If we do not have any factual evidence about an event occurred in the past, we can use perfect conditional to express our inference about it based on from our knowledge and information.
I often use "It seems", or "in most likelihood", but not would have to tell the past which I am not completely sure. Can you help me with an explanation to understand the usage of would have as perfect conditional?
The Roman readers, many of whom would at one time have been in the army, would have had no trouble with Caesar's austere narrative; they would have found it complete as it is. They would have known how to read the shorthand. -V S Naipaul
What changes will occur if I replace would have with the simple past?
Yesterday my mother went to market so she had the chance to see the accident.
Yesterday my mother would have gone to market so she would have had the chance to see the accident.
What difference does the use of perfect conditional bring here?
I am familiar with the usage of "would have" with an if clause. But I have not found the usage of "would have" as perfect conditional very frequently. But, Naipaul uses it extensively in his book while describing even the well-known events of the Roman history. It startles me. Many historical events are just logical inferences, reconstructions. We know a very few complete fact about the remote past. But the history books are not replete with the perfect conditional "would have".