οὐκ ἂν δυοῖν ἥμαρτον, i.e., would have secured one of the two things. Classical Greek idiom preferred this negative form to a positive (such as “δυοῖν θατέρου ἂν ἔτυχον”). The modes of stating the dilemma vary; thus we find: (1) “ἢ γὰρ..ἢ”, as here; Andoc. or. 1 § 4 “δυοῖν.. οὐκ ἦν αὐτῷ ἁμαρτεῖν: ἢ γὰρ..μηνῦσαι.. ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι”: so Dem. or. 19 § 151, etc. (2) “ἢ..ἢ”, as Thuc. 1. 33§ 3 “μηδὲ δυοῖν φθάσαι ἁμάρτωσιν” (not fail to be beforehand with us in one of two things), “ἢ κακῶσαι..ἢ βεβαιώσασθαι” n. (3) “εἰ μὲν γὰρ..εἰ δὲ”, as Isocr. or. 11 § 43.—Remark that the modification of this phrase used by Eur. Or. 1151, “ἑνὸς γὰρ οὐ σφαλέντες ἕξομεν κλέος”, | “καλῶς θανόντες ἢ καλῶς σεσωσμένοι”,—where “δυοῖν” is merely a bad conjecture,—is due to the fact that the principal verb, “ἕξομεν”, is positive.
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