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788. It has been seen that the infinitive without the article was already established in the Homeric language, in nearly all the constructions in which it was most frequently used in later times. In this simple form it developed its various tenses, and their uses became fixed, especially in indirect discourse; so that the infinitive gradually came to be more of a verb and less of a noun.

When the definite article had become common with nouns, it was soon prefixed to the infinitive, which thus, with all its attributes as a verb unimpaired, was restored to new life as a neuter verbal noun.1 As a nominative and accusative, it could be used with τό in all the constructions in which the simple infinitive was already familiar as subject or object, although here the older form was preferred except when it was desired to emphasise the infinitive especially as a nominative or accusative. But in other constructions (especially in the genitive, dative, and accusative with prepositions), and in its wonderful capacity for carrying dependent clauses and adjuncts of every kind, the articular infinitive appears as a new power in the language, of which the older simple infinitive gave hardly an intimation.

As might be expected, the articular infinitive found its chief use in the rhetorical language, as in Demosthenes and in the speeches of Thucydides. It appears first in Pindar (for τό in Od. xx. 52 and Frag. HES. clxxi. can hardly be the article), but always as a subject nominative, with one doubtful exception. In the dramatists and Herodotus it is not uncommon, being generally a nominative or accusative with τό, although it occurs also as a genitive or dative with τοῦ or τῷ; and it is found even with prepositions. In Thucydides (especially in the speeches), we find the nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative all used with the greatest freedom (in 135 cases), besides the accusative, genitive, and dative with prepositions (in 163 cases). Its fully developed power of taking dependent clauses must be seen in the Orators, especially in Demosthenes.2

1 “By the substantial loss of its dative force the infinitive became verbalized; by the assumption of the article it was substantivized again with a decided increment of its power.” Jour. Phil. iii. p. 195.

2 See the statistics given by Gildersleeve in the Jour. Phil. viii. p. 332. It appears that the average number of articular infinitives in a Teubner page of Demosthenes is 1.25; of the speeches of Thucydides, 1.00; of Xenophon (whole), 1.02; of Isocrates, .60; of Antiphon, .50; of Aeschines, .30; of Andocides, .20; of Isaeus , .25; of Lysias, .12. Hypereides even exceeds Demosthenes. For the actual number of articular infinitives in each author before Aristotle, see Birklein's table, p. 91.

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