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244. We find the potential indicative in its simplest use (last mentioned)—with no reference to any definite condition, but merely expressing past possibility, probability, or necessity— in all classes of Greek writers. E.g. Οὐδ᾽ ἂν ἔτι φράδμων περ ἀνὴρ Σαρπηδόνα δῖον ἔγνω, “no longer would even a shrewd man have known Sarpedon.” Il. xvi. 638. Ὑπό κεν ταλασίφρονά περ δέος εἷλεν, “fear might have seized even a man of stout heart.” Il. iv. 421.See other Homeric examples below.

Ἀλλ᾽ ἦλθε μὲν δὴ τοῦτο τοὔνειδος τάχ᾽ ἂν ὀργῇ βιασθὲν μᾶλλον γνώμῃ φρενῶν,” “but this reproach may perhaps have come from violence of wrath, etc.” SOPH. O. T. 523. (Here τάχ᾽ ἂν ἦλθε expresses past possibility, with no reference to any definite condition, unfulfilled or otherwise.) “Θεοῖς γὰρ ἦν οὕτω φίλον τάχ᾽ ἄν τι μηνίουσιν εἰς γένος πάλαι,” “for perchance it may have been thus pleasing to Gods who of old bore some wrath against our race.” Id. O.C. 964. (According to the common punctuation τάχ᾽ ἄν would be taken with μηνίουσιν, = οἳ τάχ᾽ ἀν τι ἐμήνιον, who may perchance have borne some wrath, see PLAT. Phaedr. 265B , below; but the analogy of O. T. 523 favours the other interpretation.) Πρὸς ποῖον ἂν τόνδ᾽ αὐτὸς οὑδυσσεὺς ἔπλει; i.e. who might this man have been to whom Ulysses was sailing? Ph. 572. θεασάμενος πᾶς ἄν τις ἀνὴρ ἠράσθη δάιος εἶναι, every man who saw this drama (the “Seven against Thebes”) would have been eager to be a warrior. AR. Ran. 1022. (This is the past form of πᾶς ἄν τις ἐρασθείη δάιος εἶναι, every one would be eager, having no more reference to an unfulfilled condition than the latter has.) Διέβησαν, ὡς μὲν εἰκὸς καὶ λέγεται, ἐπὶ σχεδιῶν, τάχα ἂν δὲ καὶ ἄλλως πως ἐσπλεύσαντες, i.e. while they probably crossed on rafts, they may perhaps have crossed in some other way by sailing (διέβησαν with τάχα ἄν in the latter clause meaning they may have, or might have, perhaps crossed under other (possible) circumstances). THUC. vi. 2. Ἐπερρώσθη δ᾽ ἄν τις ἐκεῖνο ἰδών, “and any one would have been encouraged who saw that.” XEN. Hell. iii. 4, 18. Θᾶττον ὥς τις ἂν ᾤετο, “sooner than one would have thought.” Id. An. i. 5, Id. An. 8. Ἔνθα δὴ ἔγνω ἄν τις ὅσου ἄξιον εἴη τὸ φιλεῖσθαι ἄρχοντα, there any one might have learned, etc. Id. Cyr. vii. 1, Id. Cyr. 38. Ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ ἡλικίᾳ λέγοντες πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ἂν μάλιστα ἐπιστεύσατε, “talking to you at that age at which you would have been most likely to have put trust in them.” PLAT. Ap. 18 C. “Ἴσως μὲν ἀληθοῦς τινος ἐπαπτόμενοι, τάχα δ᾽ ἂν καὶ ἄλλοσε παραφερόμενοι, μυθικόν τινα ὕμνον προσεπαίσαμεν Ἔρωτα,” “while perhaps we were clinging to some truth, although perchance we may have been led aside into some error παραφερόμενοι ἄν = παρεφερόμεθα ἄν, we celebrated Eros in a mythical hymn.” Id. Phaedr. 265 B. Τί γὰρ καὶ βουλόμενοι μετεπέμπεσθ᾽ ἂν αὐτοὺς ἐν τούτῳ τῷ καιρῷ; “ for with what wish even could you possibly have been summoning them at this time?” DEM. xviii. 24. Πῶς ἂν μὴ παρὼν μηδ᾽ ἐπιδημῶν ἐγώ τί σε ἠδίκησα; i.e. how was I likely to do you any wrong? Id. xxxvii. 57. Τὸν χορὸν συνέλεξα ὥσπερ ἂν ἥδιστα καὶ ἐπιτηδειότατα ἀμφοτέροις ἐγίγνετο, “I collected the chorus in the way which was likely to be most agreeable and convenient to both.” ANT. vi. 11.

Two Homeric examples are peculiar in their reference to time:—

Ἀλλὰ τάχιστα πείρα ὅπως κεν δὴ σὴν πατρίδα γαῖαν ἵκηαι: γάρ μιν ζωόν γε κιχήσεαι, κεν Ὀρέστης κτεῖνεν ὑποφθάμενος, σὺ δέ κεν τάφου ἀντιβολήσαις,” “but strive with all speed to come to your fatherland; for either you will find him (Aegisthus)alive (and so can kill him yourself), or else Orestes may have already killed him before you come, and then you can go to his funeral.” Od. iv. 544. (Here κεν κτεῖνεν, by a change in the point of view, expresses what will be a past possibility at the time of the arrival of Menelaus, to which time the following optative is future.) “Καὶ γὰρ Τρῶάς φασι μαχητὰς ἔμμεναι ἄνδρας, οἵ κε τάχιστα ἔκριναν μέγα νεῖκος,” “for they say that the Trojans are men of war, who would most speedily have decided a mighty strife (implying that they would therefore speedily decide any impending strife).Od. xviii. 261. (This was said by Ulysses before he went to Troy. See 249.)

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