Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Wed May 1 05:23:13 EDT 2002

At 12:08 AM -0400 5/1/02, lance w seevers wrote:
>I read in a Homeric Greek grammar that the absence of the article did not
>make the noun indefinite. Was there an author who expressed the change?
>Can we see in the writings of classical Greek when the change took place?
>Or is the author all wet?
>If this is too off topic, please contact me off list.
>I am going through the Iliad. I am a lurker who is trying to broaden his
>Greek horizons beyond the NT and Septuagint. I am not grinding any axes!

There's a book that appeared in German about the middle of the last century
by Bruno Snell originally entitled _Die Entdeckung des Geistes_, Englished
as _The Discovery of the Mind_. While some of what Snell argues in that
collection of essays on ancient Greek cultural developments is outdated,
there's a fine chapter, the exact title of which I don't recall, which
describes "the invention of the article" as something taking place more or
less toward the end of the 6th century B.C.E. when what was earlier (and
continued, to some extent, to be) essentially a weak demonstrative pronoun
(= "he/she/it") came increasingly to be used to point to a noun or
substantivized phrase in such a way as to give it the force of a definite

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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