Book Nav


328. The Aorist Imperative is very rarely used with μή: examples are-

Il. 4. 410 τῷ μή μοι πατέρας ποθʼ ὁμοίῃ ἔνθεο τιμῇ

so Od. 24. 248

σὺ δὲ μὴ χόλον ἔνθεο θυμῷ

Il. 18. 1 34 σὺ μὲν μή πω καταδύσεο μῶλον Ἄρηος.

Od. 16. 301 μή τις ἔπειτʼ Oδυσῆος ἀκουσάτω.

Il. 16. 200 μὴ λελαθέσθω.

For the rule which is the complement of this one, forbidding the use of the Present Subj. with μὴ, see § 278 fin.

Regarding the origin of this curious idiom a very probable coniecture has been made by Delbrck (Synt. Fρτsch. iv. p. 120). In the Veda it has been shovwn by Grassmann that the prohibitive Particle nmάά is never found vwith the forms of the mperative proper, but only vwith the so-called ' spurious Conjunctiveb or 'Injunctive' Hence it may be inferred that the mperative vwas only used originally in pοsιtιυe commands, not in prohibitions. Again, it appears that in Sanscrit the mperative is nearl y confined to the Present bense : and in Greek the forms of the First Aοr. hmper. (κλέον, Mid. κλέ2αι) are certainly of ate origin. The fine distinction vwhich is made, in the Imperative as vwell as in other Moods, betvween the continuous action e2pressed by the Present Stem and the momentary action expressed by the Aorist belongs to the specific development of Greek. Accordingly Delbrhck 6ugggests that the extension of the mperative to express prohibition took place at a time vwhen the Aorist mperative had not come into general use : and hence it vwas only carried into the Present Γense. La other vwords, the form μq κλέπτε came into use in pre-historic Greek as an extension of the positive κλέπτε, and superseded ῳνη κλέπτης : but pη κλέ4rηs kept its ground, because the form κλέ0v did not then exist. This account of the idiom seems much more probable than any attempt to explain it on psychological grounds.