Lengthening before -ρ, -λ, -μ, -ν, -σ, -δ

Book Nav


37l. There are various swords beginning with one of these letters (the liquids ρ, λ. 6, 0, the spirant σ, and the πmeda δ), before which a short final voςwel is often allowed to have the metrical value of a long syllable. Initial ρ appears always to have this power of lengthening a preceding vovwel ; but in the case of the other letters mentioned it is generally confined to certain words. Thus we have examples before

λ, in λίσσομαι, λήγω, λείβω, λιγύς, λιαρός, λιπαρός, λίς, λαπάρῃ, λόφος, and occasionally in a few others : but not (e.g.) in such frequently occurring vwοrds as ύκιος, λέχος, λείπω.

2, in μέγας, μέγαρον, μοίρα, μαλακός, μέλος, μελίη, μάστιξ, μόθος: but not (d.g. μάκομαι, μένος, μέλας, μάκαρ, μῦθος.

ν, n νευρή, νέφος, νιφάς, νύμφη, νότος, νητός, νύσσα: once only before νηῦς (l. 13. 422): not before νέκυς, νόος, νέμεσις, etc.

σ, in σεύω, σάρξ : once before σύ (i. 20. 434), and once before συφεός (Od. 10. 238).

, in δέος, δεινός, δεί-σας Sde. (Stem δει-), δήν, δηρόν (ἢ 394).

This lengthening, it is to be observed, is almost wholly confined to the syllables which have the metrical ictus : the exceptions are, πολλὰ λισσομένη (l. 5. 358, so Il. 21. 368., 22. 91, πυκνὰ ῥωγαλέην (Od. 13. 438, etc.), πολλὰ ῥυστάζεσκεν (7. 24. 755). Further, it is chiefly found where the sense requires the two swords to be closely joined in pronunciation : in particular-

  1. In the final vοwel of Prepositions followed by a case form: as ἐπὶ ῥηγμίνι, ποτὶ λόφον, ὑπὸ λιπαροῖσι, κατὰ μοίραν, ἐνὶ μεγάρηῳ, κατὰ μόθον, διὰ νεφέων, ἀπὸ νευρῆφιν, κατὰ συφεοῖσιν, κατὰ δεινούς, ἐπὶ δηρόν, and similar combiunations.
  2. In fixed phrases: ὥς τε λς (Ii. 11. 239, 17. 109, 18. 318), κλαῖον δὲ λιγέως (Od. 10. 201, 8xc., ἀπήμονά τε λιαρόν τε (l. 14. 164, c.), καλή τε μεγάλη τε, εἶδός τε μέγεθός τε, Γρῶες δὲ μεγάθυμοί, τρίποδα μέγαν, Πηλιάδα μελίην, ὥς τε νιφάδες, σὺν δὲ νεφέεσσι κάλυψε, ὅτε σεύαιτο, οὐ τι μάλα δήν, and the like.

These facts lead us to connect the lengthening now in question ςwith the peculiar adομθίiπg ῃʼ re initiaί cοnsοnant which ςwe see in Compounds, as ἀπο-ρρίπτω, ἐὔ-ρροος, ἄ-ρρηκτος, τρί-λλιστος, ἐῦ-μμελίης, ἀγά-ννιφος, ἐπι-σσεύω, ἐθ-σσελμος, ἀ-δδεής: and after the Augment (ἢ 67), as ἔ-ρριψα, ἔρρηξα, ἔρρεον, ἐ-λλίσσετο, ἔ-μμορε, ἔ-ννεον, ἔ-σσευα, ἔ-δδεισα (so the M SS., but Aristarchus ςwrote ἔδεισα). The swords and stems in which this doubling occurs are in the main the same as those which lengthen a pre- ceding final vowe: and the explanation, whatever it be, must be one that swill apply to both groups of phenomena.

With most ob these words the lengthening of a preceding vowel (or doubling of the consonant, as the case may be) is optional. But there is no clear instance in Homer of a short voςwel remaining short before the root δθει- (e.g. in the 2 Aor. δίον, the 1 Aοr. ἔδεισα, the Nouns δέος, δεινός, δειλός, even the proper names Δεισήνωρ, 8Sʼc.), or the Adverb δήν. The same may be said of ῥάκος, ῥήγνυμι, ῥύομαι, ῥητός, ῥίπτω, ῥίον, also μαλακός, μελίη, νιφάς. Lengthening is also the rule, subject to feςw exceptions, with λίσσομαι, λόφος, νέφος, νευρή, ῥινός, ῥόος, ῥάβδος, ῥίζα, and some others (La Roche, f. f. pp. 47 fff.).

372. Origin of the lengthening.1 The most probable account of the matter is that most of the roots or stems affected originally began with two consonants, one of which was lost by phonetic decay. Thus initial ρ may stand for ρ (as in 2ρήγ-νυμι), or σρ (as aσρέω, Sanscrit sτανάσmί): λίς is probably for λξίςς (with a vweaker Stem than the form seen in λέ2-ων) : νυός is for κνύος (Sanscr. snκsθά): νιφ-άς goes back to a root seιόά (Gotp. snαίνς, snow) : μοῖρα is probably from a root ςρmeτ σέλμα is for σέλμα (Cart. d. ν.) : and δει- in δει-νός 8ic. is for δξει- (cp. δεί-δοικα for δέ-δξοικα). br is not indeed necessary to maintain that in these cases the lost consonant vwas pronounced at the time ςwhen the Homeric poems were composed. VWα have only to suppose that the ρaτtίcνutar cορmbinαtiοα in question had established itselHΓ in the usage of the language before the tςwo consonants ςwere reduced by phonetic decay to one. Thus we may either suppose (e.5.) that κατὰ ῥόον in the time of Homer ςwas stil pronounced κατὰ σρόον, or that certain combinatOns-κατα-σρέω, ἐύ-σροος, κατὰ σρόον, ὅc.-passed into κατα-ρρέω, ἐύ-ρροος, κατὰ ῥόον (or κατᾶ ῥόον). There are several instances in vwhich a second form of a sword appears in combinations of a fixed type. Thus we have the form πτόλις, in ποτὶ πτόλιος, Ἀχιλλῆα πτολίπορθον, etc.: πτόλεμος, n μέγα πτολέμοιο μεμηλώς, ἀνὰ πτολέμοιο γεφύρας. Siτmilarly a primitive γδοῦπος survives in ἐρί-γδουπος (also ἐρί- δουπος), ἐ-γδούπησε: and γνόος in ἀγνοέω. Cp. also the pairs σμικρός and μικρός, σκίδναμαι and κίδναμαι, σῦς and ὗς, ξύν and σύν. It is at least conceivable that in the same way the poet of the Hind said μοῖραν and also κατὰ σμοῖραν, μειδιόων but φιλο- σμειδής, δὴν ἢν at the beginning of a line, but μάλα δξήν at the end : and so in other cases.

It is true that the proportion of the words now in question which can be proved to have originally had an initial double consonant is not very great. Of the liquids, the method is most successful with initial ρ, which can nearly always be traced back to νr or sr. And among the swords with initial ν a fair proportion can be shown to have begun originally with σν (νευρή, νυός, νιφάς, νέω, νύμφη). The difficulty is partly met by the further supposition that the habit of lengthenirng before initial liquids was extended by analogy, from the stems in which it was originally due to a double consonant to others in which it had no such etymological ground. This sαpposition is certainly well founded in the case of ρ, before which lengthening became the rule.

  • 1. On this subject the chief sources of information are, La Roche, οmerιsche 7ntersucὰμαngen pp. 49-65); Hartel, Hοmerιsche Stdιen (Pl. i. pp. 155) ; and Κεn6s, s θιgαmmο hοmeτίcο oνμαestιοnes (Pl. iii. 225 lf.).