jswilkmd wrote:IIn Iliad 6.169, the participle (at least the only way I can scan it) grapsas must be a spondee. Since the preposition en which follows begins with a vowel (and never had an initial digamma as far as I can tell), the aorist active participle nominative masc/fem singular ending, -as, must be intrinsically long. Is this the case?
If so, I imagine it is because it is formed as a third declension substantive from the form grapsant- +s --> grapsants (which would make the alpha long) --> grapsas.
Am I correct here? I don't even know where to look in Pharr, Monro or Smythe to verify this.
Check the discussion on compensatory lengthening in Smyth (§37), though really the fullest discussion of something like this is going to be in a comparative or historical grammar.
Most dialects of ancient Greek did not like nasal consonants (μ, ν) to come next to sibilants (σ, ζ). When they ran into each other, the first consonant dropped out and the previous vowel was lengthened. For example, the original first declension accusative plural ending was -ανς. But, that couldn't do, so the nu
went away and the previous vowel got longer. The same thing is happening in the participles.
I don't know what you're planning to read, but some dialects lengthen the vowels differently. In Lesbian Aeolic, the first declension acc.pl. isn't -ας (long alpha) but -αις. In that dialect, alpha is "lengthened" to -αι- under compensatory lengthening.