Introduction (προοίμιον). This subject has been so often handled by our more experienced politicians that on the present occasion I may be excused if I venture to speak first.

καινοῦ, ‘fresh,’ ‘not previously handled,’ to be distinguished from νέος, ‘young,’ ‘of recent development,’ though their uses overlap to some extent.

προὐτίθετο. The Prytanes, having charge of the conduct of business in the Ecclesia, are said προτιθέναι γνώμας, λόγον, ψῆφον, ‘to bring forward a subject for discussion or voting.’ The imperfect implies that their action is regarded as continuing throughout the debate. Cf. Isocr. de Pace 15 παρελήλυθα ἀποφανούμενος...περὶ ὧν οἱ πρυτάνεις προτιθέασιν. For the infinitive replacing the more usual accusative cf. Thuc. III.38 τῶν προθέντων αὖθις περὶ Μυτιληναίων λέγειν.

τῶν εἰωθότων, sc. γνώμην ἀποφαίνεσθαι.

ἀπεφήναντο. The middle is regularly used with γνώμην in this sense. The constructions following ἕως (except in clauses referring to a definite event in past time) are identical with the constructions of conditional clauses. Hence the past indicative here in dependence on a conditional sentence of an unfulfilled character.

γιγνώσκω. The verb might have been attracted into the imperfect to agree with the clause on which it depends, but the present is more appropriate as suggesting that the orator's opinion is independent of the conditions mentioned.

καὶ, with the participial phrase, ‘though I am the first to rise.’

ἐκ τοῦ παρεληλυθότος. We should say ‘in time past.’ The Greek frequently shews a tendency to regard points of time in the past as starting-points and points of future time similarly as points of arrival. So ἀφ᾽ ἑσπέρας (at eventide), ἀπὸ μεσῶν νυκτῶν (at midnight), εἰς αὔριον (to-morrow), εἰς τρίτην ἡμέραν (on the third day). Similarly inf. § 2.

ἄν. It is a common practice to omit ἂν with the imperfect indicative of verbs implying obligation and the like, just as debebam is used in Latin with a protasis containing an unfulfilled condition. The reason is that the obligation was, at any rate in early times, regarded as really existing independently of the condition: e.g. in χρῆν δὲ σέ, εἴπερ ἦσθα χρηστός, μηνυτὴν γενέσθαι, it really was the duty of the person addressed to give information, whether he was an honest man or not. (Such, at least, seems to be the origin of this usage.) In the present case the truth of the apodosis does manifestly depend upon that of the protasis, and in such cases ἂν is fairly often inserted.

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    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.38
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