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[*] 56. The aorist is distinguished from the imperfect by expressing only the occurrence of an action or the entrance into a state or condition, while the imperfect properly represents an action or state as going on or as repeated. See the examples of the imperfect and aorist in 35, and compare συνῴκει and συνῴκησε in DEM. xxx. 33 (in 55). The aorist is therefore more common in rapid narration, the imperfect in detailed description. It must be remembered that the same event may be looked upon from different points of view by the same person; thus in DEM. xviii. 71 and 73 (quoted in 35) ἔλυε τὴν εἰρήνην and τὴν εἰρήνην ἔλυσε refer to the same thing, once as an act in progress, and once as a fact accomplished. No amount of duration in an act, therefore, can make the aorist an improper form to express it, provided it is stated as a single past event viewed as a whole. Thus ἐβασίλευσε δέκα ἔτη (see HDT. ii. 157) means he had a reign of ten years, (which is viewed as a single past event), while ἐβασίλευε δέκα ἔτη might refer to the same reign in the sense he was reigning during ten years. The aorist may refer even to a series of repetitions; but it takes them collectively as a whole, while the imperfect would take them separately as individuals. See DEM. xviii. 80, “μετὰ ταῦτα δὲ τοὺς ἀποστόλους ἅπαντας ἀπέστειλα” , and afterwards I sent out all the naval armaments; and xviii. 60, “ἃ μὲν πρὸ τοῦ πολιτεύεσθαι καὶ δημηγορεῖν ἐμὲ προὔλαβε καὶ κατέσχε Φίλιππος” , the (succession of) advantages which Philip secured during the period before I entered public life, emphatically opposed (as a whole) to Philip's many failures after that time, which are mentioned in ἃ δὲ καὶ διεκωλύθη. If the orator had wished to dwell on the number of the advantages or failures, or on their duration, he could have used the imperfect. See the last example under 35.
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