The Future Optative in Greek Documentary and Grammatical Papyri

Journal of Hellenic Studies 133:93-111 (2013)
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The neglected area of later Greek syntax is explored here with reference to the future optative. This form of the verb first appeared early in the classical age but virtually disappeared during the Hellenistic era. Under the influence of Atticism it reappeared in later literary texts, and this paper is concerned largely with its revival in late legal and epistolary texts on papyrus from Egypt. It is used mainly in set legal phrases of remote future conditions, but we also see it in letters to express wishes (again, largely formulaic) for the future, both of which uses are foreign to Attic Greek. Finally, the future optative's appearance in conjugations on grammatical papyri from Egypt is used to demonstrate the form's presence in education even at the end of the classical world there, with the archive of Dioscorus of Aphrodito uniquely showing both this theoretical knowledge of it and examples of its application in legal documents



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