πρίν with infinitive: posteriority (‘before’)

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πρὶν οὖν τιν᾽ ἀνδρῶν ἐξοδοιπορεῖν στέγης | ξυνάπτετον λόγοισιν

Confer together before one of the men leaves his house.


The infinitive, preceded by πρίν ‘before’, signals posteriority as a satellite. The main clause is usually affirmative.

Lexical usage

Besides πρίν the following posterior conjunctions also exist: πρὶν ἤ, πρότερον ἤ and πρόσθεν ἤ ‘earlier than’.

Translation tips

When πρίν is used with the infinitive, only the translation 'before' is possible.

Historical background

In Homer (who also uses πάρος beside πρίν) the infinitive is the normal construction, whether the main clause is affirmative or negative.

Indicators

πρότερον of πρόσθεν can anticipate πρίν in the main clause, as can other adverbs, such as πάροιθεν. Attic also has the expression φθάνω ... πρίν. Even compound verbs with the prefix προ- can anticipate πρίν.
In Homer the identical adverb πρίν can serve as a signal word.

Example Sentences: 


τᾱ̀ς δ᾽ ἄλλᾱς πόλεις ἔφη ἀδικεῖν, αἳ ἐς Ἀθηναίους πρότερον ἢ ἀποστῆναι ἀνήλουν

Hij zei dat de andere steden een onrechtvaardigheid begaan hadden, die voordat ze in opstand kwamen, aan de Atheners betaalden.



καί μοι μὴ θορυβήσῃ μηδεὶς πρὶν ἀκοῦσαι

En laat niemand mij verstoren voordat hij me aanhoord heeft.



ἦσαν δὲ οἱ Σύριοι οὗτοι τὸ μὲν πρότερον ἢ Πέρσας ἄρξαι Μήδων κατήκοοι, τότε δὲ Κύρου

Die Syriërs waren voordat de Perzen begonnen te heersen, onderdanen van de Meden, en later van Kyros.



ἡ δ’ ἄρ’ ἐτέρπετ’ ἀκούουσ’, οὐδέ οἱ ὕπνος | πῖπτεν ἐπὶ βλεφάροισι πάρος καταλέξαι ἅπαντα

En zij luisterde met plezier, en de slaap viel niet over haar ogen vooraleer hij alles uitverteld had.



φθήσονται πλεύσαντες πρὶν χίους αἰσθέσθαι

Zij kwamen aangevaren voordat ze de winter voelden.