Greek: Present and Aorist Infinitive

Kuba26

non sum dignus
In Greek, a distinction is made between the Present Infinitive Active e.g. παιδευειν “to educate (habitually), to be educating”, and the Aorist Infinitive Active e.g. παιδευσαι “to educate”. (Actually, Greek has even more infinitives - because, why wouldn't you?)

Now, abstract as this sounded to me at first, it was not too difficult to grasp. But then I came across these two sentences:
  1. ὁ θεος τον Ὁμηρον λυειν τους ανθρωπους εκελευσεν
  2. ὁ θεος τον Ὁμηρον λυσαι τους ανθρωπους εκελευσεν
As I understand it, “The god ordered the men to release Homer.”

Could anyone explain the difference between the two infinitives λυειν and λυσαι here? – is it a very clear difference when translating, or is the difference quite nuanced?
 

Arca Defectionis

Civis Illustris
In Greek, a distinction is made between the Present Infinitive Active e.g. παιδευειν “to educate (habitually), to be educating”, and the Aorist Infinitive Active e.g. παιδευσαι “to educate”. (Actually, Greek has even more infinitives - because, why wouldn't you?)

Now, abstract as this sounded to me at first, it was not too difficult to grasp. But then I came across these two sentences:
  1. ὁ θεος τον Ὁμηρον λυειν τους ανθρωπους εκελευσεν
  2. ὁ θεος τον Ὁμηρον λυσαι τους ανθρωπους εκελευσεν
As I understand it, “The god ordered the men to release Homer.”


Could anyone explain the difference between the two infinitives λυειν and λυσαι here? – is it a very clear difference when translating, or is the difference quite nuanced?

A very ambiguous sentence, because it could be Homer being ordered to release the men. After all, Homer seems to end up doing all kinds of things in Greek textbook exercises.

If Homer is being ordered to release the men, then there is a fairly concrete distinction between infinitives - the former being an order to release them, perhaps gradually or habitually, a few at a time, and the latter being an order to release all the men at once.

If the men are being ordered to release Homer, I don't really know how the present infinitive makes much sense.
 

Kuba26

non sum dignus
I am glad you say it's ambiguous because I thought so too. But your comment has been helpful. GTA
 
Top