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248. Interrogative Pronouns. The interrogatives used in Homer are τίς (§ 108), πότερος, πόστος, ποῖος, πῇ, πῶς, ποῦ, πόθι,πόθεν, πότε, πόσε. The form πόσος only occurs in the compound ποσσῆμαρ (Il. 24.657).

The Pronoun τίς is used both as a substantive and as an adjective. The adjectival use is chiefly found in the Odyssey

Od. 1.225 τίς δαίς, τίς δὲ ὅμιλος ὅδʼ ἔπλετο

Od. 13.233 τίς γῆ, τίς δῆμος, τίνες ἀνέρες ἐγγεγάασι

and in the 24th book of the Iliad (11.367, 387). The only clear instance in the rest of the Iliad is 5.633 τίς τοι ἀνάγκη; for in Il. 1.362, 18.73, 80 τί is probably adverbial.

Notice also as peculiar to the Odyssey the combination of τίς with ὅδε.

Od. 6.276 τίς δʼ ὅδε Ναυσικάᾳ ἕπεται

Od. 20.351 τί κακὸν τόδε πάσχετε

The corresponding use with οὗτος is only found in Il. 10.82

τίς δʼ οὗτος . . . ἔρχεαι

cp. H. Merc. 261 τίνα τοῦτον ἀπηνέα μῦθον ἔειπας.

The use of the Interrogative in dependent questions is rare.

Il. 5.85 Τυδεΐδην δʼ οὐκ ἂν γνοίης ποτέροισι μετείη

Od. 15.423 εἰρώτα δὴ ἔπειτα τίς εἴη καὶ πόθεν ἔλθοι

Od. 17.368 ἀλλήλους τ᾽ εἴροντο τίς εἴη καὶ πόθεν ἔλθοι

Od. 17.373 αὐτὸν δʼ οὐ σάφα οἶδα πόθεν γένος εὔχεται εἶναι

With these it is usual to reckon the anomalous Il. 18.192 ἄλλου δʼ οὔ τευ οἶδα τεῦ ἂν κλυτὰ τεύχεα δύω.

But in this case we have the further difficulty that the form of the principal clause leads us to expect a relative, not an interrogative—the indefinite ἄλλου τευ standing as antecedent: cp. Od. 2.42 (§ 282). Hence there is probably some corruption in the text.

The use of the interrogative in a dependent question doubtless grew out of the habit of announcing that a question is going to be asked. Α formula, such as

ἀλλʼ ἄγε μοι τόδε εἰπὲ καὶ ἀτρεκέως κατάλεξον


καί μοι τοῦτʼ ἀγόρευσον ἐτήτυμον ὄφρʼ ἐῢ εἰδῶ

though grammatically a distinct sentence, may be regarded as on the way to become a governing clause. Ιt is a step to this when there is no pronoun as object—not "tell me this," but simply "tell me."

Od. 4.642 νημερτές μοι ἔνισπε, πότʼ ᾤχετο καὶ τίνες αὐτῷ
                 κοῦροι ἕποντʼ κτλ.

Il. 11.144 εἰπέ, ἄναξ, πῶς κτλ.

Il. 24.474 εἰπέ μοι εἰρομένῃ, τί νύ τοι νόος ἔνδοθι κεύθει

It is to be observed that nearly all the passages of this kind are to be found in the Odyssey and in the 10th and 24th books of the Iliad. The only instance in the rest of the Iliad is 6.377.

εἴ δʼ ἄγε μοι, δμῳαί, νημερτέα μυθήσασθε·
πῇ ἔβη κτλ.

Suggested Citation

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