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130. Although the numerals are not properly to be counted as nouns it will be convenient to notice here the chief peculiarities of formation which they exhibit.

  1. There are two feminine forms for εἷς, viz. μία and ἴα; also a neuter dative ἰῷ (Il. 6.422). The stem ἁ- (for sm̥-) in ἅ-παξ, ἅ-πλοος, etsc. is to be regarded as a weak form of the stem ἑν- (sam). The weak form sm- is to be traced in μία, for σμ-ιᾰ.
  2. The forms δύο and δύω are equally common in Homer. For the number 12 we find the three forms δυώδεκα, δώδεκα, and δυοκαίδεκα; also the ordinals δυωδέκατος and (rarely) δωδέκατος.
  3. Besides τέσσαρ-ες there is a form πίσυρ-ες, applied to horses in Il. 15.680 and 23.171, to other objects in Il. 24.233 and three times in the Odyssey (5.70, 16.249, 22.111).

    The stem τετρᾰ- appears in the dative τέτρα-σι, also in the ordinal (τέτρα-τος and τέταρ-τος), and most derivatives, as τετρά-κις, τετρα-χθά, τετρά-φαλος fοur-crested, etc. (but cp. τεσσαρά-βοιος worth four οxen), also with loss of the first syllable in τρά-πεζα.

    The variation in the stem of this numeral has been fully discussedd by Joh. Schmidt (K. Z. xxv. p. 47 ff.). He shοws that the stem had three forms (§ 114*). The strong form is seen in Sanskrit catvâras, which wοuld lead us to expect Greek *τετϝῶρες (hence perhaps Doric τέτορες); the weakest in the Sanskrit ordinal turîyα, for ktur-îyα, in which the shortening affects both syllables, and the first is consequently lost. This weakest stem appears in τρυ-φάλεια a four-ridged helmet, and is not derived from the form τετρᾰ-. It probably fell into disuse owing to its unlikeness to τέσσαpεs; accordingly it has only survived in words in which the meaning "four" had ceased to be felt. 

    The form πίσυρες may be akin to Lesbian πέσσυρες or πέσυρες, but there is no decisive ground for regarding it as Aeolic.

  4. ὀκτώ, like δύω, is a dual in form. The primitive ending -ωυ (Sanskrit ashtāu) may be traced in ὄγδοος (ὄγδωϝ-ος, ὄγδωος, Latin οctāνus).
  5. Under ἐννέα note the varieties ἔνα-τος and εἴνα-τος ninth, probably for ἐνϝα-τος. So εἰνά-κις, εἰνά-νυχες, εἰνά-ετες; also ἐνν-ῆμαρ (for ἐννέ-ημαρ), ἐννέ-ωρος of nine seasons,ἐννήκοντα (for ἐννε-ήκοντα, cp. τρι-ήκοντα, etc.) and ἐνενήκοντα—the last a form difficult to explain.

    The numbers above ten are generally denoted by compounds of the kind called copulatiνe (Sanskrit. dνandνa): δυώ-δεκα twο and ten.

The analogy of the numerals ending in -ᾰ (ἑπτά, δέκα, with the stems τετρᾰ-, εἰνᾰ-) has led to the use of ᾰ as a connecting vowel in numerals generally; hence πεντά-ετες and ἑξά-ετες (Od. 3.115), ὀκτά-κνημος, τεσσαρά-βοιος, ἐεικοσά-βοιος. But inversely ο is found for ᾰ in πεντηκοντό-γυος (Il. 9.579); cp. § 124.a.

Suggested Citation

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