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1. The History of the “Mixed Aorist” Problem
Apollonius says (that ἷξον is) from ἵκω, the one written with iota (as distinct from ἥκω). The second aorist is (*)ἷκον, and by a Boeotian change of κ to ξ, ἷξον (supposedly as in εἴξασι and ἤνειξα  ). But Herodian says that this form and those like it are transferred from the future to the present: ἵξω (but the future is regularly middle, ἵξομαι) and the imperfect (*)ἷξον, ἷξες, ἷξε; the plural (*)ἵξομεν, (*)ἵξετε, ἷξον. That such forms are not second (sic) aorist but imperfect, the imperatives also prove: for you will find (*)βῆσε and (*)ἷξε and οἶσε, like τύπτε and γράφε; but if they were aorist, they would be βῆσον and ἷξον. But οἴσω is a future, from which no other inflexion is found than the future itself. But Apollonius’ opinion must be truer; for οἱ δ’ ἷξον does not indicate continuity but fulfillment, “they arrived.” For the parts of speech depend not on sounds but on meanings. The note concludes with a valid principle for synchronic grammatical analysis. The course of the argument, however, is obviously confused. We can hardly believe that Herodian cited βῆσον and ἷξον as hypothetical second aorist imperatives. Whether he found imperatives βῆσε and ἷξε attested anywhere we do not know. The two scholars seem to have misunderstood each other: Apollonius says ἷξον is a second aorist, and Herodian replies that it is not a first aorist (but instead comes from the future). Probably the debate has lost something in transmission. In any case, we see that the two possible derivations of the “mixed aorists” are represented already in antiquity: Apollonius makes a connection with the aorist; Herodian, with the future. These have remained the alternatives throughout the history of the question, though with certain variations. For one thing, the ancient grammarians think of the forms as second aorists where the s needs to be explained, whereas later grammarians have counted them as first aorists where the thematic vowel needs to be explained. For Greeks, the essential characteristic of the first aorist was evidently the alpha and not the sigma (consider such diverse “first aorists” as ἔθηκα and ἔμεινα).2 Moreover, the two alternatives may approach each other, depending on the relation assumed between the future indicative and the subjunctive of the sigmatic aorist. To discuss in general the nature of this relation is beyond the scope of this thesis, but certain particular cases will be treated.