Book Nav

193. The preposition μετά in the adverbial use means midway, iπ the middle; e.g. with a verb understood.

Il. 2.446 μετὰ δὲ κτλ.
                and among them, etc.

Hence alternately.

Od. 15.460 χρύσεον ὅρμον ἔχων, μετὰ δʼ ἠλέκτροισιν ἔερτο
                     strung with electrum between (the gοld)

So in succession, afterwords.

Od. 21.231 πρῶτος ἐγώ, μετὰ δʼ ὔμμες
                       I first and yοu in turn

Od. 15.400 μετὰ γάρ τε καὶ ἄλγεσι τέρπεται ἀνήρ
                      = a man has his turn of being pleased even in the course of his sufferings

The notion of alternation appears in compounds with μετά, as μεταβάλλω, μεταστρέφω, in tmesis:

Od. 12.312 μετὰ δʼ ἄστρα βέβηκε
                    the stars have chaπged their place

So μεταπαυόμενοι (Il. 17.373) means with turns or intervals of rest.

194. With the dative μετά means between or (less exactly) among. The meaning between is found in phrases such as μετὰ χερσί, μετὰ ποσσί, μετὰ φρεσί (on the double character of the φρένες cp. § 181); also, of two parties, μετʼ ἀμφοτέροισι.

The use in reference to several objects (among) is mostly restricted to persons, since it conveys the idea of association of units forming a group, etc. (whereas ἐν is more local). Hence μετʼ ἀστράσι (Il. 22.28, 317) is said of a star among other stars (with a touch of personification): and in Il. 21.122 κεῖσο μετʼ ἰχθύσι there is a sarcastic force—lie there with the fish for company. Cp. also the phrase Od. 5.224 μετὰ καὶ τόδε τοῖσι γενέσθω let this be as one among them. The expression in Il. 15.118 μεθʼ αἵματι καὶ κονίῃσι is equivalent to a collective noun = "the crowd of wounded and fallen." So Il. 21.503 μετὰ στροφάλιγγι κονίης, a somewhat bolder phrase of the same kind.

The dative with μετά is locatival (whereas with σύν and ἅμα it is comitative). This appears in the restriction to plurals or cοllectives, also in the use with verbs of πmοtiοn, as Il. 4.16 φιλότητα μετʼ ἀμφοτέροισι βάλωμεν (§ 145.6).

The construction of μετά with the dative is in the main Homeric. It is occasionally imitated in later poetry.

195. With the accusative μετά has the two meanings among and after.

The meaning among is found after verbs of motion with plurals, and also with collective nouns as μεθʼ ὁμήγυριν, μεθʼ ὅμιλον

μετὰ δεῖπνον
to (join the company at) a feast

μετά τʼ ἤθεα καὶ νομὸν ἵππων
= to the pasture ground where other horses are

It occurs without a verb of motion in

Il. 2.143 πᾶσι μετὰ πληθύν
                 to all among the multitude

Il. 9.54 μετὰ πάντας ὁμήλικας ἔπλευ ἄριστος (So Od. 16. 419.)

And with a singular in

Il. 18.552 δράγματα μετʼ ὄγμον πίπτον
                      the handfuls of corn fell in the middle of the furrow (between the ridges)

Of the other meaning we may distinguish the varieties-

  1. after, following

    Il. 13.513 ἐπαΐξαι μεθʼ ἑὸν βέλος
                      following his weapon

    Od. 2. 406 μετʼ ἴχνια βαῖνε θεοῖο

  2. after, in order to find (with a verb of mοtiοn)

    μετʼ ἔμʼ ἤλυθες
    has come in search of me

    Od. Il. 184 ἐς Τεμέσην μετὰ χαλκόν

  3. in succession to, next to

    τὸν δὲ μετὰ κτλ.
    and after him, etc.

    Il. 8.289 πρώτῳ τοι μετʼ ἐμὲ πρεσβήϊον ἐν χερὶ θήσω
                     to you after myself

    of rank

    Il. 7.228 οἷοι . . . μετέασι καὶ μετʼ Ἀχιλλῆα
                     eνen . . . (in the second rank) after Achilles

196. With the genitive μετά occurs in five places (with a plural noun), in the meaning among or with.

Il. 13.700 μετὰ Βοιωτῶν ἐμάχοντο

Il. 21.458 οὐδὲ μεθʼ ἡμέων πειρᾷ κτλ.

Il. 24.400 τῶν μέτα παλλόμενος κλήρῳ λάχον

Od. 10.320 μετʼ ἄλλων λέξο ἑταίρων

Od. 16.140 μετὰ δμώων τʼ ἐνὶ οἴκῳ πῖνε κτλ.

Of these instances the first is in a passage probably inserted afterwards to glorify the Athenians; the second is in the θεῶν μάχη, and therefore doubtful; in the third we should perhaps write μεταπαλλόμενος and construe of them casting lots in turn I was chosen. But the last twο indicate that the use had crept into colloquial language as early as the Odyssey, taking the place of σύν or ἄμα with the dative. See § 221.

Suggested Citation

D.B. Monro, A Grammar of the Homeric Dialect. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7.