Greek Grammar

Greek Grammar (6)

Classical Grammar

THE MULTIPLE USES OF PARTICIPLES IN GREEK

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Introduction.
 
When one is engaged in translating a piece of Ancient Greek into English, one is often surprised at the very widespread incidence of 'Participles' or 'Verbal Adjectives' in the text. Such participles are often at the centre of 'phrases', which are units of words distinguishable from 'clauses' in that, unlike the latter, they lack the presence of a 'finite verb'. For those of us who have been taught Greek syntax principally through the medium of Greek prose composition, the extent of such phrases, and the participles which are often within them, can be somewhat disconcerting, as our early learning of the language was largely structured around an understanding of clauses, firstly main clauses, and then subordinate clauses. In most of the standard grammatical textbooks of Greek, participles and their uses are dealt with on an incidental and relatively incoherent basis, and therefore the translator is likely to be unprepared for the apparently central part they tend to play in the structure of so much written Greek. This article intends to address in some detail the numerous uses to which participles are put in Greek and to highlight those uses with actual examples of how they work in practice. 
 
1.  The Participle - definition and description of its use.
 
In Greek the participle was called by the First Century B.C. Hellenistic grammarian Dionysius Thrax as 'ἡ μετοχή' (a participation), because 'it shares the specific character of verbs and of nouns' (μετέχουσα τῆς ῥημάτων καὶ τῆς τῶν ὀνοματων ἰδιότητος). A participle, like an adjective, is used to modify or qualify nouns, with which it agrees in case, number and gender, but, unlike an adjective, it can, in accordance with its verbal functions, a) take an object in the accusative or in any other case applicable to its verb, and b) express distinctions in aspect/time and in voice. In this context, the participle is one of the 'infinite' forms of a verb, i.e. it is not limited in terms of mood and person as are finite verbs. Other forms of the Verb Infinite in Greek are the 'Infinitive' and the 'Gerundive'. With regard to time, Greek verbs have separate participles to express present, past and future time; with regard to aspect such participles can also differentiate between process, event and state; and with regard to voice, Greek participles can be active, middle or passive. 
 
2.  Available forms of the participle.
 
In terms of inflexion, Greek verbs often have as many as eleven participles available, and this remarkable number, and the flexibility which they thus provide, helps to explain why their use is so common in Greek. In order to illustrate this, the participles of the paradigmatic verb 'λύω' (I loose, I free, I ransom [Middle]) are listed below, together with the three forms of the nominative singular relating to gender:
 
λύων, λύουσα, λῦον                                   Present Active                  Freeing
λύσας, λύσασα, λῦσαν                               Aorist Active                    Freeing, Having freed
λελυκώς, λελυκυῖα, λελυκός                      Perfect Active                   Having freed
λύσων, λύσουσα, λῦσον                             Future Active                    Being about to free
λυόμενος, λυομένη, λυόμενον                    Present Middle                   Ransoming
                                                                  Present Passive                 Being freed
λυσάμενος, λυσαμένη, λυσάμενον           Aorist Middle          Ransoming, Having ransomed
λελυμένος, λελυμένη, λελυμένον               Perfect Middle                  Having ransomed
                                                                  Perfect Passive                 Having been freed
λυσομένος, λυσομένη, λυσόμενον              Future Middle                  Being about to ransom
λελυσόμενος, λελυσομένη, λελυσόμενον Future Perfect Middle Having been about to ransom
                                                          Future Perfect Passive Having been about to be freed
λυθείς, λυθεῖσα, λυθέν                                Aorist Passive                   Being freed, Freed
λυθησομενος, λυθησομένη, λυθησόμενον  Future Passive                  Being about to be freed
(N.B. It should be noted that Greek lacks a participle relating to the Future Perfect Active. Such a participle could only be formed periphrastically.)

Partly because of the significant number of participles relating to each verb, the participle plays a greater part in Greek than in Latin, which only has three participles for any verb. Latin's lack of a Past Participle Active and a Present Participle Passive create significant restrictions in practice. It is also worth remarking that English verbs only possess two participles, a Present Participle (e.g. Loosening) and a Past Participle Passive (e.g. Loosened); indeed to create other participles in our own language it is necessary in practice to employ auxiliary verbs such as 'having', 'being', and 'been' on a periphrastic basis, and we often use participles in a fairly loose manner, making the two we do have do almost all the work grammatically. The Greeks, on the contrary, having so many of them, used them with great precision.   
 
3.  Aspect and Time. 
 
Before looking in detail at the manifold uses of participles in Greek, it is necessary to outline how they relate to both aspect and time, as indicated in Section 1 above. The present participle represents the action as a process occurring simultaneously with the time of the main verb; the aorist participle as an action occurring simultaneously with, or prior to, the time of the main verb; the perfect participle relates to a state occurring in the present as the result of an action in the past; and the future participle is used when the action is subsequent to the action of the main verb, and often in order to express purpose or intention. Examples of these usages are set out below:
 
a)  ἐξῆλθον βοῶντες. They went out shouting. (Present participle: simultaneous process in past time.) 
 
b)  βοήσας εἶπεν.  He said with a shout.  (Aorist participle:  simultaneous event in past time.)
 
c)  τὴν γῆν καταλιπόντες ταχέως ἔπλευσαν. After leaving the land, they sailed quickly. (Aorist participle:  prior event in past time.)
 
d)  χαίρει ὥσπερ ἤδη πεποιημένων τῶν σπονδῶν. He is rejoicing as if a peace treaty has already been made.  (Perfect participle:  present state in present time.)
 
e)  ἥκουσιν ὑμῖν ἀγγελοῦντες.  They have come to tell you. (Future participle:  future intention in present time.)
 
Of all the matters concerning the use of participles in Greek, the above rules are perhaps of the greatest significance. The regular use of the Aorist participle to describe an event simultaneous to the time of the main verb, and which in English is therefore rendered by the Present participle, is perhaps the usage which most needs to be appreciated by the translator in this context.  
 
4.  Substantival and Adjectival uses of the Participle.
 
a.  The participle as a noun. 
 
In some instances the participle is used, together with the direct article, as a straight substitute for a noun. Examples are
 
i)   οἰ τεθνηκότες, the dead (lit. those who have died).  
 
ii)  οἰ θεώμενοι, spectators (lit. those who are watching).
 
b. Its use as a noun phrase in Indirect Statement. 
 
In Greek, verbs of knowing and perceiving are followed by an Accusative and Participle construction rather than the Accusative and Infinitive which follows verbs of saying and thinking. Some examples are shown below:
 
i) οἶδα αὐτὸν ἀφικόμενον.  I know that he has arrived (lit. I know him having arrived). 
 
ii) οἶδά σε σώφρονα ὄντα. I know that you are wise (lit. I know you being wise).
 
iii) ὄψονται τὴν γῆν τεμνομένην.  They will see that their land is being ravaged (lit. They will see their land being ravaged).
 
iv) ὄψονται τὰ σφέτερα διαφθειρόμενα. They will see that their own property is being destroyed (lit. They will see their own property being destroyed). 
 
With regard to the Indirect Statement, Greek differs from Latin in that, if the subject of the indirect statement is the same as that of the main verb, it is put into the Nominative rather than the Accusative case. In practice, however, it is not necessary to express the subject of the indirect statement at all, if it is the same as that of the main verb, although the pronoun αὐτός, αὐτή, αὐτό (self) may be used in the Nominative for the purpose of emphasis. This construction is well illustrated by the following sentences: 
 
i) ᾐσθόμην εἰς κίνδυνον καταστάς.  I perceived that I had got into danger.
 
ii) οἶδα αὐτὸς μὲν ὀρθῶς γιγνώσκων, ἐκείνους δὲ ἁμαπτάνοντας.  I know that I myself am right, and that they are wrong.
 
The following verbs of knowing and perceiving take a participle when used in Indirect Statement:
 
οἶδα                          I know
σύνοιδα ἐμαυτῳ       I am conscious of
ἀγνοέω                     I do not know
γιγνώσκω                 I come to know, I realise, I learn
ὀρθῶς γιγνώσκω      I am right
ἐπίσταμαι                 I understand, I know
συνίημι                     I understand
μανθάνω                   I learn, I understand
μέμνημαι                  I remember, I recall
ἐπιλανθάνομαι         I forget
αἰσθάνομαι              I perceive
ἀκούω                      I hear
ὁράω (aorist: εἶδον) I see
ἀποφαίνω                 I show, I reveal, I prove.
 
In addition to the above, some verbs which commonly take the Accusative and Infinitive also take the Participle on occasion. These verbs include:
 
ἀγγέλλω                   I report, I announce
ἀπαγγέλλω               I tell
πυνθάνομαι              I ascertain, I inquire, I learn.
 
For instance:
 
Κῦρον ἐπιστρατεύοντα ἤγγειλεν. He announced that Cyrus was marching against (them).
 
 
c.  The Participle used as an alternative to an Adjectival or Relative Clause. 
 
The participle can also be used adjectivally with the definite article to form noun phrases that are translated in English as Relative Clauses with pronominal antecedents. For instance:
 
i)  οἱ τὴν πατρίδα φιλοῦντες.  Those who love their country. 
 
ii)  ὁ ταῦτα λέγων.  He who is saying (or was saying) this. 
 
In such noun phrases, the negative is οὐ, when the sense is definite, and μή, when it is indefinite, e.g.
 
i)  οἱ οὐ Βουλόμενοι.  Those (particular persons) who do not wish. 
 
ii)  οἱ μὴ βουλόμενοι.  Whoever do not wish. 
 
The two illustrations of the participle used as a noun, given in Section 4a. above, are basically examples of this construction as well. 
 

5.  Adverbial uses of the Participle.

The most common and the most significant function of the participle in Greek is adverbial. Just as a participle is often used in Greek as a means of expressing what in English would be an adjectival or relative clause, so it is available as an alternative to subordinate adverbial clauses. When used in this way, it can be called the Circumstantial Participle, because it expresses the circumstances in which an action takes place, and its use in this way facilitates many different shades of meaning: time, cause, purpose, condition, manner, limitation. When a participle is so used, it is sometimes not clear exactly in what way it is being used. While the participle can be translated in a neutral manner, it is usually preferable for the translator to determine its sense within the context in which it appears. For instance, the words "εἰπὼν ἀπῄει" literally mean, "having spoken, he went away", but they can be translated as either "when he had spoken, he went away", "although he had spoken, he went away", or "as though he had spoken, he went away". This ambiguity can lead to differences in translations of the same piece. However, the various adverbial uses of the circumstantial participle are now considered.

a.  Temporal.

The use of participles as an alternative to a temporal clause is perhaps its commonest adverbial use. When translating into English, 'while' is the conjunction most likely to be used in tandem with a present participle; 'when', 'after', and 'before' are usual with aorist participles: e.g.

i.) οἴκαδε ἐπανελθόντες τὸν πατέρα ἐζήτουν. When they (had) returned home, they looked for their father.
 
ii) ἐν τοῖς ἀγροῖς μένοντες πολλὰ καὶ κακὰ ἔπασχον.  While (they were) staying in the country, they suffered many terrible things. 
 
b.  Causal.
 
When used to describe the cause or the ground of an action, a participle is often, but not always, introduced by "ἅτε" or "οἷον", inasmuch as, to signify the real cause, or by "ὡς", on the grounds that, to signify the alleged cause: e.g.

i) ἅτε πολλὰ καὶ κακὰ παθόντες, τοῖς πολεμίοις ἑαυτοὺς παρέδοσαν.  Because they had suffered many hardships, they surrendered to the enemy.

ii) τὸν Περικλέα ἐν αἰτίᾳ εἶχον ὡς πείσαντα σφᾶς πολεμεῖν.  They blamed Pericles because he had persuaded them to go to war.

c.  Conditional.

The participle may be used as a substitute for a conditional clause, i.e. the protasis of a conditional sentence. "Μή" is always used in the case of a negative condition: e.g.

i)  τοῦτο μὴ ποιοῦντες, οὐκ ἂν εὖ πράττοιεν.  Unless they did this, they would not prosper.

ii) οὐδέποτε μαθήσεται κιθαρίζειν, μὴ μελέτων.  He will never learn to play the lyre, if he does not practise (unless he practises).


d.  Concessive.

A participle is usually preceded by "καί or "καίπερ, although, when it is used concessively: e.g.

i) ἐποικτίρω αὐτὸν καίπερ ἐχθρὸν ὄντα.  I pity him though he is my enemy.

ii) καὶ πολλὰ και κακὰ πάσχοντες, οὐκ εἶξαν. Although they were suffering many hardships, they did not yield.


e.  Final.

The Future Participle is regularly employed in classical Greek to express purpose or intention, and is therefore an alternative to the Final Clause construction of  "ἵνα", in order that, or "ὅπως", in order to, plus the Conjunctive. In such instances the Future Participle may be introduced by the conjunction "ὡς" so as to imply that the participle is expressing the alleged or presumed purpose of the subject of the sentence: e.g.

i) ἦλθον λυσόμενοι τοὺς πολίτας.  They came to ransom the citizens.

ii) ἥκουσιν ὡς ὑμῖν τὰ γενόμενα ἀγγελοῦντες.  They have come to tell you what happened.


f.  Comparative.

Comparative clauses in English, used to express manner, are expressed in Greek by the conjunction "ὤσπερ", as if, as though, with the participle: e.g.

i) οὐκ ἐθέλετ' ἀκούειν, ὥσπερ ᾔδη εἰδότες.  You are unwilling to listen, as if you knew it all already.

ii) ἐχρώμην αὐτῳ ὥσπερ ὄντι καίπερ οὐκ ὄντι ἀδελφῷ.  Though he was not my brother I treated him as if were.


6.  Use of the Participle in the Genitive Absolute.

The Genitive Absolute phrase is used in Greek when the noun which the participle is qualifying has no grammatical relationship to the rest of the sentence in which it is placed, i.e. it is not the subject, the direct object or the indirect object of the main verb. The term "absolute" comes from the Latin word "absolutus", meaning, in this context, detached, separate, or unconnected, i.e. the Genitive Absolute stands as an independent construction with no syntactical relationship to the rest of the sentence. As in the case of the many types of adverbial clauses outlined above, the Genitive Absolute can therefore be translated in English by clauses beginning with a range of subordinating conjunctions, e.g. "when", "while", "as", "since", "because", although", "if". As in the case of its above uses as adverbial clauses, the choice of which introductory word to use must be determined form the sense of the sentence as a whole, but sometimes the presence of a word such as  "καίπερ" makes it clear. Examples are as follows:

a) θάλποντος τοῦ ἡλίου, ὑπο ελάᾳ ἐκάθηντο.  As the sun was hot, they were sitting under an olive- tree.

b) ἡμέρας γενομένης, ὁ πατὴρ τὸν παῖδα ἔπεμψε ζητήσοντα τὰ πρόβατα. When day came (or At daybreak), the father sent his son to look for the sheep.

c)  οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι ἔπλευσαν ἡγεμονεύοντος τοῦ Νικίου.  The Athenians sailed under the leadership of Nicias.

d) ληθέντων τῶν τειχῶν οἱ πολῖται ἐξέφευγον.  When the walls were taken, the citizens tried to escape.

e) ἀποθανόντος τοῦ Κύρου, οἰ στρατιῶται ἔφυγον.  When Cyrus was killed, the soldiers fled.

f) ὁ στρατηγὸς οὐκ ἤθελεν ἐπιτίθεσθαι τοῦ στρατεύματος οὐδένα σῖτον ἔχοντος.  The general did not wish to attack (the enemy) as his army had no food.

g) καίπερ θόρυβον ποιούντων τῶν προβάτων, ὁ αὐτουργὸς οὐκ ἔσπευδεν.  Although the sheep were making a noise, the farmer did not hurry.

h) νυκτὸς γενομένης, ἔδοξεν ἡμῖν ἐν τῷ ἄστει μένειν.  When night came (or At nightfall), we decided to stay in the city.

i) ἑσπέρας γιγνομένησς, οἱ ξένοι εἰς τὸ ἄστυ ἀφίκοντο.  As evening was coming, the strangers arrived in the city.

j) τοῦ ἀνεμοῦ μείζονος γενομενοῦ, ἡ ναῦς, ὀλίγη οὖσα, ἐν κινδυνῳ ἦν.  As the wind was growing stronger, the ship, being small, was in danger.

As indicated by a number of the above examples, it was common in Greek to commence sentences and paragraphs by a genitive absolute relating to the time of day or year, and to the state of the sun, the wind or the sea. Phrases such as "τοῦ ἡλίου ἀνατέλλοντος" (at the rising of the sun or at dawn) and "τοῦ ἡλίου καταδύντος" (the sun having set or at sunset) are common. 


7.  Use of the Participle in the Accusative Absolute.

Impersonal verbs use a participle in the Accusative, expressed in the Neuter Singular, in place of the Genitive. Impersonal verbs most commonly used in this way are: "δοκεῖ", it seems best, "ἔξεστι(ν)", it is possible, it is allowed/ permitted, and "δεῖ", it is necessary, it is a duty: e.g.

a) δόξαν τὸν παῖδα ἐς τὴν ἄγραν πέμψαι, ὁ Κροῖσος μάλιστα ἐφοβεῖτο.  When he had decided (lit. It having seemed best) to send his son to the hunt, Croesus was very afraid. ("δόξαν" is the aorist participle of δοκέω".)

b) ἐξὸν ἐς την ἀγραν ἰέναι. ὁ Ἄτυς εὐθὺς ὁρμᾶται. Permission having been given (lit. It being permitted) to go to the hunt, Atys sets out at once.

c) δέον τὸ θηρίον αἱρειν, ἐς τὸ ὄρος ἔσπευδον.  Since it was necessary (lit. It being necessary) to catch the beast, they hurried to the mountain.

Other Accusative Absolutes used in this way are:

ἀδυνατον ὄν   It being impossible (from "ἀδυνατον ἐστίν", it is impossible)
παρόν             It being possible/ allowed (from "πάρειμι", I am present)
προσηκόν       It being fitting (from "προσήκω", I have arrived, I am near)
παρασχόν       An opportunity offering (aorist participle from "παρέχω", I provide, allow, grant)
εἰρημένον       It having been stated/ laid down (perfect participle of "λέγω", I speak).


8.  Some idiomatic uses of the Participle.

a.  Supplementary participles which extend or limit the meaning of a verb.

Participles are used, like the Prolative infinitive, to carry on the meaning of certain verbs. (The word "prolative" comes from the Latin word "prolatus", the past participle of "proferre", to carry forward or complete [the meaning of the predicate].) Greek verbs that are followed by participles used in this prolative manner are as follows:

τυγχάνω     I happen
παύω          I bring to an end, I stop
παύομαι      I cease, I leave off
λήγω           I cease
ἄρχω           I begin
ἄρχομαι       I begin
διατελέω      I continue, I keep on
αἰσχύνομαι  I am ashamed at
φαίνομαι      I am plainly, I am shown to be , I am proved to be
δῆλος εἰμί    I am clearly
ἀνέχομαι      I endure
περιοράω     I overlook, disregard
χαίρω           I rejoice
ἥδομαι          I am pleased
φθάνω          I anticipate
λανθάνω       I elude the notice of, I remain hidden

Below are some examples of participles being used after these verbs:

i) οὐκ ἀνεχομαι ζῶσα.   I shall not endure to live.

ii) ἔτυχον ὁπλιται ἐν τῇ ἀγορᾷ καθεύδοντες.  Some hoplites happened to be sleeping in the market.

iii) διατελεῖ ὀργιζόμενος.  He continues to be angry.

iv) ἔτυχεν ἐλθών.  He happened to have come.

v) ἔτυχον ἐπὶ τοὺς Πέρσας στρατευόμενοι.  They were just then campaigning against the Persians.

vi) ἐπαύσαντο μαχόμενοι κελεύσαντος τοῦ στρατηγοῦ. They ceased fighting at the general's command.

vii) ἐφάνη σφόδρα αἰσχυνόμενος.  He was plainly very much ashamed.

viii) ἐχαίρομεν πάντες ἀκούσαντές σε ἀσφαλῶς αφικόμενον.  We all rejoiced to hear that you had arrived safely.

ix) τί διατελεῖς ταὐτά με ἐρωτῶν;  Why do you keep on asking me the same questions?

x) οἱ τυχόντες αὐτοῦ ἀκούσαντες σφόδρα ἐθαύμαζον.  Those who chanced to hear him were greatly surprised.

xi) ἐπαύσαντο πολεμοῦντες ἅτε ἀμφοτέρων τῶν στρατηγῶν ἀποθανόντων. They ceased making war because both the generals had been killed.

xii) δῆλοι εἰσιν οἱ πρέσβεις ψευδῆ λέγοντες.  The ambassadors were clearly telling lies.

In the case of some the supplementary participles introduced by the verbs in the above list, the participle sometimes contains the main idea of the predicate, e.g. the participles following "τυγχάνω". In the case of the last two verbs in the above list, "φθάνω, and "λανθάνω", it is usual for the construction of the sentence to be inverted, when translated into English: e.g.

xi)  ἐφθάσααμεν ἐλθόντες εἰς τὴν πόλιν.ἔφθασεν ἡμᾶς ἀφικόμενος. He arrived before us (lit. He anticipated us arriving).

xii) ἐφθάσαμεν ἐλθόντες εἰς τὴν πόλιν.  We reached the city first (lit. We were the first coming to the city).

xiii) ἔλαθεν αυτοὺς φυγών.  He escaped without them seeing him (He eluded their notice escaping).

xiv) αἱ νῆες ἔλαθον τοὺς πολεμίους εἰς τὸν λιμένα εἰσελθοῦσαι.  The ships came into the harbour without being seen by the enemy (lit. The ships escaped the notice of the enemy coming into the harbour).

In a similar manner, the translator may choose to invert a sentence in the case of other verbs (Cf. 8.b. ii. below).

b.  Verbs with different meaning when followed by the infinitive or the participle.

Two verbs, "αἰσχύνομαι" and "φαίνομαι", actually mean different things when followed a) by an infinitive, and b) by a participle.

"αἰσχύνομαι" plus the infinitive means "I am ashamed to do something (and therefore I don't do it), whereas "αἰσχύνομαι" plus the participle means "I am ashamed at doing a thing (which one does do); e.g.

i) αἰσχύνομαι λέγειν.  I am ashamed to say (and therefore I don't).

ii) αἰσχύνομαι λέγων. I say with shame that ...  (and I do).

"φαίνομαι" plus the infinitive means "I appear", whereas "φαίνομαι" plus the participle means "I am plainly, I am shown to be, I am proved to be".

iii) φαίνεται σοφὸς εἶναι. He appears to be wise.

iv) φαίνεται σοφὸς ὤν. He is manifestly (or He is shown to be) wise.

"φαίνομαι" is very often used in an impersonal construction. When "φαίνεται" is followed by the infinitive it is equivalent to "δοκεῖ" or "videtur" in Latin, i.e. "it seems"; when followed by the infinitive it is equivalent to "δῆλον ἐστιν" or "apparet" in Latin, it is manifest, evident, clear, plain, or certain. Thus, in its use with the infinitive "φαίνεται" denotes subjective belief,  whereas in its use with the participle it designates objective certainty. In Platonic dialogues, "φαίνεται" is used to signify "Yes", although it is unclear which of these two states is implied. Perhaps either, according to the context.

c.  Use of the present participle to mean "with".

"ἔχων", the Present Participle Active of "ἔχω", I have, I possess, is frequently used as equivalent to the English preposition, "with" and to the Latin "cum" plus the Ablative. The same participles of "ἄγω", I lead, I bring, and "φέρω", I carry, I bring, are used similarly; e.g.

i) ἀφίκετο ἐχων τριακοσίους ὁπλίτας.  He arrived with three hundred hoplites.

ii) ὤφθη πολλάκις ξίφος ἔχων.  He was often seen with a sword.

iii) ὁ στρατηγὸς προὐχώρει ἄνδρας μυρίους καὶ δισχιλίους ἄγων.  The general advanced with (an army of) eleven thousand men.

iv) οἱ δοῦλοι ἀφίκοντο πολλὰ καὶ καλὰ δῶρα παρὰ τοῦ βασιλέως φέροντες.  The slaves came with many splendid presents from the king.

d.  Use of the participle as as an adverb.

As is the case of adjectives in general, the participle, which is a verbal adjective, is often used as a simple adverb. Examples are as follows:

i) φθάσας ἀφίκετο.  He arrived first.

ii) ἀνύσας ἄνοιγε.  Open quickly.

iii) ἀρχόμενος ἔλεγεν.  He used to say when he began.

iv) λαθὼν ἐποίησε.  He did it secretly.

v) τελευτῶν εἶπε. At last he said.


Conclusion.

This article has sought to demonstrate the central role which the participle plays in classical Greek. The inflexive prolixity of the participle was undoubtedly one reason why it was used so frequently, and the ability of writers to employ it with such precision was linked to this. Once one has become accustomed to the widespread use of the participle in Greek, one begins to appreciate how similar the structure of Greek sentences is to that of our own language, where the use of participial phrases as an alternative to subordinate clauses is so common. In Latin, because of the relative paucity of participial forms, subordinate clauses are perforce more frequent, and where participial phrases are used, many of them involve the Ablative Absolute construction, which is employed much more in Latin than its equivalent, the Genitive Absolute, is in Greek. For an analysis of the "Ablative Absolute", the reader is invited to look at the article so entitled which was published on this blog on 20th May 2012.
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THE NATURE AND USE OF THE PERFECT TENSE IN ANCIENT GREEK

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1) Introduction:

This article explains the use of the Greek Perfect tense within the structure of Greek tense forms in general, and indicates how the Greek Perfect differs from the Latin Perfect tense.
 
2) Tense forms:
 
In both classical languages, and indeed in English, verb tense systems provide a combination of two dimensions: a) they indicate the time of the action which the verb describes, i.e. whether it is past, present or future time - in relation to time, verbs are either primary (present and future) or secondary/ historic (past); and b) the kind of action which has occurred, i.e. its nature or character - whether it is momentary or continuing, and whether it is completed or incomplete. The second of these dimensions in Greek grammar is known as 'Aspect', i.e. how the action of the verb is viewed. The name comes from the Latin verb "aspicio", I catch sight of, I look at. While in Latin the tense of a verb is most important, in Greek Aspect takes priority. For comprehensive details of the overall tense system, readers are referred to article, "The Tense of Verbs; a suggested structure, published on this blogspot on 23rd November 2010. The rest of this article concentrates on Aspect and the Perfect tense.
 
3) Aspect:
 
In Greek verbs are differentiated into three Aspects:
 
i) The Progressive (or Imperfective), where the action is viewed as a continuing process, and thus incomplete, e.g. οἱ φύλακες τὰς πύλας κλείουσιν. (The guards are shutting the gates.)
 
ii) The Aorist, where the action is viewed as a simple event or fact, e.g. οἱ φύλακες τὰς πύλας ἔκλεισαν. (The guards shut the gates). Aorist means "indefinite" and comes from the Greek word "ἀόριστος" (unlimited). In the case of the Aorist Aspect, the action is considered incomplete, but only in the sense that it is happening at a particular moment in time and it is unclear whether it is continuing or will be repeated, or not. 
 
iii) The Perfective, where the action is seen as a state, and thus completed but with its result continuing, e.g. οἱ φύλακες τὰς πύλας κέκλεινται. (The gates have been shut.) The verb in this case is in the Perfect tense. The name comes from the Latin verb "perficio", (I finish, or I complete). However, in English Greek Perfects are often best translated by the Present tense, i.e. in the case of this example, "The gates are shut." (For further examples, see section 6  below.) 
 
4) The Perfect tense in Greek. 
 
The Perfect (or Present Perfective) tense in Greek denotes or records an enduring state or condition in present time which is the consequence of an action completed in the past. Most Greek verbs form their Perfect tense by "reduplication", i.e. repetition of the first consonant of the stem of their first syllable, and add "-κα" or "-α" to the stem. So the Perfect Active form of the paradigmatic verb "λύω", I loosen, I free, is "λελύκα", its infinitive is "λελυκέναι", and its participle is "λελυκώς, λελυκυῖα, λελυκός". The Perfect Middle or Passive of "λύω" also requires reduplication and has the ending "-μαι"; e.g."λέλυμαι", I ransom (Middle), I am freed (Passive), with an infinitive " λελύσθαι", and a participle, "λέλυμένος, -η, -ον". Here are some examples of the use of the Perfect tense:

a) οἱ δοῦλοι τοὺς βοῦς ἤδη λελύκασιν. The slaves have already loosened the oxen. (Indicative Active)
b) φοβούμεθα μὴ οἱ δοῦλοι τοὺς βοῦς οὐκ ἤδη λελυκότες ῶσιν. We are afraid that the slaves have not loosened the oxen. (Subjunctive Active)

c) ἤρετο εἰ οἱ δοῦλοι τοὺς βοῦς οὐκ ἤδη λελυκότες εἶεν. He asked whether the slaves had already loosened the oxen. (Optative Active)

d) λέγει τοὺς δούλους τοὺς βοῦς οὐκ ἤδη λελυκέναι. He says that the slaves have already loosened the oxen. (Active Infinitive)

e) εἶδε τοὺς δούλους τοὺς βοῦς οὐκ ἤδη λελυκότας. He saw that the slaves had already loosened the oxen. (Active Participle)

f) οἱ Βόες τῷ δούλω ἤδη λέλυνται. The oxen have already been loosened by the slave. (Indicative Passive.)

g) εἶπε τοὺς Βόας τῷ δούλω ἤδη λελύσθαι. He said that the oxen had already been loosened by the slave. (Passive infinitive.)

h) οἱ Βόες τῷ δούλῳ λελυμένοι ἐκ τοῦ ἀγροῦ ἠλαύνοντο. After the oxen had been loosened by the slave, they were driven from the field. (Passive Participle.)

In English the Perfect tense is usually expressed by the use of the auxiliary verb "have". In complex sentences where the Perfect tense is used in the subordinate clause or phrase, it describes an action which necessarily occurred prior to the action of the main verb. Where the main verb is in a past tense, i.e. in examples c), e), g), and h) above, the Perfect is usually translated with the word "had".

Sometimes Greek Perfects emphasise strongly that the result of the action is continuing, e.g.

i) γέγραφα γέγραφα. What I have written, I have written (sc. so that's that).

j) ἔγνωκα. I have discovered (sc. and so now I know).

The Perfect Passive is more commonly found than the Perfect Active. This is probably because it often more important to indicate that the subject of passive action is still in an unchanged relation to the action than that the subject of the action is. For instance in the case of examples a) and f) above, the probable main focus of both sentences is the state or condition of the oxen rather than that of the slave, and it is perhaps more natural therefore to express the action in the Passive voice, i.e. in example f) than in the Active, i.e. example a).

5) The use of the Perfect tense in Latin.

The Latin Perfect does the work of what are in both Ancient Greek and in English the work of two separate tenses: 1) the simple Past tense which is used in recounting past events, but which has no implications in relation to continuance or repetition, i.e. what is usually called the Aorist in Greek and the Past Historic in English. 2) the Perfect tense as described above which states the present and enduring effect of a past action, i.e. the equivalent of the Greek Perfect. These two tenses are very different. 1) is a historic tense and refers to past time, whereas 2) is a primary tense and relates to present time. The words "Librum celavi" could, therefore, either mean "I hid the book" at some time in the past but it is unclear whether the book is still hidden or not; or "I have hidden the book", which implies that I have completed the act of hiding the book and it is still hidden. These two uses are sometimes distinguished as 1) the Past Perfect, and 2) the Present Perfect. Only the sense will make it clear in which of these two ways a Latin Perfect should be translated. In practice, though, the use of the Past Perfect appears far more often in classical Latin than that of the Present Perfect. This is because so much extant Latin, whether prose or poetry, is annalistic, i.e. it recounts past events, while the Primary tenses are likely to be more common in direct speech, of which little record survives.

The use of the Present Perfect, representing a present state resulting from a past action, is, in fact, relatively rare in Latin. In poetry, however, it is sometimes used to denote past existence which has now ceased, e.g. "Fuimus Troes; fuit Ilium". We have been Trojans (sc. and are no longer); Troy has been (sc. and does not exist any more) - Virgil's "Aeneid". Another famous example of this usage is Cicero's laconic statement after the execution of the five Catilinarian conspirators: "Vixerunt". They have lived, i.e. they are dead.

The regular need for Latin to use the Perfect tense to denote the simple past is clearly anomalous, since the essential meaning of "Perfect" is "completed", and there is usually no implication of completion in such statements of past events. The lack of a true Aorist tense in Latin is strange, and suggests perhaps the unexplained loss or disappearance of a Latin Aorist at some point in the distant past.

6. The employment of the Greek Perfect with a Present tense meaning.

To return to the Perfect tense in Greek, it is important to appreciate its use to express a Present tense meaning, and the way in which many Greek Perfects are often better translated into an English Present. A simple example of this is τέθαπται, which, if translated literally, means, "He has been buried", but is better translated, "He is buried". Another example is: αἱ πύλαι κέκλεινται. Literally, "The gates have been closed", but often translated, "The gates are shut".

The list below is of Greek verbs, the Perfect of which is often translated in the Present tense.

ἀναμιμνήσκω, I remind (someone). Perfect: μέμνημαι. I have reminded myself = I remember.

ἀποθνῃσκω, I die. Perfect: τέθνηκα. I have died = I am dead.

βαίνω,  I step. Perfect: βέβηκα. I have taken a step = I stand, I stand firm, I am set.

γίγνομαι, I become. Perfect: γέγονα. I have become = I am.

ἵστημι, I have made (someone) stand (transitive). Perfect (intrans.): ἕστηκα. I have stood up = I stand.

κτάομαι, I gain. Perfect: κέκτημαι. I have gained = I possess.

λύω,  I loosen, free. Perfect (Passive): λέλυμαι. I have been freed = I am free.

ὑπολαμβάνω, I understand. Perfect: ὑπείληφα. I have understood  = I suppose.

φύω, I grow. Perfect: πέφυκα, I have grown = I am by nature.

Apart from the above verbs, there are other verbs, the Present tense of which does not appear in Attic Greek, and where the Perfect tense takes its place:

(δείδω), I fear. Perfect form: δέδοικα: fear has come upon me = I fear, I am afraid.

(ἔθω), I am accustomed. Perfect form: εἴωθα, I am accustomed to + infinitive.

(εἴκω), I seem, I am like. Perfect form: ἔοικα, I am like, I am likely to + infinitive.

(ἰδ-), I see. Perfect form: οἴδα, I have discovered, I have found out = I know.

7. Other tenses in the Perfective Aspect.


Apart from the Perfect tense, there are two other Greek tenses that fall within the Perfective Aspect: a) the Future Perfect, which is a primary tense; and b) the Pluperfect, which is a secondary or historic tense.  A brief summary of the use of these tenses is provided below:

a) The Future Perfect. While the Future Tense usually expresses a momentary act in future time, e.g. κληθήσεται, literally "He will be called" = He will be given the name", the Future Perfect expresses a future state, e.g. κεκλήσεται, literally, "He will be called" = "His name will be". In Greek the Future Perfect is rare, and, indeed, in the Active Voice no distinctive future perfect inflexion actually exists. In Latin, the Future Perfect is used to express an action which will be complete in the future; if two future actions are spoken of, one of which will happen before the other, the prior one will be in the Future Perfect and the latter one in the Future, e.g. "ubi viderit, ridebit," "He will laugh when he sees (lit. will have seen)", and, as this example shows, the Future Perfect in Latin is frequently translated by the Present tense in English. In Greek the Future Perfect is concerned with Aspect not with the order of time. So, with regard to this last example, in Greek it would be expressed, "ὅταν ἴδῃ, γελάσεται", i.e. literally, "Whenever he sees, he will laugh", i.e. a Present Subjunctive rather than a Future Perfect, followed by a Future.

b) The Pluperfect (or Past Perfective) tense. The Pluperfect records an action or a state that existed in the past as the result of some other action which occurred at a time still more remote. In English it is usually translated with the use of the auxiliary verb "had". The Pluperfect can usually be identified by an augment denoting past time, and reduplication denoting the Perfective Aspect, e.g. ἐλελύκη (I had loosened, I had freed). Examples:

i) οἰ δοῦλοι τοὺς βοῦς ἐλελύκεσαν πρὶν καταδῦναι τὸν ἥλιον. The slaves had loosened the oxen before the sun set. (Pluperfect Active)

ii) οἱ βόες ἐλέλυντο πρὶν καταδῦναι τὸν ἥλιον. The oxen had been loosened before the sun set. (Pluperfect Passive)

While the use of the word "had" often denotes a verb in the Pluperfect tense, this use of "had" needs to be distinguished from its use to denote a verb in the Perfect tense which appears in a subordinate clause or phrase where the main verb is in a past tense. (See paragraph 4 above.)  

Although more common in Greek than the Future Perfect, the Pluperfect tense is still relatively infrequent in its usage. Whereas in Latin the Pluperfect is regularly used to denote the precise order of time relating to different events, the Greeks often found it unnecessary to draw such distinctions. e.g. while Latin would say, "ubi videram abii," When I had seen (i.e. a Pluperfect followed by an Aorist or Past Historic), I went away, Greek would say, ἐπει εἶδον, ἀπῆλθον, i.e. When I saw, I went away (i.e. two Aorists). English, however, often follows the Latin usage; therefore, Greek Aorists are often translated as Pluperfects in English. Where Greek does use a Pluperfect, as in examples i) and ii) above, it does so to emphasise either the significance of the time relationship or the state resulting from the prior action.

It is also worth noting that in the case where a Greek Perfect replaces a Present form, or is translated by a verb in the Present tense in English, a Pluperfect is used in place of an Imperfect, e.g. οἶδα, I know, ᾔδη,  I was aware; ἕστηκα,  I stand, εἱστήκη,  I was standing.

8. Conclusion. 

This article has sought to show a) the importance of the concept of Aspect in the use of Greek verbs, and how Aspect takes priority over Time; and b) how the so-called Perfect tense in Latin is usually performing the function of an Aorist verb.
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THE TENSE OF VERBS: A SUGGESTED STRUCTURE

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Of the various parts of speech, the verb is perhaps the most interesting. In their Finite forms (i.e. when verbal substantives and verbal adjectives are excluded) verbs are 'limited' or 'modified' by the concepts of Person, Number, Tense, Mood and Voice. This short monograph by Sabidius sets out to analyse the use and function of 'Tense' in the deployment of verbs with reference to English, Greek and Latin. 
 
Learners of Latin are familiar with the following six tenses in the Indicative Mood: Present; Future Simple, Imperfect, Perfect, Future Perfect, and Pluperfect, and are expected to be able to conjugate verbs with regard to these different tenses, to  which Greek adds a further one: the Aorist. However, the names of these tenses are in fact a muddled or confused hangover of the real tense-system or structure which lies behind them. This article seeks to identify the 'ideal' structure which underpins our use of verbs in all three languages.
 
Besides expressing the time of an action, i.e. whether it occurred in the Past, Present or Future, the tense form also expresses the character of the action, i.e. whether it is completed or incomplete, and whether it is momentary or continuous. As will be demonstrated in the analysis set out below, English is more able than the classical languages to reflect these important differences of character in the deployment of its verb forms. In the case of the classical languages, and Latin in particular, it is often only through the context that one can determine how a particular verb form can best be translated. The structure suggested here provides examples in all three languages.
 
VERB FORMS: THE IDEAL REQUIREMENTS
 
1.  Past Incomplete Momentary = Past-Aorist.
    ( I did; ἐποίησα, feci.)
 
2.  Past Incomplete Continuous = Past-Imperfect.
   ( I was doing; ἐποιόυν, faciebam.)
 
3.  Past Completed = Past-Perfect (Pluperfect.)
   ( I had done; ἐπεποιήκη, feceram.)
 
4.  Present Incomplete Momentary = Present-Aorist.
   ( I do; ποιῶ; facio.)
 
5.  Present Incomplete Continuous = Present-Imperfect.
   ( I am doing; ποιῶ; facio.)
 
6.  Present Completed = Present-Perfect.
   ( I have done; πεποίηκα; feci.)
 
7.  Future Incomplete Momentary = Future (Simple)-Aorist.
   ( I shall do; ποίησω; faciam.)
 
8.  Future Incomplete Continuous) = Future (Simple)-Imperfect.
   ( I shall be doing; ποιήσω; faciam.)
 
9.  Future Completed = Future Perfect.
   ( I shall have done; ποίηκος ἔσομαι; fecero.) 
 
(In the above schema, you will note that, after the time and character of each tense, its correct title is shown, with its more familiar name being underlined.)     
 
N.B. 
 
i)  Neither Greek nor Latin can make a distinction between the Incomplete Momentary and the Incomplete Continuous in either Present or Future Time. This can only be identified by studying the context.
 
ii)  Latin equates the Past Incomplete Momentary (Aorist) with the Present Complete (Perfect). Once again, one has to derive the correct tense in translation from studying the context. Greek, however, does make this distinction in its verb forms. 
 
iii)  The Past Incomplete Momentary is variously known as the Aorist, the Past Historic, the Preterite, the Historic Perfect, or (with regard to Latin) the Perfect without 'have'. The word 'aorist' means 'indefinite' and so an aorist tense, in whatever time, has no implications of continuity or repetition. 
 
iv)  An alternative and emphatic form of the Present Incomplete Momentary (Present) 'I run' ( for obvious reasons a different verb is used here as an example) is 'I do run'. In the same way in the case of the  Past Incomplete Momentary (Aorist), the emphatic form of  'I ran' is 'I did run'. These emphatic forms are most likely to be an appropriate way of translating from Greek or Latin verb forms when direct speech is involved.   
 
v)  The Past Incomplete Continuous (Imperfect) is a tense which can legitimately be translated in a number of ways in English. Apart from the standard 'I was doing', one can say 'I continued to do'; 'I used to do'; and 'I proceeded to do'. In addition there is the 'Incipient Imperfect': 'I began to do'; and the 'Conative Imperfect': I tried to do'. In both Greek and Latin, only the Imperfect is available to express all these different shades of meaning. Again, the translator has to look up the context to determine the best way to translate an Imperfect, and it is not always clear. vi) In English usage, it is possible, in respect of all three time dimensions, to add, by the use of modal auxiliaries, to the Perfect (Simple) a Continuous tense. Thus: 'I had been doing' (Pluperfect Continuous); 'I have been doing' (Perfect Continuous) and 'I shall have been doing' (Future Perfect Continuous). In the classical languages, it is necessary to employ adverbs idiomatically to express the same sense, e.g. 'iam diu facio', I have long been doing. Conclusion. In the above structure, tenses are classified, firstly, according to the time of the action, whether Past, Present or Future, and then sub-classified according to character, that is, as to whether the action (the present tense is used only for the sake of exemplification) is completed or incomplete, and, if incomplete, whether it is imperfect (progressive) or aorist (indefinite). Under this system of classification, 'Perfect' means that the action is completed, 'Imperfect' that the action is incomplete and is continuing or recurring; and 'Aorist' that the action is incomplete only in the sense that it is happening at a particular moment in time and it is unclear whether it is continuing or not. While it is difficult not to continue to use these terms to describe the three specific tenses with which it is usual to identify them, it is worthwhile noting that, when used properly, they are generic terms relating to the character of the action rather than to time.  
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QUESTIONS EXPECTING THE ANSWER 'YES' OR 'NO'.

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When, speaking English, we often ask questions which are looking for a simple, answer 'Yes' or 'No', and the manner in which we pose the question sometimes signals clearly to the respondent which answer we are expecting to receive, often indicating thereby the attitude or viewpoint of the questioner. Set out below is an analysis of the three types of such questions. Each example in English is translated into Latin and Greek. You will note that English has different forms of asking these questions, depending on the degree of emphasis the questioner wishes to inject. Readers with no previous knowledge of Latin, but who have heard references to 'Nonne' or 'Num' questions, will now be able to decipher what this distinction means.
 
(1) Simple question expecting either answer.
 
English: Do you wish to go home? OR Are you wishing to go home?
 
Latin: Visne ire domum?
 
Greek: Ἆρ' ἐθέλεις ἰέναι οἴκαδε;
 
(2) A question to which the expected answer is 'Yes'.
 
English: Aren't you wishing to go home? OR Surely you wish to go home? OR You do wish to go home, don't you?
 
Latin: Nonne vis ire domum?
 
Greek: Ἆρ' οὔκ ἐθέλεις ἰέναι οἴκαδε;
 
(3) A question to which the expected answer is 'No'.
 
English: Surely you don't wish to go home? OR You don't wish to go home, do you?
 
Latin: Num vis ire domum?
 
Greek: Ἆρα μὴ ἐθέλεις ἰέναι οἴκαδε;
 
N.B. The third type of the above questions does not always require an answer, since it is already felt to be 'No'.
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ACCENTUATION IN ANCIENT GREEK

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Introduction: the analysis and purpose of conditional sentences.
 
In any language, the ability to construct or translate conditional sentences is amongst the more demanding challenges which grammar sets us. Conditionals are more complex than other types of adverbial clause, because in the sentences in which they occur, careful attention has to be given to both clauses. A Conditional sentence consists of two clauses: (i) a subordinate adverbial clause, called the 'protasis', which expresses the condition or premise; and (ii) a main clause, called the 'apodosis' or consequence, which states what stems from that condition and therefore naturally follows after it in order of time. The 'protasis', in English the 'if-clause', is dependent, and expresses a supposition or imaginary event; the 'apodosis' is the principal clause, and states what will be the outcome if the 'protasis' is realised.
 
The intention of this paper: how Greek Conditionals can best be classified.
Ancient Greek is no exception with regard to the relative complexity of Conditional sentences. Indeed, in Book II of their popular textbooks, 'Athenaze', Balme & Lawall (hereafter abbreviated to B&L) posit as many as nine types of Conditional sentence which can be found. On the face of it, this system of classification appears to be especially complex. This paper seeks to consider the extent to which such complexity is helpful, and looks particularly at the meaning and value of the description 'Open Conditions', under which B&L label six of their nine categories of Conditional sentence. In so doing, the classification and designations applied by B&L are compared with those used in the older grammar books of North & Hillard (hereafter abbreviated to N&H) and Abbott & Mansfield (hereafter abbreviated to A&M), and some parallel consideration is also given to the constructional analyses applied in a number of Latin grammar books to see how far these share or differ from the usages with regard to Greek Conditionals.
 
Similarities between the classifications of B&L and N&H.
In B&L, 'Open Conditions', whether these are 'Particular' or 'General', are described as those 'in which nothing is implied as to whether the condition is fulfilled or not'; these are contrasted with 'Contrary to fact or remote conditions, in which it is implied that the condition was/is not fulfilled or is not likely to be fulfilled in future time'. This distinction is maintained by N&H, but they make an initial, and thus an apparently more fundamental, distinction beween Present and Past Conditions on the one hand, and Future Conditions on the other. Present and Past Conditions they divide between conditions 'Where we simply assume the condition without implying anything as to its fulfilment' and those 'Where we imply that the condition is not or has not been fulfilled'; Future Conditions they divide between those where 'We make a distinct supposition of a future case' and those where 'We may put the case less vividly, more "remotely", i.e. in a form which represents the condition as less likely to be fulfilled'. Although the term 'Open Condition' is not specifically employed by them, N&H's former type of condition, in both Present and Past Conditions and Future Conditions, is exactly equivalent to what B&L call an 'Open Condition'; and, at the same time, N&H's latter type of condition equates to B&L's 'Contrary to fact or remote condition'.

Where A&M's classifications parallel those of B&L and N&H.

A&M follow the same basic structure for conditionals as both B&L and N&H, and they follow the latter in making a basic distinction between 'Conditions in Present or Past Time' and 'Conditions in Future Time'. However, the nomenclature employed by A&M differs significantly from these other two grammar sources. What B&L call an 'Open Condition', they describe, in the case of Present and Past Conditions, as a 'Fulfilled Condition', where 'the speaker assumes the fulfilment of the condition, even though the words imply no knowledge about it'; and, in the case of Future Conditions, as a 'Distinct Future Condition', in which 'the Future Condition is distinctly and vividly pictured in the speaker's mind, as in speaking of a thing near and practical, and he states what will be the result, if something happens or shall happen'. These conditions are contrasted by A&M with B&L's 'Contrary to fact or remote conditions', but which they call 'Unfulfilled Conditions' (Present and Past), where 'the speaker implies that the condition is not (or was not) fulfilled, and states what would be (or would have been) the result in the case of its fulfilment'; or as an 'Indistinct Future Condition', where 'the Future Condition, being somewhat remote and unpractical, is less distinct and vivid to the speaker's mind, and he states what would be the result, if something should happen or were to happen'. Despite some differences in the labelling of the different types of conditional sentence, there appears to be a basic symmetry between the systems of classification adopted by all the three Greek grammar sources under consideration.

A&M's divergent view of 'Open Conditions'. 

This happy convergence is then vitiated, however, by the statements in A&M that 'conditions in Present or Past Time ... either are or are not now fulfilled, but from their nature are no longer open' and that 'conditions in Future Time ... are still open'. Because of this distinction, A&M state that Conditional clauses in Present or Past Time require their verbs to be in the Indicative Mood, and those in Future Time have their verbs in the Conjunctive. From these statements, it is evident that the term 'Open Condition' represents something very different in A&M from what it means in B&L and, by implication, in N&H, athough they do not employ the label as such. To both of these two sources an 'Open Condition' is one in which nothing is implied as to whether the condition will be, is being, or has been fulfilled; to A&M, on the other hand, 'Open' appears to mean a Future Condition, whether its fulfilment is likely or not, since a Future Condition is still capable of fulfilment, whereas conditions in Present or Past Time either have or have not been fulfilled and therefore 'by their very nature' are no longer open. 'Open' conditional sentences, as defined by A&M, can therefore be identified by mood: the 'protasis' of a 'Distinct Future Condition' uses 'ἔαν'and the Subjunctive; and the 'protasis' and 'apodosis' of an 'Indistinct Future Condition' use 'εἰ' and the Optative, and 'ἄν' and the Optative, respectively. In all other Conditional sentences in Present and Past Time, the mood of the verbs, whether in the 'protasis' or the 'apodosis' is Indicative. (Exceptions to this are in the case of 'General Conditions', which follow the rules of the Indefinite Construction, and in the graphic use of 'εἰ' with the Future Indicative in the 'protasis' of a Distinct Future Condition, which B&L call a Future Particular or Minatory Condition.)

 
The threefold classification of the Latin grammar books Kennedy and North & Hillard.
There is, therefore, a clear difference between A&M on the one hand, and B&L and N&H on the other, as to what constitutes an 'Open Condition'. In seeking to determine whose view is correct, it may be instructive to compare the position of these three Greek grammar sources with the views of their Latin counterparts as explained in grammar books of similar authority and status. In the cases of Kennedy and North & Hillard (hereafter abbreviated to N&H Lat.), conditions are not initially divided according to tense but according to the following threefold classification: (i) 'one that is open, i.e. nothing is implied about the fulfilment or the possibility of fulfilment' (Kennedy), or 'Open Conditions, i.e. those in which we assume the condition without implying anything as to its fulfilment' (N&H Lat.). (It is interesting to note that in their Latin edition N&H ascribe the label 'Open' to exactly the same type of condition where, in relation to conditions in Present and Past Time, this label is , for some reason, omitted in their Greek work); (ii) one that 'is conceded only as a supposition and is unlikely to be fulfilled' (Kennedy), or 'Conditions in which it is implied that the fulfilment of the condition is improbable but possible' (N&H Lat.); and (iii) 'one that is contrary to known fact' (Kennedy), or 'Impossible Conditions, i.e. those in which it is implied that the fulfilment of the condition is impossible' (N&H Lat.). This threefold classification adopted by both Kennedy and N&H Lat. is really identical to that of B&L in relation to Greek, who divide conditions into Open, Future Remote, and Past and Present Contrary to Fact conditions, and who, like these two Latin grammar sources, include some conditions in Future, Present and Past Time as 'Open'. Kennedy and N&H Lat. therefore define 'Open Conditions' in the same way as B&L, and not as they are defined by A&M, who see them as attributes of Future time and opportunity.
 
Wilding: analysis by Mood.
A further method of classifying Latin conditionals is that employed by Wilding, for whom 'Conditional sentences fall into two chief types, according to whether the Mood of the Main Clause is the Indicative (or Imperative), which we will call the Open type, or the Subjunctive, which we will call the Remote type'. There is, indeed, a certain similarity between the approach of Wilding and that of A&M in respect of Greek Conditionals, in that both see the mood of the verbs as identifying the nature of the conditions; but there is a considerable difference between the nature of the Conditional sentences in Greek which employ the Conjunctive and those in Latin which use the Subjunctive. In Greek, it is only Conditional sentences in Future Time in which the Conjunctive is employed (leaving aside General Conditions), whereas in Latin the Subjunctive appears in both the 'protasis' and the 'apodosis' in those sentences categorised as 'Remote'. This category includes those conditionals described by B&L as 'Contrary to fact', but in Greek these employ the Indicative Mood in both the 'protasis' and the 'apodosis', athough the fact that the 'apodosis' of 'Contrary to fact' Conditional sentences always includes the particle 'an' does perhaps indicate a residual link to the Conjunctive.
 
Simpson and the 'closing door'.
Another Latin grammar source, Simpson, describes 'Open Conditionals' as sentences in which 'Nothing is stated except the logical connexion between two propositions, a connexion such as if the first of them is true then the second is true also'. Against these Conditionals he juxtaposes 'Other Conditionals', which he describes, interestingly, as follows: 'Other kinds of conditional arise when a writer or speaker changes the form of his clauses so as to throw doubt on either the probability or the reality of what is supposed in the Protasis, or if-clause. In doing this he might be said to shut, wholly or partly, a door which was previously wide open'. Simpson then draws 'a sharp distinction' between Future Conditionals which he calls 'limited' and Present and Past Conditionals which he calls 'unfulfilled'. About the former he says: 'A supposition about the former cannot fairly be represented as unreal, i.e. as contrary to existing fact, but it may be made to look improbable'; about the latter he writes: 'A supposition about either present or past, unlike one about the future, may be already "unfulfilled", because the facts of the case are not as presented in the if-clause. Here the door, left ajar in "limited" clauses, may be thought of as closed by hard fact'. Thus, Simpson follows Kennedy and N&H Lat. in drawing a distinction between 'improbable but possible' or 'limited' conditions and 'impossible' or 'unfulfilled' conditions, whereas Wilding effectively equates the two under the label 'Remote' conditions. However, all these four Latin grammar sources follow the B&L definition of 'Open Conditionals', and none follow A&M in equating 'Open' with Future.
 
The difference between Latin and Greek in classifying Conditionals.
What then is the most useful and instructive method of classifying Conditional sentences and Conditional clauses? In Latin, the simple approach of Wilding in dividing Conditionals into two camps, 'Open' and 'Remote', has much to commend it, because the appearance in English of the modal auxiliaries 'should' and 'would' almost always coincides with the Latin Subjunctive. In Greek, however, the appearance of the Conjunctive, whether Subjunctive or Optative, does not reflect remoteness or improbability, but simply Future Time. In Greek, therefore, the threefold analysis, adopted by the other Latin grammar sources Kennedy, N&H Lat. and Simpson works better, and this is well exemplified in the categorisation deployed by B&L of Open, Contrary to fact and remote.
 
General Conditions.
Another strength of the B&L ninefold classification is that it integrates 'General Conditions', both Past and Present, into the schema. These scarcely occur in Latin, but are much more common in Greek. In N&H these 'General Conditions' are confusingly omitted altogether from the section on Conditional Sentences, and have to be subsequently understood as falling under the Indefinite Construction. A&M do append to their section on Conditional Clauses a brief sub-section on 'General Conditions' which is helpful.
 
Conclusion.
However, this clarification of 'General Conditions' by A&M scarcely compensates for their surprising equation of 'Open' with Future Conditionals. This is surely an aberration, but it is one which has the capacity to confuse seriously any scholar who is seeking to understand the meaning of 'Open' in this context. On balance, the ninefold classification of conditionals adopted by B&L in 'Athenaze' Book II, while apparently complex, is convincing, and, if followed, will lead to understanding and precision in both translation and composition of Greek.
 
 
 
 
 
APPENDIX I. GLOSSARY OF TEXTS REFERRED TO IN THIS PAPER.
 
A. Greek.
 
Maurice Balme and Gilbert Lawall, 'Athenaze', Book II, pages 192-194.
 
M.A.North and A.E. Hillard, 'Greek Prose Composition for Schools', pages 112-114,148.
 
Evelyn Abbott and E.D. Mansfield, 'Primer of Greek Grammar Syntax', pages 46-48.
 
 
B. Latin.
 
B.H. Kennedy, 'The Revised Latin Primer', pages 187-190.
 
M.A. North and A.E.Hillard, 'Latin Prose Composition', pages 156-157.
 
L.A. Wilding, 'Latin Course for Schools', Part 3, pages 113-114,118-119.
 
D.P. Simpson, 'First Principles of Latin Prose', pages 198-202, 205-206.
 
 
 
 
APPENDIX II. CLASSIFICATION OF GREEK CONDITIONALS FOLLOWING BALME AND LAWALL.
 
A. Open Conditions: Protasis: Apodosis:
 
i. Past Particular. εἰ  + Past Indicative. Past Indicative.
 
ii. Past General. εἰ + Aorist/Present Indicative. Imperfect Indicative.
 
iii. Present Particular. εἰ + Present/Perfect Indicative. Present Indicative.
 
iv. Present General. ἐάν + Aorist/Present Subjunctive. Present Indicative.
 
v. Future Particular/Minatory. εἰ + future Indicative. Future Indicative.
 
vi. Future More Vivid. ἐάν + Aorist/Present Subjunctive. Future Indicative.
 
B. Contrary to fact and Remote Conditions:
 
vii. Past Contrary to fact. εἰ + Aorist Indicative. Aorist Indicative + ἄν.
 
viii. Present Contrary to fact εἰ + Imperfect Indicative. Imperfect Indicative + ἄν.
 
ix. Future Remote/Less Vivid. εἰ + Aorist/Present Optative. Aor./Pres. Optative + ἄν.
 
Examples in English.
 
Ai. If he said this, he was lying.
 
Aii. If anyone (ever) said this, he was (always) lying.
 
Aiii. If he is saying this, he is lying.
 
Aiv. If anyone (ever) says this, he is (always) lying.
 
Av. If you lie, you will be punished.
 
Avi. If you say this, you will be lying.
 
Bvii. If he had said this, he would have lied.
 
Bviii. If he were saying this, he would be lying.
 
Bix. If he were to say this,) he would be lying.
If he said this, )
 
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THE CLASSIFICATION OF GREEK CONDITIONALS WITH SOME COMPARISONS WITH LATIN

by
Introduction: the analysis and purpose of conditional sentences.
 
In any language, the ability to construct or translate conditional sentences is amongst the more demanding challenges which grammar sets us. Conditionals are more complex than other types of adverbial clause, because in the sentences in which they occur, careful attention has to be given to both clauses. A Conditional sentence consists of two clauses: (i) a subordinate adverbial clause, called the 'protasis', which expresses the condition or premise; and (ii) a main clause, called the 'apodosis' or consequence, which states what stems from that condition and therefore naturally follows after it in order of time. The 'protasis', in English the 'if-clause', is dependent, and expresses a supposition or imaginary event; the 'apodosis' is the principal clause, and states what will be the outcome if the 'protasis' is realised.
 
The intention of this paper: how Greek Conditionals can best be classified.
Ancient Greek is no exception with regard to the relative complexity of Conditional sentences. Indeed, in Book II of their popular textbooks, 'Athenaze', Balme & Lawall (hereafter abbreviated to B&L) posit as many as nine types of Conditional sentence which can be found. On the face of it, this system of classification appears to be especially complex. This paper seeks to consider the extent to which such complexity is helpful, and looks particularly at the meaning and value of the description 'Open Conditions', under which B&L label six of their nine categories of Conditional sentence. In so doing, the classification and designations applied by B&L are compared with those used in the older grammar books of North & Hillard (hereafter abbreviated to N&H) and Abbott & Mansfield (hereafter abbreviated to A&M), and some parallel consideration is also given to the constructional analyses applied in a number of Latin grammar books to see how far these share or differ from the usages with regard to Greek Conditionals.
 
Similarities between the classifications of B&L and N&H.
In B&L, 'Open Conditions', whether these are 'Particular' or 'General', are described as those 'in which nothing is implied as to whether the condition is fulfilled or not'; these are contrasted with 'Contrary to fact or remote conditions, in which it is implied that the condition was/is not fulfilled or is not likely to be fulfilled in future time'. This distinction is maintained by N&H, but they make an initial, and thus an apparently more fundamental, distinction beween Present and Past Conditions on the one hand, and Future Conditions on the other. Present and Past Conditions they divide between conditions 'Where we simply assume the condition without implying anything as to its fulfilment' and those 'Where we imply that the condition is not or has not been fulfilled'; Future Conditions they divide between those where 'We make a distinct supposition of a future case' and those where 'We may put the case less vividly, more "remotely", i.e. in a form which represents the condition as less likely to be fulfilled'. Although the term 'Open Condition' is not specifically employed by them, N&H's former type of condition, in both Present and Past Conditions and Future Conditions, is exactly equivalent to what B&L call an 'Open Condition'; and, at the same time, N&H's latter type of condition equates to B&L's 'Contrary to fact or remote condition'.

Where A&M's classifications parallel those of B&L and N&H.

A&M follow the same basic structure for conditionals as both B&L and N&H, and they follow the latter in making a basic distinction between 'Conditions in Present or Past Time' and 'Conditions in Future Time'. However, the nomenclature employed by A&M differs significantly from these other two grammar sources. What B&L call an 'Open Condition', they describe, in the case of Present and Past Conditions, as a 'Fulfilled Condition', where 'the speaker assumes the fulfilment of the condition, even though the words imply no knowledge about it'; and, in the case of Future Conditions, as a 'Distinct Future Condition', in which 'the Future Condition is distinctly and vividly pictured in the speaker's mind, as in speaking of a thing near and practical, and he states what will be the result, if something happens or shall happen'. These conditions are contrasted by A&M with B&L's 'Contrary to fact or remote conditions', but which they call 'Unfulfilled Conditions' (Present and Past), where 'the speaker implies that the condition is not (or was not) fulfilled, and states what would be (or would have been) the result in the case of its fulfilment'; or as an 'Indistinct Future Condition', where 'the Future Condition, being somewhat remote and unpractical, is less distinct and vivid to the speaker's mind, and he states what would be the result, if something should happen or were to happen'. Despite some differences in the labelling of the different types of conditional sentence, there appears to be a basic symmetry between the systems of classification adopted by all the three Greek grammar sources under consideration.

A&M's divergent view of 'Open Conditions'. 

This happy convergence is then vitiated, however, by the statements in A&M that 'conditions in Present or Past Time ... either are or are not now fulfilled, but from their nature are no longer open' and that 'conditions in Future Time ... are still open'. Because of this distinction, A&M state that Conditional clauses in Present or Past Time require their verbs to be in the Indicative Mood, and those in Future Time have their verbs in the Conjunctive. From these statements, it is evident that the term 'Open Condition' represents something very different in A&M from what it means in B&L and, by implication, in N&H, athough they do not employ the label as such. To both of these two sources an 'Open Condition' is one in which nothing is implied as to whether the condition will be, is being, or has been fulfilled; to A&M, on the other hand, 'Open' appears to mean a Future Condition, whether its fulfilment is likely or not, since a Future Condition is still capable of fulfilment, whereas conditions in Present or Past Time either have or have not been fulfilled and therefore 'by their very nature' are no longer open. 'Open' conditional sentences, as defined by A&M, can therefore be identified by mood: the 'protasis' of a 'Distinct Future Condition' uses 'ἔαν'and the Subjunctive; and the 'protasis' and 'apodosis' of an 'Indistinct Future Condition' use 'εἰ' and the Optative, and 'ἄν' and the Optative, respectively. In all other Conditional sentences in Present and Past Time, the mood of the verbs, whether in the 'protasis' or the 'apodosis' is Indicative. (Exceptions to this are in the case of 'General Conditions', which follow the rules of the Indefinite Construction, and in the graphic use of 'εἰ' with the Future Indicative in the 'protasis' of a Distinct Future Condition, which B&L call a Future Particular or Minatory Condition.)

 
The threefold classification of the Latin grammar books Kennedy and North & Hillard.
There is, therefore, a clear difference between A&M on the one hand, and B&L and N&H on the other, as to what constitutes an 'Open Condition'. In seeking to determine whose view is correct, it may be instructive to compare the position of these three Greek grammar sources with the views of their Latin counterparts as explained in grammar books of similar authority and status. In the cases of Kennedy and North & Hillard (hereafter abbreviated to N&H Lat.), conditions are not initially divided according to tense but according to the following threefold classification: (i) 'one that is open, i.e. nothing is implied about the fulfilment or the possibility of fulfilment' (Kennedy), or 'Open Conditions, i.e. those in which we assume the condition without implying anything as to its fulfilment' (N&H Lat.). (It is interesting to note that in their Latin edition N&H ascribe the label 'Open' to exactly the same type of condition where, in relation to conditions in Present and Past Time, this label is , for some reason, omitted in their Greek work); (ii) one that 'is conceded only as a supposition and is unlikely to be fulfilled' (Kennedy), or 'Conditions in which it is implied that the fulfilment of the condition is improbable but possible' (N&H Lat.); and (iii) 'one that is contrary to known fact' (Kennedy), or 'Impossible Conditions, i.e. those in which it is implied that the fulfilment of the condition is impossible' (N&H Lat.). This threefold classification adopted by both Kennedy and N&H Lat. is really identical to that of B&L in relation to Greek, who divide conditions into Open, Future Remote, and Past and Present Contrary to Fact conditions, and who, like these two Latin grammar sources, include some conditions in Future, Present and Past Time as 'Open'. Kennedy and N&H Lat. therefore define 'Open Conditions' in the same way as B&L, and not as they are defined by A&M, who see them as attributes of Future time and opportunity.
 
Wilding: analysis by Mood.
A further method of classifying Latin conditionals is that employed by Wilding, for whom 'Conditional sentences fall into two chief types, according to whether the Mood of the Main Clause is the Indicative (or Imperative), which we will call the Open type, or the Subjunctive, which we will call the Remote type'. There is, indeed, a certain similarity between the approach of Wilding and that of A&M in respect of Greek Conditionals, in that both see the mood of the verbs as identifying the nature of the conditions; but there is a considerable difference between the nature of the Conditional sentences in Greek which employ the Conjunctive and those in Latin which use the Subjunctive. In Greek, it is only Conditional sentences in Future Time in which the Conjunctive is employed (leaving aside General Conditions), whereas in Latin the Subjunctive appears in both the 'protasis' and the 'apodosis' in those sentences categorised as 'Remote'. This category includes those conditionals described by B&L as 'Contrary to fact', but in Greek these employ the Indicative Mood in both the 'protasis' and the 'apodosis', athough the fact that the 'apodosis' of 'Contrary to fact' Conditional sentences always includes the particle 'an' does perhaps indicate a residual link to the Conjunctive.
 
Simpson and the 'closing door'.
Another Latin grammar source, Simpson, describes 'Open Conditionals' as sentences in which 'Nothing is stated except the logical connexion between two propositions, a connexion such as if the first of them is true then the second is true also'. Against these Conditionals he juxtaposes 'Other Conditionals', which he describes, interestingly, as follows: 'Other kinds of conditional arise when a writer or speaker changes the form of his clauses so as to throw doubt on either the probability or the reality of what is supposed in the Protasis, or if-clause. In doing this he might be said to shut, wholly or partly, a door which was previously wide open'. Simpson then draws 'a sharp distinction' between Future Conditionals which he calls 'limited' and Present and Past Conditionals which he calls 'unfulfilled'. About the former he says: 'A supposition about the former cannot fairly be represented as unreal, i.e. as contrary to existing fact, but it may be made to look improbable'; about the latter he writes: 'A supposition about either present or past, unlike one about the future, may be already "unfulfilled", because the facts of the case are not as presented in the if-clause. Here the door, left ajar in "limited" clauses, may be thought of as closed by hard fact'. Thus, Simpson follows Kennedy and N&H Lat. in drawing a distinction between 'improbable but possible' or 'limited' conditions and 'impossible' or 'unfulfilled' conditions, whereas Wilding effectively equates the two under the label 'Remote' conditions. However, all these four Latin grammar sources follow the B&L definition of 'Open Conditionals', and none follow A&M in equating 'Open' with Future.
 
The difference between Latin and Greek in classifying Conditionals.
What then is the most useful and instructive method of classifying Conditional sentences and Conditional clauses? In Latin, the simple approach of Wilding in dividing Conditionals into two camps, 'Open' and 'Remote', has much to commend it, because the appearance in English of the modal auxiliaries 'should' and 'would' almost always coincides with the Latin Subjunctive. In Greek, however, the appearance of the Conjunctive, whether Subjunctive or Optative, does not reflect remoteness or improbability, but simply Future Time. In Greek, therefore, the threefold analysis, adopted by the other Latin grammar sources Kennedy, N&H Lat. and Simpson works better, and this is well exemplified in the categorisation deployed by B&L of Open, Contrary to fact and remote.
 
General Conditions.
Another strength of the B&L ninefold classification is that it integrates 'General Conditions', both Past and Present, into the schema. These scarcely occur in Latin, but are much more common in Greek. In N&H these 'General Conditions' are confusingly omitted altogether from the section on Conditional Sentences, and have to be subsequently understood as falling under the Indefinite Construction. A&M do append to their section on Conditional Clauses a brief sub-section on 'General Conditions' which is helpful.
 
Conclusion.
However, this clarification of 'General Conditions' by A&M scarcely compensates for their surprising equation of 'Open' with Future Conditionals. This is surely an aberration, but it is one which has the capacity to confuse seriously any scholar who is seeking to understand the meaning of 'Open' in this context. On balance, the ninefold classification of conditionals adopted by B&L in 'Athenaze' Book II, while apparently complex, is convincing, and, if followed, will lead to understanding and precision in both translation and composition of Greek.
 
 
 
 
 
APPENDIX I. GLOSSARY OF TEXTS REFERRED TO IN THIS PAPER.
 
A. Greek.
 
Maurice Balme and Gilbert Lawall, 'Athenaze', Book II, pages 192-194.
 
M.A.North and A.E. Hillard, 'Greek Prose Composition for Schools', pages 112-114,148.
 
Evelyn Abbott and E.D. Mansfield, 'Primer of Greek Grammar Syntax', pages 46-48.
 
 
B. Latin.
 
B.H. Kennedy, 'The Revised Latin Primer', pages 187-190.
 
M.A. North and A.E.Hillard, 'Latin Prose Composition', pages 156-157.
 
L.A. Wilding, 'Latin Course for Schools', Part 3, pages 113-114,118-119.
 
D.P. Simpson, 'First Principles of Latin Prose', pages 198-202, 205-206.
 
 
 
 
APPENDIX II. CLASSIFICATION OF GREEK CONDITIONALS FOLLOWING BALME AND LAWALL.
 
A. Open Conditions: Protasis: Apodosis:
 
i. Past Particular. εἰ  + Past Indicative. Past Indicative.
 
ii. Past General. εἰ + Aorist/Present Indicative. Imperfect Indicative.
 
iii. Present Particular. εἰ + Present/Perfect Indicative. Present Indicative.
 
iv. Present General. ἐάν + Aorist/Present Subjunctive. Present Indicative.
 
v. Future Particular/Minatory. εἰ + future Indicative. Future Indicative.
 
vi. Future More Vivid. ἐάν + Aorist/Present Subjunctive. Future Indicative.
 
B. Contrary to fact and Remote Conditions:
 
vii. Past Contrary to fact. εἰ + Aorist Indicative. Aorist Indicative + ἄν.
 
viii. Present Contrary to fact εἰ + Imperfect Indicative. Imperfect Indicative + ἄν.
 
ix. Future Remote/Less Vivid. εἰ + Aorist/Present Optative. Aor./Pres. Optative + ἄν.
 
Examples in English.
 
Ai. If he said this, he was lying.
 
Aii. If anyone (ever) said this, he was (always) lying.
 
Aiii. If he is saying this, he is lying.
 
Aiv. If anyone (ever) says this, he is (always) lying.
 
Av. If you lie, you will be punished.
 
Avi. If you say this, you will be lying.
 
Bvii. If he had said this, he would have lied.
 
Bviii. If he were saying this, he would be lying.
 
Bix. If he were to say this,) he would be lying.
If he said this, )
 
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