Stems Compounded with Prepositions

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127. These are of two readily distinguishable kinds

  1. The preposition qualifies.

    ἐπι-μάρτυρος
    witness to (something)

    περι-κτίον-ες
    dwellers around

    ἀμφί-φαλο-ς
    with crest on both sides

    πρό-φρων
    with forward mind

    Forms of this kind are sometimes obtained directly from compound verbs: e.g. ἔξοχος from ἐξ-έχω, not from ἐξ and ὄχος.

  2. The preposition governs, i.e. the compound is equivalent to a preposition governing a noun.

    ἐν-νύχ-ιο-ς
    in the night

    κατα-χθόν-ιο-ς
    underground

    ἀπο-θύμ-ιο-ς
    displeasing (lit. away frοm the mind), etc.

    also (but less commonly) without a secondary suffix.

    ἐγ-κέφαλο-ς
    brain (it. within the head)

    ἐπ-άρουρο-ς
    attached to the soil

The placing of the preposition before the gοverned stem is a departure from the general rule stated above. It may be held, however, that the preposition serves (in some of these compounds at least) as the limiting or qualifying member of the word. Compare νύχ-ιο-ς by night, ἐν-νύχ-ιο-ς within the night: it is evident that the ἐν limits the sense of νύχιος in essentially the same way as παν- in παν-νύχ-ιο-ς all the night. So κατα-χθόν-ιο-ς is nearly equivalent to χθόν-ιο-ς; the preposition merely makes it clear in what sense the suffix -ιο is to be understοοd—"belonging to the earth" by by being under it.

Suggested Citation

D.B. Monro, A Grammar of the Homeric Dialect. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7. https://dcc.dickinson.edu/index.php/grammar/monro/stems-compounded-prepositions