Composition

Book Nav

123. It is a general law of Greek and the kindred languages that while a verb cannot be compounded with any prefix except a preposition, a nominal stem may be compounded with any other nominal stem, the first or prefixed stem serving to limit or qualify the notion expressed by the other. The Homeric language contains very many compounds formed by the simple placing together of two nominal stems.

πτολί-πορθο-ς
sacker of cities

ῥοδο-δάκτυλο-ς
rose-fingered

τελεσ-φόρο-ς
bringing tο an end

βουλη-φόρο-ς
bringing counsel

ὑψ-αγόρη-ς
talking loftily

πρωθ-ήβη-ς (for πρωτο-ήβη-ς)
in the prime of γouth, etc.

124. Form of the Prefixed Stem. The instances which call for notice fall under the following heads.

a. Stems in ο, -η

The great number of nominal stems in -ο created a tendency (which was aided by the convenience of pronunciation) to put -ο in place of other suffixes. Thus we have

-ο for -η, as ὑλο-τόμο-ς wοοd-cutter, etc.1

-ο for -εσ

εἰρο-κόμο-ς
wοοl-dresser

μενο-εικής
pleasing to the spirit

and for -ᾰσ, as γηρο-κόμο-ς tending οld age.

-μο for -μον, as ἀκμό-θετο-ν anvil block; and for -μᾰ, as αἰμο-φόρυκτο-ς dabbled with blood, Κυμο-δόκη, etc.

-ρο for -ῥᾰ, πατρο-κασίγνητος, μητρο-πάτωρ, ἀνδρο-φόνος, and the like. In ἀνδρά-ποδον the short stem (as in ἀνδρά-σι) is retained, but probably this form is due to the analogy of τετράποδον, slaves and cattle being thought of together as the two main kinds of property in early times (Brugm.).

-ο inserted after a consonant

παιδ-ο-φόνο-ς
child slayer

ἁρ-ματ-ο-πηγό-ς
chariot builder

ὑδατ-ο-τρεφής
water-fed

ἐλε-ό-θρεπ-το-ς (ἐλεσ-ο-)
grown in a marsh

ἠερ-ο-φοῖτι-ς
flying in air

δουρο-δόκη (δορϝ-ο-)
spear holder

κεραο-ξόο-ς (κερασ-)
worker in horn

Sometimes the -ο is a real suffix; e. g. in δι-ο-γενής (διϝ-ι̯ο) Zeus-sprung (= δῖον γένος ἔχων).

Stems in -η instead of -ο appear in

θαλαμη-πόλο-ς
attendant of a chamber

πυρη-φόρο-ς
bearing wheat

ἐλαφη-βόλο-ς, ἑκατη-βόλο-ς, κραναή-πεδο-ς, ὑπερή-φανο-ς. We may suppose that there was a collateral stem in -η (e. g. θαλάμη is found, but in a different sense from θάλαμο-ς Od. 5.432), or that the compound fοllοw the analogy of βουλη-φόρο-ς, etc.

Feminine -ᾰ becomes either -ο, as ἀελλό-πος storm-foοt; or -η, as γαιή-οχο-ς earth-holder, μοίρη-γενής born by fate.

The result of these changes is to make ο the "connecting vowel" in the great majority of compounds. In later Greek this form prevails almost exclusively.

b. Stems in -ῐ

The compounds which contain these stems are mostly of an archaic stamp.

  • ἀργί-ποδ-ες
    with swift (or white) feet
     
  • ἀργι-όδοντ-ες
    white-tοοthed
     
  • ἀργι-κέραυνο-ς
    with bright lightning
     
  • τερπι-κέραυνο-ς
    hurling thunderbolts2
     
  • εἰλί-ποδ-ες
    trailing (?) the feet (of oxen)
  • ἁλί-πλοο-ς
    washed by the sea

Also ἁλι-αής, ἁλι-πόρφυρος, Ἁλί-αρτος, Ἁλί-ζωνοι, Ἁλι-θέρσης (cp. ἁλι-εύς fisherman)

  • αἰγί-βοτο-ς
    fed on by goats
     
  • αἰγί-λιψ
    deserted by goats
     
  • χαλί-φρων
    of light mind
     
  • δαΐ-φρων
    warlike (or prudent)
     
  • ἀλεξί-κακο-ς
    defender against ill
     
  • λαθι-κηδής
    forgetting care
     
  • πυκι-μηδής
    with shrewd counsel
     
  • καλλι-γύναικ-α
    with beautiful women3
     
  • κυδι-άνειρα
    glorifying men4

with the proper names, Aἰθί-οπ-ες, Πειρί-θοο-ς, Ἀλκί-νοο-ς, Ἀλκι-μέδων (cp. ἄν-αλκι-ς), and the words beginning with ἀρι- and ἐρι-.

The meaning of several of these words is very uncertain, owing to the merely ornamental and conventional way in which they are used in Homeric poetry. It seems to fοllow that they are survivals from an earlier period, one in which the number of stems in -ι was probably greater than in Homeric times.

Loss of ο may be recognised in ἀρτί-πος (= ἄρτιος τοὺς πόδας), ζεί-δωρος grain giνing (ζειά), κραται-γύαλος of strong pieces, Δηΐ-φοβος, perhaps also μιαι-φόνος, Ἀλθαιμένης, ταλαί-πωρος; cp. γεραί-τερος from γεραιό-ς.

c. Stems in -σῐ

This group is mainly Homeric

  • ἐρυσί-πτολι (vοc.)
    deliverer of the city5
     
  • ἀερσί-ποδ-ες
    lifting the feet (i. e. with high action)
     
  • πλήξ-ιππο-ς
    smiter of horses
     
  • λυσι-μελής
    loosening the limbs (of sleep)
     
  • τανυσί-πτερο-ς
     
  • ταλασί-φρων
     
  • ἀεσί-φρων
     
  • ταμεσί-χρως
     
  • φαεσί-μβροτο-ς
     
  • φυσί-ζοος
     
  • φθισί-μβροτο-ς
     
  • τερψί-μβροτο-ς
     
  • Τερψι-χόρη (Hes.)
     
  • ἐνοσίχθων (ἐννοσίγαιος, εἰνοσί-φυλλος, etc.)
     
  • πηγεσί-μαλλο-ς
     
  • ὠλεσί-καρπο-ς
     
  • ἀλφεσί-βοιος
     
  • ἑλκεσί-πεπλο-ς
     
  • φθισ-ήνωρ
     
  • πλησ-ίστιο-ς
     
  • ἐρυσ-άρματ-ες
     
  • ῥηξ-ήνωρ
     
  • γαμψ-ῶνυξ

and proper names, Πρωτεσί-λαο-ς, Ἀρσί-νοο-ς, Δεισ-ήνωρ, Λύσ-ανδρος, Πεισ-ήνωρ, Πεισί-στρατο-ς, Ὀρσί-λοχο-ς, Ἀναβησί-νεως, Ἡσί-οδος (Hes.), etc.

There are a few stems in -τῐ: βωτι-άνειρα feeding men, Καστι-άνειρα (cp. κε-κασ-μένος).

We may add the Hesiοdic φερέσ-βιος life-bearing, and φερεσ-σακής shield-bearing with φερεσ- apparently for φερεσι-.

These stems were originally the same as those of the abstract nouns in -τι-ς, -σι-ς: cp. Τέρψι-χόρη, τερψί-μβροτος, etc. with τέρψι-ς, πλήξ-ιππος with πλῆξι-ς. But in many cases new stems have been formed under the influence of the sigmatic aorist, with a difference of quantity, as in φῡσί-ζοο-ς life-giνing (φῠ́σι-ς), λῡσι-μελής, φθῑσί-μβροτο-ς. Compare also ταμεσί-χρως with τμῆσι-ς, Πεισί-στρατο-ς with πίστι-ς, etc.

The group of compounds is also to be noticed for the distinctly verbal or participial meaning given by the first part of the word; cp. the next group, and § 126.

d. Stems in -ε

These are nearly all verbal, both in form and meaning.

  • ἑλκε-χίτων-ες
    trailing the chiton
     
  • μενε-δήϊο-ς
    withstanding foemen6
     
  • ἐχέ-θυμο-ς
    restraining pαssion
     
  • ἐχέ-φρων
    possessing judgment
     
  • ἐχε-πευκές
    carrying sharpness
     
  • Ἐχέ-πωλο-ς, Ἐχέ-νηος, Ἐχε-κλῆς
     
  • ἀγελείη
    driνing spoil
     
  • ἀρχέ-κακο-ς
    beginning mischief
     
  • ἀγχέ-μαχο-ς
    fighting close
     
  • λεχε-ποίη
    with beds of grass
     
  • Ἀρχέ-λοχο-ς, Φέρε-κλος, Μελέ-αγρο-ς
     
  • φερέ-οικος
    carrying his house7
     
  • ἐγρε-κύδοιμος
    stirring tumult

also (if ε is elided)

  • ψευδ-άγγελο-ς
    bringing false news
     
  • μισγ-άγκεια
    the meetίπg-place of glens
     
  • ἀλεξάνεμος
    keeping off wind
  • Ἀλέξ-ανδρος

Stems in -σε; ἀκερσε-κόμη-ς with unshorn haίr, Περσε-φόνεια.

With the stems in -ε may evidently be placed ταλα-, in

ταλά-φρων
with enduring mind

ταλα-εργό-ς
enduring in work

ταλαύρινος (for ταλα-ϝρινο-ς)
bearing a shield of hide

ταλα-πενθής
bearing sorrow

ταλα-πείριος
bearing trial

and τλη- in Τλη-πόλεμος etc.; also τανυ-, in

τανύ-γλωσσος
with outstretched tongue
long-tongued

τανύ-φυλλος
long-leaνed

τανυ-γλώχινες
long-notched (arrows)

and έρυ- in Ἐρύ-λαος, defender of the host.

e. Stems in -ν

ᾰ for appears in ὀνομά-κλυτος of famous name, κυνά-μυια for κυα-μυια on the analogy of κύν-α.

f. Case-forms

Nominative and accusative in numerals, as ἕν-δεκα, δυώ-δεκα.

The Dative is probably to be recognized in

ἀρηίφατο-ς
slain in war (and so Ἀρηΐ-θοο-ς Ἀρηΐ-λυκο-ς)

πυρι-ηκής
sharpened by fire (πυρί-καυστο-ς, Πυρι-φλεγέθων)

διϊ-πετής
falling in the sky

the dative plural in

κηρεσσι-φόρητο-ς
brought by the fates

ὀρεσί-τροφο-ς
nursed in mountains

ἐγχεσίμωρο-ς
great with spears

ἐντεσι-εργό-ς
working in harness

τειχεσι-πλῆτα (voc.)
drawing near to (assailing) walls

Nαυσι-κάα, Μηδεσι-κάστη, Πασι-θέη, Χερσι-δάμας; a locative form in

χαμαι-εύνης
sleeping on the ground

ὁδοι-πόρο-ς
a wayfarer

χοροι-τυπίη
figuring in the dance

Πυλοι-γενής
born at Pylos

παλαί-φατο-ς
of ancient fame

and perhaps (to express manner) in ἰθαι-γενής duly born, ὀλοοί-τροχο-ς rοlling. Cp. ἐμ-πυρι-βήτης made to stand over the fire, i. e. a kettle.

This use of the dative may have been suggested by the stems in -ῑ and -σῐ. Compounds such as ἑλκεσί-πεπλος, ὠλεσί-καρπος, ἀλφεσί-βοιος, containing forms which sounded like the dative plural of stems in -εσ, may have served as types for the group ἐγχεσί-μωρος, τειχεσι-πλήτης, ὁρεσί-τροφος, etc., in which the dative plural takes the place of the stem. Cp. Πρωτεσί-λαος.

Conversely, φερέσ-βιο-ς life-bearing, and φερεσ-σακής (Hes.) ought to be *φερεσί-βιο-ς, but have followed the type of ὀρέσ-βιο-ς, τελεσ-φόρο-ς, etc.

The forms

  • διΐ-φιλο-ς
  • ἀρηΐ-φιλος
  • ἀρηϊ-κτάμενο-ς
  • δαϊ-κτάμενο-ς
  • δουρι-κλυτό-ς
  • δουρι-κλειτό-ς
  • ναυσι-κλυτό-ς

should probably be written as separate words, Διῒ φίλος, Ἄρηϊ κτάμενος, etc. As to -κτάμενος see § 125.6: as to -κλυτός, -κλειτός, cp. § 128.

The genitive is very rare: οὐδενόσ-ωρο-ς not worth caring for, Ἑλλήσ-ποντος.

The accusative may be recognized in

δικασ-πόλο-ς
busied about suits (δίκαι)

ἀταλά-φρων
with childish thought (= ἀταλὰ φρονέων, which is also used in Homer)

ἀκαλα-ρρείτης
gently flowing

Ἀλκά-θοος (cp. dative ἀλκ-ί), ποδά-νιπτρον, also πᾰν- (altogether) in πάμ-παν, παν-αίολος, παν-άποτμος, πάμ-πρωτος, etc.

An ending -η (for -ᾱ) may be seen in νεή-φατος new-slain, ὀλιγη-πελέων. This is perhaps an instrumental, as πάντη (§ 110).

125. Form of the Second Stem.

ἐλα- drive
       ἱππ-ηλάτα, ἐξ-ήλα-τος, βο-ηλα-σίη

ἐρα- love
       ἐπ-ήρα-τος, πολυ-ήρα-τος

ἀμελγ- milk
       ἀν-ήμελκτος, Ἱππ-ημολγοί

ἀρό-ω plough
       ἀν-ήρο-τος

ἀλέγ-ω care
       δυσ-ηλεγ-έος (gen.), ἀπ-ηλεγ-έως

ἐρέφ-ω cover
       κατ-ηρεφ-ής, ἀμφ-ηρεφ-ής, ὑπ-ωρόφ-ιος

ἀμείβ-ω change
       ἐξ-ημοιβ-ός

ἐρετ- row
       φιλ-ήρετ-μος, δολιχ-ήρετμος

ἐνεκ- carry
       δι-ηνεκ-ής, ποδ-ηνεκ-ής, δουρ-ηνεκ-ής

ἐλυ(θ)- come
       νε-ήλυδ-ες

ἀγερ- assemble
       ὁμ-ηγερ-έες, θυμ-ηγερ-έων (= θυμὸν ἀγείρων)

ἐριδ- strive
       ἀμφ-ήριστος (striven about)

So ποδ-ήνεμος, εὐ-ώνυμος (πολυ-ώνυμος, etc.), εὐ-ήνωρ (ἀνερ-), εὐ-ηφενής (from ἄφενος wealth), γαμψ-ῶνυξ, πεμπ-ώβολον, ἀν-ήκεστος, ἀν-ώϊστος, ἐρι-ούνης (ὀνα- help), ὑπώρεια (ὄρος), δι-ηκόσιοι and τρι-ηκόσιοι (ἑκατόν).

Similar lengthening is found, but less frequently, in the first part of the compound: ὥλεσί-καρπος, ἠλιτό-μηνος, Ὠρεί-θυια. Also in other derivatives, as ἠνεμό-εις, ἠνορ-έη, τηλεθόωσα (θᾰλέθω), ἠγερέθονται (ἀγερ-).

  1. The use of a root noun, i. e. a verbal stem without a distinct nominal suffix (§ 113), is more common in composition than in simple nouns.

     

    • δί-ζυγ-ες
      yoked in a pair
       
    • δί-πλακ-α
      two-fold
       
    • χέρ-νιβ-α
      hand-washing
       
    • οἴν-οπ-α
      wine-like
       
    • νήϊδα (νή-ϝιδ-α)
      ignorant
       
    • αἰγί-λιπ-ος (gen.)
      left by goats
       
    • πολυ-ᾶϊξ
      much starting
    • βου-πλήξ
      an ox-whip

    The stem, it will be seen, is in the weak form.

  2. Nouns in -ώς (genitive -ο-ος) and in -ος (genitive -ε-ος) form the compound in -ης, neuter -ες

    ἀν-αιδής
    without shame (αἰδώς)

    θυμ-αλγής
    grieνing the spirit (ἄλγος)

    The stem in these compounds is often weak, though in the simple neuters in -ος it is strong (§ 114).

    • αἰνο-παθής8
    • ἀγχιβαθής9
    • οἰνο-βαρής
    • πρωτο-παγής
    • ἀ-σινής
    • θυμο-δακής
    • ἀριφραδής
    • ἑτερ-αλκής
    • τηλε-φανής, etc.

    So we find ἀϊκῶς (Il. 22.336) as adverb to ἀεικής, and ἀλλο-ϊδέα (Od. 13.194) alongside of θεο-ειδής, μυλο-ειδής, etc.

    This weakening of the stem, accompanied by shifting of the accent to the suffix, apparently represents the original rule—wοrds like ταλα-πεvθήs being formed afresh from the simple nοun. Conversely, the analogy of the compounds has given rise to the forms πάθος, βάθος, βάρος, etc., and also to the simple adjectives such as ψευδής, σαφής.

  3. Stems in ην (εν-) usually take ων (ον-) in composition, as φρήν (genitive φρεν-ός) forms πρό-φρων, genitive πρό-φρον-ος. Neuters in -μᾰ form compounds in -μων, genitive -μον-ος, as ἀν- αίμον-ες (αἷμα) bloodless. Cp. ἀπείρων boundless (πεῖραρ, περαίνω). So too πατήρ, μήτηρ, ἀνήρ, etc., form -ωρ (genitive -ορ-ος), as μητρο-πάτωρ, εὐ-ήνωρ.
  4. Some stems take a final -τ, as ἀ-βλῆ-τ-α (accusative singular) unthrown, ἀ-κμῆ-τ-ες unwearied; so ἐπι-βλής, ἀ-δμής, ἀ-γνώς.
  5. In adjectives the suffix is often replaced by one ending in ο-.

    ὄ-πατρο-ς
    of one father

    βαρβαρό-φωνο-ς
    with strange νoice (from φώνη)

    χρυσ-ηλάκατο-ς
    with golden distaff (ἠλακάτη)

    δυσ-ώνυμο-ς
    of eνil name (ὄνομα)

    ἄ-σπερμο-ς
    without seed (σπέρμα), etc.

    In other cases the suffix is retained, and thus we find in compounds (contrary to the general rules of noun formation)—

    Masculine stems in -τη, as ἀργυρο-δίνη-ς
                          and -ιδ, as λευκ-άσπιδ-ες

    Masculine and feminine stems in -εσ, a μελι-ηδής honey-sweet, ἠρι-γένεια (for -εσ-ι̯ᾰ) early born

    Feminine stems in -ο, as χρυσό-θρονο-ς (Ἥρη), ῥοδο-δάκτυλο-ς (Ἠώς), and many other adjectives of twο terminations

    A masculine stem in -μᾰτ, viz. ἐρυσ-άρματ-ες (ἵπποι).

  6. The use of a participle in the second part is rare. It is found in some proper names, as Οὐκ-αλέγων, Πυρι-φλεγέθων, Θεο-κλύμενος, also where it is a merea without any tense meaning, as πολύ-τλας, cp. ἀ-δάμας. In other cases we can write the words separately as

     

    • πάλιν πλαγχθέντας
       
    • δάκρυ χέων
       
    • πᾶσι μέλουσα
       
    • κάρη κομόωντες
       
    • εὖ ναιετάων
       
    • εὐρὺ ῥέων
       
    • ἐῢ κτίμενος
       
    • πάλιν ὄρμενος
       
    • Ἄρηϊ κτάμενος
       
    • δαῒ κτάμενος, etc.
       
  7. Abstract primitive nouns are not used in the second part: thus we do not find ἐπεσ-βολή, but ἐπεσ-βολίη (through a concrete ἐπεσ-βόλο-ς), and so

     

    • βο-ηλασίη (not βο-ήλασι-ς)
       
    • ἀνδρο-κτασί-η
       
    • εὐ-δικ-ίη
       
    • ἁμα-τροχιή
       
    • ἀλαο-σκοπιή

    except after prepositions.

    • ἀμφί-βασι-ς
       
    • ἐπί-κλησι-ς
       
    • προ-χοή
    • προ-δοκή

    Note however παλίωξις (for παλι-ίωξι-ς), βου-λυτό-ς the time of unyoking, βού-βρωστι-ς.

  8. When the latter part of a compound is derived from a disyllabic verbal stem beginning with a vowel, its initial vowel is often lengthened.10

  • 1. It is possible however that feminine nouns in -η were regarded as formed from stems in -ο, the long vowel being of the nature of a case ending (§ 113). This is especially applicable to adjectives, e. g. ἀκρό-πολις comes directly from masculine ἄκρος (Brugm.).
  • 2. τέρπω = τρέπω, Latin torqueo
  • 3. Cp. κάλλι-μος)
  • 4. Cp. κυδι-όων
  • 5. With v.l. ῥῡσί-πτολι Il. 6.305
  • 6. So μενεχάρμη-ς, μενε-πτόλεμο-ς, Μενέ-λαο-ς, Mενε-σθεύς, etc.
  • 7. Of the snail in Hes.
  • 8. As well as ταλα-πενθής, νη-πενθής, from πένθος.
  • 9. Also βένθος, πολυ-βενθής
  • 10. This peculiar lengthening in the second member of a compound has been explained by Wackernagel (Dehnungsgesetz, pp. 21 ff.) as the result of a primitive contraction or crasis, with the final vowel of the first part, e. g. ὁμώνυμος for ὁμο-ονυμος. The chief argument for this view is that the lengthening is only found in stems beginning with a vowel—a fact which can hardly be accounted for on any other supposition. Such cases as δυσώνυμος, in which no contraction can have taken place, may be extensions by analogy of the original type. It is to be understood of course that the resulting long vowel is fixed by the second of the two concurrent vowels: ὁμήγυρις for ὁμο-αγυρις, πεμπώβολον for πεμπε-οβολον, etc. Whether this was a primitive phonetic rule, or partly due to the working of analogy, it finds an exact parallel in the temporal augment, which must have been due to the influence of a prefix ἐ- upon the initial vowel of the verb stem. We may compare also the subjunctive forms δύνᾱμαι, τίθηντι, etc. (§ 81). Thus the later contraction, as in σκηπτοῦχος, Λυκοῦργος, stands in the same relation to the older forms in question as εἶχον, etc. (with ει for εε) to ἤλασα, ὤμοσα, etc.

    The primitive Indo-European "sandhi,"—crasis of the final vowel of one word with the initial vowel of the next—was generally given up in Greek, and the system of elision took its place. In compounds we constantly find elision of a short final vowel along with the lengthening (which is then a mere survival): as ἐπ-ήρατος, ἀμφ-ήριστος, φθισ-ήνωρ (cp. φθισί-μβροτος). But lengthening does not take place if the vowel is long by position (e. g. ἑτερ-αλκής, Ἀλέξ-ανδρος, ἀναιδής), which seems to indicate that the preservation—though not the origin—of the lengthened stem was a matter of rhythm (as in σοφώ-τερος). Other exceptions to the rule of lengthening may be variously explained. In some cases, as Wackernagel suggests (p. 51), an initial short vowel may have been retained from the original formation: as in the ancient compounds Βωτιάνειρα (ἀντιάνειρα, κυδιάνειρα) αργιόδοντες, εὐρύοπα, εὐρυάγυια, where the meter stood in the way of lengthening by analogy. More generally it is a mark of lateness, e. g. in the forms compounded with πᾰν-, as παν-άποτμος, παν-αφῆλιξ, παν-αώριος, Παν-αχαιοί, and with prepositions, as ἐν-αρίθμιος, ὑπεναντίος (p. 55). Such words as αἰναρέτης (Il. 16.31), λαβρ-αγόρης (Il. 23.479), ἀν-όλεθρος (Il. 13.761 τοὑς δʼ εὗρʼ οὐκέτι πάμπαν ἀπήμονας οὐδʼ ἀνολέθρους), ἀνάποινον (Il. 1.99) δυσ-αριστοτόκεια (Il. 18.54), have all the appearance of being of the poet's own coinage.

    On the view here taken the lengthening in ὠλεσίκαρπος and the similar cases given at the end of the section must be otherwise explained. It is probably of the kind noticed in § 386.