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2346. So with certain special phrases:

a. εἰ μή (if not) except: οὐ γὰρ . . . ὁρῶμεν εἰ μὴ ὀλίγους τούτους ἀνθρώπους for we do not see any except a few men yonder X. A. 4.7.5, ““οὐ γὰρ ἄν ποτε ἐξηῦρον ὀρθῶς τὰ μετέωρα πρά_γματα, εἰ μὴ κρεμάσα_ς τὸ νόημαfor I could never have discovered aright things celestial, except by suspending the intellectAr. Nub. 229. So ἐὰ_ν μή D. 24.45 (in a decree).

b. εἰ μὴ εἰ (if not if, unless if) except if: ἐπρά_χθη τε οὐδὲν ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν ἔργον ἀξιόλογον, εἰ μὴ εἴ τι πρὸς τοὺς περιοίκους τοὺς αὐτῶν ἑκάστοις and nothing noteworthy was done on their part except it might be (lit. except if there was done) something between each of them and his neighbours T. 1.17. Here εἰ μὴ is adverbial.

c. εἰ μὴ διά (if not on account of) except for: (οὐ) Μιλτιάδην . . . εἰς τὸ βάραθρον ἐμβαλεῖν ἐψηφίσαντο, καὶ εἰ μὴ διὰ τὸν πρύτανιν, ἐνέπεσεν ἄν; did they not vote to throw Miltiades into the pit, and except for the prytan would he not have been thrown there? P. G. 516e. With εἰ μὴ διά the ellipsis (which was not conscious to the Greeks) is to be supplied by the negatived predicate of the main clause (here οὐκ ἐνέπεσεν).

d. εἰ δὲ μή (but if not = si minus, sin aliter) otherwise, in alternatives, introduces a supposition opposed to something just said: ἀπῄτει τὰ τῶν Καλχηδονίων χρήματα: εἰ δὲ μή, πολεμήσειν ἔφη αὐτοῖς he demanded back the property of the Calchedonians; otherwise (i.e. if they should not restore it: εἰ μὴ ἀποδοῖεν) he said that he should make war upon them X. H. 1.3.3.

N. 1.—εἰ δὲ μή often occurs even where the preceding clause is negative and we expect εἰ δέ, as ““μὴ ποιήσῃς ταῦτα: εἰ δὲ μὴ . . . αἰτία_ν ἕξειςdo not do this; but if you do, you will have the blameX. A. 7.1.8. Conversely εἰ δέ, where we expect εἰ δὲ μή, as εἰ μὲν βούλεται, ἑψέτω: εἰ δ᾽, τι βούλεται, τοῦτο ποιείτω if he wishes, let him boil me; otherwise, let him do whatever he wishes P. Eu. 285c.

N. 2.—εἰ δὲ μή is used where (after a preceding ἐά_ν) we expect ἐὰ_ν δὲ μή, as ἐὰ_ν μέν τι ὑ_μῖν δοκῶ ἀληθὲς λέγειν, ξυνομολογήσατε: εἰ δὲ μή, ἀντιτείνετε if I seem to you to speak the truth, agree with me; otherwise, oppose me P. Ph. 91c.

N. 3.—The verb of the apodosis of the first of the alternatives is often omitted: ἐὰ_ν μὲν ἑκὼν πείθηται (scil. καλῶς ἕξει): εἰ δὲ μὴ . . . εὐθύ_νουσιν ἀπειλαῖς if he willingly obeys (it will be well; otherwise they straighten him by threats P. Pr. 325d.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.2.4
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