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The Temporal Characteristics Of The Historical Present In Thucydides

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Chapter Summary

If one is looking for objective measures whereby one can distinguish the historical present (HP) from the aorist, the following stand out. First, punctual verbs favor the HP; durative ones do not, as seen particularly from the fact that extent of time constructions do not occur with the HP. Second, HPs have a preference, if a fairly slight one, for singular subjects and objects. Third, adverbial and other modifiers of the verb suggest that the aorist describes a more internally complex action than the HP does. It thus seems clear that the HP in Thucydides and, almost certainly, Xenophon can be connected with punctuality.

Keywords: historical present (HP); Thucydides



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