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442. Besides the full conditional sentences above quoted, we find in Homer many potential optatives with κέ or ἄν which seem to belong to the borderland between past and future conclusions, and are not definitely fixed in the past (like the apodoses in 440) by a past tense in the protasis.

Such are especially φαίης κε, as in Il. iii. 220, Il. xv. 697, and οὐδέ κε φαίης, as in Il. iv. 429, Il. xvii. 366, Od. iii. 124, Il. iii. 392.In the first four cases it seems most natural to translate them as past, you would have said, nor would you have said; but in the last two cases it is more natural to translate nor would you say (future), and so with φαίην κεν, Il. vi. 285.But in the fluid state of the language which allowed both ἀπώλετό κε and ἀπόλοιτό κε to mean he would have perished, and φέροι κε to mean both he would carry (fut.) and he would have carried, according to the protasis which was used with them, it is easy to understand how φαίης κε (without a protasis) might have a vague potential force, you might perchance say, which could be felt as either past or future as the context demanded. We must, therefore, hold that the optative with κέ in such cases expresses merely what could happen, without any limitations of time except such as are imposed by the context; and according to the limitations thus imposed we translate such optatives (with more exactness than they really possess) either as past or as future. In one case the feeling of past time is seen in the dependent verb: Il. v. 85, Τυδεΐδην δ᾽ οὐκ ἂν γνοίης ποτέροισι μετείη, you would not have known to what side he belonged. (This occurs in the same book of the Iliad with both the examples of ἀπόλοιτό κε for ἀπώλετό κε.)

Other examples are the following:—

Οὐκ ἂν ἔπειτ᾽ Ὀδυσῆί γ᾽ ἐρίσσειεν βροτὸς ἄλλος, no other mortal could then vie with Ulysses (after a past verb). Il. iii. 223. Ἔνθ᾽ οὐκ ἄν βρίζοντα ἴδοις Ἀγαμέμνονα δῖον. Il. iv. 223. Ἔνθ᾽ οὔ κεν ῥέα ἵππος ἐσβαίη, πεζοὶ δὲ μενοίνεον εἰ τελέουσιν (the connection with μενοίνεον gives ἐσβαίη a past direction). Il. xii. 58. Ἔνθα κ᾽ ἔπειτα καὶ ἀθάνατός περ ἐπελθὼν θηήσαιτο ἰδὼν καὶ ταρφθείη φρεσὶν ᾗσιν. Od. v. 73. Ὡς οὐκ ἂν ἔλποιο νεώτερον ἀντιάσαντα, i.e. as you would not expect (?) a younger person to do. Od. vii. 293. Οὐδέ κεν ἴρηξ κίρκος ὁμαρτήσειεν. Od. xiii. 86.Further, compare Od. ix. 241 with Il. i. 271 and v. 303.

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