previous next

194. No theory of the origin of either ἄν or κέ has yet helped to explain their meaning, however valuable the discussion of the question may have been to comparative philology. It seems to be clear that κέ is the older particle; it occurs 621 times in Homer while ἄν occurs 155 times; in Pindar the two are nearly balanced; ἄν has a preference for negative sentences, being very often attached to the negative; ἄν is more emphatic, as appears indeed from its fixed accent, while κέ is enclitic; κέ is much more frequent than ἄν in relative clauses in Homer.1 But, practically, it is still safe to assume that the two particles are used in substantially the same sense in all epic and lyric poetry. In Herodotus and Attic Greek only ἄν is used.

1 See Monro, Homeric Grammar, pp. 265-267. For Pindar, see Gildersleeve in Jour. Phil. iii. pp. 446-455, where may be found a complete enumeration of the passages in Pindar containing either ἄν (30 cases) or κέ (33 cases).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: