[*] 246. When no definite condition is understood with the potential indicative, the imperfect with ἄν regularly refers to past time, according to the older usage (435), like the aorist; as in the examples above. The imperfect referring to present time, which is common in apodosis after Homer (410), appears in these potential expressions chiefly in a few simple phrases, especially in ἐβουλόμην ἄν, vellem, I should wish, I should like (also I should have liked). Even in Homer the construction with ὤφελον and the infinitive (424), which includes a form of potential indicative (415; 416), sometimes refers to present time. E.g.
- “Ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἐβουλόμην ἂν αὐτοὺς ἀληθῆ λέγειν: μετῆν γὰρ ἂν καὶ ἐμοὶ τούτου τἀγαθοῦ οὐκ ἐλάχιστον μέρος. νῦν δὲ οὔτε πρὸς τὴν πόλιν αὐτοῖς τοιαῦτα ὑπάρχει οὔτε πρὸς ἐμέ,” “and I should like it if they spoke the truth; for (were that so) no small part of this advantage would be mine: but this is not true of them, etc.” LYS. xii. 22.
- “Μειδίαν, ὃν ἐβουλόμην ἂν πολλῶν ἕνεκεν ζῆν,” “Midias, whom for many reasons I should like to have alive.” AESCHIN. iii. 115.