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- Textkit Neophyte
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I don’t have the book, but the logic does point to cum historicum (which governs conjunctive past or pluperfect), here with essem. Cum historicum is very common, used in narration which takes place in the past. ‘When I was six years old, — —.’
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By “conjunctive” Timothée means what among English-speakers is called “subjunctive.” And by “cum historicum” he means cum used with reference to the past; cum with a past subjunctive, e.g. essem, is in "historic" (aka secondary) "sequence," implying that the main verb too will have reference to the past. He doesn’t explain why the subjunctive rather than the indicative is used, and nor do I, sorry.