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2438. πρίν is originally a comparative adverb meaning before, i.e. sooner or formerly; and seems to be connected with πρό, πρότερον before. The adverbial force survives in Attic only after the article, as ““ἐν τοῖς πρὶν λόγοιςin the foregoing statementsT. 2.62. The adverbial and original use appears also in Homer wherever πρίν occurs with the indicative, the anticipatory (futural) subjunctive (1810), or the optative with κέ. Thus, τὴν δ᾽ ἐγὼ οὐ λύ_σω: πρίν μιν καὶ γῆρας ἕπεισιν but her I will not release; sooner shall old age come upon her A 29, οὐδέ μιν ἀνστήσεις: πρὶν καὶ κακὸν ἄλλο πάθῃσθα nor shalt thou recall him to life; sooner (before this) thou wilt suffer yet another affliction Ω 551.—From this early coördination was developed the construction of the conjunction πρίν with the finite moods; but in general only after Homer, who never uses the indicative, and the optative only once (Φ 580), with πρίν. The required sense was given by ἕως or πρίν γ᾽ ὅτε δή. A finite mood was first used of the future, and after negative clauses (οὐ πρότερον πρίν like οὐ πρότερον ἕως).—Homer commonly uses the infinitive with πρίν meaning before and until. Here the infinitive (as with ὥστε) simply states the abstract verbal notion, and thus has no reference to differences of time or mood; πρίν being used almost like πρό before as πρὶν ἰδεῖν πρὸ τοῦ ἰδεῖν before seeing (first in Xenophon). This early use with the infinitive was, with some restrictions, retained in Attic, where the infinitive may sometimes be used instead of the finite verb. πρίν came more and more to take the subjunctive with ἄν and to assume conditional relations (cp. 2433); while the use with the infinitive was more and more confined to cases where the leading verb was affirmative.

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