Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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Historical Present
(677 words)


The ‘historical present’ describes the use of a present tense indicative form in a narrative where the aorist would be expected. The effect of its discontinuity with the other, preterite, verbs in the story usually marks out the main action of the event.

The ‘ historical present’ (hereafter HP) is the use of the present tense of a verb (Verb (rhêma); Verbal System) in the indicative mood (Mood and Modality; Mood (énklisis)) to convey a past event in a narrative where an aorist indicative (Aorist; Aorist (aóristos); Aorist Formatio…

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Elliott Maloney, “Historical Present”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: First Last. Consulted online on 28 November 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_00000480>
First published online: 2013

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