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17. The tense stems of this class–which may be called the Athematic Nasal class–form the present stem from the verb stem by the suffixes -νη, -νῡ (which with heavy endings regularly become -νᾰ, -νῠ).

The presents with -νη (-νᾰ) are nearly all peculiar to Homer.

  • δάμ-νη-μι
    I subdue
  • κίρ-νη
  • πέρ-να-ς
  • σκίδ-να-ται
    is scattered
  • πίλ-να-ται
    comes near
  • μάρ-να-ται

Note ῐ for ε in κιρ-, σκιδ-, πιλ- ; cp. the later verbs πίτ-νω, κτίν-νυμι.

A few presents with -νυ are common to all periods of Greek.

I show

I swear

I join

ὄλλυμι (for ὄλ-νυ-μι)
I destroy

but they are mainly Homeric or poetical.

  • ὄρ-νῠ-θι
  • δαί-νῡ
  • ἄγ-νυ-τον
  • στορ-νῦσα
  • ἀπ-ομόργ-νῡ
    wiped away
  • ἐέργ-νυ 
    shut in
  • ῥηγ-νῦσι
    they break
  • γά-νυ-ται 
    is gladdened
  • τά-νυ-ται
    is stretched
  • ἤ-νυ-το
    was finished
  • κί-νυ-ντο
    were moved
  • τί-νυ-νται
  • αἴ-νυ-ται
  • ἐ-καί-νυ-το
  • ἀρ-νύ-σθην
  • ἄχ-νυ-μαι
    I am vexed
  • ὠΐγ-νυ-ντο
    were opened
  • ἕννυτο (for ἑσ-νυ-το)
    put on
  • ζώννυ-το (for ζωσ-νυ-)
    girded himself
  • ὀρεγ-νύ-ς 
    stretching out
  • σβεννυ-μενάων (Hes. Op. 590)

In the verbs in -νημι the verb stem is nearly always disyllabic: cp. δαμά-σαι (παν-δαμά-τωρ, etc.), κερά-σαι, πετά-σαι, περά-σαι, σκεδά-σαι, πέλα-ς. So in some verbs in -νῡμι; cp. ὀμό-σαι, ὀλέ-σαι, στορέ-σαι. Thus we may regard δαμ-α and δαμ-νη, ὀμ-ο and ὀμ-νῡ, etc., as twin forms obtained by the addition of a different suffix to the same original root δαμ-, ὀμ-, etc. (§ 14). It is to be observed also that presents in -νημι are often found along with forms in -αζω and -αω.

  • δάμ-νημι
    Attic δαμ-άζω
  • κίρ-νημι
  • πέρ-νημι
  • σκίδ-νημι
  • πίλ-νημι

Cp. κάμ-να, κάμα-τος (§ 47).

The verb stem, it will be seen, has most commonly its weak form (note especially τᾰ́-νυ-ται, perf. τέ-τᾰ-ται), sometimes the strong form, as in δείκ-νυ-μι, ζεύγ-νυ-μι, ῥήγ-νυ-μι.

The forms in -αννυμι and -εννυμι are post-Homeric.

18. Some forms of athematic tenses follow the conjugation of the corresponding contracted verbs in -αω, -εω, -οω (§ 56); especially in the imperfect indicative and the imperative.

ἐδάμνα (as if from *δαμνάω), ἐκίρνα (Od. 7.182, etc.), πίτνα:
imperative καθ-ίστα (Il. 9.202)

ἐτίθει, ἵει (ἀφ-ίει, προ-ίει, etc.), ἄει (v. l. ἄη) blew, κίχεις:
imperative τίθει, ἵει (ξυν- ίει)

ἐδίδους, ἐδίδου:
imperative δίδου (Od. 3.58)

Examples occur also in the present indicative.

δαμνᾷ (3rd sing. act.) in Od. 11.221 (with v. l. δάμνατ᾿)
δαμνᾷ (2nd sing. mid.) in Il. 14.199 (with v. l. δάμνᾳ, for δάμνα-αι)
ἀν-ιεῖς (Il. 5.880)
μεθ-ιεῖς (Il. 6.523, Od. 4.372)
μεθ-ιεῖ (Il. 10.121)
τιθεῖ (Il. 13.732)
παρ-τιθεῖ (Od. 1.192)[fn]For which the MSS. usually have ἀνίεις, etc.[/fn]
διδοῖς (Il. 9.164)
διδοῖ (Il. 9.519, Od. 4.237).

So for προΐει in Il. 2.752 we should read προιεῖ.

Add the participle βιβῶντα (Il. 3.22, cp. 13.807, 16.609), feminine βιβῶσα (Od. 11.539); for which Bekker writes βιβάντα, βιβᾶσα.

Editors differ in their manner of dealing with these forms. Bekker in his second edition (1858) restored the 2nd singular present τίθης, ἵης, δίδως, and imperfect ἐτίθη, ἵη, ἐδίδω, but left the 3rd singular τιθεῖ, διδοῖ and imperative τίθει, ἵει, δίδου. Nauck proposes to restore καθίστη (imperative) and the imperfect ἐδάμνη, πίτνη, ἐκίρνη. In the case of τίθημι, ἵημι, δίδωμι the weight of authority seems to be for the spelling which follows the thematic conjugation, viz. -εῖς, -οῖς in the 2nd singular present, and -εις, -ει, -ους, -ου in the imperfect (Cobet, Misc. Crit. p. 281, is extremely positive on this side). But verbs which have η in the dual and plural (ἄη-τον, κιχή-την) should follow the analogy of the passive aorists: hence ἄη, κίχης. And we may leave undisturbed the form δίδη (he bound; Il. 11.105), for which no one has proposed to read δίδει.

The 1st singular προ-ΐειν (Od. 9.88, 10.100, 12.9) stands alone, and is doubtless a mere error for προΐην (Bekker, ed. 1858).

Porson (in his note on Eur. Or. 141) condemns ξυνιεῖς, τιθεῖς, etc., on the ground that if τιθεῖς were right we ought also to have τιθῶ, τιθεῖ, τιθοῦμεν, τιθεῖτε. It is possible, however, that a form like τιθεῖς may have crept in through the analogy of the verbs in -εω, although no "verb" τιθέω was in use. It is characteristic of the working of analogy to be partial and gradual. In Homer we find the corresponding 3rd singular present δαμνᾷ, τιθεῖ, μεθιεῖ, διδοῖ–forms which are guaranteed by the meter. The forms so guaranteed are indeed few, and perhaps were not found in the oldest text of the poems; but they are supported by similar forms in Herodotus and other Ionic writers.[fn]In considering this and similar questions it should be remembered (1) that we do not know when the Homeric poems were first written down; (2) that we do not know of any systematic attention having been paid to spelling, accentuation, etc., before the time of the Alexandrian grammarians; (3) that the tendency of oral recitation must have been to substitute later for earlier forms, unless the meter stood in the way ; (4) that this modernizing process went on in different parts of Greece, and therefore need not represent the exclusive influence of any one dialect; (5) that the older Ionic alphabet confused ε, ει, η, and ο, ου, ω.[/fn]

Similarly, in the presents formed with -νυ there is evidence of a tendency to introduce the thematic -νυε(ο). The instances are

ὄρ-νυ-ον (Il. 12.142)
ὤμνυε (Il. 14.278)
ζεύγνυον (Il 19.393)
ὀμνυ-έτω (Il. 19.175)
τανύ-ουσι, τανύ-οντο (four times), τανύ-ειν (Il. 17.391)
ἀνύω (Il. 4.56, but may be future)

As to δαινύ-ῃ (2nd sing. subj. mid.) see § 80.

Also, the verb ῥύομαι (protect, save), is for the most part athematic (ἔρῡ-σο, ἔρῡ-το, 3rd plur. ῥῡ́-ατο, inf. ῥῦ-σθαι), but partly thematic (ῥύε-ται, ῥύε-το, ῥύο-νται, etc.), see § 11. And the aorist ἔ-κλυ-ον is thematic, except the imperative κλῦ-θι, κλῦ-τε.

It should be observed that in all the foregoing cases the thematic form is obtained by combining thematic endings with the final vowel of the stem. In other cases the original final vowel is lost, as κίχε(ν) for ἐ-κίχη, δίζω for δίζη-μαι, and the like.

Suggested Citation

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