Genitive Absolute

Book Nav


246. Genitive Absolute. This is a form of implied predi- cation, in which the Noun or Pronoun has no regular construc- tion with the governing Verb. The Participial Clause expresses the time or circumstances in which the action of the Verb takes place :- Il. Il. 88 οὔ τις ἐμεῦ ζῶντος κτλ. no one, while I am living shall &c. 2. 551 περιτελλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν as years go round. 5. 203 ἀνδρῶν εἰλομένων where men are crowded ; so ἀνδρῶν λικμώντων, ἀνδρῶν τρεσσάντων, πολλῶν ἑλκόντων, &c. Od. I. 39Ο καί κεν τοῦτ᾽ ἐθέλοιμι Διός γε διδόντος ἀρέσθαι that too I would be willing to obtain if Zeus gave it. The Subject is understood in Od. 4. 19 μολπῆς ἐξάρχοντος when the singer began the music. The Aοrist Participle is less common in Homer than the Pre- sent, especially in the Odyssey : the instances are, Π. 8. 164, 468, 9. 425, 10. 245, 356, 11. 509- 13. 409, 14- 522. 16. 306, 19. 62 75., 21. 290, 437, 22. 47, 288, 383, Od. 14- 475., 24. 88, 535 (Classen, Beob. p. 180 ff.) The ' Genitive Absolute b must have begun as an extension of one of the ordinary uses of the Gen.; most probably of the Gen. of Time (§ 150). For, ἠελίου ἀνιόντος within the time of the sun rising is a Gen. like ἠοῦς in the morning, νυκτός by night, &c., and answers, as a phrase denoting time, to ἅμʼ ἠελίῳ καταδύντι at sun- set, ἐς ἠέλιον καταδύντα up to sun-set &c. So we may compare τοῦδʼ αὐτοῦ λυκάβαντος ἐλεύσεται he will come within this year with ἦ σέθεν ἐνθάδʼ ἐόντος ἐλεύσεται he will come within your being here; and again περιτελλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν in the years as they go round, with τῶν προτέρων ἐτέων in the former years. The transition may be seen in ἔαρος νέον ἱσταμένοιο in the spring when it is beginning. Compare also the phrases ἐπειγομένων ἀνέμων, βορέαο πεσόντος, &c. with νηνεμίης in calm weather, &c. The circumstance that the Ablative is the ' Absolute' Case in Latin is far from proving that the Greek Gen. in this use is Ablatival. In Sanscrit the Case used in this way is the Locative, occasionally the Genitive : and the Latin Abl. Absolute may represent a Locative of time at which or an Instru- mental of circumstance (§ 144). The hypothesis that such Participial Clauses in Greek expressed space of time within which (rather than point of time, or cir- cumstance) is borne out by the interesting fact, noticed above, that in Homer this construction is chiefly found with the Participle which implies con- tinuance, viz. the Present: whereas in Latin the Abl. Abs. is commonest with the Perfect Participle. An approach to a ' Dative Absoluteʼ may be seen in such uses as- Il. 8. 487 Τρωσὶν μέν ῥ᾽ ἀέκουσιν ἔδυ φάος. 12. 374 ἐπειγομένοισι δʼ ῾ϊκοντο. Od. 21. 115 οὔ κέ μοι ἀχννμένῳ τάδε δώματα πότνια μήτηρ λείποι ( it would be no distress to me if &c.) which are extensions or free applications, by the help of the Participle, of the true Dat. (Dativus ethics).