Indirect Discourse

Rather than quoting someone directly, Indirect Statement (Indirect Discourse) reports what someone has spoken:

Direct Statement:  Athamas killed his son Learchos. Ἄθαμας Λέαρχον τὸν παῖδα ἀπέκτεινεν.

Indirect Statement: Ino knows that Athamas killed his son Learchos.
οἶδεν Ἰνὼ ὅτι Ἄθαμας τὸν υἱὸν Λέαρχον ἀποκτείναι (3rd sing. aor. optative).

There are three ways that Greek expresses indirect discourse:

  1. A verb of speaking (e.g., λέγω/εἶπον) or knowing (γιγνώσκω, οἶδα) followed by ὅτι or ὡς plus the indicative or optative.
    Example:  λέγεται ὡς ἐς τὴν Μολουρίδα πέτραν φύγοιεν Ινώ καὶ Μελικέρτης. It is said that Ino and Melicertes fled to the Molourian rock.
  2. A verb of speaking or thinking (e.g., φημί, νομίζω, οἶμαι, ἡγέομαι, ἐλπίζω) followed by an accusative subject and infinitive.
    Example: ἐς τὸν ἰσθμὸν κομισθῆναι τὸν Μελικέρτην ὑπὸ δελφῖνος νομίζουσιν. They think that Melicertes was brought to the isthmus by a dolphin.
  3. A verb of perceiving or learning (e.g., ἀκούω, ὁράω, πυνθάνομαι) followed by an accusative subject and a participle.
    Example: Ἄθαμας οὐκ εἶδεν τὴν Ἰνὼ τὸν παῖδα Μελικέρτην ἔχουσαν. Athamas did not see Ino holding their son Melicertes.

Note 1: in classical Attic Greek, the optative occurs in the ὅτι/ὡς clause when the main verb of speaking is in the past.  Pausanias uses the optative in the subordinate clause even when the main verb is in the present tense.

Note 2: the final -αι of the 3rd sing. aor. optative counts as long.  Thus, aor. optative ἀποκτείναι receives an acute on the penult vs. the aor. infin. αποκτεῖναι with a circumflex on the penultimate syllable.

Practice with Indirect Statement-Pre-reading-RoadtoCorinth