A School Grammar of Attic Greek

Thomas Dwight Goodell

COMPLEX SENTENCES/ Ὅς and Ὅστις Clauses

616. In Ὅς Clauses that difer in form from simple sentences,

a. A subjunctive (with ἄν, which is sometimes omitted in poetry, rarely in prose) describes a supposed or assumed case, which may or may not be real. The time is future, or present in the generalized sense (i. e, applying to present, past, and future alike). The subjunctive is especially common when the antecedent is indefinite:

Ὁ ἀνὴρ πολλοῦ ἄξιος φίλος ᾧ ἂν φίλος ᾖ.
The man is a valuable friend to any one to whom he is a friend (generalized present).
Xen. Anabasis 1.3.12

 

τῷ ἀνδρὶ ὃν ἂν ἕλησθε πείσομαι.
I will obey the man whom you choose (in the future).
Xen. Anabasis 1.3.15

 

ὦ μακάριοι δῆτα οἵ ἂν ῡ̔μῶν ἐπίδωσι τὴν πᾱσῶν ἡδίστην ἡμέρᾱν.
O blessed, therefore, whoever among you shall behold that sweetest day of all!
Xen. Hellenica 2.4.17

 

Tῶν πημονῶν μάλιστα λῡποῦσʼ αἵ φανῶσʼ αὐθαίρετοι.
Those griefs give most pain that are seen to be self-chosen.
Soph. Oedipus the King 1230-1231

 

δέδοικα μὴ οὐκ ἔχω ἱκανοὺς οἷς δῶ.1
I fear I shall not have enough people to whom to give.
Xen. Anabasis 1.7.7

 

b. An optative (without ἄν) describes an assumed case, but as more remote in thought from the speaker; e.g., as the thought of another person, or as part of a past or imaginary or improbable situation. The time is future, or present in the generalized sense, with reference to the time of the main verb. The optative is especially common after a past tense, and when the antecedent is indefinite, or the assumed situation is thought of as having occurred repeatedly:

Ἀπήγγελλον οἱ πρέσβεις ἐφʼ οἷς οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι ποιοῖντο τὴν εἰρήνην.
The envoys reported on what terms the Spartans offered to make the peace.
Xen. Hellenica 2.2.22

 

πρότερον οὐκ ἔχων πρόφασιν ἐφʼ ἧς τοῦ βίου λόγον δοίην, νῡν εἴληφα.
Whereas before I had no pretext on which to give an account of my life, now I have got one.
Lysias 24.1

 

Ὀκνοίην ἂν εἰς τὰ πλοῖα ἐμβαίνειν ἅ ἡμῖν Κῦρος δοίη.
I should hesitate to go aboard any boats given by Cyrus (supposing him to give any).
Xen. Anabasis 1.3.17

 

ἀλλʼ ὅν πόλις στήσειε, τοῦδε χρὴ κλύειν.
But whomsoever the state appoints, him we should obey.
Soph. Antigone 666

 

Ἀεὶ πρὸς ᾧ εἴη ἔργῳ, τοῦτο ἔπρᾱττεν.
Always, at whatsoever task he was, that he strictly pursued.
Xen. Hellenica 4.8.22

 

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Notes
1
Others explain this differently. But cp. Gόodwin, Moods and Tenses, 538-540. Both in relative clauses and in εἰ clauses with the subjunctive ἄν is omitted reguularly in Homer, often in Attic poets, and certainly sometimes in Attic prose. In this example ἄν would have been natural; the omission does not change the meaning. Cp. also 621 a.