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205. The preposition προτί (πρός, ποτί) expresses attitude or direction towards an object. It is found in the adverbial use

Od. 5.255 πρὸς δʼ ἄρα πηδάλιον ποιήσατο
                   he made a rudder to be put to (the raft)

hence commonly in addition, besides—a use which remained in later Greek.

It is a question whether προτί and ποτί are originally the same word. The present text of Homer does not indicate any difference of usage.

206. With the dative προτί means resting on, against, beside a thing.

Il. 4.112 ποτὶ γαίῃ ἀγκλίνας
                 resting (the bow) against the ground

Od. 5.32 πρὸς ἀλλήλῃσιν ἔχονται
                  hold οn to one another

With verbs of motion it implies that the motion ends on or beside the object.

Od. 9.459 θεινομένου πρὸς οὔδεϊ

The later meaning besides, in addition, is only found in Od. 10.68 ἄασάν μ ἕταροί τε κακοὶ πρὸς τοῖσί τε ὕπνος.

207. With the accusative προτί is very common, meaning towards

πρὸς πόλιν tονwards the city (not necessarily reaching it)

Il. 8.364 κλαίεσκε πρὸς οὐρανόν
                  cried out to heaven

hence to, on to (mostly with verbs of motion)

Od. 4.42 ἔκλιναν πρὸς ἐνώπια
                  leaned against the walls

against (persons)

πρὸς δαίμονα φωτὶ μάχεσθαι
to fight with a man in opposition to a god

also addressing (persons), with verbs of speaking, etc.; in one place of time.

Od. 17.191 ποτὶ ἕσπερα
                     towards evening

Note that the literal local sense appears in all the Homeric uses of προτί with the accusative: the metaphorical uses, viz. in respect of, for the purpose of, in proportion to, according to, etc., are later.

208. With the genitive προτί expresses direction without the idea of motion towards or rest on the object

Od. 13.110 αἱ μὲν πρὸς βορέαο . . . αἱ δʼ αὖ πρὸς νότου

i. e. not at or facing the north and south, but more generally, in the direction fixed by north and south.

Il. 10.428-430 πρὸς μὲν ἁλὸς . . . πρὸς Θύμβρης

Il. 22.198 ποτὶ πτόλιος
                   in the direction of Troy

Od. 8.29 ἠὲ πρὸς ἠοίων ἢ ἑσπερίων ἀνθρώπων
                 (= from east or west)

Among derived senses we may distinguish-

  1. at the hand of, from(persons).

    Il. 1.160 τιμὴν ἀρνύμενοι πρὸς Τρώων

    Il. 11.831 τά σε προτί φασιν Ἀχιλλῆος δεδιδάχθαι

  2. on the part of, by the will of.

    Il. 1.239 οἵ τε θέμιστας πρὸς Διὸς εἰρύαται
                    who uphold judgements on behalf of Zeus

    Il. 6.456 πρὸς ἄλλης ἱστὸν ὑφαίνοις
                     at another's bidding

    And, perhaps in a metaphorical sense, Od. 6.207 πρὸς γὰρ Διός εἰσιν ἅπαντες ξεῖνοί τε πτωχοί τε.

  3. before, by (in oaths and entreaties).

    Od. 13.324 πρὸς πατρὸς γουνάζομαι
                       I entreat in the name of your father

    The preposition here implies that the god or person sworn by is made a party to the act.

    Od. 11.66-67 νῦν δέ σε τῶν ὄπιθεν γουνάζομαι οὐ παρεόντων,
                            πρός τʼ ἀλόχου καὶ πατρός κτλ.
                            on the part of the absent ones I entreat, etc.

It will be seen that προτί with a genitive is seldom used in the strictly local sense except when there is a contrast between two directions. Hence the use approaches closely to that of the Genitive of Place given in § 149.2; compare (e.g.) πρὸς βορέαο-πρὸς νότου with Od. 1.24 οἱ μὲν δυσομένου Ὑπερίονος οἱ δʼ ἀνιόντος. The case is accordingly 'quasi-partitive' (i.e. true) genitive, and has no ablatival character.

Suggested Citation

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