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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).

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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