Verbal Adjectives in -τεος

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596. The Verbal in -τέος (cp. 352, 354) is generally passive in meaning; it may be used in the personal or the impersonal construction; the agent in either construction is expressed by a dative (524.b).

a. The personal construction gives more prominence to the subject, with which the verbal agrees, as attributive or as predicate; the copula is often omitted.

Ἐμοὶ τοῦτο οὐ ποιητέον.
This must not be done by me
Xen. Anabasis 1.3.15

οὐ τοσαῦτα ὄρη ὁρᾶτε ῡ̔μῖν ὄντα πορευτέα;
Do you not see so many mountains that must be traversed by you?
Xen. Anabasis 2.5.18

b. The impersonal construction gives more prominence to the action; the verbal is in the neuter singular (sometimes in the plural), and may take an object; the copula is often omitted.

Ἡμῖν γʼ ὑπὲρ τῆς ἐλευθερίᾱς ἀγωνιστέον.
We at least must make a struggle for freedom.
Demosthenes 9.70

ἰτέον οὖν ἐπὶ ἅπαντας τούς τι δοκοῦντας εἰδέναι.
I had to go therefore to all those who appeared to have some knowledge. (the context shows that ἦν is understood)
Plato Apology 21e - 22a

τοὺς φίλους εὐεργετητέον, τῶν βοσκημάτων ἐπιμελητέον.
One must benefit his friends, one must care for his flocks.
Xen. Memorobilia 2.1.28

c. Some verbals in -τέος have the meaning of the middle voice.

πειστέον one must obey

φυλακτέον we must be on our guard.

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Suggested Citation

Meagan Ayer, ed. Goodell’s School Grammar of Attic Greek. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-947822-10-8.