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A Pragmatic Account of the Use of the Historic Present in De corona

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AbstractThe aim of this article is to account for the eight Historic Present (HP) forms in Demosthenes’ De corona. The starting point is the theory of Sicking & Stork (1997, 165): “The primary function of HP is to lift out from their context those narrative assertions that are essential for what the speaker has stated to be his immediate concern”. It is argued that this approach yields a convincing interpretation of (a) the five HP forms in the narrative of the Amphissian war (141-59), and (b) the three HP forms in 17-52, divided over several small narratives. Finally, it is argued that considerations of presentation and pragmatics help to explain why HP is used only in those parts of the speech where Demosthenes does not so much discuss his own policies as show that Aeschines is to blame for the current situation in Greece.

Affiliations: 1: Hogewoerd 75, 2311 HG LeidenNederland


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