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Appendix


The Relation of the Optative to the Subjunctive and Other Moods.

In the chapter on the general view of the moods, no attempt was made to assign to either the subjunctive or the optative a single “fundamental idea” from which all the uses of the mood could be derived, except so far as the idea of futurity was shown to belong essentially to the subjunctive in all its most primitive uses. It would be impossible to include under one fundamental idea all the actual uses of any mood in Greek, except the imperative; for even the indicative is used to express unfulfilled conditions, unaccomplished wishes, and unattained purposes, none of which can be brought under the ideas of “declaration” or “absolute assertion” commonly attributed to this mood. Again, it is not to be expected that the true fundamental idea of any mood should include all its uses in a developed language; for the fortunes of language often depend on causes which are quite independent of the original essence of the forms employed, and which seldom can be referred to invariable laws of thought. The same idea can be expressed in two cognate languages by different moods: as he would have seen is εἶδεν ἄν in Greek and vidisset in Latin, while in Sanskrit it would be expressed by a past augmented future equivalent to the Greek ἔμελλεν ὄψεσθαι (see § 428). Even within the Greek itself, we have if he were wise expressed by εἰ σοφὸς εἴη in Homer and by εἰ σοφὸς ἦν in Attic; and in Homer, both οὐκ ἂν ἔγνως and οὐκ ἂν γνοίης can mean you would not have discerned, while the latter can mean also you would not discern (in the same future sense as in Attic).

One doctrine of the original meaning of the Greek subjunctive and optative has gained such general approval of late, that it is entitled to special consideration. This teaches that the fundamental idea of the subjunctive is will, and that of the optative is wish. In the subjunctive, the idea of will appears especially in exhortations and prohibitions and in expressions of purpose. It can also be used to explain the subjunctive in protasis, by understanding ἔλθῃ in ἢν ἔλθῃ to mean originally let him go, suppose him to go (in some case). But before we can decide that will is the fundamental idea of the subjunctive, or even that it is a necessary and essential part of the idea of this mood, we must ask, first, whether it is essential to those uses of the subjunctive which we have a right on other grounds to call the most primitive; and, secondly, whether there is any other idea equally essential and equally primitive, from which the idea of will could have been evolved more simply and naturally than this could have been evolved from the idea of will.

The subjunctive nowhere bears more distinct marks of primitive simplicity than when it appears in Homer as a simple future; as in οὐ γάρ πω τοίους ἴδον ἀνέρας οὐδὲ ἴδωμαι, for never yet have I seen such men, nor shall I ever see them, Il. i. 262, and in καί ποτέ τις εἴπῃσιν, and some one will say, Il. vi. 459, followed by ὥς ποτέ τις ἐρέει in vs. 462, referring to the same thing. See other examples in § 284. In this sense it is negatived by οὐ, like an indicative; and it may be modified by κέ or ἄν, like the future indicative in Homer, and thus acquire a potential sense (see § § 285 and 286). It is seldom that any modal form (except a plain indicative) is found so free from associations which might affect its meaning and conceal its original character. It has, moreover, its exact counterpart in Sanskrit in the Vedic subjunctive, which is negatived by na/, the equivalent of οὐ.1 This simple subjunctive has no element of will. It expresses what the speaker regrets as readily as what he is resolved to do. Thus in both the examples above quoted, the subjunctive expresses an act which is decidedly contrary to the speaker's will and wish. This subjunctive and the future indicative run parallel in all their constructions, and the former expresses will only so far as the latter does. The only character that is beyond question in this subjunctive is its reference to future time, and if we were left to this use alone, we should have no hesitation in designating the subjunctive as a form expressing futurity like a future tense. As this use cannot be deduced from the subjunctive as an expression of will, let us see whether the opposite process, the evolution from the simple future meaning of the uses in which will appears, is any easier and does any less violence to the principles of the language.

The use of the subjunctive which strikes every one as coming next in simplicity to the Homeric construction just described is seen in exhortations, like ἴωμεν, let us go, and (in its negative form) in prohibitions, like μὴ ἴωμεν, let us not go, μὴ εἴπητε τοῦτο, do not say this. This use of the subjunctive is found also in Sanskrit, and its negative is there generally (though not always) mA, the equivalent of μή. It thus appears that the marked distinction which is seen in the early Greek between ἴωμεν, we shall go, and ἴωμεν, let us go, in both positive and negative forms, was probably inherited from an ancestral language, so that we need not seek for the development of this distinction within the Greek itself. It is obvious that the future element is equally strong in both expressions, while the hortatory subjunctive also expresses will. Now it is much more natural to suppose that a future form expressing exhortation or prohibition originated in a form expressing mere futurity, than that the merely future form originated in the exhortation or prohibition. We cannot derive οὐκ ἴδωμαι, I shall not see, from μὴ ἴδωμαι, let me not see. But it is by no means impossible that, in some language which was a common ancestor of Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit, subjunctive (i.e. originally future) forms came to be used to express both commands and prohibitions; that, when these imperative expressions became distinguished from the subjunctive in its ordinary future sense, they adopted the negative (the ancestor of mâ ' and μή) which was used with similar imperative forms, though this use of the negative might not at first be very rigid; and that thus μή ἴωμεν, in the sense let us not go, became established in early Greek as opposed to οὐκ ἴωμεν, we shall not go. In Sanskrit, however, the use of mA/ in such cases was less fixed, and here na/ (the equivalent of οὐ) is sometimes found with the subjunctive in prohibitions.2 This last is what we should have if in χειρὶ δ᾽ οὐ φαύσεις ποτέ, you shall never touch me, EUR. Med. 1320, we could substitute an Homeric subjunctive (e.g. ψαύσῃς) for the future indicative. The cases of μή with the future in prohibitions given in § 70, like μὴ βουλήσεσθε εἰδέναι, do not wish to know, DEM. xxiii. 117, are too few to be of much weight in the discussion; but they seem to show an abortive tendency to establish the future indicative with μή by the side of the subjunctive in prohibitions. What the future could do in an imperative sense is shown by examples like “πάντως δὲ τοῦτο δράσεις,” “but by all means do this,” AR. Nub. 1352 , and others quoted in § 69; but the natural negative here was οὐ, not μή, as in οὐ ψαύσεις above.

If the origin of the interrogative subjunctive in appeals (§ 287) and of its negative μή has been correctly explained in §§ 288 and 291, this is merely an interrogative form of the subjunctive in exhortations and prohibitions, and calls for no special discussion here. The origin of the use of the subjunctive with οὐ μή is still to uncertain to give this construction much weight in determining the essential character of the subjunctive. If the view of this construction which is advocated in this work (see Appendix II.) is accepted, the form is an offshoot of the prohibitory subjunctive. If it is thought to be an original construction, expressing a strong denial or prohibition by its own force, the subjunctive appears in its original future force. Whatever theory we may have of the origin of this subjunctive, the form is interchangeable in use with the future indicative.

In dependent sentences, the subjunctive is used in two constructions, —in so-called final clauses, and in conditional sentences. In negative final constructions with μή, the subjunctive was originally prohibitive (§§ 262, 307); in positive clauses with the final particles, it expresses something aimed at, that is, an object of will. But here, as in independent sentences, to derive the more complex from the more simple is far more natural than the reverse. Further, in all final constructions the future indicative may be used in the same sense as the subjunctive; this could hardly be done if the subjunctive contained an essential element of will which is wanting in the future. Again, the subjunctive is very common in final constructions after past tenses, where the optative is the regular form (318); it cannot be supposed that the idea of will is present in such final clauses when they have the subjunctive (as they generally do in Thucydides) and is absent when they have the optative (as is more common in Xenophon). In conditional sentences, although we may explain the subjunctive as originally hortatory, ἢν ἔλθῃ meaning let him come (we will suppose), it is more natural to refer this use to the primitive use of the subjunctive as a simple future, εἴ κεν ἔλθῃ (or εἰ ἔλθῃ), in case he shall come, making a supposition of a future event of which the Homeric ἔλθῃ, he will come, might make a statement (see §§ 11 and 398). We thus avoid the necessity of explaining the indicative and the subjunctive in protasis on different principles. As each of the various tenses of the indicative with εἰ expresses a supposition in the time which it naturally denotes (§ 3, c), so the subjunctive is a natural form to express a future supposition. Thus, as εἰ γενήσεται τοῦτο supposes what γενήσεται τοῦτο states, εἰ γένηται τοῦτο naturally supposes what (in the older language) γένηται τοῦτο, this will happen, states. As the former cannot be explained by the idea of will, it seems unnecessary and illogical to introduce this idea to account for the latter. What has been said of ordinary conditional sentences applies also to relative conditions.

The only use of the subjunctive in conditions which cannot be derived from the simple future meaning is that in general suppositions; but the undeveloped state of this construction in Homer and other considerations make it highly probable, if not certain, that this is a use of the subjunctive which grew up within the Greek language itself at a comparatively late period, and that it is not one of the primitive uses of the mood. (See §§ 11, b, 400, 401.)

It is certain that no trace of the subjunctive as a mood of will can be seen in its actual use in conditional sentences. Thus ἢν τὴν πόλιν ἕλωσι could always be said as properly by the friends as by the enemies of a city, by the besieged as well as by the besiegers. In Il. iii. 71, ὁππότερός κε νικήσῃ, spoken by Priam, is, as an expression, perfectly neutral as regards the hope or desire of victory. It may be said with truth, that the primitive meaning of a verbal form is apt to be weakened, or even to disappear, in actual use. But is it logical to assume a lost meaning to account for an expression, when the meaning which remains accounts for it satisfactorily without external help? When we find ἢν ἕλωσι τὴν πόλιν actually expressing a mere future supposition, with no idea of will, in all periods of the language, and when we find ἕλωσι meaning they will capture in the earliest period that we know, why should we assume an original idea of will (which was afterwards lost) in ἢν ἕλωσι to account for its actual meaning? The view of the conditional sentence here adopted is confirmed by paratactic conditions like the following: θύσεις δὲ τὴν παῖδ᾽ : ἔνθα τίνας εὐχὰς ἐρεῖς; I. A. 1185, where θύσεις makes a supposition, supposing you shall sacrifice the girl, which would generally be expressed by εἰ θύσεις or ἢν θύσῃς: so ἀδικεῖ τις ἑκών and ἐξήμαρτέ τις ἄκων, both expressing suppositions, DEM. xviii. 274.3

On these grounds we may feel justified in regarding the subjunctive as originally and essentially a form for expressing future time, which the Greek inherited, with its subdivision into an absolute future negatived by οὐ and a hortatory future negatived by μή, and used in independent sentences.

The name optative mood (ἔγκλισις εὐκτική), which was invented by grammarians long after the usages of the language were settled, designated the mood by the only use which it then had in independent sentences without ἄν, that of wishing. It is evident that this name in itself is no ground for assuming that wishing was the primitive function, or even an essential function, of the optative, any more than the name of the subjunctive (ἔγκλισις ὑποτακτική) would lead us to assume dependence as an original or necessary characteristic of that mood. We have already mentioned the theory that the optative is the mood of wish, as the complement of that which makes the subjunctive the mood of will. This theory finds no support in the potential use of the optative with or without κέ or ἄν, which is the only independent use of the optative except in wishes and exhortations. Surely ἀπόλοιτο ἄν, he would perish, can never have been developed from ἀπόλοιτο, may be perish, for the former is no more likely to be said by one who wishes the death of a person than by one who fears it, and there is nothing in the addition of ἄν or κέ which can reasonably be supposed to change a form, which in itself expresses wish, to a neutral form or even to one expressing what is feared. The fundamental distinction in negative sentences between μὴ ἀπόλοιτο and οὐκ ἂν ἀπόλοιτο (or οὐκ ἀπόλοιτο) is still more significant. Nor can any support for the theory be found in dependent final constructions or in indirect discourse. No one would see a distinction of will and wish in ἴδῃ and ἴδοι in ἔρχεται ἵνα ἴδῃ τοῦτο and ἦλθεν ἵνα ἴδοι τοῦτο, or in φοβοῦμαι μὴ ἔλθῃ and ἐφοβήθην μὴ ἔλθοι,—not to speak of ἦλθεν ἵνα ἴδοι τοῦτο and ἦλθεν ἵνα ἴδῃ τοῦτο. Still less would any one dream of looking for wish in the optative in εἶπεν ὅτι ἔλθοι, he said that he had come, or in ἤρετο εἴ τις εἴη σοφώτερος. In all these dependent constructions, the optative is only the representative of the subjunctive or indicative when these are, as it were, transferred to the past by depending on a verb of past time; but, if wish were the fundamental idea of the optative, we should hardly expect this to vanish so utterly, since the essential character of the optative would naturally be especially marked where it is used by a fixed principle of the language as a substitute for an indicative or a subjunctive.

The only strong argument for the theory that the optative is primarily the mood of wish is found in the optative with εἰ in protasis. It is maintained that a gradual development of this conditional form from the simple optative in a wish can be actually seen in Homer. The strongest and most attractive statement of this argument is given by Lange in his elaborate, but unfortunately unfinished, treatise on the particle εἰ in Homer.4 Delbrück's treatment of the optative in his Syntaktische Forschungen, vol. i., is based on this doctrine. When Lange states (p. 485) that, of 200 examples of εἰ with the optative in Homer, 136 are expressions of wish, the majority seems decisive; although we may even here withhold our judgment until we examine the majority and also see what the minority of 64 have to say. The majority of 136 is made up as follows:—

1. Ordinary wishes with εἰ γάρ, εἴθε (αἲ γάρ, αἴθε), or εἰ, like αἴθ᾽ οὕτως, Εὔμαιε, φίλος Διὶ πατρὶ γένοιτο, Od. xiv. 440; αἲ γὰρ οὕτως εἴη, Il. iv. 189; εἴθ᾽ ὣς ἡβώοιμι, βίη δέ μοι ἔμπεδος εἴη, Il. xi. 670. (Of these there are 38 cases.)

2. Cases in which a wish with εἰ and the optative (like the expressions just quoted) is followed by an apodosis expressing a consequence which would follow the fulfilment of the wish. Thus the last example in 1 appears in Il. vii. 157 with such an apodosis:—

εἴθ᾽ ὣς ἡβώοιμι, βίη δέ μοι ἔμπεδος εἴη: τῷ κε τάχ᾽ ἀντήσειε μάχης κορυθαίολος Ἕκτωρ.

If we put a comma at the end of the first verse, we have a full conditional sentence. In many cases it is doubtful which punctuation is correct. Lange includes under this head even such sentences as Il. vii. 28, ἀλλ᾽ εἴ μοί τι πίθοιο, τό κεν πολὺ κέρδιον εἴη, and Od. xx. 381. (Of these there are 28 cases.)

3. Ordinary conditional sentences, in which the fusion between the optative with εἰ expressing a wish (i.e. supposing something that is desired) and a following apodosis with κέ or ἄν is said to be complete, as in Il. xiii. 485:—

εἰ γὰρ ὁμηλικίη γε γενοίμεθα τῷδ᾽ ἐπὶ θυμῷ, αἶψά κεν ἠὲ φέροιτο μέγα κράτος κε φεροίμην.

(Of these there are 19 cases, against 18 otherwise similar cases in which the optative with εἰ supposes something not desired.)

4. Cases of which the following are examples:—

ἤλυθον, εἴ τινά μοι κληηδόνα πατρὸς ἐνίσποις, Od. iv. 317. πάπτηνεν δ᾽ ἀνὰ πύργον Ἀχαιῶν, εἴ τιν᾽ ἴδοιτο ἡγεμόνων, ὅς τίς οἱ ἀρὴν ἑτάροισιν ἀμύναι, Il. xii. 333.

Such examples are variously explained, but the protasis generally refers to something that is desired. (Of these there are 43 cases.)

5. Ordinary conditional sentences in which εἰ with the optative expressing a wish follows an apodosis; as in Il. xxii. 20, σ᾽ ἂν τισαίμην, εἴ μοι δύναμίς γε παρείη. These differ from those in 3 only in the position of the protasis. (Of these there are 8 cases of wishes, against 33 in which no wish is implied, of which last 17 are concessive.)

The minority of 64 examples, in which εἰ with the optative does not express a wish, is made up of the 18 dissenting cases under 3, the 33 under 5 which contain no wishes, 5 exceptional cases (as Lange views them) under 4 (2 with doubtful readings), and 8 cases of ὡς εἰ with the optative in similes, like ἴσαν ὡς εἴ τε πυρὶ χθὼν πᾶσα νέμοιτο, Il. ii. 780.

It will be seen that the strength of the argument lies in the gradual development of the optative conditional sentence which is supposed to appear in 1, 2, and 3. This is further enforced by reference to cases in which the simple optative in a wish (without any form of εἰ) is followed by an apodosis, like the equivalent optatives with εἰ in 2, thus showing the absence of a conditional force in the latter. See Od. xv. 180:—

οὕτω νῦν Ζεὺς θείη, ἐρίγδουπος πόσις Ἥρης: τῷ κέν τοι καὶ κεῖθι θεῷ ὣς εὐχετοῴμην.

Since the two clauses are grammatically independent here, it is argued that they must be equally so in the examples in 2.

The whole argument is based on the important assumption that the optative with εἰ, εἰ γάρ, etc. in a wish is the same in origin with the simple optative in a wish, so that εἰ γένοιτο τοῦτο and γένοιτο τοῦτο both come to mean may this be done in the same way, by a wishing power inherent in the optative itself; and from this it is argued that εἰ γένοιτο τοῦτο as a protasis is used in a more primitive and natural sense when what is supposed is desired by the speaker than when it is not. Unless we assume this as proved, and reject the opposite alternative which makes the optative with εἰ in a wish a protasis with a suppressed apodosis, we have no right to count the examples in 1 and 2 as evidence that the optative with εἰ denotes a wish by its own nature; for it would be reasoning in a circle to quote these as proof that the optative itself denotes wish, in a discussion which aims at establishing the nature and meaning of the optative in these very expressions. Again, the real nature of the 43 conditions with εἰ and the optative in 4 is in question in this discussion; and it is inadmissible here to assume at the outset that they express wish in themselves and then to use them as evidence that wishing is the original function of the optative. Proof is needed, therefore, that the optatives in 1, 2, and 4 (that is, in 109 of the 136 wishing optatives in Homer) actually express wish by their own force, so that they can properly be used as independent testimony here. Until at least a reasonable presumption in favour of this view is established, we are without evidence that there is any such gradual development of the optative condition as is claimed. We must therefore depend at present on the only cases about which no doubts exist, the complete conditional sentences in 3 and 5, to determine whether the optative with εἰ involves the idea of wish without regard to the nature of its apodosis. If it should be found that the idea of wish preponderates in these optatives, we should have a convincing proof that the same is true of the optatives in 1, 2, and 4, whether these are viewed as protases or as original wishes. A slight inspection of Lange's statistics will show that the question is not to be settled in this simple way. Of the 37 optatives in 3, 19 suppose something that is wished for, while 18 do the opposite. Of the 41 in 5, only 8 suppose desirable things, while 33 do not. Therefore, in the 78 plain cases of εἰ with the optative in conditions in Homer, we find only 27 expressing wishes. If we confine ourselves to the cases in 3, where the protasis precedes, we find as equal a division as is possible (19 : 18), showing very plainly that even here wish has nothing whatever to do with the form of expression. Indeed, if we take εἰ with the optative in protasis by itself, what is there to indicate that it involves a wish? It cannot be doubted that this form is the equivalent of the English if he should go and if we should see him; and who would attempt to find any such idea as wish in these expressions? Unless we are prepared to maintain that if we should be saved expresses the original idea of the English construction better than if we should perish, we must be slow to assert that εἰ σωθεῖμεν gives the spirit of the Greek optative better than εἰ ἀποθάνοιμεν. We must remember also the large class of conditional relative sentences which have the optative. This optative cannot be explained on any different principle from the optative with εἰ, and yet who would profess to find anything like the idea of wish in τις ῥέζοι, Od. i. 47, μὴ εἴη, Od. xi. 490, or in Il. vi. 330, Il. 521, Il. xiii. 344, Il. xiv. 248? I give the first six examples that I meet.

It is obvious at once that we must recur to the examples in 1 and 2, and see whether these establish any such strong presumption as will justify us in making wish the fundamental idea of the optative with εἰ, notwithstanding the fact that a large majority of the optatives in protasis in Homer have a contrary meaning.

In dealing with the examples in 1 and 2, it will be assumed that εἰ, εἴθε, εἰ γάρ, and αἰ, αἴθε, αἲ γάρ all have the same origin, and involve the same particle εἰ or αἰ which is used in protasis.5 The question in regard to the wishes in 1 amounts to this: is it more probable that the optative here is merely the wishing optative, preceded by a sort of exclamatory particle εἰ,6 so that γένοιτο and εἰ γένοιτο are merely different forms of an exclamation, O may it be done!—or that εἰ γένοιτο in a wish is the same as εἰ γένοιτο in protasis, meaning if it should only be done, deriving its force as a wish from the unconscious suppression of an apodosis like how happy I should be or it would be well? The difficulty of explaining εἰ in an ordinary protasis like εἰ ἦλθεν, if he came, as in any sense exclamatory is a great obstacle in the way of Lange's view; but his alternative is equally hard, to make εἰ in a wish radically different from εἰ in a protasis. In the incomplete state of Lange's work, it is impossible to see how successfully he would have surmounted this difficulty. But, apart from this, we are compelled on his theory to believe that the parallel construction of εἰ γάρ and εἴθε with the past tenses of the indicative in wishes is radically different in principle from that of εἰ etc. with the optative. The former is a later construction; but is it possible that the traditions of so fixed an expression as εἰ with the optative in wishes could have so utterly vanished that, while εἰ γὰρ γένοιτο, may it be done, had no conditional force, εἰ γὰρ ἐγένετο τοῦτο, O that this had been done, was felt as conditional? It is impossible to explain εἰ γὰρ ἐγένετο except as an elliptical protasis, since there is no form of wish like ἐγένετο (alone) corresponding to γένοιτο, may it be done. Even if we could suppose that εἰ γὰρ ἐγένετο was formed ignorantly on the analogy of εἰ γὰρ γένοιτο, it would be incredible that μὴ γένοιτο should not have engendered a corresponding μὴ ἐγένετο.

But why is it thought necessary or probable that γένοιτο and εἰ γὰρ γένοιτο should have had the same origin? If we can trust our feelings in the use of our own language, it is beyond doubt that our expressions of wish, like may help come and O if help should (or would) come! are entirely independent constructions, and also that the latter is a condition with its conclusion suppressed. Why should we not accept the same simple distinction in the Greek forms, and admit that the Greek had two ways of expressing a future wish, one by the simple optative, the other by a protasis with its apodosis suppressed? Absolute proof is, of course, impossible in such a case; but it is surely safe to maintain that no such strong presumption is established in favour of identity of construction in γένοιτο and εἰ γένοιτο in wishes, as to make it probable that εἰ γένοιτο in protasis was originally a form of wish, in face of the fact that only a small proportion of Homer's undoubted protases with εἰ and the optative express wishes.

But it may be said that the peculiar examples of half-formed conditional sentences in 2 (p. 376) establish the theory of the development of the conditional optative out of a wish. But this connecting link loses its value, when it is seen that it connects merely one construction, in which the wishing force of the optative is at least questionable, with another in which there is no positive evidence of any wishing force at all. If the ordinary theory of the suppression of an apodosis with εἰ γὰρ γένοιτο in a wish is correct, we must suppose that the suppressed apodosis was seldom felt in a definite form of words any more than it is with our O if he would come. But it might sometimes happen that an actual expression of a definite result of the fulfilment of a wish would suit the case better than the uncertain reference to a fulfilment, which the mere clause with if suggests. We have an excellent illustration of this when a wish is repeated as a protasis in almost the same words, and is then followed by an apodosis. See Od. iii. 217-223 (quoted in § 730), where εἰ γάρ σ᾽ ὣς ἐθέλοι is first a simple wish, and then is repeated as εἴ σ᾽ οὕτως ἐθέλοι, with the apodosis τῷ κέν τις, etc. naturally following. The oft-recurring verse εἴθ᾽ ὣς ἡβώοιμι, βίη δέ μοι ἔμπεδος εἴη appears in Il. xi. 670, Il. xxiii. 629, and Od. xiv. 468 (if Bekker is right in omitting vss. 503-506) as a simple wish with no addition; but in Il. vii. 157 it stands as a repetition of the wish contained in vss. 132, Il. 133, αἲ γὰρ ἡβῷμ᾽ ὡς, etc., and is followed by the apodosis τῷ κε τάχ᾽ ἀντήσειε μάχης κορυθαίολος Ἕκτωρ. In the other examples, we have simply the wish O if I were young again, with its vague unexpressed apodosis; but in Il. vii. 157 the result is expressed in the definite form, then would Hector meet his match. See Od. xvii. 496 and xv. 536 (quoted in § 730), in both of which a definite apodosis expressing a result takes the place of the usual suppressed conclusion. A distinction of optatives with εἰ into wishes and suppositions, based on the wishing or non-wishing nature of the verb, is often arbitrary. Thus Lange quotes, among his “paratactic” wishes followed by an apodosis in a distinct sentence (that is, half-developed conditional sentences), Il. xvii. 102:—

εἰ δέ που Αἴαντός γε βοὴν ἀγαθοῖο πυθοίμην,
ἄμφω κ᾽ αὖτις ἰόντες ἐπιμνησαίμεθα χάρμης,
while he gives as an ordinary conditional sentence Il. xxiv. 653:—

τῶν εἴ τίς σε ἴδοιτο θοὴν διὰ νύκτα μέλαιναν,
αὐτίκ᾽ ἂν ἐξείποι Ἀγαμέμνονι ποιμένι λαῶν.
His ground for distinction is merely that the former expresses a wish, while the latter does not. Even if both sentences were held to be simply conditional (as they probably are), it would still be claimed that the optative is used in a more legitimate and primitive sense in the former than in the latter. But is not the patent fact that there is really no essential distinction between these two optatives with εἰ (taken as conditions) a strong argument against the whole doctrine which derives the optative in protasis from the optative in wishes?

As to the 43 examples in 4, in which the optative with εἰ obviously stands without any expressed apodosis, I must refer to the discussion of these in § § 486-493, where they are explained as protases which contain within themselves an implied clause of purpose as the apodosis. Whoever will compare the examples of the optative in § 488 with those of the subjunctive in § 487, or those of the optative in Delbrü ck's Conjunctiv und Optativ, pp. 236-238, with those of the subjunctive in pp. 171-175, will probably be satisfied that the greater part of these optatives represent original subjunctives, which are regularly used in this sense after primary tenses, while the original optatives that occur after primary tenses in this construction are not more frequent than they are in ordinary protasis in Homer (see §§ 499-501). Thus βῆ Πάνδαρον διζήμενος εἴ που ἐφεύροι, he went seeking Pandarus, in case he should find him anywhere (i.e. to find P. if haply he might), Il. v. 167, represents an original form βαίνω Πάνδαρον διζήμενος, ἤν που ἐφεύρω. This is true, whatever theory we hold as to the nature of the condition here. Again, this form is equally adapted to suppositions which are not objects of wish or desire; as in THUC. vi. 100, πρὸς τὴν πόλιν, εἰ ἐπιβοηθοῖεν, ἐχώρουν, they marched towards the city, in case the enemy should rush out (to be ready to meet them if they should rush out). So in Hom. Od. xxii. 381:—

πάπτηνεν δ᾽ Ὀδυσεὺς καθ᾽ ἑὸν δόμον, εἴ τις ἔτ᾽ ἀνδρῶν
ζωὸς ὑποκλοπέοιτο ἀλύσκων κῆρα μέλαιναν,
where Ulysses is said to have searched the house, in case any one of the suitors should still be alive and be concealed (i.e. to find any such). This is quite as natural an expression as Il. xii. 333, πάπτηνεν εἴ τιν᾽ ἴδοιτο ἡγεμόνων, where the protasis supposes something desired. The idea of purpose which these sentences imply makes it natural that the supposition should be a desirable one in the majority of cases; but no independent support for the theory we are discussing can be found in them.

We come then to the following conclusions. The theory that wish is the fundamental idea of the optative finds no support in conditional sentences with εἰ and the optative in Homer, for among 78 full sentences of this class, only 27 express suppositions which are desired by the speaker. The other optatives with εἰ which are said to express wishes stand without apodosis, and the nature of these expressions is itself in question in this discussion. As the presence of the idea of wish in the optative in ordinary conditions would have been a strong proof that the same idea is inherent in these other optatives, so the conspicuous absence of wish in the former creates a presumption against its existence in the latter; for it appears that, even if the optative with εἰ in wishes does express the wish by its own natural force, this force has not passed over into the ordinary optative in protasis, even in Homer. We have to consider, therefore, whether in spite of this presumption it can be established that the optative is the mood of wish, or that the two forms of optative in wishes (with and without εἰ) are identical in origin and construction. The theory of their identity obliges us to believe that εἰ is a sort of exclamatory particle; whereas the older view, which has the authority of Aristarchus (§ 723), that the optative with εἰ in wishes is a protasis with a suppressed apodosis, avoids this difficulty by making the form of wish the same as that of protasis. The new theory also compels us to explain the past tenses of the indicative with εἰ and the optative with εἰ in wishes on different principles. The cases in 2 (p. 376) of an optative with εἰ in a wish followed by an apodosis in a separate sentence are easily explained by supposing an actual apodosis to be expressed in them, where commonly only a general idea of satisfaction (like καλῶς ἂν ἔχοι) is understood. The cases of εἰ with the optative without an apodosis in 4 are to be explained by the implied apodosis: they are not necessarily expressions of desire, and the optative here generally represents an original subjunctive.

As a negative result, we do not find in the Homeric examples as a whole any satisfactory proof that wish is the fundamental idea, or even an essential idea, of the optative.

For the original meaning of the optative we must go, not to the developed wish, still less to the developed potential construction with ἄν or to the protasis with εἰ, but rather to certain simpler and less decided expressions, a few of which remain in Homer. In Il. iv. 17-19 we have a full conditional sentence,

εἰ δ᾽ αὖ πως τόδε πᾶσι φίλον καὶ ἡδὺ πέλοιτο,
τοι μὲν οἰκέοιτο πόλις Πριάμοιο ἄνακτος,
αὖτις δ᾽ Ἀργείην Ἑλένην Μενέλαος ἄγοιτο.
This may be translated, and if moreover this should be welcome and pleasing to all, king Priam's city may continue to be a dwelling-place, and Menelaus may take Argive Helen home again. But οἰκέοιτο and ἄγοιτο (without κέ or ἄν) here do not make the usual potential apodosis, nor do they express a wish; and yet a very slight change in the thought would make them either of these. With κέ or ἄν added, the meaning would be Priam's city would continue to be, etc.; without ἄν, in the ordinary language it would be may Priam's city continue to be, etc. The same general result happens to be expressed in other passages in various ways. In Il. iii. 71-75 Paris proposes the duel with Menelaus, and says:—

ὁππότερος δέ κε νικήσῃ κρείσσων τε γένηται,
κτήμαθ᾽ ἑλὼν ἐὺ πάντα γυναῖκά τε οἴκαδ᾽ ἀγέσθω
οἱ δ᾽ ἄλλοι φιλότητα καὶ ὅρκια πιστὰ ταμόντες
ναίοιτε Τροίην ἐριβώλακα, τοὶ δὲ νεέσθων
Ἄργος ἐς ἱππόβοτον.
Here ἀγέσθω is used with the same general idea in mind as ἄγοιτο in iv. 19, and ναίοιτε is like οἰκέοιτο. This example would rather lead us to understand both ἄγοιτο and οἰκέοιτο as wishes. But in iii. 255 we have τῳ δέ κε νικήσαντι γυνὴ καὶ κτήμαθ᾽ ἕποιτο, where τῷ νικήσαντι is equivalent to ὁππότερός κε νικήσῃ in 71, and ἕποιτό κε is potential, though expressing the same general idea as ἀγέσθω and ἄγοιτο above. Also, in iii. 256 we have ναίοιμεν (like ναίοιτε in 74) and νέονται (as future). Again, in iii. 138 Iris says to Helen τῷ δέ κε νικήσαντι φίλη κεκλήσῃ ἄκοιτις, where κεκλήσῃ κε is potential, referring to the same result as ἕποιτό κε, ἄγοιτο, and ἀγέσθω. These passages show a use of the optative without κέ which comes very near to that of the optative with κέ, and also to that of the imperative and of the future (with and without κέ). This neutral use of the optative is generally called “concessive.”

In other cases, the optative without κέ has a more decided potential force; as in Il. xxiii. 151, νῦν δ᾽ ἐπεὶ οὐ νέομαί γε φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν, Πατρόκλῳ ἥρωι κόμην ὀπάσαιμι φέρεσθαι, I would fain send. So in Il. xv. 45, αὐτάρ τοι καὶ κείνῳ ἐγὼ παραμυθησαιμην, I should advise him. In Il. xxi. 274, ἔπειτα δὲ καί τι πάθοιμι may be either then let me suffer anything (i.e. let me perish), or then would I suffer anything: that the latter is the true meaning is made more probable by xix. 321, οὐ μὲν γάρ τι κακώτερον ἄλλο πάθοιμι, for nothing else that is worse could I suffer, where οὐ shows that the optative is potential. On the other hand, in Il. xxiv. 148, μηδέ τις ἄλλος ἅμα Τρώων ἴτω ἀνήρ: κῆρύξ τίς οἱ ἕποιτο γεραίτερος, i.e. let no other of the Trojans go with him; only let an elder herald accompany him (or a herald may accompany him), the general sense and the preceding imperative seem to show that ἕποιτο is hortatory. Compare Il. iii. 407, μηδ᾽ ἔτι σοῖσι πόδεσσιν ὑποστρέψειας Ὄλυμπον, between two pairs of imperatives, where μηδέ shows the nature of the expression. Again, in Il. vi. 164, τεθναίης, Προῖτ̓, κάκτανε Βελλεροφόντην, we may doubt whether τεθναίης means you must die or may you die (i.e. die), although the connexion with κάκτανε leads us to the latter interpretation: here also compare Il. iii. 407.The tendency is not very strong in either direction in these passages, as is plain from the difficulty which we sometimes feel in deciding which the direction actually is in a given case.7 But as the potential and the wishing forms are generally clearly distinguished in Homer, we must look upon the few neutral expressions that we find as relics of an earlier stage of the language, in which the optative without κέ or ἄν was freely used in the sense of οἰκέοιτο and ἄγοιτο in Il. iv. 18, Il. 19.Such expressions could not be used in negative sentences, at least after οὐ and μή were established in their regular force, as the use of either negative would at once decide the character of the sentence. In the earlier language ἔλθοιμι and ἴδοιμι, I may go and I may see, probably corresponded to the subjunctives ἔλθω and ἴδω, I shall go and I shall see, as weaker forms for expressing future time. But both moods had inherited another use, by which ἔλθω and ἴδω meant let me go and let me see, while ἔλθοιμι and ἴδοιμι meant may I go and may I see. The reasons given above, for thinking a derivation of the hortatory subjunctive from the simple future expression more probable than the reverse, apply equally to the corresponding uses of the optative.

In these neutral optatives, of which Il. iv. 18, Il. 19 gives the most striking examples, we probably come nearest to the primitive use out of which the two most common uses of the independent optative (potential and wishing) were developed. Before the Homeric period these two uses were already established, the potential with its mark of κέ or ἄν and its negative οὐ, and the wishing with no external mark and its negative μή. It is hardly possible that the first potential use of the optative was marked by κέ or ἄν, for we find undoubted potential optatives in Homer without either of these particles (see § 240), and even in Attic poetry such indefinite expressions as οὐκ ἔσθ᾽ ὅστις, οὐκ ἐσθ᾽ ὅπως, etc. have the optative without ἄν (§ 241). Although the early Greek, even in Homer, did not always use κέ or ἄν with the potential optative, there is no evidence that it ever failed to distinguish the wishing optative in negative sentences by the use of μή, while the potential was always negatived by οὐ. The Sanskrit optative, which must have had a common origin with the Greek, appears in its earliest use in the state in which we have supposed the early Greek optative to have been, i.e. used both in a potential sense and in wishes without any particle like κέ or ἄν, and occasionally in a neutral or concessive sense. But while the negative na/ (= οὐ) is always found in the potential use, we have both mA/ (= μή) and na/ in wishes and similar expressions in which the Greek has only μή.8 The same peculiarity has been noticed in the use of negatives with the subjunctive (p. 373).

It is probable that at some early period the Greek had two parallel uses of the subjunctive and optative in independent sentences, as follows:—

ἔλθω, I shall go (neg. οὐ), or let me go (neg. μή

ἔλθῃς, thou wilt go ( ” ), or go thou ( ” )

ἔλθῃ, he will go ( ” ), or let him go ( ” )

ἔλθοιμι, I may or might go (neg. οὐ), or may I go (neg. μή

ἔλθοις, thou mayest or mightest go ( ” ), or mayest thou go ( ” )

ἔλθοι, he may or might go ( ” ), or may he go ( ” )

Although the Greek which is best known to us did not use the second and third persons of the subjunctive in a hortatory sense, there can be little doubt that such a use existed in the earlier language, as appears from the use in Sanskrit and in Latin, and from the Greek prohibitions with μή. (See § 258.) In an Elean inscription we find two cases of the third person: τὸ δὲ ψάφισμα . . . ἀνατεθᾷ ἐν τὸ ἰαρὸν τῶ Διὸς τῶ Ὀλυμπίω, and (voted) that the decree be set up, etc.; and also ἐπιμέλειαν ποιήαται (subj.) Νικόδρομορ βωλογράφορ, that N. have charge, etc.9

Both moods alike developed a distinct potential use, which was distinguished from the other by κέ or ἄν; and in Homer we have forms like ἔλθω κε and ἔλθῃ κε parallel with ἔλθοιμί κε and ἔλθοι κε, all negatived by οὐ. The potential subjunctive, however, did not survive the Epic period, while the potential optative became fixed in the language. The future indicative also developed a potential form with κέ or ἄν, which appears to have survived the potential subjunctive, at least in the colloquial language. The English has no form except its vague I may take to express the various shades of meaning denoted by ἑλοῦμαί κε, ἕλωμαι, ἕλωμαί κε, and ἑλοίμην, which once stood between ἑλοῦμαι, I shall take, and ἑλοίμην ἄν, I should take. (See § 399.) The subjunctive, therefore, in its two chief uses in independent sentences, from which all others are derived, was originally accompanied by a weaker future form, the optative, expressing the same idea less distinctly and decidedly.

Let us now see how this weaker subjunctive (or future) form enters into the various dependent constructions, that is, into conditional and final sentences and indirect discourse.

The only dependent construction in which the optative is an original form, not representing another mood after a past tense, is that of protasis (including the conditional relative clause, but excluding the past generic condition). Here we see the same relation between ἐὰν (or εἰ) ἔλθω and εἰ ἔλθοιμι, if I shall go and if I should go, as between the original ἔλθω, I shall go, and ἔλθοιμι, I may (or might) go, the optative being a less distinct and vivid form for presenting a future supposition, it may be for presenting the same supposition which has already been presented by the subjunctive. The distinction, whatever it may be thought to be, is that which appears in our distinction of shall and should, and there will always be differences of opinion as to the exact nature of this.10 The objections to deriving this form of condition from the optative in wishes have already been considered. On the theory that the protasis is an offshoot of the conditional relative clause (see § 398), we should understand εἰ ἔλθω as meaning originally in case (i.e. in the case in whichI shall go or may go, and εἰ ἔλθοιμι, in case I should go or might go,—should and might being here merely weakened forms of shall and may. (Homeric optatives referring to the present are discussed below.)

In the whole class of final sentences, in which the subjunctive and optative are probably the only primitive forms, the optative always represents a dependent subjunctive in the changed relation to its leading verb in which it is placed when this verb is changed from present or future to past time, a change which we represent by our change from may to might or from shall to should; as ἔρχεται ἵνα ἴδῃ τοῦτο, he comes that he may see this, ἦλθεν ἵνα ἴδοι τοῦτο, he came that he might see this, etc. The thought in the dependent clause is in both cases what would be expressed originally by ἵνα ἴδω, adapted to different circumstances; and the original subjunctive (ἵνα ἴδῃ) could always be retained, even after past tenses, and by some writers it was generally retained (§§ 318-321). The change is, in fact, the same which is made in indirect discourse when the leading verb is past, since a past final clause always expresses the past thought of the leading subject (§ 703). This relation to indirect discourse is especially clear when the future indicative is used after primary tenses, with the future optative corresponding to it after past tenses.

The optative of indirect discourse has much wider relations, which were greatly extended as the language developed. Here the optative represents not merely the subjunctive but also the indicative in the changed relation in which these are placed by a change of the leading verb from present or future to past time, the tenses of the optative (with some restrictions) representing the corresponding tenses of either subjunctive or indicative at pleasure, the present including also the imperfect. In the development of the language, the want of an optative form to represent the future indicative was felt, and the future optative was added to the verb to supply the need, appearing first in Pindar. In Homer, this use of the optative is imperfectly developed, as the optative with ὅτι or ὡς in a quotation representing a simple indicative is still unknown (§ 671). Still the Homeric language has most of the other constructions of indirect discourse, including the optative in indirect questions representing both the indicative and the subjunctive. This optative in Homer appears (as we should expect) more as the correlative of the subjunctive than as that of the indicative. In indirect discourse, as in final constructions, the optative is not absolutely demanded after past tenses; and in some writers the original indicatives and subjunctives are more common (§ 670). The future optative, as a new form, is always less freely used than the older tenses.

In final constructions and in indirect discourse the optative appears as a subjunctive or indicative (as it were) transferred to the past, and it here has many points in common with the Latin imperfect and pluperfect subjunctive. In Homer, moreover, the present optative is regularly used in present unreal conditions and conclusions, and both present and aorist optative with κέ occasionally refer to the past like the imperfect and aorist indicative with κέ or ἄν. These uses, taken in connexion with the secondary terminations of the optative, might lead us to think that the optative was originally a past expression, so that καί νύ κεν ἔνθ᾽ ἀπόλοιτο, and now he would have perished there, Il. v. 311, would represent the regular use of the primitive optative, instead of being (as is commonly thought) a rare exception. Against this view, however, there are many considerations to be urged.

1. The optative is fully established in Homer in wishes and conditions as a future expression, and also in present unreal conditions, the imperfect indicative here being still confined (like the aorist) to the past. In past unreal conditions the optative never appears in protasis, and only rarely in apodosis, the aorist indicative being already established here before Homer. Thus, while οὐκ ἂν γνοίης in Il. v. 85 means you would not have discerned, it would commonly mean, even in Homer, you would not discern (as future), and the common Homeric expression in Il. v. 85 would be οὐκ ἂν ἔγνως. The evidence of the Homeric language, therefore, shows that the present optative is the original form in present unreal conditions and conclusions and in present unattained wishes, but is opposed to the view that the optative was ever regularly past.

2. It is hardly possible that the past unreal conditional preceded in development the ordinary future supposition. Every primitive language must have needed expressions like if he should go he would see this before it ventured upon if he had gone he would have seen this. If now we suppose that οὐκ ἂν γνοίης had originally the sense you would not have discerned, we must assume that the Greek expressed this idea before it could express you would not discern (future), for the language never had any other form to express the latter. We cannot hesitate, therefore, to find in the common future meaning of οὐκ ἂν γνοίης the original force of the expression, and to look upon the occasional reference to the past as a relic of an early attempt to express you would not have discerned by a form already appropriated to another use.

3. The Homeric optative in conditional sentences agrees remarkably with the Sanskrit in both the future and the present use, the Sanskrit optative being used both in future and in unreal present conditions and conclusions, but not in past conditions or conclusions. This seems to show that the Greek inherited the two principal Homeric uses of the optative, (1) in future conditions and wishes, and (2) in present unreal conditions and unattained wishes, while, so far as our evidence goes, the occasional use of the optative in past potential expressions is an extension of its use beyond its hereditary limits made by the early Greek itself.

4. The argument drawn from the past tenses of the Latin subjunctive will not apply to Greek conditional sentences, for here the present and perfect subjunctive in Latin (not the imperfect and pluperfect) correspond to the Greek optative in its most frequent use, and in the older Latin these primary tenses sometimes express present unreal conditions.

The most natural view seems to be, that the primitive optative, before it came into the Greek language, was a weak future form, like he may go and may he go, from which on one side came its potential and its future conditional use, and on the other side its use in exhortations and wishes. These uses would naturally all be established before there was any occasion to express either an unreal condition or an unattained wish. The need of a form for present unreal conditions and present unattained wishes would naturally come next, and the present optative was made to include these also, no practical difficulty being caused by having a single form for it would be as both present and future, none being felt in Homer and none being now felt in English. In this state the optative probably came into the Greek, before any attempt was made to extend its use to past unreal conditions. When a form was required for these, the optative may have been used at first, on the analogy of present unreal conditions; but here the serious difficulty of using ἀπόλοιτό κε for he would have perished when it was already familiar in the sense he would perish (hereafter) probably prevented the establishment of this usage. Before our evidence begins, the past tenses of the indicative were firmly established in past unreal conditions, while the optative was here a rare exception, even in apodosis, and was never used in protasis. But no attempt was yet made to dislodge the present optative from present unreal conditions or the corresponding wishes, although the use of ὤφελον or ὤφελλον in Homer shows that a past indicative in a present sense was not absolutely repugnant even to the early usage. But afterwards a new tendency prevailed, and the imperfect indicative took the place of the optative in present unreal conditions, still retaining its older use (with the aorist) in past conditions. The Greek, Sanskrit, and Latin appear to have developed their expressions of past unreal conditions independently. The Sanskrit, which seldom needed such a form, used its past future, as the Greek occasionally used ἔμελλον with the infinitive (see § 428).

The optative in past general suppositions only represents the corresponding subjunctive transferred to the past. This is, moreover, not to be treated as a primitive use of the optative, for reasons which apply also to the generic subjunctive (see §§ 11, b, and 17).

If the optative, at the time of its origin in some ancestral language, ever actually existed as a past form, as its terminations certainly seem to indicate, no effect has come down to the Greek from this remote origin, except perhaps the use of the optative to represent the subjunctive (and afterwards the indicative) transferred to the past in final constructions and indirect discourse. Even here, its relation to the subjunctive, which is probably all that is primitive in this use, is substantially that of a “remoter future,” as it is in independent sentences and in protasis.


On the Origin of the Construction of οὐ μή with the Subjunctive and the Future Indicative.11

THE origin of the construction of οὐ μή has never been satisfactorily explained. While there is a general agreement as to the meaning of the two forms of expression in which this double negative occurs, that (1) οὐ μὴ γένηται or οὐ μὴ γενήσεται is it will not happen, and (2) οὐ μὴ καταβήσει is do not come down, there is great diversity of opinion as to the manner in which these meanings are obtained from the Greek expressions, and still greater as to the origin of the constructions themselves. Most scholars have explained expressions of denial with οὐ μή and those of prohibition on entirely different theories, which involve different views of the functions of the negatives in the two forms. The explanation of the expressions of denial (like οὐ μὴ γένηται) which has gained most favour is that of an ellipsis after οὐ of a verb or other form denoting fear, on which μὴ γένηται depends; so that the full form would be οὐ δέος ἐστὶ μὴ γένηται, there is no fear that it will happen. Since a strong argument for this ellipsis is the existence of such examples as οὐ φόβος μή σε ἀγάγω, XEN. Mem. ii. 1, 25 , and οὐχὶ δέος μή δε φιλήσῃ, AR. Eccl. 650, which, by omitting φόβος and δέος, would become οὐ μή σε ἀγάγω and οὐχὶ μή σε φιλήσῃ, it can hardly be said that this is supposed to be one of the unconscious ellipses which are no longer felt in actual use. This explanation, however, does not help to account for the prohibitions in the second person, like οὐ μὴ καταβήσει, for there is no freak of language by which οὐ δέος ἐστὶ μὴ καταβῇς or even οὐ δέος ἐστὶ μὴ καταβήσει (if we can suppose such an expression) could be transformed into οὐ μὴ καταβήσει, in the sense do not come down. The prohibitions have, therefore, generally been explained, on Elmsley's theory, as interrogative; and οὐ μὴ καταβήσει; is supposed to mean will you not not come down? i.e. do not come down. All subjunctives that are found in these prohibitions, as in “οὐ μὴ σκώψῃς μηδὲ ποιήσῃς,AR. Nub. 296 , have generally been condemned since Brunck and Elmsley, and such subjunctives are seldom seen in recent editions of the dramatists.

But all attempts to explain these constructions of οὐ μή on different theories lead to fatal difficulties. We cannot make all the prohibitions interrogative, nor can we change all the prohibitory subjunctives to futures without violence to the text; nor are all cases of οὐ μή with the second person of the subjunctive or of the future prohibitory. The following examples show a complete transition from one of the uses of οὐ μή to the other, and yet no line of distinction, on which different theories of construction can reasonably be based, can be drawn between any two of them:—

Οὔτοι σ᾽ Ἀχαιῶν, οἶδα, μή τις ὑβρίσῃ,” “no one of the Achaeans, I am sure, will insult you.” SOPH. Aj. 560. Οὔ σοι μὴ μεθέψομαί ποτε, “I never will follow you.” Id. El. 1052.Κοὐχὶ μὴ παύσησθε,” “and you will not cease.” AR. Lys. 704. Ἀλλ᾽ οὔ ποτ᾽ ἐξ ἐμοῦ γε μὴ πάθῃς τόδε, “but you shall never suffer this from me.” SOPH. El. 1029. Οὐ μή ποτ᾽ ἐς τὴν Σκῦρον ἐκπλεύσῃς, “you shall never sail off to Scyros.” Id. Ph. 381.Οὐ μὴ σκώψῃς . . . ἀλλ᾽ εὐφήμει,” “do not jeer (i.e. you shall not jeer), but hold your tongue.” AR. Nub. 296 (this cannot be interrogative). Οὐ μὴ προσοίσεις χεῖρα μηδ ἅψει πέπλων, do not bring your hand near me, nor touch my garments. EUR. Hipp. 606 (generally made interrogative).

It should be made a first requisite of any theory that it shall explain all these cases on the same general principle.

A preliminary question to be settled, if possible, is whether οὐ and μή merely combine to make a single strong negative, or whether οὐ as an independent adverb negatives μή and the verb taken together. The difficulty either of conceiving οὐ and μή as forming a single strong negative, as οὐ and οὐδέν or μή and μηδέν often do, or of understanding how μὴ γένηται, which by itself cannot mean it will not happen, can be strengthened by οὐ into an expression with this very meaning, has made it impossible to defend the former view on any recognised principle, even when it was adopted for want of something better, as in the earlier editions of the present work. The supposed analogy of μὴ οὐ forming a single negative with the infinitive will hardly hold as a support of this; for, while we cannot have a sentence like οὐχ ὅσιόν ἐστι μὴ οὐ βοηθεῖν continued by an infinitive with οὐδέ (e.g. by οὐδὲ ἀμύνεσθαι), we frequently have sentences like οὐ μὴ καλεῖς με μηδὲ κατερεῖς τοὔνομα, where μηδέ continues the prohibition without repeating οὐ, showing the distinct force of each part of this double negative. But this only brings out more emphatically the perplexing question that lies at the basis of the whole discussion. If οὐ is an independent negative, as by every principle of Greek negatives it should be, what does it negative? It is clear that there is only one active negative in οὐ μὴ γένηται, it will not happen; and οὐ μὴ σκώψῃς, do not jeer, surely does not have one more active negative than μὴ σκώψῃς.12

It seems obvious, therefore, that if οὐ is an independent negative in οὐ μὴ γένηται, the negative force of the μή must in some way be in abeyance, as otherwise the two simple negatives would make the sentence as a whole positive. We may naturally turn for a suggestion here to the principal form of expression in which the negative force of μή seems to be in abeyance,—to Plato's favourite subjunctive with μή as a form of cautious assertion, as μὴ φαυλὸν , I think it will prove to be bad, Crat. 425 B. (See § 264 and the examples.) Such expressions are, practically, cautious affirmative statements, the fear that something may prove true having by usage softened into a suspicion, and this again into an idea of probability or possibility, so that μὴ φαῦλον , which originally meant may it not prove bad (as I fear it may), has come to mean I suspect it may prove bad, and finally, I think it will prove bad or it will probably prove bad. The expression, however, always retains at least the implication that the fact thus stated is an object of apprehension to some one, though it has lost all of its original reference to such apprehension on the part of the speaker.13 If now a writer wished to express the negative of one of these cautious assertions, in which the original force of μή has practically disappeared, he would say, for example, οὐ μὴ φαῦλον , it will not prove to be bad. We thus have a simple explanation of such sentences as οὐ μὴ οἷός τ᾽ ᾖς, you will not be able, PLAT. Rep. 341 B, and οὐ μὴ δυνατὸς , I shall not be able, Id. Phil. 48 D, the former being the negative of μὴ οἷός τ᾽ ᾖς, I suspect you will be able, the latter of μὴ δυνατὸς , I suspect that I shall be able. So, by prefixing οὐ to μὴ ἀναγκαῖον , it may be necessary, we have οὐ μὴ ἀναγκαῖον , it will not be necessary. (See footnote, p. 394.)

This use of μή with the independent subjunctive in Plato, is, however, confined to the present subjunctive, and generally to (or ἔχῃ with an adverb), while οὐ μή generally has the aorist subjunctive or the future indicative, and only rarely the present subjunctive, even in Plato. (See examples in § 295.) Still, the successful application of the principle to the few present subjunctives which are like those above quoted indicates that we are on the right track.

The independent subjunctive with μή is by no means confined to the Platonic construction above mentioned, although this is its chief representative in Attic Greek. It is familiar in Homer in expressions of apprehension combined with a desire to avert the object of fear; as μὴ δὴ νῆας ἕλωσι, may they not seize the ships (as I fear they may), Il. xvi. 128. (See § 261.) In such expressions sometimes the fear itself and sometimes the desire to avert the danger is more prominent; see Od. v. 415: μή πώς μ᾽ ἐκβαίνοντα βάλῃ λίθακι προτὶ πέτρῃ κῦμα μέγ᾽ ἁρπάξαν, μελέη δέ μοι ἔσσεται ὁρμή, i.e. I fear that some wave may dash me upon a rock as I am emerging from the sea, and my effort will (then) be in vain (the clause of fear being merged in a direct statement). See also Il. ii. 195, Il. xviii. 8; Od. v. 356, Od. xvi. 255.Between Homer and Plato, we find only eight cases of independent μή (or μὴ οὐ) with the subjunctive;14 but in these we can see the transition from Homer's clause of apprehension to Plato's cautious assertion. (See § 264.) In four of these cases, the speaker expresses fear and a desire to avert its object. These are EUR. Alc. 315, μὴ σοὺς διαφθείρῃ γάμους,— EUR. Or. 776,μὴ λάβωσί σ᾽ ἄσμενοι” ,— H. F. 1399,ἀλλ᾽ αἷμα μὴ σοῖς ἐξομόρξωμαι πέπλοις” ,—Rhes. 115, μὴ οὐ μόλῃς πόλιν. In the other four we see either the cautious assertion found in Plato or a near approach to it. In HDT. v. 79, we have ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον μὴ οὐ τοῦτο τὸ μαντήιον, but I suspect rather that this will prove not to be the meaning of the oracle (precisely Plato's usage). Cases of μὴ οὐ of course illustrate this use of μή with the subjunctive equally with those of the simple μή. In EUR. Tro. 982, Hecuba says to Helen, μὴ οὐ πείσῃς σοφούς, I suspect you will not convince wise people, with the same sarcastic tone which is in Plato's μὴ οὐκ διδακτὸν ἀρετή, I suspect it will prove that virtue is not a thing to be taught, Men. 94E (said by Socrates, who is arguing that virtue is οὐ διδακτόν). In AR. Eccl. 795, most editions have μὴ γὰρ οὐ λάβῃς ὅποι (sc. ταῦτα καταθῇς, where the Mss. give an impossible λάβοις), I suspect you will not find a place to put them down, with the same affectation of anxiety as in the two preceding examples. In XEN. Mem. iv. 2, 12 , we have one of the rare interrogative forms of the subjunctive with μή, in which Euthydemus says to Socrates, μὴ οὖν οὐ δύνωμαι (v. l. δύναμαι) ἐγὼ τὰ τῆς δικαιοσύνης ἔργα διηγήσασθαι; do you suspect that I shall be (or am) unable to explain the works of Justice? He adds, καὶ νὴ Δἴ ἔγωγε τὰ τῆς ἀδικίας, I assure you, I can explain those of Injustice. Here the spirit of the expression is the same as in the other cases. Compare the similar interrogatives in Plato: Phaed. 64C, Rep. 603 C, Parm. 163 D, Sisyph. 387 C. But for the eight cases of independent μή that have been quoted, we should never know that the construction existed between Homer and Plato. We have good ground for believing that it remained as a colloquial idiom in the language, though it seldom appeared in literature until Plato revived it and restored it to common use as a half-sarcastic form of expressing mildly a disagreeable truth. In Plato, the construction is not confined to this peculiar sense, for we find cases in which honest apprehension is expressed as in the older use. Weber quotes Euthyd. 272 C, μὴ τοῖν ξένοιν τις ταὐτὸ τοῦτο ὀνειδίσῃ, I am afraid some one may insult the two strangers in this same way (or let no one insult them, as I fear some one may); also Symp. 193B, καὶ μή μοι ὑπολάβῃ, I hope he will not answer me; and Leg. 861 E, μὴ τοίνυν τις οἴηται.

It appears, therefore, that the independent subjunctive with μή was in good use in the fifth century B.C. in the two senses illustrated by EUR. Or. 776,μὴ λάβωσί σε” , I fear they may seize you, and by EUR. Tro. 982, μὴ οὐ πείσης σοφούς, I suspect you will fail to convince wise people. From the persistence of the original meaning, even in Plato, we may probably assume that the expression more frequently included the idea of apprehension which is essential to it in Homer. But the other examples show that μὴ λάβωσί σε must have been in equally good use in the sense I suspect they will seize you (implying no apprehension). If now we suppose οὐ to be prefixed to μὴ λάβωσί σε, we shall have οὐ μὴ λάβωσί σε, which could be said with the meaning I am not afraid that they will seize you, and equally well with the meaning they shall not seize you. The former sense agrees precisely with that of some of the older uses of οὐ μή with the subjunctive. If the strange example from Parmenides (vs. 121) is genuine, we have οὐ μή ποτέ τίς σε βροτῶν γνώμῃ παρελάσσῃ, there is no danger that any mortal will surpass you in wisdom. In Sept. 38 (one of the oldest cases, Sept. 467B.C.), οὔ τι μὴ ληφθῶ δόλῳ, I have no fear of being caught by any trick, we can easily understand οὐ μὴ ληφθῶ as the negative of μὴ ληφθῶ, I fear I may be caught. So in Parmenides we have the negative of μή τίς σε παρελάσσῃ, I fear some one may surpass you. Οὐ μή τις ὀνειδίσῃ would be a natural negative of μή τις ὀνειδίσῃ, I fear some one may insult, in PLAT. Euthyd. 272 C. So, where there is no denial of apprehension, οὐ μὴ πάθῃς τόδε, you shall not suffer this, SOPH. El. 1029, may be the negative of μὴ πάθῃς τόδε, I suspect you will suffer this; and οὐ μὴ ἐκπλεύσῃς, Id. Phil. 381, may be the negative of μὴ ἐκπλεύσῃς, I suspect you will sail away. So οὐ μὴ ναῦς ἀφορμίσῃ (Kirchoff, -σῃς) χθονὸς, πρὶν ἄν, etc., you shall not move your ships from the shore, until, etc., I. T. EUR. 18, will be the negative of μὴ ναῦς ἀφορμίσῃ, I suspect you will move your ships. These expressions with οὐ μή were always colloquial, as were also (at least in Attic Greek) the expressions with μή and the subjunctive from which they are here supposed to have sprung.15

If it is thought that the limited number of cases of independent μή with the subjunctive not implying apprehension do not justify the assumptions which have been based on them, it is easy to see how the change from the denial of an apprehension to the denial of a suspicion might have taken place within the οὐ μή construction itself. If we suppose such expressions as οὐ μὴ ληφθῶ and οὐ μή τίς σε ὑβρίσῃ to have been established as the negatives of μὴ ληφθῶ, I fear I may be caught, and μή τίς σε ὑβρίσῃ, I fear some one may insult you, they must soon have fallen out of this relation to the parent forms, and have been felt in use to be mere future negative assertions, so that they could not long be restricted to sentences in which apprehension was implied. Thus, οὐ μὴ ναῦς ἀφορμίσῃ χθονός would soon become as natural to those who used these forms as the older οὐ μή τίς σε ὑβρίσῃ. According to this view, οὐ μή with the subjunctive would come into the language in the sense of a denial of an apprehension, which is essentially the same general sense as that supposed by the theory of an ellipsis of δέος ἐστίν. But there is a great advantage in dispensing with this troublesome and improbable ellipsis, and deriving the meaning from the sentence as it stands. There is surely no more ground for assuming this ellipsis here than in the independent subjunctive with μή, which is an older construction than the dependent subjunctive with μή. And if we accept μή τίς σε ὑβρίσῃ as a complete construction, without the help of δέος ἐστίν, it is absurd to invent an ellipsis to explain οὐ μή τίς σε ὑβρίσῃ as a shorter form for οὐ δέος ἐστὶ μή τίς σε ὑβρίσῃ. In fact, dispensing with this ellipsis removes the most fatal objection to the view of the sentence on which the old theory was based.

In whichever of the two ways above suggested the subjunctive with οὐ μή came to express a simple future denial, it was only natural that the Attic Greek should soon begin to use the future indicative in place of the subjunctive in the same sense. Thus we have in SOPH. El. 1052,οὔ σοι μὴ μεθέψομαί ποτε” , and in AR. Ran. 508,οὐ μή σ᾽ ἐγὼ περιόψομαι” , both expressing denial. At this stage all recollection of the original clause with μή and the subjunctive must have been lost, as there was no corresponding clause with μή and the future indicative in common use, of which οὐ μή with the future could be the negative. A most striking proof of the entire loss of this tradition is given by examples of indirect quotation of οὐ μή with the future. In SOPH. Ph. 611 we have τά τ᾽ ἄλλα τάντ᾽ ἐθέσπισεν, καὶ τἀπὶ Τροίας πέργαμ᾽ ὡς οὐ μή ποτε πέρσοιεν εἰ μὴ τόνδε ἄγοιντο, the direct form being οὐ μή ποτε πέρσετε ἐὰν μὴ τόνδε ἄγησθε. In XEN. Hell. i. 6, 32,εἶπεν ὅτι Σπάρτη οὐδὲν μὴ κάκιον οἰκιεῖται αὐτοῦ ἀποθανόντος” , the future indicative is retained in an otherwise similar construction. In EUR. Ph. 1590, we find εἶπε Τειρεσίας οὐ μή ποτε, σοῦ τήνδε γῆν οἰκοῦντος, εὖ πράξειν τόλιν, representing οὐ μή ποτε εὖ πράξει. We could not explain οὐ μὴ πράξειν as an independent expression on any theory, either with or without an ellipsis. Such forms show the advanced stage within the construction of οὐ μή had reached. (See § 296.)

We find in the Roman comic poets a few cases of neque with haud in the same clause, forming a single negative. Such are PLAUT. Bacch. 1037,Neque ego haud committam ut, si mid peccatum siet, fecisse dicas de mea sententia” ; and TER. Andr. 205,Neque tu haud dices tibi non praedictum” . Neque haud may fairly be supposed to be a translation of οὐδὲ μή in a Greek original. If it is, it shows that the Roman poet understood οὐ μή with the subjunctive or the future indicative as a simple expression of denial.

When οὐ μή with the future indicative had been established as a regular form of future denial, the second person singular probably began to be used as a form of prohibition. As the future could be used in positive commands in an imperative sense, as in “πάντως δὲ τοῦτο δράσεις,” “but by all means do this,” AR. Nub. 1352 , it could also take the simple οὐ in prohibitions, as in “χειρὶ δ᾽ οὐψαύσεις ποτε,” “you shall not touch me with your hand, or do not touch me.” EUR. Med. 1320. (See § 69.) The dramatists soon introduced the form with οὐ μή into such prohibitions, generally with the future indicative, but occasionally with the more primitive subjunctive. Thus οὐ μὴ καταβήσει had the sense of do not come down, derived from you shall not come down, as οὐ ψαύσεις (above) from meaning you shall not touch came to mean do not touch. One of the strongest objections to the older views of the forms with οὐ μή is that they generally require a distinct explanation of this prohibitory construction. Elmsley's theory of a question with two negatives, explaining οὐ μὴ καταβήσει; as will you NOT NOT come down? hence do not come down, was stated in the Quarterly Review for June 1812, and in his note to EUR. Med. 1120 (1151 Dind.). Many who do not adopt Elmsley's theory in full still accept the interrogative form, and these sentences are now generally printed as questions. Long before Elmsley, the famous “Canon Davesianus” had proscribed all sigmatic aorist subjunctives with οὐ μή as well as with ὅπως μή. This edict removed nearly or quite all the troublesome subjunctives that would have opposed Elmsley's view, and left only the future indicative in his doubly-negatived questions, which of course required an indicative. This again set up an artificial distinction in form between the prohibitory construction allowing only the future indicative, and the other construction allowing both subjunctive and future indicative.

But it has been more and more evident in later years that this distinction in form between the two constructions cannot be maintained. It was seen by Brunck, before Elmsley's interrogative theory appeared, that it would be absurd to distinguish sentences like “ταῦτα οὐ μή ποτ᾽ ἐς τὴν Σκῦρον ἐκπλεύσῃς ἔχων” “you shall never sail away to Scyros with these arms,” SOPH. Ph. 381 , from “οὐ μὴ καταβήσει” “you shall not come down,” AR. Vesp. 397 . He therefore wrote ἐκπλεύσεις in the former, with the note “soloece vulgo legitur ἐκπλεύσῃς.” But ἐκπλεύσεις proved to be even a greater solecism than ἐκπλεύσῃς was thought to be, for the only classic future of πλέω is the middle πλεύσομαι or πλευσοῦμαι, and ἐκπλεύσει will not suit the verse. So ἐκπλεύσῃς had to be restored. Again, while almost all the sentences containing a prohibition with οὐ μή, followed by a positive command with ἀλλά or δέ, could admit of Elmsley's punctuation and interpretation,—as “οὐ μὴ λαλήσεις ἀλλ᾽ ἀκολουθήσεις ἐμοί;AR. Nub. 505 , explained as won't you not talk nonsense and follow me? — another passage of the Clouds resisted both of these and also the prescribed form. In 296, the Mss. have οὐ μὴ σκώψῃς μηδὲ ποιήσῃς ἅπερ οἱ τρυγοδαίμονες οὗτοι: ἀλλ᾽ εὐφήμει. Brunck emended this without hesitation to οὐ μὴ σκώψεις μηδὲ ποιήσεις, with the note “ soloece vulgo σκώψῃς . . . ποιήσῃς.” But there was no place for Elmsley's interrogative mark, which could not stand after the imperative, and could not be inserted after οὗτοι without implying that the other sentences (like AR. Nub. 505 above) were wrongly punctuated. The emendation σκώψεις was as unfortunate as ἐκπλεύσεις, as the future of σκώπτω is σκώψομαι, not σκώψω, so that a further emendation to σκώψει was needed. In this battered condition, and with no interrogative mark to help the interpretation, the passage usually appears, even in the latest editions. (See §§ 298, 300, 301.) So long as it is proposed to explain these prohibitions and the ordinary denials with οὐ μή on entirely different theories, with nothing common to the two constructions, it may not seem unreasonable to force a few examples like AR. Nub. 296 and 367 into conformity with the general usage. But on any theory which makes no distinction in construction between the prohibitions and the other negative expressions of denial or refusal (for example, between οὐ μὴ ἐκπλεύσῃς, you shall not sail away, and οὐ μὴ καταβήσει, do not come down, i.e. you shall not come down), there is no more reason for objecting to οὐ μὴ σκώψῃς than to οὐ μὴ ἐκπλεύσῃς. An occasional subjunctive, like οὐ μὴ σκώψῃς or οὐ μὴ ληρήσῃς, is indeed no more than we should naturally expect in a construction which had its origin in the subjunctive. In such expressions, further, the analogy of the equivalent μὴ σκώψῃς and μὴ ληρήσῃς would tend to make the aorist subjunctive unobjectionable and perfectly natural. A reference to the list of passages quoted on page 390 will show the inconsistencies into which every one must fall who attempts to explain the prohibitions and the clauses of denial on different theories. We cannot separate οὐ μὴ σκώψῃς from οὐ μὴ ἐκπλεύσῃς in construction, nor the latter from οὐ μὴ πάθῃς, nor this again from οὐ μή τις ὑβρίσῃ, on any consistent principle of interpretation.16

Sentences of one class have been claimed as decisive witnesses in favour of the interrogative theory. They are represented by “οὐ θᾶσσον οἴσεις, μηδ᾽ ἀπιστήσεις ἐμοί;” “will you not more quickly extend it (your hand), and not distrust me?” SOPH. Tr. 1183. These are undoubted questions, but there is no construction with οὐ μή in them. They consist of one question with οὐ, implying an affirmative answer, will you not extend your hand? and another with μή, implying a negative answer, and you will not distrust me, will you? The compound of the two has the general sense expressed in the first translation above. (See § 299 and the examples.)

In conclusion, we may sum up the result of the investigation as follows. The original construction of οὐ μή with the subjunctive was developed as a negative form of the independent subjunctive with μή, which had already become an expression of apprehension with desire to avert its object, even if it had not passed into the stage of a cautious assertion; in either case, the real negative force of μή was in abeyance. The aorist subjunctive is the most common form here, the present being less frequent. This form of future denial next admitted the future indicative in the same sense as the subjunctive. The second person singular of this future with οὐ μή was used by the dramatists as a prohibition, without abandoning the sense which the future can always have in both positive and negative commands. In these prohibitions the future indicative, in which they had their origin, is generally used; but the subjunctive occasionally occurs, being analogous to the ordinary aorist subjunctive with μή in prohibitions; e.g. μὴ σκώψῃς supporting οὐ μὴ σκώψῃς.17


Statistics of the Use of the Final Particles.

The following tables are based on the statistics given by Dr. Philipp Weber in his Entwickelungsgeschichte der Absichtssätze.

1. Statistics of the use of the Final Particles in pure final clauses by different authors.

Ὄφρα Ὄφρα κε or ἄν Ἵνα Ὥς Ὡς ἄν or ὥς κε Ὅπως Ὄπως ἄν with Subj.18
Homer 223 14 145 24 19 38 9
Hom. Hymns 8 1 (opt.) 5 ... 2 (opt.)
Hesiod 10 ... 11 3 3
Pindar 11 ... ... 3 1 (opt.) 1
Aeschylus ... ... 2 23 11 11 520
Sophocles ... ... 14 52 5 31 2
Euripides ... ... 71 182 27 19 7
Aristophanes ... ... 183 321 14 1822 24
Herodotus ... ... 107 16 11 13 23 5
Thucydides ... ... 52 1 1 114
Xenophon ... ... 213 83 8 24 221 14
Plato ... ... 368 1 ... 23 25
Ten Orators ... ... 57925 3 or 426 ... 42 12
Demosthenes ... ... 253 ... ... 14 4

2. Statistics of the use of the four Final Particles in pure final clauses in the Iliad and the Odyssey.

SUBJ. FUT. IND. OPT.
ὄφρα (pure)

Il. 89
Od. 82
171

2
2
4

22
26
48

Il. 113
Od. 110
223

ὄφρα κε

Il. 1
Od. 6
7

...
...

1
0
1

Il. 2
Od. 6
8

ὄφρ᾽ ἄν

Il. 2
Od. 3
7

...
...

0
1
1

Il. 2
Od. 4
6

Total cases of ὄφρα 237
ἵνα (pure)

Il. 45
Od. 48
93

...
...

22
30
52

Il. 67
Od. 78
145

ὡς (pure)

Il. 10
Od. 2
12

...
...

6
6
12

Il. 16
Od. 8
24

ὥς κε

Il. 11
Od. 9
20

...
...

0
5
5

Il. 11
Od. 14
25

ὡς ἄν

Il. 3
Od. 6
9

...
...

1
3
4

Il. 4
Od. 9
13

Total cases of ὡς 62
ὅπως (pure)

Il. 0
Od. 1
1

0
1
1

2
5
7

Il. 2
Od. 7
9

3. Examples of ὡς and ὅπως in object clauses in Homer after verbs of planning, trying, etc. (see § 341).

Simple ὡς with subjunctive: Il. ii. 4 (some read opt.), Od. v. 24. (2). Ὥς κε with subjunctive: Il. iv. 66 (=71), Il. ix. 112, Il. xv. 235, Il. xxi. 459; Od. i. 205, Od. ii. 168, Od. 316, Od. 368, Od. v. 31, Od. vii. 192. (10).

Simple ὅπως with subjunctive: Il. iii. 19, Il. 110, Il. xvii 635, Il. 713, Od. i. 77, Od. xiii. 365, Od. 386. (7). Ὅπως κε with subjunctive: Od. i. 270, Od. 295, Od. iv. 545; so Il. ix. 681, if this is subjunctive (4).

Ὡς with optative: Il. ix. 181; Od. vi. 112. (2) Ὅπως with optative: Il. xiv. 160, Il. xxi. 137, Il. xxiv. 680; Od. iii. 129, Od. viii. 345, Od. ix. 420, Od. 554, Od. xi. 229, Od. 480, Od. xv. 170, Od. 203. (11).

Weber cites ὅππως κεν σόῳς in Il. ix. 681 as optative, and omits Od. iii. 19 as a suspected verse.

The following verbs are used to introduce this construction in Homer: φράζομαι and its compounds, 14 times; βουλεύω and βουλὴν εἰπεῖν, 5 times; πειρῶ, 5 times; μερμηρίζω, 4 times; ὁρμαίνω and λίσσομαι, each twice; and νοέω, λεύσσω, μῆτιν ὕφηνον, and μνήσομαι, each once. (36 total)


Xenophon's Peculiar use of ὡς, ὡς ἄν, and ὅπως ἄν in Final and Object Clauses.


In Final Clauses.

I. (Ὡς, and ὡς ἄν.) 1. It is well known that Xenophon is almost the only writer of Attic prose who uses ὡς freely in the final constructions. Weber's statistics (p. 398) show that while ὡς is the favourite final particle in tragedy, it is hardly found in Aristophanes, Thucydides, Plato, and the Orators. Xenophon forms a strange exception to the prose usage, having ὡς or ὡς ἄν in 91 of his pure final clauses. There is nothing peculiar in his use of final ὡς with either subjunctive or optative, as it merely takes the place of another final particle.

2. In his use of ὡς ἄν in final clauses, however, several peculiarities appear, which show that Xenophon felt the original force of ὡς as a relative adverb of manner (§ 312). The following examples occur.27

a) Of eight cases of ὡς ἄν with the subjunctive, six are normal, while two show the relative force of ὡς:—

Ὡς ἂν δύνηταί σοι στρατὸς ἕπεσθαι, τῷ μέσῳ τῆς σπουδῆς ἡγοῦ,” “lead on at a medium rate of speed, that the army may be able to follow you.” Cyr. ii. 4. 28 . (The analogy of the following cases of the optative may justify the translation, lead at a rate at which the army may be able to follow you.) “Αἱ μὲν κνῆμαι εἰς μέγεθος οὐ μάλα αὔξονται, πρὸς δὲ ταύτας ὡς ἂν συμμέτρως ἔχῃ συναύξεται καὶ τὸ ἄλλο σῶμα,” “i.e. the rest of the (horse's) body grows so as to be in the right proportion to the legs.” Eques. i. 16 . These two cases are (as Weber says of those of the optative) on the line between final and consecutive sentences. The original relative and conditional force of ὡς (§ 312, 2) can here be plainly seen.

b) The original relative force of ὡς, as, is much more apparent when ὡς ἄν takes the optative in Xenophon with a potential force, especially after primary tenses. These examples occur:—

II. (Ὅπως.) Xenophon's favourite final particle is ὅπως, but there is nothing peculiar in his use of it in pure final clauses with either subjunctive or optative. He further uses ὅπως ἄν with the subjunctive like other Attic writers (see examples in § 328).

With the optative he uses ὅπως ἄν in four cases with a distinct final and an equally distinct potential force. These examples are quoted in § 330. The only other case is THUC. vii. 65.


In Object Clauses after Verbs of Striving etc.

Xenophon is more peculiar in his use of ὡς, ὡς ἄν, and ὅπως ἄν in these clauses than in pure final clauses. Here he generally uses ὅπως with the future indicative, subjunctive, and optative, and occasionally ὅπως ἄν with the subjunctive, like other Attic writers (see examples in §§ 339 and 348). But he distinctly violates Attic usage by having ὡς (in the sense of ὅπως) with both subjunctive and future indicative, and with the present, aorist, and future optative; also ὡς ἄν with both subjunctive and optative and ὅπως ἄν with the optative; and further by allowing the optative with ὡς ἄν and ὅπως ἄν to follow both primary and secondary tenses. His use of ὡς ἄν and ὅπως ἄν with the optative, especially after primary tenses, shows strongly the original relative and interrogative force of ὡς and ὅπως.

The examples of the exceptional uses are these.

Ὡς.

Ὡς ἄν with Subjunctive.

With Optative.

Ὥπως ἄν, with Optative) Three examples after primary tenses are especially peculiar.

Here belongs also Lys. 207 Eπροθυμοῦνται ὅπως ἂν εὐδαιμονοίης(349).


On some Disputed Points in the Construction of ἔδει, χρῆν, etc. with the Infinitive.29

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.30 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.31

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 § 423.32 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.


Deliberative Constructions

IN a paper on The Extent of the Deliberative Construction in Relative Clauses in Greek, in the Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. vii. (1896), pp. 1-12, I have reviewed the recent discussion on this subject, and have maintained the following points, on which I agree substantially with Professor Hale's paper in the Transactions of the American Philological Association, xxiv. pp. 156-205.

1. Οὐκ ἔχω, οὐκ ἔστι with the dative, and similar expressions, in the sense of ἀπορῶ, may be followed by a deliberative subjunctive in an indirect question; as οὐκ ἔχω τι εἴπω or οὐκ ἔχω τί φῶ, I know not what to say, non habeo quod (or quid dicam, τι here being purely interrogative like τί. This subjunctive can become an optative after a past tense or another optative; as “οὐκ εἴχομεν ὅτου ἐπιλαβοίμεθα,DEM. XXXV. 25. Besides the examples in 677 we have the following.

In AR. Eq. 1320,τίν᾽ ἔχων φήμην ἀγαθὴν ἥκεις, ἐφ᾽ ὅτῳ κνισῶμεν ἀγυιάς;” we probably have an indirect question representing ἐπὶ τίνι (in whose honor or for what) κνισῶμεν ἀγυιάς; depending on the idea what have you to report to us? or can you tell us?

In all these we find no case parallel to the Homeric “ἡγεμόν᾽ ὄπασσον, κέ με κεῖσ᾽ ἀγάγῃ,Od. xv. 310.

2. Expressions like οὐκ ἔχει τι εἴπῃ, he has nothing to say, give rise by analogy to ἔχει τι εἴπῃ, he has something to say, though in the latter there is really no indirect question. See examples in § 572, 1.

3. A further extension of the deliberative usage leads to the subjunctive and optative in clauses introduced by true relatives with distinct antecedents, when these depend on expressions implying doubt, perplexity, or ignorance. See examples in § 572, 2. Thus, in οὐ γὰρ ἄλλον οἶδ᾽ ὅτῳ λέγω, we cannot distinguish the modal force of the subjunctive from that in οὐ γὰρ οἶδ᾽ ὅτῳ ἄλλῳ λέγω, the subjunctive being deliberative in both. The former is the result of a simple evolution, by which a relative clause derives its modal force from an interrogative form. Whatever final force is felt in the expression comes from the intimate relation between the deliberative and the hortatory subjunctive (see § 291). See A. Sidgwick in the Classical Review for 1891, p. 148. We have the evolution actually going on in XEN. An. i. 7, 7, where μὴ οὐκ ἔχω τι δῶ is interrogative and μὴ οὐκ ἔχω ἱκανοὺς οἷς δῶ is purely relative, while the modal force of δῶ must be the same in both. See also XEN. Hellen. i. 3, 21, SOPH. Phil. 692, THEOC. xxv. 218. In AESCH. Prom. 470, LYS. xxiv. 1, ISOC. xxi. 1, we may call the dependent clause an indirect question, depending directly on the idea I cannot (could not) see. See Tarbell in Classical Review for 1891, p. 302.

4. While most of the optatives quoted in this discussion are simply explained as correlatives of the deliberative subjunctive, a very different problem is presented by the examples in § 573. In SOPH. Tr. 903,κρύψασ᾽ ἑαυτὴν ἔνθα μή τις εἰσίδοι” , we cannot suppose an Attic construction like κρύψω ἐμαυτὴν ἔνθα μή τις εἰσίδῃ, for we should certainly find εἰσόψεται, as in SOPH. Aj. 658,κρύψω τόδ᾽ ἔγχος ἔνθα μή τις ὄψεται” . (For an occasional future optative, see § 574.) In AR. Ran. 97,ὅστις λάκοι” clearly expresses purpose, and we cannot think of substituting ὅστις λάκῃ for it; and ὅστις φθέγξεται, the true Attic expression, is found in the next verse: the latter decides the force of ὅστις λάκοι. It would seem that the optative, which is further removed than the subjunctive from the original deliberative construction, took another step in the process of “extension,” and gave us a few such expressions as have been quoted. Another case of final optative is PLAT. Rep. 398B,ὃς . . . μιμοῖτο καὶ . . . λέγοι” . In PLAT. Rep. 578E,εἴ τις θεῶν ἄνδρα θείη εἰς ἐρημίαν, ὅπου αὐτῷ μηδεὶς μέλλοι βοηθήσειν” , if some God should put a man in a desert, where there should be nobody likely to help him, we might take the second clause as either final or conditional; it probably combines a final with a conditional force, expressing the purpose of putting the man into a desert and also continuing the condition of the preceding clause.

In SOPH. Phil. 279-282,ὁρῶντα ῾παστ̓ ναῦς βεβώσας, ἄνδρα δ᾽ οὐδέν᾽ ἔντοπον ῾σξ. ὄντα, οὐχ ὅστις ἀρκέσειεν οὐδ᾽ ὅστις συλλάβοιτο” , I formerly classed the optatives with those in § 573; but it now seems to me that οὐδεὶς ἔντοπός ἐστιν ὅστις ἀρκέσῃ would be as natural as ἐμοὶ γὰρ οὐκέτ᾽ ἐστὶν εἰς τι βλέπω in SOPH. Aj. 514, and I have therefore included this passage with the examples under § 573.2.

1 See Delbrück, Syntaktische Forschungen, Il. i. (Conjunctiv und Optativ), pp. 23-25.

2 See Delbrück, Conjunctiv und Optativ, p. 112.

3 See C. F. Hermann, de Protasi Paratactica, p. 7.

4 Der Homerische Gebrauch der Partikel EI, von Ludwig Lange, des vi. Bandes der Abhandlungen der philologisch-historischen Classe der Königl. Sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften No. 4. Lange himself, nevertheless, believes the optative to be originally the mood of “Einbildungskraft,” not of wish.

5 See Lange, pp. 311, 312; and footnote to § 379 of this work.

6 Lange, p. 484, calls εἰ “eine zur Einleitung von Wünschen und Fallsetzungen geeignete interjectionsartige Partikel.” See also p. 565.

7 To show the uncertainty the exists concerning some of these optatives in the minds of modern scholars, I give some of the most recent translations of four of them. Il. vi. 164: You may as well die, Monro; I pray that you may die, Leaf (ed.); Die, Proetus, Leaf (transl.); Du wirst selbst sterben mü ssen, Delbrück. Il. xxiii. 151: I may as well give, Monro; “The optative expresses a wish,” I should like to give it, may I be allowed to give it, Leaf; I may give, Myers; Ich werde mitgeben, Delbrück. Il. xxi. 274: I am ready to suffer, Monro; Perish; then let come what may, Leaf; After that let come to me what may. Myers. Il. xxiv. 149: Only a herald may follow, Monro; I permit a herald to go with him, Leaf; Let some older herald attend on him, Myers.

8 See Delbrück, Conj.u. Opt.pp. 26, Opt. 194, Opt. 198, Opt. 199.Whitney, who agrees generally with Delbrück in deriving the other uses of the Sanskrit optative from the idea of wish or desire, says of the actual use of the mood (Sanskrit Grammar, § 573): “But the expression of desire, on the one hand, passes naturally over into that of request or entreaty, so that the optative becomes a softened imperative; and on the other hand, it comes to signify what is generally desirable or proper, what should or ought to be, and so becomes the mode of prescription; or, yet again, it is weakened into signifying what may or can be, what is likely or usual, and so becomes at last a softened statement of what is.” Again, in § 574: “Subjunctive and optative run closely parallel with one another in the oldest language in their use in independent clauses, and are hardly distinguishable in dependent.” In § 575: “The difference between imperative and subjunctive and optative, in their fundamental and most characteristic uses, is one of degree. . . . There is, in fact, nothing in the earliest employment of these modes to prove that they might not all be specialised uses of forms originally equivalent—having, for instance, a general future meaning.” In § 581: “In all dependent constructions, it is still harder even in the oldest language to establish a distinction between subjunctive and optative: a method of use of either is scarcely to be found to which the other does not furnish a practical equivalent.” The original relation of the Sanskrit subjunctive and optative here stated closely resembles what I believe to have been the original relation of the Greek subjunctive and optative, the optative being essentially a sort of weaker subjunctive, both expressing essentially the same ideas. My own view would, I think, agree substantially with that suggested by Delbrück (Syntaktische Forschungen, Opt. iv. p. 117) as an alternative to his earlier view presented in his Conjunctiv und Optativ (vol. i. of the same work) eight years before: “Eine andere Möglichkeit wäre, in beiden Modi den futurischen Sinn zu finden, und zwar im Conj.die Bezeichnung der nahen, im Opt.die der ferneren Zukunft. Unter dieser Voraussetzung müsste die von mir Forsch. Synt. i. gewählte Anordnung gänzlich umgestaltet werden.” I was, of course, not aware of this important concession of Delbrück when I suggested in the same month (August, 1879), in my Greek Grammar, p. 258, the relation of the optative to the subjunctive which is advocated in the present work. Since the above was written, Delbrück in his Alt-Indische Syntax has expressed an opinion (in contradiction to his earlier view, discussed above), that the potential and wishing functions of the optative are distinct in their origin.

9 Delbrück, Forsch. Synt. iv. p. 117, quotes these passages from Cauer (No. 116). In p. 118 he says of this use: “Es ist nicht zu bezweifeln, dass dieser Conjunctiv-Typus im Griechischen ausstarb, weil der Imperativ dem Bedürfniss genügte.” See also i. p. 20.

10 For an attempt to make this distinction more clear and to remove some difficulties concerning it, see my paper on “Shall and Should in Protasis and their Greek Equivalents,” in the Transactions of the Assoc. Phil. for 1876, pp. 87-107, and in the English Journal of Philology, vol. viii. no. 15, pp. 18-38. I have there given the best answer in my power to the objection that my explanation of the optative in protasis as “less distinct and vivid” than the subjunctive lacks distinctness; this answer is, briefly, that my statement is as distinct as the distinction itself to which it refers.

11 Reprinted, with a few changes, from the Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. i. pp. 65-76.

12 The idea suggested rather than advocated by Gildersleeve (American Journal of Philology, iii. pp. 203, 205), that οὐ is an independent negative, nay, while μή introduces a question which expects a negative answer, was evidently held by the copyists of some of the best Mss. of Aristophanes or by their predecessors: thus, Rav. and several Paris Mss. have οὔ: μὴ σκώψῃς (or σκώψης) in Nub. 296; Ven. 474 has οὔ: μὴ ληρήσῃς in Aristoph. Nub. 367, and οὔ: μὴ λαλήσεις in 505. See the Ms. readings given in Transactions of the American Philological Association for 1869-70, p. 52.

13 I give the following passages of Plato, with Jowett's translation, to illustrate this idiom:— Ἄλλως δὲ συνείρειν μὴ φαῦλον καὶ οὐ καθ᾽ ὁδὸν, φίλε Ἑρμόγενες, if they are not, the composition of them, my dear Hermogenes, will be a sorry piece of work, and in the wrong direction. Crat. 425 B. Ἀλλὰ μὴ ὡς ἀληθῶς, τὸ τοῦ Ἑρμογένους, γλίσχρα ὁλκὴ αὕτη τῆς ὁμοιότητος, ἀναγκαῖον δὲ καὶ τῷ φορτικῷ τούτῳ προσχρῆσθαι, τῇ ξυνθήκῃ, but the force of resemblance, as Hermogenes says, is a mean thing; and the mechanical aid of convention must be further employed. Ib. 435 C. Μὴ οὐδὲν ἄλλο σκεπτέον , the only question which remains to be considered is, etc. Crit. 48 C.

14 I depend here on Weber's statistics, given in his Entwickelungsgeschichte der Absichtssä tze.

15 EUR. Itmay perhaps be urged, in opposition to the view here presented, that οὐ μὴ λάβωσί σε, they will not seize you, cannot be the negative of μὴ λάβωσί σε in its sense of I suspect they will seize you, or even in that of I fear they may seize you, because the regular negative of this is μὴ οὐ λάβωσί σε, as we may call μὴ οὐ πείσῃς σοφούς ( EUR. Tro. 982) the negative of μὴ πείσῃς σοφούς. But οὐ in μὴ οὐ πείσῃς negatives only the verb, whereas οὐ in οὐ μὴ πείσῃς would negative the whole expression μὴ πείσῃς. Μὴ οὐ πείσῃς is a cautious negative, meaning I suspect you will not convince them, corresponding in a certain way to μὴ πείσῃς, I suspect you will convince them. But οὐ μὴ πείσῃς would be the true negative of μὴ πείσῃς, denying it absolutely, in the sense there is no ground for suspicion that you will convince them, or (sometimes) there is no fear that you will convince them, i.e. you will not convince them. There is all the difference in the world between suspecting a negative (e.g. suspecting that something will not happen) and negativing a suspicion (e.g. denying that there is any suspicion that something will happen). Surely no one could understand μὴ οὐ δυνατὸς , I suspect I shall not be able, as the negative of μὴ δυνατὸς , I suspect I shall be able. The real negative is much rather οὐ μὴ δυνατὸς , there is no chance that I shall be able, in Phil. 48 The D. negative power of οὐ in negativing μὴ λάβωσί σε in its sense of I fear they may seize you is perhaps still more apparent. Whereas μὴ οὐ λάβωσί σε in this sense would mean I am afraid they may not seize you, οὐ μὴ λάβωσί σε would mean I do not fear (or there is no danger) that they will seize you, which is felt as a strong negative, they will not seize you.

16 For a further discussion of the form of the sentences with οὐ μή, in connexion with that of clauses with ὅπως and with the Canon Davesianus, see Trans. of the Phil. Assoc. for 1869-70, pp. 46-55.

17 Since this paper was written, I have seen that Kvičala, in two articles on οὐ μή in the Zeitschrift für die oesterreichischen Gymnasien for 1856, proposed an explanation of οὐ μή with the subjunctive, which at one important point came very near the view now presented. He states two (apparently theoretical) meanings which he supposes μὴ θάνῃς to have had at some period (zwei Bedeutungsentwickelungen): one, “Du wirst doch wol am Ende, trotzdem dass ich es abzuwehren suche, sterben; ” the other, “Ich fürchte, dass du doch wol (trotz meiner Abwehr) sterben werdest.” By prefixing οὐ to μὴ θάνῃς in these meanings, he arrives at two uses of οὐ μή with the subjunctive. The second meaning comes so near the independent subjunctive with μή in Homer, that it is surprising that neither this nor the equally important μή in Plato is mentioned. But no use is made of the advantage here gained in explaining οὐ μή with the future indicative, either in prohibitions or in denials. The prohibitions are made interrogative, οὐ μὴ δυσμενὴς ἔσει; being explained as “Nicht wahr?—du wirst doch nicht feindselig seyn?” The future of denial is explained simply as developed from the interrogative future, as a form of reply to this, by leaving out the interrogative element.

18 For ὅπως ἄν with the optative in Attic Greek, see § 330.

19 Omitting Od. xxi. 201.

20 In Agam. 364 ὅπως has the optative with ἄν.

21 Two of these occur in Lysistr. 1265, 1305, in the Χορὸς Λακώνων: the third is in Eccl. 286.

22 Including 10 with future indicative.

23 Ὅκως. See Weber's erratum for his p. 130.

24 Omitting Cyr. viii. 3. 2 (see p. 400, footnote), and Xenophon's peculiar cases of ὡς ἄν with the optative (see § 326, 2). See Appendix IV.

25 Weber omits Dinarchus in p. 185 (see his p. 182).

26 DEM. xxiv. 146 is omitted, as ὡς cannot be final there. The only sure examples of ὡς final in the orators are ANT. v. 53, ANT. vi. 15; AND. i. 99. LYS. xxviii. 14 is probably corrupt (see Am. Jour. Phil. vi. p. 56).

27 See Weber, p. 224, where the examples of the optative with ὡς ἄν are also given. Weber cites Cyr. viii. 3. 2 as an example of the subjunctive; but this section has ὡς ἂν ἐξαγγείλῃ as a relative clause, but no final clause. I have added Cyr. vii. 5. 81 and Eques. ix. 3 to the examples of the optative given by Weber.

28 See also ὡς with the subjunctive in An. iii. 1. 35 and 41; Cyr. i. 6. 24; Hell. v. 4. 33; Oec. vii. 34 (bis), Oec. xx. 4 (bis) and 16; Lac. xiv. 4; and ὡς with the optative in An. i. 1. 5; Cyr. v. 1. 18, Cyr. vi. 3. 4, Cyr. viii. 1. 42; Hell. iii. 4. 15, Hell. v. 2. 1 and 5; Ages. i. 19 and 22 and 23, Ages. ii. 31; Lac. iii. 3. This list includes all object clauses with simple ὡς not given above. All Weber's examples of these clauses in Xenophon which have ὡς with the future, ὡς ἄν with the subjunctive or optative, or ὅπως ἄν with the optative are quoted or cited in the text above, except Cyr. vii. 5. 81, which is classed with final clauses in p. 401.

29 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.

30 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.

31 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.

32 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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    • Homer, Iliad, 17.102
    • Homer, Iliad, 17.635
    • Homer, Iliad, 17.713
    • Homer, Iliad, 19
    • Homer, Iliad, 21.137
    • Homer, Iliad, 21.274
    • Homer, Iliad, 21.459
    • Homer, Iliad, 22.20
    • Homer, Iliad, 23.151
    • Homer, Iliad, 23.629
    • Homer, Iliad, 24.148
    • Homer, Iliad, 24.680
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.195
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.4
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.780
    • Homer, Iliad, 3.19
    • Homer, Iliad, 3.407
    • Homer, Iliad, 3.71
    • Homer, Iliad, 4.18
    • Homer, Iliad, 4.189
    • Homer, Iliad, 4.66
    • Homer, Iliad, 5.167
    • Homer, Iliad, 5.311
    • Homer, Iliad, 6.330
    • Homer, Iliad, 6.459
    • Homer, Iliad, 7.133
    • Homer, Iliad, 7.157
    • Homer, Iliad, 7.28
    • Homer, Iliad, 9.181
    • Homer, Iliad, 9.681
    • Homer, Odyssey, 11.490
    • Theocritus, Idylls, 25
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 1352
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 505
    • Aristophanes, Lysistrata, 704
    • Cicero, For Aulus Cluentius, 18
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.5.50
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.99
    • New Testament, Matthew, 23.23
    • Terence, Andria, 1.2
    • Plautus, Bacchides, 4.9
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (54):
    • Andocides, On the Mysteries, 99
    • Antiphon, On the murder of Herodes, 53
    • Antiphon, On the Choreutes, 15
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 296
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 367
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 505
    • Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae, 286
    • Aristophanes, Lysistrata, 1265
    • Aristophanes, Lysistrata, 1305
    • Demosthenes, Philippic 1, 1
    • Demosthenes, On the Crown, 195
    • Demosthenes, Against Timocrates, 146
    • Demosthenes, Against Eubulides, 47
    • Euripides, Trojan Women, 982
    • Homer, Iliad, 6.164
    • Homer, Odyssey, 21.201
    • Isaeus, Aristarchus, 13
    • Isaeus, Nicostratus, 4
    • Isocrates, Antidosis, 17
    • Lysias, Against Eratosthenes, 48
    • Lysias, Against Ergocles, 14
    • Lysias, On a Wound by Premeditation, 13
    • Plato, Republic, 328c
    • Plato, Crito, 48c
    • Plato, Cratylus, 435c
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 169e
    • Plato, Cratylus, 425b
    • Plato, Alcibiades 1, 119b
    • Plato, Gorgias, 514a
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1505
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.74
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 1.1.5
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 3.1.35
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 1.6.24
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 5.1.18
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 6.3.4
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 7.5.81
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 8.1.42
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 8.3.2
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.4.15
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.2.1
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.4.33
    • Xenophon, Agesilaus, 1.19
    • Xenophon, Agesilaus, 2.31
    • Xenophon, On the Art of Horsemanship, 9.3
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 14.4
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 3.3
    • Xenophon, Economics, 20.4
    • Xenophon, Economics, 7.34
    • Homer, Iliad, 1
    • Homer, Iliad, 21.274
    • Homer, Iliad, 23.151
    • Homer, Iliad, 24.149
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 364
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