This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
[*] 412. 1. It will be seen that, when this construction is used, it is usually implied not merely that the condition of the protasis is not (or was not) fulfilled but also that the action of the apodosis does not (or did not) take place; thus εἰ τοῦτο εἶπον, ἐπείσθη ἄν, if I had said this, he would have been persuaded, generally implies not merely that I did not say this but also that he was not persuaded. But this denial of the apodosis is not an essential character of the construction, as we can see if we change the apodosis to οὐκ ἂν ἐπείσθη, he would not have been persuaded, when it is not implied that he really was persuaded. We have seen that there is nothing in the nature of the potential indicative which makes a denial of its action necessary (244); and when this form is made the apodosis of an unreal condition, it simply states that something would happen (or would have happened) in a case which did not arise. Denial of the apodosis can follow as a logical inference from denial of the protasis only in the rare cases in which the unreal condition is the only one under which the action of the apodosis could have taken place, as when we say if the moon had entered the earth's shadow, she would have been eclipsed, where the denial of either clause carries with it by necessity the denial of the other. But if we say if it had rained, the ground would be wet, the denial of the protasis cuts off only one of many conditions under which the ground might be wet. Such sentences as this are, however, very common, though they are not used to prove the opposite of the apodosis (that the ground is not wet); but they are arguments in which the apodosis is assumed to be false (on the ground of observation or experience), and from this it is argued that the assumption of the protasis is false; that is, since the ground is not wet (as we can see), it cannot have rained, which is a good argument. This is the case in THUC. i. 9, and PLAT. Gorg. 516 E (quoted in 410, above); where it is argued that Agamemnon had a navy because this was a necessary condition of his ruling islands, and that certain persons were not good men because they suffered what they did, the facts of ruling islands and of suffering being assumed in the argument as established on independent evidence. In other cases, where it is stated that the apodosis would follow as a consequence from the fulfilment of the condition, as in SOPH. Aj. 45, “κἂν ἐξεπράξατ᾽ εἰ κατημέλησ᾽ ἐγώ” , he would even have accomplished it, if I had been careless, whatever negation of the apodosis is implied (here οὐκ ἐξεπράξατο) comes from a feeling that when the only condition under which it is stated that an action would have taken place fails, there is no reason for believing it to have taken place at all. We may doubt whether any negation of the apodosis is implied in the form of expression in such cases. Certainly, in many cases in which the apodosis states a consequence which would follow from the action of an unreal protasis, this negation is assumed as already known apart from the construction; thus in SOPH. El. 556 (quoted in 410) the apodosis means you would not then be offensive to listen to, and the only ground on which we mentally add as you now are is our knowledge of Clytaemnestra's feeling towards Electra. If the sentence were if all men began their speeches politely, they would not be offensive, we should not think of supplying as they now are without some knowledge of the facts. 2. When the sentence merely affirms or denies that one act, if it had occurred, would be accompanied by another act, and there is no necessary relation between the two acts as cause and effect, and there is no argument drawn from the admitted unreality of the conclusion to prove the opposite of the condition, no denial of the apodosis is implied in the expression, although we may know from the context or in some other way that the action of the apodosis does not (or did not) occur. Thus in PLAT. Ap. 17 D, εἰ τῷ ὄντι ξένος ἐτύγχανον ὢν, ξυνεγιγνώσκετε δήπου ἄν μοι εἰ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ φωνῇ ἔλεγον, etc., if I were really a foreigner, you would surely pardon me if I spoke in my own dialect, etc., it is not implied that now you do not pardon me. We should rather say that nothing at all is implied beyond the statement you would pardon me in that case. If the apodosis were you would not be angry with me, the impossibility of understanding but now you are angry would make this plainer. Again, in XEN. An. vi. 1, 32 , οὐδ᾽ ἂν ἔγωγε ἐστασίαζον εἰ ἄλλον εἵλεσθε, neither should I (any more than Xenophon) be quarrelsome if you had chosen another man, nothing like στασιάζω is implied; on the other hand, any such implication as οὐ στασιάζω must come from the circumstances of the case, not from the form of expression. In SOPH. OT 220 , οὐ γὰρ ἂν μακρὰν ἴχνευον αὐτός, if the protasis is εἰ ἴχνευον αὐτός, if I were undertaking the search by myself (alone), the apodosis I should not be very far on the track does not imply μακρὰν ἰχνεύω, or anything more than the sentence states. (See 511.) Again, in SOPH. Tr. 896, εἰ παροῦσα πλησία ἔλευσσες οἰ̔̂ ἔδρασε, κάρτ᾽ ἂν ᾤκτισας, the statement does not imply οὐκ ᾤκτισας, although this may be true. 3. Further, in concessive sentences introduced by καὶ εἰ or εἰ, even if or although, or οὐδ᾽ εἰ, not even if, where it is stated that something would be true even in a supposed case (which does not arise), we have what amounts to a statement that the thing in question would be true in any case. Here, therefore, the action of the apodosis is distinctly affirmed; as in ISOC. xxi. 11, Νικίας μὲν, εἰ καὶ τὸν ἄλλον χρόνον εἴθιστο συκοφαντεῖν, τότ᾽ ἂν ἐπαύσατο: Εὐθύνους δὲ, καὶ εἰ μηδὲ πώποτε διενοήθη ἀδικεῖν, τότ᾽ ἂν ἐπήρθη, i.e. N. would then have stopped, while E. would have been urged on, in any case. So DEM. xxx. 14, and xl. 23. See PLAT. Rep. 620 D, τὰ αὐτὰ ἂν ἔπραξε καὶ πρώτη λαχοῦσα (=καὶ εἰ πρώτη ἔλαχεν), it would have done the same even if it had drawn the first choice.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.