previous next



1875. The present represents a present state, or an action going on at the present time: ““ἀληθῆ λέγωI am telling the truthL. 13.72.

a. On the present without any idea of duration, see 1853.

1876. Present of Customary Action.—The present is used to express a customary or repeated action: ““οὗτος μὲν γὰρ ὕδωρ, ἐγὼ δ᾽ οἶνον πί_νωfor this man drinks water, whereas I drink wineD. 19.46.

1877. Present of General Truth.—The present is used to express an action that is true for all time: ““ἄγει δὲ πρὸς φῶς τὴν ἀλήθειαν χρόνοςtime brings the truth to lightMen. Sent. 11.

a. The present is an absolute tense in such sentences. The future, aorist, and perfect may also express a general truth.

1878. Conative Present.—The present may express an action begun, attempted, or intended.

““τὴν δόξαν ταύτην πείθουσιν ὑ_μᾶς ἀποβαλεῖνthey are trying to persuade you to throw away this renownI. 6.12, ““δίδωμί σοι αὐτὴν ταύτην γυναῖκαI offer you this woman herself as a wifeX. C. 8.5.19, ““προδίδοτον τὴν Ἑλλάδαthey are trying to betray GreeceAr. P. 408.

a. This use is found also in the infinitive and participle: ““Φιλίππου ἐπὶ Βυζάντιον παριόντοςwhen Philip is preparing to advance against ByzantiumD. 8.66.

b. The idea of attempt or intention is an inference from the context and lies in the present only so far as the present does not denote completion.

1879. Present for the Future (Present of Anticipation).—The present is used instead of the future in statements of what is immediate, likely, certain, or threatening.

μεταξὺ τὸν λόγον καταλύ_ομεν; shall we break off in the middle? P. G. 505c, καὶ εἰ βούλει, παραχωρῶ σοι τοῦ βήματος, ἕως ἂν εἴπῃς and if you wish, I will yield you the floor until you tell us Aes. 3.165, ““ἀπόλλυμαιI am on the verge of ruinAnt. 5.35 (so ἀπώλλυτο 5. 37 of past time), ““εἰ αὕτη πόλις ληφθήσεται, ἔχεται καὶ πᾶσα Σικελία_if this city is taken, the whole of Sicily as well is in their powerT. 6.91.

a. Sometimes in questions to indicate that the decision must be made on the spot: πῶς λέγομεν; or how shall we say? (what must we say?) P. G. 480b.

1880. εἶμι is regularly future (I shall go) in the indicative present. In the subjunctive it is always future; in the optative, infinitive, and participle it may be either future or present. Cp. 774. In ἰὼν ταῦτα λέγε go and say this (X. C. 4.5.17) ἰών is used of time relatively past. In Hom. εἶμι means both I go and I shall go.

1881. ἔρχομαι, πορεύομαι, νέομαι (poet.) may be used in a future sense. χέω means either I pour or I shall pour. ἔδομαι I shall eat, πί_ομαι I shall drink, are present in form. Cp. 541.

1882. Oracular Present.—In prophecies a future event may be regarded as present: χρόνῳ ἀγρεῖ Πριάμου πόλιν ἅ_δε κέλευθος in time this expedition will capture Priam's city A. Ag. 126.

1883. Historical Present.—In lively or dramatic narration the present may be used to represent a past action as going on at the moment of speaking or writing. This use does not occur in Homer.

δὲ Θεμιστοκλῆς φεύγει ἐς Κέρκυ_ραν . . . διακομίζεται ἐς τὴν ἤπειρον Themistocles fled (flees) to Corcyra . . . was (is) transported to the mainland T. 1.136.

a. The historical present may represent either the descriptive imperfect or the narrative aorist.

b. The historical present may be coördinated with past tenses, which may precede or follow it: ““ἅμα δὲ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πόλει προσέκειτο καὶ αἱρεῖat daybreak he assaulted the town and took itT. 7.29, ““οὕτω δὴ ἀπογράφονται πάντες ἀνέλαβόν τε τὰ ὅπλαaccordingly they all enrolled themselves and took the armsX. C. 2.1.19.

c. The historical present is less frequent in subordinate clauses (T. 2.91. 3).

1884. Annalistic Present.—Closely connected with the historical present is the annalistic present, which is used to register historical facts or to note incidents.

Δα_ρείου καὶ Παρυσάτιδος γίγνονται παῖδες δύο of Darius and Parysatis were (are) born two sons X. A. 1.1.1, πρὸ Αευτυχίδεω γὰρ (Ζευξίδημος) τελευτᾷ . . . Αευτυχίδης γαμέει Εὐρυδάμην, ἐκ τῆς οἱ . . . γί_νεται θυγάτηρ for Zeuxidemus died before Leutychides . . . L. married Eurydame, from her was born to him a daughter Hdt. 6.71, ““καὶ ἐνιαυτὸς ἔληγεν, ἐν Καρχηδόνιοι αἱροῦσι δύο πόλεις Ἑλληνίδαςand the year came to an end in which the Carthaginians captured two Greek citiesX. H. 1.1.37.

1885. Present of Past and Present Combined.—The present, when accompanied by a definite or indefinite expression of past time, is used to express an action begun in the past and continued in the present. The ‘progressive perfect’ is often used in translation. Thus, πάλαι θαυμάζω I have been long (and am still) wondering P. Cr. 43b. Cp. iamdudum loquor. So with πάρος, ποτέ. This use appears also in the other moods.

a. So with verbs of hearing, saying, learning, whose action commenced in the past, but whose effect continues into the present: ἐξ ὧν ἀκούω from what I hear (have heard) X. A. 1.9.28, ““ὅπερ λέγωas I saidP. A. 21a. So with αἰσθάνομαι, γιγνώσκω, μανθάνω, πυνθάνομαι. ἄρτι just is often found with these verbs.

b. The perfect is used instead of the present when the action is completed in the present.

1886. Present for Perfect.—ἥκω I am come, I have arrived, οἴχομαι I am gone, have a perfect sense; as also ἔρχομαι, ἀφικνοῦμαι. Thus, ““Θεμιστοκλῆς ἥκω παρὰ σέI Themistocles have come to youT. 1.137, ““οἶδα ὅπῃ οἴχονταιI know where they have goneX. A. 1.4.8.

a. ἥκω may be used in connection with the gnomic aorist (P. S. 188a).

1887. The present of certain verbs often expresses an enduring result, and may be translated by the perfect: ἀδικῶ I am guilty (ἄδικός εἰμι), I have done wrong, νι_κῶ, κρατῶ, I am victorious, I have conquered, ἡττῶμαι I am conquered, φεύγω I am the defendant or I am an exile (οἱ φεύγοντες the fugitives and the exiles), προδίδωμι I am a traitor, ἁλίσκομαι I am captured, στέρομαι I am deprived, γίγνομαι I am a descendant.

““ἥκω εἰς τὴν σὴν οἰκία_ν, ἀδικῶ δ᾽ οὐδένI am come to thy house, but have done no wrongL. 12.14, ““ἀπαγγέλλετε Ἀριαίῳ ὅτι ἡμεῖς γε νι_κῶμεν βασιλέα_report to Ariaeus that we at least have conquered the kingX. A. 2.1.4.

a. So, in poetry, γεννῶ, φύ_ω, τίκτω, θνῄσκω, ὄλλυμαι. Thus, ἥδε τίκτει σε this woman (has born thee = ) is thy mother E. Ion 1560.

1888. In subordinate clauses, the action expressed by the present may be (a) contemporaneous, (b) antecedent, or (c) subsequent to that set forth by the main verb. The context alone decides in which sense the present is to be taken: (a) ““ἔλεγεν ὅτι ἕτοιμος εἴη ἡγεῖσθαι αὐτοῖςhe said that he was ready to lead themX. A. 6.1.33; (b) when the present states an action begun in the past and continued in the present: ἐπείτε δὲ Πέρσαι ἔχουσι τὸ κράτος, (τὸ πεδίον) ““ἐστὶ τοῦ βασιλέοςfrom the time that the Persians began to hold sway, it belongs to the kingHdt. 3.117; and with the historical present: ““ὡς δὲ γίγνονται ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ, ἐσπί_πτουσινwhen they came to it, they rushed inT. 7.84; (c) ““ἐγένετο ῥήτρα_ . . . εἰ παρὰ ταῦτα ποιοῖεν, κολάζεινan ordinance was passed . . if they act contrary to this, to punish themX. C. 1.6.33.


1889. The imperfect represents an action as still going on, or a state as still existing, in the past: Κῦρος οὔπω ἧκεν, ἀλλ᾽ ἔτι προσήλαυνε Cyrus had not yet arrived (1886), but was still marching on X. A. 1.5.12, ““ἐβασίλευεν ἈντίοχοςAntiochus was reigningT. 2.80. The conclusion of the action is usually to be inferred from the context.

1890. Imperfect of Continuance.—The imperfect thus represents an action as continuing in the past: διέφθειραν Ἀθηναίων πίντε καὶ εἴκοσι, οἳ ξυνεπολιορκοῦντο they put to death twenty-five of the Athenians who were besieged (i.e. from the beginning to the end of the siege) T. 3.68.

1891. The imperfect of verbs of sending, going, saying, exhorting, etc., which imply continuous action, is often used where we might expect the aorist of concluded action. Thus, in ἔπεμπον, the action is regarded as unfinished since the goal is not reached: ““ἄγγελον ἔπεμπον καὶ τοὺς νεκροὺς ὑποσπόνδους ἀπέδοσανthey sent a messenger and surrendered the dead under a truceT. 2.6. In ἐκέλευον gave orders, urged, requested the command, etc., is regarded as not yet executed. In ““ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς τοιάδεhe spoke to them as followsX. H. 1.6.4 (followed by the speech and ἐπεὶ δὲ ταῦτ᾽ εἶπεν 1. 6. 12) the speech is not thought of as a finished whole, but as developed point by point, as in ἐπἐιδὴ δὲ οὗτος ταῦτα ἔλεγεν, ἔλεξα but when he had said this, I said Ant. 6.21.

a. In messenger's speeches the speaker may go back to the time of receiving a command: ““ἰέναι σ᾽ ἐκέλευον οἱ στρατηγοὶ τήμερονthe generals order you to depart to-dayAr. Ach. 1073.

1892. The imperfect, when accompanied by an expression of past time, is used of actions which had been in progress for some time and were still in progress (cp. 1885): ““τὸ Π̔ήγιον ἐπὶ πολὺν χρόνον ἐστασίαζεRhegium had been for a long time in a state of factionT. 4.1. If the action is regarded as completed the pluperfect is used.

1893. Imperfect of Customary Action.—The imperfect is used to express frequently repeated or customary past actions: ““ἐπεὶ εἶδον αὐτὸν οἵπερ πρόσθεν προσεκύνουν, καὶ τότε προσεκύνησανwhen they caught sight of him, the very men who before this were wont to prostrate themselves before him, prostrated themselves on this occasion alsoX. A. 1.6.10, (Σωκράτης) τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ ἐπιθυ_μοῦντας οὐκ ἐπρά_ττετο χρήματα Socrates was not in the habit of demanding money from those who were passionately attached to him X. M. 1.2.5. See also 2340.

a. The repetition of a simple act in the past is expressed by πολλάκις with the aorist (1930).

1894. Iterative Imperfect.—ἄν may be used with this imperfect (1790): ἐπεθύ_μει ἄν τις ἔτι πλείω αὐτοῦ ἀκούειν people would (used to) desire to hear still more from him X. C. 1.4.3.

1895. Conative Imperfect.—The imperfect may express an action attempted, intended, or expected, in the past.

ἔπειθον αὐτούς, καὶ οὓς ἔπεισα, τούτους ἔχων ἐπορευόμην I tried to persuade them, and I marched away with those whom I succeeded in persuading X. C. 5.5.22, Ἁλόννησον ἐδίδου: δ᾽ ἀπηγόρευε μὴ λαμβάνειν Philip offered (proposed to give) Halonnesus, but he (Demosthenes) dissuaded them from accepting it Aes. 3.83, ““Θηβαῖοι κατεδουλοῦντ᾽ αὐτούςthe Thebans tried to enslave themD. 8.74, ““ἠπείγοντο ἐς τὴν Κέρκυ_ρανthey were for pushing on to CorcyraT. 4.3.

a. Here may be placed the imperfect equivalent in sense to ἔμελλον with the infinitive. Thus, φονεὺς οὖν αὐτῶν ἐγιγνόμην ἐγὼ μὴ εἰπὼν ὑ_υῖν ἤκουσα. ἔτι δὲ τρια_κοσίους Ἀθηναίων ἀπώλλυον I was on the point of becoming their murderer (interfecturus eram) had I not told you what I heard. And besides I threatened three hundred Athenians with death And. 1.58. So ἀπωλλύμην I was threatened with death.

1896. Imperfect of Resistance or Refusal.—With a negative, the imperfect often denotes resistance or refusal (would not or could not). The aorist with a negative denotes unrestricted denial of a fact.

““τὴν πρόκλησιν οὐκ ἐδέχεσθεyou would not accept the proposalT. 3.64 (τὴν ἱκετεία_ν οὐκ ἐδέξαντο they did not receive the supplication 1. 24), ““ μὲν οὐκ ἐγάμει, δὲ ἔγημενthe one would not marry, the other didD. 44.17, ““οὐδὲ φωνὴν ἤκουον, εἴ τις ἄλλο τι βούλοιτο λέγεινthey would not even listen to a syllable if ever any one wished to say anything to the contraryD. 18.43. So οὐκ εἴα_ he would not allow (he was not for allowing).

1897. If simple positive and negative are contrasted, the aorist is preferred with the latter: τὰ ὑπάρχοντά τε σῴζειν (positive with present) καὶ ἐπιγνῶναι μηδέν (negative with aorist) to preserve what you have, and to form no new plans T. 1.70. But where the verb itself contains or implies a negative idea, the present is used: ““παρεῖναι καὶ μὴ ἀποδημεῖνto be present and not to be abroadAes. 2.59.

1898. Imperfect of Description.—The imperfect describes manners and customs; the situation, circumstances, and details, of events; and the development of actions represented as continuing in past time.

ἐκεῖνός τε τοὺς ὑφ᾽ ἑαυτῷ ὥσπερ ἑαυτοῦ παῖδας ἐτί_μα_, οἵ τε ἀρχόμενοι Κῦρον ὡς πατέρα ἐσέβοντο he (Cyrus) treated his subjects with honour as if they were his own children, and his subjects reverenced Cyrus like a father X. C. 8.8.2, εὐθὺς ἀνεβόησάν τε πάντες καὶ προσπεσόντες ἐμάχοντο, ἐώθουν, ἐωθοῦντο, ἔπαιον, ἐπαίοντο immediately all raised a shout and falling upon each other fought, pushed and were pushed, struck and were struck 7. 1. 38, ἐπεὶ δὲ ταῦτα ἐρρήθη, ἐπορεύοντο: τῶν δὲ ἀπαντώντων οἱ μὲν ἀπέθνῃσκον, οἱ δὲ ἔφευγον πάλιν εἴσω, οἱ δὲ ἐβόων and when these words had been spoken, they proceeded to advance; and of those who met them some were killed, others fled back indoors, and others shouted 7. 5. 26, ““ἐστρατήγει δὲ αὐτῶν ἈριστεύςAristeus was their commanderT. 1.60; cp. X. C. 4.2.28, X. Ag. 2. 12, X. A. 4.3.8-25, Isocr. 1. 9, 7. 51-53, D. 18.169 ff., Aes. 3.192.

N.—The imperfect often has a dramatic or panoramic force: it enables the reader to follow the course of events as they occurred, as if he were a spectator of the scene depicted.

1899. The imperfect is thus often used to explain, illustrate, offer reasons for an action, and to set forth accompanying and subordinate circumstances that explain or show the result of the main action. Descriptive adverbs are often used with the imperfect.

ἐνταῦθα ἔμεινεν ἡμέρα_ς πέντε: καὶ τοῖς στρατιώταις ὠφείλετο μισθὸς πλέον τριῶν μηνῶν, καὶ πολλάκις ἰόντες ἐπὶ τὰ_ς θύρα_ς ἀπῄτουν: δὲ ἐλπίδας λέγων διῆγε καὶ δῆλος ἦν ἀνιώμενος there he remained for five days; and the soldiers whose pay was in arrears for more than three months kept going to headquarters and demanding their dues; but he kept expressing his expectation (of making payment) and was plainly annoyed X. A. 1.2.11. See also 1907 a.

1900. Inchoative Imperfect.—The imperfect may denote the beginning of an action or of a series of actions: ἐπειδὴ δὲ καιρὸς ἦν, προσέβαλλον but when the proper time arrived, they began an (proceeded to) attack T. 7.51.

1901. Imperfect for Present.—In descriptions of places and scenery and in other statements of existing facts the imperfect, instead of the present, is often used by assimilation to the time of the narrative (usually set forth in the main verb).

““ἀφί_κοντο ἐπὶ τὸν ποταμὸν ὃς ὥριζε τὴν τῶν Μακρώνων χώρα_ν καὶ τὴν τῶν Σκυθηνῶνthey came to the river which divided the country of the Macrones from that of the ScytheniX. A. 4.8.1, ἐξελαύνει ἐπὶ ποταμὸν πλήρη ἰχθύων, οὓς οἱ Σύροι θεοὺς ἐνόμιζον he marched to a river full of fish, which the Syrians regarded as gods 1. 4. 9.

1902.Imperfect of a Truth Just Recognized.—The imperfect, usually some form of εἶναι, with ἄρα, is often used to denote that a present fact or truth has just been recognized, although true before: οὐδὲν ἄρ᾽ ἦν πρᾶγμα it is, as it appears, no matter after all P. S. 198e, ““τοῦτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἦν ἀληθέςthis is true after allE. I. T. 351, ““ἄρα ἠπίστωyou know, sure enoughX. H. 3.4.9. ἄρα sure enough, after all appears with other tenses (P. Cr. 49a, P. Ph. 61a, D. 19.160).

1903. The imperfect may refer to a topic previously discussed: ἦν μουσικὴ ἀντίστροφος τῆς γυμναστικῆς εἰ μέμνησαι music is (as we have seen) the counterpart of gymnastics, if you remember the discussion P. R. 522a. This is called the philosophical imperfect.

1904. The epistolary imperfect is rare in Greek. See 1942 b.

1905. ἔδει, ἐχρῆν.—The imperfect of verbs expressing obligation or duty may refer to present time and imply that the obligation or duty is not fulfilled: ““σι_γήσα_ς ἡνίκ᾽ ἔδει λέγεινkeeping silence when he ought to speakD. 18.189. So with ἐχρῆν it were proper, εἰκὸς ἦν it were fitting (1774). But the imperfect may also express past obligation without denying the action of the infinitive, as ἔδει μένειν he was obliged to remain (and did remain) D. 19.124, ὅπερ ἔδει δεῖξαι quod erat demonstrandum Euclid 1. 5 (1779).

1906. Imperfect for Pluperfect.—The imperfect has the force of the pluperfect in the case of verbs whose present is used in the sense of the perfect (1886).

Thus, ἧκον I had come (rarely I came), ᾠχόμην I had departed, as ἐνί_κων I was victorious, ἡττώμην I was defeated (1752). So (Ὀλύμπια) οἷς Ἀνδροσθένης παγκράτιον ἐνί_κα_ the Olympic games, at which Androsthenes was the victor (= had won) in the pancratium T. 5.49.

1907. In subordinate clauses, the action expressed by the imperfect may be (a) contemporaneous with or (b) antecedent to that set forth by the main verb: (a) ““τοσοῦτοι ἦσαν οἱ ξύμπαντες ὅτε ἐς τὴν πολιορκία_ν καθί_σταντοthis was their total number when they began to be besiegedT. 2.78; (b) τὸ πλοῖον ἧκεν, ἐν ἐπλέομεν the vessel arrived in which we (had) sailed Ant. 5.29. Greek has no special form to express time that is anterior to the past.

1908. Imperfect and Aorist.—The imperfect and aorist often occur in the same passage; and the choice of the one or the other often depends upon the manner in which the writer may view a given action. The imperfect may be represented by a line, along which an action progresses; the aorist denotes a point on the line (either starting point or end), or surveys the whole line from beginning to end.

a. The imperfect of ‘continuance’ or ‘duration’ implies nothing as to the absolute length of the action; cp. ““πάλιν κατὰ τάχος ἐκόμιζε τὴν στρατιά_νhe took the army back as quickly as possibleT. 1.114 with κατὰ τάχος ἀνεχώρησε he retreated as quickly as possible 1. 73. The imperfect does not indicate ‘prolonged’ action in contrast to ‘momentary’ action of the aorist.

b. The imperfect puts the reader in the midst of the events as they were taking place, the aorist simply reports that an event took place: ἔπειτα ψι_λοὶ δώδεκα ἀνέβαινον, ὧν ἡγεῖτο Ἀμμέα_ς, καὶ πρῶτος ἀνέβη then twelve light-armed men proceeded to climb up under the leadership of Ammeas, who was the first to mount T. 3.22. Cp. T. 2.49, 3. 15. 1-2, 4. 14, X. H. 4.4.1, I. 5.53-54, 8. 99-100.

1909. The following statement presents the chief differences between imperfect and aorist as narrative tenses.

circumstances, details, course ofmere fact of occurrence, general state-
progress, enduring condition, con-consummation (culmination, final is-
tinued activitysue, summary process)
general descriptionisolated points, characteristic examples
actions subordinate to the mainmain actions, without reference to
actionother actions

Cp. ξυνεστράτευον they served with them in the war, ξυνεστράτευσαν they took the field with them (both in T. 7.57). ἔπειθον I tried to persuade, ἔπεισα I succeeded in persuading (both in X. C. 5.5.22).


1910. The future denotes an action that will take place at some future time: ““λήψεται μισθὸν τάλαντονhe shall receive a talent as his rewardX. A. 2.2.20.

a. The action is future according to the opinion, expectation, hope, fear, or purpose of the speaker or the agent.

b. The action of the future is either continuative (like the present) or, like that of the aorist, expresses simple attainment. Thus πείσω means I shall try to persuade , or I shall convince (resultative), βασιλεύσω I shall be king, shall reign or I shall become king (ingressive).

1911. When a verb has two futures, that formed from the same stem as the present is properly continuative, that formed from the aorist stem marks simple attainment: thus, ἕξω I shall have, σχήσω I shall get; as καὶ ταῦτ᾽ εἰκότως οὕτως ““ὑπελάμβανον ἕξεινand I supposed with reason that this would continue soD. 19.153, Θηβαῖοι ἔχουσι μὲν ἀπεχθῶς, ἔτι δ᾽ ἐχθροτέρως σχήσουσιν the Thebans are hostile and will become still more so 5. 18. (But ἕξω usually does duty for σχήσω.) So, ἀχθέσομαι shall be angry, ἀχθεσθήσομαι shall get angry, φοβήσομαι shall continue fearful, φοβηθήσομαι shall be terrified, αἰσχυνοῦμαι shall feel (continued) shame, αἰσχυνθήσομαι shall be ashamed (on a single occasion). Cp. 1738.

1912. The future represents both our shall and will. When voluntative (will), the action of the subject may be (1) the result of his own decision, as ““οὐ δὴ ποιήσω τοῦτοthat I never will doD. 18.11, or (2) dependent on the will of another, as ““ βουλὴ μέλλει αἱρεῖσθαι ὅστις ἐρεῖ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀποθανοῦσιthe Senate is about to choose some one to speak over the deadP. Menex. 234b. The use of the future is often similar to that of the subjunctive, especially in dependent clauses.

1913. Verbs of wishing, asking, and other voluntative verbs may appear in the future where English has the present: τοσοῦτον οὖν σου τυγχάνειν βουλήσομαι I (shall) wish to obtain only so much at thy hands E. Med. 259, παραιτήσομαι δ᾽ ὑ_μᾶς μηδὲν ἀχθεσθῆναί μοι I (shall) beg you not to take any offence at me D. 21.58. Cp. Lat. censebo.

a. In many cases the use of the future indicates that the wish remains unchanged; and there is no reference to a future act. Sometimes the future appears to be a more modest form of statement than the present.

1914. Gnomic Future.—The future may express a general truth: ἀνὴρ ἐπιεικὴς υἱὸν ἀπολέσα_ς ῥᾷστα οἴσει τῶν ἄλλων a reasonable man, if he loses a son, will (is expected to) bear it more easily than other men P. R. 603e (cp. 1434).

a. Hdt. uses the future in descriptions of customs and in directions to travellers (1. 173, 2. 29).

1915. Future for Present.—The future may be used instead of the present of that which is possible at the moment of speaking: ““εὑρήσομεν τοὺς φιλοτί_μους τῶν ἀνδρῶν . . . ἀντὶ τοῦ ζῆν ἀποθνῄσκειν εὐκλεῶς αἱρουμένουςwe shall find that ambitious men choose a glorious death in preference to lifeI. 9.3.

a. The future may denote present intention: ““αἶρε πλῆκτρον, εἰ μαχεῖraise your spur if you mean to fightAr. Av. 759 (in this use μέλλω is more common (1959)). So in the tragic τί λέξεις; what do you mean? E. Med. 1310.

1916. Deliberative Future.—The future is often used in deliberative questions: τί ἐροῦμεν τί φήσομεν; what shall we say or what shall we propose? D. 8.37.

a. The deliberative future may occur in connection with the deliberative subjunctive (1805): εἴπωμεν σι_γῶμεν; τί δρά_σομεν; shall we speak or keep silent? or what shall we do? E. Ion 758.

1917. Jussive Future.—The future may express a command, like the imperative; and, in the second person, may denote concession or permission. The negative is οὐ. The tone of the jussive future (which is post-Homeric) is generally familiar.

““ὣς οὖν ποιήσετεyou will do thusP. Pr. 338a, ἀναγνώσεται τὸν νόμονἀναγίγνωσκε the clerk will read the law—read D. 24.39, ““αὐτὸς γνώσειyou will judge for yourselfP. Phil. 12a, ““σπουδὴ ἔσται τῆς ὁδοῦyou will have to hurry on the marchT. 7.77, ὑ_μεῖς οὖν, ἐὰ_ν σωφρονῆτε, οὐ τούτου ἀλλ᾽ ὑ_μῶν φείσεσθε now, if you are wise, you will spare, not him, but yourselves X. H. 2.3.34.

1918. The future with οὐ interrogative is used in questions in an imperative sense to express urgency, warning, or irony: οὐκ ἔξιμεν . . . οὐκ ἐπὶ τὴν ἐκείνου πλευσόμεθα; shall we not go forth . . . shall we not set sail against his country? D. 4.44, οὐ φυλάξεσθε; will you not be on your guard? 6. 25. In exhortations addressed to oneself: οὐκ ἀπαλλαχθήσομαι θυ_μοῦ; shall I not cease from my passion? E. Med. 878.

a. μή with the future in a prohibitive sense is used in a few suspected passages (L. 29.13, D. 23.117).

1919. οὐ μή with the second person singular of the future in the dramatic poets denotes a strong prohibition; as οὐ μὴ διατρί_ψεις don't dawdle (you shall not dawdle) Ar. Ran. 462. οὐ μή with any person of the future indicative occasionally denotes an emphatic future denial; as ““τοὺς πονηροὺς οὐ μή ποτε βελτί_ους ποιήσετεyou will never make the bad betterAes. 3.177.

1920. ὅπως and ὅπως μή are used with the future in urgent exhortations and prohibitions: ““ὅπως οὖν ἔσεσθε ἄξιοι τῆς ἐλευθερία_ςprove yourselves then worthy of freedomX. A. 1.7.3, ““ὅπως τοίνυν περὶ τοῦ πολέμου μηδὲν ἐρεῖςsay nothing therefore about the warD. 19.92. For the fuller form of this use after σκόπει, σκοπεῖτε. see 2213.

1921. ὅπως μή (negative ὅπως μὴ οὐ) may express the desire to avert something; as ὅπως μὴ αἰσχροὶ φαινούμεθα mind we don't appear base X. C. 4.2.39, ἀλλ᾽ ὅπως μὴ οὐχ οἷός τ᾽ ἔσομαι but (I fear that) I shall not be able P. R. 506d. Cp. 1802, 1803, 2229.

1922. On ἄν (κέ) with the future indicative, see 1793. On the periphrastic future see 1959; on the future in dependent clauses, see 2203, 2211, 2220 a, 2229, 2231, 2328, 2549-2551, 2554, 2558, 2559, 2565 a, 2573 c.


1923. The aorist expresses the mere occurrence of an action in the past. The action is regarded as an event or single fact without reference to the length of time it occupied.

““ἐνί_κησαν οἱ Κερκυ_ραῖοι καὶ ναῦς πέντε καὶ δέκα διέφθειρανthe Corcyraeans were victorious and destroyed fifteen shipsT. 1.29, ““Παιώνιος ἐποίησεPaeonius fecitI.G.A. /lref>, ἔδοξεν τῇ βουλῇ it was voted by (seemed good to) the Senate C.I.A. /lref>

a. The uses of the aorist may be explained by the figure of a point in time:

1. The starting point (ingressive aorist, 1924); 2. The end point (resultative aorist, 1926); 3. The whole action (beginning to end) concentrated to a point (complexive aorist, 1927).

1924. Ingressive Aorist.—The aorist of verbs whose present denotes a state or a continued action, expresses the entrance into that state or the beginning of that action.

a. This holds true of the other moods. Greek has no special form to denote entrance into a state in present time (1853).

1925. Most of the verbs in question are denominatives, and the forms are chiefly those of the first aorist:—

ἄρχω ruleἦρξα became ruler
βασιλεύω am king, ruleἐβασίλευσα became king, ascended the throne
βλέπω look atἔβλεψα cast a glance
δακρύ_ω weepἐδάκρυ_σα burst into tears
δουλεύω am a slaveἐδούλευσα became a slave
ἐρῶ loveἠράσθην fell in love
θαρρῶ am courageousἐθάρρησα plucked up courage
νοσῶ am illἐνόσησα fell ill
πλουτῶ am richἐπλούτησα became rich
πολεμῶ make warἐπολέμησα began the war
σι_γῶ am silentἐσί_γησα became silent

a. Rarely with the second aorist: ἔσχον took hold, took possession of, got, as ““Πεισιστράτου τελευτήσαντος Ἱππία_ς ἔσχε τὴν ἀρχήνwhen Peisistratus died Hippias succeeded to his powerT. 6.54. So ᾐσθόμην became aware, ἔστην took my stand (perfect ἕστηκα am standing).

b. The aorist of these verbs denotes also a simple occurrence of the action as an historical fact: ἐβασίλευσα was king, ruled, ἐνόσησα was ill. Thus, ““ἐκεῖνοι πέντε καὶ τετταράκοντα ἔτη τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἦρξανthey held the supremacy over Greece for forty-five yearsD. 3.24 (cp. 1927 b).

1926. Resultative Aorist.—In contrast to the imperfect (and present) the aorist denotes the result, end, or effect of an action.

Thus, ἤγαγον I brought, ἐβούλευσα I decided (ἐβούλευον I was deliberating), ἔθηξα I sharpened, ἔπεσον I struck in falling (ἔπι_πτον I was in the act of falling), ἔπεισα I succeeded in persuading (1895).

a. The same verb may be a resultative aorist or an ingressive aorist. Thus, ἔβαλον I let fly a missile (ingressive), and I hit (resultative); κατέσχον I got possession of (ingressive), and I kept back (resultative).

b. ἔκτεινά σε E. Ion 1291 means I tried to kill you, since κτείνω denotes properly only the act of the agent, and does not, like kill, also connote the effect of the action upon another.

1927. Complexive Aorist.—The complexive aorist is used to survey at a glance the course of a past action from beginning to end: ““τούτῳ τῷ τρόπῳ τὴν πόλιν ἐτείχισανit was in this manner that they fortified the cityT. 1.93. It may sum up the result of a preceding narrative (often containing imperfects, as T. 2.47. 4; 3. 81). The complexive aorist appears also in other moods than the indicative.

a. This is often called the ‘concentrative’ aorist, because it concentrates the entire course of an action to a single point. When used of rapid or instantaneous action this aorist is often called ‘momentary.’

b. The complexive aorist is used either of a long or of a short period of time: ““τέσσαρα καὶ δέκα ἔτη ἐνέμειναν αἱ σπονδαίthe peace lasted fourteen yearsT. 2.2, ὀλίγον χρόνον ξυνέμεινεν ὁμαιχμία_ the league lasted a short time 1. 18, ἦλθον, εἶδον, ἐνί_κησα veni, vidi, vici (“Caesar's brag of came, and saw, and conquered”) Plutarch, Caes. 50.

1928. The aorist is commonly used with definite numbers. The imperfect is, however, often employed when an action is represented as interrupted or as proceeding from one stage to another. Thus, ““ἐνταῦθα ἔμεινε Κῦρος ἡμέρα_ς τριά_κονταCyrus remained thirty days thereX. A. 1.2.9; ““τέτταρας μῆνας ὅλους ἐσῴζοντο οἱ Φωκεῖς τοὺς ὕστερον, δὲ τούτου ψευδολογία_ μετὰ ταῦθ᾽ ὕστερον αὐτοὺς ἀπώλεσενfor the four whole ensuing months the Phocians remained safe, but the falsehood of this man afterwards effected their ruinD. 19.78.

1929. The aorist enumerates and reports past events. It may be employed in brief continuous narration (X. A. 1.9.6). As a narrative tense it is often used to state the chief events and facts, while the other past tenses set forth subordinate actions and attendant circumstances.

1930. Empiric Aorist.—With adverbs signifying often, always, sometimes, already, not yet, never, etc., the aorist expressly denotes a fact of experience (ἐμπειρία_).

““πολλοὶ πολλάκις μειζόνων ἐπιθυ_μοῦντες τὰ παρόντ᾽ ἀπώλεσανmany men often lose what they have from a desire for greater possessionsD. 23.113, ““ἀθυ_μοῦντες ἄνδρες οὔπω τροπαῖον ἔστησανfaint heart never yet raised a trophyP. Criti. 108c. So with πολύς: ““ γλῶσσα πολλοὺς εἰς ὄλεθρον ἤγαγενthe tongue brings many a man to his ruinMen. Sent. 205. From this use proceeds 1931.

a. The empiric aorist is commonly to be translated by the present or perfect. The statement in the aorist is often based upon a concrete historical fact set forth in the context, and the reader is left to infer that the thought holds good for all time.

1931. Gnomic Aorist (γνώμη maxim, proverb).—The aorist may express a general truth. The aorist simply states a past occurrence and leaves the reader to draw the inference from a concrete case that what has occurred once is typical of what often occurs: παθὼν δέ τε νήπιος ἔγνω a fool learns by experience Hesiod, Works and Days, 218, ““κάλλος μὲν γὰρ χρόνος ἀνήλωσεν νόσος ἐμάρα_νεfor beauty is either wasted by time or withered by diseaseI. 1.6.

a. The gnomic aorist often alternates with the present of general truth (1877): οὐ γὰρ πληγὴ παρέστησε τὴν ὀργήν, ἀλλ᾽ ἀτι_μία_: οὐδὲ τὸ τύπτεσθαι τοῖς ἐλευθέροις ἐστὶ δεινόν . . . ἀλλὰ τὸ ἐφ᾽ ὕβρει for it is not the blow that causes anger, but the disgrace; nor is it the beating that is terrible to freemen, but the insult D. 21.72. Cp. P. R. 566e.

b. The gnomic aorist is regarded as a primary tense (1858): ““οἱ τύραννοι πλούσιον ὃν ἂν βούλωνται παραχρῆμ᾽ ἐποίησανtyrants make rich in a moment whomever they wishD. 20.15.

1932. Akin to the gnomic aorist is the aorist employed in general descritions. So in imaginary scenes and in descriptions of manners and custom Thus, ἐπειδὰν ἀφίκωνται οἱ τετελευτηκότες εἰς τὸν τόπον, οἷ δαίμων ἕκαστον κομίζ πρῶτον μὲν διεδικάσαντο οἵ τε καλῶς καὶ ὁσίως βιώσαντες καὶ οἱ μή when the de<*> reach the place whither each is severally conducted by his genius, first of all the have judgment pronounced upon them as they have lived well and devoutly not P. Ph. 113d, φᾶρος δὲ αὐτημερὸν ἐξυφήναντες οἱ ἱ_ρέες κατ᾽ ὦν ἔδησαν ἑνὸς αὐτ<*> μίτρῃ τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς after having woven a mantle on the same day the pries bind the eyes of one of their number with a snood Hdt. 2.122.

1933. Iterative Aorist.—With ἄν the aorist may denote repetition (1790) ““εἶπεν ἄνhe used to sayX. C. 7.1.14. Distinguish 2303.

1934. Aorist for Future.—The aorist may be substituted for the futur when a future event is vividly represented as having actually occurred: ἀπωλ<*> μην ἄρ᾽, εἴ με δὴ λείψεις I am undone if thou dost leave me E. Alc. 386.

1935. Aorist in Similes.—The aorist is used in similes in poetry, and usually contains the point of comparison. It may alternate with the present. Thus ““ἤριπε δ᾽ ὡς ὅτε τις δρῦς ἤριπενhe fell as falls an oakΠ 482, οἷος δ᾽ ἐκ νεφέων ἀνα φαίνεται οὔλιος ἀστὴρ παμφαίνων, τότε δ᾽ αὖτις ἔδυ_ νέφεα σκιόεντα, ὣς Ἕκτωρ κτλ and as from out of the clouds all radiant appears a baneful star, and then again sinks within the shadowy clouds, so Hector, etc. Α 62.

a. The aorist in 1931, 1935 is used of time past (in 1934 of the future), from the point of view of an assumed or ideal present.

1936. Aorist for Present.—The aorist is used in questions with τί οὖν ου and τί οὐ to express surprise that something has not been done. The question is here equivalent to a command or proposal: τί οὖν οὐχὶ καὶ σὺ ὑπέμνησάς με, why don't you recall it to my mind? X. Hi. 1.3. The (less lively) present, and the future, may also be used.

1937. Dramatic Aorist.—The first person singular of the aorist is used in the dialogue parts of tragedy and comedy to denote a state of mind or an act expressing a state of mind (especially approval or disapproval) occurring to the speaker in the moment just passed. This use is derived from familiar discourse, but is not found in good prose. In translation the present is employed. Thus, ἥσθην, ἐγέλασα I am delighted, I can't help laughing Ar. Eq. 696, ““ἐδεξάμην τὸ ῥηθένI welcome the omenS. El. 668 (prose δέχομαι τὸν οἰωνόν). So ἐπῄνεσα I approve, ξυνῆκα I understand. Sometimes this use appears outside of dialogue (““ἀπέπτυσαI spurnA. Pr. 1070, Ag. 1193).

1938. With verbs of swearing, commanding, saying , and advising the aorist may denote a resolution that has already been formed by the speaker and remains unalterable: σὲ . . . εἶπον τῆσδε γῆς ἔξω περᾶν I command thee (once and for all) to depart from out this land E. Med. 272, ἀπώμοσα I swearnayS. Ph. 1289. This use is not confined to dialogue.

1939. So in other cases: πῶς τοῦτ᾽ ἔλεξας; οὐ κάτοιδ᾽ ὅπως λέγεις how saidst thou (what dost thou mean? I do not know how thou meanest S. Aj. 270. Cp. νῦν with the aorist (B 113, Γ 439).

1940. Aorist for Perfect.—In Greek the aorist, which simply states a past occurrence, is often employed where English uses the perfect denoting a present condition resulting from a past action. Thus, παρεκάλεσα ὑ_μᾶς, ἄνδρες φίλοι I (have) summoned you, my friends X. A. 1.6.6, μὲν τοίνυν πόλεμος ἁπάντων ἡμᾶς τῶν εἰρημένων ἀπεστέρηκεν: καὶ γὰρ πενεστέρους ἐποίησε καὶ πολλοὺς κινδύ_νους ὑπομένειν ἠνάγκασε καὶ πρὸς τοὺς Ἕλληνας διαβέβληκε καὶ πάντας τρόπους τεταλαιπώρηκεν ἡμᾶς now the war has deprived us of all the blessings that have been mentioned; for it has made us poorer, compelled us to undergo many dangers, has brought us into reproach with the Greeks, and in every possible way has caused us suffering I. 8.19. Sometimes the aorist is chosen because of its affinity to the negative, as τῶν οἰκετῶν οὐδένα κατέλιπεν ἀλλ᾽ ἅπαντας πέπρα_κε he (has) left not one of his servants, but has sold them all Aes. 1.99. This aorist is sometimes regarded as a primary tense.

a. Where an active transitive perfect is not formed from a particular verb, or is rarely used, the aorist takes its place: ““Φεραίων μὲν ἀφῄρηται τὴν πόλιν καὶ φρουρὰ_ν ἐν τῇ ἀκροπόλει κατέστησενhe has deprived the Pheraeans of their city and established a garrison in the acropolisD. 7.32 (καθέστα^κε transitive is not classic). So ἤγαγον is used for ἦχα.

b. In Greek of the classical period the aorist and perfect are not confused though the difference between the two tenses is often subtle. Cp. D. 19.72 with 19. 177.

1941. The aorist may be translated by the perfect when the perfect has the force of a present (1946, 1947): ἐκτησάμην I have acquired (κέτκημαι I possess), ἐθαύμασα I have wondered (τεθαύμακα I admire). Thus, ““ἔκτησο αὐτὸς τά περ αὐτὸς ἐκτήσαοkeep thyself what thyself hast gainedHdt. 7.29.

1942. Epistolary Tenses.—The writer of a letter or book, the dedicator of an offering, may put himself in the position of the reader or beholder who views the action as past: μετ᾽ Ἀρταβάζου, ὅν σοι ἔπεμψα, πρᾶσσε negotiate with Artabazus whom I send (sent) to you T. 1.129, Τροία_ν ἑλόντες Ἀργείων στόλος λάφυ_ρα ταῦτα . . . ἐπασσάλευσαν the Argive armament having captured Troy hang (hung) up these spoils A. Ag. 577. Cp. 1923 (last two examples).

a. The perfect is also used: ἀπέσταλκά σοι τόνδε τὸν λόγον I send (have sent) you this discourse I. 1.2.

b. The imperfect (common in Latin) occurs rarely: Μνησίεργος ἐπέστειλε τοῖς οἴκοι χαίρειν καὶ ὑγιαίνειν καὶ αὐτὸς οὕτως ἔφασκε [ἔχειν] Mnesiergus sends greetings and wishes for good health to his friends at home and says that he himself is well Jahresheft des oesterreichischen Archaeol. Inst. 7 (1904), p. 94, τῶν δὲ ταῦτα πρα_ξάντων ἄχρι οὗ ὅδε λόγος ἐγράφετο Τεισίφονος πρεσβύτατος ὢν τῶν ἀδελφῶν τὴν ἀρχὴν εἶχε up to the date of this portion of my work, Tisiphonus, as the eldest of the brothers who wrought this deed, maintained control of the government X. H. 6.4.37.

1943. Aorist for Pluperfect.—The aorist with many temporal and causal conjunctions, and in relative clauses, has the force of the Eng. pluperfect. So with ἐπεί, ἐπειδή after that, since, ὅτε, ὡς when, ὅτι because; regularly with πρίν before, ἕως, μέχρι until: ἐπεὶ ἐσάλπιγξε, ἐπῇσαν after the trumpeter had given the signal, they advanced X. A. 1.2.17, ““ἐπεὶ δὲ συνῆλθον, ἔλεξε τοιάδεand when they had come together, he spoke as followsX. C. 5.1.19, ἐκέλευσέ με τὴν ἐπιστολὴν ἣν ““ἔγραψα οἴκαδε δοῦναιhe requested me to give him the letter which I had written homeX. C. 2.2.9. So often in other moods than the indicative.

1944. In subordinate clauses the action expressed by the aorist may be (a) contemporaneous, (b) antecedent, or (c) subsequent to that set forth by the main verb. The context alone decides in which sense the aorist is to be taken. (a) ““ἐν τῷ χρόνῳ ὃν ἐπέσχε ὅσα ἐδύνατο κατενόησεduring the time he waited he learned all he couldT. 1.138; (b) ἐτράποντο ἐς τὸν Πάνορμον, ὅθενπερ ἀνηγάγοντο they turned toward Panormus, the very place from which they had put out T. 2.92 (see 1943); (c) ““ἐμάχοντο μέχρι οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι ἀπέπλευσανthey kept fighting until the Athenians had sailed awayX. H. 1.1.3.


1945. The perfect denotes a completed action the effects of which still continue in the present: τὰ οἰκήματα ᾠκοδόμηται the rooms have been constructed (their construction is finished) X. O. 9.2, τὰ_ς πόλεις αὐτῶν παρῄρηται he has taken away (and still holds) their cities D. 9.26, ὑπείληφα I have formed (hold) the opinion 18. 123, βεβούλευμαι I have (am) resolved S. El. 947, τί βουλεύεσθον ποιεῖν; οὐδ<*>ν, ἔφη Χαρμίδης, ἀλλὰ βεβουλεύμεθα what are you conspiring to do? Nothing, said Charmides; we have already conspired P. Charm. 176c.

a. The effects of a completed action are seen in the resulting present state. The state may be that of the subject or of the object: ““ἐφοβήθην, καὶ ἔτι καὶ νῦν τεθορύβημαιI was struck with fear, and even at the present moment am still in a state of agitationAes. 2.4, οἱ πολέμιοι τὰ_ς σπονδὰ_ς λελύκα_σιν the enemy have broken the truce (which is now broken) X. A. 3.2.10.

1946. Perfect with Present Meaning.—When the perfect marks the enduring result rather than the completed act, it may often be translated by the present.

Thus, κέκλημαι (have received a name) am called, my name is, κέκτημαι (have acquired) possess, μέμνημαι (have recalled) remember, τέθνηκα (have passed away) am dead, εἴθισμαι (have accustomed myself) am accustomed, ἠμφίεσμαι (have clothed myself in) have on, πέποιθα (have put confidence) trust, ἕστηκα (have set myself) stand, βέβηκα (have stepped) stand and am gone, ἔγνωκα (have recognized) know, πέφυ_κα (natus sum) am by nature, οἶδα (have found out) know.

a. These perfecta praesentia do not in nature differ from other perfects.

1947. ‘Intensive’ Perfect.—Many perfects seem to denote an action rather than a state resulting from an action, and to be equivalent to strengthened presents. These are often called intensive perfects.

Such are: verbs of the senses (δέδορκα gaze, πέφρι_κα shudder), of sustained sound (κέκρα_γα bawl, λέληκα shout, βέβρυ_χα roar), of emotion (πεφόβημαι am filled with alarm, γέγηθα am glad, μέμηλε cares for), of gesture (κέχηνα keep the mouth agape), and many others (σεσί_γηκα am still, etc.).

a. But most if not all of the verbs in question may be regarded as true perfects, i.e. they denote a mental or physical state resulting from the accomplishment of the action; thus, πέφρι_κα I have shuddered and am now in a state of shuddering.

b. Certain verbs tend to appear in the perfect for emphasis: τέθνηκα am dead, ἀπόλωλα perish, πέπρα_κα sell (have sold).

1948. Empiric Perfect.—The perfect may set forth a general truth expressly based on a fact of experience: ““ ἀταξία_ πολλοὺς ἤδη ἀπολώλεκενlack of discipline ere now has been the ruin of manyX. A. 3.1.38. Cp. 1930.

1949. Perfect of Dated Past Action.—The perfect is sometimes used of a past action whose time is specifically stated: ““ὕβρισμαι τότεI was insulted on that occasionD. 21.7. This use approaches that of the aorist.

1950. Perfect for Future Perfect.—The perfect may be used vividly for the future perfect to anticipate an action not yet done: κἂ_ν τοῦτο νι_κῶμεν, πάνθ᾽ ἡμῖν πεποίηται and if we conquer in that quarter, everything has been (will have been) accomplished by us X. A. 1.8.12.

a. Especially with the phrase τὸ ἐπί τινι, the perfect anticipates the certain occurrence of an event: ““τὸ ἐπὶ τούτῳ ἀπολώλαμενfor all he could do, we had perishedX. A. 6.6.23.

1951. In subordinate clauses, the action of the perfect is usually (a) contemporaneous, but may be (b) antecedent to that of the main verb. The context alone decides in which sense the perfect is to be taken. (a) οἱ δὲ θεράποντες, ἐπειδὴ ἐς ἀντίπαλα καθεστήκαμεν, αὐτομολοῦσι while our attendants desert, now that we have been brought down to a level with the Syracusans T. 7.13. (b) σοι τύχη κέχρηκε, ταῦτ᾽ ἀφείλετο Fortune has taken back what she has lent you Men. fr. 598.

On the epistolary perfect see 1942 a.


1952. The pluperfect is the past of the perfect, hence it denotes a past fixed state resulting from a completed action: ἐβεβουλεύμην I had (was) resolved.

a. When the perfect is translated by the present, the pluperfect is rendered by the imperfect: ἐκεκτήμην was in possession, ἐτεθνήκει he was dead, ᾔδη knew, ἐμεμνήμην remembered. Cp. 1946.

1953. Pluperfect of Immediate Occurrence.—The pluperfect may denote that a past action occurred so immediately or suddenly that it was accomplished almost at the same moment as another action: ὡς δὲ ἐλήφθησαν, ἐλέλυντο αἱ σπονδαί and when they were captured the truce was (already) at an end T. 4.47 (the fact of their capture was equivalent to the immediate rupture of the truce).

1954. In subordinate clauses the pluperfect is rarely used to mark an action as anterior to an action already past: ““ἦλθον οἱ Ἰνδοὶ ἐκ τῶν πολεμίων οὓς ἐπεπόμφει Κῦρος ἐπὶ κατασκοπήνthe Indians returned whom Cyrus had sent to get news of the enemyX. C. 6.2.9. The aorist is usually employed (1943, 1944 b).


1955. The future perfect denotes a future state resulting from a completed action: ἀναγεγράψομαι I shall stand enrolled, δεδήσεται he shall be kept in prison; ““ θύρα_ κεκλῄσεταιthe door will be kept shutAr. Lys. 1071.

a. Most future perfects are middle in form, passive in meaning (581).

b. The active future perfect is usually periphrastic (600): ““τὰ δέοντ᾽ ἐσόμεθα ἐγνωκότεςwe shall have determined on our dutyD. 4.50.

1956. When stress is laid upon complete fulfilment, the future perfect may imply rapidity, immediate consequence, or certainty, of action accomplished in the future: φράζε, καὶ πεπρά_ξεται speak, and it shall be done instanter Ar. Pl. 1027, εὐθὺς Ἀριαῖος ἀφεστήξει: ὥστε φίλος ἡμῖν οὐδεὶς λελείψεται Ariaeus will soon withdraw, so that we shall have no friend left X. A. 2.4.5.

1957. The future perfect may have an imperative force (1917): εἰρήσεται γὰρ τἀ_ληθές for the truth shall (let it) be spoken I. 7.76.

1958. When the perfect has the force of a present, the future perfect is used like a simple future (1946): κεκλήσομαι I shall bear the name, μεμνήσομαι shall remember, κεκτήσομαι shall possess. So in the two active forms: τεθνήξω I shall be dead, ἑστήξω I shall stand.

a. The aorist subjunctive with ἄν (2324), not the future perfect, is used to denote a past action in relation to an action still in the future.


On the periphrastic forms of perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect, see 599, 600.

1959. Periphrastic Future.—A periphrastic future is formed by μέλλω I am about to, intend to, am (destined) to, am likely to (strictly think) with the present or future (rarely the aorist) infinitive. Thus, ““ μέλλω λέγειν σοὶ πάλαι δοκεῖwhat I am going to say has long been your opinionX. C. 3.3.13 (cp. 1885), ““Κλέανδρος μέλλει ἥξεινCleander is on the point of comingX. A. 6.4.18, θήσειν ἔμελλεν ἄλγεα he purposed to inflict suffering B 39, ““ἔμελλον ὄλβιος εἶναιI was destined to be happyς 138, εἴ ποτε πορεύοιτο καὶ πλεῖστοι μέλλοιεν ὄψεσθαι, προσκαλῶν τοὺς φίλους ἐσπουδαιολογεῖτο if ever Cyrus was on the march and many were likely to catch sight of him, he summoned his friends and engaged them in earnest talk X. A. 1.9.28.

a. The present infinitive usually occurs with μέλλω as a verb of will, the future infinitive with μέλλω as a verb of thinking.

b. The aorist is used when it is important to mark the action as ingressive, resultative, or complexive: ““ὅπερ μέλλω παθεῖνwhat I am doomed to sufferA. Pr. 625.

c. μέλλω I delay usually takes the present, rarely the aorist, infinitive.

d. πῶς οὐ μέλλω and τί οὐ μέλλω mean why should I not? Thus, τί δ᾽ ου᾽ μέλλει γελοῖον εἶναι; how should it not be ridiculous? P. R. 530a.

1960. ἔμελλον is used of past intention in ““ἔμελλε καταλύ_εινhe was about to stop for the nightX. A. 1.8.1, ““τοὺς ἔσπλους κλῄσειν ἔμελλονthey intended to close the entrancesT. 4.8. ἔμελλον with the infinitive denoting an unfulfilled past intention is a periphrasis for an aorist indicative with ἄν. Thus, ““οὐ συστρατεύειν ἔμελλονthey would not have joined forcesD. 19.159 (= οὐκ ἂν συνεστράτευσαν). Cp. recturus eram, etc.

1961. With εἰμί.—The present and perfect participle are freely used with the forms of εἰμί to form a periphrasis, especially when the participle has an adjectival character (1857): ἡγεῖ διαφθειρομένους τινὰς εἶναι; do you think that some are being ruined? P. R. 492a, ““αἱ τέχναι διεφθαρμέναι ἔσονταιthe arts will be ruinedX. C. 7.2.13, ““ἦν τοῦτο συμφέρονthis was advantageousAnt. 5.18; θέλουσα is stronger than θέλῃ, S. O. T. 580.

1962. The aorist participle is rarely so used, since it denotes a single act, not a characteristic: ““ἦσαν δέ τινες καὶ γενόμενοι τῷ Νι_κίᾳ λόγοι πρότερον πρός τιναςand communications between Nicias and some persons had actually been held beforeT. 4.54.

a. With ἔσομαι the aorist participle equals the future perfect: οὐ σιωπήσα_ς ἔσῃ; be silent, won't you, once and for all? S. O. T. 1146.

1963. With ἔχω.—The periphrasis with ἔχω and the aorist participle is analogous to the perfect in meaning, and emphasizes the permanence of the result attained (chiefly in Hdt. and the drama): ““κηρύ_ξα_ς ἔχωI have proclaimedS. Ant. 192.

a. In Attic prose ἔχω usu. has a separate force: ““Φερὰ_ς πρώην ἔχει καταλαβώνhe lately seized and now occupies PheraeD. 9.12. So with the (rare) perfect: τὰ ἐπιτήδεια εἶχον ἀνακεκομισμένοι they had carried up to the forts the provisions and kept them there X. A. 4.7.1.

1964. With γίγνομαι.—The forms of γίγνομαι often combine with a participle to form periphrases. Thus, ““μὴ σαυτὸν . . . κτείνα_ς γένῃlest thou destroy thyselfS. Ph. 773; in prose this periphrasis has the tone of tragedy. On γίγνομαι with a substantive, see 1710, 1754.

1965. With φαίνομαι.—The aorist participle is used periphrastically with forms of φαίνομαι. Thus, ““οὐχ ὑπὲρ ὑ_μῶν οὐδὲ τῶν νόμων φροντίσα_ς οὐδ᾽ ἀγανακτήσα_ς φανήσεταιit will appear that he took no heed, nor felt any resentment, concerning you or the lawsD. 21.39.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: