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(C. Lindskog: de enuntiatis apud Plautum et Terentium condicionalibus. Lund, 1895.)

The Conditional Conjunctions, si, nisi (and ni) follow in classical Latin more strict laws than in the time of Plautus. We do not find in his plays that monotony of type which is taught in our School Grammars: (1) si habeo, do, (2) si habebo, dabo, (3) si habeam, dem, (4) si haberem, darem, (5) si habuissem, dedissem. There is not so clear a line of division separating a Conditional Protasis from other kinds of Dependent Sentence, or even between the treatment of a Verb in a Dependent Sentence and in a Main Sentence. In Plautine Latin we cannot separate si habebo (habeo, habeam), dabo from quod habebo (habeo, habeam), dabo, or quom habebo (habeo, habeam), dabo; nor is the Old Latin quasi-Future use of the 1 Singular Present Subjunctive (see V. 26) in a Main Sentence like sed maneam etiam opinor, ‘but I think I will wait,’ ‘I had better wait,’ to be distinguished from its use in a Protasis like si habeam. The Indefinite use of the 2 Singular Subjunctive (see V. 31) is used by Plautus as freely in a Conditional Protasis as elsewhere; and such a Protasis is quite uninfluenced by the Mood of the Apodosis, e.g.

The elasticity of Plautine Conditionals may be illustrated by these three varieties of the expression of a threat:

And since the Comedies reflect the colloquial Latin of everyday life, we find in them a number of imperfect types of Conditional sentence, which, though not strictly logical nor expressed in the normal form, are easily referred to this or that suppressed thought in the mind of the speaker. Examples of these imperfect Conditionals are:

Still, although it is not the same laws as in classical Latin that rule Plautus' expression of Conditions, he obeys other laws; and although the carelessness of colloquial speech permits occasional divergence, there are certain normal types which we can clearly perceive.

In sentences of the form siquid (haberem habuissem), (darem dedissem), Plautus follows this rule with regard to the Tense of the Protasis. The Imperfect Subjunctive is used if the Protasis refers to the same time as the Apodosis; the Pluperfect, if it refers to a previous time, e.g.

So that Plautus does not normally say siquid habuissem, dedissem, that is if the ‘having’ and the ‘giving’ are thought of as contemporaneous. There are only two examples of this abnormal assimilation of the Protasis to the Apodosis, viz. And the Protasis shows an abnormal Pluperfect also in Curc. 700nam si is valuisset, iam pridem quoquo posset mitteret.” As regards the Apodosis of this type of sentence, the Imperfect and Plup. Subjunctive are apparently used promiscuously by Plautus; sometimes volui with Infinitive is used, e.g. Cas. 440volui Charinum, si domi esset, mittere”, Mil. 1356. The substitution of the Plup. Indicative for the Plup. Subjunctive (e.g. Hor. Carm. 2.17.28sustulerat nisi . . levasset”) shows some traces of itself even in early Latin, e.g. Mil. 52ubi tu quingentos simul, ni hebes machaera foret, uno ictu occideras” (v.l. -res).

The type si habeam, dem is common in Plautus, e.g. Mil. 1371nam si honeste censeam te facere posse, suadeam”; and we find occasionally ‘mixed’ forms like

Plautus' expression of threats follows strict laws, which however are not the laws of classical Latin With nisi (ni) the Present Indicative is used, with si the Future Perfect Examples are:

The origin of this curious distinction, nisi facis and si feceris, has been very plausibly referred to the distinction between command and prohibition, da and ne dederis. Thus danisi das, vapulabis, and ne dederissi dederis, vapulabis would be the full forms of the two types of sentence. The exceptions to the law are mainly lines like

where the addition of the words quom ego revortar and semper necessitates the use of a Future Tense. A love of variety1 may explain the abnormal Tenses in And si pergis with Infinitive occasionally takes the place of si with Future Perfect, e.g. Bacch. 570postremo, si pergis parvam mihi fidem arbitrarier, tollam ego ted in collum atque intro hinc auferam”. The Present Indicative (1 Pers.) is also found with nisi in a sentence like Ter. Heaut. 730faciet, nisi caveo”, which might be called a threat to oneself; cf. Similarly the Future Perfect Indicative (1 Pers.) not only with si, but also with nisi in sentences like

In other types of Conditionals it is more difficult to lay down rules for the use of the Indicative and Subjunctive, the Present and the Future Colloquial Latin naturally substitutes the Present for the Future, and so a type like this is very common (but not invariable) in Plautus:

Both si vivo and si vivam are found (with Future, never Future Perfect, in Apodosis), e.g. Bacch. 766vorsabo ego illunc hodie, si vivo, probe”, Most. 4ego pol te ruri, si vivam, ulciscar probe.” Beside si sapis (i.e. if you are a wise man), we also find occasionally si sapies (on Poen. 351 see below), the Apodosis showing Future or Imperative, e.g.

In wagers (with ni, never ‘nisi’) there is a puzzling variety of Indicative and Subjunctive, the Subjunctive being perhaps to be explained as a kind of Oratio Obliqua2, e.g.

Dum, properly ‘while,’ ‘so long as’ (see 2 s.v.) acquires a Conditional sense in a context like Pers. 387dum dos sit, nullum vitium vitio vortitur”, whence arose dum (negatively dum ne) ‘provided that’ with the Subjunctive e.g. Capt. 682dum ne ob malefacta peream, parvi existumo.” Sometimes the Verb is omitted, e.g.,

In this Conditional sense dum was often accompanied by a Particle, such as quidem, e.g. Aul. 211dum quidem nequid perconteris”, or modo, e.g. Amph. 644absit, dum modo laude parta domum recipiat se”, Ter. Heaut. 641quidvis satis est, dum vivat modo.” Hence dummodo of classical Latin

On ast, see above, 2 s.v.

1 It is not true to say that, where there are two Protases, the first always exhibits the Future, the second the Present, e.g. Capt. 683si ego hic peribo, ast (= porro si) ille, ut dixit, non redit, at erit”, etc. All that can be said is that Plautus often varies the Tense, e.g. Asin. 405siquidem hercle Aeacidinis minis animisque expletus cedit, si med iratus tetigerit, iratus vapulabit”, where the first Protasis has the Present, the second the Future Perfect

2 Just as in Mil. 1415,iuro per Iovem et Mavortem me nociturum nemini, quod ego hic hodie vapularim”, the Subjunctive is due to the repetition by the soldier of the form of oath dictated to him in v. 1411:iura te non nociturum esse homini de hac re nemini, quod tu hodie hic verberatu's”.

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