previous next


2481. ὡς, ὡς εἰ, ὡς εἴ τε as if, ὡς ὅτε, ὡς ὁπότε as when are often used in poetry in similes and comparisons.

a. The present and aorist indicative and subjunctive (usually without ἄν) are regularly used. The optative occurs only with ὡς εἰ or ὡς εἴ τε. The verb of the apodosis may sometimes be supplied from the main clause, and the sense may be satisfied in other cases by supplying as happens, as is the case; but as early as Homer the ellipsis was probably unconscious, as it is in English as if, as when. Hence ὡς εἰ, ὡς ὅτε are scarcely to be distinguished from ὡς.

b. The tense of the main clause may be primary or secondary without influence on the construction. Cp. 1935 and 1935 a.

2482. ὡς (ὥς τε) is followed by the indicative present (less often aorist) or by the subjunctive. Thus, ““ὡς δὲ πατὴρ οὗ παιδὸς ὀδύ_ρεται ὀστέα καίων . . . , ὣς Ἀχιλεὺς ἑτάροιο ὀδύ_ρετο ὀστέα καίωνand as a father waileth when he burneth the bones of his son, so Achilles wailed as he burned the bones of his comradeΨ 222.

2483. ὡς is common in Homer with the subjunctive (without ἄν) depending on the verb of the introductory clause, which is usually past. The simile may begin with ὡς or with a demonstrative (οἱ or τούς) after which ὥς τε is placed. Thus, ὡς δὲ λέων μήλοισιν ἀσημάντοισιν ἐπελθών . . . κακὰ φρονέων ἐνορούσῃ, ὣς μὲν Θρήικας ἄνδρας ἐπῴχετο Τυ_δέος υἱός and as a lion, coming on flocks without a shepherd, with evil purpose leaps upon them, so the son of Tydeus attacked the men of Thrace K 485, οἱ δ᾽, ὥς τ᾽ αἰγυπιοὶ . . . πέτρῃ ἐφ᾽ ὑψηλῇ μεγάλα κλάζοντε μάχωνται, ὣς οἱ κεκλήγοντες ἐπ᾽ ἀλλήλοισιν ὄρουσαν and they, like vultures who contend with loud screams on a lofty cliff, even so they rushed screaming against each other II 429. After the subjunctive with ὡς or ὡς ὅτε an independent indicative may follow (M 167, II 296).

2484. ὡς εἰ, commonly ὡς εἴ τε, in Homer is used rarely with the indicative and subjunctive, more frequently with the optative; but usually without any finite verb. Thus, λα_οὶ ἕπονθ᾽ ὡς εἴ τε μετὰ κτίλον ἕσπετο μῆλα the soldiers followed as sheep follow after the ram N 492 (the only occurrence in Homer of the indicative), καί με φίλησ᾽ ὡς εἴ τε πατὴρ δ̀ν παῖδα φιλήσῃ and he loved me as a father loveth his son I 481 (the only occurrence in Homer of the subjunctive), δόκησε δ᾽ ἄρα σφίσι θυ_μὸς ὣς ἔμεν, ὡς εἰ πατρίδ᾽ ἱκοίατο and their feeling seemed to be as (it would be) if they had come to their own country κ 416 (the optative occurs only after a past tense, except Λ 389, a negative present); τὼ δέ οἱ ὄσσε λαμπέσθην ὡς εἴ τε πυρὸς σέλας and his eyes flashed like gleaming fire T 366.

2485. Attic poetry does not use the Epic and Lyric ὡς εἴ τε for ὡς εἰ. In Attic ὡς εἰ (ὡσεί) is practically equivalent to ὡς as, like; thus, ““ἀλλ᾽ οὖν εὐνοίᾳ γ᾽ αὐδῶ, μά_τηρ ὡσεί τις πιστά_but at any rate I speak in good-will at least as some faithful motherS. El. 234.

2486. ὡς ὅτε, ὡς ὁπότε are used with the indicative (present or aorist) or the subjunctive (as in general conditions). With the subjunctive ἄν is generally absent in Homer; but ὡς δ᾽ ὅτ᾽ ἄν (never κέν) occurs. The clause with ὡς ὅτε, ὡς ὁπότε generally precedes the main clause. ὡς ὅτε without appreciable difference from ὡς in Ἐριφύλα_ν, ὅρκιον ὡς ὅτε πιστόν, δόντες Οἰκλείδᾳ γυναῖκα having given to the son of Oecles Eriphyle to wife, as a sure pledge Pind. Nem. 9. 16.

2487. A relative pronoun referring to a substantive accompanied by ὥς, ὥστε as often takes the subjunctive (without ἄν). Thus, ““ δ᾽ ἐν κονίῃσι χαμαὶ πέσεν αἴγειρος ὥς, ῥά τ᾽ ἐν εἱαμενῇ ἕλεος μεγάλοιο πεφύ_κῃ λείηand he fell to the ground amid the dust like a poplar that has grown up smooth in the lowland of a great marshΔ 483.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: