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433. Occasionally a protasis takes the place of the infinitive in the construction of 419. E.g. Ἐπεὶ τόδε κέρδιον ἦεν, εἰ νόστησ᾽ Ὀδυσεὺς καὶ ὑπότροπος ἵκετο δῶμα, for it had been a greater gain if Ulysses had returned (for κέρδιον ἦεν Ὀδυσέα νοστῆσαι). Od. xx. 331.Compare MATTH. Ev. xxvi. 24, καλὸν ἦν αὐτῷ, εἰ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη ἀνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος, it had been good for that man if he had not been born (for καλὸν ἦν αὐτῷ μὴ γεννηθῆναι). Εἰ δὲ ἀποφεύξεται, κρείττων ἦν ἀγὼν μὴ γεγενημένος (=εἰ μὴ ἐγεγένητο), but if he is acquitted, it were better that the trial had never taken place (for κρεῖττον ἦν τὸν ἀγῶνα μὴ γεγενῆσθαι). AESCHIN. i. 192.

This occasional substitution of a protasis does not indicate that the infinitive in κρεῖττον ἦν αὐτῷ ἐλθεῖν, he had better have gone, was felt as a protasis. We could substitute for this English it were better if he had gone, but only by a change of construction.

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