The Romance languages all display periphrastic perfects that can be traced to Latin [habere “have” + noun + perfect participle]. A new survey of the Latin corpus reveals that this string had three distinct structures and values. I argue that the likeliest source of
the perfects is a periphrasis denoting the achievement of a result or a persisting resultant state. This implies that the relationship between possessive and auxiliary habere is more complex than previously supposed. Finally, I examine the range of values that this periphrasis takes
across the Romance languages. I maintain that the growth of the perfect at the expense of the preterite followed an orderly pattern, with requirements on the temporal denotation of the perfect successively relaxed.