conditional Particle. In attic, it is not joined with pres. or perf. ind., nor with imperat. of any tense. Three uses of ἄν
must be distinguished in practice:
A.in combination with Conjunctions and Relatives.
C.in Iterative sentences.
A.in combinations with Conjunctions and Relatives:
such words are regularly foll. by the subj., viz. ἐάν
(= εἰ ἄν
) ἤν, ἄν , ἐπήν; ὃς ἄν quicunque
, πρὶν ἄν
, etc.; ἐπειδάν, ὅταν, ὁπόταν
: the protasis generally has a fut. in apodosis, εἰ δέ κεν ὣς ἔρξηις, γνώσηι
thou do thus, thou shalt know, Il.
in epic sometimes with Opt., ὥς κε δοίη ὧι κ᾽ ἐθέλοι
that he might
give her to whomsoever he might
: in such cases κε
does not affect the Verb.
combined IN APODOSIS with the Verb, denoting that the assertion is dependent on some condition; ἦλθεν he came
, ἦλθεν ἄν he would have come
; ἔλθοι may he come
, ἔλθοι ἄν he would come
with imperf. and aor., the protasis implies non-fulfilment of a condition, and the apod. expresses what would be
or would have been
the case if the condition were
or had been
fulfilled. The imperf. with ἄν
refers to continued action in present or past time, the aor. generally to action in past time; οὐκ ἂν νήσων ἐκράτει, εἰ μὴ ναυτικὸν εἶχεν
not have been
master of islands if he had not had a fleet, Thuc.
; εἰ ταύτην ἔσχε τὴν γνώμην, οὐδὲν ἂν ἔπραξεν
if he had come to this opinion, he would have
accomplished nothing, Dem.
:—the protasis is often understood, οὐ γὰρ ἦν ὅ τι ἂν ἐποιεῖτε
for there was nothing which you could have
done (i. e. if you had tried)
:—hence the Ind. with ἄν
represents a potential mood; ἦλθε τοῦτο τοὔνειδος τάχ᾽ ἄν
this reproach might perhaps
have come, Soph.
in epic, with fut. ind., so as to modify the simple fut.; καί κέ τις ὧδ᾽ ἐρέει
and some one will perchance
speak thus, Il.
after protasis in opt. with εἰ
or some relative word, εἴ μοί τι πίθοιο, τό κεν πολὺ κέρδιον εἴη
if he should obey me, it would be
much better, id=Il.
; sometimes with ind. in protasis, καί νύ κεν ἔνθ᾽ ἀπόλοιτο, εἰ μὴ νόησε he would have
perished, had she not perceived, id=Dem.
:—sometimes the tense in protasis is pres. or fut., and the opt. with ἄν
in apodosis= fut., φρούριον εἰ ποιήσονται, βλάπτοιεν ἄν
if they shall build a fort, they might perhaps
the protasis is often understood: τὸν δ᾽ οὔ κε δύ᾽ ἀνέρε ὀχλίσσειαν
two men could
not heave the stone (i. e. if they should try)
:—hence the opt. with ἄν
becomes a potential mood, βουλοίμην ἄν I should
like, Lat. velim
(but ἐβουλόμην ἄν I should
wish, if it were of any avail, vellem
the opt. with ἄν
comes to have the force of a mild command or entreaty, χωροῖς ἂν εἴσω
go in, Soph.
; κλύοις ἂν ἤδη
hear me now, id=Soph.
with inf. and part.:—the pres. inf. or part. represents imperf. ind., φησὶν αὐτοὺς ἐλευθέρους ἂν εἶναι, εἰ τοῦτο ἔπραξαν
he says they would
(now) be free, if they had done this, Dem.
; ἀδυνάτων ἂν ὄντων [ὑμῶν] ἐπιβοηθεῖν
when you would
have been unable to assist, Thuc.
;—or represents pres. opt., φησὶν αὐτοὺς ἐλευθέρους ἂν εἶναι, εἰ τοῦτο πράξειαν
he says they would
(hereafter) be free, if they should do this
;—the aor. inf. or part. represents aor. ind. or opt., οὐκ ἂν ἡγεῖσθ᾽ αὐτὸν κἂν ἐπιδραμεῖν
; do you not think he would
even have run thither? Dem.
; οὐδ᾽ ἂν κρατῆσαι αὐτοὺς τῆς γῆς ἡγοῦμαι
I think they would
not even be masters of the land, Thuc.
; οὔτε ὄντα οὔτε ἂν γενόμενα
, i. e. things which are not and never could happen
:—so the perf. (or plup.) inf. or partic., πάντα ταῦθ᾽ ὑπὸ τῶν βαρβάρων ἂν ἑαλωκέναι [φήσειεν ἄν]
he would say that all these would
have been destroyed by the barbarians, Dem.
with imperf. and aor. ind. in the ITERATIVE construction, to express a condition fulfilled whenever an opportunity offered
; εἶτα πῦρ ἂν οὐ παρῆν
then there would be
no fire at hand, i. e. there never was, Soph.
; διηρώτων ἂν αὐτοὺς τί λέγοιεν Plat.
never begins a sentence.