Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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11.4. The use of the tenses by individual authors

This book primarily describes the Latin of the period 200 BC–AD 100. There

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are various genres and text types with their own narrative structure, which influences the distribution of the various tenses. In prose and poetry from Sallust onwards, moreover, the stylistic principle of variatio (`variation') plays an important role. [39] For the narrative tenses mentioned in crosssection 11.3. this means that the very alternation of the explicit past tenses with historic present and historic infinitive is used as an instrument to highlight (parts of) episodes. Cf. (79):

(79) secundum orationem praetoris murmur ortum aliorum cum adsensu aliorum inclementer adsentientes increpantium et iam … populi universi inter se altercabantur. tum inter magistratus gentis … certamen nihil segnius quam inter multitudinem esse (`After the praetor's speech there arose an outcry, some applauding, some sharply rebuking those who approved; and soon whole communities were involved in the quarrel. Then among the magistrates of the people an argument began no less violent than that among the mass of the delegates', Liv. 32.22.1–2)

Note the dramatic et iam and the historic infinitive esse. The leading principle seems to be: every time another type of verb form. The degree to which individual authors follow the principle of variatio appears from the distribution of the historic infinitive. Sallust has uninterrupted series of infinitives. Tacitus, however, alternates isolated infinitives with other types of verb form, as in (79). The principle is not, however, so important that imperfect and perfect can be used arbitrarily, contrary to the rules given in crosssection 11.3. In individual passages, therefore, an examination of the use of the tenses must begin with the `normal' explanation for their occurrence.

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Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
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