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On some Disputed Points in the Construction of ἔδει, χρῆν, etc. with the Infinitive.1

Supplement to §§ 415-423.

THE familiar construction by which ἔδει, χρῆν or ἐχρῆν, εἰκὸς ἦν, προσῆκεν, ἐξῆν, and other imperfects denoting obligation, propriety, or possibility, are used with the infinitive in an idiomatic sense, the whole expression becoming a form of potential indicative, and generally implying the opposite of the action or the negation of the infinitive, has already been explained in §§ 415-423. Some additional remarks, however, seem necessary, to guard against prevailing misapprehensions.

The important distinction between this idiomatic construction and the use of these imperfects as ordinary past tenses (§ 417) is generally indicated only by the context, and not by the words themselves. It may even be doubtful in some cases which meaning is intended. Thus, in DEM. xviii. 190,τί τὸν σύμβουλον ἐχρῆν ποιεῖν; οὐ . . . ἑλέσθαι;” nothing in the words shows whether the action of ἑλέσθαι is real or not; but the following τοῦτο τοίνυν ἐποίησα shows that the questions refer merely to a past duty which the speaker actually performed. Indeed, the idiomatic use of ἔδει etc. with the infinitive may be found in the same sentence with the ordinary use of these imperfects as past tenses without reference to any condition. A familiar case is in the New Testament, MATTH. xxiii. 23,ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι κἀκεῖνα μὴ ἀφεῖναι” , these (the weightier matters of the law) ought ye to have done, and yet not to have left the others (taking tithes) undone. This is equivalent to two sentences, ταῦτα ἔδει ὑμᾶς ποιῆσαι, ye ought to have done these (which ye did not do), and ἐκεῖνα ἔδει ὑμᾶς μὴ ἀφεῖναι, ye were right in not leaving those undone (which ye did not leave undone). We have a decisive proof of the idiomatic use when the present infinitive with ἔδει etc. refers to present time, as when χρῆν σε τοῦτο ποιεῖν means you ought to be doing this (but are not); for these words without the potential force could mean only it was (once) your duty to do this. This use of a past tense to express present time, which is found in Greek, Latin, and English (§ 417), is an important characteristic of this idiom.

It is generally laid down as an absolute rule that in this idiom the opposite of the infinitive is always implied. See Krüger, § 53, 2, 7, where the usual formula is given, that with ἔδει τοῦτο γίγνεσθαι we must understand ἀλλ᾽ οὐ γίγνεται, but with ἔδει ἂν τοῦτο γίγνεσθαι we must understand ἀλλ᾽ οὐ δεῖ. This principle was first formulated, I believe, by G. Hermann.2 It covers nearly all the ordinary cases, and has generally been found to be a convenient working rule, though many passages show that it is not of universal application. The following three classes of examples show the need of a more flexible formula.

(1) In the following cases the opposite of the leading verb is implied far more than that of the infinitive, the action of the latter in the first case being emphatically affirmed:—

HDT. i. 39χρῆν σε ποιέειν τὰ ποιέεις” , DEM. ix. 6, DEM. xxxiii. 37, and EUR. Med. 490 (reading συγγνωστὸν ἦν). These are quoted and discussed in § 422, 1.

(2) In concessive sentences introduced by καὶ εἰ, even if, οὐδ᾽ εἰ, not even if, or εἰ, although, which contain unreal conditions, the action or negation of the apodosis must be distinctly affirmed (§ 412, 3). Here, therefore, the common formula cannot be applied.

See ISOC. xviii. 19, and ISAE. vi. 44, quoted in § 422, 2; and the following.

These examples are important as showing that there is nothing in an expression like ἐξῆν σοι ποιεῖν τοῦτο, even in its idiomatic sense, which necessarily involves the denial of the action of ποιεῖν.

(3) In some concessive examples, in which the apodosis ought to be affirmed, we find the action of the infinitive denied.

See SOPH. OT 255, THUC. i. 38, ISOC. xii. 71, quoted in § 422,2. These are important as showing that the real apodosis in these expressions with ἔδει etc. is not to be found in the infinitive alone.

It is well known that the imperfects in question (without ἄν) can be used with the infinitive in two ways, — (a) alone, with no protasis expressed or implied except the condition which is contained in the expression itself, as in ἔδει σε ἐλθεῖν, you ought to have gone; and (b) as the apodosis of an unreal condition, as in εἰ οὗτός σε ἐκέλευσεν, ἔδει σε ἐλθεῖν, if he had commanded you, you should have gone. It will be noticed that all the examples quoted above under (1) and (2) are of the latter class, for in HDT. vii. 56,ἄνευ τούτων” represents εἰ μὴ εἴχετε τούτους. If now we take the apodoses of these sentences apart from their protases, we shall find that no one of them can then have the meaning which it now has. For example, in HDT. i. 39,χρῆν σε ποιέειν τὰ ποιέεις” would not be Greek at all as a potential expression, for χρῆν σε ποιέειν would mean you ought to do (something which you do not do). In DEM. xxxiii. 37,ἐνῆν αἰτιάσασθαι” by itself would mean he might have charged me (but did not). “Οὐκ ἐξῆν αὐτῷ δικάζεσθαι(ISOC. xviii. 19) could mean only he could not maintain a suit as he does; that is, it would mean nothing without a protasis. “Οὐ προσῆκεν αὐτοὺς Εὐκτήμονος εἶναι(ISAE. vi. 44) by itself would mean they ought not to belong to E.'s house as they do.Οὐκ ἀποστατέον ἦν(DEM. xviii. 199) alone would mean she ought not to have withdrawn as she did. So “ἦν ἰδεῖν παράδειγμα(Id. xxiii. 107) would mean you might have seen (but you did not see) an example. (Compare DEM. xxviii. 10,τὴν διαθήκην ἠφανίκατε, ἐξ ἧς ἦν εἰδέναι τὴν ἀλήθειαν” , the will, from which we might know the truth.

When these potential expressions without ἄν stand alone, they always imply the opposite of the action or the negation of the infinitive; so that εἰκὸς ἦν σε τοῦτο παθεῖν by itself can mean only you would properly have suffered this (but you did not). This is necessary because the equivalent of this form, τοῦτο ἂν ἔπαθες εἰ τὸ εἰκὸς ἔπαθες, always involves οὐκ ἔπαθες τοῦτο, since τοῦτο and τὸ εἰκός are here made identical, and τὸ εἰκὸς ἔπαθες is denied. When, however, one of these expressions is made the apodosis of an unreal condition external to itself, it may be so modified by the new condition as no longer to imply the opposite of the infinitive as before. This is the case with the four examples under (1), in which we certainly do not find οὐ ποιέεις, ἄλλο λέγει καὶ συμβουλεύει, οὐκ ᾐτιάσατο, and οὐκ ἠράσθης implied in the form of expression. The apparent paradox here is explained by the principle stated in § 511, that when several protases, not co-ordinate, belong to the same sentence, one always contains the leading condition, to which the rest of the sentence (including the other conditions) forms the conclusion; and when this leading condition is unreal, it makes all subordinate past or present conditions also unreal, so far as the supposed case is concerned, without regard to their own nature. A sentence like this, If you had been an Athenian, you would have been laughed at if you had talked as you did, shows the principle clearly. This has become the relation of the unreal protasis involved in εἰκὸς ἦν σε τοῦτο παθεῖν, when this expression is made the apodosis of a new unreal condition. Thus, when χρῆν σε ποιέειν in HDT. i. 39, which by itself could admit only an unreal object, follows εἰ ὑπὸ ὀδόντος εἶπε τελευτήσειν με, even τὰ ποιέεις can be its object, and the whole can mean if the dream had said I was to perish by a tooth, you would do what you now do if you did what was right. The new chief protasis that has come in has changed the whole relation of the old implied protasis to the sentence as a whole.

It is often difficult to express in English the exact force of these expressions, even when no external protasis is added, and the opposite of the infinitive (not that of the leading verb) is therefore implied. Thus, a common translation of DEM. xviii. 248,οὐδ᾽ ἀγνωμονῆσαί τι θαυμαστὸν ἦν τοὺς πολλοὺς πρὸς ἐμέ” , it would have been no wonder if the mass of the people had been somewhat unmindful of me (Westermann translates entschuldbar gewesen wä re), would seem to require ἦν ἄν. But the strength of the apodosis lies in the infinitive, and the meaning (fully developed) is, the mass of the people might have been somewhat unmindful of me (ἠγνωμόνησαν ἄν τι) without doing anything wonderful (i.e. if they had done a very natural thing). With θαυμαστὸν ἂν ἦν there would have been an undue emphasis thrown upon θαυμαστόν. In PLAT. Rep. 474 D,ἄλλῳ ἔπρεπεν λέγειν λέγεις” is equivalent to ἄλλος ἔλεγεν ἂν πρεπόντως λέγεις, another would becomingly say what you say, the opposite of λέγειν being implied. Ἔπρεπεν ἂν λέγειν would have caused a change of emphasis, but would have substantially the same general meaning, it would have been becoming for another to say what you say. See also DEM. xviii. 16, xlv. 69, and PLAT. Euthyd. 304 D, quoted in § 419; and the discussion of EUR. Med. 490 in § 422, 1.

We have seen that we cannot make the denial of the action of the infinitive an absolute test of the proper use of the form without ἄν where there is an external protasis added to the condition implied in the expression itself. The examples last quoted show that we cannot make the denial of the leading verb an absolute test of the proper use of the form with ἄν. In fact, this idiom is too flexible and too dependent on the momentary feeling of the speaker or writer to subject itself to any such strict rules as are usually forced upon it. The following rules seem to me to be as exact as the Greek usage warrants.3

1. The form without ἄν is used when the infinitive is the principal word, on which the chief force of the expression falls, while the leading verb is an auxiliary which we can express by ought, might, could, or by an adverb.

2. On the other hand, when the chief force falls on the necessity, propriety, or possibility of the act, and not on the act itself, the leading verb has ἄν, like any other imperfect in a similar apodosis.

Examples of the form with ἄν are generally regular. See those quoted in § 423.4 A standard case is DEM. iv. 1,εἰ τὰ δέοντα οὗτοι συνεβούλευσαν, οὐδὲν ἂν ὑμᾶς νῦν ἔδει βουλεύεσθαι” , if these had given you the necessary advice, there would be no need of your deliberating now. Here, as in all the ten examples of ἔδει ἄν quoted by La Roche, we find ἔδει ἄν in its meaning there would be (or would have been) need, whereas in the form without ἄν we generally have ἔδει in the sense of ought, expressing obligation and not necessity. Of course, the idea of necessity is incompatible with that of an act not done. If La Roche's statistics are complete here, we see that the Greeks almost always expressed obligation or propriety, and generally expressed possibility, by the form without ἄν, reserving ἔδει ἄν for the idea of necessity, and ἐξῆν ἄν for a few cases in which the idea of possibility was to be made specially emphatic.

It is not surprising, under these circumstances, that the form without ἄν should often be used where we are at first inclined to think ἄν is required. It must be remembered that the real apodosis here is not the central infinitive alone, but this infinitive modified by the idea of obligation, propriety, or possibility in the leading verb, that is, conditioned by the implied protasis which the expression includes (see § 420). This modification may be so slight as to leave the infinitive the only important word in the apodosis; in this case the opposite of the infinitive is generally implied, as it always is when no protasis is added: thus, EUR. Med. 520,χρῆν σ᾽, εἴπερ ἦσθα μὴ κακὸς, πείσαντά με γαμεῖν γάμον τόνδε” , implies ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐγάμεις πείσας με. It may be so great as to make the idea of obligation etc. a prominent factor in the apodosis, still stopping short of the point at which this favourite Greek idiom was abandoned and an ordinary apodosis with ἄν was substituted in its place. The Greeks preferred the form without ἄν almost always where we can express the apodosis by the verb of the infinitive with ought, might, or could, or with an adverb, although we sometimes find it hard to express the combined idea in English without giving undue force to the leading verb. Sometimes, when the idea of obligation, propriety, or possibility is specially prominent in the apodosis, although no ἄν is used, the opposite that is suggested combines this idea with that of the infinitive. This is the case with the examples in (1), in which the distinction between the two forms is very slight and of little practical account. In HDT. i. 39, the apodosis is you would then properly do what you now do (or you would then, if you did what you ought, do what you now do), implying now you do not do this properly. With χρῆν ἄν it would have been it would then be your duty to do what you now do, the chief force being transferred from the act to the duty or necessity. Still, this change might have been made without otherwise affecting the sense. In DEM. ix. 6, the apodosis is in that case the speaker would properly talk of nothing else than this (implying now he may properly talk of another matter); whereas with ἔδει ἄν it would be there would then be no need of his talking of anything else, with greater emphasis on the ἔδει and with a change of meaning. In DEM. xxiii. 37,ἐνῆν αἰτιάσασθαι” means he might then possibly have accused me, implying he could not possibly accuse me as it was; with ἐνῆν ἄν it would have been it would then have been possible for him to accuse me, the emphasis being transferred with no other change of sense. The same is true of EUR. Med. 490. Likewise, in ISOC. xviii. 21, the apodosis, in that case we ought not to wonder at him or we should not properly wonder at him, is equivalent to οὐκ ἂν ἐθαυμάζομεν ἀξίως, with the opposite implied, now we do wonder at him properly (νῦν θαυμάζομεν ἀξίως). This combination of two ideas in an apodosis of this kind is analogous to that which we often find in an ordinary apodosis with ἄν; thus, in ISOC. vi. 87,οὐχ οὕτω δ᾽ ἂν προθύμως ἐπὶ τὸν πόλεμον ὑμᾶς παρεκάλουν, εἰ μὴ τὴν εἰρήνην ἑώρων αἰσχρὰν ἐσομένην” , I should not exhort you with all this zeal to war, did I not see, etc., the apodosis which is denied includes οὕτω προθύμως.

A striking illustration of the modification of the infinitive in an apodosis of this kind by the force of the leading verb may be seen in the examples under (3). Here in concessive sentences, in which the apodosis must be affirmed, we find the action of the infinitives denied. This shows that the infinitive alone is not the real apodosis. In SOPH. OT 255, the actual apodosis is “you would not properly leave the guilt unpurged” (implying you do not properly leave it). In THUC. i. 38, the apodosis is “they would fairly have yielded” (implying they did not yield, but it was fair that they should). In ISOC. xii. 71, it is “they would deservedly have received”, = ἔτυχον ἂν ἀξίως (implying that it was only undeservedly that they failed to receive the reward). The remarks that have been made above apply also to the concessive sentences in (2), in which nothing in the apodosis is denied. Here, too, the form with ἄν might have been used by transferring the force of the expression from the infinitive to the leading verb.

It has been seen that ἔδει ἄν with the infinitive differs from ἔδει without ἄν in meaning as well as in the balance of emphasis. On the other hand, ἐξῆν ἄν differs from ἐξῆν only in the latter respect. See ISAE X. 13,τῷ μὲν πατρὶ αὐτῆς, εἰ παῖδες ἄρρενες μὴ ἐγένοντο, οὐκ ἂν ἐξῆν ἄνευ ταύτης διαθέσθαι” , i.e. in that case he would not have been permitted (by law) to leave his daughter out of his will; and DEM. xxiv. 146,οὔτε γὰρ ἂν ἐξῆν ὑμῖν τιμᾶν ὅτι χρὴ παθεῖν ἀποτῖσαι” , i.e. if this law were passed, you would not have the power (which you now have) of assessing penalties. Compare with these ISOC. xviii. 19,οὐκ ἐξῆν αὐτῷ δικάζεσθαι” , he could not (in that case) maintain a suit, where ἐξῆν ἄν would only give more emphasis to the possibility, which is done in the preceding examples. For the ordinary use of ἐξῆν and the infinitive see PLAT. Crit. 52C,ἐξῆν σοι φυγῆς τιμήσασθαι εἰ ἐβούλου” , you might have proposed exile as your penalty if you had wished to (implying only οὐ φυγῆς ἐτιμήσω).

It remains to discuss two passages in which χρῆν ἄν occurs, with a view to La Roche's disbelief in the existence of this form (see footnote 2, p. 407). In DEM. xviii. 195, we have χρῆν and χρῆν ἄν in close succession, with no essential change in meaning except the difference in emphasis above mentioned. The sentence is: εἰ μετὰ Θηβαίων ἡμῖν ἀγωνιζομένοις οὕτως εἵμαρτο πρᾶξαι, τί χρῆν προσδοκᾶν εἰ μηδὲ τούτους ἔσχομεν συμμάχους; . . . καὶ εἰ νῦν τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἀπὸ τῆς Ἀττικῆς ὁδὸν τῆς μάχης γενομένης τοσοῦτος κίνδυνος καὶ φόβος περιέστη τὴν πόλιν, τί ἂν, εἴ που τῆς χώρας ταὐτὸ τοῦτο πάθος συνέβη, προσδοκῆσαι χρῆν; i.e. when it was fated that we should fare as we did with the Thebans on our side, what ought we to have expected (which we did not find ourselves expecting) if we had not secured even these as allies? And, if so great danger and terror surrounded the city when the battle was fought two or three days' journey from Attica, what should we have had to expect (which we did not really have to expect) if this calamity had occurred within our own country? Here the unreal supposition of not having secured the Thebans as allies, or (its probable consequence) the battle of Chaeronea having been fought in Attica, suits either form of apodosis, τί χρῆν προσδοκᾶν; or τί ἂν χρῆν προσδοκῆσαι; the expectation itself in the former case, and the necessity for the expectation in the latter, being specially emphasised. It is hard to believe that the orator felt any important change in the general force of his question when he added ἄν in the second case.

In LYS. xii. 32, we have, addressed to Eratosthenes, χρῆν δέ σε, εἴπερ ἦσθα χρηστὸς, πολὺ μᾶλλον τοῖς μέλλουσιν ἀδίκως ἀποθανεῖσθαι μηνυτὴν γενέσθαι τοὺς ἀδίκως ἀπολουμένους συλλαμβάνειν, if you had been an honest man, ,you ought to have become an informer in behalf of those who were about to suffer death unjustly, much rather than (and not) to have arrested (as you did) those who were doomed to perish unjustly; but in 48, referring to the same man and the same acts, the orator says εἴπερ ἦν ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς, ἐχρῆν ἂν πρῶτον μὲν μὴ παρανόμως ἄρχειν, ἔπειτα τῇ βουλῇ μηνυτὴν γενέσθαι, κ.τ.λ., if he had been an honest man, he would have had, first, to abstain from lawlessness in office, and, next, to come before the Senate as an informer. La Roche proposes to omit ἄν in the second passage, because it would be absurd to suppose that ἀλλ᾽ ἐχρῆν is implied in the sense that E. had a right to be lawless in office (“er durfte παρανόμως ἄρχειν”) because he was not honest. What is implied is rather ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐχρῆν μὴ παρανόμως ἄρχειν, i.e. not being an honest man, he did not have to abstain from lawlessness in office, etc., which we can understand without absurdity. The passage, like so many sentences of this class, is simply an argument to prove that E. was not honest. If he had been honest (it is said), he would have had to do certain things (which, it is implied, all honest men do); but he did not do these (as is stated, εἰς τὴν ἀρχὴν καταστὰς ἀγαθοῦ μὲν οὐδενὸς μετέσχεν, ἄλλων δὲ πολλῶν); therefore he was not honest. There is a slight slip in showing (in the words last quoted) that he did not do the things in question, and not that he did not have to do them; so that of the two constructions, χρῆν in 32 and ἐχρῆν ἄν in 48, the former is more strictly logical. This use of ἐχρῆν ἄν is the counterpart of that of χρῆν, ἔδει, ἐνῆν, and θαυμαστὸν ἦν in the passages quoted above (1), where the forms with ἄν might have been used.

The Latin follows precisely the same principle as the Greek in the use of such imperfects as debebat, licebat (= χρῆν, ἐξῆν), and deberet, liceret (= χρῆν ἄν, ἐξῆν ἄν), with reference to present time. But when such expressions are past, the Latin uses debuit or debuerat in the sense of χρῆν, and debuisset for χρῆν ἄν, both with the present infinitive; while the Greek keeps the imperfect in all cases. See CIC. Phil. ii. 99,Quem patris loco, si ulla in te pietas esset, colere debebas” (= χρῆν σε φιλεῖν), you ought to love (but you do not); and Cluent. 18,Cluentio ignoscere debebitis quod haec a me dici patiatur; mihi ignoscere non deberes si tacerem” (= οὐ ἄν σε ἐμοὶ συγγιγνώσκειν χρῆν εἰ ἐσίγων), it would not be right for you to pardon me if I were silent. In the former case the emphasis falls on colere; in the latter on non deberes, which is in strong antithesis to debebitis. See also CIC. Verr. ii. 5, 50:Qui ex foedere ipso navem vel usque ad Oceanum, si imperassemus, mittere debuerunt, ei, ne in freto ante sua tecta et domos navigarent, . . . pretio abs te ius foederis et imperii condicionem redemerunt” , they who were bound by the very terms of the treaty, if we had commanded it, to send a ship even into the Ocean, etc. So far as any opposite is implied here, it is not that of mittere, but rather something like what is implied in the examples in (1), like they did not have to send. Mittere debuissent (ἔδει ἂν πέμψαι) would mean they would have been bound to send. In Latin, as in Greek and English, the peculiar force of the past tense of the indicative with the infinitive is purely idiomatic.

1 Many parts of this paper are identical with the article with the same title in the Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. i. pp. 77-88.

2 See Hermann, de Particula Ἄν, i. 12. In discussing SOPH. Elec. 1505,χρῆν δ᾽ εὐθὺς εἶναι τήνδε τοῖς πᾶσιν δίκην” , Hermann says: Χρῆν dicit, quia oportere indicat sine condicione: nec potest opponi, ἀλλ᾽ οὐ χρή: nam si oportet, quomodo potest non oportere? At non omnia fiunt, quae oportebat. Itaque quod opponere potes, aliud est: ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἔστι. The “opposite” implied in a negative expression of this kind (even when the negation belongs to the leading verb) is an affirmative. Thus οὐ προσῆκεν ἐλθεῖν, he ought not to have gone, implies ἀλλ᾽ ἦλθεν, as ἔδει τούτους μὴ ζῆν implies ἀλλὰ ζῶσιν.

3 When an external protasis is added, there is no necessity for any denial of the action of the apodosis at all (see § 412). But this denial, though not essential, is generally implied in the apodosis of an unreal condition, and the apodosis (as a whole) happens to be denied in all the cases of the construction of ἔδει etc. with the infinitive which are discussed here. No notice is taken, therefore, of the principle of § 412 in this discussion.

4 See La Roche on ἄν bei ἔδει und ἐξῆν in the Zeitschrift für die oesterreichischen Gymnasien for 1876, pp. 588-591. He professes to give all the cases; but his twenty-one examples of ἔδει ἄν include eleven in which ἔδει has the genitive of a noun and no infinitive. Omitting these, we have only ten of ἔδει ἄν with the infinitive: THUC. i. 74, LYS. Frag. 56 (88 Scheibe); ISOC. XV. 17; ISAE. iv. 4; DEM. iv. 1; PLAT. Rep. 328 C, Theaet. 169 E, Gorg. 514 A, Alc. i. 119 B; DEM. lvii. 47 (only the last three affirmative); with four of ἐξῆν ἄν: LYS. iv. 13, Frag. 47 (79 Scheibe); ISAE. X. 13; DEM. xxiv. 146. He finds χρῆν ἄν only in LYS. xii. 48, where he proposes to omit ἄν, overlooking χρῆν ἂν προσδοκῆσαι in DEM. xviii. 195. Both of these passages are discussed below, pp. 409, 410.

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