Uses of the Vocative

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164. Regarding the use of the Vocative in Homer the chief point to be noticed is the curious one (common to Greek and Sanscrit) that when tςwo persons are addressed, connected by τε, the second name is put in the Nominative.1

Il. 3. 277 Ζεῦ πάτερ δηθεν μεδέων κύδιστε μέγιστε,
Ἡέλιος θʼ ὸς κτλ.

Similarly, the Vocative is not followed by δέ or any similar Coniunction, but the Pronoun σύ is interposed ; as ll. Il. 282 Ἀτρείδη σὺ δὲ παῦε κτλ. but, son of Atreus, cease etc.

The Nominative is often used for the Voc., especially, it would seem, in order to avoid the repetition ob the Voc.; eg. B. 4. 189 φίλος ὅ MΜενέλαε. On thκs point hoςwever it is not alςways possible to trαst to the accuracy of the text. Cobet (diπc. COil. P- 333) has good grounds in the metre for proposing to change a great many Vocatives into Nominatives.

Il. 23.493 ἴαν δομενεῦ τε (read Αἴας δομενεύς τε)
Il. 2.8 οὔλε ὄνειρε (read οὔλος)
Od. 8.408 χαῖρε πάτερ ὅὦ ξεῖνε (read πατὴρ)
Il. 18. 85 τίπτε Θέτι τανύπεπλε κόνεις (Θέτις enod.)

  • 1. Delbrück, Synt. Forsch. iv. p. 28.