The Optative in Simple Sentences

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299. The uses of the Optative in Simple Sentences range from the expression of a wish on the part of the speaker to the expression of mere supposition, or admission of possibility.

With0αt κεν or ἄν the Optative may express-

a. Simple μwisὰ or pταγeτ2 as-

Il. Il. 42 τίσειαν Δαναοὶ ἐμὰ δάκρυα σοῖσι βέλεσσι.

Od. Il. 453 μὴ γὰρ ὅ γʼ ἔλθοι κτλ.
πeνeτ παγ 2e come ὅc.

Regarding the Opt.οf wish ςwith εἰ or αἰ, εἴθε, αἴθε, 8S1c.see ἡ 31 Il.

b. Α gentle or deferential Imperative, conveying advice, suggestion, or the like.

H. 4. 17 εἰ δʼ αὗ πως τόδε πᾶσι φίλον καὶ ἡδὺ γένοιτο, ἦ τοι μὲν οἰκέοιτο πόλις ΓΠριάμοιο κτλ.
(= ρτesπe tie citγ is to τeρmain inἄabited).

Od. 4. 735 ἀλλά τις ὀτρηρῶς Δολίον καλέσειε γέροντα
(as vwe say, κwομutd sορme one caίί ὅc.).

Od. 18. 141 τῷ μή τίς ποτε πάμπαν ἀνὴρ ἀθεμίστιος εἴη, ἀλλʼ ὅ γε σιγῇ δῶρα θεῶν ἔχοι
f wwομuίd ἄaνe a πan πnοt ὁe taμwtesς, ὁμut ξc.

Note especially this use of the Second Person, as in-

Od. 4. 1q3 πίθοιό μοι
pταγ ἰisteπn to πme:

so in the forma phrase ἦ ῥά νύ μοί τι πίθοιο (l. 4. 93, 8xc.).

B. 11. 791 ταῦτʼ εἴποις Ἀχιλῆί
πuρροτe 3ο πaγ tis to feἄ7νς.

Od. 15. 24 ἀλλὰ σύ γʼ ἐλθὼν αὐτὸς ἐπιτρέψειας ἕκαστα.

Ld. 3. 406 ἢσο παρʼ αὐτὸν ἰοῦσα, θεῶν δʼ ἀπόεικε κελεύθου, μηδ’ ἔτι σοῖσι πόδεσσιν ὑποστρέψειας Oλυμπον.

Hence in B. Il. 20 we shoαld read (with the best MSS.) παῖδα δʼ ἐμοὶ λύσαιτε (not λῦσαί τε, Wοfbs conjecture).

c. Rhetorical wish, implying μκwitiπgneτ, or indῃfereance to the happening of some evil: as in imprecations-

ll. 2. 340 ἐν πυρὶ δὴ βουλαί τε γενοίατο μήδεα δʼ ἀνδρῶν.

6. 164 τεθναίης, ἄὦ Προῖτʼ, ἦ κάκτανε Βελλεροφόντην
(= l care ποί gʼγοα κwere adead, uπίesε γοu ἢc.).

Od. 7. 224 ἰδόντα με καὶ λίποι αἰὼν κτῆσιν ἐμὴν κτλ.
(= t am content to die μκw2eπn Raυe seen ἥc.).

d. CCοncessίοn or acquiescence>.

ll. 21. 359 λῆγʼ ἔριδος, Γρῶας δὲ καὶ αὐτίκα δίος Ἀχιλλεὺς ἄστεος ἐξελάσειε
(cease strge, and cοπneπt tθat5π.).

Od. Il. 402 κτήματα δʼ αὐτὸς ἔχοις καὶ δώμασι σοῖσιν ἀνάσσοις.

Od. 2. 232 ἀλλʼ αἰεὶ χαλεπός τʼ εἴη καὶ αἴσυλα ῥέζοι
(i.e. 2e ππuαγ as wet ὁe μuπiμust ax 7μust).

Hes. Op. 270 νῦν δὴ ἐγὼ μήτʼ αὐτὸς ἐν ἀνθρώποισι δίκαιος εἴην μήτʼ ἐμὸς υἱός.

Phe following are instances ob the First Person used in this way.

Π. 15- 45 αὐτάρ τοι καὶ κείνῳ ἐγὰὼ παραμυθησαίμην
ἱ aρ νwwiltiπn9 to adνire ἄiπm (a concession).

So D. 4. 318 μάλα μέν τοι ἐγὼν ἐθέλοιμι κτλ, but some SS. have μέν κεν.

Il. 23. 150 νῦν δʼ ἐπεὶ οὐ νέομαί γε φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν, ΓΠατρόκλῳ ἥραωί κόμην ὀπάσαιμι φέρεσθαι
siππce l aπm ποί to τetμuτn, ἴ πaγ as wetἰ ᾖc.

Od. 16. 383 ἀλλὰ φθέωμεν ἑλόντες ἐπʼ ἀγροῦ νόσφι πόληος ἦ ἐν ὁδῷ, βίοτον δʼ αὐτοὶ καὶ κτήματʼ ἔχωμεν δασσάμενοι κατὰ μοῖραν ἐφ ἡμέας, οἰκία δʼ οὗτε κείνου μητέρι δοῖμεν ἔχειν ἠδʼ ὅς τις ὀπυίοι.

Here ςwhat the Suitors are to do for themselves is pout in the Subj, what they do or allow to be done for Penelope in the Opt.

Compare Hdt. 7. 5.4

τὸ μὲν νῦν ταῦτα πρήσσοις τά περ ἐν χερσὶ ἔχεις, ἡμεράσας δὲ Αἴγυπτον τὴν ἐξυβρίσασαν στρατηλάτεε ἐπὶ τὰς Ἀθήνας

i.e.' 1 consent to your doing vwhat you have in hand, but vwhen it is done, march against Athens.

e. Strong denial is sometimes implied, under the form ob adeρτecαtiοn, by the Opt. with h.

Od. 7. 316 μὴ τοῦτο φίλον Διί πατρὶ γένοιτο
let us ποί adρmit tἄαt tἄiς is tἄe κilt gfmtὁer 8eνς.

Od. 22. 4θ2 μὴ μὲν δὴ καθαρῷ θανάτῳ ἀπὸ θυμὸν ἑλοίμην.

f. Admission of possibility, i.e. ςwwillingness to 2uρροve or believe that the thing will happen. This use is rarely found withoub κεν or ἄν : an instance is-

Od. 3. 231 ῥεῖα θεός γʼ ἐθέλων καὶ τηλόθεν ἄνδρα σαώσαι.

This is said as a concession: ' we men must aloςw that a god can save even from afar.' So perhaps-7I. 10. 247, 557 : alsο-

Il. 15. 197 θυγατέρεσσιν γάρ τε καὶ υἱάσι βέλτερον εἴη κτλ.

Here the Opt. is in contrast to the preceding IDmper. μή τί με δειδισσέσθω : 'let him not threaten me : for his oςwn children it may be wet enough that he should scold.7 Other instances are πegαtive, Vi2-

Il. 19. 321 οὐ μὲν γάρ τι κακώτερον ἄλλο πάθοιμι.

Od. 14. 122 ἄὦ γέρον, οὔ τις κεῖνον ἀνὴρ ἀλαλήμενος ἐλθὼν ἀγγέλλων πείσειε γυναῖκά τε καὶ φίλον υἱόν.

So in the Relative clauses, D. 5- 353 (πι 20. 286) ὃ οὐ δύο γ. ἄνδρε φέροιεν, Od. 3. 319 ὅθεν οὐκ ἔλποιτό γε θυμῷ ἐλθέμεν. And in one or two iππterτο9atiνe clauses, vwith implied negation : Il. 11. 838 πῶς τʼ ἄρʼ ἔοι τάδε ἔργα ; Od. 5. 100 τίς δʼ ἂν ἑκὰὼν δια- δράμοι (since we should probably read τίς δὲ bεκὰὼν). In such case the absence of κεν or ἄν marks the negation as sweeping and unconditional. We should compare the corresponding Homeric αse of οὁ ςwith the pure Subj., which ἀifHers in the degree of confidence expressed : οὐδὲ ἴδωμαι saw ςμure ςἄaat πeνer πee, οὐ πάθοιμι ἴ ε4ρροse ςἄatἰ πeυeτ suθer.

300. With κεν or ἄν the Optative does not express wiwἢ (ςwhich is essentially unconditional), or even direct νwittiππgnesς on the part of the speaker, but only wίίtίngnesς to adρmίt a coseη7uence hence e2ectatiοn in Vieςw of particμuίar circumstances.

Il. 1, 100 τότε κέν μιν ἱλασσάμενοι πεπίθοιμεν
then we mγ eσρect to aρnease ἀiπρ and gaίn gττace.

The character of a Clause of this kind depends chiefly on the manner in which the cοnditiο is indicated. Γhα following are the main poiunts to be observed.

a. An Opt. with κεν or ἄν often follows an independent Clause with a Future, hmperative, etc.

Il. 22. 108 ὡς ἐρέουσιν, ἐμοὶ δὲ τότʼ ἂν πολὺ κέρδιον εἴη κτλ.

Od. 10. 269 φεύγωμεν· ἔτι γάρ κεν ἀλύξαιμεν κακὸν μαρ.

Il. 3. 410 κεῖσε δʼ ἐγὼν οὐκ εἶμι, νεμεσσητὸν δέ κεν εἴη.

b. Or the preceding Clause may contain a wish.

Il. 7. 157 εἴθʼ ὡς ἡβώοιμι, βίη δέ μοι ἔμπεδος εἴη· τῷ κε τάχʼ ἀντήσειε κτλ.

Cp. D. 4. 93 (where the preceding Opt. is a gentile imper.).

c. The case supposed may be in past time, so that the Optative expresses vwhat wομuί ἄare folloςwed on an event which did not occur.

Il. 5. 311 καί νύ κεν ἔνθʼ ἀπόλοιτο ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν Αἰνείας, εἰ μὴ ἄρʼ ὀξὺ νόησε κτλ.

Od. 5. 73ἔνθα κʼ ἔπειτα καὶ ἀθάνατός περ ἐπελθὼν θηήσαιτο ἰδών.

So Il. 2. 81, 3. 220, 4. 223. 429. 539, 5- 35, 311, 388, 12. 58., 13. 127, 343. 15. 597, 17. 70, 35, 398, Od. 7. 293o 13. 86. This use of the Optative is confined to Homer, and is chiefly foαnd in th0 Iliad.

A somewhat similar iἄiom occurs in Herodοtus; e.g. Hdt. Il. 2 εἴησαν δʼ ἂν οὗτοι Rρῆτες 'these may have been Cretansʼ (πσν probably vwere), 7. 180 τάχα δʼ ἂν τι aκαὶ τοῦ οὐνόματος ἐπαύροιτο. But there the meaning is dἄiferent-nοt μ0οιμlά haρe hαpened ( παmdιd not), but 0ο id de found to hαυe kαngpened (if vwe knew more).

d.The case supposed may be vague or imaginary.

L B. 143 ἀνὴρ δέ κεν οὔ τι Διὸς νόον εἰρύσσαιτο

where the emphatic ἀνήρ sugggests a condition: gʼ α πmαn, 2e caπποt ἢπ.; cp. Od. 4. 78., 23. 125, alsο-

Od. 12. 102 πλησίον ἀλλήλων· καί κεν διοίστεύσειας
one πmaγ (on σccasίοn aτίςίng) s2οοt aππ arτο0 across.

Od. 9.131 οὐ μὲν γάρ τι κακή γε, φέροι δέ κεν ὥρια πάντα.

It is natural that an adρuiwςiοn that something πaαγ happen should generally be made more or less in vieςw of circumstances, given or supposed. Hence the use of κεν or ἄν ςwith an Opt. of this force became the prevailing use, and exceptions are rare, even in Homer.

The principal clause or Apodosis of an ordinar Complex Con- ditional Sentence belongs to this head. Ti is erroneous, hοςw- ever, to regard the varieties now explained as complex sentences ςwith the Protasis understood. n this, as in some other cases, the complex is to be explained from the siunple, not νicc νerεd.

In some instances the Opt. vwith κεν appears to be conceςsίυe (expressing ittiπρeε). Delbrhck (θγπt. οrςci. Il. p. 200) gives as examples-

ll. 22. 252νῦν αὔτέ με θυμὸς ἀνῆκε στήμεναι ἀντία σεῖο· ἕλοιμί κεν ᾖ κεν ἀλοίην.

Od. 8. 570τὰ δέ κεν θεὸς ἦ τελέσειεν κ ἀτέλεστʼ εἴη, ὥς οἱ φίλον ἔπλετο θυμῷ.

Γο which may be added

Od. 14. 183 ἦ κεν ἁλοίη κε φύγοι κτλ.

(but ll. 13. 486 is ἀiferent. Possibly the αse of κεν in these places is due to the opposition made betςween the tςwo alterna- tives: cp. 285, 3. θ, 5 286, and ἦ 289, 2, b.

ll. 24. 618 ἀλλʼ ἄγε δὴ καὶ νῶί μεδώμεθα, δῖε γεραιέ, σίτου· ἔπειτά κεν οὗτε φίλον παῖδα κλαίοισθα.

Hes. Op. 33 τοῦ κε κορεσσάμενος νείκεα καὶ δῆριν ὀφέλλοις.

Also Od. 16. 391., 21. 161. But these inst2ances need not be separated from others iuum which expectation rather than concession is recognized. VWe may notice as on the border betςween the δςwo meangs-

α. Uses of the 1st Person (esp. in the Odyssey): e.g-

Od. 15. 506 ἠῶθεν δέ κεν ὑμμιν ὁδοιπόριον παραθείμην.

Od. 22. 262 ἄὦ φίλοι, δή μέν κεν ἐγὼν εἴποιμι καὶ ἄμμιν κτλ.

Od. 16. 354 ἀλλʼ οἶοι σύ τʼ ἐγώ τε γυναικῶν γνώομεν ἰθύν, καί κέ τεο δμώων ἀνδρῶν ἔτι πειρηθεῖμεν.

Od.14. 155 πρὶν δέ κε, καὶ μάλα περ κεχρημένος, ο τι δεχοίμην.

So Od. 2.219o 4- 347, 12. 387, 15- 313. 449, 18. 165, 19-579 20. 325, 21. 113. 193, ll. 9 417, 24. 564.

β. Negative Clauses, with the Second Person :-

Il. 14. 126 τῷ οὐκ ἄν με Il. Il. φάντες μῦθον ἀτιμήσαιτε
do ποί tἄiπέὲ γο κwitt ( e2ρect γοᾷ ποί to) c.

Od. 20. 1 35 οὐκ ἄν μιν νῦν, τέκνον, ἀναίτιον αἰτιόῳο.

So B.2. 250 τῷ οὐκ ἂν βασιλῆας ἀνὰ στόμʼ ἔχων ἀγορεύοις is to be understood as ironical courtesy (γοu μwitt ποί gʼ γοu are adνiwedd θγ πme). This, again, when turned into a question yields another form of polite mperative; as ll. 3. 52 οὐκ ἂν δὴ μείνειας wi γοκ ποί αwαia So ll. 5. 32, 45θ, 10. 204, Od. 6. 57, 7. 22.

The fact that οὁ is the negative Particle in all these instances shoςws that the Optative is grammatically more akin to a Future than to an expression of νwiςὰ. So far as swish is intended, the use is a τάetοricαί one, implying what it does not directly expreφ6, ike the similar use of the Future bndicative in Attic.

br ςwil be seen that, except in one or two rare Homeric uses ob the pure Opt., the usage of the Opt. in independent Sentences is nearly the same in Homer as in later Greek.