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aorist and present infinitive

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aorist and present infinitive

Postby Bert » Fri Aug 08, 2003 1:11 am

Line 20 of the Iliad reads as follows;[face=SPIonic]pai=da d' e)moi\ lu=sai/ te fi/lhn, ta/ t' a)/poina de/xesqai[/face].<br />My question is: What is the significance of [face=SPIonic]lu=sai[/face] being aorist and [face=SPIonic]de/xesqai [/face]present tense.<br /><br />Thanks
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Re:aorist and present infinitive

Postby annis » Fri Aug 08, 2003 2:01 am

In the indicative the present is present tense and the aorist is a point past. (By point past, I mean it indicates a singular event in the past, not an ongoing activity. Note that an event in the past can be described as ongoing, or sometimes you might want to talk about the whole event as a single thing.)<br /><br />In every other mood including imperatives and infinitives, the present means "ongoing" and the aorist means "single event."<br /><br />So, "free my dear daughter" - one single event, one hopes - "and accept these ransoms." I admit it's not entirely clear to me why this acceptance is cast as an ongoing activity, but the freeing is necessarily a single event. Later, when griping about the event to the prophet Calchas, Agamemnon will talk about it in the aorist (line 111-112):<br /><br />[face=SPIonic]ou(/nek' e)gw\ kou/rhj Xrushi/doj a)gla/' a)/poina<br />ou)k e)/qelon de/casqai, [/face]<br /><br />I used the Perseus "words in context" tool, and I'm guessing the use of the present in your example is a metrical convenience. Some others with the aorist:<br /><br />Iliad 6.46, 11.131<br />[face=SPIonic]zw/grei )Atre/oj ui(e/, su\ d' a)/cia de/cai a)/poina[/face]<br /><br />Iliad 24.137<br />[face=SPIonic]a)ll' a)/ge dh\ lu=son, nekroi=o de\ de/cai a)/poina.[/face]<br /><br />(I really adore Perseus).<br /><br />So I'm afraid I can't offer an authoritative answer, but I always find examples of usage elsewhere can be helpful. But I bet the present infinitive fit the verse better.<br /><br />
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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Re:aorist and present infinitive

Postby Skylax » Fri Aug 08, 2003 12:40 pm

What I think (but my English ought to be far better... so, in telegraphic style):<br /><br />- [face=SPIonic]lu=sai[/face] : perfective aspect. Action considered as a single point, you speak of it only to put it on a chain of actions, as a single link of the chain. You don't draw attention to the details nor to the development of the action. It can also mean "free (in a particular case)" or "free (straightaway)". All three notions (single point, particular case, straighaway) are connected.<br /><br />- [face=SPIonic]de/xesqai[/face] : imperfective aspect. The author reminds you of the different phases in the development of the action, evolutions, efforts needed... The action is considered as interesting in itself. Present (infinitive) is also used to speak of recurring actions or actions that can begin at an undefinite point in time (now or later... no matter)<br /><br />For example (imperative):<br />[face=SPIonic]le/ge[/face] (present imperative) : "say", "speak" (when you are ready... you can begin and stop and begin again... we will hear your voice for some time... you will say a lot of things...)<br /><br />as opposed to <br />[face=SPIonic]ei)pe/[/face] (aorist imperative) "Tell me" (sthraightaway, about this particular thing...)<br /><br />Another example (infinitive):<br />[face=SPIonic]Xalepo\n to\ poiei=n, to\ de\ keleu=sai r(a/|dion[/face] "It is difficult to achieve (present) while it is easy to command (aorist)."<br /><br />By means of the present [face=SPIonic]poiein[/face] we are reminded of all things needed by an achievement (reflection, decisions, determination, skills, efforts...), while the aorist <br />[face=SPIonic]keleu=sai[/face] denotes the straightforwardness of such an action ("Study the whole dictionary by heart. On with it !")<br /><br />This is my "personal" view of the opposition between present and aorist. I was not yet able to make it public until now. So thanks to you all.
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Re:aorist and present infinitive

Postby Paul » Fri Aug 08, 2003 3:48 pm

Hi All,<br /><br />Perhaps the present infinitive [face=SPIonic]de/xesqai[/face] is used because it fits the meter.<br /><br />The line<br /><br />[face=SPIonic]pai=da d' e)moi\ lu=sai/ te fi/lhn, ta/ t' a)/poina de/xesqai[/face]<br /><br /> seems to scan thus:<br /><br /> _ u u _ _ _ u u _ u u _ u u _ _<br /><br />The two aorist infinitive choices won't fit. First aorist<br />[face=SPIonic]de/casqai[/face] has a long (by position) first syllable. Second aorist [face=SPIonic]de/xqai[/face] is only two syllables long, where three are needed.<br /><br />Cordially,<br /><br />Paul
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Re:aorist and present infinitive

Postby Bert » Fri Aug 08, 2003 11:01 pm

Thank you for the interesting insights.<br />The difference between the aspect of aorist and present is one possibility. The possibility of it being a metrical convenience makes me wonder if Homeric Greek is going to help or hinder my future plans to learn Attic and Koine.<br />I am tying to imagine what it would sound like to listen to someone who learned English using a book of poetry.
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Re:aorist and present infinitive

Postby Keesa » Fri Aug 08, 2003 11:06 pm

[quote author=Bert de Haan link=board=2;threadid=398;start=0#3151 date=1060383719]<br />I am tying to imagine what it would sound like to listen to someone who learned English using a book of poetry.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />I would imagine it would sound very pretty, very garbled, and very confusing. :)<br /><br />Keesa
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Re:aorist and present infinitive

Postby bingley » Sat Aug 09, 2003 4:04 am

I don't think the suggestions so far are mutally exclusive. Perhaps the tenses are different as a matter of metrical convenience and to convey the different nuances suggested by Skylax and William. Isn't that what makes a great poet?
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Re:aorist and present infinitive

Postby annis » Sat Aug 09, 2003 5:58 am

[quote author=Bert de Haan link=board=2;threadid=398;start=0#3151 date=1060383719]<br />Thank you for the interesting insights.<br />The difference between the aspect of aorist and present is one possibility. The possibility of it being a metrical convenience makes me wonder if Homeric Greek is going to help or hinder my future plans to learn Attic and Koine.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />It'll be fine. Even if Homer does something a bit dodgy to fit the meter, he cannot dodge so much that the sense is deformed, or his audience wouldn't know what he was saying.<br /><br />
<br />I am tying to imagine what it would sound like to listen to someone who learned English using a book of poetry.<br />
<br /><br />There are some differences in vocabulary and syntax, but this is true between Classical and Koine, and even different sorts of prose. Xenophon writes rather differently than Plato.<br />
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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Re:aorist and present infinitive

Postby Keesa » Sun Aug 10, 2003 3:58 pm

I think that's true in any kind of writing-English prose included. <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:aorist and present infinitive

Postby Ptolemaios » Mon Aug 11, 2003 7:42 am

I'm inclined to dislike arguments metri causa. Sure, in this verse only the inf.pr. fits; but how do you know there isn't a single possible verse (with as far as possible the same meaning) in which the inf.aor. would fit?<br /><br />[face=SPIonic]Eu)/xomai se e)rrw=sqai[/face]<br /><br />Ptolemaios
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