The Neuter Plural

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172. Neuter Plural. The construction of the Neut. Plur. with a Singular Verb is the commoner one in Homer, in the pro- portion of about three to one. When the Plural is used, it will generally be found that the word is vealy Plural in meaning (i.e. that it calls up the notion of distinct units). Thus it is used with:

    • Nouns denoting agents; as ἔθνεα applied to the men of the Greek army (l. 2. 91, 4θ4), to birds (Ii. 2. 459). to swine (Od. 14. 73): so with φῦλʼ ἀνθρώπων (Od. 15. 409).
    • Distinctly plural parts of the body: πτερά, χείλεα, οὔατα, μέλεα: so πέδιλα (of the shoes ob Hermes).
    • Numerals: δέκα στόματα (l. 2. 489), οὔατα τέσσαρα (l. 11. ὅ34), τέσσαρα δέρματα (Od. 4. 437, αἰπόλια ἕνδεκα πάντα (Od. 14. 103); so with πάντα and πολλά (l. 11. 574, 15- 714., 17. 760, Od. 4. 437, 794, 9- 222, 12. 41 1), and when the context shoςws that distinct things are meant: as D. 5- 656 τῶν μὲν δούρατα (the spears of tμwο warribrs), 13. 135 ἔγχεα Il. Il. ἀπὸ χειρῶν.

A few instances occur in fixed phrases, which may represent an earlier syntax ; λύντο δὲ γυῖα (but also λύτο γούνατα), ἀμήχανα ἔργα γένοντο, Sc. Note especially the lines ending ςwith πέλονται (τά τε πτερὰ νηυσὶ πέλονται, ὅτε τʼ ἥματα μακρὰ πέλονται, φυκτὰ πέλονται, etc.).

The exceptions to the use of the Sing. are feςwest ςwith Pro- nouns and Adjectives: doubtless on account of their want of a distinct Plural meaning (see the end of last section).