From De Bello Gallico Liber VI" Druides a bello abesse consuerunt neque tributa una cum reliquis pendunt". Please explain how the words consuerunt and una work in this sentence. Caesar often use historical present but consuerunt is not present indicative. Please explain.
We are suppose to first look up the predicate but there are two. How to deal with that?
In "Druides a bello abesse consuerunt neque tributa una cum reliquis pendunt" (Caesar, De Bello Gallico, Liber VI,14,1) meaning :”Druids are accustomed to abstain from war, nor do they pay taxes together with the others” the contracted form “consuerunt”, which stands for “consueverunt”(3rd person plural, indicative mood, perfect tense of “consuesco”),works as a present tense, because the perfect tense “consuevi” originally meant “I have accustomed myself to..” and thus “I am accustomed to..”/”I have a habit”, just to point out that the one who has accustomed himself to something is then accustomed to something.
In short, the perfect tense of “consuesco”is often used as a present tense, though it is not a historical present.
As for “unā”(originally,ablative feminine of "unus") followed by the preposition “cum”, it is an adverb meaning “together with”.
To sum up, in “Druides a bello abesse consuerunt neque tributa una cum reliquis pendunt” there are two main clauses connected by the negative conjunction “neque” (nor), so that there are two predicate verbs, i.e. “consuerunt” in “Druides a bello abesse consuerunt” and “pendunt” in “neque una cum reliquis pendunt”.
Hope all is clear now.
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QUESTION: What is the reason for using the perfect tense (when Caesar uses the present tense in other places)?
as I've already said, Caesar uses the perfect tense "consuerunt"( contracted form of "consueverunt", 3rd person plural, indicative mood, perfect tense of “consuesco”), because the perfect tense of this verb has the meaning of a PRESENT tense.
In short, the reason for using the perfect tense (when Caesar uses the present tense in other places) is that the perfect of the verb “consuesco” has the meaning of a Present tense and then “consuerunt” means “they are accustomed”(present), NOT “they were accustomed”(perfect tense).
It is therefore absolutely correct that in the sentence "Druides a bello abesse consuerunt neque tributa una cum reliquis pendunt" Caesar uses "consuerunt"(perfect that corresponds to a present) and "pendunt" (real present of a regular verb).
Please note that in Latin there are some verbs that have lost the Present System, and use only tenses of the Perfect System, so that Perfect, Pluperfect, and Future Perfect have the meanings of a Present, Imperfect, and Future respectively.
See for example:
-"consuevi"(Perfect that works as a Present, and thus means:"I am accustomed");
-"consueveram" ( Pluperfect that works as an Imperfect, and thus means:"I was accustomed");
-"consuevero" (Future Perfect that works as a future,and thus means:"I will be accustomed"):
The same happens with the PERFECT tenses MEMINI, NOVI and ODI that have the meaning of a PRESENT so that :
-MEMINI means “I remember” instead of “I remembered”
-NOVI means “I know” instead of “I knew”
-ODI means “I hate” instead of “I hated”.
See Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges,paragraph 205 at: