Temporal clause with a present stem: simultaneity (‘while’, ‘as long as’)


καὶ γὰρ δὴ ἕως μὲν πόλεμος ἦν τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις πρὸς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους, παρέμεινεν

En zolang de Lakedaimoniërs dus in oorlog waren met de Atheners, bleef hij op post.

A temporal clause with a present stem signals a simultaneous state of affairs as a satellite.

Lexical usage

The following conjunctions express simultaneity:

  • ‘real’ conjunctions: ἦμος (Hom. and poetic), εὖτε ‘while’, ἕως, μέχρι (rare), ὄφρα (Hom. and poetic) ‘as long as’;
  • relative constructions: ἐν ᾧ, ἐν ὅσῳ ‘at the moment when’;
  • further (without explicitly simultaneous meaning): ὅτε, ὁπότε, ἡνίκα, ὁπηνίκα, ὡς, ἐπεί, ἐπειδή ‘then, when’.

Translation tips

If a simultaneous temporal clause is not limited, it is translated ‘while’. If it is limited, ‘as long as’ is a better translation.

Syntactic behaviour

Tenses and moods are used as follows:

  • imperfect indicative (neutral, past);
  • present indicative (neutral present);
  • subjunctive present with ἄν (one-off or iterative plausibility).


Temporal clauses with the meaning ‘as long as’ can be anticipated in the main clause by τέως ‘as long as’ (… ἕως 'as').

Example Sentences: 

καὶ ἕωσπερ ἂν ἐμπνέω καὶ οἷός τε , οὐ μὴ παύσωμαι φιλοσοφῶν

En zolang ik kan ademen [= in leven ben] en ertoe in staat ben, zal ik niet ophouden met filosoferen.

ὁ δὲ τελευταῖος, μέχρι τίνος ἄνθρωπον καλῶς ἔχοι ζῆν, μέχρι οὗ μὴ νομίζει τὸ τεθνάναι τοῦ ζῆν ἄμεινον

En de laatste, [toen men hem vroeg] tot wanneer het goed was dat een mens bleef leven, [antwoordde hij:] zolang hij niet denkt dat dood zijn beter is dan leven.

ἐν ᾧ δ’ ἐσκόπει τοὺς Ὑρκανίους ὁ Κῦρος ὅ τι ποιήσουσιν, ἐπέστησε τὸ στράτευμα

While Cyrus examined what the Hyrcanians were going to do, he halted his army.