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Présent historique et subjectivité: sur quelques exemples de Polybe et de Thucydide

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the interpretation of the so-called historical present (HP) in Polybius and Thucydides. As a general rule, contrary to Thucydides, who uses HP very frequently, Polybius is sparing of HPs. Nevertheless, when he uses HP, several properties seem to appear regularly. First, when a HP occurs it is very often preceded by a participle in the nominative case, mainly in the aorist. Moreover, the semantic content of the verb in HP turns out to be rather regular: it refers to the state of mind of a character implied in the story. Therefore the author put forward the hypothesis that the HP occurs when ever the narrator wishes to insist on his empathy with this character at a given moment of the account.

Keywords: historical present (HP); Polybius; Thucydide

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