This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
[*] 315. （Negative Final Clauses.) The need of these final particles was first felt, as has been shown (310), in positive clauses of purpose, as a negative purpose could always be expressed by the simple μή, which thus became in use a conjunction. Still the final particles were as well suited to negative as to positive final clauses, and they could always be prefixed to μή, which thus was restored to its natural place as a negative adverb. Thus φεύξομαι ἵνα μή τίς με ἴδῃ has the same meaning as the older φεύξομαι μή τίς με ἴδῃ, I shall flee, that no one may see me. The history of the Greek language shows a gradual decrease of final μή and an increase of the final particles with μή in negative final clauses.1 The tendency in this direction was so strong that ὅπως μή sometimes took the place of μή even after verbs of fearing, to express the object of the fear (370), while it became the regular form after verbs of striving, etc., to express the object aimed at (339). The different origin of the negative final clause (with ἵνα μή, etc.) and of the clause with μή explains the fact that, while clauses introduced by the final particles are negatived by μή, those introduced by μή, lest, are negatived by οὐ. (See 306.)
1 In Homer, Hesiod, and the lyric poets we find 131 cases of simple μή and 50 of the final particles with μή; in tragedy the proportion is 76 : 59; in Aristophanes it is 8 : 55; in Herodotus, 8 : 53. In Attic prose (except in Plato and Xenophon) the simple μή in final clauses almost vanishes. Thucydides has only 4 or 5 cases; the ten orators only 4 (Demosthenes 2, Isocrates 1, Isaeus 1); Plato 24; and Xenophon 12.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.