Causal clauses

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Ἀγοράτου δὲ ἀπεψηφίσαντο, διότι ἐδόκει προθύμως τούτους ἀπολλύναι

They acquitted Agoratus, because he seemed to be eager for their destruction.



αὐτίκα τεθναίην, ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἄρ’ ἔμελλον ἑταίρῳ | κτεινομένῳ ἐπαμῦναι

Let me die at once, because I have not been able to protect my dying friend!


A finite subordinate clause introduced by one of the conjunctions given below signals a cause as a satellite. The most common conjunctions are ὅτι, διότι, ὡς ‘because’, ἐπεί ‘since’, ἐπειδή ‘seeing that’, ὅτε, ὁπότε ‘since’.

Lexical usage

Most causal conjunctions can also be used with a different meaning. This formal correspondence illustrates the narrow relationship between the semantic role of cause and other roles such as source, time, goal or condition:

  • [temporal] ὅτε, ὁπότε, ὁπηνίκα, ἐπεί, ἐπειδή, ἐπείπερ, εὖτε (poetic and Ionic) 'now, considering that';
  • [conditional] εἰ, ἐφ’ ᾧ, ἀνθ’ ὧν 'if, since';
  • [concessive] ἐπεί 'since, as';
  • [comparative] ὡς (informal from the end of the 5th century), ὥς τε (twice in the Odyssey), ὅπως 'because, since';
  • [place] ὅπου 'since, as';
  • [source] ὅθεν 'since, as'.


Other conjunctions are also used in object clauses: ὅτι (or ὁτιή in Aristophanes), διότι, διόπερ 'because'. Moreover the conjunction ὅ 'because' is a relative pronoun.
Finally, there are a few purely causal conjunctions: οὕνεκα of ὁθούνεκα (poetic), εἵνεκεν (Ionic) 'because'.

Syntactic behaviour (with oblique optative)

Usually a causal clause takes the indicative, because the cause of a state of affairs or an action usually exists in reality. This does not exclude the expression of possible causes (in the optative with ἄν – often with the force of a modest opinion) or counterfactual causes (in the secondary indicative with ἄν).
When the main clause contains an optative mood attraction can take place. The oblique optative is only possible when a subjective cause is involved.
A causative clause is not necessarily declarative. Interrogative, optative and imperative clauses are also possible.
In general causative clauses express a simultaneous or anterior state of affairs. The causative clause, which usually follows the main clause, justifies or clarifies the content of the main clause.

Indicators

Causal clauses are often anticipated in the main clause by διὰ ταῦτα / διὰ τοῦτο ‘for this reason’, τοῦδ’ ἕνεκα ‘for this reason’. A causative clause can also sometimes be used independently as the answer to a question introduced by τί; ‘why?’

Frequential information

De meest voorkomende voegwoorden zijn ὡς, ἐπεί (met de afleiding ἐπειδή en de Ionische variant ἐπείτε), ὅτι en in mindere mate ὅτε (Rijksbaron 1976: 24).

Example Sentences: 


νοῦσον ἀνὰ στρατὸν ὦρσε κακὴν, ὀλέκοντο δὲ λαοί, | οὕνεκα τὸν Χρύσην ἠτίμασεν ἀρητῆρα | Ἀτρεΐδης

Er brak een ernstige ziekte in het kamp uit, en de manschappen kwamen om, omdat Atreus' zoon de priester Chryses onteerd had.



Τηλέμαχον θαύμαζον, θαρσαλέως ἀγόρευεν

Ze verbaasden zich over Telemachus, omdat hij onverschrokken sprak.



οἱ ἐμοὶ φίλοι οὕτως ἔχοντες περὶ ἐμοῦ διατελοῦσιν, οὐ διὰ τὸ φιλεῖν ἐμὲ ..., ἀλλὰ διόπερ καὶ αὐτοὶ ἂν οἴονται βέλτιστοι γίγνεσθαι

Mijn vrienden houden niet op zulke gevoelens voor mij te koesteren, niet omdat ze van mij houden, maar omdat ze denken dat ze zo ook zelf uitstekende mensen kunnen worden.



... τὸν μὲν ἐπίστιον καλέων, διότι φονέα τοῦ παιδὸς ἐλάνθανε βόσκων, τὸν δὲ ἑταιρήιον, ὡς φύλακα συμπέμψας αὐτὸν εὑρήκοι πολεμιώτατον

... en hij aanriep [Zeus] als “van de Haard”, omdat hij de moordenaar van zijn zoon buiten zijn weten te eten had gegeven, en als “van de Kameraden”, omdat hij ontdekt had dat de man die hij als beschermer meegestuurd had, zijn ergste vijand was.



τί ποτ’ οὖν τοῖς ἄλλοις ἐγκαλῶν τῶν ἐμοὶ πεπραγμένων οὐχὶ μέμνηται; ὅτι τῶν ἀδικημάτων ἂν ἐμέμνητο τῶν αὑτοῦ, εἴ τι περὶ ἐμοῦ γ’ ἔγραφεν

Waarom beschuldigt hij de anderen zonder mijn daden te vermelden? Omdat hij zich zijn eigen misdaden herinnerd zou hebben, als hij mij voor iets aanklaagde.



τοῦδ’ ἕνεκά τοι πάντα ἠρώτησα ταῦτα, διότι τῆς τῶν ἀγελαίων τροφῆς ἔστι μὲν ἔνυδρον, ἔστι δὲ καὶ ξηροβατικόν

Ik heb jou al deze vragen gesteld, omdat de teelt van kuddes enerzijds in het water, anderzijds op het vasteland plaatsvindt.



οὐ γὰρ ἡλικίαν ἔχει | παρὰ σοὶ καθεύδειν τηλικοῦτος ὤν, ἐπεὶ | μήτηρ ἂν αὐτῷ μᾶλλον εἴης ἢ γυνή

Want hij heeft niet de leeftijd om bij jou te slapen, jong als hij is, vermits jij eerder zijn moeder dan zijn vrouw zou kunnen zijn.



[Θαλῆς] οὐδὲν ἔφη τὸν θάνατον διαφέρειν τοῦ ζῆν· “σὺ οὖν,” ἔφη τις, “διὰ τί οὐκ ἀποθνήσκεις;” “ὅτι,” εἶπεν, “οὐδὲν διαφέρει

Thales zei dat er geen verschil is tussen de dood en het leven. Iemand vroeg: “Waarom sterf jij dan niet?” en Thales zei: “Omdat het geen verschil maakt.”



διὰ τοῦτο κρίνεται, ὅτι ταῦτα πράξας παρὰ τοὺς νόμους δημηγορεῖ

He is on trial for this precise reason, that after such conduct he speaks before the assembly against the laws.