the most widely applicable form, but this is not, of course, to say that the present indicative can replace every other verb form, or that there is no difference between, for example, a historic present and a perfect form (see below under (iii)).

(ii) Present for future. An example is (28):

(28) Lentulus Spinther hodie apud me; cras mane vadit (`L.S. is staying with me today; he is leaving early tomorrow morning', Cic. Att. 14.11.2)

For examples see K.–St. I.119; Sz. 307–8 (dynamic states of affairs (especially with `to go') predominate). In (28) a future would also be possible. The fact, however, that both forms are possible does not entail that they are absolutely identical in meaning. Moreover, they are not equally common in all circumstances. Future forms are, for instance, often used with an imperative illocutionary force (see crosssection and the following sections). For the present this is exceptional (see Sz. 327). Also, it is striking that in comedy ibo is used in asides, rather than eo. [15] Further research is required into the distribution and interchangeability of present and future.

(iii) Historic present. In Latin narrative texts (both prose and poetry) the historic present is the most frequent narrative tense, with differences in frequency between authors and sometimes even within the same work. Here I limit myself to the question of whether the present can always be

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used in predications that refer to the past. The answer to this question is no. The historic present cannot normally be used to begin an episode [16] (though some poets and also Tacitus use it very extensively). To avoid confusion, a clear signal that the past is being referred to is necessary. Such a signal need not be an explicit past tense, but can also be a temporal subordinator, e.g. ut in (29):

(29) Turnus ut infractos adverso Marte Latinos defecisse videt … attollit … animos (`When Turnus saw that the Latins were crushed and lost heart as a result of the defeat, … he raised his spirit', Verg. A. 12.1–4)

N.B.: Also the position of Turnus at the beginning of the sentence marks the new episode.

The historic present cannot be used to close an episode either, if the boundary between this and the next episode is not marked in some way or other, e.g. by an explicit introduction of this new episode. [17] However, when the past reference is sufficiently marked, the present is used on a large scale to refer to past events and situations. But this, too, need not mean that present and past tense are interchangeable. Most linguists-correctly, in my view-hold that the present is used to create the impression of an eye-witness report. The transition from past tense to present enlivens the story; also, by the mere alternation of tenses the story becomes less monotonous. Further research into the alternation of historic present and past tenses is required in order exactly to determine its effect. See further crosssection 11.3.2 on p. 239. For examples see K.–St. I.114–7; Sz. 306–7). Future I mainly limit myself to the so-called simple future.

(30) (aside) ibo ad Diabolum, mandata dicam facta ut voluerit/atque interea ut decumbamus suadebo … /poste demum huc cras adducam ad lenam (`I go to D., tell him that his orders have been executed as he wished, and propose to dine together. Then, only tomorrow, I bring him here, to my mistress', Pl. As. 913–5)

(31) (Pseudolus reads that his beloved has been sold to a Macedonian soldier) `… ei rei dies/haec praestituta est, proxuma Dionysia'. cras ea quidem sunt … ille abducturus est mulierem cras (`The next Dionysus holiday has been decided upon as the day for this. But that is tomorrow … He will take away my girl tomorrow', Pl. Ps. 56–58; 82)

(30) is a `normal' example of the simple future in predications that in relation to the moment of speaking refer to the future (or that are contemporaneous with another–itself future-moment). For the so-called `modal' uses see below examples (32)–(36). The periphrastic future (-urus sum; see (31)) is far less frequent than the simple future. It almost always contains a nuance of

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`intention', `predestination' or `purpose'. Further research is required. For examples see K.–St. I. 160–2; Sz. 312.

The future is often used with a so-called `modal' nuance. In other words, the predication is formulated as referring to the future and as a rule does, in fact, have future reference, but the attitude of the speaker with regard to the predication is such, that the hearer does not interpret it in an exclusively temporal way. Statements in the future concerning a first person will often be understood as `intention' or `will', concerning a second person as an expectation as to future behaviour and thus as an `order', concerning a third person as a `possibility' or a general rule. Examples are (32), (33) and (34)–(36), respectively:

(32) fatebor enim, Cato, me quoque in adulescentia … quaesisse adiumenta doctrinae (`For I am prepared to confess, Cato, that I, too, have looked for support in philosophy in my youth', Cic. Mur. 63)

(33) si igitur tu illum conveneris, scribes ad me, si quid videbitur (`So, if you meet him, write to me, if there is something that is worthwhile', Cic. Att. 12.28.1)

(34) quaeret fortasse quispiam, displiceatne mihi legum praesidio capitis periculum propulsare (`Someone might perhaps ask whether I have any objections against a defense on the basis of the laws in a capital case', Cic. Clu. 144)

(35) tamen excellet illud … quod honestum, quod rectum, quod decorum appellamus (`Yet that which we call honourable, correct and fitting will turn out best', Cic. Tusc. 2.30)

(36) haec erit bono genere nata (`She is presumably of good descent', Pl. Per. 645)

Note that the expression quaeret fortasse quispiam is very similar to the–exceptional–use of the (potential) subjunctive in dicat aliquis (`someone might say') (Liv. 9.4.12). [18] Further research into the interchangeability of the present subjunctive and the future indicative is required. For examples see K.–St. I.142.–4; Sz. 310–11). [19] Future perfect The future perfect is used in predications that are anterior to a moment that itself lies in the future. (33) above is a normal example. The future perfect also occurs in situations where no clear anteriority is concerned. Examples are (37)–(39):

(37) … oratorem sic iam instituam, si potuero, ut quid efficere possit ante perspiciam (`Then I will organize the training of an orator in such a way, if I can, that I first determine his natural capabilities', Cic. de Orat. 2.85)

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(38) ego cras hic ero. / cras habuero, uxor, ego tamen convivium (`Tomorrow I will be here. Yet, tomorrow, wife, I will eat my dinner', Pl. Cas. 786–7)

(39) si ea (salus) praecisa erit, nusquam facilius hanc miserrimam vitam vel sustentabo vel, quod multo est melius, abiecero (`If this hope is taken away from me, this is the best place to continue this terrible life or, much better, end it', Cic. Att. 3.19.1)

The grammars (K.–St. I.147–9; Sz. 323) assume that the future perfect originally differed from the simple future in terms of aspect: the simple future would in that case have been `imperfective', the future perfect `perfective' (`faciam: Ich werde mit der Ausführung beschäftigt sein'; `fecero: Ich werde zur Ausführung bringen'). They also agree that as early as Plautus this distinction no longer existed systematically, though disagreeing as to the extent to which it still existed. Sz. maintains, for instance, that (39) is a good illustration of the continued existence of aspect in Cicero's time. The example is, however, misleading, in that sustentare and abicere presuppose different states of affairs (non-dynamic vs. momentaneous): in this way the difference in interpretation possibly felt by some readers may be explained. It is characteristic that in comedy most cases of the future perfect are found at the end of the line. This is another reason not to assume a systematic semantic difference between future perfect and simple future. Sometimes there is such a difference, sometimes there is not. [20] Imperfect The imperfect is used in predications that refer to a situation or event that occurred at a certain moment in the past (or contemporaneous with a moment that itself is in the past; see example (17) on p. 219). That such events were still going on can be proved with the aid of instances in which the imperfect cannot be replaced by a perfect, because then an implication would be created that is contrary to reality, see (40)–(42):

(40) extinctus pudor et, qua sola sidera adibam, / fama prior (`My chastity is lost and my former reputation, by which alone I was winning a title to the stars', Verg. A. 4.322–3)

(41) ergo in Graecia musici floruerunt discebantque id omnes nec qui nesciebat satis excultus doctrina putabatur (`So in Greece musicians flourished; everybody would learn music, and who was unacquainted with it was not considered completely educated', Cic. Tusc. 1.4)

(42a) (Eutychus:) quo nunc ibas? :: (Charinus:) exulatum (`Where were you going? :: Into exile', Pl. Mer. 884)

(42b) (Eutychus:) quem (sc. Charinus) quidem hercle ego, in exilium cum iret, redduxi domum; nam ibat exulatum :: (Demipho:) An abiit? :: (Lysimachus:) etiam loquere, larva (`And, for the love of God, I have

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even taken him back home when he was going into exile; for he was on his way :: And he did not leave? :: Shut up, you devil', Pl. Mer. 980–1)

In (40) adii would incorrectly imply (terminative state of affairs) that she had already reached the stars; 20a in (41) didicerunt would incorrectly suggest that everyone became a fully educated musician. In the encounter between Eutychus and Charinus ((42a)) quo nunc iisti would be absurd: Charinus is on his way when Eutychus sees him. See also the joke an abiit in (42b).

In specific contexts, and with certain (in particular terminative) states of affairs, it can appear that an action was being carried out, but was not fully ended. In such cases, the imperfect is interpreted as `conative'. An example is (43):

(43) veniebatis igitur in Africam … Prohibiti estis in provincia vestra pedem ponere (`So you were on your way to Africa … You were prevented from setting foot in your own province', Cic. Lig. 24)

See also (44):

(44) ipsi ex silvis rari propognabant nostrosque intra munitiones ingredi prohibebant. at milites legionis septimae testudine facta et aggere ad munitiones adiecto locum ceperunt (`The enemy came out of the woods to fight in small groups, and sought to prevent our troops from entering the fortifications, but the soldiers of the seventh legion formed a "tortoise" and threw up a ramp against the fortifications, and so took the position', Caes, Gal. 5. 9.5–6)

This instance, cited by K.-St. (I. 121) as an example of a conative imperfect, is not in itself remarkable in terms of the use of the tenses. Prohibebant is to be compared with the preceding propugnabant; in both forms the imperfect is used for the same reason: they present the background situation in which the milites legionis septimae carried out their actions. The conative interpretation of prohibebant depends on the information given in the following sentence, introduced by the contrastive connector at. Likewise, we could also translate ibas in (42a) as conative (`Where were you trying to go?'), but the fact that Charinus does not reach the destination he mentions (exile) can be deduced from the situation on stage (ire + Direction Adjunct: terminative) and is not connected with the imperfect. Incidentally, a conative interpretation is also possible in the case of a present tense form or a present participle (for examples see K.-St. I. 120–2). [21] Like the conative interpretation, iterative and other interpretations of the imperfect completely depend on the context. I do not discuss them here.

The grammars (e. g. K.–St. I. 124; Sz. 317) sometimes also distinguish a `narrative' use of the imperfect. An example cited by Sz. is (45):

(45) (Diniarchus:) sed opsecro hercle, Astaphium, <i> intro … / (Astaphium:) licet :: audin etiam? :: quid vis? :: di me perduit/qui te

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revocavi. non tibi dicebam "i" modo? :: / quid iam revocabas? lnprobe nihilique homo: / tute tibi mille passum peperisti morae (`But come on, Astaphium, please go inside :: All right :: Listen :: What do you want? :: May the gods curse me for having called you back. Didn't I just say to you "go"? :: Then why did you call me back? You are terrible and good-for-nothing. You have caused yourself a delay of a mile', Pl. Truc. 329–34)

The situation is that Diniarchus is not (or, rather, no longer) very coherent and has forgotten that he has sent Astaphium inside. With dicebam he recalls the moment he gave the order, and Astaphium reacts accordingly (revocabas). This instance makes clear that `a moment in the past' must be understood as a moment that in the mind of the speaker is regarded as such. Sometimes it is hard to reconstruct these thoughts. Sometimes, as here, the imperfect could be replaced by a perfect without essentially changing the situation. This does not, of course, mean that the two expressions are synonymous. I return to the function of the imperfect in narrative texts in crosssection 11.3.1 on p. 237.

A similar explanation holds for example (15) (cited above on p. 218):

(15) sed si domi est, Demaenetum volebam (`But I wanted to see D., if he is at home', Pl. As. 452)

The speaker locates his wish in the past; he could also formulate it as referring to the moment of speaking (volo), but, as has been pointed out above, this would have been considerably more direct (volui (perfect) is, of course, impossible). A remarkable use of the [corr. 12-08: im-]perfect indicative is that in predications that did not occur, but could have occurred (where, therefore, a pluperfect subjunctive would be possible: counterfactual). Examples are found from Cicero onwards, but are especially frequent in Tacitus (K.–St. II. 404–5). An example is (46):

(46) nec multo post urbem ingredienti offerebantur communes liberi nisi Narcissus amoveri eos iussisset (`And a little while later, when he was driving into town, their mutual children would have shown themselves to him, if N. had not ordered them to be taken away', Tac. Ann. 11.34. 4)

Instances of this kind are to be explained on the basis of the meaning of the imperfect as described above (at a certain moment in the past something was happening). The `showing themselves' had already begun, but was interrupted (cf. the discussions of the cum inversum construction on p. 237 and the pluperfect on p. 233). Perfect Above I have described the perfect as a mark of `anteriority with regard to the moment of speaking'. Predications in the perfect refer to events or situations that are `ended', `over'. This appeared from

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the addibility of quantifying expressions such as bis and ter (example (25) in crosssection 11.1.3 on p. 223). It also appears from the addibility of other expressions (that, as it were, require an overview of the situation or event as a whole), e.g. non (`not'), paene (`almost'), Manner Adjuncts (e.g. prospere pugnavit (`he fought successfully'), though in these cases we merely find a very clear preference for the perfect. The imperfect, on the other hand, seems to emphasize the event or situation itself, without any further modification.

The perfect is the most disputed verb form of the Latin verb system. Above (p. 222) I have shown that Priscian (and other grammarians) called both the perfect and the imperfect `praeteritum'. Some linguists consider this an argument to support the assumption that the perfect is not related to the present moment, but is simply a past tense without semantic aspects like `ended', `anterior', etc. [22] The perfect and the imperfect do, indeed, behave similarly in some respects. (47a–b), for instance, may be replaced by the same AcI in indirect speech:

(47a) Socrates doctrinam amavit (`Socrates has loved philosophy')

(47b) Socrates doctrinam amabat (`Socrates loved philosophy')

(47c) aiunt Socratem doctrinam amavisse (`Socrates is said to have loved philosophy'/`They say that Socrates loved philosophy')

Yet, there are the facts pointed out at the beginning of this section, and instances in which the perfect indicates anteriority with respect to the moment of speaking, e.g. example (16):

(16) rogo quid fecerit (`I ask what he has done')

I conclude, therefore, that it is impossible to assume for the perfect the semantic value `passé pur et simple', as is often done in French linguistics. There are too many instances where not only `past' is at stake, but also anteriority. Moreover, anteriority also plays an important role in the other forms of the perfectum stem.

Besides the view mentioned just now (`passé pur et simple'), there is another, defended by, among others, K.-St. and Sz., which assigns two separate values to the perfect. The perfect occurs in two text types: both in `present' contexts and in past, narrative texts. For examples of the former see (48)–(49):

(48) ubi tu hunc hominem novisti? (`Where have you met this man?', Pl. Men. 379)

(49) quotiens tu me designatum, quotiens vero consulem interficere conatus es? (`How often have you tried to kill me while I was consul elect, and even while I was consul?', Cic. Catil. 1.15)

Here the perfect indicates that the state of affairs has occurred before the moment of speaking. In English we translate them with the present perfect (with the auxiliary have). For the use of the perfect in narrative texts see (50):

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(50) Orgetorix … suam familiam … coegit et omnes clientes … conduxit. per eos … se eripuit (`O. gathered all his retainers and assembled all his clients. Thanks to them he escaped from … ', Caes. Gal. 1.4. 2)

In the English translation we use the simple past for such series of successive events (see further crosssection 11.3.1 on p. 237). Because of this, many linguists assume two separate values for the perfect, the so-called `present perfect' and the `historical perfect.'

To explain this allege doubled value of the perfect, linguists generally point at the history of the forms of the perfect. There is a great variety of forms, including forms that cannot easily be traced back to Indo-European (e.g. -vi), but also forms in -si (e.g. scripsi (`I have written'), cf. the Greek sigmatic aorist) and forms with reduplication (e. g. tetigi (`I have touched'), cf. the Greek perfect). It is, then, assumed, that the Latin perfect not only preserves Indo-European forms, but also the corresponding Indo-European values of aorist and perfect. It may, of course, be objected against this assumption that syncretism of originally different perfect and aorist forms into one paradigm can much better be explained by assuming that the semantic differences between them had disappeared than by assuming that the original differences were preserved.

It remains to be explained how, if we assume only one value for the perfect, its occurrence in two different text types can be explained. The use of the perfect in narrative (past) texts and the difference between the perfect and the imperfect in such texts are a consequence of the value of the perfect as indicated in table 11.2 on p. 220 above (`anterior to', `ended before the moment of speaking'). `Anterior to the present' naturally also implies `past'. The occurrence of the perfect in two text types, then, results from this very duplicity of the perfect (see crosssection 11.1.2).

Depending on the context or on the type of state of affairs the perfect is (like the imperfect, as we have seen above) sometimes interpreted in a special way.

(i) There are in Latin several fossilized perfect forms that occur in predications that refer to the present. The best-known example is memini (`I remember'). Also novi (perfect of noscere (`to get to know') is usually used in this way. These cases are, of course, among the favourite examples of those linguists who want to distinguish a `present' and a `historical' perfect; owing to their idiomatic nature, however, they are unsuitable as evidence for anything at all in Classical Latin (see also example (48) on p. 230 above!).

(ii) When the perfect of a terminative state of affairs occurs in a present context, it often refers to a state obtaining at the moment of speaking that has resulted from a preceding action or process. Novi (`I know') is a good example, as is consuevi (`I am accustomed') and, in the passive, occisus sum, e.g. (51):

(51) occisi sumus (`We are dead', Pl. Mil. 172)

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In narrative contexts, however, the anteriority of the action plays the most important part, e.g. (52):

(52) duo … reguli … eo proelio cecidereunt. octo elephanti capti, tres occisi (sc. sunt) (`In this battle two princes were killed. Eight elephants were captured, three killed', Liv. 24. 42.8)

For examples see K.–St. I. 125–6; Sz. 318. [23]

(iii) Especially with non-dynamic states of affairs (states) in the perfect, in `present' contexts it is sometimes implied that the state no longer holds at the moment of speaking (the so-called `negative' or `logical' perfect), e.g. (53):

(53) fuimus Troes, fuit Ilium et ingens gloria Teucrorum (`We Trojans are non, Ilium is not, and the great glory of the Teucrians', Verg. A. 2.325–6)

Another example is dixi (`I have finished my speech'). For examples see K.-St. I. 125; Sz. 318. [24]

(iv> For the ingressive interpretation of non-dynamic states of affairs in the perfect, which some linguists assume in narrative texts, see example (54) from Petersmann (1977: 178–9):

(54) molestus fuit, Philerosque proclamavit (`He was a bore, and Phileros shouted out: … ', Petr. 43.1)

In such cases the perfect is not used in order to bring about an ingressive interpretation (something like `he became a bore'), but because it is the normal tense in a sequence of successive events (see crosssection 11.3.1 on p. 238).

Interpretations of this kind, in reality determined by the context or the type of state of affairs involved, are often put forward as evidence for the existence of an aspectual verbal system in Latin. The instances discussed in (i) and (ii) are often compared with the resultative value of the Greek perfect, instances such as those discussed in (iv) with the ingressive value of the Greek aorist. I emphasize, however, that (i)–(iv) concern marginal exceptions, and that these special cases can be described as resulting from the interaction in a certain context of the type of state of affairs and the semantic value of the perfect. Pluperfect The pluperfect is used to locate states of affairs at a moment that is anterior to a moment in the past. An example is (55):

(55) Darius in fuga cum aquam turbidam et cadaveribus inquinatam bibisset, negavit umquam se bibisse incundius; numquam videlicet sitiens biberat (`When in flight Darius had drunk water full of mud and polluted by corpses, he said that he had never drunk anything more pleasant, apparently he had never drunk when he was thirsty' Cic. Tusc. 5. 97)

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The occurrence of the pluperfect in (56) is similar to the use of the imperfect in example (46) on p. 229:

(56) praeclare viceramus nisi … Lepidus recepisset Antonium (`We would have won a splendid victory, if L. had not come to the aid of A.', Cic. Fam. 12.10.3) Subjunctive

The subjunctive forms show certain similarities with the temporal values of the indicative forms. The subjunctive forms of the perfectum stem, for instance, indicate anteriority, those of the infectum stem contemporaneousness. In the subjunctive, however, there is not the same temporal variety as in the indicative. There is, for instance, no subjunctive form of the future or the future perfect. Instead, either the periphrastic form with -urus or the present or perfect subjunctive must be used.

The perfect subjunctive has a number of non-anterior uses. Some of these have already been mentioned in crosssection and crosssection Examples are (57)–(59), instances of the so-called potential subjunctive, and (60):

(57) cuius ego iudicium, pace tua dixerim, longe antepono tuo (`Whose judgment, if I may say so with your permission, I value much more than yours', Cic. Tusc. 5.12)

(58) sed fortasse dixerit quispiam tibi propter opes … tuam tolerabiliorem senectutem videri (`But somebody might perhaps say that thanks to your riches your old age seems more bearable', Cic. Sen. 8)

(59) sic ego istis censuerim … novam istam … orationem fugiendam (`In this way I think they ought to avoid this new style', Cic. Brut. 288)

(60) ne vos quidem, iudices i qui me absolvistis, mortem timueritis (`Not even you, judges, who have acquitted me, should fear death', Cic. Tusc. 1.98)

For examples see K.–St. I. 177; Sz. 189. For lack of a satisfactory temporal explanation, many explain these instances in terms of aspect, especially the prohibitions exemplified by (60). K.–St. (I. 189) describe the perfect as (at least originally) momentaneous and as `aoristic'. See Sz. 337. [25] The aspectual explanation poses problems, in that there are hardly any pairs of expressions in the same authors that differ only in terms of tense.

In crosssection on p. 194 ff. I have remarked that the imperfect subjunctive is used in predications that refer to a hypothetical situation. We have already seen that the imperfect indicative can be used in predications that refer to the present and that in such cases it creates an impression of non-immediacy and modesty (volebam in example (15) on p. 218). The use of the imperfect subjunctive can be seen as the non-factive counterpart of this use of the indicative. It is in accordance with the system that anteriority with regard to the imperfect subjunctive is expressed by the pluperfect subjunctive. Examples

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of the use of the imperfect subjunctive and pluperfect subjunctive in hypothetical sentences for `present' and `past', respectively, are (61)–(62):

(61) quodsi semper optima tenere possemus haud sane … consilio multum egeremus (`But if we could always have the best, we would certainly not be in such a need of advice', Cic. Part. 89)

(62) in ipsa enim Graecia philosophia tanto in honore numquam fuisset nisi doctissimorum contentionibus dissensionibusque viguisset (`For in Greece itself philosophy would never have enjoyed such respect, if it had not shown its powers in disputes and differences of opinion among respected scholars', Cic. Tusc. 2.4)

For examples in Classical Latin see K.–St. II. 399, as well as for archaic Latin. [26] Imperative

As to the imperative, there is little to add to what has been said in chapter 10. A semantic difference is assumed between fac and facito: facito would refer to a more distant future. Expressions of the type ne fac would be an order to stop performing an ongoing action. This would, at any rate, be consistent with the value of the infectum stem mentioned elsewhere (`contemporaneousness with'). But see crosssection (b) on p. 200 ff.

11.2.2 The non-finite verb forms (especially participles) [27]

In crosssection 11.1.2 above it has already been remarked that participles and infinitives do not themselves locate a state of affairs in present, past or future time, but only express contemporaneousness (present infinitive and participle), anteriority (perfect infinitive and participle) or posteriority (future infinitive and participle) with regard to a moment that is already known from context or situation (see also table 11.1 on p. 219). Participles

Of each of the participles I give a `normal' example (the `a'-examples), and a number of more exceptional instances. Explanations are given after the examples.

(i) Present participle

(63a) cogitanti mihi saepenumero et memoria vetera repetenti perbeati fuisse, Quinte frater, illi videri solent … (`Often, brother Quintus, when I am thinking and recall old times, those people seem to have been very happy …', Cic. de Orat. 1.1)

(63b) … senatus auctoritatem … quam primum adveniens prodidisti (`The authority of the senate that you have betrayed immediately after your return', Cic. Dom. 4)

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(63c) Sostratus … pauca in praesens et solita respondens petito secreto futura aperit (`For the time being Sostratus said little, and then only what was to be expected, but after asking for a private conversation he revealed what was going to happen', Tac. Hist. 2.4.2)

(63d) legati ab Ardea veniunt … auxilium … urbi implorantes (`Ambassadors came from Ardea to ask aid for their city', Liv. 4.9.1)

With terminative, especially momentaneous states of affairs, some linguists tend to interpret the present participle as anterior (example (63b)). From Virgil and Livy onwards some authors use the present participle also in other types of state of affairs, when strictly speaking the state of affairs is anterior ((63c)) or even when it has a Purpose nuance ((63d)). For examples see K.–St. I. 756–7; Sz. 386–7. [28]

(ii) Perfect participle

(64a) tum autem illo profecto Sulla procurante eius rem et gerente plurimis et pulcherrimis P. Sitti praediis venditis aes alienum eiusdem est dissolutum (`Then, however, after Sittius' departure, while Sulla was representing and protecting his interests, Sittius' debt was paid by the sale of most, and the most beautiful, of his estates', Cic. Sul. 56)

(64b) qui nulla arte adhibita, de rebus ante oculos positis vulgari sermone disputant (`Who discuss without any method and in everyday language things that are obvious', Cic. Ac. 1.5)

(64c) fatebor enim, Cato, me quoque in adulescentia diffisum ingenio meo quaesisse adiumenta doctrinae (`For I am prepared to confess, Cato, that I, too, have looked for support in philosophy in my youth, out of lack of confidence in my own abilities', Cic. Mur. 63)

The perfect participle is very often used when there is no real anteriority with regard to the main predication ((64b)). This phenomenon occurs in particular with terminative verbs. [29] We have seen that also the perfect indicative of terminative verbs also often indicates the result of the action (example (51) on p. 232). Besides, of a large number of deponent and semi-deponent verbs, many of which express a mental state or activity (so-called `Experiencer verbs'), [30] the participle always occurs in a predication that is contemporaneous with the main predication, e.g. arbitratus, ratus (`thinking'), veritus (`fearing'), diffisus (see (64c)). For examples see K.–St. I.758–60; Sz. 391–2.

(iii) Future participle

(65a) si quidem etiam vos duo tales ad quintum miliarium quo nunc ipsum unde se recipienti, quid agenti, quid acturo? (`If even the two of you, men of such great status, meet him at a distance of five miles outside the city,

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while he is retreating where to, from where, doing what, planning to do what?', Cic. Att. 8.9.2)

(65b) P. Servilius … adest de te sententiam laturus (`P.S. is here to pass judgment on you', Cic. Ver. 1.56)

(65c) egreditur castris Romanus vallum invasurus ni copia pugnae fieret (`The Romans left the camp, planning to storm the rampart if there was no opportunity for a regular battle', Liv. 3.60.8)

Normal instances referring to an imminent event, as in (65a), are rare in Classical Latin, as are instances such as (65b), which rather concern intention (Purpose), see p. 226. Examples of the use of the future participle in hypothetical constructions ((65c)) are found from Livy onwards. For examples see K.–St. I. 760–2; Sz. 390. Infinitives

In older Latin, and later again in the Augustan period and in Livy, we find the perfect infinitive in situations where the present infinitive would be the normal form to use, initially in prohibitions with auxiliaries like velle (`to want'), nolle (`to be unwilling'), later, from the Augustan poets onwards, also with other verbs, e.g. posse (`to be able to'), curare (`to care'), decet (`it is fitting'), licet (`it is allowed'), etc. Examples are (66)–(67):

(66) nei quis eorum Bacanal habuise velet (`None of them may hold a Bacchus feast', S.C. Bacch. 4)

(67) tum certare odiis, tum res rapuisse licebit (`Then one may fight with hatred and plunder one another's possessions', Verg. A. 10. 14)

Some scholars establish a connection between the use of the perfect infinitive in older Latin in prohibitions and the use of the perfect subjunctive in expressions such as ne feceris (cf. p. 233). In (67) rapuisse is on a par with the preceding present infinitive certare. The increase of this phenomenon in poetry from Catullus onwards is often attributed to Greek influence. [31] Metrical factors certainly play a role. Attempts to explain the attested instances as `ended' (e.g. K.–St. I. 133) or as anterior are not very convincing, though this idiomatic use may well result from an original `anterior' use. There are so few instances that are not consciously literary, that they are useless as a (partial) basis for an aspectual theory. [32] For examples see K.–St. I.133–5; Sz. 351–2. [33]

11.3. The role of the indicative of the various tenses in narrative texts

Above the function of imperfect and perfect in the Latin verbal system has been described. In this section I address the question of how these two verb forms are used in narrative texts. Of the (historic) present, which, as I have already remarked above, cannot be used indiscriminately in all predications

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that refer to the past, I will determine which of the real past tenses (imperfect and perfect) it can, as it were, replace. I briefly discuss the pluperfect. Finally I say something about the so-called historic infinitive.

11.3.1 Imperfect and perfect as background and foreground tenses

`Perfecto procedit, imperfecto insistit oratio' (`In the perfect the text moves on, in the imperfect it stands still'). The use of the perfect as the tense for successive actions in the foreground and of the imperfect as the tense for accompanying circumstances in the background has long been recognized for Latin, and has parallels in many languages. [34] The use of the imperfect as a background tense is a result of its value, viz. to characterize a predication as taking place at and contemporaneous with a certain moment in the past. Predications marked by the imperfect thus constitute the framework within which other events and situations occur. In contexts in which one or more predications in the imperfect are followed by a predication in the perfect the latter will be interpreted as the incident that takes place in a situation in the past (see example (68a)), just as a cum-clause in the so-called cum-inversum construction is the incident (see example (68b)):

(68a) tantos illa suo rumpebat pectore questus: / Aeneas celsa in puppi iam certus eundi/carpebat [35] somnos rebus iam rite paratis. / huic se forma dei … obtulit (`Such were the wails that kept bursting from her heart. But Aeneas, now that he was resolved on going, was snatching sleep on his vessel's high stern, all having been duly prepared. To him there appeared the vision of a god …', Verg. A. 4.553–7)

(68b) iamque hoc facere noctu apparabant cum matres familiae repente in publicum procurrerunt flentesque proiectae ad pedes suorum omnibus precibus petierunt ne … (`And they were already doing this at night, when the wives suddenly came running out into the open and, lying weeping at the feet of their relatives, implored them with prayers not to …', Caes. Gal. 7.26.3)

(68c) tantus repente terror invasit, ut, cum Lentulus consul ad aperiendum aerarium venisset …, protinus … profugeret. Caesar enim adventare iam iamque et adesse eius equites falso nuntiabantur (`Such a panic suddenly seized them that when the consul Lentulus came to open the treasury he fled immediately. For it had incorrectly been reported that Caesar was approaching and that his cavalry had already arrived', Caes. Civ. 1.14.1)

The relations between (a) preceding predication(s) in the imperfect and (a) following predication(s) in the perfect are often indicated explicitly, e.g. with connectors such as igitur, ergo (`therefore'). In contexts where the order is reversed, so first a perfect and then one or more imperfects, the predication in

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the imperfect will often be interpreted as offering additional information or a motive. [36] This can be made explicit by connectors such as nam, enim (`for'), e.g. example (68c). The relation between a predication in the imperfect preceding or following a predication in the perfect may also be compared with the relation between a `participium coniunctum' or ablative absolute construction with a present participle and a main predication (in the perfect).

A predication in the perfect refers to an event or situation which is presented by the speaker, from his situation, as `ended', anterior. If the context does not contain any further information, a series of predications will be interpreted as referring to events that have occurred successively (without overlapping one another). See example (50):

(50) Orgetorix … suam familiam … coegit et omnes clientes … conduxit. per eos … se eripuit (`O. gathered all his retainers and assembled all his clients. Thanks to them he escaped from …', Caes. Gal. 1.4.2)

In a series of predications in the imperfect, however, the predications can overlap; as a rule, they are not intended as successive, e.g. example (69):

(69) (Caesar) Aeduos … in dicione videbat Germanorum teneri eorumque obsides esse apud Ariovistum … intellegebat; quod … turpissimum … arbitrabatur … Germanos consuescere Rhenum transire … videbat. Neque sibi homines … barbaros … temperaturos existimabat quin …; quibus rebus quam maturrime occurrendum putabat (`He could see that the Aedui were fast bound in subjection to the Germans and he was aware that their hostages were with Ariovistus. This he deemed to be an utter disgrace. He could see that the Germans were becoming gradually accustomed to cross the Rhine. Nor did he suppose that the barbarians would stop. All this, he felt, must be faced without a moment's delay', Caes. Gal. 1.33.2–4)

We can justifiably suppose that non-successive events or situations–unless the context offers special information–must be expressed in the imperfect, e.g. (70):

(70) (Mercurius) hinc toto praeceps se corpore ad undas / misit avi similis, quae circum litora, circum / piscosos scopulos humilis volat aequora iuxta / haud aliter terras inter caelumque volabat / litus harenosum ad Lybiae, ventosque secabat / (`Hence with his whole frame Mercury sped sheer down to the waves like a bird, which round the shores, round the fish-haunted cliffs, flies low near to the waters. Even thus between earth and sky flew Cyllene's nursling to Libya's sandy shore and cut the winds', Verg. A. 4.253–7)

Volabat in (70) does not follow upon se misit; it is a specification of the way in which Mercury was flying, rather than a factual statement that he was flying.

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It is the function of the imperfect to characterize a predication as `going on in the past'. If a story or an episode begins with one or more imperfects, the reader expects certain actions to take place within the framework thus created. The imperfect is, therefore, a very suitable beginning for a fairy - tale, as in (71):

(71) erant in quadam civitate rex et regina (`In a certain city there were a King and a Queen', Apul. Met. 4.28)

Conversely, the imperfect may also be impossible, e.g. (72)–(73):

(72) Samia mihi mater fuit; ea habitabat Rhodi (`My mother came from Samos; she lived on Rhodes', Ter. Eu. 107)

(73) apud Helvetios longe nobilissimus fuit et ditissimus Orgetorix (`Among the Helvetians the noblest man by far and the most wealthy was Orgetorix', Caes. Gal. 1.2.1)

It would be strange, and at any rate something completely different, to begin (72) with `once upon a time I had a mother from Samos', and in (73) to say that at a certain moment Orgetorix, who has not yet been mentioned, was the most wealthy man; in both cases, the reader would want to know: `what happened then?'

It goes without saying that instances in which one of the two verb forms is impossible give important information as to the specific value of each form. Further research is required on this point.

11.3.2 Historic present

The historic present predominantly occurs in predications where a perfect would also have been possible, i.e. in successive, `ended' events and situations. An example is (74):

(74) Caesari cum id nuntiatum esset … maturat ab urbe proficisci et quam maximis potest itineribus in Galliam ulteriorem contendit et ad Genavam pervenit. provinciae toti quam maximum potest militum numerum imperat (`When this had been reported to Caesar, he hurriedly left the city and marched to Gallia ulterior, covering as much distance as possible each day, and reached Genava. He ordered the province as a whole to provide as many soldiers as possible (there was in Gallia ulterior only one legion altogether); he ordered that the bridge near Genava be destroyed', Caes. Gal. 1.7.1–2)

We see in this passage a mixture of explicit past tense forms and present tense forms, so that there can be no doubt as to the location in the past. Note in particular the form nuntiatum esset, which can only be understood as anterior to a moment in the past. The following maturat cannot, therefore, but be interpreted as referring to the past. The actions in the present are successive.

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None of them can sensibly be interpreted as the background to other actions in this text.

It would, however, be incorrect to assume that the historic present can only `replace' the perfect, see example (75):

(75) totis trepidatur castris, atque alius ex alio causam tumultus quaerit (`There was confusion throughout the camp, and one sought from another the cause of the uproar', Caes. Gal. 6.37.6)

Here non-successive actions are concerned. The imperfect is not uncommon in passages of this kind. In, for example, Virgil whole episodes (both foreground and background) are often transposed [37] to the present, e.g. the passage Verg. A. 4.54–90:

(76) his dictis impenso animum flammavit amore
spemque dedit dubiae menti solvitque pudorem. 55

principio delubra adeunt pacemque per aras
exquirunt; mactant lectas de more bidentis
legiferae Cereri Phoeboque patrique Lyaeo,
Iunoni ante omnis, cui vincla iugalia curae.

ipsa tenens dextra pateram pulcherrima Dido 60
candentis vaccae media inter cornua fundit,
aut ante ora deum pinguis spatiatur ad aras,
instauratque diem donis, pecudumque reclusis
pectoribus inhians spirantia consulit exta.

heu, vatum ignarae mentes! quid vota furentem, 65
quid delubra iuvant? est mollis flamma medullas
interea et tacitum vivit sub pectore vulnus.
uritur infelix Dido totaque vagatur
urbe furens, qualis coniecta cerva sagitta,
quam procul incautam nemora inter Cresia fixit 70

pastor agens telis liquitque volatile ferrum
nescius: illa fuga silvas saltusque peragrat
Dictaeos; haeret lateri letalis harundo.
nunc media Aenean secum per moenia ducit
Sidoniasque ostentat opes urbemque paratam, 75

incipit effari mediaque in voce resistit;
nunc eadem labente die convivia quaerit,
Iliacosque iterum demens audire labores
exposcit pendetque iterum narrantis ab ore.
post ubi digressi, lumenque obscura vicissim 80

luna premit suadentque cadentia sidera somnos,
sola domo maeret vacua stratisque relictis
incubat. illum absens absentem auditque videtque.
aut gremio Ascanium genitoris imagine capta
detinet, infandum si fallere possit amorem. 85

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non coeptae adsurgunt turres, non arma iuventus
exercet portusve aut propugnacula bello
tuta parant: pendent opera interrupta minaeque
murorum ingentes aequataque machina caelo.
quam simul ac tali persensit peste teneri … 90

While at the beginning of the passage (which is introduced by forms of the perfect) adeunt and exquirunt must almost be successive, this is not the case with est, vivit, uritur in 66–8.

11.3.3 Pluperfect

The pluperfect is used to characterize predications as anterior to a moment in the past, regardless of whether this moment in the past has been created by an imperfect, a perfect or a historic present (or historic infinitive).

11.3.4 Historic infinitive

The historic infinitive is used in narrative texts or passages, predominantly in predications where an imperfect could have been used. Like the imperfect, the historic infinitive is often used with non-terminative (non-momentaneous) states of affairs. This is, however, not always the case (Sz. 367). See (77) and (78), where we see a difference between the imperfect and the historic infinitive:

(77) venit Chremes postridie ad me clamitans: indignum facinú; comperisse Pamphilum pro uxore habere hanc peregrinam. ego illud sedulo negare factum. ille instat factum. denique ita tum discedo ab illo, ut … (`The next day comes Chremes full of complaint: a shocking affair! He had found out that Pamphilus regarded this foreign person as his wife. I zealously denied it, he insisted it was so. Finally we parted in a manner …', Ter. An. 144–8)

(78) Romanus promissa consulis … expectabat, cum Appius … ius …dicere (`The Romans were looking for the help which the consuls had promised, when Appius began to pronounce judgment …', Liv. 2.27.1)

In (77) no difference can be discerned between negare and the following present instat. In (78) the clause with the infinitive constitutes the incident that occurs within the framework of the situation created by the imperfect expectabat. We also find the historic infinitive after expressions that are typically associated with the perfect, such as tum vero, hinc (`subsequently'), etc. [38]

11.4. The use of the tenses by individual authors

This book primarily describes the Latin of the period 200 BC–AD 100. There

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are various genres and text types with their own narrative structure, which influences the distribution of the various tenses. In prose and poetry from Sallust onwards, moreover, the stylistic principle of variatio (`variation') plays an important role. [39] For the narrative tenses mentioned in crosssection 11.3. this means that the very alternation of the explicit past tenses with historic present and historic infinitive is used as an instrument to highlight (parts of) episodes. Cf. (79):

(79) secundum orationem praetoris murmur ortum aliorum cum adsensu aliorum inclementer adsentientes increpantium et iam … populi universi inter se altercabantur. tum inter magistratus gentis … certamen nihil segnius quam inter multitudinem esse (`After the praetor's speech there arose an outcry, some applauding, some sharply rebuking those who approved; and soon whole communities were involved in the quarrel. Then among the magistrates of the people an argument began no less violent than that among the mass of the delegates', Liv. 32.22.1–2)

Note the dramatic et iam and the historic infinitive esse. The leading principle seems to be: every time another type of verb form. The degree to which individual authors follow the principle of variatio appears from the distribution of the historic infinitive. Sallust has uninterrupted series of infinitives. Tacitus, however, alternates isolated infinitives with other types of verb form, as in (79). The principle is not, however, so important that imperfect and perfect can be used arbitrarily, contrary to the rules given in crosssection 11.3. In individual passages, therefore, an examination of the use of the tenses must begin with the `normal' explanation for their occurrence.

Bibliographical information

For the notions tense and aspect I refer to Comrie (1976; 1985), Lyons (1977: esp. 689) and Pinkster (1983b: 271–86). A survey of the most recent publications may be found in Bertocchi (1980) and Pinkster (1983b). The best –though, unfortunately, not very accessible–study of aspect in Latin is Kravar (1980). See also Grassi (1967). To my mind, the best survey of the uses of the tenses is still Blase (1903). For the imperfect see Mellet (1988). Most attention continues to be devoted to the perfect and the imperfect. An extreme point of view may be found in Serbat (1975; 1976a). See also Serbat (ed.) (1980). According to him the perfect does not indicate anteriority. A good refutation is Poirier (1978). For the development of the tense system in Romance Harris (1978) is to be recommended. A monograph on the historic infinitive is Viljamaa (1983). For the participle Laughton (1964) is to be recommended.

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Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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