Temporal clause in the indicative: neutral event

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A subordinate clause in the indicative, introduced by a temporal conjunction, signals a present or past event.

Lexical usage

The semantic role depends on the conjunction used:

  • anteriority: ἐπεί, ἐπειδή, ἐπείτε ‘then’, ‘after’;
  • time: ὅτε, εὖτε, ὁπότε, ὡς, ὅπως, ἡνίκα, ὁπηνίκα, ὅπου, ὥσπερ (in Herodotus);
  • distance in time: ἐξ οὗ, ἐξ ὅτου, ἀφ' οὗ ‘since’ (usually with the aorist indicative);
  • iterativity/regularity: ὁσάκις, ὁποσάκις ‘whenever’.

Syntactic behaviour oblique optative)

In past temporal clauses the aspects have an (albeit secondary) relative time value:

  • aorist indicative = anterior to the main clause;
  • imperfect indicative = simultaneous to the main clause.


When the main verb is a secondary indicative with ἄν (to express impossibility), the temporal clause may take over the secondary indicative and its counterfactual modality (attractio modalis).
If the temporal clause has a conditional nuance, the negation οὐ can be replaced by μή, by analogy with conditional clauses.

Example Sentences: 


καὶ ὁπηνίκ’ ἐφαίνετο ταῦτα πεποιηκὼς καὶ τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον κεχρημένος τοῖς πρὸς ἐμέ, ὡμολογεῖτ’ ἂν ἡ κατηγορία τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ

Wanneer zou blijken dat hij dat gedaan had en dat hij op die manier met mijn zaak omgegaan was, dan zou de aanklacht overeenstemmen met zijn daden. [aantrekking van de wijs]



ἦσθα δ’ ἐν τῷ βουλευτηρίῳ, ὅτε οἱ λόγοι ἐγίγνοντο περὶ ἡμῶν;

Were you in the council when the discussions were about us? [gelijktijdigheid]



ὅτε δ’ ὑμεῖς ἐστρατεύεσθε πάντες, οὗτος ἦν ἐν τῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ

While you were all going to war, that man [Aristogeiton] was in prison. [gelijktijdigheid]



ἐπειδὴ ἐκ τῆς θόλου ἐξήλθομεν, οἱ μὲν τέτταρες ᾤχοντο εἰς Σαλαμῖνα καὶ ἤγαγον Λέοντα, ἐγὼ δὲ ᾠχόμην ἀπιὼν οἴκαδε

Toen wij van de tholos kwamen, vertrokken de vier [anderen] naar Salamis en namen ze Leon mee, maar ik vertrok naar huis. [voortijdigheid]