Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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Fourth Form of Conditions: LESS VIVID FUTURE CONDITIONS 2329

Less vivid future conditions (should . . . would conditions) have in the protasis εἰ with the optative, in the apodosis ἄν with the optative.

εἰ ταῦτα ποιοίης, καλῶς ἂν ποιοίης or εἰ ταῦτα ποιήσειας, καλῶς ἂν ποιήσειας if you should do this, you would do well.

εἴης φορητὸς οὐκ ἄν, εἰ πρά_σσοις καλῶς thou wouldst be unendurable shouldst thou be prosperous A. Pr. 979, εἰ δ' ἀναγκαῖον εἴη ἀδικεῖν ἢ ἀδικεῖσθαι, ἑλοίμην ἂν μᾶλλον ἀδικεῖσθαι ἢ ἀδικεῖν but if it should be necessary to do wrong or be wronged, I should prefer to be wronged than to do wrong P. G. 469c, δεινὰ ἂν εἴην εἰργασμένος, . . . εἰ λίποιμι τὴν τάξιν I should be in the state of having committed a dreadful deed, if I were to desert my post P. A. 28d.

a. Anything physically impossible may be represented as supposable, hence this construction may be used of what is contrary to fact. Thus, φαίη δ' ἂν ἡ θανοῦσά γ' ει' φωνὴν λάβοι the dead would speak if gifted with a voice S. El. 548. Cp. A. Ag. 37, P. Pr. 361a, Eu. 299 d, and see cross2311 a, cross2322 c.


Conditional sentences of this class arose partly from optatives of wish ( cross1814, cross1815), partly from potential optatives ( cross1824). Cp. εἴθ' ὧς ἡβώοιμι . . . τῷ κε τάχ' ἀντήσειε μάχης . . . Ἕκτωρ would that I were thus young . . . in that case Hector would soon find his combat H 157; see also ξ 193.


The present optative views an action as continuing (not completed); the aorist optative, as simply occurring (completed). (The future optative is never used except to represent a future indicative in indirect discourse.) The perfect (rare) denotes completion with resulting state. In Hdt. 7.214 it is used vaguely of the past: εἰδείη μὲν γὰρ ἂν . . . ταύτην τὴν ἀτ ραπὸν Ὀνήτης, εἰ τῇ χώρᾳ πολλὰ ὡμι_ληκὼς εἴη for Onetes might know of this path . . . if he had been well acquainted with the country.


English would is equivocal, being used either in the translation of ἄν with the optative or of ἄν with the past indicative ( cross2302). Thus, cp. εἴ τίς σε ἤρετο . . ., τί ἂν ἀπεκρἰ_νω; if any one had asked you . . ., what would you have replied? with εἰ οὖν τις ἡμᾶς . . . ἔροιτο . . ., τί ἂν αὐτῷ ἀποκρι_ναίμεθα; if then some one should (were to) ask us . . ., what would (should) we reply to him? P. Pr. 311b, d. If I were may be used to translate both εἰ with the optative and εἰ with the past indicative. English shows examples of were in the protasis

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followed by would, shall, will, is (was, etc.). Were occurs also in apodosis (“should he be roused out of sleep to-night, it were not well”: Shelley).


The apodosis has the optative without ἄν in wishes.

εἰ μὲν συμβουλεύοιμι ἃ βέλτιστά μοι δοκεῖ, πολλά μοι καὶ ἀγαθὰ γένοιτο if I should give the advice that seems best to me, may many blessings fall to my lot X. A. 5.6.4.

On the optative with εἰ followed by other forms of the apodosis, see cross2359.


Homeric Constructions.—a. In the protasis, εἴ κε (εἰ ἄν) with the optative with the same force as εἰ alone. This use is exclusively Homeric. Thus, οὐ μὲν γάρ τι κακώτερον ἄλλο πάθοιμι, οὐδ' εἴ κεν τοῦ πατρὸς ἀποφθιμένοιο πυθοίμην for I could not suffer anything worse, not even if I should learn of my father's death T 321. On εἰ ἄν in Attic, see cross2353.

b. In the apodosis, a primary tense of the indicative: the present (η 52), the future (I cross388), the future with κέ (μ 345: but this may be the aorist subjunctive).

c. In the apodosis, the hortatory subjunctive (Ψ 893), the subjunctive with ἄν or κέ (Λ 386).

d. In the apodosis, the optative without ἄν not in a wish, but with the same force as the optative with ἄν. See T 321 in a.

e. For κέ with the optative in the apodosis where we should expect, in Homeric and Attic Greek, a past indicative with ἄν (κέ) in an unreal condition, see cross2311 b.

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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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