123. It is a general law of Greek and the kindred languages that while a verb cannot be compounded with any prefix except a preposition, a nominal stem may be compounded with any other nominal stem, the first or prefixed stem serving to limit or qualify the notion expressed by the other. The Homeric language contains very many compounds formed by the simple placing together of two nominal stems.
sacker of cities
bringing tο an end
124. Form of the Prefixed Stem. The instances which call for notice fall under the following heads.
a. Stems in ο, -η
The great number of nominal stems in -ο created a tendency (which was aided by the convenience of pronunciation) to put -ο in place of other suffixes. Thus we have
-ο for -η, as ὑλο-τόμο-ς wοοd-cutter, etc.1
-ο for -εσ
pleasing to the spirit
and for -ᾰσ, as γηρο-κόμο-ς tending οld age.
-μο for -μον, as ἀκμό-θετο-ν anvil block; and for -μᾰ, as αἰμο-φόρυκτο-ς dabbled with blood, Κυμο-δόκη, etc.
-ρο for -ῥᾰ, πατρο-κασίγνητος, μητρο-πάτωρ, ἀνδρο-φόνος, and the like. In ἀνδρά-ποδον the short stem (as in ἀνδρά-σι) is retained, but probably this form is due to the analogy of τετράποδον, slaves and cattle being thought of together as the two main kinds of property in early times (Brugm.).
-ο inserted after a consonant
grown in a marsh
flying in air
worker in horn
Sometimes the -ο is a real suffix; e. g. in δι-ο-γενής (διϝ-ι̯ο) Zeus-sprung (= δῖον γένος ἔχων).
Stems in -η instead of -ο appear in
attendant of a chamber
ἐλαφη-βόλο-ς, ἑκατη-βόλο-ς, κραναή-πεδο-ς, ὑπερή-φανο-ς. We may suppose that there was a collateral stem in -η (e. g. θαλάμη is found, but in a different sense from θάλαμο-ς Od. 5.432), or that the compound fοllοw the analogy of βουλη-φόρο-ς, etc.
Feminine -ᾰ becomes either -ο, as ἀελλό-πος storm-foοt; or -η, as γαιή-οχο-ς earth-holder, μοίρη-γενής born by fate.
b. Stems in -ῐ
The compounds which contain these stems are mostly of an archaic stamp.
with swift (or white) feet
with bright lightning
trailing (?) the feet (of oxen)
washed by the sea
Also ἁλι-αής, ἁλι-πόρφυρος, Ἁλί-αρτος, Ἁλί-ζωνοι, Ἁλι-θέρσης (cp. ἁλι-εύς fisherman)
fed on by goats
deserted by goats
of light mind
warlike (or prudent)
defender against ill
with shrewd counsel
with beautiful women3
with the proper names, Aἰθί-οπ-ες, Πειρί-θοο-ς, Ἀλκί-νοο-ς, Ἀλκι-μέδων (cp. ἄν-αλκι-ς), and the words beginning with ἀρι- and ἐρι-.
The meaning of several of these words is very uncertain, owing to the merely ornamental and conventional way in which they are used in Homeric poetry. It seems to fοllow that they are survivals from an earlier period, one in which the number of stems in -ι was probably greater than in Homeric times.
Loss of ο may be recognised in ἀρτί-πος (= ἄρτιος τοὺς πόδας), ζεί-δωρος grain giνing (ζειά), κραται-γύαλος of strong pieces, Δηΐ-φοβος, perhaps also μιαι-φόνος, Ἀλθαιμένης, ταλαί-πωρος; cp. γεραί-τερος from γεραιό-ς.
c. Stems in -σῐ
This group is mainly Homeric
- ἐρυσί-πτολι (vοc.)
deliverer of the city5
lifting the feet (i. e. with high action)
smiter of horses
loosening the limbs (of sleep)
- Τερψι-χόρη (Hes.)
- ἐνοσίχθων (ἐννοσίγαιος, εἰνοσί-φυλλος, etc.)
and proper names, Πρωτεσί-λαο-ς, Ἀρσί-νοο-ς, Δεισ-ήνωρ, Λύσ-ανδρος, Πεισ-ήνωρ, Πεισί-στρατο-ς, Ὀρσί-λοχο-ς, Ἀναβησί-νεως, Ἡσί-οδος (Hes.), etc.
There are a few stems in -τῐ: βωτι-άνειρα feeding men, Καστι-άνειρα (cp. κε-κασ-μένος).
We may add the Hesiοdic φερέσ-βιος life-bearing, and φερεσ-σακής shield-bearing with φερεσ- apparently for φερεσι-.
These stems were originally the same as those of the abstract nouns in -τι-ς, -σι-ς: cp. Τέρψι-χόρη, τερψί-μβροτος, etc. with τέρψι-ς, πλήξ-ιππος with πλῆξι-ς. But in many cases new stems have been formed under the influence of the sigmatic aorist, with a difference of quantity, as in φῡσί-ζοο-ς life-giνing (φῠ́σι-ς), λῡσι-μελής, φθῑσί-μβροτο-ς. Compare also ταμεσί-χρως with τμῆσι-ς, Πεισί-στρατο-ς with πίστι-ς, etc.
The group of compounds is also to be noticed for the distinctly verbal or participial meaning given by the first part of the word; cp. the next group, and § 126.
d. Stems in -ε
These are nearly all verbal, both in form and meaning.
trailing the chiton
- Ἐχέ-πωλο-ς, Ἐχέ-νηος, Ἐχε-κλῆς
with beds of grass
- Ἀρχέ-λοχο-ς, Φέρε-κλος, Μελέ-αγρο-ς
carrying his house7
also (if ε is elided)
bringing false news
the meetίπg-place of glens
keeping off wind
Stems in -σε; ἀκερσε-κόμη-ς with unshorn haίr, Περσε-φόνεια.
With the stems in -ε may evidently be placed ταλα-, in
with enduring mind
enduring in work
ταλαύρινος (for ταλα-ϝρινο-ς)
bearing a shield of hide
and τλη- in Τλη-πόλεμος etc.; also τανυ-, in
with outstretched tongue
and έρυ- in Ἐρύ-λαος, defender of the host.
e. Stems in -ν
ᾰ for n̥ appears in ὀνομά-κλυτος of famous name, κυνά-μυια for κυα-μυια on the analogy of κύν-α.
Nominative and accusative in numerals, as ἕν-δεκα, δυώ-δεκα.
The Dative is probably to be recognized in
slain in war (and so Ἀρηΐ-θοο-ς Ἀρηΐ-λυκο-ς)
sharpened by fire (πυρί-καυστο-ς, Πυρι-φλεγέθων)
falling in the sky
the dative plural in
brought by the fates
nursed in mountains
great with spears
working in harness
drawing near to (assailing) walls
Nαυσι-κάα, Μηδεσι-κάστη, Πασι-θέη, Χερσι-δάμας; a locative form in
sleeping on the ground
figuring in the dance
born at Pylos
of ancient fame
and perhaps (to express manner) in ἰθαι-γενής duly born, ὀλοοί-τροχο-ς rοlling. Cp. ἐμ-πυρι-βήτης made to stand over the fire, i. e. a kettle.
This use of the dative may have been suggested by the stems in -ῑ and -σῐ. Compounds such as ἑλκεσί-πεπλος, ὠλεσί-καρπος, ἀλφεσί-βοιος, containing forms which sounded like the dative plural of stems in -εσ, may have served as types for the group ἐγχεσί-μωρος, τειχεσι-πλήτης, ὁρεσί-τροφος, etc., in which the dative plural takes the place of the stem. Cp. Πρωτεσί-λαος.
Conversely, φερέσ-βιο-ς life-bearing, and φερεσ-σακής (Hes.) ought to be *φερεσί-βιο-ς, but have followed the type of ὀρέσ-βιο-ς, τελεσ-φόρο-ς, etc.
The genitive is very rare: οὐδενόσ-ωρο-ς not worth caring for, Ἑλλήσ-ποντος.
The accusative may be recognized in
busied about suits (δίκαι)
with childish thought (= ἀταλὰ φρονέων, which is also used in Homer)
Ἀλκά-θοος (cp. dative ἀλκ-ί), ποδά-νιπτρον, also πᾰν- (altogether) in πάμ-παν, παν-αίολος, παν-άποτμος, πάμ-πρωτος, etc.
An ending -η (for -ᾱ) may be seen in νεή-φατος new-slain, ὀλιγη-πελέων. This is perhaps an instrumental, as πάντη (§ 110).
125. Form of the Second Stem.
ἱππ-ηλάτα, ἐξ-ήλα-τος, βο-ηλα-σίη
δυσ-ηλεγ-έος (gen.), ἀπ-ηλεγ-έως
κατ-ηρεφ-ής, ἀμφ-ηρεφ-ής, ὑπ-ωρόφ-ιος
δι-ηνεκ-ής, ποδ-ηνεκ-ής, δουρ-ηνεκ-ής
ὁμ-ηγερ-έες, θυμ-ηγερ-έων (= θυμὸν ἀγείρων)
ἀμφ-ήριστος (striven about)
So ποδ-ήνεμος, εὐ-ώνυμος (πολυ-ώνυμος, etc.), εὐ-ήνωρ (ἀνερ-), εὐ-ηφενής (from ἄφενος wealth), γαμψ-ῶνυξ, πεμπ-ώβολον, ἀν-ήκεστος, ἀν-ώϊστος, ἐρι-ούνης (ὀνα- help), ὑπώρεια (ὄρος), δι-ηκόσιοι and τρι-ηκόσιοι (ἑκατόν).
Similar lengthening is found, but less frequently, in the first part of the compound: ὥλεσί-καρπος, ἠλιτό-μηνος, Ὠρεί-θυια. Also in other derivatives, as ἠνεμό-εις, ἠνορ-έη, τηλεθόωσα (θᾰλέθω), ἠγερέθονται (ἀγερ-).
- The use of a root noun, i. e. a verbal stem without a distinct nominal suffix (§ 113), is more common in composition than in simple nouns.
yoked in a pair
- νήϊδα (νή-ϝιδ-α)
- αἰγί-λιπ-ος (gen.)
left by goats
The stem, it will be seen, is in the weak form.
- Nouns in -ώς (genitive -ο-ος) and in -ος (genitive -ε-ος) form the compound in -ης, neuter -ες
without shame (αἰδώς)
grieνing the spirit (ἄλγος)
The stem in these compounds is often weak, though in the simple neuters in -ος it is strong (§ 114).
- τηλε-φανής, etc.
So we find ἀϊκῶς (Il. 22.336) as adverb to ἀεικής, and ἀλλο-ϊδέα (Od. 13.194) alongside of θεο-ειδής, μυλο-ειδής, etc.
This weakening of the stem, accompanied by shifting of the accent to the suffix, apparently represents the original rule—wοrds like ταλα-πεvθήs being formed afresh from the simple nοun. Conversely, the analogy of the compounds has given rise to the forms πάθος, βάθος, βάρος, etc., and also to the simple adjectives such as ψευδής, σαφής.
- Stems in ην (εν-) usually take ων (ον-) in composition, as φρήν (genitive φρεν-ός) forms πρό-φρων, genitive πρό-φρον-ος. Neuters in -μᾰ form compounds in -μων, genitive -μον-ος, as ἀν- αίμον-ες (αἷμα) bloodless. Cp. ἀπείρων boundless (πεῖραρ, περαίνω). So too πατήρ, μήτηρ, ἀνήρ, etc., form -ωρ (genitive -ορ-ος), as μητρο-πάτωρ, εὐ-ήνωρ.
- Some stems take a final -τ, as ἀ-βλῆ-τ-α (accusative singular) unthrown, ἀ-κμῆ-τ-ες unwearied; so ἐπι-βλής, ἀ-δμής, ἀ-γνώς.
- In adjectives the suffix is often replaced by one ending in ο-.
of one father
with strange νoice (from φώνη)
with golden distaff (ἠλακάτη)
of eνil name (ὄνομα)
without seed (σπέρμα), etc.
In other cases the suffix is retained, and thus we find in compounds (contrary to the general rules of noun formation)—
Masculine stems in -τη, as ἀργυρο-δίνη-ς
and -ιδ, as λευκ-άσπιδ-ες
Masculine and feminine stems in -εσ, a μελι-ηδής honey-sweet, ἠρι-γένεια (for -εσ-ι̯ᾰ) early born
A masculine stem in -μᾰτ, viz. ἐρυσ-άρματ-ες (ἵπποι).
- The use of a participle in the second part is rare. It is found in some proper names, as Οὐκ-αλέγων, Πυρι-φλεγέθων, Θεο-κλύμενος, also where it is a merea without any tense meaning, as πολύ-τλας, cp. ἀ-δάμας. In other cases we can write the words separately as
- πάλιν πλαγχθέντας
- δάκρυ χέων
- πᾶσι μέλουσα
- κάρη κομόωντες
- εὖ ναιετάων
- εὐρὺ ῥέων
- ἐῢ κτίμενος
- πάλιν ὄρμενος
- Ἄρηϊ κτάμενος
- δαῒ κτάμενος, etc.
- πάλιν πλαγχθέντας
- Abstract primitive nouns are not used in the second part: thus we do not find ἐπεσ-βολή, but ἐπεσ-βολίη (through a concrete ἐπεσ-βόλο-ς), and so
- βο-ηλασίη (not βο-ήλασι-ς)
except after prepositions.
Note however παλίωξις (for παλι-ίωξι-ς), βου-λυτό-ς the time of unyoking, βού-βρωστι-ς.
- βο-ηλασίη (not βο-ήλασι-ς)
- When the latter part of a compound is derived from a disyllabic verbal stem beginning with a vowel, its initial vowel is often lengthened.10
- 1 It is possible however that feminine nouns in -η were regarded as formed from stems in -ο, the long vowel being of the nature of a case ending (§ 113). This is especially applicable to adjectives, e. g. ἀκρό-πολις comes directly from masculine ἄκρος (Brugm.).
- 2τέρπω = τρέπω, Latin torqueo
- 3Cp. κάλλι-μος)
- 4Cp. κυδι-όων
- 5With v.l. ῥῡσί-πτολι Il. 6.305
- 6So μενεχάρμη-ς, μενε-πτόλεμο-ς, Μενέ-λαο-ς, Mενε-σθεύς, etc.
- 7Of the snail in Hes.
- 8As well as ταλα-πενθής, νη-πενθής, from πένθος.
- 9Also βένθος, πολυ-βενθής
- 10This peculiar lengthening in the second member of a compound has been explained by Wackernagel (Dehnungsgesetz, pp. 21 ff.) as the result of a primitive contraction or crasis, with the final vowel of the first part, e. g. ὁμώνυμος for ὁμο-ονυμος. The chief argument for this view is that the lengthening is only found in stems beginning with a vowel—a fact which can hardly be accounted for on any other supposition. Such cases as δυσώνυμος, in which no contraction can have taken place, may be extensions by analogy of the original type. It is to be understood of course that the resulting long vowel is fixed by the second of the two concurrent vowels: ὁμήγυρις for ὁμο-αγυρις, πεμπώβολον for πεμπε-οβολον, etc. Whether this was a primitive phonetic rule, or partly due to the working of analogy, it finds an exact parallel in the temporal augment, which must have been due to the influence of a prefix ἐ- upon the initial vowel of the verb stem. We may compare also the subjunctive forms δύνᾱμαι, τίθηντι, etc. (§ 81). Thus the later contraction, as in σκηπτοῦχος, Λυκοῦργος, stands in the same relation to the older forms in question as εἶχον, etc. (with ει for εε) to ἤλασα, ὤμοσα, etc.
The primitive Indo-European "sandhi,"—crasis of the final vowel of one word with the initial vowel of the next—was generally given up in Greek, and the system of elision took its place. In compounds we constantly find elision of a short final vowel along with the lengthening (which is then a mere survival): as ἐπ-ήρατος, ἀμφ-ήριστος, φθισ-ήνωρ (cp. φθισί-μβροτος). But lengthening does not take place if the vowel is long by position (e. g. ἑτερ-αλκής, Ἀλέξ-ανδρος, ἀναιδής), which seems to indicate that the preservation—though not the origin—of the lengthened stem was a matter of rhythm (as in σοφώ-τερος). Other exceptions to the rule of lengthening may be variously explained. In some cases, as Wackernagel suggests (p. 51), an initial short vowel may have been retained from the original formation: as in the ancient compounds Βωτιάνειρα (ἀντιάνειρα, κυδιάνειρα) αργιόδοντες, εὐρύοπα, εὐρυάγυια, where the meter stood in the way of lengthening by analogy. More generally it is a mark of lateness, e. g. in the forms compounded with πᾰν-, as παν-άποτμος, παν-αφῆλιξ, παν-αώριος, Παν-αχαιοί, and with prepositions, as ἐν-αρίθμιος, ὑπεναντίος (p. 55). Such words as αἰναρέτης (Il. 16.31), λαβρ-αγόρης (Il. 23.479), ἀν-όλεθρος (Il. 13.761 τοὑς δʼ εὗρʼ οὐκέτι πάμπαν ἀπήμονας οὐδʼ ἀνολέθρους), ἀνάποινον (Il. 1.99) δυσ-αριστοτόκεια (Il. 18.54), have all the appearance of being of the poet's own coinage.
On the view here taken the lengthening in ὠλεσίκαρπος and the similar cases given at the end of the section must be otherwise explained. It is probably of the kind noticed in § 386.