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In phrases like Asin. 44di tibi dent quaecumque optes,Asin. 780quom iaciat, ‘tene dicat”, the Subjunctive (optes, iaciat) is conventionally ascribed to ‘Attraction.’ But similar Subjunctives are found in other circumstances too; and, if ‘Attraction’ has played any part, it may rather be that the presence of a Subjunctive in a neighbouring clause has ensured the retention of the old construction, has in fact aided the old Mood to resist the encroachments of the Indicative. This so-called ‘Subjunctive by Attraction’ is a feature of the other Italic dialects and evidently belongs to the earliest Italic period, e.g. Oscan “pun far kahad, nip putiiad edum,” which would be in Latin ‘quom far incipiat, ne possit esse,’; ‘when he takes food, may be not be able to eat.’ These dialects show a similar Subjunctive where the neighbouring clause contains an Imperative, e.g. Umbrian “pone esonom e ferar . . ere fertu” (in Latin ‘quom in sacrificium feratur . . is ferto’), just as we find in Plautus sentences like Plautus uses the Indicative as well as the Subjunctive, e.g. It is perhaps true that the two moods give a different nuance to the clause, the Indicative implying that the thing is a fact, e.g. (Contrast Pers. 293 and Asin. 44.) But it is often hard to perceive the distinction. Compare The truth is that the Indicative had begun before Plautus' time to encroach on the sphere of the Subjunctive, just as in our own time ‘if I am’ has almost usurped the sphere of ‘if I be.’ It is seldom that we find the Subjunctive, where the Indicative would seem more natural, e.g. Capt. 237quod tibi suadeam, suadeam meo patri” (cf. Curc. 484; on Most. 1100quod agas, id agas”, see 31 below); and in this example the term ‘Attraction’ seems not inappropriate; although it is not absolutely certain that Plautus did not write suadeo1. Almost the only rule that can be suggested for the use of the Indicative and Subjunctive in these by-clauses, is that the Indicative must be used where the time indicated in the two clauses is different, e.g. Men. 1104utinam efficere quod pollicitu's (Perfect) possies (Present)”, Trin. 6nuncquae illaec siet (Present), huc quae abiit (Perfect) intro, dicam”; especially when a Temporal Adverb (e.g. nunc) is used, e.g. Ter. Andr. 339ubi inveniam Pamphilum ut metum in quo nunc est adimam?” But the rule is not without exceptions, e.g. Aul. 29 (quoted above)scitquae sit quam compresserit.” The Indicative is also preferred in a clause that stands first in the sentence, e.g. Rud. 379,si amabat, rogas, quid faceret?”; but we have sometimes the Subjunctive, e.g. Merc. 344neque is quom roget quid loquar cogitatumst.

This so-called Subjunctive by ‘Attraction’ is so marked a feature of Plautine Syntax that more examples, taken from different types of sentence, will be useful:

It will be well to add examples taken from Indirect Questions and Reported Speech, in order to show how similar is the Plautine treatment in all cases of dependent sentence:

1 Lorenz's argument for altering the reading is however unsound, viz. that ‘Attraction’ is impossible in a clause that precedes the ruling clause. It is less usual, but not impossible. Cf. Cist. 497A. di me perdant. B. quodcumque optes, tibi velim contingere”, etc., etc.

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