adrianus wrote:Forsit consultè hoc id ostendit.
It's possible. I checked my copy of A&G's New Latin Grammar for any clues, and I see mostly
the Perfect Tense used in the principal clause:hoc dum narrat, forte audivi
Then a NOTE directs me to the section on the Historical Present:affertur nuntius Syracusas; curritur ad praetorium; (etc.)
NOTE — This usage, common in all languages, comes from imagining past events as going on before our eyes.
So the grammar seems pretty clear. I'm still a little shaky on why it switches back and forth—probably for the same reason I wrote this reply the way I did:I checked...
...a NOTE directs me...
I suppose it's just one of those things one needs to acquire a feel for, like we do in our native language. Now that I think about it, the vidit
occurred earlier in the story than videt
Perhaps that the king saw
a light had almost a pluperfect sense, whereas the fact that the soldier "sees" the king is supposed to direct our attention to this particular part. "Here," the narrative is saying, "this is the story; the other stuff happened before, but this is what I really
want you to picture." It then says Tum rex dixit
, using the perfect because it would feel awkward to use tum
with the Present.
Honestly, it could just as easily have been the result of bad proofreading. But at least it's gotten me thinking about the historical present.