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443.a) Herodotus has a few cases of the potential optative with the same vague reference to time which has been noticed in Homer (442), and we may sometimes translate these, like those in Homer, by past expressions. E.g. Τάχα δὲ ἂν καὶ οἱ ἀποδόμενοι λέγοιεν ἀπικόμενοι ἐς Σπάρτην ὡς ἀπαιρεθείησαν ὑπὸ Σαμίων, and perhaps those who sold it (the cup) might come to Sparta and tell that they had been robbed of it. HDT. i. 70 (see Stein's note). All that the optative itself seems to express is that this would be a natural story for them to tell. In vii. 214, εἰδείη μὲν γὰρ ἂν καὶ ἐὼν μὴ Μηλιεὺς ταύτην τὴν ἄτραπὸν Ὀνήτης, εἰ τῇ χώρῃ πολλὰ ὁμιληκὼς εἴη, for Onetes, even if he was not a Malian, might know this path, supposing him to have had much acquaintance with the country, the optative in protasis (expressing no condition contrary to fact) shows that εἰδείη ἄν is not felt to be past. See also vii. 180, τάχα δ᾽ ἄν τι ἐπαύροιτο; viii. 136, τάχ᾽ ἂν προλέγοι, might perhaps warn him; ix. 71, ταῦτα ἂν εἴποιεν, they might say this.

For εἴησαν δ᾽ ἂν οὗτοι Κρῆτες, HDT. i. 2, and similar expressions, see 238.

b) In EUR. Med. 568,οὐδ᾽ ἂν σὺ φαίης εἴ σε μὴ κνίζοι λέχος” , the condition seems to be present and contrary to fact, like εἰ μὴ ἔκνιζεν. See also PLAT. Menex. 240 D,ἐν τούτῳ δὴ ἄν τις γενόμενος γνοίη οἷοι ἄρα ἐτύγχανον ὄντες, κ.τ.λ.” Such examples are extremely rare in Attic Greek.

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