Case Forms in -φιν

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154. The case ending -φι(ν) is found in a number of Homeric forms which appear to be construed indifferently as datives or genitives. It will be shown, however, that there is ground for believing these forms to have been used for the dative only in the instrumental and locatival senses (the latter being comparatively rare), and for the genitive only in the ablatival sense. They formed, therefore, a mixed case, composed of the same elements as the Latin ablative, viz. the original instrumental ablative and locative.

In respect of usage these forms are archaic; that is to say, they are confined for the most part to lines and phrases of a fixed conventional type. In several instances the survival is evidently due to the influence of the meter. Thus δακρυόφι, στή-θεσφι take the place of δακρύων, στηθέων; ὀστεόφιν and ἰκριόφιν, of ὀστέων, στέοισι, and ἰκρίων, ἰκρίοισι—forms impossible in a hexameter. So διʼ ὄρεσφι, κατʼ ὄρεσφι, ὑπʼ ὄχεσφι, for διʼ ὁρέων, κατʼ ὀρέων, ὑπʼ ὀχέων.

155. Instrumental. The forms in -φι(ν) appear to have been forms of the instrumental (singular and plural), and the majority of the Homeric examples may be referred to that case.

  • ἑτέρηφι
    with the other hand
    (Il. 16.734, etc.)
  • δεξιτερῆφι
    (Od. 19.480)
  • βίηφι
    by force[fn]And in the phrase κρατερῆφι βίηφι.[/fn]
    (Il. 16.826, Od. 1.403, etc.)
  • βίηφι φέρτερος
    in strength
    (Od. 6.6, etc.)
  • ἀναγκαίηφι δαμέντας
    (Il. 20.143)
  • γενεῆφι νεώτατος
    (Il. 14. 112, etc.)
  • δακρυόφι πλῆσθεν
    were filled with tears
    (Il. 17.696, etc.)

In the "comitative" use

αὐτοῖσιν ὄχεσφιν
chariot and all

ἵπποισιν καὶ ὄχεσφιν (Il. 12.114, Od. 4.533)
with horses sand chariot

with prepositions

ἅμʼ ἠοῖ φαινομένηφιν, σὺν ἵπποισιν καὶ ὄχεσφιν (often in the Iliad)

also παρʼ ὄχεσφιν (construed with verbs of rest, Il. 5.28, 794; 8.565, 12.91, 15.3)—unless ὄχεσφιν is a locative (§ 157); with words expressing agreement, likeness, etc.

παλάμηφιν ἀρήρει
fitted his hand

θεόφιν μήστωρ ἀτάλαντος (Il. 7.356, etc.)

With verbs of trusting

ll. 4.303 ἱπποσύνῃ τε καὶ ἠνορέηφι πεποιθώς

so ἀγλαΐηφι (Il. 6.510), βίηφι (several times).

156. Ablative. Forms used as ablatival genitives are

Il. 2.794 ναῦφιν ἀφορμηθεῖεν
                start from the ships

Il. 13.700 ναῦφιν ἀμυνόμενοι
                  defending the ships152)

Il. 3.368 ἐκ δέ μοι ἔγχος ἠΐχθη παλάμηφιν

Il. 10.458 ἀπὸ μὲν . . . κυνέην κεφαλῆφιν ἕλοντο

Od. 5.152 δακρυόφιν τέρσοντο
                  were dried from tears

Od. 8.279 καθύπερθε μελαθρόφιν ἐξεκέχυντο

With the prepositions

ἐξ : as ἐξ εὐνῆφι, ἐκ θεόφιν, ἐκ πασσαλόφι, ἐκ ποντόφιν, ἐκ στήθεσφιν, ἐξ Ἐρέβεσφιν, etc.

ἀπό: as ἀπὸ νευρῆφιν, αὐτόφιν, χαλκόφι, στήθεσφιν, ναῦφι, etc.

παρά when it means from

Il. 12.225 παρὰ ναῦφιν ἐλευσόμεθʼ αὐτὰ κέλευθα

Od. 14.498 παρὰ ναῦφιν ἐποτρύνειε νέεσθαι


Il. 18.305 παρὰ ναῦφιν ἀνέστη δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς

Il. 8.474 πρὶν ὄρθαι παρὰ ναῦφι ποδώκεα Πηλείωνα

Il. 16.281 ἐλπόμενοι παρὰ ναῦφι ποδώκεα Πηλείωνα
                 μηνιθμὸν μὲν ἀπορρῖψαι, φιλότητα δʼ ἑλέσθαι.

In these three places the notion of leaving the ships is implied, so παρὰ ναῦφι has the meaning of παρὰ νεῶν.

κατά down from: κατʼ ὄρεσφι (Il. 4.452, 11.493)

ὑπό from under: ὑπʼ ὄχεσφι (Il.23.7), ὑπὸ ζυγόφιν (Il. 24.576)

With this use of -φι we may compare the use of the dative with ἔξ and ἀπό, which is one of the peculiarities of the Arcadian and Cyprian dialects (Meister, ii. 119, 296). The parallel of the Latin ablative has been noticed.

157. Locative. This use is found in several clear instances, as well as others of an indecisive kind

Il. 19.323 Φθίηφι
                  in Phthia

Il. 13.168 κλισίηφι λέλειπτο
                  was left in the tent

out of doors, fοris (Od. 9.238, 22.220)

κεφαλῆφιν ἔθηκε
put on the head (Il. 10.30, 257, 261; cp. 496, Od. 20.94)

Il. 11.474 ὡς εἴ τε δαφοινοὶ θῆρες ὄρεσφιν

Il. 19.376 τὸ δὲ καίεται ὑψόθ’ ὄρεσφιν

Il. 22.139 ἠΰτε κίρκος ὄρεσφιν κτλ.

Il. 22.189 ὡς δʼ ὅτε νεβρὸν ὄρεσφι κυὼν κτλ.

Il. 2.480 ἡΰτε βοῦς ἀγέληφι μέγʼ ἔξοχος ἔπλετο πάντων

Il. 16.487 ἀγέληφι μετελθών
                 coming into the herd

With the prepositions

ἐν: as Il. 24.284 ἐν χειρὶ . . . δεξιτερῆφιν (= Od. 15.148)

πρός: in Od. 5.432 πρὸς κοτυληδονόφιν
                               (sticking) to the suckers

ἀμφί: in Od. 16.145 φθινύθει δʼ ἀμφʼ ὀστεόφι χρώς

ὑπό: in ὑπʼ ὄχεσφι, ὑπὸ ζυγόφι (Il. 19.404, unless the meaning is from under.)

With ἐπί on, at, in the combinations ἐπὶ ἰκριόφιν, ἐπʼ ἐσχαρόφιν, ἐπὶ νευρῆφιν (all in the Od.) the case may be locative or genitive.

παρ’ αὐτόφι occurs four times in the Iliad (12.302, 13.42, 20.140, 23.640). In three of these places there is a v. l. παρʼ αὐτόθι (= παραυτόθι), which generally gives a better sense, and which is required by the grammar in Il. 13.42

ἔλποντο δὲ νῆας Ἀχαιῶν αἱρήσειν κτενέειν τε παρʼ αὐτόφι (= παρὰ νηυσί)

So Il. 19.255

ἐπ’ αὐτόφιν ἥατο σιγῇ

where αὐτόθι (Nauck) is probably right. It seems that the endings -θι and -φι were confused, possibly at a very early period.

Suggested Citation

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