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491. Sometimes a clause with εἴ κε or ἤν (rarely εἰ) and the subjunctive, or with εἴ κε or εἰ and the optative, in Homer is the object of οἶδα, εἶδον, or a verb of saying, expressing in a conditional form a result which is hoped for or desired. These clauses have the appearance of indirect questions; but the analogy of the preceding examples (487-490) shows that all are based on the same idiom,—a protasis which involves its own apodosis so that it would be useless to express the latter separately. The examples are these:—

Τίς οἶδ᾽ εἴ κε καὶ αὐτὸς ἰὼν κοίλης ἐπὶ νηὸς τῆλε φίλων ἀπόληται, who knows the chances that he too may perish, etc.? or who knows the chances of his perishing, etc., if haply he may? Od. ii. 332. (We may translate colloquially: who knows? supposing he too shall perish?) Τίς οἶδ᾽ εἴ κ᾽ Ἀχιλεὺς φθήῃ ἐμῷ ὑπὸ δουρὶ τυπεὶς ἀπὸ θυμὸν ὀλέσσαι; who knows the chances that Achilles may first be struck (the chances of his being first struck, if haply he shall be)? Il. xvi. 860. (We should naturally express this by a different construction, whether he may not be first struck.) Τίς οἶδ᾽ εἴ κέν οἱ σὺν δαίμονι θυμὸν ὀρίνω παρειπών; who knows the chances of my rousing his spirit by persuasion, if haply I shall do so? Il. xv. 403.In Il. xi. 792 we have Nestor 's advice to Patroclus, τίς οἶδ᾽ εἴ κέν οἱ σὺν δαίμονι θυμὸν ὀρίναις παρειπών; who knows the chances that you could rouse his spirit by persuasion? (ὀρίναις κε being potential). Οὐ μὴν οἶδ᾽ εἰ αὖτε κακορραφίης ἀλεγεινῆς πρώτη ἐπαύρηαι καί σε πληγῇσιν ἱμάσσω, I am not sure of the chances of your being the first to enjoy your own device, etc., i.e. I am not so sure that you may not be the first to enjoy it, if it shall so chance. Il. xv. 16. Ζεὺς γάρ που τό γε οἶδε καὶ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι, εἴ κέ μιν ἀγγείλαιμι ἰδών: ἐπὶ πολλὰ δ᾽ ἀλήθην, Zeus and the other immortals (alone) know this, the chance of my bringing news of him, if haply I have seen him and so might do this. Od. xiv. 119. Εἰ δ᾽ ἄγε δή μοι τοῦτο, θεὰ, νημερτὲς ἐνίσπες, εἴ πως τὴν ὀλοὴν μὲν ὑπεκπροφύγοιμι Χάρυβδιν, τὴν δέ κ᾽ ἀμυναίμην ὅτε μοι σίνοιτο γ᾽ ἑταίρους, i.e. tell me this without fault, the chance of my escaping Charybdis if haply I should do this, and of my then keeping Scylla off if I could (lit. tell me this, supposing I should escape Charybdis and could then keep Scylla off). Od. xii. 112 (this translation supposes κ᾽ to be potential, affecting only ἀμυναίμην).

μένετε Τρῶας σχεδὸν ἐλθέμεν, ὄφρα ἴδητ᾽ αἴ κ᾽ ὔμμιν ὑπέρσχῃ χεῖρα Κρονίων; are you waiting for the Trojans to come near, that you may see the chances of the son of Cronos holding his hand over you?—or that you may see him hold his hand over you, if haply he may do this? Il. iv. 247. (We might say, is it that you may see it,—supposing the son of Cronos to hold his hand over you?) Τῶν σ᾽ αὖτις μνήσω, ἵν̓ ἀπολλήξῃς ἀπατάων, ὄφῤ ἴδῃς ἤν τοι χραίσμῃ φιλότης τε καὶ εὐνή, i.e. that you may see the chances of your device availing you, or that you may see it if perchance your device shall avail you. Il. xv. 31.

See also Il. xx. 435, ἀλλ᾽ τοι μὲν ταῦτα θεῶν ἐν γούνασι κεῖται, αἴ κέ σε χειρότερός περ ἐὼν ἀπὸ θυμὸν ἕλωμαι, i.e. this rests with the Gods, for me to take your life away, weaker though I am, if perchance I may. The conditional construction is more obvious here than in Il. iv. 247 and xv. 31; but in all three we naturally fall into an indirect question when we attempt to express the thought in English.

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