Historical Present
(677 words)


The ‘historical present’ describes the use of a present tense indicative form in a narrative where the aorist would be expected. The effect of its discontinuity with the other, preterite, verbs in the story usually marks out the main action of the event.

The ‘historical present’ (hereafter HP) is the use of the present tense of a verb (Verb (rhêma); Verbal System) in the indicative mood (Mood and Modality; Mood (énklisis)) to convey a past event in a narrative where an aorist indicative (Aorist; Aorist (aóristos); Aorist Formatio…

Cite this page
Elliott Maloney, “Historical Present”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: First Last. Consulted online on 28 May 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_00000480>
First published online: 2013

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