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Strange use of infinitive in Caesar's Gallic Wars

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Strange use of infinitive in Caesar's Gallic Wars

Postby TonyLoco23 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:09 pm

Just started reading Caesar's Gallic Wars, I have come across a strange use of the infinitive of the verb 'flagitare':
Interim cotidie Caesar Haeduos frumentum, quod essent publice polliciti, flagitare.

The translation for this sentence on Perseus is:
Meanwhile, Caesar kept daily importuning the Aedui for the corn which they had promised in the name of their state

Why is 'Flagitare' in an infinitive instead of a past tense: i.e. flagitavit or flagitabat?

Also, seeing as 'Haeduos' is clearly accusative, in what form is 'frumentum'? meaning "for the corn". Is it also accusative? If so why? Does flagitare take a accustaive for both the thing being demanded and from whom it is being demanded? I have not seen a sentence before that has two nouns in accusative from that both act as an object of a single verb.
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Re: Strange use of infinitive in Caesar's Gallic Wars

Postby adrianus » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:19 pm

A&G §463. Infinitivum historicum pro indicativo imperfecto stat (nominativo casu est subjectum) // Historical infinitive stands for the imperfect indicative (subject in nominative).

A&G §396 (non minùs §391 et numera sequentia). Two accusatives with verbs. // Duo accusativa cum verbis.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Strange use of infinitive in Caesar's Gallic Wars

Postby Sinister Petrus » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:56 pm

A quick turn of Perseus turns up that Cicero thinks so too:

Operarum illa concursatio nocturna non a te ipso instituta me frumentum flagitabat?

--On his house 6.14

This construction is called double accusative. (Docere is an other verb that also uses this construction.)

The infinitive is historical infinitive: in theory, it makes it more exciting to read.
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