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 Formation) would…

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Elliott Maloney, “Historical Present”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 24 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_00000480>
First published online: 2013

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