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Participle: time as agreeing satellite

Syntactical Level

ἀναστάντες θύουσι τῷ Διονύσῳ κριὸν

‘When they had got up they sacrificed a ram for Dionysius.’ (Longus 3.10)

The participle signals a moment in time as a satellite.

Lexical usage

Some fossilised temporal participles are used as adverbs: ἀρχόμενος 'in the beginning', τελευτῶν 'finally', διαλιπὼν (or ἐπισχὼν) χρόνον 'after a time', διαλείπων χρόνον 'from time to time', χρονίζων 'for a long time', ἀρξάμενος (ἀπό τινος) 'beginning (with someone/something)'.

Syntactic usage

The intended relative time with reference to the main verb usually appears from the aspect stem used (sometimes rendered more explicit through the use of a particle):

  • anteriority: aorist part. (often with εἶτα or ἔπειτα ‘after’, ἄρτι ‘just now’).

  • simultaneity: present part. (often with ἅμα or μεταξύ ‘at the same time’ αὐτίκα or εὐθύς [Ionic ἰθέως] ‘as soon as’).

The temporal force of the aorist or present aspect is disputed, but can serve as a rule of thumb in interpretation.
In this usage the participle tends to precede the main verb.


The predicate of the sentence to which the temporal participle belongs is often accompanied by temporal adverbs such as τότε, ἤδη (τότε ἤδη), ἐνταῦθα, εἶτα, ἔπειτα or οὕτως.