Σεβαστός wrote:The ἐπιτάττοι seems hard to explain. The construction is obviously a conditional following ἀφοσιούμενος - a participle functioning as an apodosis. The εἰ must be the protasis, but the use of the present optative would not make much sense - the optative is used only of future unreal conditions (or whatever you know them as: unfulfilled, closed, less real etc): "If it were to rain tomorrow, I would get wet".
Qimmik wrote:I think this is just an instance of εἰ ἄρα with optative substituting for indicative after a secondary tense in a clause that is in effect indirect discourse because it represents what Socrates was thinking in the past time. (
if Plato had used the aorist optative here, then that would have implied that Socrates' deliberation in the past was about the then past and so would be translated with a pluperfect: "If after all perhaps it had enjoined me to...".
Σεβαστός wrote: ... the indirect statement is implicit in the εἰ ἄρα?
Qimmik wrote:I think the difference between present and aorist optative would probably be a difference of aspect, not tense: in English translation, "were enjoining" vs. simply an untensed (in relation to the main verb) "enjoined." There would not necessarily be any implication of anteriority if the aorist ἐπιτάξοι had been used, although our tendency as English speakers locked into the English tense system might be analyze the injunction as anterior, and to translate the aorist, had Plato used it, as an English pluperfect. But with πολλάκις he seems to be emphasizing the repeated, continuing nature of the dream visions; hence the "present" aorist.
Pl. Laches 179b
εἰ δ᾽ ἄρα πολλάκις μὴ προσεσχήκατε τὸν νοῦν τῷ τοιούτῳ,
ὑπομνήσοντες ὅτι οὐ χρὴ αὐτοῦ ἀμελεῖν,...
and if by any chance you have not given your attention to the subject,
we would remind you that it ought not to be neglected,...
--W.R.M. Lamb. (Cambridge , 1955)
Pl. Statesman 264b
τόδε, εἴ τινων πολλάκις ἄρα διακήκοας·
Whether, as I suppose, you have often heard people speak of this,—
--Harold N. Fowler. (Cambridge, 1921)
Qimmik wrote:But maybe the optative just indicates a more tentative "maybe" than an indicative would. (And why isn't λέγει optative, too, if my first explanation has any validity?)
Σεβαστός wrote:I suppose all the above are primary sequence (true perfects with have) and so don't require the optative, right?
NateD26 wrote:I'm not sure. Cooper's treatment of εἰ with ἄρα as quoted by Stirling -- that it "may suggest an interesting
possibility that is worthy of consideration" -- would suggest an optative may be more suited here.
"The optative is often used in oratio obliqua after verbs of past tense to represent indicatives in the original. When this occurs the present optative of the O.O. represents a present indicative of the oratio recta O.R., or less commonly, an imperfect indicative of the O.R., an aorist optative of the O.O. represents an aorist indicative of the O.R., a perfect optative of the O.O. represents a perfect indicative of the O.R., the future optative of the O.O. represents a future indicative of the O.R. ..." Guy Cooper Attic Greek Syntax 1:54.5.0 v1 p697, 1:53.7.10 v1 p. 658.
NateD26 wrote:Thanks, Stirling, for these references. So it seems in this particular passage,
indirect speech is the reason behind the use of the optative.
However, I've always been taught to distinguish between a true optative, conveying potentiality (+ἄν)
or (im)possibility, (im)probability and an optative standing in place of an original indicative.
My question is whether εἰ ἄρα + original indicative/optative of indirect speech is the common
construction for this mere possibility, is equivalent in sense to a potential optative with ἵσως?
Certainly the sense is very similar and perhaps identical. Smyth mentioned this mere possibility as
being undesired, and sometimes full of irony. Perhaps herein lies the difference between the constructions, both of which are very much a Platonic trademark.
The MSS. has λέγοι Bekk.; λέγειν Bodl. with λέγει in the margin.
Qimmik wrote:One other thought: the grammar books are supposed to reflect the corpus of ancient Greek texts, not the other way around. Perhaps there's a nuance to the optatives that the grammar books just missed.
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