Sunday, September 18, 2005


Compound and Simple Verbs

In "An Indo-European Construction in Greek and Latin," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 71 (1966) 115-119, Calvert Watkins discussed "the iteration of a compound verb in a succeeding clause or sentence by the simple verb alone, but with the semantic force of the compound."

Watkins stated, "The absence of any examples of this construction from Homer is striking." Perhaps I'm mistaken, but there seems to be a good example, involving kataluo and luo, in the ninth book of Homer's Iliad:

23 οὕτω που Διὶ μέλλει ὑπερμενέϊ φίλον εἶναι,
24 ὃς δὴ πολλάων πολίων κατέλυσε κάρηνα
25 ἠδ᾽ ἔτι καὶ λύσει· τοῦ γὰρ κράτος ἐστὶ μέγιστον.

In Richmond Lattimore's translation: "Such is the way it will be pleasing to Zeus, who is too strong, / who before now has broken [kateluse] the crests of many cities / and will break [lusei] them again, since his power is beyond all others."

A careful reading of Homer might reveal more examples. I don't keep up with the scholarly literature, but there are no Homeric examples cited in two other discussions known to me:The same construction figures in an emendation of Martial 12.59.9 proposed by Michael Hendry.

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