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2013. Infinitive in Commands.—The infinitive may be used for the second person of the imperative. The person addressed is regarded as the subject. This infinitive is commoner in poetry than in prose (where it has a solemn or formal force).

θαρσῶν νῦν, Διόμηδες, ἐπὶ Τρώεσσι μάχεσθαι with good courage now, Diomed, fight against the Trojans E 124, σὺ δέ, Κλεαρίδα_ . . . τὰ_ς πύλα_ς ἀνοίξα_ς ἐπεκθεῖν but do you, Clearidas, open the gates and sally forth T. 5.9.

a. This infinitive may be used in conjunction with an imperative: ““ἀκούετε λεῴ: κατὰ τὰ πάτρια τοὺς χόας πί_νεινhear ye, good people! drink the Pitchers as our sires drank!Ar. Ach. 1000.

b. The infinitive for the third person of the imperative often occurs in legal language (laws, treaties, etc.), and does not necessarily depend on the principal verb. Thus, ““ἔτη δὲ εἶναι τὰ_ς σπονδὰ_ς πεντήκονταand the treaty shall continue for fifty yearsT. 5.18. In this construction the infinitive has the force of an infinitive dependent on ἔδοξε (it was voted that) or the like. So in medical language, as πί_νειν δὲ ὕδωρ it is well for the patient to drink water Hippocrates 1. 151.

c. The infinitive (with subject accusative) is rarely used for the third person of the imperative when there is an unconscious ellipsis of a word like δός grant, or εὔχομαι I pray. Thus, τεύχεα συ_λήσα_ς φερέτω κοίλα_ς ἐπὶ νῆας, σῶμα δὲ οἴκαδ᾽ ἐμὸν δόμεναι πάλιν let him strip off my arms and carry them to the hollow ships, but let him give back my body to my home H 78.

d. In negative commands (prohibitions) μή with the infinitive is poetic and Ionic: οἷς μὴ πελάζειν do not approach these ( = μὴ πέλαζε) A. Pr. 712, ““μηδὲ καλεῖν πω ὄλβιονand do not call him happy yetHdt. 1.32.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.5.2
    • Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox, Overview of Greek Syntax, Verbs: Mood
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