The Thematic Present with Suffix

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45. In the forms to which we now proceed the verb stem receives a suffix which serves to distinguish the present stem; as τύπ-τω, κάμ-νω, βά-σκω, κτείνω (for κτεν-ιω).

These suffixes may be compared with other elements used in the same way, but not always confined to the present; as κ in

I destroy

I restrain

I chase

γ in

I cut

χ in

to swim

they waste

to smear

σ in

αὔξω (aug-eo)

θ in

  • σχέ-θε
  • ἔσθειν (ἐδ-θειν)
    to eat
  • βρῖ-θο-ν
    were heavy
  • πλῆ-θεν
    was full
  • ἔρε-θε
  • φλεγέ-θει
  • μινύ-θει
  • φθινύ-θει
  • ἔργα-θεν
    kept off
  • θαλέ-θο-ντες
  • μετ-ε-κία-θον
    moved after
  • ἠερέ-θο-νται
  • ἠγερέ-θο-ντο
    were assembled
    (ἀγερ-, in ἀγείρω), etc.

These elements were called by Curtius Root-Determinatives (Chron. p. 22 ff.)—the name implying that they are of the nature of suffixes modifying or 'determiningʼ the meaning of a simple root. But their origin and primitive significance are quite unknown (Brugmann, Grundriss, ii. § 8, n. 2).

46. The Τ-Class. The suffix -τε (ο) is usually found with a verb stem ending in a labial mute (π, β, φ).

  • ἔνιπ-τε (ἐνῑπ-ή)
  • χαλέπ-τει
  • ἀστράπ-τει
  • σκέπ-τεο
    look out
  • κλέπ-τε
  • κόπ-τε
  • τύπ-τε
  • ἔ-μαρπ-τε
  • ἅπτω (ἁφ-)
  • κρύπτων (κρύφ-α)
  • θάπτε (θᾰφ-)
  • ῥάπτειν
    to sew, string together
  • βλάπτει (βλᾰβ-)

The stem is in the weak form; the corresponding long forms are generally wanting.

This suffix is combined with reduplication in ἰ-άπ-τω (for ἰ-ι̯άπτω, cp. Lat. jac-io) hurl, which occurs in Od. 2.376 κατὰ χρόα καλὸν ἰάπτῃ shall maltreat (lit. knock about) her fair flesh.[fn]With ἰ-άπ-τω may be connected ἑ-άφ-θη, which occurs in the phrase ἐπὶ δʼ ἀσπὶς ἑάφθη καὶ κόρυς (Il. 13.543, 14.419), of a warriorʼs shield, which falls with or after him. For the aspirate (ἑάφθη for ἑ-ι̯άφθη) compare ἕηκα, ἕεστο, etc. This explanation was given by Ebel, in K. Z. iv. 167. The scholar to whom I owe this reference, F. Froehde, derives it from Sanskrit vapāmi, "I throw, strew about": so ἁπτοεπής= "one whose words are thrown about at random" (Bezz. Beitr. iii. 24). See Curtius, Verb. ii. 364 (2 ed.).[/fn]

-πτ- may be for -π-ι̯-, and, if so, these verbs would belong to the Ι-Class (§ 50). In some cases, however, the -π- represents an original guttural. Thus we find

ἐνίσσω (ἑνικ-ι̯ω), ἐνίπτω (ἐνιπ-ή)

πέσσω, later πέπτω (πέπ-ων)

νίζω, later νίπτω (ἀπονίπτεσθαι in Od. 18.179 is doubtful.)

Here ἐνίσσω, πέσσω, νίζω are formed by the suffix -ι̯ε(ο), and consequently ἐνίπτω, πέπτω, νίπτω must be otherwise explained. So in σκέπτομαι, since σκεπ- is for σπεκ- (Lat. spec-io), the form with -πτ- must be at least later than the metathesis. Hence if we adhere to the supposition that -πτ- is for -πι̯- we must explain these four forms as due to the analogy of other verbs in -πτε(ο) already in existence.

47. The Nasal Class. The suffix is -νε(ο) after a vowel or -μ

  • φθά-νει comes first
  • τί-νων paying (a penalty)
  • δῦ-νε sank in
  • θῦ- νον bustled
  • κάμ-νε grew weary
  • τάμ-νε cut

-ᾰνε(ο) after a mute

  • ἡμάρτ-ανε
  • ἤλδ-ανε
    made fat
  • ληθ-άνει
    makes to forget
  • οἰδ- άνει
  • κυδ-άνει
  • ἐ-κεύθ-ανον
  • ἀπ-εχθ-άνεαι
    becomes hateful

often with the weak stem and -ν- inserted.

The suffix -ανε(ο) is combined with reduplication (as in § 35) in πιμ-πλ-άνεται (Il. 9.679), ἰσχάνω (for *σι-σχ-άνω), ἱζάνω (for *σι-σδ-άνω).

The class of verbs in -νω is derived from the athematic verbs in -νυ-. Sometimes, as has been noticed (§ 18), -νυ takes the thematic ε or ο after it, as in ὀμ-νύω for ὄμνῡ-μι; but in other cases, especially when -νυ follows a vowel, υ becomes ϝ and is lost. Thus ἀ-νυ- gives ἀνύω accomplish, and also ἄνεται (ᾱ) draws to a close: so τίνυ-ται punishes and τίνω, φθίνυ- (in φθῐνύ-θω) and φθίνω. The vowel of ἄνω, φθάνω, τίνω, φθίνω is long in Homer, short in Attic (cp. Homeric ξεῖν-ος for ξέν-ϝος, Attic ξέν-ος) ; whereas in κλίνω, κρίνω (for κλιν-ι̯ω, κριν-ι̯ω) it is always long. Note also that -νε(ο) for -νϝε(ο) is confined to the present, while the ν of κλίνω, etc., appears in other tenses (Solmsen, K. Z. xxix. 78).

ἐλαύνω has been explained as *ἐλα-νυ-ω, but there is no parallel for epenthesis of υ.

The ᾱ of ἱκάνω, κιχάνω points to -αν-ϝω, but the forms have not been satisfactorily explained.

48. Stems formed by -σκε(ο), the Iterative class of Curtius.

Stems ending in a consonant sometimes insert ι.



I find (Od. 19.158)

get benefit from (Il. 13.733)

A final consonant is lost before σκ in δι-δασκέ-μεν (for δι-δαχ-σκε-), ἴσκω and ἐΐσκω (cp. ἴκ-ελος), τι-τύσκε-το (τῠκ- or τῠχ-), δει-δίσκετο welcomed (δῐκ-); probably also in μίσγο-ν (for μιγ-σκο-ν) and πάσχω (or παθ-σκω).

49. Iterative Tenses. The suffix -σκε(ο) is also used to form a number of past tenses with iterative meaning, as

  • ἔσκε (for ἐσ-σκε)
    used to be
  • ἔχε-σκε
    used to hold
  • καλέ-εσκε
  • πελέ-σκε-ο (Il. 22.433)
  • νικά-σκο-μεν (Od. 11.512)
  • τρωπά-σκετο (Il. 11.568)
  • ῥίπτα-σκε
  • οἴχνε-σκε
  • πωλέ-σκε-το
  • ὤθε-σκε, etc.

and from aorist stems, as στά-σκε, δό-σκο-ν, εἴπε-σκε, φάνε-σκε, ἐρητύ-σα- σκε, δα-σά-σκε-το, ὤσα-σκε, etc. These formations differ from the present stems described above.

  1. in carrying distinctly the notion of repeated action and
  2. in being confined to the Past Indicative.

They are peculiar to the Ionic dialect, and the forms derived from Aorists in -σα are only found in Homer.

ἔ-φασκο-ν has sometimes a distinctly iterative meaning in Homer, as

Od. 8.565 Ναυσιθόον, ὃς ἔφασκε Ποσειδάωνʼ ἀγάσασθαι

and the present φάσκω does not occur. It may be regarded as a link between the two groups of stems with -σκ.

It is remarkable that in the Latin verbs in -sco we may distinguish in the same way between the regular inceptives, such as lique-sco, puer-a-sco, and the presents, such as pa-sco, pro-fic-iscor, in which the inceptive meaning is hardly, or not at all, perceptible. Originally, no doubt, there was a single group of derivative stems in -σκε(ο) with the meaning of continued or repeated action.

  • ἁνδ-άνει (ἁδ-)
  • λανθ-ανόμην
  • ἐ-χάνδ-ανον
  • ἐ-λάγχ-ανον
  • τύγχ-ανε
  • πυνθ-άνομαι

Suggested Citation

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