Tacitus opens his admiring narrative of the life Julius Agricola, his father-in-law, with subtle reflections on the problems of the biographer in his own times.
at nunc narraturo mihi vitam defuncti hominis venia opus fuit, quam non petissem incusaturus. . . .
Translation: But in this age, to write in praise of a deceased man, I had to ask permission, which I would not have sought to condemn him.
petissem: pluperfect subjunctive. What is the ...