Re: Two moe non-KOine questions

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Feb 08 1997 - 20:32:48 EST

At 5:51 PM -0600 2/8/97, kdlitwak wrote:
>I run acros twothings that were rather ew to me today. The first is
>a perfect imperative. I've never seen one of those before. If the old
>distinctin between aorist and present in commands that I learned is
>invalid in view of verbal aspect, can someone elucidate on the
>difference in meaning between a present aorist and perfect imperative?

Is there supposed to be, perhaps, a comma between present and aorist? I
don't know of any present aorist.

You are not likely to see a perfect imperative except for a verb that is
commonly used only in the perfect tense for a particular sense, as hESTAMAI
and especially OIDA. I don't think I've ever seen a perfect imperative for
hESTAMAI (it would have the sense, "be standing," which is a good reason
for its being rarely if ever used), but the imperatives of OIDA : 2 sg.
)/ISQI, 3 sg. )/ISTW, 2 pl. ISTE, 3 pl. )/ISTWN or )/ISTWSAN--I suppose in
Koine you're likely to see 2 pl. OIDATE (just like the indicative). For the
heck of it, we might compare:
        present APOQNHSKE "start dying"
        aorist APOQANE "GET dead" (as in "make sure you succeed")
        perfect TEQNHKE "BE dead" (I can't remember just where, but I think
                I saw this not too long ago, perhaps in Archilochus, who liked
                to tell people he didn't like things like this.

>Second, Perseus identified PROIOUSA as possibly a dual-number
>participle. Not singular, not plural but dual. Is this a feature of
>Attic Greek? It looks like a singular to me, and I'd never seen a dual
>number participle before. I didn't even think Greek had a dual number.
>Hebrew does for things that come in twos, like eyes but that surely does
>not apply to my context, regarding writing prefaces to historical
>works. Thanks.

Oh yes, the dual is quite common in Homer and surprisingly frequent in
Plato,used for natural pairs like eyes (TW OSSE), ears (TW WTE), hands (TA
CEIRE). The nom. dual of 1st decl. is -A (long A), of 2nd -W, of 3rd -E. So
that form PROIOUSA could very well be a dual nom. or acc. pl. ptc. fem. of
PRO-EIMI ("go before").

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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