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The Latin Infinitivus Historicus Revisited

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image of Mnemosyne

Embarking upon yet another examination of the so-called Infinitivus Historicus [IH] (or 'descriptivus', 'adumbrativus', et sim ) appears not uncalled for this rather bizarre feature of Latin has been studied most extensively1), yet not altogether satisfactorily, and certainly not exhaustively We have to do here with a usage deeply rooted in the Latin literary language from Plautus onwards, until eventually becoming a literary convention, at the same time the Historic Infinitive is an almost unique phenomenon in Latin, as it is comparable, amongst the other infinitival constructions, only to the rare infinitivus 'imperativus' and 'prohibitivus', in that they all constitute non-embedded constructions which involve non-accusatival subjects2)

Affiliations: 1: JERUSALEM, The Hebrew University


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