Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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Simple present or past conditions simply state a supposition with no implication as to its reality or probability. The protasis has the indicative, the apodosis has commonly the indicative, but also any other form of the simple sentence appropriate to the thought.

εἰ ταῦτα ποιεῖς, καλῶς ποιεῖς if you do this, you do well.

εἰ ταῦτα ἐποίησας, καλῶς ἐποίησας if you did this, you did well.

a. This form of condition corresponds to the logical formula if this is so, then that is so; if this is not so, then that is not so; if A = B, then C = D. The truth of the conclusion depends solely on the truth of the condition, which

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is not implied in any way. In these conditions something is supposed to be true only in order to draw the consequence that something else is true.

b. The conditional clause may express what the writer knows is physically impossible. Even when the supposition is true according to the real opinion of the writer, this form of condition is employed. In such cases εἴπερ is often used for εἰ. Both εἰ and εἴπερ sometimes have a causal force ( cross2246); cp. si quidem and quia.

c. The simple condition is particular or general. When the protasis has εἴ τις and the apodosis a present indicative, the simple condition has a double meaning referring both to an individual case and to a rule of action. When a present general condition is distinctly expressed, ἐά_ν with the subjunctive is used ( cross2337.)


There are many possible combinations of present and past conditions with different forms of the protasis and apodosis. Protasis and apodosis may be in different tenses, and present and future may be combined.


The apodosis may be the simple indicative or any other form of the simple sentence appropriate to the thought.

a. Simple Indicative: εἰ τοῦτ' ἔχει καλῶς, ἐκεῖνο αἰσχρῶς if this is excellent, that is disgraceful Aes. 3.188, εἰ μὲν (Ἀσκληπιὸς) θεοῦ ἦν, οὐκ ἦν αἰσχροκερδής· εἰ δ' αἰσχροκερδής, οὐκ ἦν θεοῦ if Asclepius was the son of a god, he was not covetous; if he was covetous, he was not the son of a god P. R. 408c, εἴ τέ τι ἄλλο . . . ἐγένετο ἐπικίνδυ_νον τοῖς Ἕλλησι, πάντων . . . μετέσχομεν and if any other danger befell the Greeks, we took our share in all T. 3.54, ἦ καλὸν . . . τέχνημα ἄρα κέκτησαι, εἴπερ κέκτησαι in truth you do possess a noble art, if indeed you do possess it P. Pr. 319a, εἴπερ γε Δα_ρείου . . . ἐστι παῖς . . . , οὐκ ἀμαχεὶ ταῦτ' ἐγὼ λήψομαι if indeed he is a son of Darius, I shall not gain this without a battle X. A. 1.7.9, Κλέαρχος εἰ παρὰ τοὺς ὅρκους ἔλυ_ε τὰ_ς σπονδά_ς, τὴν δίκην ἔχει assuming that Clearchus broke the truce contrary to his oath, he has his deserts 2. 5. 41, εἰ δὲ δύο ἐξ ἑνὸς ἀγῶνος γεγένησθον, οὐκ ἐγὼ αἴτιος but if two trials have been made out of one, I am not responsible Ant. 5.85.

b. Indicative with ἄν (unreal indicative, cross1786): καίτοι τότε . . . τὸν Ὑπερείδην, εἴπερ ἀληθῆ μου νῦν κατηγορεῖ, μᾶλλον ἂν εἰκότως ἢ τόνδ' ἐδίωκεν and yet, if indeed his present charge against me is true, he would have had more reason for prosecuting Hyperides than he now has for prosecuting my client D. 18.223 (here ἂν ἐδίωκεν implies εἰ ἐδίωκεν, cross2303). So also an unreal indicative without ἄν, 1774: τοῦτο, εἰ καὶ τἄλλα πάντ' ἀποστεροῦσιν . . . ἀποδοῦναι προσῆκεν even if they steal everything else, they should have restored this D. 27.37. In the above examples each clause has its proper force.

c. Subjunctive of exhortation or prohibition (cp. the indicative δεῖ or χρή with the infinitive, cross1807): ὅθεν δὲ ἀπελίπομεν ἐπανέλθωμεν, εἴ σοι ἡδομένῳ ἐστίν but let us return to the point whence we digressed, if it is agreeable to you P. Ph. 78b, εἰ μὲν ἴστε με τοιοῦτον . . . μηδὲ φωνὴν ἀνάσχησθε if you know that I am such a man . . . do not even endure the sound of my voice D. 18.10.

d. Optative of wish (cp. the indicative ἐλπίζω): κάκιστ' ἀπολοίμην, Ξανθία_ν εἰ μὴ φιλῶ may I perish most vilely, if I do not love Xanthias Ar. Ran. 579.

e. Potential optative: θαυμάζοιμ' ἂν εἰ οἶσθα I should be surprised if you

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know P. Pr. 312c. The potential optative (or indicative with ἄν, above b) sometimes suggests an inference (cp. the indicative δοκεῖ and inf. with ἄν). Thus, εἰ μὲν γὰρ τοῦτο λέγουσιν, ὁμολογοίην ἂν ἔγωγε οὐ κατὰ τούτους εἶναι ῥήτωρ for if they mean this, I must admit (it seems to me that I must admit) that I am an orator, but not after their style P. A. 17b (cp. τοῦτό γέ μοι δοκεῖ καλὸν εἶναι, εἴ τις οἷός τ' εἴη παιδεύειν ἀνθρώπους this seems to me a fine thing, if any one should be able to train men 19 e), εἰ γὰρ οὗτοι ὀρθῶς ἀπέστησαν, ὑ_μεῖς ἂν οὐ χρεὼν ἄρχοιτε for if they were right in revolting, you must be wrong in holding your empire T. 3.40 (cp. οὐκ ἄρα χρὴ ὑ_μᾶς ἄρχειν).

f. Imperative (cp. the indicative κελεύω order, ἀπαγορεύω forbid): εἴ τις ἀντιλέγει, λεγέτω if any one objects, let him speak X. A. 7.3.14.


If the protasis expresses a present intention or necessity, the future indicative may be used.

εἰ δὲ καὶ τῷ ἡγεμόνι πιστεύσομεν ὃν ἂν Κῦρος διδῷ, τί κωλύ_ει καὶ τὰ ἄκρα ἡμῖν κελεύειν Κῦρον προκαταλαβεῖν; but if we are going to trust any guide that Cyrus may give us, what hinders our also ordering Cyrus to occupy the heights in advance in our behalf? X. A. 1.3.16, αἶρε πλῆκτρον, εἰ μαχεῖ raise your spur if you mean (are going) to fight Ar. Av. 759. The future here has a modal force and expresses something besides futurity; hence it is equivalent to μέλλεις μαχεῖσθαι ( cross1959), but not to ἐὰ_ν μάχῃ ( cross2323) or to εἰ μαχεῖ (a threat, cross2328), both of which refer to future time. The periphrasis with μέλλω and the present or future infinitive is more common in prose.

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Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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