Past Tenses in Indirect Discourse.—The following rules govern past tenses in indirect discourse.
a. The potential indicative with ἄν, the indicative in a condition denoting unreality with ἄν or without ἄν (as ἐχρῆν, ἔδει, etc.), always remain unchanged in order to prevent confusion with the optative of the direct form.
ἀπελογοῦντο ὡς οὐκ ἄν ποτε οὕτω μῶροι ἦσαν . . . εἰ ᾔδεσαν
ὅτι κρεῖττον ἦν αὐτῷ τότε ἀποθανεῖν
b. The imperfect and pluperfect in simple sentences usually remain unchanged after secondary tenses to prevent ambiguity; but when there is no doubt that a past tense stood in the direct form, the imperfect passes into the present optative, the pluperfect into the perfect optative. In subordinate clauses both tenses are retained unaltered.
ἤκουσεν ὅτι πολλάκις πρὸς τὸν Ἰνδὸν οἱ Χαλδαῖοι ἐπορεύοντο
N.—The change to the optative is not made when the time of the action of imperfect (and pluperfect) is earlier than that of a coőrdinated verb in the same quoted sentence; as ἔλεγέν τ' ὡς φιλαθήναιος ἦν καὶ τἀ_ν Σάμῳ πρῶτος κατείποι
c. The aorist indicative without ἄν in a simple sentence or in a principal clause may be changed to the aorist optative after a secondary tense; but in subordinate clauses (except those denoting cause, N. 3) it remains unchanged to avoid ambiguity with the aorist optative, which usually represents the aorist subjunctive.
ἀπεκρι_νάμην αὐτῷ ὅτι . . . οὐ λάβοιμι
τοῖς ἰδίοις χρήσεσθαι ἔφη, ἃ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτῷ ἔδωκεν
N. 1.—The retention of the aorist indicative is here the essential point of difference between subordinate clauses and principal clauses or simple sentences.
N. 2.—In a subordinate clause the time of the aorist usually expresses an action prior to that of the leading verb.
N. 3.—In causal clauses with ὅτι or ὡς a dependent aorist indicative may become aorist optative; as εἶχε γὰρ λέγειν . . . ὡς Λακεδαιμόνιοι διὰ τοῦτο πολεμήσειαν αὐτοῖς, ὅτι οὐκ ἐθελήσαιεν μετ' Ἀ_γησιλά_ου ἐλθεῖν ἐπ' αὐτόν
Inserted Statement of Fact.—When the present or perfect indicative would have stood in the direct discourse, a past tense of historical narration is often used as a statement of fact by the writer from his own point of view, though the rest of the sentence may be given in indirect discourse after a secondary tense from the point of view of the subject of the leading verb.
ᾔδει ὅτι οὐχ οἷόν τ' ἦν αὐτῇ σωθῆναι
ἔλεγον οὐ καλῶς τὴν Ἑλλάσα ἐλευθεροῦν αὐτόν, εἰ ἄνδρας διέφθειρεν
ἀποθανὼν ἐδήλωσεν ὅτι οὐκ ἀληθῆ ταῦτα ἦν
ἔφη εἶναι παρ' ἑαυτῷ ὅσον μὴ ἦν ἀνηλωμένον
ἐννοούμενοι μὲν ὅτι ἐπὶ ταῖς βασιλέως θύραις ἦσαν
a. The use of past tenses of historical narration instead of present tenses of direct discourse occurs, in simple sentences, especially after
b. Such inserted statements of fact are often difficult to distinguish from indicatives in indirect discourse; and the two forms of expression may occur in the same sentence (
c. Except in indirect questions, the optative of indirect discourse is unknown to Homer. (εἰπεῖν ὡς ἔλθοι ω 237 may be considered as interrogative.) After primary or secondary tenses Homer employs, in the dependent clause, the same past tense that would have been used in an independent clause, from the point of view of the speaker, and not the tense which would have been used in direct discourse from the point of view of the subject of the main clause. Thus, γίγνωσκον δ ( = ὅτι)
δὴ κακὰ μήδετο
οὐδὲ τὸ ᾔδη, ὃ οὐ πείσεσθαι ἔμελλεν
d. That this use of statements of fact standing outside indirect discourse is optional only, is seen from a comparison of the first example in 2624 with
καλῶς γὰρ ᾔδειν ὡς ἐγὼ ταύτῃ κράτιστός εἰμι
ᾔδει αὐτὸν ὅτι μέσον ἔχοι τοῦ Περσικοῦ στρατεύματος
An optative with or without ἄν is regularly retained after ὅτι (ὡς).
ἐδίδασκον ὡς . . . συνεστρατεύοντο ὅποι ἡγοῖντο
ἀπεκρί_νατο . . . ὅτι πρόσθεν ἂν ἀποθάνοιεν ἢ τὰ ὅπλα παραδοίησαν
In some cases the optative with ἄν in temporal and relative sentences is used to represent the subjunctive with ἄν; but many scholars expel ἄν.
παρήγγειλαν αὐτοῖς μὴ πρότερον ἐπιτίθεσθαι πρὶν ἂν τῶν σφετέρων ἢ πέσοι τις ἢ τρωθείη
An optative occasioned by indirect discourse may stand after a primary tense when it is implied that the thought quoted has been expressed in the past.
λέγει ὁ λόγος ὅτι Νεοπτόλεμος Νέστορα ἔροιτο
λέγεται εἰπεῖν ὅτι βούλοιτο
a. The historical present is a secondary tense:
οἱ δὲ πεμφθέντες λέγουσι Κύ_ρῳ ὅτι μι_σοῖεν τοὺς Ἀσσυρίους
Indirect discourse may be introduced by ὅτι (ὡς) and then pass into the infinitive as if the introductory verb had required the infinitive.
ἡ δὲ ἀπεκρί_νατο ὅτι βούλοιτο μὲν ἅπαντα τῷ πατρὶ χαρίζεσθαι, ἄ_κοντα μέντοι τὸν παῖδα χαλεπὸν εἶναι νομίζειν ( = νομίζοι)
a. It is unusual to have the infinitive first, and then ὅτι (
b. One and the same clause may even begin with ὅτι (ὡς) and then (sometimes after a parenthesis) be continued by an infinitive, less often by a participle. Thus, ἀκούω ὅτι (omitted in one Ms.)
καὶ συνθηρευτά_ς τινας τῶν παίδων σοι γενέσθαι αὐτοῦ
An optative dependent on ὅτι (ὡς) may be followed, in a parenthetical or appended clause (often introduced by γάρ or οὖν), by an independent optative, which is used as if it itself directly depended on ὅτι (ὡς).
ἔλεγον πολλοὶ . . . ὅτι παντὸς ἄξια λέγοι Σεύθης· χειμὼν γὰρ εἴη καὶ οὔτε οἴκαδε ἀποπλεῖν τῷ ταῦτα βουλομένῳ δυνατὸν εἴη κτλ.
a. Such an independent optative may also follow an infinitive in indirect discourse (
An infinitive in indirect discourse may follow a sentence which merely involves the idea of indirect statement.
ὁ δὲ αὐτοὺς εἰς Λακεδαίμονα ἐκέλευεν ἰέναι· οὐ γὰρ εἶναι κύ_ριος αὐτός
In subordinate temporal and relative clauses the infinitive is often used for the indicative or optative by attraction to an infinitive standing in the principal clause after a
ἔφη . . . ἐπειδὴ δὲ γενέσθαι ἐπὶ τῇ οἰκίᾳ τῇ Ἀγάθωνος, ἀνεῳγμένην καταλαμβάνειν τὴν θύραν
a. The infinitive is rare in such relative clauses as
διορίζουσι σαφῶς ἐν οἷς ἐξεῖναι ἀποκτιννύναι
For the sake of variation, a mood of the direct form may be used in the same sentence with a mood of the indirect. The main verb may be kept in the direct form, while the subordinate verb becomes optative, or, less often, the subordinate verb may be retained in the direct form though the main verb becomes optative.
οὗτοι ἔλεγον ὅτι Κῦρος μὲν τέθνηκεν, Ἀριαῖος δὲ πεφευγὼς . . . εἴη
ἐδόκει δῆλον εἶναι ὅτι αἱρήσονται αὐτὸν εἴ τις ἐπιψηφίζοι
παρήγγειλαν, ἐπειδὴ δειπνήσαιεν, . . . ἀναπαύεσθαι καὶ ἕπεσθαι, ἡνίκ' ἄν τις παραγγέλλῃ
The idea conveyed by an imperative or a hortatory (or even deliberative) subjunctive of direct discourse may be set forth in the infinitive by a statement as to what ought to be.
a. In an infinitive dependent on a
εἷς δὲ δὴ εἶπε ( cross1997) . . .
στρατηγοὺς μὲν ἑλέσθαι ἄλλους
ἀπηγόρευε μηδένα βάλλειν
N.—Here may be placed the infinitive after ἡγοῦμαι, νομίζω, οἴομαι in the sense of δοκῶ
b. In an infinitive dependent on ἔφη χρῆναι (δεῖν), as
ἔφη . . . χρῆναι πλεῖν ἐπὶ Συρα_κούσα_ς
c. In the simple infinitive, as τὰ_ς μὲν ἐπιστολὰ_ς . . . ἀνέγνωσαν, ἐν αἷς πολλῶν ἄλλων γεγραμμένων κεφάλαιον ἦν πρὸς Λακεδαιμονίους οὐ γιγνώσκειν ὅ τι βούλονται . . . εἰ οὖν τι βούλονται σαφὲς λέγειν, πέμψαι μετὰ τοῦ Πέρσου ἄνδρας ὡς αὐτόν
Long sentences (and even some short complex sentences), or a series of sentences, in indirect discourse depending on a single
a. ἔφη (ἔλεξε, εἶπεν, ἤρετο) is repeated, e.g.
b. The indirect form is abandoned for the direct form, e.g.
c. ἔφη χρῆναι (δεῖν) or ἐκέλευσε is inserted or repeated (
N. 1.—Transition from direct to indirect discourse is rare (
N. 2.—An interrogative clause always depends immediately on the introductory verb, hence such clauses do not occur in the course of a long sentence in indirect discourse.2635EXAMPLES OF INDIRECT DISCOURSE
|ἔφη γὰρ εἶναι μὲν ἀνδράποδόν οἱ ἐπὶ Λαυρίῳ, δεῖν δὲ κομίσασθαι ἀποφορά_ν. ἀναστὰ_ς δὲ πρῲ ψευσθεὶς τῆς ὥρα_ς βαδίζειν· εἶναι δὲ πανσέληνον. ἐπεὶ δὲ παρὰ τὸ προπύλαιον τοῦ Διονύ_σου ἦν, ὁρᾶν ἀνθρώπους πολλοὺς ἀπὸ τοῦ Ὠιδείου καταβαίνοντας εἰς τὴν ὀρχήστρα_ν· δείσα_ς δὲ αὐτούς, εἰσελθὼν ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰ_ν καθέζεσθαι μεταξὺ τοῦ κίονος καὶ τῆς στήλης ἐφ' ᾗ ὁ στρατηγός ἐστιν ὁ χαλκοῦς. ὁρᾶν δὲ ἀνθρώπους τὸν μὲν ἀριθμὸν μάλιστα τρια_κοσίους, ἑστάναι δὲ κύκλῳ ἀνὰ πέντε καὶ δέκα ἄνδρας, τοὺς δὲ ἀνὰ εἴκοσιν· ὁρῶν δὲ αὐτ ῶν πρὸς τὴν σελήνην τὰ πρόσωπα τῶν πλείστων γιγνώσκειν. καὶ πρῶτον μέν, ὦ ἄνδρες, τοῦθ' ὑπέθετο δεινότατον πρᾶγμα, οἶμαι, ὅπως ἐν ἐκείνῳ εἴη ὅντινα βούλοιτο Ἀθηναίων φάναι τῶν ἀνδρῶν τούτων εἶναι, ὅντινα δὲ μὴ βούλοιτο, λέγειν ὅτι οὐκ ἦν. ἰδὼν δὲ ταῦτ' ἔφη ἐπὶ Λαύριον ἰέναι, καὶ τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ ἀκούειν ὅτι οἱ Ἑρμαῖ εἶεν περικεκομμένοι· γνῶναι οὖν εὐθὺς ὅτι τούτων εἴη τῶν ἀνδρῶν τὸ ἔργον. ἥκων δὲ εἰς ἄστυ ζητητά_ς τε ἤδη ᾑρημένους καταλαμβάνειν καὶ μήνυ_τρα κεκηρυ_γμένα ἑκατὸν μνᾶς.—Andocides 1. 38.||For Dioclides said that he had a slave at Laurium, and that he had to fetch a payment due him. Rising early he mistook the time and set out, and there was a full moon. When he was by the gateway of the sanctuary of Dionysus, he saw a body of men coming down from the Odeum into the orchestra, and through fear of them he betook himself into the shade and sat down between the column and the block on which the Bronze General stands. He saw about three hundred men, some standing round about in groups of fifteen, others in groups of twenty. On seeing them in the moonlight he recognized the faces of most. In the first place, gentlemen, he has concocted this most extraordinary tale, in order, as I believe, that it might be in his power to include among these men any Athenian he wished, or to exclude any he did not wish. On seeing this he said he went to Laurium, and on the day after heard that the statues of Hermes had been mutilated. So he knew forthwith that it was the work of these men. On his return to the city he found that commissioners of inquiry had already been appointed and that a hundred minae had been offered as a reward.|
Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].