The Future

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63. The stem of the future is formed by suffixing -σε(ο) to the verb stem (in the strong form) as: φή-σει, δώ-σω, δείξω (δεικ-), ἐκ-πέρσω (περθ-), πείσομαι (πενθ-), χείσεται (χενδ-), δέξομαι (δεχ-), εἴ-σομαι (εἶ-μι).

The stem ἐσ- gives ἔσ-σομαι and ἔσομαι (3rd singular ἔσε-ται and ἔσ-ται); so ἕσ-σω (ϝεσ-). The futures φράσσο-μαι (or φράσο-μαι, μάσσε-ται, ἀπο-δάσσο-μαι (δάσο-νται), χάσσο-νται are formed like the corresponding aorists in -σα; see § 39.

Other verbs which have an aorist in -σσᾰ (-σᾰ)—the verb stem ending in a short vowel (§ 39.2—usually form the future without σ).

Aor. τελέσσαι Fut. τελέ-ω
  καλέσσαι   καλέ-ουσα (Il. 3.383)
  ὀλέσσαι   ὀλεῖται, ὀλέ-εσθε (also ὀλέσσεις, ὀλέσσει)
  μαχέσασθαι   μαχέ-ονται, μαχεῖται
  κορέσασθαι   κορέ-εις
  κρεμάσαντες   κρεμόω (for κρεμά-ω)
  ἐπέρασσε   περάαν (for περά-ειν)
  ἐδάμασσα   δαμόω, δαμᾷ (for δαμά-ω, δαμά-ει)
  ἤλασσα   ἐλόω, inf. ἐλάαν (for ἐλά-ω, ἐλά-ειν)
  ὤμοσα   ὀμοῦμαι (for ὀμό-ομαι: 3rd singular ὀμεῖται, on the analogy of ὀλεῖται, μαχεῖται)
  ἐτάνυσσε   τανύω
  ἀνύσας   ἀνύω
  ἔρυσσα   ἐρύω, ἐρύ-εσθαι
  ἐρρύσατο   ῥύεσθαι (Il. 20.195)
  ἀντιάσας   ἀντιόω (also ἀντιάσεις, Od. 22.28)
  ἐκόμισσα   κομιῶ
  ἀεικίσσασθαι   ἀεικιῶ
  κτερίσαιεν   κτεριοῦσι

It is not easy to determine (even approximately) the number of future stems formed like the aorist in -σσᾰ. In several instances the reading is uncertain: e. g. between ἐρύσσεσθαι and ἐρύσσασθαι (Il. 21.176, Od. 21.125), ἀγάσσεσθαι and ἀγάσσασθαι (Od. 4.181), ἀνύσσεσθαι and ἀνῡ́σασθαι (Od. 16.373), παρελάσσεις, παρελάσσαις and παρελάσσαι (Il. 23.427), ἀπουρίσσουσι and ἀπουρήσουσι (Il. 22.489). Several forms may be either future or aorist subjunctive.

γουνάσομαι (Il. 1 427)
ὀπάσσομεν (Il. 24.153)
εὐνάσω (Od. 4.408)
ληΐσσομαι (Od. 23.357)
ἐρύσσεται (Il. 10.44)
ὀλέσω (Od. 13.399)

There remain: ἀρκέσει (Il. 21.131—in Od. 16.261 we should read ἀρκέσῃ), αἰδέσεται (Il. 22.124, 24.208), ὀνόσσεται (Il. 9.55), γανύσσεται (Il. 14.504), ὀλέσσεις (Il. 12.250), ὀλέσσει (Od. 2.49), and a few forms of derivative verbs in -αζω, -ιζω, viz. αἰχμάσσουσι (Il. 4.324), θαυμάσσεται (Il. 18.467), ἐφοπλίσσουσι (Od. 6.69), ἀντιάσεις (Od. 22.28). On the whole it would appear that the futures with σσ (or σ representing original σσ) are confined to the stems which ended in σ or a dental. In a very few instances they are due to analogy, like the corresponding aorists in -σσᾰ. Distinct stems are used in ἁρπάζω, aorist ἥρπασεν and ἁρπάξαι, future ἁρπάξων; ἀφύσσω, aorist ἀφυσσάμενος, future ἀφύξειν.

From μάχο-μαι, besides aorist μαχέσασθαι, future μαχέ-ονται, the MSS. give an aorist μαχέσσατο, future μαχήσομαι. The ancient critics were divided as to these forms: Aristarchus wrote μαχήσατο, μαχήσομαι, others μαχέσσατο, μαχἑσσομαι. The form μαχέσσα-το is supported by μαχέσασθαι; on the other hand μαχήσομαι is supported by μαχητής, μαχήμων, etc. Considering the number of cases in which the language has avoided forming the 1st aorist and the future in the same way, the probability would seem to be that the MSS. are right.

For γυναῖκα γαμέσσεται αὐτός, which the MSS. give in Il. 9.394, Aristarchus read γυναῖκά γε μάσσεται αὐτός, doubtless rightly, the trochaic caesura in the fourth foot being unknown in Homer (§ 367.2: Veitch, p. 130). The usual Fut. is γαμέω.

Verb stems ending in a liquid (ρ, λ, μ, ν) insert ε and drop the σ, as μεν-έ-ω, ἀγγελ-έων, κερ-έειν, κραν-έεσθαι, ὀτρῠν-έω, κτεν-έω,1
and (with contraction) ἐκ-φανεῖ (Il. 19.104), κατα-κτενεῖ (Il. 23.412). But some stems in ρ form -ρσω, as δια-φθέρ-σει, ὄρ-σουσα (Il. 21.335), θερ-σόμενος (Od. 19.507).

Similarly μάχομαι forms μαχέ-ονται (Il. 2.366), and with contraction μαχεῖται (Il. 20.26).

The derivative verbs in -αω, -εω, -οω, -υω form -ησω, -ωσω, -ῡσω, the vowel being invariably long.

Exceptional: διδώ-σομεν (Od. 13.358), διδώσειν (Od. 24.314).

On the anomalous futures ἔδομαι, πίομαι, δήω, κείω, βείομαι, see §§ 59, 80.

64. The Future in -σεω. The suffix -σεε(ο) is found in ἐσ-σεῖται (Il. 2.393, 13.317, Od. 19.302), and πεσέονται (Il. 11.824) which is perhaps for *πετ-σεο-νται (but see § 41). Also, the accent of the futures κομι-ῶ, ἀεικι-ῶ, κτερι-οῦσι, ἀγλαϊ-εῖσθαι points to contamination of the forms in -σω and in -εω.

According to some ancient grammarians the future of ἀνύω, ἐρύω, etc., should be written ἀνυῶ, ἐρυῶ, etc.; see Schol. Il. 11.454, 20.452. This form in -σῶ is found in Attic (πλευσοῦμαι, etc.; see however Rutherfordʼs New Phrynichus, pp. 91-95); it answers to the Doric future in -σιω.

65. Futures from Perfect and Aorist Stems. A future perfect meaning appears in

μεμνή-σομαι I shall remember
κεκλή-σῃ you will bear the name
εἰρή-σεται will be said
κεχολώ-σεται he will be in wrath
δεδέξομαι I will await
πεφή-σεται will appear (Il. 17.155)
πεφή-σεαι you will be slain
τετεύξεται will be made
λελείψεται will remain behind
βεβρώσεται will be devoured

In these cases the future answers to a perfect in actual use.

For πεφήσεαι J. Wackernagel (K. Z. xxvii. 279) would read πεφείσεαι (for πε-φεν-σεαι, related to πεφᾰ-ται as τετεύξεται to τέτυκται). But the stem πεφεν- does not occur in the inflection of the verb, and there is no analogy to suggest it. More probably πεφήσεαι is formed from πέφαται on the analogy of ἔφᾰ-το and φή-σω, δύνα-μαι and δυνή-σομαι, etc.

Active futures of the kind occur in

Il. 15.98 οὐδέ τί φημι πᾶσιν ὁμῶς θυμὸν κεχαρη-σέμεν I do not suppose I shall gladden the heart of all alike
(cp. Od. 23.266 οὐ μέν τοι θυμὸς κεχαρή-σεται will not be gladdened)

Il. 22.223 πεπιθή-σω I will persuade

Od. 21.153, 170 κεκαδή-σει will deprive.

These forms may be either connected with the perfect (κεχαρη-ότα rejoicing), or with the reduplicated aorist (κεχάρο-ντο were gladdened, πεπιθεῖν to persuade), The latter view is supported by two other futures of the kind; κεκαδη-σόμεθα we will give way, answering to the aorist κεκαδών, middle κεκάδο-ντο; and πεφιδή-σεται will spare, answering to πεφιδέ-σθαι to spare. It will be seen that the active forms of this kind have a distinctly causative meaning, whereas (e.g.) χαιρήσω and πιθήσω are intransitive.

Futures from the Passive Aorists. Of this formation two examples at most can be found in Homer: μιγή-σε-σθαι (Il. 10.365), and δαή-σε-αι (Od. 3.187, 19.325). It has been already noticed (§ 9) that there is nothing in the Greek future answering to the distinction between the aorist and the imperfect, though à priori such a distinction is quite conceivable. It is worth noticing that in the Doric dialect this group of futures takes the active endings: as φανήσω.

66. The future is sometimes found with middle endings while the corresponding present is active. The examples in Homer are:

εἰμί, ἔσομαι
θέω, θεύσομαι
κλαίω, κλαύσομαι
φεύγω, φεύξομαι
ἀείδω, ἀείσομαι
κατα-νεύω, κατα-νεύσομαι
θαυμάζω, θαυμάσσεται

With these are usually reckoned the Verbs in which the present. is of a different formation, as

ὀμοῦμαι (ὄμ-νυμι)
πεσέονται (πίπτω)
τέξεσθαι (τίκτω)
φθήσονται (φθάνω)
βήσομαι (βαίνω)
καμεῖται (κάμνω)
τεύξεσθαι (τυγχάνω)
ἁμαρτήσεσθαι (ἁμαρτάνω)
θανέεσθαι (θνῄσκω)
πείσομαι (πάσχω)

also the futures to which no present corresponds, as εἴσομαι (οἶδα), δείσομαι (δείδια), ὄψομαι (ὀπ-). It may help to explain these cases if we consider that the future active is apt to have a transitive sense, as in στήσω, βήσω, φύσω. Hence there was a tendency to have recourse to the Middle whenever a distinctly intransitive sense was wanted.

  • 1The forms κατα-κτανέουσι (Il. 6.409) and κατακτανέεσθε (Il. 14.481) are probably corrupt (Cobet, V. L. p. 195). κτανέοντα (Il. 18.309) involves a use of the future participle which is hardly to be defended: see § 86.

Suggested Citation

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