[B-Greek] Short vowel subjunctives
Carl W. Conrad
cwconrad at ioa.com
Fri Aug 19 08:09:04 EDT 2005
On Aug 17, 2005, at 6:35 PM, bertdehaan at sympatico.ca wrote:
> Hi all.
> In a thread dealing with the benefits of learning Classical Greek,
> Carl Conrad wrote a list of "peculiarities" of Classical compared
> to Koine.
> One of them was: short-vowel aorist subjunctives functioning as
> I've seen lots of short vowel aorist subjunctives in Homer but I
> assumed that they were short vowel to make them work in the metre
> of the poem.
> Is the distinction in meaning between short and long vowel
> subjunctives that you hinted at, a concrete distinction or is it
This is pretty strictly Homeric dialect. You have to look in a
Homeric grammar; Smyth doesn't really discuss this since his focus is
on Attic; I cite from the "Short Homeric Grammar" appendix of
Benner's _Selections from the Homeric Iliad_:
"§143. Tenses which in the indicative lack the thematic vowel use in
the subjunctive E or O not H or W. This applies to the active endings
-ETON, OMEN, ETE; and to the middle (or passive) endings -OMAI, -EAI,
-ETAI, -OMEQA, -OMESQA. E.g. B 440, IOMEN (Attic IWMEN), of which the
present indicative is IMEN. A 363 EIDOMEN (Attick EIDWMEN), of which
the second perfect indicative is IDMEN.
"§144. This formatio;n is chiefly illustrated by two important
classes of verbs.
I. Second aorists of the non-thematic type:
EQEMEN QEIOMEN (A 143)
APEQEMHN APOQEIOMAI (S 409)
KATEBHMEN KATABHOMEN (K 97)
EDAMHTE DAMHETE (H 72)
II. First aorists, active and middle
ECWSATO CWSETAI (A 80)
ERUSSAMEN ERUSSOMEN (A 141)
BHSAMEN BHSOMEN (A 144)
hILASSAO hILASSEAI (A 147)
HGEIRAMEN AGEIROMEN (A 142)"
> Ps. Thank you Carl for that message you quoted.
> I am still learning Homeric Greek (and I plan to go on to other
> authors) in order to help me with Koine, but it is not the only
> reason any more. For me, learning Greek has taken on a life of its
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
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