William Watson Goodwin [1889], Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb [info] [word count] [GoodwinMoodsTenses].
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2. Optative in Protasis and Apodosis. 455

When a supposed future case is stated less distinctly and vividly than the subjunctive would state it (as if I should go in English), the protasis takes the optative with εἰ. The apodosis takes the optative with ἄν to denote what would be the result if the condition of the protasis should be fulfilled. E.g. Εἰ ἔλθοι, πάντ’ ἂν ἴδοι, if he should go, he would see all. Εἴ σ’ οὕτως ἐθέλοι φιλέειν κήδοιτό τε θυμῷ, τῷ κέν τις κείνων γε καὶ ἐκλελάθοιτο γάμοιο, if she should be willing thus to love you, etc., then some of them would cease even to think of marriage. Od. iii. 223. Ἦ κεν γηθήσαι Πρίαμος Πριάμοιό τε παῖδες, ἄλλοι τε Τρῶες μέγα κεν κεχαροίατο θυμῷ, εἰ σφῶιν τάδε πάντα πυθοίατο μαρναμένοιιν. Il. i. 255. Ἀλλ’ εἴ μοί τι πίθοιο, τό κεν πολὺ κέρδιον εἴη. Il. vii. 28. Εἴης φορητὸς οὐκ ἂν, εἰ πράσσοις καλῶς, you would not be bearable if you should ever be in prosperity. AESCH. Prom. 979 . Οἶκος δ’ αὐτὸς, εἰ φθογγὴν λάβοι, σαφέστατ’ ἂν λέξειεν. Id. Ag. 37. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἂν Μήδοκός με ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐπαινοίη, εἰ ἐξελαύνοιμι τοὺς εὐεργέτας. XEN. An. vii. 7, 11. Οὐδ’ εἰ πάντες ἔλθοιεν Πέρσαι, πλήθει γε οὐχ ὑπερβαλοίμεθ’ ἂν τοὺς πολεμίους. Id. Cyr. ii. 1, Id. Cyr. 8. Οὐ πολλὴ ἂν ἀλογία εἴη, εἰ φοβοῖτο τὸν θάνατον ὁ τοιοῦτος; PLAT. Phaed. 68B. Εἰ δέ τις τοὺς κρατοῦντας τοῦ πλήθους ἐπ’ ἀρετὴν προτρέψειεν, ἀμφοτέρους ἂν ὀνήσειε. ISOC. ii. 8. Εἴ τις τῶν σοι συνόντων ἐπαρθείη ποιεῖν ἃ σὺ τυγχάνεις εὐλογῶν, πῶς οὐκ ἂν ἀθλιώτατος εἴη; Id. xi. 47. Πῶς οὖν οὐκ ἂ·ν οἰκτρότατα πάντων ἐγὼ πεπονθὼς εἴην, εἰ ἐμὲ ψηφίσαιντο εἶναι ξένον; how then should I not have suffered (lit. be hereafter in the condition of having suffered) the most pitiable of all things, if they should vote me a foreigner? DEM. lvii. 44. ( crossSee 103 for other examples of the perfect optative.)

456

This form of the conditional sentence in its fully developed use, as it appears in Attic Greek, must be carefully distinguished from that of 410; the more so, as we often translate both εἴη ἄν and ἦν ἄν by the same English expression, it would be; although the latter implies that the supposition of the protasis is a false one, while the former implies no opinion of the speaker as to the truth of the supposition. We have seen (438-440) that the more primitive Homeric language had not yet fully separated these two constructions, and still used the optative in the apodosis of present, and sometimes of past, unreal conditions.

On the other hand, the distinction between this form and that of 444 is less marked, and it is sometimes of slight importance which of the two is used. As it is often nearly indifferent in English whether we say if we shall go (or if we go) it will be well, or if we should go it would be well, so may it be in Greek whether we say ἐὰν ἔλθωμεν καλῶς ἕξει or εἰ ἔλθοιμεν καλῶς ἂν ἔχοι. In writing Greek, this distinction can generally be made by first observing the form of the apodosis in English; if that is expressed by should or would, it is to be translated by the Greek optative with ἄν; if it is expressed by shall or will, by the future indicative. Other forms of the apodosis, as the imperative, will present no difficulty. The form to be used in the protasis will then appear from the principles of the dependence of moods (170-178); the optative will require another optative with εἰ in the dependent protasis, while the future indicative or any other primary form will require a subjunctive with ἐάν or a future indicative with εἰ.

457

In indirect discourse after past tenses we often find an optative in protasis, which merely represents the same tense of the subjunctive or indicative in the direct discourse. crossSee 667, 1; cross689; cross694.

For the occasional omission of ἄν in an apodosis of this kind, see cross240-242.

458

The potential optative with ἄν may stand in the protasis with εἰ; as in εἰ ἔλθοιμι ἄν, supposing that I would go, easily distinguished from εἰ ἔλθοιμι, supposing that I should go. Such an expression does not belong here, but is really a present condition. (See cross409; cross506.)

459

The future optative cannot be used in protasis or apodosis, except in indirect discourse to represent a future indicative of the direct discourse. ( crossSee 128 and cross203.)

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William Watson Goodwin [1889], Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb [info] [word count] [GoodwinMoodsTenses].
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