The jussive and related subjunctives
In addition to wishes and possibility (treated in Assignments 7 and 8) the Latin independent subjunctive can express a range of ideas including: suggestions, permissions, demands, obligations, or intentions. This assignment will cover these uses of the subjunctives using the following six labels: hortatory, jussive, unfulfilled obligation, subjunctive command, prohibition, and deliberations.
The hortatory subjunctive is expressed by a first person verb, usually plural, in the present tense. The hortatory subjunctive expresses a suggested or desired course of action from the perspective of the speaker or narrator. It may be negated by nē (including compounds nec, neque, or nēve). This use of the subjunctive should be translated into English as “let us, let’s” or “we should.”
Laetum honōrem celebrāmus. “We should celebrate this joyous honor.”
Nē invideāmus altius stantibus. “Let us not envy those standing more on high.”
The hortatory subjunctive is uncommon in the singular, though it does occurs with the singular nōs construction (see Assignment 16).
A jussive subjunctive is expressed by a 3rd person singular or plural verb in the present tense. The jussive expresses a command, obligation, or permission aimed at person not present to the speaker. The jussive subjunctive is negated by nē. The present jussive is best translated into English with the phrase such as “let her” or “he should”.
Omnēs nostram vītam agnoscant. “All persons should understand our way of life.”
Nūllus amāre ā scrīptīs tuīs discat. “Let no one learn how to love from your writings.”
A subjunctive command may be expressed by a 2nd person subjunctive verb in the present tense. It may be negated by nē. A subjunctive command is best translated as a command or with the English phrase “you should”.
Obvius Tibullō veniās, docte Catulle. “Learned Catullus, come to meet Tibullus.”
Fruāris tempore grātō exiguōque. “Enjoy the moment, pleasing and brief.”
Alternately, a prohibitive subjunctive occurs in the 2nd person in the perfect tense and is always accompanied by nē. Other negatives (nihil, nūllus, etc.) may be used in place of nē in the expression of a prohibition. The prohibitive subjunctive is best translated simply as a negative command.
Meam causam nē miscuerīs. “Do not confuse my cause!”
Numquam fugiēns respexerīs. “Never look back while fleeing!”
An unfulfilled obligation may be either an imperfect or pluperfect subjunctive in any person or number. An unfulfilled obligation simply expresses something that should have been done, but was not, in past time. There is no distinction in sense between the imperfect or pluperfect subjunctives in the expression of an unfulfilled obligation. It may be negated by either nē or nōn. An unfulfilled obligation should be translated “should have” or “ought to have”.
Tuīs dictīs manērēs. “You should have abided by your words”
Imitātus essēs illum virum. “You should have imitated that man.”
A deliberative subjunctive may be expressed by a present or imperfect subjunctive and is not restricted in person or number. The deliberative, however, is always interrogative and so is maked with a question mark in edited texts. It expresses either a considered course of action in present time or a possible course of action in past time. It may be negated by nōn or sometimes nōnne. A present tense deliberation may be translated with the English terms “should” while the imperfect subjunctive may be translated “should have”.
Quid novī tibi scrībam? “What news should I write to you?”
Quae exordia Aenēās sūmat? “What preface should Aeneas choose?”
The interrogative form quidnī (“why not?”) frequently signals a use of the deliberative subjunctive.
Quidnī propter hoc Sōcratēs gaudēret?
“Why shouldn’t Socrates have been glad on account of this?”
Some additional notes
Bennett helpfully describes the deliberative as formulations “implying doubt, indignation, the impossibility of an act, obligation, or propriety” and states that they “are usually purely Rhetorical in character, and do not expect an answer” (Bennett §277).
Identify the subjunctive verb in these brief expressions and indicate which of the following labels best fit that subjunctive: hortatory, jussive, subjunctive command, prohibitive, unfulfilled obligation, or deliberative.
Sample: Haec hōc locō petīssēs. Answer: unfulfilled obligation
Sample: Ille nāviget suō ventō. Answer: jussive
Sample: Nē pretia timueris. Answer: prohibitive
Sample: Quid faciat? Answer: deliberative
Sample: Nunc ad prōpositum revertāmur. Answer: hortatory
Sample: Hīc dīcī pater et prīnceps amēs! Answer: subjunctive command
In media arma ruāmus!
Potius hoc docēret.
Tāle quiddam faciās.
Nē haec sciant!
Prior vēnissem ad vēritātem.
Dēbēre nē dīxeris.
Intereā nē cūncta querāmur!
Quidnī iuvāret nōs vagārī?
Exspectet facilem fugam.
Ego Hispāniam peterem.
Nōs fūnera Teucrīs saevā manū mittamus.
Recipiant arma quae per pactiōnem trādidērunt.
Nē vōbīs mīrum esse videātur!
In prīmīs bene valeās.
Orīgō tibi huius nemoris dīcātur!
Cūr aqua nōn fiat ē terrā?
Nē prīmam nāvigātiōnem omīserīs.
Nōs temeritātem bonōrum sequāmur.
Nē temptāverīs istōs!
Convert the following indicative verbs into the subjunctive while preserving person, number, tense, and voice.
Sample: nocet Answer: noceat
Sample: adest Answer: adsit
Sample: dubitāvistī Answer: dubitāverīs
Translate the following sentences using grammar from this assignment.
Nē istud dīxerīs!
Quidnī iste haec neget?
Illī suōs exercitūs dīmittant.
Hunc ego nōn dīligam nec admīrer?
Quae accēpimus faciāmus ampliōra.
Nostrās ad urbēs iterum redeāmus.
Fēcissem ūnā omnia nec singula.
Nē ēripueritis reī pūblicae spem lībertātis.
Vērissimus cūstōs mihi adsīs!
Nē iste metus somnōs tuōs rumpere possit.
Examples in Context
Translate the following modified examples.
n) Context for the sentence(s)
Modified example sentence(s)
[grammatical and contextual notes, if any]
1) Aeneas challenges Mezentius as they meet in battle.
Incipiās cōnferre manum.
[cōnferre manum, idiom meaning “to battle”]
2) Ovid depicts the anxiety felt by Acteon, who has been transformed into a stag.
Quid faciat? Repetatne domum et rēgālia tēcta an lateat in silvīs?
[tēcta, here “house”]
3) Anchises advises his son to be persuaded the prophecy from Apollo.
Cēdāmus Phoebō et monitī meliōra sequāmur.
[monitī, nom. modifying the subject implicit in sequāmur]
4) In Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations, one speaker encourages another to commence with the peroration of his speech.
Tū istam nē relīquerīs, quam semper ōrnāvistī.
[istam, refers to the speakers peroration; relīquerīs, here perhaps “omit”]
5) Minerva, disguised as an old woman, advises Arachne to restrain her arrogance.
Tibi fāma inter mortālēs petātur. Cēde deae et veniam supplice vōce rogā.
[Tibi, dative of reference, here perhaps “your”; supplice vōce, abl. manner]
6) The Delphic oracle tells a Roman emissary that relief from their plague can be found close to home.
Quod petis, in propiōre locō, ō Rōmāne, petīssēs.
7) Penelope pleads with Odysseus to hasten homewards.
Tū citius veniās, portus et āra tuīs!
[portus et āra, both in apposition to tū, we might say “you, who are ...”; tuīs, substantive "for your family"]
8) Seneca advocates that we test ourselves with poverty.
Exerceāmur ad pālum et, nē fortūna nōs imparātōs dēprehendat, paupertās fiat nōbīs familiāris.
[pālum was a stake used for practicing blows; familiāris, nom. predicate]
9) Cicero suggests that Catiline could simply go into exile.
Dīcātur sānē ēiectus esse ā mē, dummodo eat in exilium.
[dummodo, conjunction introducing a clause with a subjunctive verb, “provided that”]
10) Seneca praises the bravery of the younger Cato as the Republic faltered.
Quidnī Catō mūtātiōnem reī pūblicae fortī et aequō animō paterētur?
[fortī et aequō animō, abl. manner]
11) Cicero argues that youthful associations with Catiline should not impugn Caelius.
Ista condiciō, ō iudices, rēspuātur, nec crīmen familiāritātis Catilīnae haereat. Est enim commune cum multīs et cum quibusdam bonīs.
[Catilīnae, gen. explaining familiāritātis “with Catiline”; quibusdam, “certain” (see Assignment 5)]
12) Alphesiboeus describes a magic ritual to Amaryllis to bring back the latter’s lover Daphnis.
Fer cinerēs forās et rīvō fluentī et trāns caput iace nec respexerīs.
[forās, indecl. “(to the) outdoors”; rīvō fluentī, a poetic use the dative, translate with the preposition “into”]
13) Caesar explains that he preferred to overcome the forces of Afranius and Petreius without a direct engagement.
Cūr etiam secundō proeliō aliquōs ex suīs mīlitibus āmitteret?
[secundō, here “favorable”; āmitteret, Caesar is the subject]
14) A patrician laments the power obtained by the plebs in the early Republic.
Egone hās indignitātēs diūtius patiar quam necesse est?
[Egone, ego with the interrogative particle ne; diūtius, comparative of diū “longer”]
15) Livy notes that the reasons were not recorded why Publius Scipio (Africanus’ father) was given special honors by the Senate.
Libēns hoc posterīs trāderem sīcut trāditum ā scrīptōribus proximīs memoriae illōrum temporum.
[Libēns, here “gladly”; hoc, referring to the reason Scipio was given these honors; memoriae, dative with proximīs (see Assignment 3); temporum illōrum, obj. genitive with memoriae (see Assignment 4)]