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Odyssey 7.204-206

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Odyssey 7.204-206

Postby huilen » Thu May 01, 2014 4:33 pm

εἰ δ᾽ ἄρα τις καὶ μοῦνος ἰὼν ξύμβληται ὁδίτης,
οὔ τι κατακρύπτουσιν, ἐπεί σφισιν ἐγγύθεν εἰμέν,
ὥς περ Κύκλωπές τε καὶ ἄγρια φῦλα Γιγάντων.

Is ξύμβληται = ξυμβάλληται? It would be sense the subjunctive in this construction, but I can't explain the change in the stem. Is this a syncope? I thought that this kind of transformation applied only for other systems, I don't recall having seen any case like that in the present system, at least in thematic verbs(?)

Edit: I have found another: ἔπλετο. Is there any rule for this? Or it is applied to a fixed list of verbs?
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Re: Odyssey 7.204-206

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu May 01, 2014 9:13 pm

I would say it's aorist subjuntive, i.e. ξύμβληται =συμβάληται. But I can't explain the form. Homeric Greek is my strongest Greek dialect, so if this is something surprising for those who are more familiar with Attic, I wouldn't know it. With Homer, you sort of learn to accept that any form can happen. It least I stopped wondering a long time ago. Of course, if you're interested in historical linguistics you should read your commentaries closely and pay attention to Aeolisms, Atticisms and whatever. If you just want read the story, you learn to be good at guessing the meaning without having an explanation.
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Re: Odyssey 7.204-206

Postby Qimmik » Thu May 01, 2014 11:08 pm

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Re: Odyssey 7.204-206

Postby huilen » Fri May 02, 2014 12:26 am

Thanks, I'm not more familiarized with Attic than with Homeric (I have started to learn Greek with Homer indeed), but now that I feel more comfortable with the syntax, I've started to look and wonder at morphology: I am trying to derive each word from it's stem whenever I find a strange form. But I am doing that just as an exercise and for the sake of memorization (the more regular are the words the less space they occupy in my poor head), and if there is no straightforward explanation at hand I just go ahead with the reading without much grieve.
Last edited by huilen on Fri May 02, 2014 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Odyssey 7.204-206

Postby Markos » Fri May 02, 2014 3:17 pm

Smyth (688) calls it a "second aorist of the μι form," but the other examples he gives don't seem to show a really consistent pattern. If the root is βαλ, you have metathesis and lengthening. I'd prefer to categorize it with the catch-all term "heterodox form." :lol:
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Re: Odyssey 7.204-206

Postby aap » Fri May 02, 2014 9:19 pm

But -ται being a primary ending can't be used with an aorist, not an indicative at least but the subjunctive seems to be βλήεται (according to LSJ). So this form is really puzzeling. Even if the subjunctive were some kind of contraction it would still be **ξυμβλῆται, not ξύμβληται. Now the form would be perfectly clear if it were a root-present, but this root does form a root-present but a root-aorist. So the real problem is the -ται, the rest of the form is perfectly clear and ἔβλητο can be reconstructed as PIE *(h₁)é-gʷl̥h₁-to.
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Re: Odyssey 7.204-206

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri May 02, 2014 10:15 pm

Not that I understand very much about this... But aren't the primary endings regular with aorist subjunctive? Couldn't the ε in βλήεται just be an incidental case metrical lengthening, because βλήεται as cited in LSJ appears in a context in the Odyssey that requires -αι to be short? (epic correption before a vowel) If ηε is just metrical lengthening, there's no need for the hypothetical *ξυμβλῆται.

According to my Bornemann-Risch grammar the regular Attic aorist subjunctive is βάληται. So could σύμβληται and συμβάληται just be two parallel developments from an original Indo-European form, the former disappearing first? (like two different developments from vocalic l̥ or something, I don't know this stuff)
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Re: Odyssey 7.204-206

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri May 02, 2014 10:19 pm

aap wrote:the subjunctive seems to be βλήεται (according to LSJ)

So I'm guessing LSJ is quoting only the "surprising" forms and assumes we know the more common ones. Is this how LSJ works?
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Re: Odyssey 7.204-206

Postby aap » Sat May 03, 2014 5:55 am

Paul Derouda wrote:Not that I understand very much about this... But aren't the primary endings regular with aorist subjunctive? Couldn't the ε in βλήεται just be an incidental case metrical lengthening, because βλήεται as cited in LSJ appears in a context in the Odyssey that requires -αι to be short? (epic correption before a vowel) If ηε is just metrical lengthening, there's no need for the hypothetical *ξυμβλῆται.

According to my Bornemann-Risch grammar the regular Attic aorist subjunctive is βάληται. So could σύμβληται and συμβάληται just be two parallel developments from an original Indo-European form, the former disappearing first? (like two different developments from vocalic l̥ or something, I don't know this stuff)


About the metrical lengthening: If (ξύμ-)βληται made sense as a subjunctive I'd agree, but the subjunctive marker is missing: *(h₁)é-gʷl̥h₁-to (indicative) > ἔβλητο and *gʷl̥h₁-e-toi̯ (subjunctive) > βάλεται/βάληται (should be short-vocalic originally; also, ignore that the original ending was *-toi̯, not *-tai̯). Notice that *l̥h₁ before a vowel (the subjunctive marker!) becomes αλ while before a consonant it becomes λη (with long ē, not Ionic for ā).
So you may be right that σύμβληται could have been formed as a replacement for συμβάληται even though the form feels kind of odd.

Another thing I'd like to add: Diphthongs at the end of a word are not really "shortened" before a vowel but the glide element (i̯ or u̯) becomes the onset of the next syllable which makes the syllable before that open and hence short (if it has a short vowel). Example: μοι ἔννεπε should be syllabified as mo.yen.ne.pe.

Paul Derouda wrote:So I'm guessing LSJ is quoting only the "surprising" forms and assumes we know the more common ones. Is this how LSJ works?

Normally LSJ mentions all (or most?) of the attested forms.
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Re: Odyssey 7.204-206

Postby Qimmik » Sun May 04, 2014 12:37 pm

Stanford explains this as the result of syncope: ξυμβάληται > ξύμβληται. The short vowel α has been suppressed. That would make it a second aorist middle subjunctive, which is consistent with the syntax. This seems to me the best explanation of a slightly anomalous form, although I'm not aware of any analogous formations.

The second aorist stem ξυμβαλ-/ξυμβλ- wouldn't take a short-vowel subjunctive because the indicative form would have a short thematic vowel. If this were derived from an athematic intransitive aorist ἔβλην, it would not take a middle personal ending, and you would expect a short-vowel subjunctive. (Athematic aorists are those conjugated like ἔβην.)

However, there do seem to be forms of βάλλω and ξυμβάλλω that presuppose an athematic aorist ἔβλην or ξυνέβλην -- passive in the case of βάλλω and intransitive in the case of ξυμβάλλω -- as the LSJ entries indicate. Perhaps there was some confusion of these forms in the epic Kunstsprache, or an anomalous ending got stuck onto ξυνεβλη-.

Chantraine (GH sec. 218) cites the form in 7.204 as βλῆται, and explains it as a contraction of βλήεται (Od. 17.472), which would be a short-vowel athematic aorist subjunctive. This would be consistent with a derivation from *gʷl̥h₁-e-toi̯ (assuming analogical levelling played no role in the process.) However, if ξυμβληται is a contraction from ξυμβλήεται, the accentuation would have to be ξυμβλῆται. None of the editions at my disposal, including van Thiel, OCT and von der Mühll, has anything other than ξύμβληται. I suppose it's possible that the traditional accentuation of 7.204 is wrong: after all, the scholars who originally marked the accentuation did not have the benefit--or the curse--of Indo-European comparative linguistics.
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