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1. ONE of the most striking peculiarities of the Greek Language is what is called Attraction. This originates in the association of ideas; and, occasionally, supersedes the common rules of construction. For, as the ideas are associated, in the mind of the writer, or speaker, they are expressed, independent of mere technical precepts. Hence we may perceive some latitude, in the application of Attraction; the influence of words being, sometimes, but the dependence of ideas, generally, observed.
2. Thus, the quality of any subject is, generally, expressed by an adjective; but the juxtaposition of two terms suggests that one of them expresses a quality of the other; and hence the former, losing its own independent meaning assumes the dependent character of an adjective; as, a
The Greek language.
a Compound terms are formed, in the same manner, in English; as
3. Again, a common rule of Syntax is, that the adjective shall agree with its substantive, in gender and number, as well as in case; but, by the association of ideas, we find this rule violated, when the persons, or things, alluded to, differ, in number, or gender, from the substantives expressed; as, a
Βρεφος φεροντα τοξον.
An infant, (i. e. a boy) bearing a bow.
Μαθητεύσατε παντα τα εθνη, βαπ- Teach ye all nations, baptizing τιζοντες αυτους. them (i. e. the persons).
4. By the same principle, a noun is often put in the accusative, in consequence of its proximity to a transitive verb; which should, more regularly, be used in the nominative, in connection with the succeeding verb; asb
Οιδα σε τις ει, for οιδα τις ει συ. Τον Κικέρωνα δεισας, μη χειρον διαγωνίσηται, for δείσας μη ὁ Κικερων και το λο
I know who you are.
5. On the contrary, a noun, which, according to the construction of Latin, and other languages, should be in the accusative, before the infinitive, is regularly attracted into the nominative, when it expresses the same person, or thing, with the subject of the preceding verb; as,c
Μοι ομοσσον προφρων αρηξειν, for
Swear to me that you willingly will defend me.
6. In this manner, the infinitive loses all its usual influence, in requiring an accusative before it, and may be preceded by any case, that is attracted to the foregoing noun; as Μοι κρατιστον εστι μαθητῃ σῳ It is best for me to become thy disciple.
7. Lastly, The relative, instead of being governed by the
a See Jones's Greek Grammar.
Perhaps the construction of neuters plural, with verbs singular, may be accounted for, by conceiving the same association of ideas; neuter, and inanimate objects, being considered generally, but animate agents, individually.
The Latins have sometimes imitated this idiom; as, Scin' me in quantis sim gaudis.
The Latins, sometimes, imitated this idiom; as,
Uxor invicti Jovis esse nescis. Hor.
Sensit medios delapsus in hostes. Virg.
d The Latins imitated this idiom, also, in allowing a substantive verb to be preceded by any case, except a genitive; as,
Mihi negligenti esse non licet.
verb on which it depends, is, very commonly, attracted into the same case with its antecedent; as,
Χρωμαι οἷς εχω, for χρημασιν å I use the things that I possess.
8. As to the antecedent's being attracted into the same case with the relative, it may be considered as nothing more than the full expression of what is commonly uttered elliptically; for the relative is an adjective, having its substantive always understood, if not expressed, as,a Άγοντες παρ ̓ ᾧ ξενισθωμεν Μνασωv, is equivalent to Αγοντες Μνάσωνα, παρ ̓ ᾧ Μνασωνι ξενισθωμεν.
Bringing (Mnaso), with which
9. In Greek, as in other languages, many words are usually omitted, which are necessary to complete the grammatical construction of sentences. These omissions were directed by local convenience, habit, and other causes, for which we cannot now account; but they are such as a native could easily supply; and, in general, may be understood, by a careful reading of the best authors. Those ellipses which occur, most regularly, are reducible to the following heads.b
10. Substantives understood. Whenever the substantive expressing the person or thing owned, or possessed, has been distinctly mentioned, or alluded to, before; or when the nature of the expression is such as to suggest it, that substantive may be omitted; as,c
Ετραφην εν πατρος (οικια).
I was reared in my father's (house).
• The Latins have adopted this manner of expression also; as, Qui fit Mæcenas, ut nemo, quam sibi sortem,
Seu ratio dederit, seu fors objecerit, illa
Contentus vivat. Hor.
b The reader who would wish to enter more minutely into this subject, will find much satisfaction in reading Bos's Ellipses Græcæ.
This practice is common in other languages, although more frequent, and regular, in Greek.
Ventum erat ad Vestæ (templum). Hor.
And thus we say, "I have been at St. Paul's" (church); and the like.
Αλεξανδρος, ὁ (υἱος) Φιλίππου.
Ολυμπιας, ἡ (μητης) Αλεξανδρου.
Διαιταν είχεν εν Κροίσου (βασιλειοις).
Philip's Alexander, i. e. Alex-
He had his diet in Croesus'
11. When a part of any thing is meant, the word μερος is almost always omitted; as,
Φαγομαι (μερος) αρτου.
I eat (part) of the bread.
12. In many instances, adjectives are placed absolutely, agreeing with their substantives understood; the nature of the sentence readily suggesting the substantive; as,
Εστι πασιν (ανθρωποις) δηλον
Εν φιλια (χώρα) εσμεν.
Εν ολιγῳ (χρονῳ).
It is evident to all (men).
We are in a friendly country.
13. To this principle may be reduced the substantive nature of adjectives put absolutely, with the neuter article; as,
15. And, frequently, the nature of the subject suggests the substantive understood; as,
Έπεμψα προς αυτον (αγγελον, η επιστολήν).
Αραντες (την αγκυραν).
I sent (a messenger, or letter) to him.
Having weighed (anchor).
16. Adjectives are seldom omitted, except when they have been already inserted in the sentence, and would become tiresome, by repetition; an ellipsis, common in all languages; as, (σπουδαιοι) Good parents, and (good) sons.
17. The pronominal adjectives, τις and εἷς, may be often supplied, instead of μερος, before a genitive plural; as,
Σωκρατης εστι (τις η είς) των σου
Socrates is (one) of the wise
18. The antecedents τόσος and τοιος, or τοιουτος, are frequently understood, before the respondents doo; and oios; as,
Πινουσι (τοσον) όσον εστιν ἁρπασαι.
Χοιραδες πολλαι εισι, δι ̓ ὧν ουχ
They drink (as much) as they
There are many rocks, through which it is impossible (there is no such thing as) to sail. They were not able to do it. (They were not such persons as were able to do it.)
19. Verbs are seldom omitted, except in order to avoid repetition. In one instance, however, the ellipsis is frequent. When a strong imperative is required, the verb, which would, regularly, be in the imperative, is put in the infinitive; and ipa, BλETE, or the like, is understood; as,
(Ορα) μη ποιειν τουτο.
(See that you) do not this.
20. Participles, particularly of substantive verbs, are, frequently, omitted, after the article; as,
Ο το διαδημα (εχων).
Πατηρ ἡμῶν, ὁ (ων) εν τοις ουρα
He that (has) the crown.
Our Father, who (art) in hea
21. Prepositions are, very commonly, omitted, before cases that follow words, which have no influence upon them; or whose influence requires different cases from those by which they are followed; as,
Μαλα (κατα) θυμον εχολώθη.
Πορῥω (απο) της πολεως.
Διωκειν (περι) θανατου.
He was greatly enraged (in)
Far (from) the city.
To accuse (of) a capital crime.
22. Conjunctive and adverbial particles are seldom omitted. It is not uncommon, however, to find an ellipsis of those that convey a subjunctive meaning; which, indeed, is usual, in other languages; as,
Ορα (ίνα) ποιησης.
Vide (ut) feceris.
See (that) you make.
23. We sometimes find μa, also, without its respondent dɛ;
and vice versa; as,
Ιατρος ονομ” (μεν) εχουσα, τ' εργα
Having the name, but not the deeds of a physician.