(8) καὶ γὰρ ἂν ἄτοπον εἴη, ὦ βουλή, εἰ ὅτε μὲν ἁπλῆ μοι ἦν ἡ συμφορά, τότε μὲν φαινοίμην λαμβάνων τὸ ἀργύριον τοῦτο, νῦν δ’ ἐπειδὴ καὶ γῆρας καὶ νόσοι καὶ τὰ τούτοις ἑπόμενα κακὰ προσγίγνεταί μοι, τότε ἀφαιρεθείην.
The defendant draws attention to an apparent paradox: if he had received the benefit from the state when he was a younger and healthier man, how can they disqualify him from this same benefit now that he is older and in ill health?
ἂν ἄτοπον εἴη...εἰ...τότε μὲν φαινοίμην λαμβάνων τὸ ἀργύριον τοῦτο...τότε ἀφαιρεθείην: a future-less-vivid conditional (S. 2329), whose apodosis comes first in the arrangement of the sentence. The protasis of the conditional features a multi-part coordination and antithesis. The following schema visualizes the structure of the sentence:
Apodosis: ἂν ἄτοπον εἴη
Temporal Clause #1: ὅτε μὲν ἁπλῆ μοι ἦν ἡ συμφορά → past
Protasis Clause #1: τότε μὲν φαινοίμην λαμβάνων τὸ ἀργύριον τοῦτο
Temporal Clause #2: νῦν δ’ ἐπειδὴ καὶ γῆρας καὶ νόσοι καὶ τὰ τούτοις ἑπόμενα κακὰ προσγίγνεταί μοι → present/future
Protasis Clause #2: τότε ἀφαιρεθείην
The protasis lays out a hypothetical future situation which, should it eventually occur, could be categorized as “strange” (ἄτοπον). The hypothetical situation takes the form of the defendant’s disability benefit being revoked despite his increasing frailty when he had previously received the benefit in better health and financial security. Lysias constructs the phrase around an explicit contrast between a past time when (ὅτε μέν) a healthier defendant received the benefit, and “now” (νῦν δ᾽) a near-future time in which a frailer defendant will have his eligibility revoked. While the sense of the sentence is straightforward, the syntax of the conditional has some complex features, which are addressed in the following notes.
ἂν ἄτοπον εἴη: impersonal expression, “it would be strange.” ἄτοπον = ἄ-τοπος, lit. “out of place.” εἴη > 3rd sing. pres. act. opt. of εἰμί.
ὅτε μὲν ἁπλῆ μοι ἦν ἡ συμφορά: temporal clause. The imperfect indicative (ἦν) form of εἰμί indicates an action that in fact occurred in the past, i.e. “when I did (in fact) have utter misfortune.”
ἁπλῆ: “simple” or “uncompounded” (Todd 2000: 68) (LSJ ἁπλόος III; contra the citation and translation of the expression as “absolute” at LSJ ἁπλόος III.2 ). Previously the defendant’s misfortune (συμφορά) was not complicated by other factors like aging or other illnesses.
μοι: dative of possession.
τότε μὲν φαινοίμην λαμβάνων: φαίνομαι + supplementary participle = “I appear to” + participle or “I am clearly” + participle (S.2143). As is often the case with such constructions, it helps to translate into English the supplementary participle as the main verb and render the sense of the main verb in the Greek as an adverb, e.g. “I should then clearly take/receive.”
τὸ ἀργύριον τοῦτο: i.e. the disability benefit.
ὅτε μὲν…τότε μὲν: the reduplication of μέν in a single clause is for emphasis (Denniston GP 385).
τούτοις: i.e. γῆρας and νόσοι.
προσγίγνεταί: the subjects of this verb are γῆρας, νόσοι and τὰ...κακὰ. The verb form is 3rd sing. because the subject closest to the verb is neuter plural.
ἀφαιρεθείην: > ἀφαιρέω, 1st sing. aor. pass. opt.
τότε: the repetition of the adverb helps link the two clauses of the protasis and underscore the contrast in the hypothetical scenario, i.e. when the defendant was in a better state, he then (τότε) receives the benefit, and now when is older and failer, he is then (τότε) deprived of the same benefit.
ἄτοπος –ον: out of place, extraordinary, strange
ἁπλοῦς –ῆ –οῦν: single, simple, straightforward
συμφορά –ᾶς, ἡ: misfortune, circumstance, event
ἐπειδή: when, after
γῆρας –ως, τό: old age
προσγίγνομαι, προσγενήσομαι, προσἐγενόμην, προσγέγονα, προσγεγένημαι, προσἐγενήθην: accrue, support