The abundance of its participles is one of the characteristic features of Greek. Their use gives brevity to the sentence (cp. cross2050), enabling the writer to set forth in a word modifications and amplifications of the main thought for which we require cumbersome relative clauses. But an excessive use of participles, especially in close conjunction, marked a careless style.
a. The participle may contain the leading thought, the finite verb the subordinate thought, of a sentence. Thus, τὸ ψήφισμα τοῦτο γράφω . . . τοὺς ὅρκους τὴν ταχίστην ἀπολαμβάνειν, ἵν' ἐχόντων τῶν Θρᾳκῶν . . . ταῦτα τὰ χωρία, ἃ νῦν οὖτος διέσυ_ρε . . ., οὕτω γίγνοινθ' οἱ ὅρκοι
b. The participle may repeat the stem and meaning of the finite verb. Thus, καὶ εὐχόμενος ἄν τις ταῦτα εὔξαιτο
c. A participial construction may pass over into a construction with a finite verb. Thus, μάρτυρα μὲν . . . οὐδένα παρασχόμενος . . . παρεκελεύετο δέ κτλ. lit.
d. A participle may be used in close connection with a relative or interrogative pronoun. Thus,
οὐδ' ὑπὲρ οἷα πεποιηκότων ἀνθρώπων κινδυ_νεύσετε διαλογισάμενοι
e. In contrasts, two subjects may, by anacoluthon, belong to one participle in the nominative, though the participle belongs to only one subject (
f. Two or more participles may be coördinated without any connective.
This is common in Homer when one participle forms a contrast to, or intensifies, another participle. Cp. ἦ καὶ ἐπῶρτ' Ἀχιλῆι κυκώμενος ὑψόσε θύ_ων, μορμύ_ρων ἀφρῷ κτλ.
g. In prose such coördination without any connective is incomplete, one participle, e.g., often defining another, as in ὁ Κῦρος ὑπολαβὼν τοὺς φεύγοντας συλλέξα_ς στράτευμα ἐπολιόρκει Μί_λητον
ἐξέτασιν ποιήσαντες ἐν τοῖς ἱππεῦσι, φάσκοντες εἰδέναι βούλεσθαι πόσοι εἶεν . . ., ἐκέλευον ἀπογράφεσθαι πάντας
h. A participle with case absolute may be coördinated with a participle not in an absolute case. Thus,
οἱ δὲ ἀφικομένης τῆς νεὼς καὶ ἀνέλπιστον τὴν εὐτυχία_ν ἀκούσαντες . . . πολὺ ἐπερρώσθησαν
μεταπεμφθέντες ἤλθομεν ἢ οὐδενὸς καλέσαντος
i. A finite verb may have two or more participles attached to it in different relations. Thus,
οἱ πελτασταὶ προδραμόντες . . . διαβάντες τὴν χαράδρα_ν, ὁρῶντες πρόβατα πολλὰ . . . προσέβαλλον πρὸς τὸ χωρίον
j. A participle may be added predicatively to another participle, and often follows the article belonging to the main participle. Thus,
οἱ ζῶντες καταλειπόμενοι
k. A participle is often omitted when it can be supplied from the context. Thus, ὡρμίσαντο καὶ αὐτοὶ . . . ἐπειδὴ καὶ τοὺς Ἀθηναίους (ὁρμισαμένους)
The participle often agrees with the logical, and not with the grammatical, subject. The participle thus often agrees with the subject of the finite verb which the writer had in mind when he began the sentence, but for which he later substitutes another verb; or the participle may later be used as if in agreement with the subject of another finite verb than the one actually employed.
a. A participle in the nominative may belong to a finite verb requiring an oblique case. Thus, ἀποβλέψα_ς πρὸς τοῦτον τὸν στόλον . . ., ἔδοξέ μοι πάγκαλος εἶναι (= ἡγησάμην πάγκαλον εἶναι)
to put to death not merely those who were there but also all the Mytilenaeans, urging against them their revolt, etc.
b. Two or more substantives or pronouns with their participles may stand in partitive apposition ( cross981) to the logical subject. Thus, τὰ περὶ Πύλον ὑπ' ἀμφοτέρων κατὰ κράτος ἐπολεμεῖτο (= ἀμφότεροι ἐπολέμουν),
Ἀθηναῖοι μὲν . . . τὴν νῆσον περιπλέοντες . . ., Πελοποννήσιοι δὲ ἐν τῇ ἡπείρῳ στρατοπεδευόμενοι
λόγοι δ' ἐν ἀλλήλοισιν ἐρρόθουν κακοί, φύλαξ ἐλέγχων φύλακα
θαυμάζοντες ἄλλος ἄλλῳ ἔλεγεν
c. Without regard to the following construction, a participle may stand in the nominative. The use of the genitive absolute would here be proper, but would cause the main subject of the thought to occupy a subordinate position. Thus, ἐπιπεσὼν τῇ Φαρναβάζου στρατοπεδείᾳ, τῆς μὲν προφυλακῆς αὐτοῦ Μυ_σῶν ὄντων πολλοὶ ἔπεσον
N. The nominative participle is sometimes found in clauses without a finite verb, but only when some finite verb is to be supplied (cp. Ψ 546), as with εἰ, ἐά_ν, ὅταν (
d. Likewise a participle may stand in the accusative or (rarely) in the dative when the construction demands another case. Thus, σοὶ δὲ συγγνώμη (= συγγνώμη ἐστὶ σὲ)
λέγειν τάδ' ἐστί, μὴ πάσχουσαν ὡς ἐγὼ κακῶς
τὸ μὲν μεθ' ἑαυτοῦ στρατόπεδον ἔχοντι ἐν τῷ ἰσθμῷ ἐπιτηρεῖν τοὺς Ἀθηναίους
Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].