[B-Greek] Accents

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Sat Dec 11 00:50:22 EST 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: cwconrad2
To: Iver Larsen
Cc: BG
Sent: 10. december 2010 16:24
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Accents

On Dec 09, 2010, at 12:53 PM, Iver Larsen <iver_larsen at sil.org> wrote:

A.T. Robertson says in his chapter 5.5 about accents:

Ἑρμᾶς (Ro. 16:14) is from the old Doric form abbreviated from Ἑρ-
μόδωρος; Ἑρμῆς (Ro. 16:14) may be merely the name of the god
given to a man, though Blass doubts it. Likewise we may note
that θευδᾶς (Ac. 5:36) is possibly an abbreviation of θεόδωρος;
Ἰουνίας (sometimes taken as feminine Ἰουνία, Ro. 16:7) may be
Ἰουνιᾶς as abbreviation of Ἰουνιανός.

I don't want to go into the question whether Ἰουνίαν IOUNIAN in Rom 16:7 refers
to a man or a woman. My question is only a matter of accentuation.
Is it correct that the circumflex accent indicates that the word is assumed to
be an abbreviation or contraction? Does it indicate anything about the gender of
the person?
Is is correct that Ἰουνίαν in the accusative could be either masculine or
feminine, and that the acute accent does not decide one way or the other?
There are many Greek transcriptions of Hebrew masculine names that end in -ίας.
Al Wolters in JBL 127.2 mentions 15 names in the NT ending in -ίας: Ἀνανίας, 
Βαραχίας, Ἑζεκίας,
Ζαχαρίας, Ἠλίας, Ἠσαΐας,
Ἰερεμίας, Ἰεχονίας, Ἰωσίας, Λυσανίας, Λυσίας, Μαθθίας, Ματταθίας, Ὀζίας, and
According to Smyth §171.b. "b. A contracted penult has the circumflex when the
ultima is short ... " -- that would be the case IF we knew that the original 
form of the
name were ᾿Ιουνιάνος; §171.c "b. A contracted ultima has the acute when the
uncontracted form was oxytone ... " -- which would be the case if the original 
of the name were ῾Ιουνιανός. But the Latin name Juniānus is accented on the
penult; Latin never accents the ultima. So I think that ᾿Ιουνιᾶς could indeed be 
shortened form of ᾿Ιουνιάνος, but I don't think that the Latin name "Junianus"
would ever be accented on the ultima, as  ᾿Ιουνιανός. None of the proper names
in the GNT cited above is Latin in origin.

But all this seems highly speculative.

Carl W. ConradDepartment of Classics, Washington University (ret)

Thanks, Carl.

I understand you to say that the suggested Ἰουνιᾶς as base form is quite 
unlikely and consequently that Ἰουνιᾶν is a questionable accentuation of the 
name in this verse. That seems to be the general opinion nowadays.

No one answered my other question, so I take it that no one wants to challenge 
Robertson when he implies that the accusative IOUNÍAN could have as its 
nominative form either IOUNÍAS (presumably masculine) or IOUNÍA (feminine), and 
that there is no way of knowing from a purely linguistic and morphological point 
of view. Wolters suggested that the name IOUNÍAS could well be Hebrew in origin, 
but I don't want to go into speculation here about the origin.

Iver Larsen 

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