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612. A clause with until referring to an actual past occurrence (613) is simply a temporal clause of this peculiar character, with the construction of a relative clause with a definite antecedent (519). But when it refers to the future, it becomes a conditional relative clause, and μαχοῦμαι ἕως ἂν τὴν πόλιν ἕλω, I shall (continue to) fight to the time at which I shall take the city, has the conditional force which comes from the indefinite antecedent; for even if μέχρι τούτου were inserted here, it would denote no definite period, but only one limited or conditioned by the future capture of the city. The actual apodosis to the condition is not μαχοῦμαι alone, but rather the whole implied idea, I shall go on fighting to the future time, the limit of which is set by ἕως ἂν ἕλω. It has been seen (486; 490) that ordinary conditional clauses may condition not their expressed leading clause, but one which the context implies; as ξυμμαχίαν ποιοῦμεν, ἤν τις ἐφ᾽ ἡμᾶς ἴῃ, we are making an alliance, (to be ready) in case any one shall attack us. Again, a conditional clause may refer to an object which is aimed at in the action of the leading verb; as Πάτροκλον ἔφεπε ἵππους, εἴ κέν μιν ἕλῃς, turn your horses on P., if haply you may take him, i.e. that you may take him, if haply you may (487, 1). In like manner a conditional relative clause with until is very apt to refer to an object aimed at, and thus to become at once final, relative, and conditional: thus in Il. iii. 291 (see 613, Il. 3), it is distinctly implied that the end of the war (τέλος πολέμοιο) is a condition which is to limit the time of fighting, and also an object at which the fighting aims. The same is true in general of the other forms of conditional relative sentence which the clause with until may take. It will be seen (614, Il. 2) that in the Odyssey ἕως develops a peculiar force in this direction, which makes it almost a final particle.

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