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1703. The active voice represents the subject as performing the action of the verb: λούω I wash.

a. Under action is included being, as ὁδὸς μακρά_ ἐστι the way is long.

1704. Active verbs are transitive or intransitive (920).

1705. The action of a transitive verb is directed immediately upon an object, as τύπτω τὸν παῖδα I strike the boy.

1706. The object of a transitive verb is always put in the accusative (1553).

1707. The action of an intransitive verb is not directed immedi-ately upon an object. The action may be restricted to the subject, as ἀλγῶ I am in pain, or it may be defined by an oblique case or by a preposition with its case, as ἀλγῶ τοὺς πόδας I have a pain in my feet, ἀφί_κετο εἰς τὴν πόλιν he arrived at the city.

1708. Many verbs are used in the active voice both transitively and intransitively. So, in English, turn, move, change. Cp. 1557 ff.

a. The distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs is a grammatical convenience, and is not founded on an essential difference of nature.

1709. Active verbs ordinarily transitive are often used intransitively:

a. By the ellipsis of a definite external object, which in some cases may be employed, as ἄγειν (τὸ στράτευμα) march, αἴρειν (τὴν ἄγκυ_ραν) hoist the anchor, (τὰ_ς ναῦς) get under sail, start, ἀπαίρειν (τὰ_ς ναῦς, τὸν στρατόν) sail away, march away, διάγειν (τὸν βίον) live, ἐλαύνειν (τὸν ἵππον) ride, (τὸ ἅρμα) drive, (τὸν στρατόν) march, καταλύ_ειν (τοὺς ἵππους, τὰ ὑποζύγια) halt, κατέχειν (τῆν ναῦν) put in shore, προσέχειν (τὸν νοῦν) pay attention, τελευτᾶν (τὸν βίον) die. The original sense has often been so completely forgotten that it becomes possible to say ““αἴρειν τῷ στρατῷset out with the armyT. 2.12, ““ἐλαύνων ἱδροῦντι τῷ ἵππῳriding with his horse in a sweatX. A. 1.8.1.

b. πρά_ττειν, ἔχειν with adverbs often mean to keep, to be: εὖ πρά_ττειν fare well, καλῶς ἔχειν be well (bene se habere), ἔχειν οὕτως be so. So when a reflexive pronoun is apparently omitted: ““ἔχ᾽ αὐτοῦstop there!D. 45.26.

c. Many other transitive verbs may be used absolutely, i.e. with no definite object omitted, as νι_κᾶν be a victor, ἀδικεῖν be guilty. Cp. ‘amare’ be in love, ‘drink’ be a drunkard. This is especially the case in compounds, e.g. of ἀλλάττειν, ἀνύειν, διδόναι, κλί_νειν, λαμβάνειν, λείπειν, μειγνύναι.

d. In poetry many uncompounded transitive verbs are used intransitively. Many intransitive verbs become transitive when compounded with a prep., especially when the compound has a transferred sense, 1559. In some verbs 1st aorist and 1st perfect are transitive, 2d aorist and 2d perfect are intransitive.

1710. Instead of the active, a periphrasis with γίγνεσθαι may be used, often to express solemnity. ““μηνυ_ταὶ γίγνονταιthey turned informersT. 3.2, μὴ ὑβριστὴς γέϝῃdo not be guilty of outrageS. Aj. 1092.

1711. Causative Active.—The active may be used of an action performed at the bidding of the subject: Κῦρος τὰ βασίλεια κατέκαυσεν Cyrus burnt down the palace (i.e. had it burnt down) X. A. 1.4.10. So with ἀποκτείνειν put to death, θάπτειν bury, οἰκοδομεῖν build, παιδεύειν instruct, ἀνακηρΰττειν publicly proclaim.

1712. An infinitive limiting the meaning of an adjective is usually active where English employs the passive (cp. 2006).


1713. The middle voice shows that the action is performed with special reference to the subject: λοῦμαι I wash myself.

1714. The middle represents the subject as doing something in which he is interested. He may do something to himself, for himself, or he may act with something belonging to himself.

1715. The future middle is often (807), the first aorist middle is almost never, used passively.

1716. The object of the middle (1) may belong in the sphere of the subject, as his property, etc.: λούομαι τὰ_ς χεῖρας I wash my hands, or (2) it may be brought into the sphere of the subject: τοὺς ὁπλί_τα_ς μετεπέμψαντο they sent for the hoplites, or (3) it may be removed from the sphere of the subject: ἀποδίδομὰι τὴν οἰκία_ν I sell my house (lit. give away). Here the object is also the property of the subject.

1717. The Direct Reflexive Middle represents the subject as acting directly on himself. Self is here the direct object. So with verbs expressing external and natural acts, as the verbs of the toilet: ἀλείφεσθαι anoint oneself, λοῦσθαι wash oneself; and κοσμεῖσθαι adorn oneself, στεφανοῦσθαι crown oneself; γυμνάζεσθαι exercise oneself.

a. The direct reflexive idea is far more frequently conveyed by the active and a reflexive pronoun, 1723.

b. The part affected may be added in the accusative: ““ἐπαίσατο τὸν μηρόνhe smote his thighX. C. 7.3.6.

1718. So with many other verbs, as ἵστασθαι stand (place oneself), τρέπεσθαι turn (lit. turn oneself), δηλοῦσθαι show oneself, τάττεσθαι post oneself, ἀπολογεῖσθαι defend oneself (argue oneself off), φαίνεσθαι show oneself, appear, παρασκευάζεσθαι prepare onself, ἀπόλλυσθαι destroy oneself, perish.

1719. The Indirect Reflexive Middle represents the subject as acting for himself, with reference to himself, or with something belonging to himself. Self is often here the indirect object. So πορίζεσθαι provide for oneself (πορίζειν provide), φυλάττεσθαι guard against (φυλάττειν keep guard), αἱρεῖσθαι choose (take for oneself), παρέχεσθαι furnish (παρέχειν offer, present).

1720. Cases in which the object is to be removed from the sphere of the subject may be resolved into the dative for oneself (1483: ““τὴν ῥᾳθυ_μία_ν ἀποθέσθαιto lay aside your indolenceD. 8.46, ““ἐτρέψαντο τοὺς ἱππέα_ςthey routed the cavalryT. 6.98, τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ἀμύ_νεσθαι to ward off the enemy for themselves, i.e. to defend themselves against the enemy 1. 144.

1721. The middle often denotes that the subject acts with something belonging to himself (material objects, means, powers). It is often used of acts done willingly. Thus, παρέχεσθαι furnish from one's own resources, ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι promise, make profession of, τίθεσθαι τὴν ψῆφον give one's vote, τίθεσθαι τὰ ὅπλα ground arms, ἀποδείξασθαι γνώμην set forth one's opinion, λαμβάνεσθαί τινος put one's hand on (seize) something. Thus, ““ἐσπασμένοι τὰ ξίφηhaving drawn their swordsX. A. 7.4.16, ““παῖδας ἐκκεκομισμένοι ἦσανthey had removed their childrenT. 2.78, ““τροπαῖον στησάμενοιhaving set up a trophyX. H. 2.4.7, ““ὅπλα πορίσασθαιto procure arms for themselvesT. 4.9, ὁπλί_τα_ς μετεπέμψατο he sent for hoplites 7. 31, ““γυναῖκα ἠγαγόμηνI marriedL. 1.6.

1722. Under the indirect middle belong the periphrases of ποιεῖσθαι with verbal nouns instead of the simple verb (cp. 1754). ποιεῖν with the same nouns means to bring about, effect, fashion, etc.

εἰρήνην ποιεῖσθαι make peace (of one nation at war with another).

εἰρήνην ποιεῖν bring about a peace (between opponents, nations at war: of an individual).

θήρα_ν ποιεῖσθαι ( = θηρᾶν hunt, θήρα_ν ποιεῖν arrange a hunt.

λόγον ποιεῖσθαι ( = λέγειν) deliver a speech, λόγον ποιεῖν compose a speech.

ναυμαχία_ν ποιεῖσθαι ( = ναυμαχεῖν) fight a naval battle.

ναυμαχία_ν ποιεῖν bring on a naval battle (of the commander).

ὁδὸν ποιεῖσθαι ( = ὁδεύειν) make a journey, ὁδὸν ποιεῖν build a road.

πόλεμον ποιεῖσθαι wage war, πόλεμον ποιεῖν bring about a war.

σπονδὰ_ς ποιεῖσθαι conclude (make) a treaty , or truce.

σπονδὰ_ς ποιεῖν bring about a treaty , or truce.

1723. Active and Reflexive.—Instead of the direct middle the active voice with the reflexive pronoun is usually employed; often of difficult and unnatural actions (especially with αὐτὸς ἑαυτόν, etc.).

““τὰ ὅπλα παρέδοσαν καὶ σφᾶς αὐτούςthey surrendered their arms and themselvesT. 4.38, ““μισθώσα_ς αὑτόνhiring himself outD. 19.29 (not μισθωσάμενος, which means hiring for himself), ““καταλέλυκε τὴν αὐτὸς αὑτοῦ δυναστεία_νhe himself has put an end to his own sovereigntyAes. 3.233, ““ἠτί_μωκεν ἑαυτόνhe has dishonoured himselfD. 21.103. But regularly ἀπάγχεσθαι hang oneself (1717).

a. The active and a reflexive pronoun in the gen. or dat. may be used for the simple middle when the reflexive notion is emphatic: ““καταλείπειν συγγράμματα ἑαυτῶνto leave behind them their written compositionsP. Phae. 257d.

1724. Middle and Reflexive.—The reflexive pronoun may be used with the middle: ““ἑαυτὸν ἀποκρύπτεσθαιto hide himselfP. R. 393c; often for emphasis, as in contrasts: οἱ μέν φα_σι βασιλέα_ κελεῦσαί τινα ἐπισφάξαι αὐτὸν Κύ_ρῳ, οἱ δ᾽ ἑαυτὸν ἐπισφάξασθαι some say that the king issued orders for some one to slay him (Artapates) over (the body of) Cyrus, while others say that he slew himself with his own hand X. A. 1.8.29, cp. also τί τὴν πόλιν προσῆκε ποιεῖν, ἀρχὴν καὶ τυραννίδα τῶν Ἑλλήνων ὀρῶσαν ἑαυτῷ κατασκευαξόμενον Φίλιππον; what did it beseem the city to do when it saw Philip compassing for himself dominion and despotic sway over the Greeks? D. 18.66.

1725. The Causative Middle denotes that the subject has something done by another for himself: ““ἐγὼ γάρ σε ταῦτα ἐδιδαξάμηνfor I had you taught thisX. C. 1.6.2, παρατίθεσθαι σῖτον to have food served up 8. 6. 12, ὅσοι ὅπλα ἀφῄρηνται, ταχὺ ἄλλα ποιήσονται all who have had their arms taken from them will soon get others made 6. 1. 12, ἑαυτῷ σκηνὴν κατεσκευάσατο he had a tent prepared for himself 2. 1. 30.

a. This force does not belong exclusively to the middle; cp. 1711.

1726. Reciprocal Middle.—With a dual or plural subject the middle may indicate a reciprocal relation. So with verbs of contending, conversing (questioning, replying), greeting, embracing, etc. The reciprocal middle is often found with compounds of διά.

““οἱ ἀ_θληταὶ ἠγωνίζοντοthe athletes contendedT. 1.6, καταστάντες ἐμάχοντο when they had got into position they fought 1. 49, ἀνὴρ ἀνδρὶ διελέγοντο they conversed man with man 8. 93, ““ἐπιμείγνυσθαι ἀλλήλοιςto have friendly intercourse with one anotherX. C. 7.4.5, ““ταῦτα διανεμοῦνταιthey will divide this up among themselvesL. 21.14. So αἰτιᾶσθαι accuse, λυ_μαίνεσθαι maltreat, μέμφεσθαι blame, ἁμιλλᾶσθαι vie, παρακελεύεσθαι encourage one another.

a. The active may also be employed, as πολεμεῖν wage war.

b. Some of these verbs have a passive aorist form, as διελέχθην (812).

1727. The reciprocal relation may also be expressed (1) by the use of the reflexive pronoun (cp. 1724) with the active: ““φθονοῦσιν ἑαυτοῖςthey are mutually enviousX. M. 3.5.16; (2) by the use of ἀλλήλων, etc., with the active: ““ἀμφισβητοῦμεν ἀλλήλοιςwe are at variance with one anotherP. Phae. 263a; (3) by repetition of the noun: πτωχὸς πτωχῷ φθονέει = beggars envy each other Hesiod W. D. 26. The reflexive pronouns and ἀλλήλων, etc., may also be added to the middle.

1728. Differences between Active and Middle.—As contrasted with the active, the middle lays stress on the conscious activity, bodily or mental participation, of the agent.

In verbs that possess both active and middle: βουλεύεσθαι deliberate, βουλεύειν plan, σταθμᾶν measure, σταθμᾶσθαι calculate, σκοπεῖν look at, σκοπεῖσθαι consider, ἔχεσθαι cling to, παύεσθαι cease (1734. 14). The force of the middle often cannot be reproduced in translation (ἀκούεσθαι, τι_μᾶσθαι, ἀριθμεῖσθαι, ἀπορεῖσθαι), and in some other cases it may not have been felt, as in ὁρᾶσθαι in poetry (προορᾶσθαι occurs in prose).

a. Many such verbs form their futures from the middle: ἀκούσομαι, ᾁσομαι, ἁμαρτήσομαι. See 805.

b. In verbs in -ευω, the middle signifies that the subject is acting in a manner appropriate to his state or condition: πολι_τεύειν be a citizen, πολι_τεύεσθαι act as a citizen, perform one's civic duties; πρεσβεύειν be an envoy, πρεσβεύεσθαι negotiate as envoy or send envoys (of the State in its negotiations). But this force of the middle is not always apparent.

1729. Middle Deponents (810) often denote bodily or mental action (feeling and thinking): ἅλλεσθαι jump, πέτεσθαι fly, ὀρχεῖσθαι dance, οἴχεσθαι be gone, δέρκεσθαι look; βούλεσθαι wish, αἰσθάνεσθαι perceive, ἀκροᾶσθαι listen, μέμφεσθαι blame, οἴεσθαι conjecture, think (lit. take omens for oneself, from ὀϝις, Lat. avis, auspicium), ἡγεῖσθαι consider; ὀλοφύ_ρεσθαι lament.

a. Some of the verbs denoting a functional state or process have the middle either in all forms or only in the future.

b. Verbs denoting bodily activity regularly have a middle future, 805-806.

1730. Deponent verbs are either direct or indirect middles; direct: ὑπισχνεῖσθαι undertake, promise (lit. hold oneself under); indirect: κτᾶσθαι acquire for oneself, ἀγωνίζεσθαι contend (with one's own powers).

1731. The middle may denote more vigorous participation on the part of the subject than the active: σεύεσθαι dart, but θέειν run.

1732. The active is often used for the middle when it is not of practical importance to mark the interest of the subject in the action. The active implies what the middle expresses. So with ““μεταπέμπεινsend forT. 7.15, δηλώσαντες τὴν γνώμην setting forth their opinion 3. 37, τροπαῖον στήσαντες setting up a trophy 7. 5.

1733. The passive form may have reflexive force, as κι_νηθῆναι set oneself in motion, ἀπαλλαγῆναι remove oneself, ἐναντιωθῆναι oppose oneself, σωθῆναι save oneself (““σώθητιsave yourselfP. Cr. 44b). Some of these middle passives may take the accusative, as αἰσχυνθῆναι be ashamed before, φοβηθῆναι be afraid of, καταπληγῆναί τινα be amazed at some one. See 814 ff.

1734. List of the chief verbs showing important differences of meaning between active and middle. It will be noted that the active is often transitive, the middle intransitive.

1. αἱρεῖν take; αἱρεῖσθαι choose.

2. ἀμύ_νειν τί τινι ward off something from some one, ἀμύ_νειν τινί help some one; ἀμύ_νεσθαί τι defend oneself against something, ἀμύ_νεσθαί τινα requite some one.

3. ἀποδοῦναι give back; ἀποδόσθαι sell (give away for one's profit).

4. ἅπτειν attach; ἅπτεσθαί τινος touch.

5. ἄρχειν begin, contrasts one beginner of an action with another, as ἄρχειν πολέμου take the aggressive, strike the first blow (bellum movere), ἄρχειν λόγου be the first to speak, ““ἦρχε χειρῶν ἀδίκωνhe began an unprovoked assaultL. 4.11; ἄρχεσθαι make one's own beginning, as contrasted with the later stages, as ἄρχεσθαι πολέμου begin warlike operations (bellum incipere), ἄρχεσθαι τοῦ λόγου begin one's speech. ““πολέμου οὐκ ἄρξομεν, ἀρχομένους δὲ ἀμυ_νούμεθαwe shall not take the initiative in the war, but upon those who take it up we shall retaliateT. 1.144.

6. γαμεῖν marry (of the man, ducere); γαμεῖσθαι marry (of the woman, nubere).

7. γράφειν νόμον propose a law (said of the maker of a law whether or not he is himself subject to it); γράφεσθαι γραφήν draw up an indictment for a public offence, γράφεσθαί τινα bring suit against some one (have him written down in the magistrates' records).

8. δανείζειν (make of anything a δάνος loan) i.e. put out at interest, lend; δανείζεσθαι (have a δάνος made to oneself) have lent to one, borrow at interest.

9. δικάζειν give judgment; δικάζεσθαι (δίκην τινί) go to law with a person, conduct a case (properly get some one to give judgment).

10. ἐπιψηφίζειν put to vote (of the presiding officer); ἐπιψηφίζεσθαι vote, decree (of the people).

11. ἔχειν hold; ἔχεσθαί τ<*>νος hold on to, be close to.

12. θύ_ειν sacrifice; θύ_εσθαι take auspices (of a general, etc.).

13. μισθοῦν (put a μισθός, rent, on anything) i.e. let for hire (locare); μισθοῦσθαι (lay a μισθός upon oneself) i.e. hire (conducere). Cp. 1723.

14. παύειν make to cease, stop (trans.); παύεσθαι cease (intr.). But παῦε λέγων stop talking.

15. πείθειν persuade; πείθεσθαι obey (persuade oneself); πέποιθα I trust.

16. τιθέναι νόμον frame or propose a law for others (said of the lawgiver, legem ferre or rogare); τίθεσθαι νόμον make a law for one's own interest, for one's own State (said of the State legislating, legem sciscere or iubere). αὐτοὺς (ἀγράφους νόμους) ““οἱ ἄνθρωποι ἔθεντο . . . θεοὺς οἶμαι τοὺς νόμους τούτους τοῖς ἀνθρώποις θεῖναιmen did not make the unwritten laws for themselves, but I think the gods made these laws for menX. M. 4.4.19.

17. τι_μωρεῖν τινι avenge some one, τι_μωρεῖν τινά τινι punish A for B's satisfaction; τι_μωρεῖσθαί τινα avenge oneself on (punish) some one.

18. τίνειν δίκην pay a penalty (poenas dare); τίνεσθαι δίκην exact a penalty (poenas sumere).

19. φυλάττειν τινά watch some one; φυλάττεσθαί τινα be on one's guard against some one.

20. χρᾶν give an oracle , and lend; χρᾶσθαι consult an oracle , and use.


1735. The passive voice represents the subject as acted on: ἐώθουν, ἐωθοῦντο, ἔπαιον, ἐπαίοντο they pushed, were pushed, they struck, were struck X. C. 7.1.38.

a. The passive has been developed from the middle. With the exception of some futures and the aorist, the middle forms do duty as passives: αἱρεῖται takes for himself, i.e. chooses, and is chosen. (For this development of the passive, cp. the reflexive use in se trouver, sich finden.) So κέχυται has poured itself, has been poured. In Homer there are more perfect middles used passively than any other middle tenses. Cp. 802.

b. Uncompounded ἐσχόμην sometimes retained its use as a passive. ἐσχέθην is late.

1736. The passive may have the sense allow oneself to be, get oneself: ““ἐξάγοντές τε καὶ ἐξαγόυενοιcarrying and allowing ourselves to be carried across the borderP. Cr. 48d, ““ἀπεχθήσει Γοργίᾳyou will incur the hatred of GorgiasP. Phil. 58c.

1737. Many future middle forms are used passively (807 ff.).

1738. The future middle forms in -σομαι are developed from the present stem, and express durative action; the (later) future passives in -ήσομαι, -θήσομαι are developed from the aorists in -ην and -θην, and are aoristic. This difference in kind of action is most marked when the future middle forms are used passively, but it is not always found. τοῖς ἄλλοις ξυμμάχοις παράδειγμα σαφὲς καταστήσατε, ὃς ἂν ἀφίστηται, θανάτῳ ζημιωσόμενον give to the rest of the allies a plain example that whoever revolts shall be punished (in each case) with death T. 3.40, ἐὰ_ν ἁλῷ, θανάτῳ ζημιωθήσεται if he is convicted, he will be punished (a single occurrence) with death D. 23.80, δίκαιος μαστι_γώσεται, στρεβλώσεται, δεδήσεται, ἐκκαυθήσεται τὠφθαλμώ the just man will be scourged, racked, fettered, will have his eyes burnt out P. R. 361e, τι_μήσομαι I shall enjoy honour, τι_μηθήσομαι I shall be honoured (on a definite occasion), ὠφελήσομαι I shall receive lasting benefit, ὠφεληθήσομαι I shall be benefited (on a definite occasion). Cp. 808, 809, 1911.

1739. The second aorist passive was originally a second aorist active (of the -μι form) that was used intransitively to distinguish it from the transitive first aorist, as ἔφηνα showed, ἐφάνην appeared; ἔφθειρα destroyed, ἐφθάρην am destroyed; ἐξέπληξα was terrified, ἐξεπλάγην was alarmed. So ἐδάην learned, ἐρρύην flowed. Cp. ἔστησα placed, ἔστην stood (819).

1740. In Hom. all the second aorist forms in -ην are intransitive except ἐπλήγην and ἐτύπην was struck. Most of the forms in -θην are likewise intransitive in Hom., as ἐφάνθην appeared (in Attic was shown).

1741. The perfect passive in the third singular with the dative of the agent (1488) is often preferred to the perfect active of the first person. Thus πέπρα_κταί μοι it has been done by me is more common than πέπρα_γα or πέπρα_χα I have done.

1742. The passive may be passive of the middle as well as passive of the active: αἱρεῖται is taken or is chosen, βιάζεται does violence or suffers violence (is forced), ᾑρέθη was taken or was chosen, ἐγράφη was written or was indicted (γέγραμμαι is commonly middle). The use of the passive as passive of the middle is post-Homeric.

a. When deponent verbs have a passive force, the future and aorist have the passive form: ἐβιάσθην I suffered violence (was forced), but ἐβιασάμην I did violence. This holds when there was once an active form. Cp. also τι_μωρεῖσθαι, μεταπέμπεσθαι, ψηφίζεσθαι, κυκλεῖσθαι.

b. The aorist passive may have a middle sense (814).

1743. The direct object of an active verb becomes the subject of the passive: ἐπιστολὴ ὑπὸ τοῦ διδασκάλου γράφεται the letter is written by the teacher (active διδάσκαλος γράφει τὴν ἐπιστολήν).

1744. The cognate accusative may become the subject of the passive: ““πόλεμος ἐπολεμήθηwar was wagedP. Menex. 243e (πόλεμον πολεμεῖν, 1564).

1745. Active or middle verbs governing the genitive or dative may form (unlike the Latin use) a personal passive, the genitive or dative (especially if either denotes a person) becoming the subject of the passive.

a. With the genitive: ἄρχειν, ἡγεμονεύειν, καταφρονεῖν, καταγελᾶν, καταψηφίζειν (καταψηφίζεσθαι), ἀμελεῖν.

b. With the dative: ἀπειλεῖν, ἀπιστεῖν, ἐγκαλεῖν, ἐπιβουλεύειν, ἐπιτι_μᾶν, ὀνειδίζειν, πιστεύειν, πολεμεῖν, φθονεῖν.

c. Examples: ““οὐκ ἠξίουν οὗτοι ἡγεμονεύεσθαι ὑφ᾽ ἡμῶνthey did not think it right to be governed by usT. 3.61, ““ἐκεῖνος κατεψηφίσθηhe was condemnedX. H. 5.2.36, but ““θάνατος αὐτῶν κατεγνώσθηthe penalty of death was pronounced against themL. 13.39 (pass. of καταγνῶναι θάνατον αὐτῶν), ““ὥρα_ ἡμῖν βουλεύεσθαι ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν αὐτῶν μὴ καταφρονηθῶμενit is time for us to take counsel for ourselves that we may not be brought into contemptX. A. 5.7.12, ““πολεμοῦνται μὲν ὑπὸ τῶν τὴν χώρα_ν αὐτῶν περιοικούντων, ἀπιστοῦνται δ᾽ ὑφ᾽ ἁπάντωνthey are warred against by those who dwell around their country, and are distrusted by allI. 5.49, πῶς ἂν ἐπεβούλευσά τι αὐτῷ, τι μὴ καὶ ἐπεβουλεύθην ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ; how could I have plotted against him, unless I had been plotted against by him? Ant. 4. β. 5, ““φθονηθεὶς ὑπὸ τοὖ Οδυσσέωςenvied by OdysseusX. M. 4.2.33 (contrast Lat. invidetur mihi ab aliquo).

N.—The above principle does not hold when the accusative of an external object intervenes between the verb and the dative.

1746. A verb governing an oblique case rarely forms in Greek (unlike Latin) an impersonal passive: ““ἐμοὶ βεβοήθηται τῷ τε τεθνεῶτι καὶ τῷ νόμῳmy aid has been given to the deceased and to the lawAnt. 1.31. The tense used is one from the perfect stem.

1747. An active verb followed by two accusatives, one of a person, the other of a thing, retains, when transferred to the passive, the accusative of the thing, while the accusative of the person becomes the nominative subject of the passive. Examples 1621, 1625, 1627, 1632.

1748. An active verb followed by an accusative of the direct object (a thing) and an oblique case of a person, retains, when transferred to the passive, the accusative of the direct object, while the indirect object becomes the nominative subject of the passive. Cp. I have been willed a large estate.

a. With verbs signifying to enjoin, entrust: ““οἱ Βοιωτοὶ ταῦτα ἐπεσταλμένοι ἀνεχώρουνthe Boeotians having received these instructions withdrewT. 5.37 (pass. of ἐπιστέλλειν ταῦτα τοῖς Βοιωτοῖς), ἄλλο τι μεῖζον ἐπιταχθήσεσθε you will have some greater command laid upon you 1. 140 (pass. of ἐπιτάττειν ἄλλο τι μεῖζον ὑ_μῖν). Both accusatives are internal; and so, in ““οἱ τῶν Ἀθηναίων ἐπιτετραμμένοι τὴν φυλακήνthose of the Athenians who had been entrusted with the watchT. 1.126, φυλακήν is equivalent to an internal accusative. The nominative of the thing and the dative of the person sometimes occur (““Ἴωνες, τοῖσι ἐπετέτραπτο φυλακήthe Ionians to whom the guard had been entrustedHdt. 7.10). The dative is common when an inf. is used with the pass. verb: ““ἐπετέτακτο τοῖς σκευοφόροις ἰέναιthe baggage-carriers had been commanded to goX. C. 6.3.3.

b. With other verbs: ἀποτμηθέντες τὰ_ς κεφαλά_ς having been decapitated (had their heads cut off) X. A. 2.6.1 (pass. of ἀποτέμνειν τὰ_ς κεφαλά_ς τισι or τινων).

1749. A passive may be formed in the case of verbs ordinarily intransitive but allowing a cognate accusative in the active: ““ἱκανὰ τοῖς πολεμίοις ηὐτύχηταιthe enemy has had enough good fortuneT. 7.77 (εὐτυχεῖν ἱκανά, 1573), ““κεκινδυ_νεύσεταιthe risk will have been runAnt. 5.75. See 1746. This is common with neuter passive participles: ““τὰ ἠσεβημένα αὐτῷthe impious acts committed by himL. 6.5, ““τὰ σοὶ κἀ_μοὶ βεβιωμέναthe life led by you and by meD. 18.265, τὰ πεπολι_τευμένα αὐτοῖς their political acts 1. 28, ““ἁμαρτηθένταerrors committedX. A. 5.8.20.

a. Some verbs describing the action of the weather may be used in the passive: ““νειφόμενοι ἀπῆλθον εἰς τὸ ἄστυthey returned to the city covered with snowX. H. 2.4.3.

1750. The cognate subject may be implied, as in the case of impersonal passives, in the perfect and tenses derived from the perfect. Thus, ““ἐπειδὴ αὐτοῖς παρεσκεύαστοwhen their preparations were completeT. 1.46. λέγεται it is said, ἐδηλώθη it was made known, followed by the logical subject are not impersonal: ““ἐδηλώθη τῷ τρόπῳ ἀπωλώλει τὰ χρήματαit was shown how the money had been lostAnt. 5.70. See 935.

1751. Greek uses impersonals from intransitives (corresponding to Lat. ambulatur, itur, curritur) only when the active is itself intransitive; as δέδοκται it has seemed good (cp. δοκεῖ).

1752. The active or the middle deponent of a transitive verb used transitively or of an intransitive verb may replace the passive of a transitive verb.

ἀκούειν (poet. κλύειν) be called; be well (εὖ, καλῶς) or ill (κακῶς) spoken of, = pass. of λέγειν: ““νῦν κόλακες ἀκούουσινnow they are called flatterersD. 18.46, τίς ὑπ᾽ ἐμοῦ κακῶς ἀκήκοεν πέπονθε; who has been ill spoken of or suffered at my hands? L. 8.3. Cp. bene, male audire; Milton: “England hears ill abroad.”

ἁλίσκεσθαι be caught = pass. of αἱρεῖν, as ““ἐὰ_ν ἁλῷς τοῦτο πρά_ττωνif you are caught doing thisP. A. 29c.

ἀποθνήσκειν (die) be killed = pass. of ἀποκτείνειν, as ““ἀπέθνῃσκον ὑπὸ ἱππέωνthey were killed by the cavalryX. C. 7.1.48. But not in the perfect, where the uncompounded τέθνηκα is used.

γίγνεσθαι be born = pass. of τίκτειν beget, bring forth: ““παῖδες αὐτῷ οὐκ ἐγίγνοντο ἐκ ταύτηςhe had no children by herX. H. 6.4.37.

δίκην δοῦναι be punished = pass. of ζημιοῦν, as ““ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν τούτων δίκην ἔδοσανthey were punished by these very menX. C. 1.6.45.

ἡττᾶσθαι be defeated = pass. of νι_κᾶν conquer, as ““ὑπὸ τῶν συμμάχων ἡττώμενοιworsted by their alliesAnd. 4.28.

κατιέναι (κατέρχεσθαι) return from exile = pass. of κατάγειν restore from exile, as ““ὑπ ὀλιγαρχία_ς κατελθεῖνto be restored by an oligarchyT. 8.68.

κεῖσθαι (lie) be placed = pass. of the perfect of τιθέναι: ““πείθου τοῖς νόμοις τοῖς ὑπὸ τῶν βασιλέων κειμένοιςobey the laws established by kingsI. 1.36.

λαγχάνειν (obtain by lot) be drawn by lot = pass. of κληροῦν: ““ἔλαχον ἱερεύςI became priest by lotD. 57.47.

πάσχειν (suffer) be treated well (εὖ) or ill (κακῶς) = pass. of ποιεῖν (εὖ, κακῶς): ““εὖ παθόντες ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶνwell treated by themP. G. 519c.

πί_πτειν in ἐκπί_πτειν (fall out) be expelled = pass. of ἐκβάλλειν: οἱ ἐκπεπτωκότες <*> τοῦ δήμου those who had been expelled by the people X. H. 4.8.20.

φεύγειν (flee) be prosecuted = pass. of διώκειν (be indicted = γράφεσθαι passive); <*>iled = pass. of ἐκβάλλειν. So ἀποφεύγειν be acquitted = pass. of ἀπολύ_ειν. Thus. ““ἀσεβεία_ς φεύγων ὑπὸ Μελήτουprosecuted for impiety by MeletusP. A. 35d.

1753. Other equivalents of passive forms are ἔχειν, τυγχάνειν, λαμβάνειν, used with a substantive of like meaning with the active verb: ὄνομα ἔχειν ὀνο<*>σθαι, συγγνώμην ἔχειν or συγγνώμης τυγχάνειν συγγιγνώσκεσθαι, ἔπαινον λαμβά<*> or ἐπαίνου τυγχάνειν ἐπαινεῖσθαι. So with middle deponents: αἰτία_ν ἔχειν <*>τιᾶσθαι.

1754. The passive of the periphrasis with ποιεῖσθαι (1722) is made with <*>εσθαι: so εἰρήνη γίγνεται peace is made.

1755. The agent of the passive is regularly expressed by ὑπό and the genitive; sometimes by ἀπό, διά, ἐκ, παρά, πρός with the genitive, or by ὑπό with the dative (in poetry). See 1678.

1756. The instrument of an action, when regarded as the agent, is personified, and may be expressed by ὑπό with the genitive: α<*>λίσκεται ὑπὸ τριήρους he is captured by a trireme D. 53.6.

1757. The dative, or a prepositional phrase, is regularly used with the passive to denote the instrument, means, or cause (1506). The agent may be viewed as the instrument: in prose, when persons are regarded as instruments, the dative is usually that of military accompaniment (1526).

1758. The dative of the agent used with the perfect passive and verbal adjective is a dative of interest (1488); on ὑπό with the genitive used instead of the dative, see 1493, 1494.


1759. Mood designates by the form of the verb the mode or manner (modus) in which the speaker conceives of an assertion concerning the subject.

1760. There are four moods proper in Greek: indicative, subjunctive, optative, and imperative. The infinitive (strictly a verbal noun) and the participle (strictly an adjective form of the verb) may be classed with the moods.


1761. The particle ἄν (Hom. κέν, κέ) limits the meaning of the moods. It has two distinct uses:

a. In independent clauses: with the past tenses of the indicative and with the optative; also with the infinitive and participle representing the indicative or optative.

b. In dependent clauses: with the subjunctive.

1762. No separate word can be used to translate ἄν by itself; its force varies as it modifies the meaning of the moods. In general ἄν limits the force of the verb to particular conditions or circumstances (‘under the circumstances,’ ‘in that case,’ ‘then’).

1763. In Homer ἄν is preferred in negative, κέν, κέ in relative, sentences.

1764. Position of ἄν.—ἄν does not begin a sentence or a clause, except after a weak mark of punctuation, as τί οὖν, ἄν τις εἴποι, ταῦτα λέγεις ἡμῖν νῦν; why then (some one might say) do you tell us this now? D. 1.14. In independent sentences with ἄν (indic. and opt.) the particle is often separated from its verb for emphasis, and is attached to negatives (οὐκ ἄν), interrogatives (τίς ἄν, πῶς ἄν), or to any emphatic modifier. It is commonly attached to verbs of saying or thinking: σὺν ὑ_μῖν μὲν ἂν οἶμαι εἶναι τί_μιος if I should remain with you, I think I should be esteemed X. A. 1.3.6.

a. So with οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ἂν εἰ (or οὐκ ἂν οἶδα εἰ) followed by a verb to which ἄν belongs: ““οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ἂν εἰ πείσαιμιI do not know whether I could persuadeE. Med. 941 (for πείσαιμι ἄν).

1765. Repetition of ἄν.—ἄν may be repeated once or twice in the same sentence.

a. ἄν is placed early in a sentence which contains a subordinate clause, in order to direct attention to the character of the construction: ““δοκοῦμεν δ᾽ ἄν μοι ταύτῃ προσποιούμενοι προσβαλεῖν ἐρημοτέρῳ ἂν τῷ ὄρει χρῆσθαιif we should make a feint attack here it seems to me we should find the mountain to have fewer defendersX. A. 4.6.13.

b. For rhetorical emphasis ἄν is added to give prominence to particular words: τίς γὰρ τοιαῦτ᾽ ἂν οὐκ ἂν ὀργίζοιτ᾽ ἔπη κλύων; and who would not be angered upon hearing such words? S. O. T. 339, πῶς ἂν οὐκ ἂν ἐν δίκῃ θάνοιμ᾽ ἄν; how should I not justly die? S. fr. 673.

1766. ἄν without a Verb.—ἄν sometimes stands without a verb, which is to be supplied from the context. So in the second member of a sentence with coördinate clauses: οἶδα ὅτι πολλοὺς μὲν ἡγεμόνας ἂν δοίη, πολλοὺς δ᾽ ἂν (δοίη) ““ὁμήρουςI know that he would give many guides and many hostagesX. A. 3.2.24. Often with πῶς ἄν (εἴη); how can (could) it be? P. R. 353c, ““τάχ᾽ ἄνperhapsP. Soph. 255c.

a. So with ὡς ἄν, ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ (2480): παρῆν Γαδά_τα_ς δῶρα πολλὰ φέρων, ὡς ἂν (scil. φέροι τις) ““ἐξ οἴκου μεγάλουGadatas came with many gifts, such as one might offer from large meansX. C. 5.4.29, φοβούμενος ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ παῖς fearing like a child (ὥσπερ ἂν ἐφοβεῖτο, εἰ παῖς ἦν) P. G. 479a.

b. κἂ_ν εἰ is often used for the simple καὶ εἰ (2372) and without regard to the mood of the following verb; sometimes there is no verb in the apodosis to which the ἄν may be referred, as ““ἔστιν ἄρα τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, κἂ_ν εἰ μή τῳ δοκεῖ, τῷ ὄντι τύραννος τῷ ὄντι δοῦλοςthe very tyrant is then in truth a very slave even if he does not seem so to any oneP. R. 579d (here καὶ εἰ μὴ δοκεῖ, εἴη ἄν is implied). κἂ_ν εἰ may be also so used that ἄν belongs to the apodosis, while καί, though going with εἰ in translation (even if), affects the whole conditional sentence. Thus, νῦν δέ μοι δοκεῖ, κἂν ὰσέβειαν εἰ (τις) καταγιγνώσκοι, τὰ προσήκοντα ποιεῖν but as it is, it seems to me that, even if any one should condemn his wanton assault, he would be acting properly D. 21.51 (here ἄν goes with ποιεῖν, i.e. ποιοίη ἄν). κἄ_ν if only, followed by a limiting expression, may generally be regarded as καὶ ἄ_ν ( = ἐά_ν) with a subjunctive understood; as ἀλλά μοι πάρες κἂ_ν σμι_κρὸν εἰπεῖν yet permit me to say but a word ( = καὶ ἐὰ_ν παρῇς) S. El. 1482.

1767. Omission of ἄν.—ἄν is sometimes omitted when it may be supplied from the preceding sentence or clause. So often with the second of two verbs that are connected or opposed: τί ἐποίησεν ἄν; δῆλον ὅτι ὤμοσε (ἄν); what would he have done? is it not clear that he would have taken an oath? D. 31.9, ““οὔτ᾽ ἂν οὗτος ἔχοι λέγειν οὔθ᾽ ὑ_μεῖς πεισθείητεneither can he assert nor can you be made to believeD. 22.17. By retention of earlier usage the subjunctive is sometimes used without ἄν where it is commonly employed in the later language (2327, 2339, 2565 b, 2567 b). Here the difference is scarcely appreciable except that the omission gives an archaic tone.


1768. Subjunctive with ἄν.—Conditional, relative, and temporal clauses requiring the subjunctive must have ἄν, which is more closely attached to the conditional, relative, and temporal words than it is to the subjunctive.

a. Hence the combinations ἐά_ν (ἤν, ἄ_ν) on which cp. 2283; ὅταν, ὁπόταν, ἐπήν (ἐπά_ν), ἐπειδάν from εἰ, ὅτε, ὁπότε, ἐπεί, ἐπειδή ¨ ἄν. When the particle does not thus coalesce, it is usually separated only by such words as μέν, δέ, τέ, γάρ.

b. The force of ἄν with the subjunctive cannot usually be expressed in English. For ἄν in final clauses with ὡς, ὅπως, and ὄφρα, see 2201. In Hom. ἄν (κέν) is found in dependent clauses, 2334 c.


1769. §§ 1770-1849 treat of the use of the moods in independent sentences and principal clauses. The dependent construction of the moods was developed from their independent use. The use of the moods in subordinate clauses was not originally different from that in independent sentences and in the principal clauses of complex sentences. For the uses of the indicative, see also 1875-1958.


1770. The indicative mood makes a simple, direct assertion of fact; or asks a question anticipating such an assertion: ἦλθε he came, οὐκ ἦλθε he did not come, ἐλεύσεται he will come, πότε ταῦτα ποιήσει; when will he do this?

1771. The indicative states particular or general suppositions, makes affirmative or negative assertions, which may or may not be absolutely true. Thus, in assumptions, ἐξήμαρτέ τις ἄ_κων: συγγνώμη ἀντὶ τι_μωρία_ς τούτῳ suppose some one involuntarily committed an offence; for him there is pardon rather than punish- ment D. 18.274, and often after καὶ δή, as ““καὶ δὴ τεθνᾶσιand suppose they are deadE. Med. 386.

1772. The indicative may be used to express a doubtful assertion about a present or past action (negative μή or μὴ οὐ): ἀλλ᾽ ἄρα . . . μὴ Κτήσιππος ἦν ταῦτ᾽ εἰπών but I suspect (i.e. perhaps) after all it was Ctesippus who said this P. Eu. 290e, ““ἀλλὰ μὴ τοῦτο οὐ καλῶς ὡμολογήσαμενbut perhaps we did not do well in agreeing to thisP. Men. 89c. Such sentences are often regarded as questions with the effect of doubtful affirmation.

1773. The indicative may be used alone where in English we employ an auxiliary verb: πιστεύων δὲ θεοῖς πῶς οὐκ εἶναι θεοὺς ἐνόμιζεν; since he trusted in the gods how could (or should) he believe there were no gods? X. M. 1.1.5, ““ὀλίγου εἷλον τὴν πόλινa little more and they would have taken the cityT. 8.35, ἀπωλλύμεθα we might have perished (we were in danger of perishing) X. A. 5.8.2. Cp. 2319.

1774. Unfulfilled Obligation (Propriety, Possibility).—With the imperfect indicative of impersonal expressions denoting obligation, propriety, necessity, or possibility, the action of a dependent infinitive is usually not realized. (Examples 1775-1776.)

Such expressions are ἔδει, χρῆν (or ἐχρῆν), προσῆκε, καιρὸς ἦν, ἄξιον ἦν, εἰκὸς ἦν, δίκαιον ἦν, αἰσχρὸν ἦν, ἐξῆν, καλῶς εἶχεν, verbals in -τόν or -τέον with ἦν, etc.

a. For the use of these expressions (also with ἄν) in the apodosis of unreal conditions, see 2313, 2315.

1775. Present.—Thus, ἔδει σε ταῦτα ποιεῖν you ought to be doing this (but are not doing it), ““τούσδε μὴ ζῆν ἔδειthese men ought not to be aliveS. Ph. 418, ““τί σι_γᾷς; οὐκ ἐχρῆν σι_γᾶνwhy art thou silent? Thou shouldst not be silentE. Hipp. 297, ““εἰκὸς ἦν ὑ_μᾶς . . . μὴ μαλακῶς, ὥσπερ νῦν, ξυμμαχεῖνyou should not be slack in your alliance, as you are at presentT. 6.78.

1776. Past.—ἔδει σε ταῦτα ποιῆσαι (or ποιεῖν) you ought to have done this (but did not do it), ἐξῆν σοι ἐλθεῖν you might have gone (but did not go), ἐνῆν αὐτῷ ταῦτα ποιῆσαι he could have done this (almost equivalent to the potential indicative ταῦτα ἐποίησεν ἄν, 1784), ““ἔδει τὰ ἐνέχυρα τότε λαβεῖνI ought to have taken the pledges thenX. A. 7.6.23, ““ἄξιον ἦν ἀκοῦσαιit would have been worth hearingP. Eu. 304d, ““μένειν ἐξῆνhe might have remainedD. 3.17.

1777. The Greek usage simply states the obligation (propriety, possibility) as a fact which existed in the past (and may continue to exist in the present). In English we usually express the non-fulfilment of the action.

1778. Present or past time is denoted when the present infinitive is used. When the reference is to present time, the action of the present infinitive is always denied. Past time is denoted when the aorist infinitive is used.

1779. The expressions in 1774 may also refer to simple past obligation (propriety, possibility) and have the ordinary force of past indicatives: ἔδει μένειν he had to remain (and did remain) D. 19.124. The context determines the meaning; thus τί τὸν σύμβουλον ἐχρῆν ποιεῖν; (D. 18.190) by itself might mean either what was it the duty of the statesman to do or what was it the duty of the statesman to have done?

1780. Unattainable Wish.—A wish, referring to the present or past, which cannot be realized, is expressed by a past tense of the indicative with εἴθε or with εἰ γάρ (negative μή). The imperfect refers to present time, the aorist to past time (cp. 2304, 2305).

εἴθ᾽ εἶχες βελτἱ_ους φρένας would that thou hadst (now) a better heart E. El. 1061, ““εἴθε σοι τότε συνεγενόμηνwould that I had then been with theeX. M. 1.2.46.

1781. An unattainable wish may also be expressed by ὤφελον (ought) with the present or aorist infinitive: ὤφελε Κῦρος ζῆν would that Cyrus were (now) alive (Cyrus ought to be alive) X. A. 2.1.4 (1775). The negative is μή: ““μήποτ᾽ ὤφελον λιπεῖν τὴν Σκῦρονwould that I had never left ScyrosS. Ph. 969. εἴθε or εἰ γάρ (poet. αἴθε, ὡς) may be used before ὤφελον: εἰ γὰρ ὤφελον οἷοί τε εἶναι οἱ πολλοὶ κακὰ ἐργάζεσθαι would that the multitude were able to do evil Pl. Cr. 44 d.

1782. ἐβουλόμην followed by an infinitive may express an unattainable wish: ἐβουλόμην μὲν οὐκ ἐρίζειν ἐνθάδε I would that I were not contending here (as I am) Ar. Ran. 866. (ἐβουλόμην ἄν vellem, 1789.)

1783. The indicative is also used in other than simple sentences: in final sentences (2203); in object sentences after verbs of effort (2211), of caution (2220 a), of fearing (2231, 2233); in consecutive sentences with ὥστε so that (2274), in conditional sentences (2300, 2303, 2323, 2326); in temporal sentences (2395); in object sentences after ὅτι and ὡς with a verb of saying, etc. (2577 ff.).


1784. Past Potential.—The past tenses (usually the aorist, less commonly the imperfect) of the indicative with ἄν (κέν) denote past potentiality, probability (cautious statement), or necessity: ““ οὐκ ἂν ᾤοντοwhich they could not have expectedT. 7.55, τίς γὰρ ἂν ᾠήθη ταῦτα γενέσθαι; for who would have expected these things to happen? D. 9.68 (note that ἄν does not go with γενέσθαι by 1764), ἔγνω ἄν τις one might (could, would) have known X. C. 7.1.38, ““ὑπό κεν ταλασίφρονά περ δέος εἷλενfear might have seized even a man of stout heartΔ 421.

a. This is especially frequent with τὶς and with the ideal second person (cp. putares, crederes): ἐπέγνως ἄν you would (could, might) have observed X. C. 8.1.33.

b. The potential optative (1829) in Homer refers also to the past.

1785. A protasis may often be extracted from a participle, or is intimated in some other word; but there is no reference to any definite condition, hence a definite ellipsis is not to be supplied.

1786. Unreal Indicative.—The indicative of the historical tenses with ἄν (κέν) may denote unreality: ““τότε δ᾽ αὐτὸ τὸ πρᾶγμ᾽ ἂν ἐκρί_νετο ἐφ᾽ αὑτοῦbut the case would then have been decided on its own meritsD. 18.224, ““καί κεν πολὺ κέρδιον ἦενand in that case it were far betterΓ 41.

1787. This use of the indicative with ἄν to denote unreality is not inherent in the meaning of the past tenses of that mood, but has been developed from the past potential with which the unreal indicative is closely connected. On the common use of this construction in the apodosis of unreal conditions see 2303. On ἔδει ἄν, etc., see 2315.

1788. The imperfect refers to the present or the past, the aorist to the past (rarely to the present), the pluperfect to the present (less commonly to the past).

1789. ἐβουλόμην ἄν (vellem) I should like or should have liked may express an unattainable wish: ἐβουλόμην ἂν Σίμωνα τὴν αὐτὴν γνώμην ἐμοὶ ἔχειν I should have liked Simon to be (or I wish Simon were) of the same mind as myself L. 3.21. On ἐβουλόμην without ἄν, see 1782.

1790. Iterative Indicative (repeated action).—The imperfect and aorist with ἄν are used to express repeated or customary past action (post-Homeric): ““διηρώτων ἄνI used to askP. A. 22b, ““ἂν ἔλεξενhe was wont to sayX. C. 7.1.10.

1791. This construction is connected with the past potential and denoted originally what could or would take place under certain past circumstances. Thus, ἀναλαμβάνων οὖν αὐτῶν τὰ ποιήματα . . . διηρώτων ἂν αὐτοὺς τί λέγοιεν accordingly, taking up their poems, I used to (would) ask them (as an opportunity presented itself) what they meant P. A. 22b. In actual use, since the action of the verb did take place, this construction has become a statement of fact.

1792. In Herodotus this construction is used with the iterative forms: κλαίεσκε ἄν she kept weeping 3. 119, οἱ δὲ ἂν Πέρσα<*> λάβεσκον τὰ πρόβατα the Persians were wont to seize the cattle 4. 130.

1793. Homer and the early poets use ἄν (κέν) with the future indicative with a conditional or limiting force: καί κέ τις ὧδ᾽ ἐρέει and in such a case some one will (may) say thus Δ 176. This use is found also in conditional relative sentences (2565 b). In Attic ἄν is found with the future in a few passages which are now generally emended. In P. A. 29c there is an anacoluthon.

1794. ἄν is not used with the present and perfect indicative.


1795. The chief uses of the independent subjunctive are the hortatory (1797), the prohibitive (1800), and the deliberative (1805).

a. The name subjunctive is due to the belief of the ancient grammarians that the mood was always subordinate. Thus, εἴπω shall I speak? (1805) was explained as due to the omission of a preceding βούλει, i.e. do you wish that I speak?

1796. The independent subjunctive refers to future time. It has three main uses: (1) the voluntative, expressing the will of the speaker. This is akin to the imperative. (2) The deliberative. This is possibly a form of the voluntative. (3) The anticipatory (or futural). This anticipates an action as an immediate future possibility. Whether the anticipatory is a form of the voluntative is uncertain (cp. ich will sehen, je veux voir, dialectal il veut pleuvoir).

1797. Hortatory Subjunctive.—The hortatory subjunctive (present or aorist) is used to express a request or a proposal (negative μή).

a. Usually in the first person plural: νῦν ἴωμεν καὶ ἀκούσωμεν τοῦ ἀνδρός let us go now and hear the man P. Prot. 314 b, μήπω ἐκεῖσε ἴωμεν let's not go there yet 311 a. ἄγε, φέρε (δή), in Hom. ἄγε (δή), sometimes precedes, as ἄγε σκοπῶμεν come, let us consider X. C. 5.5.15. ἴθι (δή) rarely precedes.

b. Less frequently in the first person singular, which is usually preceded (in affirmative sentences) by φέρε (δή), in Hom. by ἄγε (δή): ““φέρε δὴ περὶ τοῦ ψηφίσματος εἴπωlet me now speak about the billD. 19.234.

1798. The first person singular in negative exhortations (rare and poetic) may convey a warning or a threat: μή σε, γέρον, κοίλῃσιν παρὰ νηυσὶ κιχείω old man, let me not find thee by the hollow ships A 26. This use is often regarded as prohibitive (1800).

1799. The hortatory use of the subjunctive compensates for the absence of an imperative of the first person.

1800. Prohibitive Subjunctive.—The subjunctive (in the second and third persons of the aorist) is often used to express prohibitions (negative μή).

a. Usually in the second person: ““μηδὲν ἀθυ_μήσητεdo not lose heartX. A. 5.4.19. For the aorist subjunctive the present imperative may be employed (1840): μὴ ποιήσῃς (or μὴ ποίει) ταῦτα do not do this (not μὴ ποιῇς).

b. Less commonly in the third person, which usually represents the second: ““ὑπολάβῃ δὲ μηδείςand let no one supposeT. 6.84 ( = μὴ ὑπολάβητε do not suppose).

c. The third person of the present subjunctive is rare: μὴ τοίνυν τις οἴηται ( = μὴ οἰώμεθα) let not any one think P. L. 861 E.

N.—οὐ μή with the subjunctive of the second person in the dramatic poets occasionally expresses a strong prohibition: ““οὐ μὴ ληρήσῃςdon't talk nonsenseAr. Nub. 367.

1801. Doubtful Assertion.—The present subjunctive with μή may express a doubtful assertion, with μὴ οὐ a doubtful negation. The idea of apprehension or anxiety (real or assumed) is due to the situation. A touch of irony often marks this use, which is chiefly Platonic. With μή (of what may be true): μὴ ἀγροικότερον τὸ ἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν I suspect it's rather bad form (lit. too rude) to tell the truth P. G. 462e. With μὴ οὐ (of what may not be true): ““ἀλλὰ μὴ οὐχ οὕτως ἔχῃbut I rather think this may not be soP. Crat. 436b, ““μὴ οὐκ διδακτὸν ἀρετήvirtue is perhaps not a thing to be taughtP. Men. 94e.

1802. In Hom. μή with the independent subjunctive is used to indicate fear and warning, or to suggest danger: μή τι χολωσάμενος ῥέξῃ κακὸν υἷας Ἀχαιῶν may he not (as I fear he may) in his anger do aught to injure the sons of the Achaeans B 195. Usually with the aorist, rarely with the present subjunctive (ο 19). The constructions of 1801, 1802 are used as object clauses after verbs of fearing (2221).

1803. ὅπως μή is occasionally so used with the aorist subjunctive, and with an idea of command: ὅπως μὴ φήσῃ τις may no one say (as I fear he may) X. S. 4. 8. See 1921.

1804. From the use in 1801 is probably developed the construction of οὐ μή with the aorist (less often the present) subjunctive to denote an emphatic denial; as ““οὐ μὴ παύσωμαι φιλοσοφῶνI will not cease from searching for wisdomP. A. 29d, ““οὐκέτι μὴ δύνηται βασιλεὺς ἡμᾶς καταλαβεῖνthe king will no longer be able to overtake usX. A. 2.2.12.

1805. Deliberative Subjunctive.—The deliberative subjunctive (present or aorist) is used in questions when the speaker asks what he is to do or say (negative μή).

a. Usually in the first person: εἴπωμεν σι_γῶμεν; shall we speak or keep silence? E. Ion 758, τί δρά_σω; ποῖ φύγω; what am I to do? whither shall I fly? E. Med. 1271, μὴ φῶμεν; shall we not say? P. R. 554b.

b. The (rare) second person is used in repeating a question: A. τί σοι πιθώμεθα; B. τι πίθησθε; A. In what shall we take your advice? B. In what shall you take my advice? Ar. Av. 164.

c. The third person is generally used to represent the first person; commonly with τὶς, as τί τις εἶναι τοῦτο φῇ; how shall anyone say this is so? ( = τί φῶμεν;) D. 19.88.

N.—The subjunctive question does not refer to a future fact, but to what is, under the present circumstances, advantageous or proper to do or say.

1806. βούλει, βούλεσθε (poet. θέλεις, θέλετε) do you wish often precede the subjunctive: βούλει σοι εἴπω; do you wish me to say to you? P. G. 521d. This is a fusion of two distinct questions: βούλει do you wish? and εἴπω shall I say?

1807. The deliberative subjunctive may be replaced by a periphrasis with δεῖ or χρή and the infinitive, or by the verbal adjective in -τέον ἐστί. Thus, ἡμεῖς δὲ προσμένωμεν; τί χρὴ ποιεῖν; and shall we wait? or what must we do? S. Tr. 390, τί ποιητέον; ( = τί ποιῶμεν;) what are we to do? Ar. P. 922.

a. For the deliberative future see 1916.

1808. Deliberation in the past may be expressed by ἔδει, χρῆν (ἐχρῆν), ἔμελλον with the infinitive, and by -τέον (verbal adj.) ἦν.

1809. The Negative in Questions.—The use of μή (not οὐ) in questions is due to the fact that the construction of 1805 is simply the interrogative form of the hortatory subjunctive: φῶμεν let us say, μὴ φῶμεν; are we not to say? Distinguish πότερον βία_ν φῶμεν μὴ φῶμεν εἶναι; shall we say that it is force or that it is not? X. M. 1.2.45, from φῶμεν ταῦτ᾽ ὀρθῶς λέγεσθαι οὔ shall we say that this is well said or not? (οὔ οὐκ ὀρθῶς λέγεσθαι) P. G. 514c.

1810. Anticipatory Subjunctive (Homeric Subjunctive).—In Homer the subjunctive is often closely akin to the future indicative, and refers by anticipation to a future event (negative οὐ): οὐ γάρ πω τοίους ἴδον ἀ_νέρας, οὐδὲ ἴδωμαι for never yet saw I such men, nor shall I see them A 262, ““καί νύ τις ὧδ᾽ εἴπῃσιand one will sayξ 275. ἄν (κέν) usually limits this subjunctive in Hom. (1813).

a. This futural subjunctive is retained in Attic only in subordinate clauses (2327), and in τί πάθω (1811).

1811. The subjunctive is used in τί πάθω; what will become of me; what am I to do? (lit. what shall I undergo?) as P. Eu. 302d. So τί γένωμαι; quid me fiet? Thus, μοι ἐγώ, τί πάθω; τί νύ μοι μήκιστα γένηται; ah, woe's me! what is to become of me? what will happen unto me at the last? ε 465. The subjunctive here is not deliberative, but refers to a future event.

1812. The subjunctive without ἄν is also used in dependent clauses of purpose (2196), after verbs of fearing (2225), in the protasis of conditional (2327, 2339) and conditional relative sentences (2567 b).


1813. The subjunctive with ἄν (more commonly κέν) is used in Homer in independent sentences and clauses (negative οὐ). Cp. 1810. Thus, ἐγὼ δέ κ᾽ ἄγω Βρι_σηίδα but in that case I will take Briseis A 184, ““οὐκ ἄν τοι χραίσμῃ βιόςof no avail to thee shall be thy bowΛ 387.


1814. Optative of Wish.—In independent sentences the optative without ἄν is used to express a wish referring to the future (negative μή): παῖ, γένοιο πατρὸς εὐτυχέστερος ah, boy, mayest thou prove more fortunate than thy sire S. Aj. 550. From this use is derived the name of the mood (Lat. opto wish).

a. So even in relative sentences: ““ἐά_ν ποτε, δ̀ μὴ γένοιτο, λάβωσι τὴν πόλινif ever they capture the city, which Heaven forbidL. 31.14.

b. Under wishes are included execrations and protestations: ““ἐξολοίμηνmay I perishAr. Ach. 324, ““καί σ᾽ ἐπιδείξω, μὴ ζῴην, δωροδοκήσανταand I will prove that you took bribes, or may I not liveAr. Eq. 833.

1815. The optative of wish is often introduced by εἰ γάρ, εἴθε (Hom. αι᾽ γάρ, αἴθε), or by εἰ, ὡς (both poetical): ““εἰ γὰρ γένοιτοwould that it might happenX. C. 6.1.38, ““ὡς ὄλοιτοmay he perishS. El. 126. (ὡς is properly an exclamation: how.)

1816. The optative introduced by εἰ γάρ, etc. is sometimes explained as a protasis with the conclusion omitted: εἴθε φίλος ἡμῖν γένοιο oh, if you would become our friend X. H. 4.1.38. Cp. 2352 e.

1817. An unattainable wish, referring to the present, may be expressed by the present optative in Homer: εἴθ᾽ ἡβώοιμι would that I were young again H 157.

1818. Unattainable wishes, when they refer to the future, may be expressed by the optative: ““εἴ μοι γένοιτο φθόλλος ἐν βραχί_οσιwould that I had a voice in my armsE. Hec. 836. Wishes represented as hopeless are expressed in the postHomeric language by the past tenses of the indicative (1780) or by ὤφελον (1781).

1819. Hom. often uses the optative with a concessive or permissive force: ἔπειτα δὲ καί τι πάθοιμι after that I may (lit. may I) suffer come what will Φ 274.

1820. Imperative Optative.—The optative may express a command or exhortation with a force nearly akin to the imperative: ““Χειρίσοφος ἡγοῖτοlet Chirisophus leadX. A. 3.2.37.

1821. Potential Optative.—The potential optative, which in Attic regu larly takes ἄν (1824), is occasionally found in Homer and later poetry in an earlier form, without that particle: ““ῥεῖα θεός γ᾽ ἐθέλων καὶ τηλόθεν ἄνδρα σαώσαιeasily might a god, if he so willed, bring a man safe even from afarγ 231, ““θᾶσσον λέγοι τιςquicker than a man could speakE. Hipp. 1186. This construction is suspected in prose.

a. Usually in negative sentences or in questions expecting a negative answer (with οὐ): οὐ μὲν γάρ τι κακώτερον ἄλλο πάθοιμι for I could not (conceivably) suffer anything worse T 321, τεά_ν, Ζεῦ, δύνασιν τίς ἀνδρῶν ὑπερβασία_ κατάσχοι; thy power, oh Zeus, what trespass of man can check? S. Ant. 604.

1822. The optative after οὐκ ἔστιν ὅστις (ὅπως, ὅποι) in the dramatists is probably potential: ““οὐκ ἔσθ᾽ ὅπως λέξαιμι τὰ ψευδῆ καλάI could not call false tidings fairA. Ag. 620. ἄν is usually employed in this construction.

1823. The optative without ἄν (κέν) is also used elsewhere, as in purpose clauses (2196) and clauses of fearing (2225) after a secondary tense; in the apodosis of conditional sentences (2300 d, 2326 d, 2333), in relative sentences (2566, 2568); and as the representative of the indicative (2615) or subjunctive (2619) in indirect discourse after secondary tenses.


1824. Potential Optative.—The potential optative with ἄν states a future possibility, propriety, or likelihood, as an opinion of the speaker; and may be translated by may, might, can (especially with a negative), must, would, should (rarely will, shall). So in Latin velim, videas, cognoscas, credas.

““γνοίης δ᾽ ἂν ὅτι τοῦθ᾽ οὕτως ἔχειyou may see that this is soX. C. 1.6.21, ““ἅπαντες ἂν ὁμολογήσειανall would agreeI. 11.5, ἡδέως ἂν ἐροίμην I (would gladly ask) should like to ask D. 18.64, ““οὐκ ἂν λάβοιςthou canst not takeS. Ph. 103, ““λέγοιμ᾽ ἂν τάδεI will tell thisA. Supp. 928. The second person singular is often indefinite (one), as γνοίης ἄν (cognoscas) = γνοίη τις ἄν.

a. The potential optative ranges from possibility to fixed resolve. The aorist optative with ἄν and a negative is very common.

b. When stress is laid on the idea of possibility and power, necessity and obligation, Greek uses δύναμαι, δεῖ or χρή with the infinitive (statement of fact).

c. The potential optative with ἄν is also used in dependent sentences; in purpose clauses (2202 b), in object clauses after verbs of effort (2216) and verbs of fearing (2232), in causal clauses (2243), in result clauses (2278), in the apodosis of conditional (see 2356) and conditional relative sentences (2566). In indirect discourse the infinitive with ἄν or the participle with ἄν may represent the optative with ἄν (1845 ff.).

1825. Usually these optatives are not limited by any definite condition present to the mind, and it is unnecessary to supply any protasis in thought. In some cases a protasis is dormant in a word of the sentence (such as δικαίως, εἰκότως). Thus, in ““οὓς ἀχαρίστους εἶναι δικαίως ἂν ὑπολαμβάνοιτεwhom you would justly consider to be ungratefulAes. 3.196, δικαίως may stand for εἰ δικαίως ὑπολαμβάνοιτε: if you should consider the matter justly. So οὔτε ἐσθίουσι πλείω δύνανται φέρειν: διαρραγεῖεν γὰρ ἄν κτλ. they neither eat more than they can bear, for otherwise (if they should eat more: εἰ ἐσθίοιεν πλείω) they would burst X. C. 8.2.21. The potential optative is also used as the main clause of less vivid conditions (2329) in which the protasis has the optative by assimilation to the mood of the apodosis.

1826. The potential optative with ἄν is used to soften the statement of an opinion or fact, or to express irony: ἕτερόν τι τοῦτ᾽ ἂν εἴη this is (would be) another matter D. 20.116, νοσοῖμ᾽ ἄν, εἰ νόσημα τοὺς ἐχθροὺς στυγεῖν I must be mad, if it is madness to hate one's foes A. Pr. 978. So often with ἴσως or τάχα perhaps.

a. With a negative, the potential optative may have the force of a strong assertion: ““οὐ γὰρ ἂν ἀπέλθοιμ᾽, ἀλλὰ κόψω τὴν θύρα_νfor I will not go away, but I will knock at the doorAr. Ach. 236.

1827. βουλοίμην ἄν (velim) is often used as a softened optative of wish: βουλοίμην ἂν τοῦτο οὕτω γενέσθαι I could wish that this might be the result (οὕτω γένοιτο may it result thus) P. A. 19a. For ἐβουλόμην ἄν see 1789.

1828. The present and aorist are used of what will be, or what will prove to be, true (future realization of a present fact): ἀρετὴ ἄρα, ὡς ἔοικεν, ὑγίειά τις ἂν εἴη virtue then, it seems, will (prove to) be a kind of health P. R. 444d. The perfect is used of what will prove to be the case as regards a completed action: πῶς ἂν λελήθοι; how can it have escaped my knowledge? X. S. 3. 6. Usually the perfect is here equivalent to the present.

1829. The present and aorist are rarely used of the past: (a) in Hom. of past possibility: καί νύ κεν ἔνθ᾽ ἀπόλοιτο and now he might have perished E 311 (Attic ἀπώλετο ἄν, 1784), ἀλλὰ τί κεν ῥέξαιμι; but what could I do? T 90. (b) in Hdt. of a mild assertion: ταῦτα μὲν καὶ φθόνῳ ἂν εἴποιεν they may have said this out of envy 9. 71, εἴησαν δ᾽ ἂν οὖτοι Κρῆτες these would prove to be (might be, must have been) Cretans 1. 2. Both uses are doubtful in Attic prose.

1830. The potential optative with ἄν may be used, in a sense akin to that of the imperative, to express a command, exhortation, or request: λέγοις ἂν τὴν δέησιν tell me (you may tell) your request P. Par. 126a, ““προάγοις ἄνmove onP. Phae. 229b. This courteous formula is used even where a harsh command might be expected: ““χωροῖς ἂν εἴσω σὺν τάχειgo within with all speedS. El. 1491.

a. In ποῖ δῆτ᾽ ἂν τραποίμην; whither pray shall I turn? Ar. Ran. 296 the use is akin to the deliberative subjunctive (1805) or deliberative future (1916).

1831. The potential optative with ἄν is used in questions: τίς οὐκ ἂν ὁμολογήσειεν; who would not agree? (οὐδείς: scil. οὐκ ἂν ὁμολογήσειε) X. M. 1.1.5. So even the optative of wish: τί δ᾽ ὅρκῳ τῷδε μὴ ᾿μμένων πάθοις; but if thou dost not abide by thy oath what dost thou invoke upon thyself? E. Med. 754 (lit. mayest thou suffer what?).

1832. πῶς ἄν, τίς ἄν with the potential optative may be used to express a wish (especially in the tragic poets): πῶς ἂν ὀλοίμα_ν oh, would that I might die E. Med. 97, τίς ἂν ἐν τάχει μόλοι μοῖρα oh, that some fate would speedily come A. Ag. 1448. Properly this usage is not a wish, but is simply a question how the wish may be fulfilled.

1833. The potential optative with ἄν (especially with negatives) may ex change with the indicative: ““φημὶ καὶ οὐκ ἂν ἀρνηθείηνI assert and cannot denyD. 21.191. It is often stronger, though more courteous, than the future indicative: ““οὐκ ἂν πέρα_ φράσαιμιI will speak no moreS. O. T. 343.

1834. The future optative with ἄν occurs only in a few suspected passages.


1835. The imperative is used in commands and prohibitions (negative μή). All its tenses refer to the future.

a. Under commands are included requests, entreaties, summons, prescriptions, exhortations, etc.

b. For the tenses of the imperative, see 1840; for the infinitive used as an imperative, see 2013.


1836. In exhortations ἄγε, φέρε, ἴθι (usually with δή, sometimes with νύν), often precede the imperative: ““ἄγε δὴ ἀκούσατεcome listenX. Ap. 14, ““ἄγετε δειπνήσατεgo now, take your supperX. H. 5.1.18, ““ἀλλ᾽ ἴθι εἰπέbut come, sayP. G. 489e.

1837. πᾶς is sometimes used with the second person in poetry: ἄκουε πᾶς hear, every one Ar. Thesm. 372.

1838. The third person may be used in questions: οὐκοῦν κείσθω ταῦτα; shall these points be established? P. L. 820e. Cp. 1842 a.

1839. The imperative may be used in assumptions (hypothetical imperative), to make a concession, or to grant permission: ““ἐμοῦ γ᾽ ἕνεκ᾽ ἔστωlet it be assumed as far as I am concernedD. 20.14, ““οὕτως ἐχέτω ὡς σὺ λέγειςassume it to be as you sayP. S. 201c. So even as a protasis: ““δειξάτω, κἀ_γὼ στέρξωlet him set it forth and I will be contentD. 18.112.


1840. Prohibitions are expressed by μή with the present or aorist subjunctive in the first person plural; by μή with the present imperative or the aorist subjunctive in the second and third person singular or plural (cp. 1800). The aorist imperative is rare in prohibitions.

A. I Person.—μὴ γράφωμεν (μὴ γράψωμεν): ““μὴ μαινώμεθα μηδ᾽ αἰσχρῶς ἀπολώμεθαlet us not act like madmen nor perish disgracefullyX. A. 7.1.29.

B. 2 Person.—μὴ γράφε (μὴ γράφετε): ““μὴ θαύμαζεdon't be astonishedP. G. 482a, ““μὴ θορυβεῖτεdon't raise a disturbanceP. A. 21a, ““τὰ μὲν ποίει, τὰ δὲ μὴ ποίειdo this and refrain from doing thatP. Pr. 325d, ““μὴ μέγα λέγεdon't boast soP. Ph. 95b.—μὴ γράψῃς (μὴ γράψητε): ““μηδὲ θαυμάσῃς τόδεand do not wonder at thisA. Ag. 879, ““μὴ θορυβήσητεdon't raise a disturbanceP. A. 20e, ““μὴ ἄλλως ποιήσῃςdon't do otherwiseP. Lach. 201b, μηδαμῶς ἄλλως ποιήσῃς Ar. Av. 133.

N.—The type μὴ γράφῃς is never used. μὴ γράψον occurs rarely in poetry (Δ 410, Σ 134.—ω 248, S. fr. 453 parodied in Ar. Thesm. 870).

C. 3 Person.—μὴ γραφέτω (μὴ γραφόντων): ““μηδεὶς διδασκέτωlet no one tell meT. 1.86, ““μηδεὶς τοῦτ᾽ ἀγνοείτωlet no one be ignorant of this factAes. 3.6. μὴ γραψάτω (μὴ γραψάντων): ““μηδεὶς νομισάτωlet no one thinkX. C. 7.5.73, ““μήτ᾽ ἀπογνώτω μηδὲν μήτε καταγνώτωlet him neither acquit nor condemn in any wayAes. 3.60; and in five other passages giving the actual usage of the orators. In the third person the aorist imperative is much less common than the present imperative.

N.—The type μὴ γράφῃ is used only when the third person represents the first person (1800 c). μὴ γράψῃ is much more common than μὴ γραψάτω in the orators, e.g. ““μηδεὶς θαυμάσῃlet no one be astonishedD. 18.199, ““μηδεὶς νομίσῃlet no one thinkT. 3.13, D. 23.1.

D. The perfect imperative is rare in prohibitions (μὴ πεφόβησθε T 6. 17) and is usually poetical. Cp. 698, 712.

1841. a. μὴ γράφε, like don't write, is ambiguous and may mean, according to the situation, either cease writing or abstain from writing. Commonly μὴ γράφε means do not go on writing, write no more, and is an order to stop an action already begun. In many cases, however, μή with the present imperative does not refer to the interruption of an action already begun, but to an action still in the more or less distant future against which the speaker urges resistance. Sometimes the reference to the future is directly or indirectly indicated by the context.

b. μὴ γράψῃς usually has the force of (I beg that) you will not write, (take care that you) don't write, and is commonly a complete prohibition against doing something not already begun. Sometimes, and especially in expressions of a colloquial character, μή with the aorist subjunctive marks the speaker's interruption, by anticipation, of a mental (less often of a physical) action that is being done by the person he addresses; as μὴ θαυμάσῃς (P. L. 804b) in reply to an exclamation of surprise. Here the type μὴ γράψῃς often expresses impatience.

c. If μὴ γράφε elicits a reply, it is (ἀλλ᾽) οὐ γράφω, while μὴ γράψῃς is answered by (ἀλλ᾽) οὐ γράψω. Thus, ““μή μ᾽ ἐκδίδασκε τοῖς φίλοις εἶναι κακήν. ἀλλ᾽ ου᾽ διδάσκωdo not teach me to be base to my friends. But I do notS. El. 395, εἰ οὖν ἔχεις ἐναργέστερον ἡμῖν ἐπιδεῖξαι ὡς διδακτόν ἐστιν ἀρετή, μὴ φθονήσῃς ἀλλ᾽ ἐπίδειξον. ἀλλ᾽ . . . οὐ φθονήσω now if you can show us more clearly that virtue is capable of being taught, don't refuse, but show us. Well, I will not refuse P. Pr. 320c. So μὴ γράφε commonly answers γράφω, as θαυμάζω, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, καὶ αὐτός. ἀλλὰ μὴ θαύμαζ᾽, ἔφη I myself am astonished, said I. Cease your astonishment, said she P. S. 205b, cp. S. El. 395. So μὴ γράψῃς answers γράψω, as in Hdt. 3.140, Ar. Lys. 1036.

d. μὴ γράφε and μὴ γράψῃς are often found in closely connected clauses, as ““μηδαμῶς θύ_μαινέ μοι, μηδέ μ᾽ ἐπιτρί_ψῃςdon't be angry with me at all, nor ruin meAr. Nub. 1478, ““μήτ᾽ ὀκνεῖτε μήτ᾽ ἀφῆτ᾽ ἔπος κακόνdo not shrink from me nor utter any harsh wordsS. O. C. 731. The second prohibition may be more specific than the first, as ““σιώπα_: μηδὲν εἴπῃς νήπιονbe silent, don't say anything childishAr. Nub. 105. Less often μὴ γράψῃς is followed by μὴ γράφε, as μὴ βοηθήσατε τῷ πεπονθότι δεινά: μὴ εὐορκεῖτε (they will say) ‘do not come to the aid of one who has suffered grievously; have no regard for your oathD. 21.211.

e. The difference between μὴ γράφε and μὴ γράψῃς is virtually a difference of tenses, the present denoting an action continuing, in process; the aorist, an action concluded, summarized. So μὴ φοβοῦ don't be fearful, μὴ φοβηθῇς don't be frightened. In maxims μή with the present imperative is preferred: μὴ κλέπτε don't be a thief, μὴ κλέψῃς don't steal this or that. μηκέτι may be used in either construction. The distinction is often immaterial, often a difference of tone rather than of meaning; sometimes too subtle for dogmatic statement.

1842. The imperative may be used in subordinate clauses: κρα_τῆρές εἰσιν . . . ὧν κρᾶτ᾽ ἔρεψον there are mixing-bowls, the brims of which thou must crown S. O. C. 473.

a. Especially after οἶσθα interrogative in dramatic poetry: οἶσθ᾽ δρᾶσον; do you know what you are to do? E. Hec. 225, οἶσθ᾽ ὡς ποίησον; do you know how I bid you act? S. O. T. 543. οἶσθ᾽ has become a partially fossilized expression, and can be used as subject or be governed by a verb: οἶσθά νυν μοι γενέσθω; do you know what I must have done for me? E. I. T. 1203.

1843. The use of the imperative is to be explained as equivalent to δεῖ or χρή with the infinitive.

1844. ἄν is not used with the imperative.


1845. The infinitive or participle with ἄν represents either a past tense of the indicative with ἄν or the optative with ἄν. The context determines whether the indicative or the optative is meant. The participle with ἄν is post-Homeric.

1846. The present infinitive or participle with ἄν represents the imperfect indicative with ἄν or the present optative with ἄν.

a. (inf.) ἀκούω Λακεδαιμονίους ἂν ἀναχωρεῖν ἐπ᾽ οἴκου I hear the Lacedaemonians used to return home ( = ἂν ἀνεχώρουν, 1790) D. 9.48, οἴεσθε γὰρ τὸν πατέρα οὐκ ἂν φυλάττειν; for do you think my father would not have taken care? ( = οὐκ ἂν ἐφύλαττεν, 1786) D. 49.35; νομίζοντες ἂν τι_μῆς τυγχάνειν in the belief that they would obtain reward ( = ἂν τυγχάνοιμεν) X. A. 1.9.29.

b. (part.) ὅπερ ἔσχε μὴ κατὰ πόλεις αὐτὸν ἐπιπλέοντα τὴν Πελοπόννησον πορθεῖν, ἀδυνάτων ἂν ὄντων . . . ἀλλήλοις ἐπιβοηθεῖν which prevented him from sailing against the Peloponnese and laying it waste city by city when the Peloponnesians would have been unable to come to the rescue of one another ( = ἀδύνατοι ἂν ἦσαν) T. 1.73, πόλλ᾽ ἂν ἔχων ἕτερ᾽ εἰπεῖν, παραλείπω though I might be able to say much else I pass it by ( = ἂν ἔχοιμι, 1824) D. 18.258, ““σοφία_ λεγομένη δικαιότατ᾽ ἄνthat might most justly be called wisdomP. Phil. 30c ( = σοφία_ λέγοιτο ἄν).

1847. The future infinitive and participle with ἄν are rare and suspected.

1848. The aorist infinitive or participle with ἄν represents the aorist indicative with ἄν or the aorist optative with ἄν.

a. (inf.) Κῦρός γε, εἰ ἐβίωσεν, ἄριστος ἂν δοκεῖ ἄρχων γενέσθαι it seems probable that Cyrus, if he had lived, would have proved himself a most excellent ruler ( = ἂν ἐγένετο) X. O. 4.18, ὥστε καὶ ἰδιώτην ἂν γνῶναι so that even a common man could have understood ( = ἂν ἔγνω) X. A. 6.1.31, τί ἂν οἰόμεθα παθεῖν; what do we think our fate would be? ( = τί ἂν πάθοιμεν;) X. A. 3.1.17.

b. (part.) ὁρῶν τὸ παρατείχισμα ῥᾳδίως ἂν ληφθέν seeing that the counterwall could easily be captured ( = ἂν ληφθείη) T. 7.42, Ποτείδαιαν ἑλὼν καὶ δυνηθεὶς ἂν αὐτὸς ἔχειν, εἰ ἐβουλήθη, παρέδωκεν after he had seized Potidaea and would have been able to keep it himself, had he wished, he gave it up to them ( = ἐδυνήθη ἄν) D. 23.107, ““οὔτε ὄντα οὔτε ἂν γενόμενα λογοποιοῦσινthey fabricate stories which neither are, nor could be, trueT. 6.38 ( = οὔτε ἔστιν οὔτε ἂν γένοιτο).

1849. The perfect infinitive with ἄν represents the pluperfect indicative with ἄν or the perfect optative with ἄν: οἶδ᾽ ὅτι (ἂν) φήσειεν πάντα ταῦθ᾽ ὑπὸ τῶν βαρβάρων ἂν ἡλωκέναι I know that he would say that all this would have been captured by the barbarians ( = ἂν ἡλώκεσαν) D. 19.312, ἡγεῖτο τοὺς ἀγνοοῦντας ἀνδραποδώδεις ἂν δικαίως κεκλῆσθαι he thought that those who did not know this might justly be deemed servile in nature ( = κεκλημένοι ἂν εἶεν) X. M. 1.1.16.

For the infinitive and participle without ἄν see 1865 ff., 1872 ff., and under Infinitive and Participle.


1850. By the tenses (‘tense’ from tempus) are denoted:

1. The time of an action: present, past, future.

2. The stage of an action: action continued or repeated (in process of development), action simply brought to pass (simple occurrence), action completed with a permanent result.

a. The time of an action is either absolute or relative. Time that is absolutely present, past, or future is reckoned from the time of the speaker or writer. Time that is relatively present, past, or future in dependent clauses is reckoned from the time of some verb in the same sentence. In dependent clauses Greek has no special forms to denote the temporal relation of one action to another (antecedent, coincident, subsequent), but leaves the reader to infer whether one action happened before, at the same time as, or after another action. The aorist is thus often used where English has the pluperfect (1943). See 1888, 1944. Unless special reference is made to relative time, the expressions “kind of time,” “time of an action,” in this book are used of absolute time.

b. In independent clauses only the tenses of the indicative denote absolute time; in dependent clauses they express relative time. The tenses of the subjunctive, optative, imperative, infinitive and participle do not refer to the differences in kind of time. Thus γράφειν and γράψαι to write, γεγραφέναι to finish writing, may be used of the present, the past, or the future according to the context. On the tenses of the optative, infinitive, and participle in indirect discourse see 1862, 1866, 1874. The future infinitive may be used, outside of indirect discourse, to lay stress on the idea of futurity (1865 d).

c. Even in the indicative the actual time may be different from that which would seem to be denoted by the tense employed. Thus the speaker or writer may imagine the past as present, and use the present in setting forth an event that happened before his time (1883); or may use the aorist or perfect of an event that has not yet occurred (1934, 1950).

d. In the subjunctive, optative (except in indirect discourse), and imperative the kind of time is implied only by the mood-forms, not by the tenses. The relation of the time of one action to the time of another usually has to be inferred in all the moods.

e. The stage of an action is expressed by all the tenses of all the different moods (including the participle and infinitive).

f. The action of the verb of a subordinate clause may overlap with that of the verb of the main clause. See 2388.


1851. Only in the indicative do the tenses show time absolutely present, past, or future.

a. Present time is denoted by

1. The Present: γράφω I write, am writing.

2. The Perfect: γέγραφα I have written.

b. Past time is denoted by

1. The Imperfect: ἔγραφον I wrote, was writing.

2. The Aorist: ἔγραψα I wrote.

3. The Pluperfect: ἐγεγράφη I had written.

N.—The only past tenses are the augmented tenses.

c. Future time is denoted by

1. The Future: γράψω I shall write.

2. The Future Perfect: γεγράψεται it will have been written, τεθνήξω I shall be dead (shall have died).


1852. Every form of the verb denotes the stage of the action.

a. Continued action is denoted by the present stem:

1. Present: γράφω I am writing, πείθω I am persuading (trying to persuade), ἀνθεῖ is in bloom.

2. Imperfect: ἔγραφον I was writing, ἔπειθον I was persuading (trying to persuade), ἤνθει was in bloom.

3. Future: γράψω I shall write (shall be writing), βασιλεύσει he will reign.

N.—Continued action is incomplete: hence nothing is stated as to the conclusion. Thus φεύγει he flees does not state whether or not the subject succeeded in escaping.

b. Completed action with permanent result is denoted by the perfect stem:

1. Perfect: γέγραφα ἐπιστολήν I have written a letter (and it is now finished), ἤνθηκε has bloomed (and is in flower).

2. Pluperfect: ἐγεγράφη ἐπιστολήν I had written a letter (and it was then finished), ἠνθήκει had bloomed (and was in flower).

3. Future Perfect: γεγράψεται it will have been written, τεθνήξει he will be dead.

c. Action simply brought to pass (simple attainment) is denoted by the

1. Aorist: ἔγραψα I wrote, ἔπεισα I persuaded (succeeded in persuading), ἐβασίλευσε he became king or he was king, ἤνθησε burst into flower or was in flower.

2. Future: γράψω I shall write, βασιλεύσει he will become king.

N.—The aorist tense (ἀόριστος χρόνος from ὁρίζω define; unlimited, indefinite, or undefined time) is so named because it does not show the limitation (ὅρος) of continuance (expressed by the imperfect) or of completion with permanent result (expressed by the perfect).

1853. The present stem may denote the simple action of the verb in present time without regard to its continuance; as θαυμάζω I am seized with astonishment, ἀστράπτει it lightens (once or continually), δίδωμι I make a present. This is called the aoristic present. On inceptive verbs, see 526.

1854. The future stem may denote either continued action (as in the present) or simple occurrence of the action of the verb (as in the aorist). Thus γράψω I shall be writing or I shall write. See 1910 b.

1855. Some verbs are, by their meaning, restricted to the tenses of continued action, as ὁρᾶν behold, φέρειν carry; others are exclusively aoristic, as ἰδεῖν properly glance at, ἐνεγκεῖν bring. Verbs expressing different kinds of action in their several tenses (as ὁρᾶν, ἰδεῖν) unite to form a verbal system.

1856. The difference between the present stem (present and imperfect) and the aorist stem may be compared to the difference between a line and a point (both starting point and end). Thus, ἔρχεσθαι go, ἐλθεῖν come, arrive; φέρειν carry, ἐνεγκεῖν bring; ἄγειν accompany, lead, ἀγαγεῖν bring to a goal.

1857. For the ‘progressive’ tenses of English (is walking, has been giving, etc.) Greek has no exact equivalent. The periphrasis of the present participle with ἐστί, etc. is employed to adjectivize the participle or to describe or characterize the subject like an adjective, i.e. the subject has a quality which it may display in action. Thus, ““ἀρέσκοντές ἐσμενwe are acceptableT. 1.38, ““καὶ πάντ᾽ ἀναδεχόμενος καὶ εἰς αὑτὸν ποιούμενος τὰ τούτων ἁμαρτήματ᾽ ἐστίνand he takes upon himself and adopts all their misdeedsD. 19.36. ἐστί may be emphatic: ““ἔστι που δίχα διαιρούμενονthere exists a twofold divisionP. L. 895d. Some participles have become completely adjectivized: συμφέρων useful, διαφέρων superior. Cp. 1961.

1858. Primary and Secondary Tenses.—The primary tenses refer to present and future time (present, future, perfect, and future perfect), the secondary or historical tenses refer to past time (imperfect, aorist, pluperfect).

a. The gnomic aorist (1931 b) is regarded as a primary tense, as is the aorist when used for the perfect (1940), and the imperfect indicative referring to present time (1788); the historical present (1883), as a secondary tense. The subjunctive, optative, and imperative moods in their independent uses point to the future, and all their tenses therefore count as primary.


1859. The tenses of the moods except the indicative do not express time in independent sentences.

1860. Subjunctive.—The subjunctive mood as such refers to the future. The tenses do not refer to differences of time, and denote only the stage of the action (continuance, simple occurrence, completion with permanent result).

Present (continuance): ““τὰ αὑτῶν ἅμα ἐκποριζώμεθαlet us at the same time keep developing our resourcesT. 1.82; Aorist (simple occurrence): ““πορισώμεθα οὖν πρῶτον τὴν δαπάνηνlet us procure the money firstT. 1.83; Perfect (completion with permanent result): ἵνα, ἢν μὴ ὑπακούωσι, τεθνήκωσιν that, in case they do not submit, they may be put to death (lit. may be dead at once) T. 8.74. The aorist commonly replaces the more exact perfect because the perfect is rarely used.

a. The future time denoted by present or aorist (τί ποιῶμεν; or τί ποιήσωμεν; what shall we do?) may refer, according to the sense, either to the next moment or to some later time. Greek has no subjunctive form denoting an intention to do this or that. In dependent constructions (including general conditions) the action of the present is generally coincident (rarely subsequent), that of the aorist is generally anterior (rarely coincident), to the action of the leading verb: ““χαλεπαίνουσι, ἐπειδὰν αὐτοῖς παραγγέλλω πί_νειν τὸ φάρμακονthey are angry whenever I bid them drink the poisonP. Ph. 116c, ἐπειδὰν ἅπαντ᾽ ἀκούσητε, κρί_νατε when you (shall) have heard everything, decide D. 4.14. The use of the aorist of time relatively anterior to the action of the leading verb ( = Lat. future perfect) is, like its other references to relative time, only an inference from the connection of the thought (1850 a).

b. Present and aorist subjunctive are occasionally used in the same sentence without any great difference in sense (X. C. 1.2.6-7, 5. 5. 13).

c. An independent or dependent subjunctive may be ingressive (1924): ἢν γὰρ Πλοῦτος νυνὶ βλέψῃ for if now Plutus recovers his sight Ar. Pl. 494.

d. In general conditions (2336) the subjunctive refers to general time, denoting what holds true now and at all times.

1861. Optative (not in indirect discourse).—The reference is always to future time. The tenses do not refer to differences of time, and denote only the stage of the action.

Present (continuance): πλούσιον δὲ νομίζοιμι τὸν σοφόν may I (always) count the wise man wealthy P. Phae. 279b; Aorist (simple occurrence): ““εἰ γὰρ γένοιτοwould that it might happenX. C. 6.1.38; Perfect (completion with permanent result): τεθναίης die (lit. may you be dead) Ζ 164.

a. In general conditions (2336) the optative is used of past time.

b. In dependent constructions (including general conditions) the action of the present is generally coincident (rarely anterior), that of the aorist generally anterior (rarely coincident), to the action of the leading verb: εἴ τις τάδε παραβαίνοι, ἐναγὴς ἔστω τοὖ Απόλλωνος if any one violates this, let him be accurst of Apollo Aes. 3.110, ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἀνοιχθείη (τὸ δεσμωτήριον), εἰσῇμεν παρὰ τὸν Σωκράτη whenever the prison was opened, we (always) went in to Socrates P. Ph. 59d. The aorist is often preferred to the more exact perfect because the perfect was rarely used.

c. An independent or dependent optative may be ingressive (1924): εἰ πολεμήσαιμεν δι᾽ Ὠρωπόν, οὐδὲν ἂν ἡμᾶς παθεῖν ἡγοῦμαι if we should enter upon a war on account of Oropus, I think we should suffer nothing D. 5.16.

1862. Optative (in indirect discourse).—When the optative in indirect discourse represents the indicative after a past tense of a verb of saying or thinking, each tense does denote time (as well as stage of action) relatively to that of the leading verb.

a. The present optative represents the imperfect as well as the present indicative.

b. The future optative (first in Pindar) occurs only in indirect discourse after verbs of saying and thinking, in object clauses after ὅπως, 2212, and in other indirect expressions of thought.

c. When the optative in indirect discourse represents the subjunctive (2619 b), its tenses denote only stage of action.

1863. a. Present opt. = present indic.: ἀνηρώτα_ τί βούλοιντο he demanded what they wanted ( = τί βούλεσθε;) X. A. 2.3.4.

b. Present opt. = imperf. indic.: διηγοῦντο ὅτι ἐπὶ τοὺς πολεμίους πλέοιεν they explained that they kept sailing against the enemy ( = ἐπλέομεν) X. H. 1.7.5.

c. Future opt. = future indic.: τι ποιήσοι οὐδὲ τούτοις εἶπε he did not tell even these what he would do ( = ποιήσω) X. A. 2.2.2.

d. Aorist opt. = aorist indic.: ἠρώτα_ τί πάθοιεν he asked what had happened to them ( = τί ἐπάθετε;) X. C. 2.3.19.

e. Perfect opt. = perfect indic.: ἔλεγον ὅτι οἱ μετὰ Δημοσθένους παραδεδώκοιεν σφᾶς αὐτούς they said that the troops of Demosthenes had surrendered ( = παραδεδώκα_σι) T. 7.83.

1864. Imperative.—The imperative always implies future time. The tenses do not refer to differences of time, and denote only the stage of the action.

a. Present (continuance): ““τοὺς γονεῖς τἱ_μα_honour thy parentsI. 1.16, πάντα τἀ_ληθῆ λέγε tell (go on and tell in detail) the whole truth L. 1.18, ““τοὺς ἵππους ἐκείνοις δίδοτεoffer the horses to themX. C. 4.5.47.

b. Aorist (simple occurrence): βλέψον πρὸς τὰ ὄρη look (cast a glance) toward the mountains X. A. 4.1.20, εἰπέ state (in a word) P. A. 24d, ““ἡμῖν τοὺς ἵππους δότεgive the horses to usX. C. 4.5.47.

c. Perfect (completion with permanent result): τετάχθω let him take his place (and stay there) P. R. 562a, εἰρήσθω let it have been said (once for all) 503 b.

N.—The perfect active and middle are generally used as presents (““τεθνάτωlet him be put to deathP. L. 938c, ““μέμνησθεrememberD. 40.30). The perfect passive (in the third person) is used of a fixed decision concerning what is to be done or has been done.

1865. Infinitive (not in indirect discourse).—The tenses of the infinitive (without ἄν) not in indirect discourse have no time of themselves and express only the stage of the action; their (relative) time depends on the context and is that of the leading verb (present, past, or future). The infinitive may have the article (2025 ff.).

a. Present (continuance): ““οὐδὲ βουλεύεσθαι ἔτι ὥρα_, ἀλλὰ βεβουλεῦσθαιit is time no longer to be making up one's mind, but to have it made upP. Cr. 46a.

b. Aorist (simple occurrence): ““τοῦ πιεῖν ἐπιθυ_μία_the desire of obtaining drinkT. 7.84, ἤρξατο γενέσθαι began to be 1. 103, but ἤρχετο γίγνεσθαι 3. 18 (the tense of γίγνομαι depends on that of ἄρχομαι; not ἤρξατο γίγνεσθαι), δεῖ τοὺς ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ λέγοντας μι_σῆσαι (ingressive) one must conceive an aversion for those who speak in his behalf D. 9.53.

c. Perfect (completion with permanent result): see a. Often of certainty of action.

d. Future.—When the context shows that stress is laid on the idea of futurity, the future infinitive, referring to future time relative to the main verb, is sometimes used instead of the present or aorist: ““οὐκ ἀποκωλύ_σειν δυνατοὶ ὄντεςnot being able to preventT. 3.28, ““πολλοῦ δέω κατ᾽ ἐμαυτοῦ ἐρεῖνI am far from intending to speak to my own disadvantageP. A. 37b. On the future infinitive with μέλλω see 1959.

N. 1.—The action set forth by a dependent present or aorist infinitive (without ἄν) not in indirect discourse has no time except that which is implied by the context. With verbs signifying to advise or to command, and when the infinitive expresses purpose, the reference is to future time. Usually the action of the present and aorist is coincident with or antecedent to that of the main verb. The action of an aorist infinitive with the article and a subject is not always relatively past. The perfect (without ἄν) has no time apart from the context; its action is usually antecedent.

N. 2.—On the use of the present and aorist with verbs of promising, etc., see 1868; with μέλλω, see 1959.

N. 3.—Observe that verbs denoting continuance (as μένω remain) often appear in the aorist, while verbs of transitory action (as ἱ_έναι send, hurl) often appear in the present.

N. 4.—Present and aorist occasionally occur in close conjunction without any great difference in meaning, as ““προσήκει ὑ_μῖν τούτου καταψηφίζεσθαι . . ., δεῖ ὑ_μᾶς θάνατον αὐτοῦ καταψηφίσασθαιit is fitting that you vote against him, it is necessary that you pass a vote of death against himL. 13.69; cp. ναυμαχῆσαι and ναυμαχεῖν T. 2.83, βασανιστὴς γίγνεσθαι and γενέσθαι Ant. 1.10, 1. 11.

1866. Infinitive (in indirect discourse).—The tenses of the infinitive in indirect discourse denote the same time relative to that of the leading verb (present, past, or future) as was denoted by the corresponding tenses of the indicative in direct discourse which they represent.

a. The present infinitive represents also the imperfect, the perfect infinitive represents also the pluperfect indicative.

b. The action of the present is usually coincident, that of the aorist anterior, to the action of the leading verb.

c. The future infinitive is found chiefly in indirect discourse and in analogous constructions. With μέλλω, see 1959. It may have the article (2026).

1867. a. Present = pres. indic.: φημὶ ταῦτα μὲν φλυα_ρία_ς εἶναι I say this is nonsense ( = ἐστί) X. A. 1.3.18.

b. Present = imperf. indic: Κτησία_ς ἰ_ᾶσθαι αὐτὸς τὸ τραῦμά φησι Ktesias asserts that he himself cured the wound ( = ἰ_ώμην) X. A. 1.8.26. With ἄν, 1846 a.

c. Future = fut. indic.: ἔφη ἄξειν Λακεδαιμονίους αὐτοῦ ἀποκτενεῖν he said that he would either bring the Lacedaemonians or kill them on the spot ( = ἄξω, ἀποκτενῶ) T. 4.28.

d. Aorist = aor. indic.: ἐνταῦθα λέγεται Ἀπόλλων ἐκδεῖραι Μαρσύα_ν there Apollo is said to have flayed Marsyas ( = ἐξέδειρε) X. A. 1.2.8. With ἄν, 1848 a.

e. Perfect = perf. ind.: φησὶ ἐγκώμιον γεγραφέναι he says that he has written an encomium ( = γέγραφα) I. 10.14, ἔφασαν τεθνάναι τὸν ἄνδρα they said the man was dead ( = τέθνηκε) Ant. 5.29.

f. Perfect = pluperf. ind.: λέγεται ἄνδρα τινὰ ἐκπεπλῆχθαι it is said that a certain man had been fascinated ( = ἐξεπέπληκτο) X. C. 1.4.27. With ἄν, 1849.

1868. The construction of verbs of hoping, etc.—Verbs signifying to hope, expect, promise, threaten, swear, with some others of like meaning, when they refer to a future event, take either the future infinitive (in indirect discourse), or the aorist, less often the present, infinitive (not in indirect discourse). The use of the aorist and present is due to the analogy of verbs of will or desire (1991) which take an object infinitive not in indirect discourse. The same analogy accounts for the use of μή instead of οὐ (2725). The present or aorist infinitive with ἄν, representing the potential optative with ἄν, occurs occasionally.

a. ““ἐν ἐλπίδι ὢν τὰ τείχη τῶν Ἀθηναίων αἱρήσεινhoping that he would capture the walls of the AtheniansT. 7.46, ““ἐλπὶς . . . ἐκτραφῆναιhope of being brought upL. 19.8, ““ἐλπίζει δυνατὸς εἶναι ἄρχεινhe expects to be able to ruleP. R. 573c, ἔχεις τινὰ ἐλπίδα μὴ ἂν . . . τὴν ναῦν ἀπολέσαι; have you any expectation that you would not shipwreck the vessel? X. M. 2.6.38. ἐλπίζω with the present infinitive may mean I feel sure that I am.

b. ““τάχιστα οὐδένα εἰκὸς σὺν αὐτῷ βουλήσεσθαι εἶναιit is probable that very soon no one will wish to be with himX. C. 5.3.30, ““ἡμᾶς εἰκὸς ἐπικρατῆσαιit is likely that we shall succeedT. 1.121, οὐκ εἰκὸς αὐτοὺς περιουσία_ν νεῶν ἔχειν it is not likely that they will continue to have ships to spare 3. 13. With εἰκός the aorist is preferred.

c. ““ὑπέσχετο ταῦτα ποιήσεινhe promised that he would do thisL. 12.14, ὑπέσχετο βουλεύσασθαι (most Mss.) he promised to deliberate X. A. 2.3.20. The aorist infinitive is especially common with verbs of promising and must refer to the future. With the present infinitive ὑπισχνοῦμαι means I assure, profess, pledge my word that I am.

d. ἀπείλει ἐκτρί_ψειν he threatened that he would destroy them Hdt. 6.37, ““ἠπείλησαν ἀποκτεῖναι ἅπανταςthey threatened to kill everybodyX. H. 5.4.7.

e. ““δικάσειν ὀμωμόκατεyou have sworn that you will give judgmentD. 39.40, ἀναγκάζει τὸν Κερσοβλέπτην ὀμόσαι . . . εἶναι μὲν τὴν ἀρχὴν κοινὴν . . ., πάντας δ᾽ ὑ_μῖν ἀποδοῦναι τὴν χώρα_ν he compelled Cersobleptes to swear that the kingdom should be in common and that they should all restore to you the territory D. 23.170.

f. With ὄμνυ_μι a dependent infinitive may refer to the present, past, or future (e). Thus, ““ὀμνύντες βλέπειν . . . Ἀχιλλέα_ πάλινswearing that they see Achilles againS. Ph. 357, ὀμνύουσι μὴ ᾿κπιεῖν they swear they did not drink Pherecrates 143 (Com. fr. I. 187), ὤμνυε μηδὲν εἰρηκέναι he swore that he had said nothing (direct = οὐδὲν εἴρηκα) D. 21.119.

1869. Verbs of will or desire (1991) regularly take the present or aorist infinitive not in indirect discourse; but in some cases we find the future infinitive by assimilation to indirect discourse through the analogy of verbs of promising, etc. (1868). So with βούλομαι, ἐθέλω wish, λέγω meaning command, δέομαι ask, ἐφί_εμαι desire and some others (even δύναμαι am able) that have a future action as their object. Thus, ““ἐφι_έμενοι ἄρξεινbeing desirous to gain controlT. 6.6, ““ἀδύνατοι ἐπιμελεῖς ἔσεσθαιunable to be carefulX. O. 12.12. διανοοῦμαι may follow the analogy of μέλλω (1959): ““τὸν πόλεμον διενοοῦντο προθύ_μως οἴσεινthey intended to carry on the war with zealT. 4.121. In these and similar cases the future is employed to stress the future character of the action. Some editors would emend many of these futures.

1870. Verbs signifying to foretell by oracle usually take the present or aorist infinitive like verbs signifying to command.

1871. A few cases stand in our texts of an aorist infinitive referring to the future after a verb of saying or thinking, e.g. ἐνόμισαν ῥᾳδίως κρατῆσαι they thought they would easily master them T. 2.3. Many editors change to the future or insert ἄν.

1872. Participle (not in indirect discourse).—The participle, as a verbal adjective, is timeless. The tenses of the participle express only continuance, simple occurrence, and completion with permanent result. Whether the action expressed by the participle is antecedent, coincident, or subsequent to that of the leading verb (in any tense) depends on the context. The future participle has a temporal force only because its voluntative force points to the future.

a. Present (continuative). The action set forth by the present participle is generally coincident (rarely antecedent or subsequent) to that of the leading verb: ““ἐργαζόμεναι μὲν ἠρίστων, ἐργασάμεναι δὲ ἐδείπνουνthe women took their noonday meal while they continued their work, but took their supper when they had stopped workX. M. 2.7.12.

1. Antecedent action ( = imperf.): ““οἱ Κύ_ρειοι πρόσθεν σὺν ἡμῖν ταττόμενοι νῦν ἀφεστήκα_σινthe forces of Cyrus that were formerly marshalled with us have now desertedX. A. 3.2.17, ““τοὺς τότε παρόντας αἰτιά_σονται συμβούλουςthey will accuse those who were their counsellors at that timeP. G. 519a, οἱ Κορίνθιοι μέχρι τούτου προθύ_μως πρά_σσοντες ἀνεῖσαν τῆς φιλονεικία_ς the Corinthians, who up to that time had been acting zealously, now slackened in their vehemence T. 5.32. An adverb (πρότερον, πρόσθεν, τότε, ποτέ) often accompanies the participle, which is sometimes called the participle of the imperfect.

2. Subsequent action (especially when the leading verb denotes motion): ἔπεμψαν πρέσβεις ἀγγέλλοντας τὴν τοῦ Πλημυρίου λῆψιν they despatched messengers to announce the capture of Plemyrium T. 7.25. An attributive present part. w. νῦν may refer to the absolute present, though the main verb is past: ““τὴν νῦν Βοιωτία_ν καλουμένην ᾤκησανthey settled in the country now called BoeotiaT. 1.12.

3. The present participle denotes that an action is in process, is attempted, or is repeated.

b. Future (chiefly voluntative): ““οὐ συνήλθομεν ὡς βασιλεῖ πολεμήσοντεςwe have not come together for the purpose of waging war with the kingX. A. 2.3.21.

c. Aorist (simple occurrence). The action set forth by the aorist participle is generally antecedent to that of the leading verb; but it is sometimes coincident or nearly so, when it defines, or is identical with, that of the leading verb, and the subordinate action is only a modification of the main action.

1. Antecedent: ““δειπνήσα_ς ἐχώρειafter supper he advancedT. 3.112, τοὺς ἐλευθέρους ἀποκτείναντες ἀνεχώρησαν after killing the free men they withdrew 5. 83. ““ἐπομόσα_ς ἔφηhe took an oath and saidX. C. 4.1.23, ““ἤδη δ᾽ ἐπὶ ταῦτα πορεύσομαι τοσοῦτον αὐτὸν ἐρωτήσα_ςI shall at once proceed to this matter after having put to him certain questionsD. 18.124. The aorist participle is often thus used when it takes up the preceding verb: ““νῦν μὲν δειπνεῖτε: δειπνήσαντες δὲ ἀπελαύνετεtake your supper now, and when you have done so, departX. C. 3.1.37.

2. Coincident: ““μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοιdo not commit the error of condemning meP. A. 30d, ““εὖ γ᾽ ἐποίησας ἀναμνήσα_ς μεyou did well in reminding meP. Ph. 60c ( = ἀνέμνησάς με εὖ ποιῶν). So also when an aorist participle is used with a future finite verb, as ““ἀπαλλαχθήσομαι βίου θανοῦσαby dying I shall be delivered from lifeE. Hipp. 356. See also 2103.

3. The action of an attributive aorist participle is rarely subsequent to that of the leading verb. When this is the case, the action of the participle is marked as past from the point of view of the present (like the aor. indic.): ““οἱ Ἕλληνες ὕστερον κληθέντες οὐδὲν πρὸ τῶν Τρωϊκῶν ἁθρόοι ἔπρα_ξανthe people later called Hellenes carried out no joint enterprise prior to the Trojan warT. 1.3, Σάτυρος καὶ Χρέμων, οἱ τῶν τριά_κοντα γενόμενοι, Κλεοφῶντος κατηγόρουν Satyrus and Chremon, who (afterwards) became members of the Thirty, accused Cleophon L. 30.12; cp. γενόμενος T. 2.49, 4. 81.

4. The aorist participle is often ingressive or complexive (1924, 1927).

d. Perfect (completion with permanent result): καταλαμβάνουσι Βρα_σίδα_ν ἐπεληλυθότα they found (historical present) that Brasidas had arrived T. 3.69. A perfect participle may have the force of a pluperfect if accompanied by an adverb like πρόσθεν (cp. 1872 a. 1): ““ πρόσθε κεκτημένοςhe who possessed it beforeS. Ph. 778.

1873. Construction of λανθάνω, φθάνω, τυγχάνω.—A supplementary aorist participle with any tense, except the present or imperfect, of λανθάνω escape the notice of, φθάνω anticipate, τυγχάνω happen usually coincides in time with the leading verb: ““ἔλαθον ἐμαυτὸν οὐδὲν εἰπώνI was unconsciously talking nonsenseP. Ph. 76d, ““λήσομεν ἐπιπεσόντεςwe shall fall on them unawaresX. A. 7.3.43. But the action of an aorist participle with the present or imperfect is generally prior to that of the leading verb: ““ὅστις ἀντειπών γε ἐτύγχανεwho chanced to have spoken in oppositionL. 12.27. See 2096.

1874. Participle (in indirect discourse). The tenses of the participle in indirect discourse after verbs of intellectual perception denote the same time relative to that of the leading verb (present, past, or future) as was denoted by the corresponding tenses of the indicative in direct discourse which they represent. See 2106, 2112 b.

a. Present = pres. indic.: the action is generally coincident: ἐπειδὰν γνῶσιν ἀπιστούμενοι when they find out that they are distrusted ( = ὅτι ἀπιστούμεθα) X. C. 7.2.17; rarely antecedent (when the present = the imperf. ind.): οἶδά σε λέγοντα ἀεί I know that you always used to say ( = ὅτι ἔλεγες) 1. 6. 6.

b. Future = fut. indic.: ἀγνοεῖ τὸν πόλεμον δεῦρ᾽ ἥξοντα he is ignorant that the war will come here ( = ὅτι πόλεμος ἥξει) D. 1.15.

c. Aorist = aor. indic.: τὸν Μῆδον ἴσμεν ἐπὶ τὴν Πελοπόννησον ἐλθόντα we know that the Mede came against the Peloponnese ( = ὅτι Μῆδος ἦλθε) T. 1.69.

d. Perfect = perf. indic.: οὐ γὰρ ᾔδεσαν αὐτὸν τεθνηκότα for they did not know that he was dead ( = ὅτι τέθνηκε) X. A. 1.10.16. The perfect may also represent the pluperfect (cp. 1872 d).



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