A School Grammar of Attic Greek

Thomas Dwight Goodell

COMPLEX SENTENCES/ Εἰ Clauses

Εἰ with the Indicative

647. Εἰ with the present indicative, also with the perfect, imperfect, and aorist, presents the supposition simply, without implying anything as to its reality or probability; the tenses have the same force as in simple sentences (Simple or Logical Condition, present or past):

Εἴπερ γε Δᾱρείου ἐστὶ παῖς, οὐκ ἀμαχεῖ ταῦτʼ ἐγὼ λήψομαι.
If he is indeed a son of Dareios, I shall not take this without a battle.
Xen. Anabasis 1.7.9

 

θαυμάζοιμʼ ἂν εἰ οἶσθα.
I should be surprised if you know.
Plato Protagoras 312c

 

φήσουσι δή με σοφὸν εἶναι, εἰ καὶ μή εἰμι.
They will say of course that I am wise, although (if in fact) I am not.
Plato Apology 38c


The καί hints, without quite asserting, that the case is not merely assumed, but real.

 

Oὐ θαυμαστὸν δʼ εἰ τότε τᾱ̀ς μορίᾱς ἐξέκοπτον.
It is not surprising if at that time they cut out the sacred olive-trees.
Lysias 7.7

 

εἰ κερδαίνειν ἐβούλου, τότʼ ἂν πλεῖστον ἔλαβες.
If you wished to make money, you would in that case have got most.
Lysias 7.20-21

 

The εἰ clause here is a simple condition; τότε is a conditional expression that resumes an earlier clause and stands for an unreal condition (649).

 

εἰ ταῦτʼ αἰσθόμενος ἐγὼ διεκώλῡσα, ταῦτʼ ἐστὶ προδότην εἶναι τῶν φίλων;
If I, perceiving this, prevented it, is that being a betrayer of ones friends?
Xen. Hellenica 2.3.46

 

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