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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.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 1.pos=2.2
    • Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox, Overview of Greek Syntax, Verbs: Tense
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