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[*] 744. The subject of the infinitive, if expressed, is in the accusative. The most indefinite infinitive, so far as it is a verb, must at least have a subject implied; but as the infinitive has no person or number in itself, its subject can remain more obscure than that of a finite verb. Thus καλόν ἐστιν ἀποθανεῖν, it is glorious to die, may imply a subject in any number or person, according to the context, while ἀποθνῄσκεις or ἀπέθανε is restricted to thou or he as its subject. Still, in the former case, ἀποθανεῖν must have an implied subject in the accusative; and if this is not pointed out by the context, we can supply τινά or τινάς, as sometimes appears when a predicate word agrees with the omitted subject, as in φιλάνθρωπον εἶναι δεῖ (sc. τινά), one must be humane, ISOC. ii. 15, and δρῶντας ἥδιον θανεῖν (sc. τινάς), it is sweeter to die acting, EUR. Hel. 814.The infinitive of indirect discourse, which seems to have been developed originally by the Greek language, must always refer to a definite subject, as it represents a finite verb in a definite mood, tense, number, and person. Other infinitives, both with and without the article, may have a subject whenever the sense demands it, although sometimes the meaning of the leading verb makes it impossible to express an independent subject, as in πειρᾶται μανθάνειν, he tries to learn. In general, when the subject of the infinitive is the same as the subject or object of the leading verb, or when it has been clearly expressed elsewhere in the sentence, it is not repeated with the infinitive.1
1 A few exceptional cases are quoted by Birklein (p. 93) in which the infinitive with the article appears to have a subjective genitive, like an ordinary verbal noun, instead of a subject accusative. These are γιγνώσκω τὰς τούτων ἀπειλὰς οὐχ ἧττον σωφρονίζουσας ἢ ἄλλων τὸ ἤδη κολάζειν, XEN. An. vii. 7, 24 ; τὸ εὖ φρονεῖν αὐτῶν μιμεῖσθε, DEM. xix. 269; and εἰ τῆς πόλεως τέθνηκε τὸ τοὺς ἀδικοῦντας μισεῖν, Ib. 289.In the first case the parallelism between τούτων and ἄλλων caused the anomaly; in the second, αὐτῶν has a partitive force, as if it were τοῦτο αὐτῶν μιμεῖσθε; and in the third, πόλεως is separated from the infinitive by the verb, and the idea is whether the hatred of evil-doers has died out (i.e. disappeared from) the state. In none of these cases would a subject accusative be the exact equivalent of the genitive. For undoubted examples in later Greek, see Trans. of Assoc. Phil. for 1877, p. 7.
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