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In early Greek the Subjunctive sometimes plays the part of a Future, e.g. Homer Il. 1, 262οὐ γάρ πω τοίους ἴδον ἀνέρας οὐδὲ ἴδωμαι.” So in early Latin, e g. This usage is mainly confined to 1 Singular and must have something to do with the employment (from very early times) of 1 Singular Subjunctive as Future in the Third Conjugation, e.g. dicam, faciam (while dixo, faxo are like amasso, prohibesso, the S-Aorist Subjunctive), and (at a later stage apparently) in the Fourth, e.g. sciam beside scibo, audiam beside audibo in Plautus. In a sentence like Rud. 1356, etc., sed conticiscam, it is impossible to say whether the verb is Subjunctive (like taceam) or Future (like tacebo). From this use of 1 Singular taceam ‘I will be silent,’ ‘I had better be silent,’ it is but a step to the ordinary uses (in all periods of Latin) of 1 Plural, e.g. taceamus ‘let us be silent,’ ‘we had better be silent,’ and of all Persons in Conditional Sentences, e.g. taceam, si sapiam; taceamus, si sapiamus; taceas, si sapias. Similarly it is but a step from Pseud. 240,modo ego abeam”, to the use of ut (uti) in Pers. 575modo uti sciam, quanti indicet”, ‘only I wish to know what price he offers.’ To disentangle the various threads of which the Latin Subjunctive is composed is not easy. For example, Plautus uses velim and volo almost indiscriminately, but it baffles us to detect the precise original sense of velim (Optative? Future? Potential?). In Amph. 928valeas, tibi habeas res tuas, reddas meas”, the three Subjunctives would, if they occurred in separate sentences, be classified as Optative, Permissive and Imperative respectively. But the crudeness of such a distinction is evident when we find them together in the same line. In Greek the Optative Mood has retained a separate existence; but Latin Optatives, sim, velim, edim, duim, creduim, etc., were all merged in the Subjunctive mood before the time of Plautus, whose language retains only doubtful traces of the distinction between edam (Subjunctive) and edim (Optative), creduam (Subjunctive) and creduim (Optatove) (see my Latin Language, p. 514; and on the occasional Potential use of the Perfect Subjunctive, above, 21). Even in the Indo-European language the provinces of Future and Subjunctive were not definitely discriminated, nor even of Future and Optative. In Pers. 16 Future and Subjunctive (= Optative) seem to play the same part: “A. O Sagaristio, di ament te. B. O Toxile, dabunt di quae exoptes”, but dabunt (cf. “ita me di amabuntTer. Heaut. 463; cf. Poen. 869) may conceivably be an affirmation like the Future in Ter. Heaut. 161A. utinam ita di faxint! B. facient.

(On the Tenses of the Subjunctive used in Prohibitions, see VIII. 9

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