Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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1931

Gnomic Aorist (γνώμη maxim, proverb).—The aorist may express a general truth. The aorist simply states a past occurrence and leaves the reader to draw the inference from a concrete case that what has occurred once is typical of what often occurs: παθὼν δέ τε νήπιος ἔγνω a fool learns by experience Hesiod, Works and Days, 218, κάλλος μὲν γὰρ ἢ χρόνος ἀνήλωσεν ἢ νόσος ἐμάρα_νε for beauty is either wasted by time or withered by disease I. 1.6.

a. The gnomic aorist often alternates with the present of general truth ( cross1877): οὐ γὰρ ἡ πληγὴ παρέστησε τὴν ὀργήν, ἀλλ' ἡ ἀτι_μία_· οὐδὲ τὸ τύπτεσθαι τοῖς ἐλευθέροις ἐστὶ δεινόν . . . ἀλλὰ τὸ ἐφ' ὕβρει for it is not the blow that causes anger, but the disgrace; nor is it the beating that is terrible to freemen, but the insult D. 21.72. Cp. P. R. 566e.

b. The gnomic aorist is regarded as a primary tense ( cross1858): οἱ τύραννοι πλούσιον ὃν ἂν βούλωνται παραχρῆμ' ἐποίησαν tyrants make rich in a moment whomever they wish D. 20.15.

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Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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