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241. This use is often found in Homer, but chiefly after an imperative, so that the infinitive serves to carry on the command already given.

Il. 1.322 ἔρχεσθον κλισίην Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος,
              χειρὸς ἑλόντʼ ἀγέμεν Βρισηΐδα.

Il. 2.8-10 βάσκʼ ἴθι . . ἀγορευέμεν ὡς ἐπιτέλλω

Il. 3.459 ἔκδοτε, καὶ τιμὴν ἀποτινέμεν

Od. 4.415 καὶ τότʼ ἔπειθʼ ὑμῖν μελέτω κάρτος τε βίη τε,
                 αὖθι δʼ ἔχειν κτλ. (cp. 4.419, 422 ff.)

Or after a future, to express what the person addressed is to do as a part in a set of acts.

Il. 22.259 νεκρὸν Ἀχαιοῖσιν δώσω πάλιν, ὣς δὲ σὺ ῥέζειν

Od. 4.408 εὐνάσω ἑξείης· σὺ δʼ ἐῢ κρίνασθαι ἑταίρους

So after a clause which adds up to a command.

Il. 11.788 ἀλλʼ εὖ οἱ φάσθαι
                (Achilles is the mightier) but do you advise him well

Cp. Il. 17.691, 20.335. Cp. also, Il. 10.65 αὖθι μένειν (answer to the question am I to remain here?)

Il. 5.124 θαρσέων νῦν . . . μάχεσθαι
              (in answer to a prayer) without fear now you may fight

The use for the 3rd person is rare: in a command;

Il. 6.86-92                      εἰπὲ δʼ ἔπειτα
                 μητέρι σῇ καὶ ἐμῇ· ἡ δὲ . . .
                 θεῖναι κτλ.

Il. 7.79 σῶμα δὲ οἴκαδʼ ἐμὸν δόμεναι πάλιν
            (let him take my arms) but give back my body

So 17.155, 23.247, Od. 11. 443: in a prayer, with a subject in the accusative.

Il. 2.412 Ζεῦ κύδιστε, μέγιστε, κελαινεφές, αἰθέρι ναίων,
              μὴ πρὶν ἐπʼ ἠέλιον δῦναι κτλ. (Cp. 3. 285, 7. 179)

Od. 17.354 Ζεῦ ἄνα, Τηλέμαχόν μοι ἐν ἀνδράσιν ὄλβιον εἶναι

An infinitive of wish is used with the subject in the nominative, once of the 2nd person, and once of the 1st person.

Od. 7.311 αἱ γὰρ Ζεῦ τε πάτερ καὶ Ἀθηναίη καὶ Ἄπολλον
                τοῖος ἐὼν οἷός ἐσσι, τά τε φρονέων ἄ τʼ ἐγώ περ,
                παῖδά τʼ ἐμὴν ἐχέμεν καὶ ἐμὸς γαμβρὸς καλέεσθαι.

Od. 24.376-80 αἱ γὰρ . . .οἷος Νήρικον εἷλον . . .
                        τοῖος ἐὼν . . . ἐφεστάμεναι καὶ ἀμύνειν.

The force of the infinitive in all these uses seems to be that of an indirect imperative. The command is given as something fοllοwing on an expressed or implied state of things. Thus we may connect the idiom with the use of the infinitive to imply fitness, obligation, etc., § 231).

εἰσὶ καὶ οἵδε τάδʼ εἰπέμεν
these are here to say this

καὶ δὲ σὺ εἰπέμεναι
it is your part to say

There is a similar use of the infinitive in Sanskrit, with ellipse of the verbto be (Delbrück, A. S. p. 15: Whitney, § 982, It should be noticed, however, that other languages have developed a use of the infinitive in commands, to which this explanation does not apply, as German schritt fahren! Inthese cases we may recognize a general tendency towards the impersonal form. It is very probable that the ordinary 2nd singular imperative λέγε represents an original use of the tense stem without any person ending (Paul, Principien, p. 108).

Note— In Il. 17.155 it is better to take οἴκαδʼ ἴμεν with ἐπιπείσεται, leaving the apodosis to be understood "if any one will be persuaded to go home (let  him do so), etc." Thus the sentence is of the type exemplified in § 324*.b.

Suggested Citation

D.B. Monro, A Grammar of the Homeric Dialect. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7.