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The relation of Relative to Antecedent has some peculiar features in Old Latin, which must be stated at some length. (For fuller details, see Buch: de attractione quae dieitur inversa apud scriptores latinos, Strasburg, 1888.) We often find the Antecedent recurring in the Relative Clause, e.g. This repetition is suitable to legal precision and is often found in laws, e.g. Lex Agrariaquaestores co iure ea lege viatoressublegunto, quo iure qua lege quaestoressublegerunt.

But when the Antecedent is mentioned only once, it is, curiously enough, in the Relative Clause, rather than in the Main Clause, that Plautus seems to prefer to place it. When it stands in the Relative Clause, it is naturally attracted to the Case of the Relative; and so we have that peculiar feature of Old Latin the ‘Attraction of the Antecedent to the Relative’ (imitated in Virgil's “urbem quam statuo, vestra est1.573). It seems very strange that in a line like Amph. 1009Naucratem quem convenire volui, in navi non erat”, Plautus should prefer Naucratem to Naucrates; but that is evidently the favoured mode of expression with him.

As other examples of Attraction may be cited:—

and as examples of Plautus' predilection for the Relative clause:

With this importance attached to the Relative Clause we may connect the very frequent omission of the Antecedent, e.g.

But is is often used, even when the Subject has been placed in the Relative Clause, e.g.

We find the same phenomena in other dependent Clauses; (1) the repetition of the Antecedent — e.g. Bacch. 442quom patrem adeas postulatum, puero sic dicit pater”, Cas. 393nunc tu, Cleustrata, ne a me memores malitiose de hac re factum aut suspices, tibi permitto” — which is the true explanation of the apparent use of hic, iste, ille for is in lines like

— contrast, e.g. (2) the attraction of the Antecedent, e.g. even when a Relative Pronoun plays the part of Antecedent, e.g.

The ordinary treatment of Relative and Antecedent prevails in Plautus when the Relative is in Genitive, Dative, or Ablative Case or is accompanied by a Preposition or is in Accusative Case before an Infinitive, e.g.

also when the Relative Clause does not come first in the sentence, e.g. Amph. 546nunc te, nox, quae me mansisti, mitto, ut concedas die.

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