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[*] 435. The aorist indicative in Homer, both in protasis and in apodosis with ἄν or κέ, is used as in Attic Greek; but the imperfect is always past, never present.1 E.g. Καί νύ κε δὴ ξιφέεσσ᾽ αὐτοσχεδὸν οὐτάζοντο, εἰ μὴ κήρυκες ἦλθον, they would have wounded each other, had not heralds come. Il. vii. 273. Ἔνθα κε λοιγὸς ἔην καὶ ἀμήχανα ἔργα γένοντο, εἰ μὴ ἄρ᾽ ὀξὺ νόησε πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε, then there would have been, etc. Il. viii. 130.So viii. 366. Καί νύ κε δὴ προτέρω ἔτ᾽ ἔρις γένετ᾽ ἀμφότεροισιν, εἰ μὴ Ἀχιλλεὺς αὐτὸς ἀνίστατο καὶ κατέρυκεν. Il. xxiii. 490.See Il. xi. 504; Od. xvi. 221, Od. xxiv. 51. Καί νύ κ᾽ ἔτι πλέονας Λυκίων κτάνε δῖος Ὀδυσσεὺς, εἰ μὴ ἄρ᾽ ὀξὺ νόησε μέγας κορυθαίολος Ἕκτωρ, i.e. Ulysses would have killed still more, had not Hector perceived him. Il. v. 679. Καί νύ κεν ἤια πάντα κατέφθιτο καὶ μένἐ ἀνδρῶν, εἰ μή τίς με θεῶν ὀλοφύρατο καί μ᾽ ἐσάωσεν. Od. iv. 363. But ὤφελον with the present infinitive may be present, even in Homer, both as a potential expression (424) and in wishes (734).
1 Mr. Monro ( Gr. Hom. p. 236) doubts this statement, and refers to Hom. Od. iv. 178, καί κε θάμ᾽ ἐνθάδ᾽ ἐόντες ἐμισγόμεθ̓, οὐδέ κεν ἡμέας ἀλλὸ διέκρινεν, as a case in which “the imperfect ἐμισγόμεθα takes in the present time, we should (from that time till now) have been meeting.” It seems to me that, according to the Homeric usage, we can find no more in θάμα ἐμισγόμεθά κε than we should have had frequent meetings, and the rest comes from the context. In any case, this use is far removed from the Attic ἐπορευόμεθα ἂν ἐπὶ βασιλέα, we should (now) be on our way to the King (410). A nearer approach to the later use perhaps appears in Hom. Il. xxiv. 220, εἰ μὲν γάρ τις μ᾽ ἄλλος ἐκελευεν, if any other (had?) commanded me. But see Hom. Il. ii. 80.
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