Expressions of Time in Ancient Greek (Cambridge Classical Studies)

Expressions of Time in Ancient Greek (Cambridge Classical Studies)

Coulter H. George

Language: English

Pages: 342

ISBN: 1107003946

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

How did Ancient Greek express that an event occurred at a particular time, for a certain duration, or within a given time frame? The answer to these questions depends on a variety of conditions - the nature of the time noun, the tense and aspect of the verb, the particular historical period of Greek during which the author lived - that existing studies of the language do not take sufficiently into account. This book accordingly examines the circumstances that govern the use of the genitive, dative, and accusative of time, as well as the relevant prepositional constructions, primarily in Greek prose of the fifth century BC through the second century AD, but also in Homer. While the focus is on developments in Greek, translations of the examples, as well as a fully glossed summary chapter, make it accessible to linguists interested in the expression of time generally.

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garlanded in preparation for the sacrifice (X. An. 7.1.40) The opposition between τῇ μὲν πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ and τῇ δὲ ὑστεραίᾳ is reminiscent of example (1), which also contains both a τῇ δὲ ὑστεραίᾳ clause as well as a preparatory μέν clause that refers to the previous day: ταύτην μὲν οὖν τὴν ἡμέραν αὐτοῦ ἔμειναν, τῇ δὲ ὑστεραίᾳ Ἀλκιβιάδης ἐκκλησίαν ποιήσας παρεκελεύετο αὐτοῖς. But the contrast between the durative accusative of time in (1) and the punctual dative of time in (21) provides further

number of days is telic.28 Conversely, in example (30) we see a punctual expression modifying an imperfect verb. To be sure, examples of this sort, in which an imperfect is modified by a punctual temporal expression, are considerably rarer than those like (29), in which an aorist is modified by a durative expression.29 But the fact remains that a simple attempt to explain temporal constructions with reference to aspect will not get very far: it is far more productive to explain them with reference

so as to use Latin roots consistently. While I recognize that ‘punctual’ may misleadingly suggest objectively instantaneous events, this is in my view a small price to pay in order to have a term that matches the basic role of these expressions in assigning events to a particular point in time, even when that point is comparatively protracted. One may compare the Greek aorist, which can be described as reducing the action of the verb, even a durative one, to a single point, insofar as that action

by the temporal expression is a limit comes to the fore: (12) οὐκ ἂν δύναιο μεῖον ἢ ἐν ἓξ ἢ ἑπτὰ ἡμέραις ἐλθεῖν πρὸς τὴν ἐμὴν οἰκίαν You could not get to my house in less than six or seven days (X. Cyr. 5.3.28) Here the comparative μεῖον ἤ strongly suggests a limitative reading. Another feature that points to such a reading is the presence not just of a plural cardinal number, but also of εἷς: (13) τοῦτ’ οὖν, ἔφη, λέγεις ὡς καὶ ὁ σὸς πατὴρ ἐν τῇδε τῇ μιᾷ ἡμέρᾳ ἐξ ἄφρονος σώφρων γεγένηται; Are

to be sure, there is also an explicit subordinator: (107) καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι αὐτοῖς τῶν εὐδαιμόνων διὰ τὸ ἁβροδίαιτον οὐ πολὺς χρόνος ἐπειδὴ χιτῶνάς τε λινοῦς ἐπαύσαντο φοροῦντες 116 A trace of such a construction is perhaps also found in Latin si nox furtum faxit, if Watkins (1965) is right to see in nox the nominative of a reduced clause rather than a syncopated genitive; even if one does not believe this particular example, he cites several other parallels. 182 de m o s t h en e s And the

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