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Title: Greek primer, colloquial and constructive

Author: John Stuart Blackie

Release date: December 29, 2022 [eBook #69656]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: Macmillan, 1891

Credits: deaurider and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)








Scribendo dicimus diligentius, dicendo scribimus facilius.



All rights reserved


One cannot have moved much in the world without hearing complaints, both from parents and young persons, about the amount of time and brain spent in the learning of languages, and the little profit derived from this outlay. These complaints, no doubt, arise partly from the want of judgment on the part of the parents, and the want of capacity and inclination on the part of their young hopefuls: parents often acting thoughtlessly on the vulgar notion that far birds have fair feathers, and preferring what is foreign to what is native, and what lies at a great distance in time or space to what is near; and young persons being forced to submit themselves to a grammatical indoctrination in which they feel no interest, and from which they derive no benefit. But it is no less true that these complaints are due in no small measure to false methods of linguistic training generally, or to some cherished prejudices in favour of certain languages on the part of the teachers; and it becomes therefore, at the present day, a matter of great practical importance to inquire how far our traditional methods of teaching languages are in conformity with the method of Nature in her great art of thought-utterance, and how far they may justly be called on to submit themselves to a revision and a reconstitution. We say at the present day emphatically, because it is quite evident that education, following in the train of democratic reform, is one of the [Pg vi] watchwords of the hour, to which every good citizen must lend an obedient ear; and not only so, but circumstances have so changed since our schooling received its traditional form, that the wants which were satisfied by our school curriculum and school practice in the days of Milton and Locke now demand an altogether different treatment. In particular, the so-called learned languages, two hundred years ago the only medium of culture to an accomplished English gentleman, have now become the luxury of the leisurely, or the arsenal of the professional few, while other languages, such as German, not named in those days, are now sought after as the keys to the most valuable storehouses of all sorts of knowledge. Add to this that Great Britain, which was then a secondary naval power, and following the French and the Spaniards slowly in the great world-transforming process of colonisation, is now mistress of a world-wide empire from the Ganges to Vancouver Isle, through which stretch she exercises a dominant influence, combining the political virtue of ancient Rome with the commercial activity of Carthage. In these circumstances it becomes the special duty of every British man to acquire a familiar knowledge of the languages of the various races with which he may be brought into political or commercial relations; and, as languages after all are not valuable in themselves, but only as tools by which effective work in certain fields falls to be performed, we ought to see to it, both that we get the proper tools for doing the work, and that we learn to use them in such fashion as to work pleasantly and profitably; and in this view it may be truly said that, while the wrong language in the wrong place is of no use at all, even the right language in the right place, when imperfectly learned, is a tool with which the best workman can do only bad work, and perhaps cut his own fingers in the process.

As language is a function which belongs as much to every normal human creature as seeing or hearing, there can be no difficulty in finding out the method of Nature in its acquisition. We have to answer only two [Pg vii] questions: first, What are the factors of the process by which the human babe, from being capable merely of inarticulate cries, like any of the lower animals, is developed into an easy and graceful manipulator of articulate speech? and again, How far, and in what respects, does this model require to be modified in order to enable the expert handlers of the mother tongue to use any second or third language with like expertness? That this cannot be a very difficult matter demands no far-sought induction to prove, as the fact lies before us; for from the Greeks in the South-East to the Highlanders in the North-West we find bilingual and trilingual peoples largely scattered over Europe. It is in fact as easy to learn two or three languages as to learn one, if only the learner be habitually submitted to the natural influences, and guided by the steps of a natural process.

What then, in the first place, are the steps of the process which analysis presents as elevating the inarticulate babe to the significant-speaking boy or girl? There is (1) the direct connection of certain objects with certain sounds and gestures; (2) these objects are such as stand in the nearest relation to the learner, and are presented to him in an atmosphere of the most natural and most pleasant surroundings; (3) the imitative faculty, by which he appropriates the proper sounds, is encouraged and cherished by frequent repetition, till the original impression becomes permanently stamped into his soul, and, so to speak, jumps up spontaneously with the object. Let us, in the next place, ask how far this child’s linguistic ladder is affected by the performer being an adult. Manifestly the difference lies only in one point, and that altogether in favour of the adult, viz. the application of a regulated system to the accidental sequences by which the child learns its mother tongue, easily indeed and pleasantly, but slowly; for he learns not architecturally as a mason builds a house, but by the way, as one picks up a pebble on the shore or a daisy from the meadow; whereas the adult, with his firm will and his reasonable [Pg viii] purpose, wishing to learn a language can submit himself to a reasonable and a calculated treatment; and in so doing experience has shown that in favourable circumstances, and under wise training, he can learn a foreign language more perfectly in six months than a child can do in as many years. Why then, you ask, is this not always done? Why does it seem such a difficult business to acquire a familiar knowledge of any foreign language, and why is so much brain and so much time spent so frequently on their acquisition with such scanty results? The answer can be only one: because your teacher has ignored the method of Nature, and given you a bad substitute for it in his own devices; instead of speaking to you and making you respond, in direct connection of the old object with the new sound, and thus forming a living bond between the thinking soul, the perceptive sense, and the significant utterance, he sends you to a book, there to cram yourself with dead rules and lifeless formulas about the language, in the middle of which he ought to have planted you at the start. The evil results of this neglect of the living model of Nature are only too manifest. Books are useful, but they are only secondary; in all matters of observation and practical exercise they may form an apt accompaniment or a supplement, but they never can supplant the vital function of which they are only the dead record. No one learns dancing, or fencing, or golf, or lawn-tennis from a book. The evils caused by this unnatural delegation of the work of a living teacher to the formulas of a dead book are three: (1) The direct connection between the reasonable soul and the new articulate sign of the object is lost; the learner does not shake hands, so to speak, with the object, but he cumbers himself with the phraseology of his mother tongue, and instead of saying at once δός μοι ἄρτον, give me bread, he must first ask what is the Greek for bread. In this way the new term remains a stranger to his thought, and he uses it uncomfortably, as when a man puts on a pair of shoes which have only an [Pg ix] occasional acquaintance with his feet. (2) Then again, when, after being sufficiently tortured with mere grammatical forms, he acquires a certain vocabulary from the elementary reading books, the objects for which this vocabulary supplies the new names are seldom the objects with which he is familiarly surrounded and in which he has a living interest, but they relate to something Julius Cæsar did in Gaul or Cicero said in Rome some 2000 years ago, a region of strange sounds, in which the linguistic neophyte of this nineteenth century has no particular inclination to move, and to which his memory cannot ally itself with any feeling of kinship; and he easily forgets the word, because he does not care for the thing. But (3) even when he does care for the thing, the mere reading of a lesson every day does not in the least ensure that frequent repetition of a new vocable in connection with an object, on which the familiar knowledge of a language depends; whereas, if the teacher had commenced by making his schoolroom an echo-chamber of daily repeated sounds in connection with interesting and familiar objects directly in the view of the learner or near to his daily life, familiarity with a new language, be it Greek or be it German, would come as naturally and as pleasantly to a clever lad of seventeen as the use of the mother tongue to a dainty girl or a rattling boy of seven.

These things being so, and the method of Nature being so plain in the matter, we now ask what are the causes that have led so many of our teachers, even the most accomplished of their class, to neglect so infallible a guide, and to follow methods of linguistic inculcation equally unpleasant in the process and unprofitable in the result? These causes, fortunately, are as patent as the consequences to which they have led. The first cause is ignorance. In not a few of our educational institutions it is to be feared there are teachers—an over-worked and under-paid class—who are employed to teach languages of which they have only a very superficial knowledge and no firm hold. With persons [Pg x] of this class the whole process of linguistic training amounts to this, Read your book, Get your lesson, and I will hear you. Of a living appeal from the tongue of the teacher and a living response from the tongue of the learner these gentlemen have no conception. They must do the most they can, confine themselves within page and chapter of a printed book, where they require no knowledge beyond the marked limits of the lesson, and where the scantiness of their linguistic furniture and the feebleness of their linguistic vitality cannot be exposed. Let them pass. But what of the men of high accomplishment, exact scholarship, and fine taste: why should they scorn the practice which is the foundation of the rules, and the conversation which made great speeches and great poems before rules or schools were heard of? Simply because they have forgotten the lesson taught in a well-known dialogue of Plato,[1] that the printed papers which we call books, useful for record, are rather prejudicial than profitable to the culture of memory; they have become the slaves of their tools, and defrauded the ear and the tongue of their natural rights in the field of significant speech by a wholesale transference of their functions to the eyes. The scholar, in their conception, is a reading animal, and without books he is nowhere. Why then, they will argue, when our object is to read and to understand books, should we trouble ourselves with conversation? We do not learn Latin in order to talk with Cæsar and Cicero, but to read their books; and in like manner we do not study German to drink beer and smoke pipes and sing songs with rollicking students in a kneipe, but to ponder with many-sided thought over the poems of Goethe or the speculations of Hegel. So be it. Let books and not living converse be the final end of the study of languages; so they certainly are with the dead languages; but even with regard to them it is quite certain that the familiarity and frequent repetition which are the [Pg xi] special virtues of the conversational method both render the mastery of books, as in the case of the mother tongue, more complete, and the hold of the printed signature at once more firm in the grasp and more easy in the approach. But some one will say, Does not speaking in a language imply thinking in it, and is not thinking in a foreign tongue one of the most difficult and rare attainments even with the most accomplished linguists? Not at all. The difficulty lies merely in starting from the wrong end and following the false direction thus given till it culminates in the persistency of a bad habit and the imagination of an impossibility. It is as easy to look the Sun in the face and say שׁמּשּׁ, Shemish, as to say Sun, and there is no more difficulty in saying λαβὼν τὸ σκάλευθρον κίνει τὸ πῦρ, than in saying, take the poker and stir the fire. In both cases the direct connection of thought, thing, and word is equally obvious, equally easy, and equally natural; only at the start the habit of thinking exclusively in the mother tongue must be broken.

There is one other objection to the conversational method in the teaching of languages, viz. that it makes a man a parrot. Well, a parrot is an imitative animal, and so is a man, and so far must not be ashamed to own his kinship with the plumy prattler. But he is a parrot and something more; and this something more every sensible teacher will take into account. For myself, I have no preference for random talk: my contention is for regulated talk; the talk first and the regulation afterwards, in the order of gradation so succinctly stated by Lord Bacon—speaking makes a ready man, reading makes a full man, writing makes an accurate man;—all the three. But have your nails first before you pare them; this is the common sense of the matter.

In conclusion, I have a word or two to say with regard to the occasion and the plan of this little book. In the first place, whatever may be said of Hebrew or Latin, Greek is a living language, and must be treated as such even by those who persist in the notion that, while the [Pg xii] method of living vocal appeal applies in its full extent to modern languages, it is certainly out of place in the treatment of the two ancient languages which justly claim the first place in the linguistic culture of our highest schools. The delusion that Greek is a dead language, springing as it does mainly out of our “insular ignorance,” as Professor Seeley calls it, and partly, I fear, our national insolence, will be dispelled in a moment by a glance at any current Greek newspaper; as for instance the following paragraph, the first that met my eye, from the 2d November number of the Athenian “Ἀκρόπολις,” giving a short notice of the application of Koch’s remedy for consumption.


Ἡ φθίσις ἐν Ρωσσίᾳ.

Ἡ ἀνακάλυψις τοῦ μεγάλου Κὼχ δίδει ἀφορμὴν εἰς τὰς ρωσσικὰς ἐφημερίδας νὰ ἐξετάσωσι πόσοι εἰσὶν οἱ πάσχοντες ἐκ τῆς νόσου ταύτης. Ἐκ τῶν 120,000,000 τῶν κατοίκων τῆς Ρωσσίας, ἂν ὑπολογίσῃ τις μόνον 5 ἐπὶ τοῖς (0)0 πάσχοντας ἐκ φθίσεως, 6,000,000 μόνον Ρῶσσοι ἔχουσι τὴν ἀνάγκην τῆς θεραπείας τοῦ περικλεοῦς καθηγητοῦ. Ὁ ἀριθμὸς εἶνε μάλιστα ἐν τούτοις ἀκριβής. Ἐν Ρωσσίᾳ καὶ ἰδίως εἰς τὰ βορειότερα αὐτῆς μέρη ἡ φθίσις κάμνει μεγίστην θραῦσιν. Ἐν Πετρουπόλει ὡς ἐκ τῆς ἀθλιότητος τοῦ κλίματος καὶ τῆς κακῆς διαίτης τάξεών τινων τῆς κοινωνίας ἡ φθίσις καταστρέφει φρικωδῶς. Ἑν ταῖς οἰκίαις ἀπομεμακρυσμένων τινῶν συνοικιῶν, εἰς οἰκίας εἰς ἃ σπανίως διεισδύει ἀκτὶς ἡλίου βλέπει τις νέας καὶ νέους ὠχροὺς αἱμοπτύοντας καὶ ἐκεῖ εἰς ἀνήλια δωμάτια ἀναμένοντας τὸν θάνατον. Μειδιάσατε δυστυχεῖς· ὁ Κῲχ ἐργάζεται ὅπως ἁρπάσῃ ἀπὸ τὰς χεῖρας τοῦ θανάτου ὅλα αὐτὰ τὰ ἑκατομμύρια τῶν ὑπάρξεων.

Any person who can read classical Greek without a dictionary will have no difficulty in understanding this passage; and, if he is familiar [Pg xiii] with the New Testament in the original, he will find that some of the principal peculiarities which distinguish the Greek used by the living political and public men of Athens, so far from being corruptions, are no less distinctive features of the κοινὴ διάλεκτος of the Greeks now than they were in the days of the Apostle Paul and the Evangelist John. But this is not all. It requires only a superficial acquaintance with the most patent facts of Greek literature to know that some of the most popular and the most profound teachers of Greek wisdom—Plato, Aristophanes and Xenophon—use the conversational style. The Greeks, in fact, were, as they are still, a lively and a talking people, and Socrates, their greatest name, cannot be better described than as a talking street preacher of reason and common sense. Well, then, on this double basis that Greek is a living language, and that the colloquial style is that in which its highest and best thoughts are expressed; and knowing, moreover, by large experience, that the most effective way to get a firm grasp of any language is to begin by speaking it, some twenty years ago I published a small volume of Greek and English dialogues,[2] which I used in my class in as far as it was possible to do so in such a multitudinous huddlement of untrained lads as the Scottish Universities, contrary to the practice of all educated nations, admit into the junior classes of the Faculty of Arts. The little book came to a second edition; but that it was in anywise generally used by classical teachers I have no reason to believe, partly because, of all classes of men, teachers are the most closely wedded to old bookish habits, and partly because Scotland is not a country to which the world, governed as it is by authority and by names, would look for anything worthy of imitation in the Greek line: “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” This, as the world goes, was quite legitimate, and gave me no concern. But since that time, as a natural [Pg xiv] consequence of the great educational movement of the age, some very distinct voices have come to my ear, to the effect that there is something radically wrong in our way of dealing with languages, and that the method of teaching by rules and grammar mainly can no longer be tolerated. I therefore felt it my duty to appeal a second time to the public and to teachers on this important matter, the more so that my little book stood too far apart from the educational attitude of the teachers, and, if it was to find its way into general school use, required a more elementary book as an introduction. This elementary book I now send forth under the title of a Greek Primer, Colloquial and Constructive, indicating by this title that the lessons in talking go hand in hand with the grammatical forms naturally educed from them, each lesson being regulated talk, according to a natural progression from the more simple to the more complex forms in ordinary use. This progressive incorporation of the grammar is the feature which distinguishes the lessons of this introductory book from the dialogues in its predecessor; and the necessity of having constant reference to grammatical forms prevented me from giving that unity of subject to the dialogue as dialogue which belonged to the previous volume.

I have only further to state, with regard to the use of this little primer in the hands of a teacher, that I have no desire that he should bind himself slavishly to the text. The scraps of talk that are given under each lesson are meant to lend him a helping hand in the use of a new organ; and, to enable both teacher and learner to furnish themselves with a living vocabulary of Greek words in direct connection with their daily surroundings, I have added an alphabetical list of the names of the most familiar objects that belong to the field of life in town or country where the learner may happen to be. When the young Hellenist has stamped its Greek designation directly on every object [Pg xv] that meets his eyes, and connected it with some single verb that belongs to its significance in familiar life, I would then suggest that the teacher, besides the daily repetition of certain forms of common conversation, should give a vivâ voce description of pictures hung on the wall two or three times a week, which the learner shall be called on to repeat without any written notes; the principle of the method being always to maintain the direct action of the mind on the object, through the instrumentality of the new sound, without the intervention of the mother tongue. As to when, and how far, and in what kind the usual furniture of elementary books of grammar, reading, and exercises should go parallel with colloquial practice, this I leave altogether in the hands of the practised teacher, being well assured that easy reading and accurate writing, so far from being inconsistent with, are the natural blossom and the ripe fruit of the root of living utterance from which I start.

One other matter requires special notice—a matter not necessarily connected with the colloquial method, but which may be wisely used as a help. To each lesson I have appended a short list of English words, either by family affinity, or by direct borrowing, or by indirect borrowing through the Latin, radically identical with the Greek. The habit of identifying such words under an English disguise will perform the double function of facilitating memory and giving a lesson on the transmutation of sounds and meaning, the tracing of which gives so peculiar a charm to comparative philology. In Appendix I. I have added some of the principles on which these transmutations depend, so far as they are suggested by the words used in the text.

But what of the pronunciation? After what has been shown of the living continuity of the Greek tongue, from Byzantium downwards to the present day, there cannot be the slightest doubt that Greek orthoepy should be treated in the same fashion that the orthoepy of French, German, or any [Pg xvi] other living tongue is treated. The pronunciation is ruled by the practice of the present, not by philological facts or fancies as to the pronunciation of the past. No doubt, as Heraclitus says, πάντα ῥεῖ, all things flow, as in the universe, so in language, there is no fixation—there is always change. But the changes which take place in living languages, like English or Greek, are of a very different kind from those which take place when a language like Latin becomes dead, and rises to a new life in the form of such specific varieties as Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. They are of the nature of a normal growth, and are at all events only exaggerations or expansions of a native tendency. To such exaggerations every spoken language is subject, and few more than our insular English, as any one may see who will compare the accentuation of English in the time of Chaucer with the orthoepy of the present hour. But in respect of accents at least Greek has been far more conservative than English, so much so indeed that the accentual marks placed on Greek words by the Alexandrian grammarians two hundred and fifty years before Christ, in the practice of the Greek Church and the Greek people still indicate the same dominance of voice on the accented syllable that the Athenian ear recognised as classic in the orations of Demosthenes and the apostolic eloquence of St. Paul. There can therefore be no greater barbarism than to disown this legitimate music of Greek speech, as is done both in England and Scotland, when we pronounce ἀγαθὸς ὁ θεός, like Latin or English, ἄγαθος ὁ θέος; not to mention the staring absurdity and loss of brain implied in the practice of the great English schools of first pronouncing the word with a false accentuation, and then stultifying the daily practice of the ear by learning a rule to say where the accent ought to have been placed! Nothing could more distinctly show the falseness of our habit of flinging the burden of learning languages on formulas of the understanding and leaving the living organ of linguistic practice altogether out of account. Therefore, by all means, either drop the accents out of the grammar, or use them whenever you [Pg xvii] give the written word voice in the air. As to the quantity of the vowels, which is the stumbling block with most English scholars, we have no lack of words, even in our own unmusical English, such as lándholder, in which, as in the Greek ἄνθρωπος, the antepenultimate has the rising inflexion, while the penult is long; and if the modern Greeks pronounce ἄνθρωπος as if written ἄνθροπος, that is only a natural curtailment of the unaccented syllable which lies in the nature of human speech, and will be found exemplified more or less in all languages. As to the vocal value of the separate vowels and consonants, this, no doubt, is a point in some cases of considerable difficulty; but it is quite certain that a, both in Latin and Greek, has the broad sound as in Italian and Scotch, not the sound of the English in pātent, that ι is the most slender of the vowel sounds, not the broad semi-diphthongal sound of the English in prime or sigh, that ου has the soft sound of oo in boom, not the bow-wow sound of ou as in howl; also that αι in all probability was pronounced as in the English vain, not as in the German Kaiser. On the whole matter of pronunciation, however, the English scholar should bear in mind that the poetry of the ancients was composed on musical principles, with a strict regard to the quantitative value of the vowel on which the rhythmical accent fell, a practice which necessarily caused the spoken accent to be dropped in verse, or very much subordinated; and again, if his ear should happen to be very much offended by the predominance of the slender sound of ι in the familiar πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης of Homer, there is no reason why he should not adopt a special vocalisation for the reading of the Greek poets, just as we in our reading of Chaucer must constantly put a final accent on words that, if applied to the spoken tongue, would render the speaker either ridiculous or unintelligible. But in whatever fashion the teacher of Greek in this country may choose to settle this delicate point, the matter of pronunciation has nothing radically to do with the [Pg xviii] great principle of linguistic practice which this little book inculcates. To start with the practice of speaking will facilitate the acquisition of a new language under any system of pronunciation; only this must distinctly be said, that the scholar who has learned to read Greek with a vocalisation and an accentuation invented by himself for himself has deliberately cut himself off from all intelligible communion with the people whose literary tradition he values so highly, and with whom to maintain a familiar intercourse, both in a political and a literary point of view, should be no secondary consideration with the wise.

In conclusion, I have great pleasure in returning thanks to the learned Hellenists who kindly undertook the task of revising the proofs of this little work as they came from the press, viz. Mr. Hardie, Balliol College, Oxford; Principal Geddes, Aberdeen; Principal Donaldson, St. Andrews; and Mr. Gardiner, Edinburgh Academy; and if I have not in every instance taken advantage of their suggestions, it is because on principle I have no sympathy with the nice sensibility which refuses the stamp of classicality to all forms and idioms unsanctioned by the usage of Attic writers, preferring to float my skiff freely on the great Catholic Greek of all ages, from Plato to Polybius, from Polybius to Chrysostom, and from Chrysostom to Thereianos and Paspati.

Edinburgh, April 1891.

[Pg xix]


The Greek Letters  3
Notes  5
Accentuation and Quantity  7
I.— Nouns: Nominative and Objective Case,  
  First and Second Declension;  
  Singular, Present Indicative 12
II.— Cases, Genitive and Dative 15
III.— Plurals, Numerals, Diminutives 17
IV.— Third Declension, Singular 19
V.— Third Declension, Plural 25
VI.— Degrees of Comparison in Adjectives 26
VII.— The Future Active 28
VIII.— The Past Tense 30
IX.— Infinitive Mood and Participles 33
X.— The other Past Tenses 35
XI.— Verbs in μι 38
XII.— Compound Verbs 40 [Pg xx]
XIII.— Moods: Subjunctive and Conditional 42
XIV.— The Optative Mood 44
XV.— The Particle ἄν 47
XVI.— The Passive Voice 48
XVII.— The Middle Voice 51
XVIII.— Participles 53
I.— Elementary Hints on Etymology 55
II.— Vocabularies 57

[Pg 1]


[Pg 2]


[Pg 3]


The Greek letters, borrowed as they were from the East and adopted by the Romans, are substantially the same as the Roman letters of our common English usage, and in fact differ from them both in figure and power scarcely more than our present English type differs from the old English black letter or the common German type. A few remarks will suffice to show where or how far the pronunciation varies from our English use of the same letters.

Names English
Α, α ἄλφα alpha a
Β, β, ϐ βῆτα bêta b
Γ, γ, ⲅ γάμμα gamma g
Δ, δ δέλτα delta d
Ε, ε ψῑλόν epsilon e
Ζ, ζ, ζῆτα zêta z
Η, η ἦτα êta ee
Θ, θ, ϑ θῆτα thêta th
Ι, ι ἰῶτα iôta i
Κ, κ κάππα kappa k
Λ, λ λάμβδα lambda l
Μ, μ μῦ mu m
Ν, ν νῦ nu n
Ξ, ξ ξῖ xi x
Ο, ο μῑκρόν omikron ŏ [Pg 4]
Π, π πῖ pi p
Ρ, ρ ῥῶ rho r
Σ, σ, ς σῖγμα sigma s
Τ, τ, ך ταῦ tau t
Υ, υ υῑλόν ’upsilon u
Φ, φ φῖ phi f or ph
Χ, χ χῖ chi ch
Ψ, ψ ψῖ psi ps
Ω, ω ὦ μέγα omega ō

[Pg 5]


Α is always the broad a (=ah) of all European languages, and never softened down to the English ā, as heard in pātent, nátion.

Β in the spoken Greek of the present day is softened down to the cognate v, exactly as in Gaelic b with the h appended becomes v, as ban, fair, with h, bhan = van.

Γ, when followed by the broad vowels a and o, is pronounced hard as in English and Gaelic; but when followed by soft vowels the Greeks now give it the sound of the English y in yes, yellow—γέλως, γέρων,—just as in German the g in the third syllable of Göttingen is so softened down as almost to disappear.[3] This euphonic action of a weak vowel upon a strong consonant preceding is natural and found in most languages; exactly as the Italians in their soft dialect of Latin have changed Κικέρων into Chichero, ch being pronounced as in the English church.

Before κ, γ, χ and ξ, the letter γ has the sound of n, as in ἄγγελος, in Latin angelus, English angel.

Δ, or D, is in like manner softened into th as in the English mother; thus δέν not, from οὐδέν, pronounced οὐθέν.

Ε is our short e, as in get; never long ē.

Η, or ἦτα, was in ancient times always a long ē, English ā as in gate; now it is always ee as in seem or theme.

Θ is the English th, as in mouth, south.

Ι is always the slender English ee, either short as in peep or long as in scēne.

Ξ is ks, gs, contracted into x.

Υ, from which our y came, was in ancient times identical with the delicate ü, ue, of the Germans, halfway between οὐ = oo and ee, into which in the living language it is always softened, exactly as in some parts of Germany Brüder is pronounced Brēēder.

Χ is an aspirated k, but pronounced like milch in German or loch in Scotch, which the English, who do not possess this beautiful soft guttural, generally sharpen into a k, as in lake.

Ω, omega, as the name indicates, is simply a long o, as in πῶλος, a foal.

For the English h the Greeks used a simple mark of aspiration [Pg 6] turned to the right thus, ἱερός sacred, pronounced hee-er-ŏs, while the same mark turned to the left, as in ἔρως, simply signifies the absence of the h. Whether this spiritus lenis, as it is called, was put on the initial vowel to indicate the presence of an original h which had vanished, I cannot say; but one can readily fancy that if the Cockney fashion of calling Highgate Igate were to become general, every such curtailed word might receive a mark thus, ’igate, as the survival of a lost breathing.

Besides the vowels in the alphabet we find in Greek, as in other languages, compound vowel sounds called diphthongs. They are seven—αι, ει, οι, αυ, υι, ευ and ου. Their ancient pronunciation is very difficult to expiscate, and in them we note the partiality of the Greeks for the slender sound of ee, called by a Latin writer gracilitas, and by modern scholars itacism. This tendency has wiped off the diphthongal character altogether from οι, υι, and ει, which are all pronounced like a single ι, English ee. To balance this, αι becomes the English ai, as in vain; ου retains its full soft roundness as in gloom; while in αυ and ευ in the living Greek the υ has assumed a consonantal value and become v, from which usage the εὐαγγέλιον of the Gospels has become the evangelium of the Latin Church, and the evangel of English; so αὐλός, a flute, is pronounced avlóss, and this v is aspirated into the kindred ƒ, when the following consonant is κ, π, τ, θ, χ, ξ, σ, or ψ, as in αὐτός, aftos, εὔξεινος, efxeinos. That the ancients, at least in poetry, did not do this is evident from the full diphthongal value of a long sound given to the εὐ in εὐαγής and such-like words by the dramatic writers.

[Pg 7]


In respect of accentuation the Greek language has the advantage above most others that, while in Latin, English, or German the proper intonation of a word in doubtful cases can only be known by an appeal to a dictionary or to an authoritative speaker, in Greek every word in a book, as it stands before the eye, exhibits and perpetuates the tonic relation of the syllables to one another. The student has but to observe the rise or fall of the syllables on his page as he would do the notes in a piece of music, and he cannot go wrong. Only a few characteristic points require to be laid down to make the principle on which the practice depends intelligible.

The word accent, taken from the Latin grammarians, evidently signifies a certain music of speech, a singing to or with (ad and cano) an articulate word; while the expression used by the Greek grammarians, τόνος from τείνω, indicates a stretch, stress, or intension of the voice on the syllable so affected. Taking these two elements together we see that a Greek word, say καλός, beautiful, with the mark of the acute accent on the last syllable—hence called oxytone, from ὀξύς, sharp—is pronounced with an elevation of the voice, which brings along with it a dominance of the syllable on which it stands above the other syllables with which it is connected. It stands to reason that after such a dominance given to one syllable the voice, if there be a subsequent syllable, will fall; and so, as in πραγμάτων, the final syllable will be pronounced in [Pg 8] a lower tone which is called grave. In the general use this lower-toned syllable requires no special mark, being sufficiently indicated by its necessary subservience to the accented syllable; with the Greeks, however, it seems to have been the practice to pronounce an oxytone word, when it occurs in the middle of a sentence, in a lower tone than at the end, and so the word καλός in the middle of a sentence, as in καλὴ παρθένος, is marked with a grave accent from left to right instead of from right to left; but this, though it lowers the tone, does not affect the dominance of the syllable. It is just as if in music the same note, with the same rhythmical dominance, were sung an octave lower. Practically, the learner need not concern himself curiously about the matter.

It is a rule, both in Greek and Latin, that no word can be accented farther back than the third syllable from the end, the antepenultimate, the favourite accent of the English language. But, while this rule, in a musical point of view, preserves the language from such a rattle of insignificant sounds as in lámentable, mílitary, and not a few other quadrisyllables in our unmusical English tongue, it manifestly requires a correction from the side of penultimate and oxytone accentuation to achieve the just balance of the music of speech. In this respect Greek is decidedly superior to both Latin and English; for, while Latin rejects the sonorous cadence of the accent on the last syllable altogether, English uses it only in some verbs, remnants of the past participle of Latin verbs, as in rejéct, suppóse, accépt, and such-like; and in the case of the penult the fine swelling cadence of the Greek words, in which the acute accent of the penult is followed by a final long syllable, altogether fails, as in πραγμάτων, which an Englishman, following his English ear, will pronounce not only πράγματων but πράγματον, as if ω were ο. The student, therefore, will carefully train his ear to give all oxytone words their full value, and never to say ἄγαθος ὁ θέος instead of ἀγαθὸς ὁ θεός, or κάλος ὁ ἄνηρ for καλὸς ὁ ἀνήρ. [Pg 9]

By the quantity of a word we mean the comparative duration of the sound, exactly as in music a
is related to a ;
and in Greek the accentuation stands in a very marked relation to the quantity of the syllables, which in practice asserts itself prominently as follows:—

(1) It is an invariable condition of the antepenultimate accent that the last syllable be short, as in ἄνθρωπος, a man; and in consequence,

(2) If in the course of flexion a word with an antepenultimate accent takes a long final vowel, as in the genitive and dative singular of the second declension, the accent of the first syllable is advanced to the penult, as in ἀνθρώπου.

(3) The converse takes place in verbs, where the accent is naturally on the root, as in λέγω, of which the imperfect is ἔλεγον; but in the aor. mid. indic., while the third person is ἐλέξατο, the first person is not ἐλέξαμην, but ἐλεξάμην.

A long syllable of course, as in προφήτης, may have an acute accent on a long vowel with the same right as a short syllable; but there are many long syllables in Greek which are marked neither with an acute nor a grave but with a circumflex, which is a prolonged accent compounded of a rise and a fall marked thus ^, or for greater ease, ~. These words are generally compounds of which the elements are quite plain, as in φιλοῦσι for φιλέουσι, τιμῶσι for τιμάουσι; in other words, as in σῶμα, a body, or the genitive plural of the first declension, as πολιτῶν, and some others, the single elements from which the complex tone arose were either historically known to the grammarians or legitimately assumed. At all events, every syllable in Greek with a circumflex accent is practically treated as if it had two accents; σῶμα as if it were σάὸμα, χρῶμα as χρόὰμα, πρᾶγμα as if it were πράὰγμα, and so on. It follows from this, and the principle that no word can be accented farther back [Pg 10] than the antepenultimate, that, if in the course of flexion a word with a circumflex on the penult receives an additional syllable so as to become, in accentual value, a quadrisyllable, the accent must be advanced; thus from τιμῶμαι,[4] I am honoured, we can say τιμᾶσθε in the second person plural, but we cannot say τιμῶμεθα, so must say τιμώμεθα. The change of accentual marking in this instance is of no practical value to the student, but in the case of enclitics, of which we shall now speak, it affects the ear most decidedly.

Enclitics are small words, which, so to speak, have not force enough to stand on their own legs, but lean (ἐγκλίνω) on the weightier word that precedes them for support, and become absorbed in it; just as in English we say don’t for do not, and in Italian dimmi for the Latin dic mihi. These enclitics are πού, ποτέ, γε, and a few others, the oblique cases of the personal pronouns, the indefinite pronoun τις, and the verbs εἰμί, I am, φημί, I say, except in the second person singular. The effect of their being thus taken up by the previous word and forming a new whole must, in not a few cases, materially affect the position of the accent; for, while in καλός τις, a certain good-looking fellow, there is no change in the intonation of καλός to the ear, the moment I say κάλλιστος τις, I either violate the rule which forbids the accent on the fourth syllable from the end, or I keep to the rule and say κάλλιστός τις. In the same way when I say ὁ διάβολος, the devil, simply, I preserve the antepenultimate accent with full effect in its natural place; but if I apply the reproachful term to a special person, and say, as in John vi. 70, ἐξ ὑμῶν εἷς διάβολός ἐστιν, one of you is a devil, I immediately, to give the ἐστιν something to lean on, must make the διάβολος oxytone. Similarly, I cannot write πνεῦμα ἔστιν, which in accentual value would be a compound word of five syllables, but I must say πνεῦμά ἐστι (John vi. 63), when the last syllable of the supporting word with the two syllables of the enclitic become accentually a new word of three syllables with a legitimate antepenultimate accent. [Pg 11]

If the position of the accent, a point often not a little troublesome even to natives in the orthoepy of their own language, has been relieved of all practical difficulty by the curious prevision of the Alexandrian elders, the quantity is even more simple. With the double aid of the two separate signs for long vowels, η and ω, and the quantity of the final vowel as determined by its relation to the previous accented syllables, the only difficulty that remains is obviated by the mark ¯ over the long vowels, and the ◡ over the short ones found in all good dictionaries. In the present little work it will be sufficient to mark the long vowel where it occurs in doubtful cases, and leave the short ones to be understood as short from the absence of the long mark. But the real difficulty that prevents both accent and quantity from being easily acquired by English scholars is the negligent practice of transferring Latin or English habits of accentuation to Greek words, as when θεός is pronounced like Déus, and Σωκράτης as Sócrates, and again the supposition that the accent cannot be put on a syllable without making it long, or removed without making it short. Let only the honest attempt be made to pronounce ἄνθρωπος, not as anthroāpos, but as in lándhōlder, córndēaler, and other such words, and the α in Σωκράτης, not like a in claw or maw, but like the a in lattice and scatter, and the difficulty will vanish like the gleam of a mirage before the firm foot and the cool eye of the traveller.

[Pg 12]


Nominative and Objective Case

First and Second Declension


Three Persons Singular,
Present Indicative

A noun is the name of a thing or person, a verb signifies an action, an adjective a quality as good or bad belonging to a noun. The nominative case is the person who is or may be doing what the verb means; the objective case is the thing or person to which or towards which the action of the verb tends. The verb to be, denoting simple existence, not action, of course is followed by the nominative, not the objective case.

Nouns are masculine, feminine, or neuter.

Masculines generally end in ος.

Feminines in η or α, a few in ος—ὁδός, a way,

βίβλος, a book, παρθένος, a maiden.

Neuters in ον.

The objective case ends in ν, the ν being added to the termination of feminines, and substituted for the ς in masculines. In neuters the nominative and objective are the same. Adjectives follow the same rule. [Pg 13]

Verbs: first person ends in ω, second in ς, and third in ει or ᾳ, as—

Useful Imperatives

The article the is declined masculine, feminine, and neuter like the nouns, thus—

τὸν   τὴν   τὸ

It never has α in the feminine.

The verb to be, εἰμί, has second person εἶ, third ἐστί, or before a vowel ἐστίν, and in plural ἐσμέν, ἐστέ, εἰσί.

The pronouns of the first and second persons are—

ἐγώ   μοῦ, ἐμοῦ   μοῖ, ἐμοί   μέ, ἐμέ
I of me to me  me
σύ σοῦ σοί σέ
thou of thee to thee thee

λαμπρός ἐστι ὁ ἥλιος,  the sun is bright.

καὶ καλὴ ἡ ἡμέρα,  and the day beautiful.

ὁρᾷς τὸν ἥλιον;  do you see the sun?

ὁρῶ νεφέλην,  I see a cloud.

νεφέλην στυγνὴν ὁρῶ,  I see a dark cloud.

[Pg 14]

ὁρᾷς τὸν καπνόν;  do you see the smoke?

ὁρᾷς τὸν οὐρανὸν τὸν κυανοῦν;  do you see the blue sky?

ἀκούεις τοῦ ποταμοῦ;  do you hear the river?

ἀκούεις τῆς βροντῆς;  do you hear the thunder?

θαυμάζεις τὸ δένδρον τόδε τὸ ὑψηλόν;  do you admire this tall tree?

θαυμάζω καὶ μ́ᾰλα γε,  I admire it extremely.

ὁρᾷς τὸ ῥόδον τοῦτο τὸ καλόν;  do you see this beautiful rose?

καὶ τὸ λείριον τὸ λευκόν;  and the white lily?

καὶ τὴν πόαν τὴν χλωράν;  and the green grass?

καλός ἐστιν ὁ κῆπος,  the garden is beautiful.

καὶ σοφὸς ὁ κηπουρός,  and the gardener wise.

ὁρῶ ἄκανθαν,  I see a thistle.

κᾰκόν, κᾰκόν,  bad, bad!

αἰσχρόν, αἰσχρόν,  ugly, ugly!

μῑσῶ τὴν κακὴν ἄκανθαν,  I hate the ugly thistle.

φιλῶ τὸ ῥόδον τὸ καλόν,  I love the lovely rose.

μῑσεῖς τὴν ἀκαλήφην;  do you hate the nettle?

μάλιστα,  certainly.

σφοδρός ἐστιν ὁ ἄνεμος,  the wind is strong.

φιλῶ τὴν σκιάν,  I love the shade.

καὶ τὴν σκέπην,  and the shelter.

φέρε τὴν τράπεζαν,  bring the table.

ποῦστι ὁ πέτασος ὁ ἐμός;  where is my hat?

δός μοι τὸν πέτασον,  give me the hat.

φιλῶ πῖλον ἐγώ,  I love a cap.

κ́ῑνει τὸ πῦρ, or τὴν ἐσχάραν,
  stir the fire.

δός μοι τὸ σκάλευθρον,  give me the poker.

ἔχεις πυράγραν;  have you tongs?

ἰδοῦ,  there.

ὁρᾷς τὸ κάτοπτρον;  do you see the mirror?

ἔχεις ἕδρᾱν;  have you a seat?

ἔχεις ὑποπόδιον;  have you a footstool?

ἔχεις κλ́ῑνην;  have you a sofa?

δός μοι τὴν βακτηρίαν,  give me my stick.

τὸ παιδίον τόδε τίς ἔστι;  who is this little boy?

ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὁ ἐμός,  my brother.

[Pg 15]

ἔστι σοι ἀδελφή;  have you a sister?

φιλῶ δεῖπνον,  I love dinner.

ἔχεις ἄρτον καὶ βούτῡρον;  have you bread and butter?

καλὸν τὸ ἀργυροῦν ποτήριον τοῦτο,  this silver cup is beautiful.

φέρε τὸ καλαμάριον,  bring the inkstand.

λάβε,  take it.

οὐχ ὁρῶ κάλαμον,  I do not see a pen.

ἰδοῦ,  here.

χάριν ἔχω,  thanks.

δός μοι χειρόμακτρον,  give me a napkin.

ἔτι δὲ τοῦ σάπωνος,  and some soap.

ἰδοῦ σάπωνα τὸν τοῦ Πεαρσίου,  here it is, Pears’ soap.

θεῖον πάνυ χρῆμα τοῦ καθαρτικοῦ,  a splendid cleanser!

νῦν δὴ λευκαί μοι αἱ χεῖρες ὥσπερ ἡ χιών. Ἔρρωσο.
  now my hands are white as snow. Farewell.

English Affinities

Panorama. Lamp. Heliotrope. Calisthenics. Ephemeral. Urania. Acoustics. Thaumaturgy. Rose. Lily. Chlorine. Sophist. Cacophony. Misanthrope. Democrat. Animation. Philanthropy. Fire. Optics. Ophthalmia. Cathedral. Clinical. Philadelphia. Adelphi Court. Soap. Chiromancy. Cathartic.


Cases, Genitive and Dative

The genitive case signifies the source from which a thing comes and to which it belongs, as the folly of fools, the fool’s folly, the folly that comes from the fool. The dative case means either the secondary or more distant object of an action, as I gave the book to the boy; or it signifies rest or residence in a thing, for which in English there is no special form; also in Greek it signifies the instrument with which, or by which, a thing is [Pg 16] done, as to cut with a knife. In Greek masculines in ος have the genitive in ου and the dative in ῳ; feminines in ρᾱ or ρᾰ and ίᾱ have the genitive in ας and the dative in ᾳ; other feminines in α—as τράπεζᾰ, a table—and feminines in η have ης in the genitive and ῃ in the dative.

ὁρῶ νεφέλην ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ,  I see a cloud in the sky.

θαυμάζω τὴν σοφίαν τὴν ἐν τῷ σῷ ἀδελφῷ,
  I admire the wisdom that is in your brother.

δὸς τῷ ἀδελφῷ τὸν κάλαμον τόνδε,  give your brother this pen.

καὶ τὸ καλαμάριον,  and the inkstand.

ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὁ σὸς θαυμάζει τὸ λευκὸν ῥόδον τὸ ἐν τῷ κήπῳ,
  your brother admires the white rose in the garden.

ἀκούεις τῆς τοῦ ποταμοῦ βροντῆς;
  do you hear the thunder of the river?

ἡ βία τοῦ ἀνέμου ταράττει τὸν κῆπον,
  the violence of the wind disturbs the garden.

καὶ τόν γε πέτασον ἐπὶ τῇ ἐμῇ κεφαλῇ,
  yes, and the hat on my head.

κ́ῑνει τὸ πῦρ τῷ σκαλεύθρῳ,
  stir the fire with the poker.

ὁρᾷς τὴν ἕδραν τὴν τοῦ ἐπισκόπου;
  do you see the bishop’s seat?

ἰσχυρός ἐστι· ἐσθίει τὸν τῶν πονούντων ἄρτον,
  he is strong; he eats the bread of labour.

δός μοι τὸν κάλαμον τὸν τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ,
  give me your brother’s pen.

φέρε τὸ καλαμάριον τὸ τῆς ἀδελφῆς,
  bring your sister’s inkstand.

κόπτε τὸν κάλαμον τῇ μαχαίρᾳ,
  cut the pen with the knife.

English Affinities

Bishop. Kinetics. Seat. Cathedral. Hydrocephalus.

[Pg 17]


Plurals, Numerals, Diminutives

The plural of verbs is in ομεν, ετε, and ουσι for the three persons. In pure verbs αομεν becomes ῶμεν, ᾶτε, and ῶσι; ε becomes οῦμεν, εῖτε, and οῦσι.

The plural of nouns in ος is in

Neuters have nominative and objective α.

The plural of feminines is in

The relative pronoun, ὅς, ἥ, ὅ, who, which, is declined all through, like masculine nouns in ος, and feminines in η, and neuters in ον.

The numerals are—εἷς, μία, ἕν; δύω, τρεῖς, τέσσαρες, πέντε, ἕξ, ἑπτά, ὀκτώ, ἐννέα, δέκα, in their order; εἴκοσι, twenty; ἑκατόν, a hundred; χίλιοι, a thousand; μύριοι, ten thousand.

Diminutives are mostly neuter, ending in άριον, ίον, and ύλλιον: as ἵππος, a horse—ἱππάριον, a pony; παῖς, a boy—παιδίον, a little boy; βρέφος, a babe—βρεφύλλιον, a little babe. Masculine is ίσκος, as παιδίσκος, a young boy, with feminine παιδίσκη, a little girl.

The adjective πολύς, many (German viel), is declined in the nominative—

πολύς πολλή πολύ

and objective—

πολύν πολλήν πολύ

otherwise regularly, as if from πολλός-ή-όν.

It is a peculiarity of Greek syntax that neuter plurals are joined with a singular verb, as καλῶς ἔχει τὰ πράγματα, matters are going on well.

[Pg 18]

γράφομεν καλάμῳ, ὁρῶμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς,
  we write with a pen, and see with our eyes.

τὴν ἐπιστολὴν ἥν σοι γράφω δὸς τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς,
  the letter which I write for you give to your brothers.

πόσους ἔχεις ἀδελφούς;  how many brothers have you?

ἕξ, ἀδελφὰς δὲ ἑπτά,  six, and seven sisters.

δεινὰ ταῦτα,  that is too bad!

πόσα ἔχεις ῥόδα ἐν τῷ πετάσῳ;
  how many roses have you in your hat?

δώδεκα, λείρια δὲ ἕξ,  twelve, and six lilies.

πόσους ἔχει ἵππους ὁ ἀδελφός;
  how many horses has your brother?

τρεῖς,  three.

ὁρᾷς τοὺς κύκνους καὶ τοὺς γεράνους ἐν τῇ λίμνῃ;
  do you see the swans and the cranes in the loch?

ὁρῶ, δεινὸν τὸ πλῆθος,
  yes, a very great number.

καὶ δὴ καὶ τρεῖς μόσχους κομψοὺς ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ;
  also three pretty calves in the field?

ἔτι δὲ ἱππάριον, κόσμιον, βαλιόν;
  also a neat little piebald pony?

τί γελᾷς;  what are you laughing at?

ἐκεῖνο τὸ παιδίον ἱππαζόμενον ἐπὶ τοῦ ἱππαρίου,
  that boy riding on the little pony.

καὶ δὴ καὶ τρέχει ὀπίσω ἡ παιδίσκη ἡ κομψή,
  and behind runs the pretty little girl.

τερπνὸν τὸ θέαμα,  a pleasant sight.

ὁ θαυμαστὸς οὑτοσὶ δύο ὁρᾷ ἡλίους ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ἡμεῖς δὲ ἕνα μόνον ὁρῶμεν,
  this strange man sees two suns in the sky; we see only one.

μῑσοῦμεν τὴν φωνὴν τοῦ μωροῦ,  we hate a fool’s voice.

τοῦ δὲ σοφοῦ φωνὴν φιλοῦμεν,  but we love the voice of the wise man.

οἱ ἀστρονόμοι πολλὰ ὁρῶσι τοῖς τηλεσκοπείοις ἃ ἡμεῖς οὐχ ὁρῶμεν,
  the astronomers see many things with their telescopes which we do not see.

πολλὰ μὲν ἔχει δένδρα ἡ ὕλη, λόγους δὲ πολλοὺς ἡ τῶν μωρῶν γλῶσσα,
there are many trees in the forest, and many words in a fool’s tongue.

[Pg 19]

πολλὰς κόπτομεν ἀκάνθας ἐν τοῖς ἀγροῖς,
  we are cutting down many thistles in the fields.

καὶ οὐκ ὀλίγας, ὡς ἐλπίζω, ἀκαλήφας,
  and not a few nettles also, I hope.

ἃς σὺ μῑσεῖς, ἀκαλήφας,
  the nettles which you hate.

δικαίως ἔγωγε, πάντες γὰρ μῑσοῦσιν τὰς ἀκαλήφας τὰς κακάς,
  with good reason too. All hate the evil nettles.

τί πράττετε;  what are you about?

γράφομεν ἐπιστολάς,  we are writing letters.

ἐπιστολὰς λέγεις;  do you say letters?

καὶ μάλα γε, πρὸς τὴν βασίλισσαν,  yes, to the queen.

θαυμαστὰ λέγεις,  wonderful!

ἀγαθὴ ἡ βασίλισσα, καὶ πρὸς τὰς εὐχὰς οὐ κωφὴ τὰς τῶν πιστῶν πολιτῶν,
  good is the queen, and not deaf to the prayers of loyal citizens.

δίκαια λέγεις,  you say what is just.

English Affinities

Epistle. Graphic. Hippodrome. Euphony. Astronomy. Telescope. Polyglot. Agriculture. Basilica. Basil. Police. Two. Triad. Pentarchy. Hexagon. Heptarchy. October. Decade. Myriad.


Third Declension, Singular

The third declension of nouns in Greek is more rich and varied than the other two, and, besides, is distinguished by a peculiarity from which the others are free, viz. while in the first and second declensions all that requires to be done in forming the cases is to change the last syllable of the nominative commencing with a vowel, leaving the main body of the word unchanged, as ἡμέρα,-ας, ἄργυρ-ος,-ου, in the third we observe that the final consonant of the root seems in many cases to have been assimilated or absorbed by the termination of the nominative, [Pg 20] and reappears in the other cases, as in ἐλπίς, genitive ἐλπίδος. Sometimes also the vowel of the last syllable of the nominative is shortened before the addition of the genitival termination, as in ποιμήν, ποιμένος. In some classes of nouns no change is made, and the analogy of the two other declensions is followed throughout. We shall take our examples from the more simple classes, leaving the more complex and exceptional to be learned in the course of reading.

The general type is—

  -ος, genitive.
-ι, dative.
-α, objective.
σωτήρ, a saviour.
σωτῆρος, of or from a saviour.
σωτῆρι, to a saviour.
σωτῆρα, a saviour.
κώδων, a bell.
κώδωνος, of a bell, etc.
λυμεών, -ῶνος, a blackguard, etc.

and a number of words signifying a dwelling-place, as—

ἵππος, a horse;
ἱππών, -ῶνος, a stable.
ἐλαιών, -ῶνος, an oliveyard.
παρθενών, -ῶνος, room of the virgin;

and nicknames of men:

γάστρων, -ωνος     paunchy.

And to this class which follows the analogy of the other declensions our first colloquy is confined.

(1) ὁρᾷς τὸν ἀροτῆρα τῷ ἀρότρῳ κόπτοντα τὴν γῆν;
  do you see the ploughman cutting up the ground with his plough?

χρήσιμον τὸ ἔργον τοῦτο καὶ ἀναγκαῖον,
  this is a useful and necessary work.

ἰσχυρὸν ἔχει ἵππον ὁ ἀροτήρ,
  the ploughman has a strong horse.

τίνος ἐστὶν ἡ εἰκὼν ἐκείνη;
  what likeness is that?

τοῦ Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν,
  the likeness of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

θεῖον πάνυ τὸ πρόσωπον,
  an altogether divine countenance.

[Pg 21]

τίς ἐστιν ἡ βίβλος ἐκείνη ἡ λαμπρά;
  what is that grand book?

ἡ γεωγραφία τοῦ Στράβωνος,
  the geography of Strabo.

τί πίνεις ἐκ τοῦ κρατῆρος ἐκείνου;
  what are you drinking out of that bowl?

πίνομεν τὸν οἶνον,  we are drinking wine.

δός μοι τὸν τρίβωνα τὸν παλαιόν,  give me my old cloak.

ἐκ μικροῦ σπινθῆρος δεινὴ πολλάκις ἀνάπτεται φλόξ,
  from a small spark often a fearful flame arises.

ὡς γράφει ὁ Ἀπόστολος Ἰάκωβος,
  as James the Apostle writes.

καίτοι τί ταῦτα λέγεις;  but why do you say this?

φοβεῖ μὲ ὁ πολὺς ἐκεῖνος καπνὸς ὁ ἐκ τῆς καπνοδόχης,
  I fear that quantity of smoke from the chimney.

ἀκούω τοῦ κώδωνος καὶ τῆς τοῦ κλητῆρος φωνῆς ὃς ἐγείρει τοὺς πολίτας,
I hear the bell, and the voice of the crier who wakes the people.

οὐ σμικρὸς ὁ κίνδῡνος,  there is great danger.

ἀκούω τοῦ ἀλεκτρυόνος,  I hear the cock.

(2) Nouns in ωρ and ην shorten the long ultimate vowel of the nominative, as ῥήτωρ, ῥήτορος; ποιμήν, ποιμένος; ὕδωρ, ὕδατος, water.

ὁρᾷς τὸν ποιμένα ἐκεῖνον μετὰ τῶν προβάτων ἐν τῷ λειμῶνι;
  do you see that shepherd with the sheep in the meadow?

ὁρῶ, καὶ τὸν κύνα,  I see them and the dog.

ἆρα οὖν ἀκούετε τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ δεινοῦ ἐκείνου ῥήτορος;
  do you hear the voice of that great orator?

ἀκούομεν· μᾶλλον δὲ ἀρέσκει ὁ τῶν χελῑδόνων
τρισμὸς καὶ τῆς ἀηδόνος τὸ ἆσμα,
  we hear; but like better the twitter of the swallows
  and the song of the nightingale

δίκαίως· αὗται γὰρ κινοῦσι τὸ βαθὺ τῆς ψυχῆς,
  with good reason; for these stir the depths of the soul.

(3) Feminines in ́ῐς and ́ᾰς, with the radical δ before the case terminations, as λαμπ́ᾰς,-άδος; ἐλπ́ῐς,-ίδος. Neuters in α have the genitive in τος. Words ending in ψ = πς or βς, as λαῖλαψ, λαίλαπος, a storm; φλέψ, φλεβός, a vein; Κύκλωψ,-ωπος, a Cyclops, Giant Round Eye, lose the σ of the nominative and present π or β before the case termination. In the same way nouns in ξ = κς or [Pg 22] γς, by losing the final σ of the compound consonant, cause the single κ or γ to reappear in the oblique cases, as ἱέραξ, a hawk, ἱέρᾱκος; ἀλώπηξ, a fox, gen. ἀλώπεκος; κόραξ, κόρακος, a crow,

ἔρχεται ὁ ὑετός,  the rain is coming.

οὐδαμῶς,  not at all.

τὴν ψιλὴν ψεκάδα οὐκ ἔγωγε ὑετὸν λέγω,
  a thin drizzle I do not call rain.

ἐκείνη ἡ νεφέλη σημαίνει λαίλαπα,
  that cloud foretells a storm.

λαμπρὰν ἔχω ἐλπίδα καλῆς ἡμέρας,
  I have bright hope of a beautiful day.

ὁρᾷς ἐκεῖνο τὸ γυναικάριον ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ;
  do you see that little woman in the field?

λέγουσι μαινάδα εἶναι,  they say that she is mad.

καὶ πιστεύω ἔγωγε,  I for one believe it.

δός μοι τὴν κρηπῖδα, καὶ τὸν πέτασον καὶ τὴν χλαῖναν,
  give me my boot, my hat, and my plaid.

ποῦστι τὸ ὑπόδημά μου τὸ ἕτερον;
  where is my other shoe?

τί ἔχεις ἐν τῷ στόματι;
  what have you in your mouth?

ἄρτον· χάριν ἔχω τῷ Θεῷ,
  bread, thank God!

τί γράφεις;  what are you writing?

ποίημα,  a poem.

πότερον νοῦς ἔστιν ἐν τῷ ποιήματι;
  is there any sense in the poem?

πῶς οὔ; οὐ φυσῶ φυσήματα ἐκ σαπῶνος,
  of course; I don’t blow soap-bubbles.

ὁρᾷς ἐκεῖνον τὸν κόρακα;
  do you see that crow?

ὁρῶ, περιπατεῖ ὡς κληρικὸς σεμνῷ τῷ βήματι,
  I do; he walks like a clergyman, with a grave step.

τί ἐστι τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ ἐνδόξου ἐκείνου ῥήτορος;
  what is the name of that famous orator?

Γλάδστων,  Gladstone.

ὄνομα Σκωτικόν,  a Scotch name.

καὶ μάλα γε· ἔχει γὰρ ἑρμηνείαν τὸ ὄνομα, λίθος ὁ τοῦ ἱέρᾱκος,
  certainly, for the interpretation of the name is the stone of the hawk.

ἔστι Γλάδστων ὄνομα δήμου τινὸς ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τοῦ Μεσολωθιᾶνος,
  Gladstone is the name of a parish in Midlothian.

τί πράττει ὁ παῖς ἐκεῖνος;  what is that boy doing?

μαστιγοῖ τὴν βέμβῑκα,  he is whipping his top.

[Pg 23]

αὐτὸς μᾶλλον ἄξιος τῆς μάστῑγος, κακοῦργον γὰρ τὸ θρέμμα,
  himself is more worthy of the whip, for he is a wicked creature.

ἔτι δὲ ἀργός· οὐκ ἄξιος τοῦ ἄρτου,
  also idle; not worthy of his bread.

νομίζω ἔγωγε τὸ νῶτον αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μάστῑγα ἐγγὺς προσήκειν γένει,
  I think the whip and his back are nearly related.

κακός ἐστιν· ἀλώπεκος καὶ ἄρκτου μῖγμα παράδοξον,
  he is bad; a strange mixture of a fox and a bear.

(4) Nouns in ῑς and ῡς have ν in the objective, as σῦς, a pig; ἰχθ́ῡς, a fish, κ́ῑς, a woodworm. Also those in ῐς and ῠς, as πόλις, a city, πόλιν; ὄφις, a snake, ὄφιν; πῆχυς, a forearm, πῆχυν. These have the genitive in εως, and the dative in ει, as πόλεως, πόλει.

πατήρ, a father, and μήτηρ, a mother, have πατρός and μητρός in genitive, and πατρί and μητρί in dative; but the objective is in the regular form with the short penult πατέρα. θυγάτηρ, a daughter, follows the same rule, ἀνήρ has ἀνδρός, ἀνδρί, ἄνδρα.

βασιλεύς, a king, and ἱερεύς, a priest, have the genitive in έως, and the dative in εῖ, like πόλις, but the objective is έα. βοῦς, an ox, has βοός, βοί, and βοῦν.

γυνή, a woman, has genitive and dative -αικός, -αικί, and objective -αῖκα.

ὁρᾷς τὸν καλὸν ἰχθ́ῡν ἐν τῷ ὕδατι;
  do you see that beautiful fish in the water?

ὁρῶ, στίλβει τὸ θρέμμα, ὥσπερ μαργαρίτης,
  yes, the creature glances like a pearl.

ἕτερον πάνυ ὁ σῦς ὁ ῥυπαρὸς ἐν τῷ συφεῷ,
  very different is the filthy pig in the sty.

μῑσῶ τὸν σῦν,  I hate the pig.

ὅμως χοῖρος σιτευτὸς λαμπρὸν ἄγαλμα τοῦ δείπνου,
  nevertheless a fatted pig—bacon—is the great glory of a dinner.

ὁρᾷς τὸν ὄφιν ἐν τῇ πόᾳ;
  do you see the snake in the grass?

μῑσῶ τὸ θρέμμα,
  I hate the creature.

διὰ τί;  why?

ἔχει κίνδῡνον,  it is dangerous.

φρίττω τὸ ζῷον,
πρόσωπόν γε τοῦ διαβόλου,
  I shudder at the creature, a mask of the devil.

ἔχει πατέρα ὁ ὄφις τὸν Σατανᾶν,
  the snake has Satan for his father.

[Pg 24]

πολλὰ ἔχει πρόσωπα ὁ διάβολος,
  the devil has many masks.

αἱρετώτερον δὲ καλῆς γυναικὸς τὸ πρόσωπον,
  specially that of a fair woman.

καὶ δὴ καὶ ἱερέως ὑπερηφάνου,
  and that of a proud priest.

ἔτι δὲ βασιλέως ἀνόμου καὶ τυράννου ὠμοῦ,
  also of a lawless king, and a cruel tyrant.

καὶ ἀνδρὸς ἑκάστου τῶν ἐν πόλει ὅσοι πονηροί,
  and of any bad man in the town.

(5) Adjectives of this declension occur most commonly in one of these three forms—

(α) ων, -ονος, masculine and feminine; ον, neuter—as σώφρων, sound-minded; πρόφρων, forward, ready—like nouns in ων supra.

(β) ής, as ἀληθής, masculine and feminine; ἀληθές, neuter; genitive in οῦς and dative in εῖ—ὑγιής, healthy; σαφής, -ές, distinct, clear.

(γ) ύς, masculine; εῖα, feminine; ύ, neuter; as γλυκύς, sweet; βαρύς, heavy.

μέλας, black, has μέλαινα, μέλαν, and τάλας, wretched, the same.

ἀληθὲς τὸ δόγμα τοῦτο τὸ περὶ τοῦ διαβόλου,
  this doctrine about the devil is true.

καὶ μάλα γε καὶ βαρύ,  yes, and weighty.

γλυκὺ τὸ μέλι μετὰ τὸ πικρόν,
  sweet is honey after sour.

δημιουργοὶ αἱ μέλισσαι τοῦ μέλιτος τοῦ γλυκέος,
  the bees are the makers of sweet honey.

βασιλέως γλύκυσμα τὸ μέλι,
  it is a king’s dainty, honey.

στέργομεν σύμπαντες τὰ νώγαλα καὶ τὰ τρωγάλια ἀκόλουθα τοῦ δείπνου,
  we all like dainties and a dessert to follow the dinner.

English Affinities

Gastric juice. Work. Bible. Geography. Crater. Wine. Palæography. Phlox (the name of a flame-coloured flower). Apostle. Police. Rhetorician. Pound. Abyss. Phrenzy. Wet. Phlebotomy. Cyclops. Hydropathy. Mænad. Heterodoxy. Poem. Crow. Genesis. Generation. Mixture. Paradox. Ichthyology. Paternal. Andrew. Alexander. Bovine. Gynæcology. Sow. Devil. Hierarchy. Tyrant. Glycerine. Barometer. Mellifluous.

[Pg 25]


Third Declension, Plural

The plural terminations of the third declension are—

as ποιμήν, ποιμένες, λαῖλαψ, λαίλαπες, following always the type of the genitive singular, as πατέρες, not πατρές; but ἀνήρ has ἄνδρες, not ἀνέρες. Only in the dative plural the final consonant ν, δ, or τ is dropped before the σι of the dative, as ποιμέσι, to shepherds; στόμασι, to mouths; λαμπάσι, to torches.

The adjective πᾶς, πᾶσα, πᾶν follows this rule, having παντός in the genitive, but πᾶσι in dative plural; so γίγας, a giant; γίγαντος, of a giant; but γιγᾶσι, to giants.

οὗτος ὁ πατὴρ πάντα τὰ χρήματα δίδωσι ταῖς θυγατράσι, τῷ δὲ υἱῷ οὐδέν,
  this father gives all the money to his daughters, to his son nothing.

οἱ μὲν τῆς ἐκκλησίας πατέρες πολλοί, ἕκαστος δὲ παῖς ἕνα μόνον ἔχει πατέρα,
  the fathers of the church are many, but each boy has only one father.

δὸς τοῖς μὲν παισὶ βακτηρίαν, ταῖς δὲ παρθένοις σκιάδειον,
  give a stick to the boys, a parasol to the young ladies.

γίγᾱς πάνυ ὁ παῖς οὑτοσί, καὶ τέρας γε πρός· δακτύλους
γὰρ δὴ ἑπτὰ ἔχει ἐπὶ τοῖς ποσίν,
  this boy is a giant, and a monster to boot;
  he has seven toes on his feet

τούτων τῶν παιδῶν πάντων ἄτοπόν τι ἔχει ἡ ἐσθής,
παρέχουσά γε τὴν μὲν χλαμύδα μέλαιναν, τὸ δὲ πῑλίδιον ξανθόν,
  the dress of all these boys is ridiculous,
  a black plaid with a yellow cap

ἀληθῆ λέγεις,  true.

[Pg 26]

English Affinities

Father. Panorama. Daughter. Ecclesiastical. Polytheism. Monologue. Giant. Dactyl. Seven. Foot. Melancholy. Lecture. Parthenon.


The Degrees of Comparison
in Adjectives

The general form is τερος for the comparative and τατος for the superlative, the genders following the type of the substantives of the first and second declensions, as δίκαιος, just, δικαιότερος, δικαιότατος; also, to avoid the concurrence of four short syllables unfavourable to the dactylic rhythm of the early poetry, the ότερος in certain cases becomes ώτερος, and the ότατος, ώτατος, as—

σοφός, wise, σοφώτερος, σοφώτατος.
φοβερός, terrible.
χαλεπός, difficult.
φανερός, plain.

Adjectives in ας, αινα, αν, and in ης, ες, add the τερος and τατος to the neuter, as—

μέλας, black, μελάντερος, -τατος.
ἀληθής, true, ἀληθέστερος, -τατος.
ἀκριβής, accurate, ἀκριβέστερος, -τατος;

a termination which is assumed also by adjectives in ων, as εὐδαίμων, happy, εὐδαιμονέστερος,-τατος.

Some adjectives are compared by ιων,-ον, and ιστος,-η,-ον, as— [Pg 27]

καλός, beautiful;
καλλίων, more beautiful;
κάλλιστος, very beautiful.
ἡδύς, sweet, ἡδίων, ἥδιστος.
ταχύς, swift;
θάσσων for ταχίων, swifter;
and τάχιστος, very swift.

This form belongs also to some common irregular comparisons as—

ἀγαθός, βελτίων, βέλτιστος, good, better, best.
μέγας, great, μείζων, μέγιστος.
κακός, bad, χείρων, κάκιστος.
πολύς, many, πλείων, πλεῖστος;

which follow in declension the law of the substantives of the same type, as μείζων, μείζονος; πλείων,-ονος, plural πλείονες, contracted πλείους.

Comparatives are either accompanied with a genitive or followed by ἤ—as

ὁ υἱὸς μείζων ἐστὶ τοῦ πατρός,   the son is taller than the father

—or ἢ ὁ πατήρ.

οὗτος ὁ νεανίσκος πολὺ μικρότερός ἐστι τῆς ἀδελφῆς· νᾶνός ἐστι,
  this young man is much less than his sister; he is a dwarf.

λέγει ἡ ἁγία γραφὴ ὅτι ὁ Σαοὺλ πολὺ μέγιστος ἦν πάντων τῶν συμπολιτῶν,
  the holy scripture says that Saul was by far the tallest of all his fellow citizens.

οὐ σοφώτατος δέ,  but not the wisest.

ἄμεινον τοῦ μεγέθους ἡ σοφία,
  wisdom is better than stature.

πόσα ἄτακτα ῥήματά ἐστιν ἐν τῇ Ἑλληνικῇ γλώσσῃ;
  how many irregular verbs are there in the Greek tongue?

οὐκ οἶδα,  I do not know.

περὶ τούτου γε χρὴ ἐρωτᾳν τὸν μάντιν, τὸν Οὐείτχιον,
  on this point you must consult the oracle, Veitch.

φοβερὸν τὸ πλῆθος,  a terrible multitude.

πλείω ἢ οἱ κόρακες ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ,
  more than the crows in the field.

ἀληθέστατα λέγεις,
  you say what is very true.

λέγω τὸ ἔμοιγε πονηρότατον καὶ χαλεπώτατον,
  I say what for me at least is a very painful and a very difficult business.

μὴ ἀθύμει· πολλὰ ἔχει κακὰ ὁ βίος, παγκάκιστον δὲ τὸν ἀπελπισμόν,
  don’t despair; there are many bad things in life, but the worst is despair.

τῶν δὲ ἀγαθῶν ἐν τῷ βίῳ τί βέλτιστον;
  and of the good things in life which is best?

[Pg 28]

ἡ πίστις,  faith.

ὡς λέγει ὁ προφήτης Ἀμβακούμ· ὁ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται,
as the prophet Habakkuk says, the just man shall live by faith.

οὗ οὐκ ἔχει λόγον ἀληθέστερον ἡ ἁγία γραφή,
  a word than which nothing more true is found in holy scripture.

πατὴρ τῆς ἀνδρείας ἡ πίστις, ἀνδρεία δὲ τῶν ἀνδρικῶν ἔργων πατήρ,
  faith is the father of courage, and courage is the father of manly deeds.

κάλλιστα λέγεις,  admirable.

καλὸς ὁ λόγος, κάλλιον δὲ τὸ ἔργον,
  a beautiful saying, but more beautiful is the deed.

ἄνευ ἔργου πάντων κενώτατον πραγμάτων ὁ λόγος,
  without the deed speech is the most empty of all things.

ἐλαφρότερον τῶν ἀχύρων,  more light than chaff.

καὶ οὐδὲν ἥττον στεῖρον,  and not less barren.

ἔρρωσο,  farewell.

English Affinities

New. Polygon. Hagiography. Tactics. Crow. Biology. Prophet. Energetic. Plethora.


The Future Active

The characteristic letter of the future tense is σ, inserted before the terminations that mark the persons, thus: λύω, I loosen; λύσω, I will; λύσεις, thou wilt; λύσει, he will; λύσομεν, we will; λύσετε, ye will; λύσουσι, they will loosen. Of course by inserting this σ, a preceding consonant, where the root is labial, uniting with it forms a ψ, as above in nouns (Lesson IV, 3); and in the same way, when the final vowel of the root is a palatal the κ or γ appears as ξ—so, from βλέπω, I see, βλέψω; from λέγω, I say, λέξω. But there are several variations, which will be learned by practice; the following are dominant:— [Pg 29]

(α) Verbs with two consonants before the ω of the present eject the latter before inserting the σ, so that the π or φ of the root united with the σ becomes a ψ, as in τύπτω, τύψω; κόπτω, I cut, κόψω; σκάπτω, I dig, σκάψω; γράφω, I write, γράψω.

(β) The same rule holds with many verbs in σσω, Attic ττω, the root ending in κ or γ, as πράσσω, I do, root πραγ, future πράξω; τάσσω, I arrange, τάξω.

(γ) Verbs in άζω have either σω or ξω, or both, as θαυμάζω, I admire, θαυμάσω; νυστάζω, I nod, άσω or άξω; ἁρπάζω, to carry off, ξω, ἁρπάσομαι in Attic; βαστάζω, to carry, βαστάσω.

(δ) Pure verbs generally lengthen the vowel of the present, α being changed into η, except where a vowel or λ precedes the άω, as—

τιμάω, I honour, τιμήσω.
φιλέω, I love, φιλήσω.
δηλόω, I show, δηλώσω.
κλάω, I break, κλάσω.
κοπιάω, I labour at, κοπιάσω.

But some in έω prefer έσω, as τελέω, I finish, τελέσω; τρέω, to tremble, τρέσω; ζέω, to boil, ζέσω.

(ε) Liquid verbs shorten the long vowel of the root, or throw out the last of two consonants in the root, and lay a circumflex accent on the termination ω, as—

μένω, I remain, μενῶ.
σπείρω, I sow, σπερῶ.
φαίνω, I show, φανῶ.
βάλλω, I throw, βαλῶ.
τέμνω, I cut, τεμῶ.

[Pg 30]

νῦν δὴ φοβεῖς με· δεινὸς ὡς ἀληθῶς ὁ χρόνος οὗτος ὁ τοῦ μέλλοντος,
  now indeed you frighten me; this future tense is terrible.

γέλοια λέγεις· οὐκ ἐάσω σε τὰ τοιαῦτα λέγειν·
λέγε μᾶλλον τὸ τῆς παροιμίας, χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά,
  ridiculous; I will not permit you to speak thus; say rather,
  as the proverb has it, all excellent things are difficult

λέξω,  I will say so.

ἔχε πίστιν,  have faith.

πιστεύσω καὶ νῑκήσω,
  I will believe and conquer.

αἰνέσει σε ὁ πατήρ,
  your father will praise you.

οὐδὲν διστάζω,  I do not doubt it.

ἀνδρικὸν δηλώσεις θυμόν,
  you will show a manly spirit.

βλέψω ἀνδρικῶς πρὸς τὸν διάβολον καὶ οὐ τρέσω,
  I will look manfully in the face of the devil and not tremble.

τί σκάπτει ὁ φύσκων ἐκεῖνος ἐν τῷ λειμῶνι;
  what is that paunchy fellow digging at in the meadow?

σκάπτει τάφρον,  he is digging a trench.

σκάπτει τοὺς θεμελίους λαμπροῦ οἰκήματος,
  he is digging the foundations of a grand house.

οὐδαμῶς· τὸν τοιοῦτον οὐ θαυμάσομεν,
  not at all; such a fellow we will not admire.

ἰδιώτης ἐστί· πόνον μὲν ἔχει, τέχνην δὲ οὔ· κόψει ποτὲ τὸν
ἴδιον δάκτυλον τῇ μαχαίρᾳ, καὶ δὴ καὶ τὸν ἴδιον αὐτὸς ἑαυτοῦ
σκάψει τάφον· τοιοῦτο γὰρ δὴ φιλεῖ γίνεσθαι τὸ τῶν ἀπαιδεύτων τέλος,
  he is a bungler. He has labour, but no skill.
  He will cut his finger with his knife some day, and dig his own grave.
  Such is wont to be the end of the unlearned

English Affinities

Hydrophobia. Chronology. Chronic. Andrew. Idiot. Penury. Technical. Polytechnic. Idiosyncrasy. Paedeutics.


The Past Tense

The first aorist or indefinite past tense follows the type of the future, with a σ before the personal terminations, and an augment ε prefixed to the whole word, as a sign of the past tense, thus— [Pg 31]

πράξω, I will do.    
ἔπραξα, -ας, -ε, I, thou, he  did
ἐπράξαμεν, -ατε, -αν, we, you, they 

In liquid verbs, where the future has no σ, the aorist lengthens the vowel of the penult, as—

μένω μενῶ ἔμεινα
στέλλω στελῶ ἔστειλα
τείνω τενῶ ἔτεινα

There is another form of the past in

-ον -ες
-ομεν -ετε -ον

as ἔτυπον for ἔτυψα, which some verbs prefer, as in ἔβαλον, I threw, from βάλλω, βαλῶ; ἔκραγον from κράζω, and some have both, as ἤνεγκα, ἤνεγκον, I brought, irregular from φέρω, I bring, future οἴσω, I will bring.

οἶδα, I know, has    
οἶδα, οἶσθα, οἶδε, I, thou, he  know.
ἴσμεν, ἴστε,  ἴσασι, we, you, they 

and with the past participle, εἰδώς,-ότος.

ᾔδειν, ᾔδεις, ᾔδει, I, thou, he  knew.
ᾔδειμεν, ᾔδειτε, ᾔδεσαν, we, you, they 

ἅπερ ἐγὼ ἔπραξα χθές, σὺ πράξεις αὔριον, ἀεὶ γὰρ ὑστερεῖς,
  what I did yesterday you will do to-morrow; you are always behind.

τίς τὰ φύλλα ἔκοψε τῆς καλῆς ἐκείνης βίβλου;
  who cut the leaves of that beautiful book?

ἐγώ,  I did.

ἔκοψας, νὴ Δία, ἀμβλείᾳ τῇ μαχαίρᾳ· πρὸς δὲ τούτοις ῥυπαροί εἰσι σοὶ οἱ δάκτυλοι,
  verily you cut it with a blunt knife; besides, your fingers are filthy.

νίψω τῶ χεῖρε,[5]   I will wash my hands.

ἔδωκα ἐκείνῃ παρθένῳ μῆλον, ὁ δὲ παῖς ἥρπαξε· τίς ποτε ἐδίδαξεν αὐτὸν τὸ τέχνημα τόδε;
  I gave that girl an apple, and the boy seized it. Who taught him that trick?

κακοδαίμων τις,  an evil genius.

[Pg 32]

τίς ἔβαλε τὸν λίθον;  who threw the stone?

ὁ παῖς ὁ ἐν τῷ κήπῳ,  the boy in the garden.

παράνομός τις ἐστί,  he is a lawless boy.

χθὲς διέθραυσε πλάκα ὑαλίνην ἐν τῇ τοῦ φροντιστηρίου τοῦ ἐμοῦ θυρίδι,
  yesterday he broke a glass pane in my study window.

οὐχί· ὁ αἴλουρος ἦν ὁ ἁμαρτωλός· ἐμήνυσαν αἱ ῥῖνες αἱματηραὶ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ ζῴου,
  not so; the cat was the sinner; the bloody nose of the animal declared its sin.

τὴν βίβλον ἣν ἔδωκά σοι χθὲς ἐγχειρίσεις (Attic ἐγχειριεῖς) τῇ ἀδελφῇ· ἀγαθὴ γὰρ ἡ παρθένος καὶ βιβλοῦ ἀγαθῆς ἀξία,
  the book which I gave you yesterday you will hand over to your sister; she is a good girl, and worthy of a good book.

τίς ᾠκοδόμησε τοῦτο τὸ ἱερόν;
  who built this church?

τέκτων τις,  an architect.

τέκτων μὲν οὔ, ἐργάτης δέ τις λίθων,
  not an architect, a stonemason.

ὁ γὰρ ἀληθὴς τέκτων ποιητής ἐστι· καὶ τὸ οἰκοδόμημα ὅπερ ᾠκοδόμησε χθὲς ποίημα μένει λίθινον αὔριον καὶ ἀεί, ὡς ἔστιν ἰδεῖν ἐν τῇ Αἰγύπτῳ,
  for a true architect is a poet; and the edifice which he raised yesterday remains a stone poem to-morrow and for ever, as one may see in Egypt.

τίς εἶδε τὸν παῖδα ὃς ἀπέκοψε τὸν κλάδον τοῦ δένδρου ἐκείνου;
  who saw the boy who cut the branch of that tree?

εἶδον ἐγώ,  I saw him.

ἄγε αὐτὸν δεῦρο· μαστιγώσω τὸν κακοῦργον,
  bring him to me; I will flog the rascal.

σήμερον πάντως οὐ δειπνήσει,
  he shall have no dinner to-day.

ἢ δειπνήσει γε μετὰ τῶν συῶν,
  or dine with the pigs.

ἐβούλευσα αὐτῷ καλὴν βουλήν,
  I gave him good advice.

μάτην,  in vain.

οὐκ ἤκουσε,  he did not hear.

κωφός ἐστι,  he is deaf.

κωφὸς δὴ πρός γε τὴν τῶν σοφῶν βουλήν,
  yes, deaf to the counsel of the wise.

χθὲς ἔκλεισε τὰ ὦτα πρὸς τὸν τοῦ σοφοῦ Σολομῶνος λόγον· τοῦ ἄφρονος οἱ ὀφθαλμοί εἰσιν ἐπ’ ἄκρα τῆς γῆς,
  yesterday he closed his ears to the word of the wise Solomon: the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

[Pg 33]

ἤκουσε τοῦ μὲν λόγου, τὸν δὲ νοῦν οὐ κατέλαβε,
  he heard the word, but he did not take in the sense.

ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ ὁ ἄφρων ἐπλήρωσε τὸν ἐγκέφαλον διανοημάτων κενῶν,
  his foolish brother filled his brain with vain imaginations.

καὶ ἐπίστευσε τῷ ἀδελφῷ μᾶλλον ἢ τῇ ἁγίᾳ γραφῇ,
  and he believed his brother rather than the holy scripture.

ὦ τοῦ ἀτυχήματος,   sad! sad!

English Affinities

Egotism. Practice. Foliation. Chiromancy. The Parthenon. Didactic. Technical. Cacodemon. Lithotomy. Rhinoceros. Zoology. Agatha. Hierarchy. Dendritis. Divine. Acrobat. Geography. Logic. Hagiology. Hagiolatry. Graphic.


Infinitive Mood and Participles

The infinitive mood gives the action of the verb substantively as we use the participle in seeing is a good thing, but in Greek, as in Latin, always the infinitive, as καλὸν τὸ ὁρᾶν, and declined with the article like a noun, through all the cases, of course neuter, as the gender does not lie in the action, but in the actor. Its normal ending in the active voice is ειν, as in the present βάλλειν, to throw, and second aorist βαλεῖν; but in first aorist its termination is αι, as κόψαι, from κόπτω. Pure verbs follow their vowel, as τῑμᾶν, to honour; φιλεῖν, to love.

Like substantives, verbal infinitives are governed by prepositions through all the cases, as περί, about; παρά, from beside; μετά, with; ἐν, in, and εἰς into—as περὶ τοῦ καπνίζειν λέγω μέτρον ἄριστον, about smoking I say moderation is best. [Pg 34]

Participles are verbal adjectives declined as such, and signifying the quality or accident of a certain state of being or action belonging to an agent.

The participles of the present and of the second aorist are declined in masculine and neuter according to the type of the second declension, in feminine according to the first, as—

τύπτων, τύπτουσα, τύπτον, he, she, or it  striking
τύπτ-οντος, ούσης, οντος, of him, her, or it
οντι, ούσῃ, οντι, to him, her, or it  

The first aorist participle bears the type of the third declension, as in γίγας, γίγαντος, a giant—so ποιήσας, having made; feminine ποιήσᾱσα, neuter ποιῆσαν.

genitive, -αντος -ᾱσης -αντος.
dative, -αντι -ᾱσῃ -αντι.
objective, -αντα -ᾱσαν -αν.

Pure verbs have a long vowel or diphthong: thus, from

περιπατέω περιπατῶν περιπατοῦντος
τιμάω τιμῶν τιμῶντος

ἆράγε εἶδες ἐκεῖνον τὸν παῖδα ἐν τῷ κήπῳ περιπατοῦντα;
  did you see that boy walking in the garden?

εἶδον,  I did.

καλὸν τὸ περιπατεῖν καὶ ὑγιές, οὐ τοιοῦτον δὲ τῷ κλέψαντι τὰ μῆλα,
  walking is good and healthy, but not for him who stole the apples.

τῑμῶσα τὴν βασίλισσαν τῑμᾷς τὴν πόλιν ἧς δὴ ἐκείνη κεφαλὴ ἐστίν,
  in honouring the queen you honour the state of which she is the head.

περὶ τοῦ ὑπνοῦσθαι οὐδὲν ἀκριβῶς ἐπιτάττω·
ἓν μόνον λέγω, οὐχ ὑγιὲς τὸ ὑπερβάλλειν ὀκτὼ ὥρας ἐν τῇ κοίτῃ,
  about sleeping I prescribe nothing curiously;
  only this one thing I say, that to lie in bed more
  than eight hours is not healthy

ἀληθῆ λέγεις,  you say well.

τοῖς γε ὑγιὲς ἔχουσι τὸ σῶμα,
  at least for those who have a healthy body.

τὸ γὰρ ἀργεῖν διαφθείρει τό τε σῶμα καὶ τὴν ψυχήν,
  for lying idle damages both body and soul.

[Pg 35]

μάλιστα· καὶ τὸ πράττειν ὁτιοῦν ἐναντίον τῷ συστήματι τοῦ ὅλου
διαφθείρει τὴν ψυχήν, ὡς λέγει ὁ τῶν καλῶν ἔργων ἀπόστολος, ὁ
Ἰάκωβος· εἰδότι τὸ καλὸν καὶ μὴ ποιοῦντι, αὐτῷ ἁμαρτία ἐστίν,
  certainly, for to do anything contrary to the system of the universe
  destroys the soul, as James the apostle of good works says,
  “to him that knoweth what is good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

τῷ λαλοῦντι πολλὰ πολὺς ὁ κίνδῡνος,
  to the great talker there is great danger.

ἐν δὲ τῷ ὀλίγα λέγειν μεγάλη ἡ σωτηρία,
  but in speaking little there is great safety.

μεγάλη βιβλιοθήκη χρησίμη ἐστὶν εἰς τὸ πολλὰ εἰδέναι,
  a good library is useful to get great knowledge.

πῶς γὰρ οὔ; ὅμως οὐκ ἀεὶ εἰς τὸ σοφῶς βιῶναι,
  certainly, but not always for wise living.

πολλὰς βίβλους δυνατὸν τοὺς ἀσθενεῖς ἐγκεφάλους κυκᾶν,
  it is possible that many books may confound weak brains.

τὸ λεγόμενον, πολλοὶ ὄντες οἱ μάγειροι διαφθείρουσι τὸν ζωμόν,
  as they say, many cooks spoil the broth.

καὶ κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον παμπλήθη ἔπιπλα ὑπὲρ τὸ πρέπον καὶ τὸ ἡδὺ ἐκπληροῖ τὸ οἴκημα καὶ ταράττει τοὺς εἰσβαίνοντας,
  and in the same way, a great quantity of furniture, beyond what is proper and comfortable, fills up the room, and inconveniences those who enter.

σοφῶς. ἀεὶ κακὸν τὸ ὑπερβαίνειν,  wise. All excess is bad.

τὴν σοφίαν λέγεις τοῦ Ἀριστοτέλους· ἐν τῷ μέσῳ ἀεὶ ἡ σωτηρία,
  the wisdom of Aristotle: safety lies in the mean.

English Affinities

Peripatetics. Hygiene. Cleptomania. Hypnotism. System. Psychology. Apostle. Polyanthus. Trope. Hyperbole. Plethora.


The other Past Tenses

The imperfect, with the augment prefixed as the sign of the past, is as follows; from κόπτω—

ἔκοπτ-ον, -ες, -ε, I, thou, he was  cutting.
ἐκόπτ-ομεν, -ετε, -ον, we, you, they were 

[Pg 36]

Pure verbs contract

αον  into  ων
αες ας
αε α
άομεν ῶμεν
άετε ᾶτε
αον ων
as in—
  ἐτίμων ἐτίμας ἐτίμα
  ἐτιμῶμεν ἐτιμᾶτε ἐτίμων
εον  into  ουν
εες εις
εε ει
έομεν οῦμεν
έετε εῖτε
εον ουν
as in—
  ἐφίλουν ἐφίλεις ἐφίλει
  ἐφιλοῦμεν ἐφιλεῖτε ἐφίλουν

The present perfect, or the immediately past perfect, in addition to the augment, reduplicates the initial consonant of the root, and its terminations are—

-α, -ας, -ε, I, thou, he has ...
-αμεν, -ατε, -ᾱσι, we, you, they have ...

It changes also the σ of the future into a κ—

τιμήσω— τετίμηκα τετίμηκας τετίμηκε
  τετιμήκαμεν τετιμήκατε τετιμήκāσι

but this κ, when the root ends in γ or κ, appears as χ; thus—

πλέκω πλέξω πέπλεχα
πράσσω πράξω πέπρᾱχα

and in the same way the final π of the root appears as φ; thus—

τύπτω τύψω τέτυφα
γράφω γράψω γέγραφα

In the pluperfect, which is not often used, the same reduplication takes place, and the terminations are— [Pg 37]

-ειν -εις -ει
-ειμεν -ειτε -εισαν or -εσαν
as in—
  ἐτετύφειν ἐτετύφεις ἐτετύφει
  ἐτετύφειμεν ἐτετύφειτε ἐτετύφεισαν

ἔτυπτον ἐγὼ τὸ παιδάριον, ὅτε εἰσελθὼν ὁ ἀστυνόμος
ἥρπασέ με εἰς τὸ δεσμωτήριον,
  I was beating the boy, when the policeman
  entering took me to prison

γέγραφα ἐπιστολὴν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα σου
λέγων παῖδά σε εἶναι κόσμιον τοὺς τρόπους,
  I have written a letter to your father saying
  that you are a well-behaved young man

ἐτύγχανον ὕπτιος κείμενος ἐν τῇ κοίτῃ ὅτε μέγας τις μῦς
ὑπερπηδήσας τὰ στρώματα δεινόν μοι ἐνεποίησε φόβον,
  I happened to be lying on my back in the bed when a rat,
  leaping over the bedcover, gave me a great fright

δικαίως γε,  and with good reason.

τὰ νῦν δὲ ποῦστι τὸ ἀναιδὲς θρέμμα;
  and now, where is the shameless creature?

κέκαφεν αὐτὸ τὸ κυνάριόν μου τὸ ἐκ τῆς Ὀρεινῆς,
  my little Skye terrier has just snapped it up.

δίκαια ἔπαθεν,  served it right!

ποῦστι τὸ μελανοδοχεῖόν μου;
  where is my inkstand?

εὕρηκα, εὕρηκα, ἐν τῷ λουτρῶνι,
  I have found it, I have found it, in the bathroom.

παράδοξον τοῦτο· οὐκ ἔγραφον ἔγωγε ἐν τῷ λουτρῶνι,
  strange; I was not writing in the bathroom.

οὐχ ὁρῶ τὸν κάλαμον,
  I do not see my pen.

ἰδοῦ· εὗρον ἐν τῷ δειπνητηρίῳ,
  here it is; I found it in the dining-room.

ἔπαιζεν ὁ αἴλουρος τῷ καλάμῳ σου καὶ τῷ πετάσῳ,
καὶ τῇ χλαμύδι, καὶ ταῖς κρηπῖσι, καὶ δεινόν τινα ἐποίει θόρυβον,
  the cat was playing with your pen, and with your hat,
  and your plaid, and your boots, and making a terrible row.

σφάξον τὸ θρέμμα,  kill the brute!

οὐδαμῶς· αὐτὸς σὺ αἴτιος, ὃς δὴ ἔλιπες τὸ οἴκημα ἐν
πάσῃ ἀκοσμίᾳ, ὁ δὲ αἴλουρος πεπλήρωκε τὸ ἔργον σου,
  not at all; you yourself are to blame, who left the room
  in great disorder, and the cat has finished your work

δίκαια λέγεις,  you are right.

[Pg 38]

καὶ ἐγὼ μεγάλην ὤφληκα μωρίαν,
  and I have committed an act of great folly.

μετανοῶ ἐπὶ τῷ πράγματι,
  I repent of the business.

ἔρρωσο,  farewell.

English Affinities

Harpy. Graphic. Epistle. Tropic. The Cosmos. Cosmetic. Big. Melancholy. Paradox. Autonomy. Pragmatic.


Verbs in μι

The great mass of Greek verbs, whatever their variations of person and tense may be, agree in this one prominent feature, that the first person singular of the present indicative ends in ω, as in Latin ō, possibly a relic of the pronoun ἐγώ, I. But there is a small class of verbs in familiar use which, instead of the ω, affix to the first person μι, evidently identical with the English me and the German mich—a confusion of the nominative and accusative cases familiar to our ears in French and vulgar English, when we say it is me instead of it is I. Whatever may have been the original form of the verbs in μι, as a matter of practice, if we fling off the μι from the present, the future and the tenses cognate with it may be formed directly from an assumed form in ω: thus ἵστημι, I cause to stand, στήσω, I will cause to stand, as if from στάω; τίθημι, I place, θήσω, I will place, as if from θέω; δείκνῡμι, I show, δείξω, I will show, as if from δείκω; and δίδωμι, I give, future δώσω, I will give, as if from δόω, the Latin evidently preserving the simple form from which δίδωμι comes by the prefix of δι and the suffix μι.


ἵστημι, ἵστης, ἵστησι, I, thou, he  cause to stand.
ἵσταμεν, ἵστατε, ἱστᾶσι, we, you, they 

[Pg 39]


ἵστην ἵστης ἵστη
ἵσταμεν ἵστατε ἵστασαν

Second Aorist

ἔστην ἔστης ἔστη
ἔστημεν ἔστητε ἔστησαν

The middle and passive voice follow the form of the regular verb.

The perfect active of ἵστημι, ἕστηκα, is used as a present with a neuter sense, I stand, and in like manner, the pluperfect ἑστήκειν, and the 2nd aorist ἔστην, I stood.

τίθημι and its analogues have ε for the α in the plural, and first aorist ἔθηκα instead of ἔθησα; and in the same way ἵημι, to send, has first aorist ἧκα, I sent; so also δίδωμι has ἔδωκα, I gave, not ἔδωσα.

The irregular verbs εἰμί, I am, εἶμι, I go (usually future: I will go), evidently fall under this scheme. For εἰμί, I am, see supra, Lesson I. The verb to go has εἶμι, I go; εἶ, thou art going; εἶσι, he is going; ἴμεν, we are going; ἴτε, you are going; ἴᾱσιν, they are going. Imperative ἴθι, go.

ἄπιθι, ἄπιθι, ἄκλητος καθίζεις ἐπ’ ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἕδρᾳ·
στήσω σε ἐνταῦθα,
  begone, begone! you have no business in that seat;
  I will plant you here

ἕστηκα ὅπου ἕστηκα, καὶ καθίζω ὅπου καθίζω,
  I stand where I stand, and I sit where I sit.

σοὶ ἔδωκα τὴν βίβλον τὴν κομψήν, σὺ δὲ ἔδωκας τῷ παιδισκαρίῳ
τούτῳ· ἐς τοσοῦτον ἆρα καταφρονεῖς μου, καὶ τοῦ δώρου μου;
  I gave the pretty book to you, and you gave it to that little girl.
  Do you so despise me and my gift?

συνῆκα ἃ λέγεις· ἡ δὲ παρθένος μᾶλλον τῆς βίβλον ὀνήσεται ἢ ἐγώ,
  I understand what you say;
  but the young lady will be more profited by the book than I

μάλα ταπεινόφρων σύ γε,  you are very humble.

οὐχ οὕτως· φιλῶ τὴν παρθένον,  not at all; I love the girl.

πιθανόν,  likely enough.

οἱ πολλοὶ τί φασι περὶ τοῦ Γλάδστωνος;
  what do people say about Gladstone?

[Pg 40]

θαυμάζουσι αὐτὸν δικαίως ὡς δεινὸν μὲν περὶ τοὺς λόγους,
τῶν δὲ περὶ τὰς τῆς πόλεως προσόδους ἐμπειρότατον, καὶ δὴ
καὶ τῶν τε Ἰταλικῶν καὶ τῶν Ἑλληνικῶν γραμμάτων ἐπιστήμονα,
  they admire him, with good reason, as a great speaker,
  also as an expert and apt financier, and besides a great
  Greek and Italian scholar

ἀληθέστατα λέγεις· εἰ κατέστησαν αὐτὸν καθηγητὴν τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς
φιλολογίας ἐν τῷ τοῦ Βουπόρου πανεπιστημίῳ, οὐκ ἐλάττων ἂν ἐγένετο[6]
τοῦ Βοεκίου, τοῦ Ἑρμάννου, τοῦ Μυλλέρου, καὶ τῶν ἄλλων Γερμανῶν
ὅσοι περὶ τὴν πολυμαθίαν ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις εὐδοκιμοῦσι,
  very true; if they had made him professor of Greek in the
  university of Oxford, he would not have stood below Boeckh,
  or Hermann, or Müller, or any of the Germans who are most
  distinguished for great learning

καὶ οὕτως γε ἐτύγχανεν ἂν εὐτυχῶς διαφυγὼν τόν
τε πολὺν θόρυβον καὶ διαφθορὰν τοῦ βίου πολιτικοῦ,
  and so he might have happily escaped the great
  bother and the corruption of political life

δυνατὰ λέγεις· ὅμως οὐκ ἄν τις τυγχάνοι
διαπεφευγὼς τὴν εἱμαρμένην,
  possibly; however no man can
  escape his destiny

English Affinities

Stand. Sit. Seat. Dowry. Philology. Mathematics. Empiric. Dynamics. Logic. Grammar. Allopathy. Biology.


Compound Verbs

Verbs compounded with a preposition place the augment and reduplication between the preposition and the verb. Except περὶ and πρὸ all prepositions ending in a vowel have the vowel elided before the augment; πρὸ generally forms a crasis with the augment and becomes προὐ. The ν in ἐν and σύν, which had been assimilated in the present, is resumed before the augment. [Pg 41]

The prepositions that most frequently occur in compound verbs are—

περί, round about, as in English periphery.
ἀπό, off or away from, as in apogee.
ὑπό, under, as in hypocrite.
ἐν, in, as in energy.
εἰς, into.  
σύν, together, as in sympathy.
πρό, before, as in prophet.
παρά, alongside or away, as in parallel, parasite.
ἀντί, instead of, opposite to, as in antidote.
μετά, with or after, as in metaphysics.
πρός, toward, as in proselyte.
ἀνά, up or back, as in anatomy.
κατά, down, as in catalepsy.
ἐπί, on or upon, as in epilogue.

ὁ φίλος μου ὁ ἀληθῶς φιλικὸς περιέβαλε
τοῖς ὤμοις μου τὴν χλαῖναν σκέπην ψύχους,
  my true friend threw his cloak round my shoulders
  as a protection against the cold

ὑπόδησον τὰ ὑποδήματά μου,  put on my shoes.

ἀπέβαλον τὰ ὑποδήματα τὰ ἀρχαϊκά·
κομψότερα τὰ καινότροπα,
  I flung away the old-fashioned shoes;
  those of the new fashion are more elegant

χάριν ἔχω σοι τοῦ ἀγάλματος,
  thanks to you for the pretty gift.

σήμερον μεταβέβληκεν ὁ οὐρανὸς εἰς τὸ χεῖρον,
  to-day the weather has changed for the worse.

κατὰ φύσιν τοῦτο ἐν τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ πατρίδι οὗ οὐδὲν ἔχει στάσιμον ὁ οὐρανός,
  quite natural, at least in our country, where the weather is never steady.

χθὲς κατέβην εἰς τὸ χῶμα, καὶ εἶδον τὸ μέγα ἀτμόπλοιον,
  yesterday I went down to the pier and saw the big steamboat.

πότερον ἤρεσέ σοι ἢ οὔ;
  did it please you or not?

ὑπερεθαύμασά γε,
  I admired it exceedingly.

ἆρα οὐκ εἰσέβης;
  did you not go on board?

εἰσέβην γὰρ καὶ τὸν ναύκληρον εἶδον καὶ τῶν ναυβατῶν δεινὸν πλῆθος,
  I did, and saw the captain and a great number of the crew.

[Pg 42]

ἔπειτα δὲ κατέβην εἰς τὴν κοίλην καὶ ἐθαύμασα ἄπειρα
σάγματα πίθων καὶ λαρνάκων καὶ κιστῶν καὶ κοφίνων
καὶ ἄλλης παντοδαπῆς κατασκευῆς,
  afterwards I went down into the hold, and saw
  with wonder countless piles of barrels, boxes and
  chests, baskets, and all sorts of stuff

ἔπειτα δὲ ἀνέβην, καὶ προσέβλεψα τὸν κυανοῦν οὐρανόν,
καὶ χάριν εἶχον τῷ Θεῷ,
  then I came up, and looked on the blue sky,
  and thanked God

τελευταῖον δὲ συνέλεξα τὰ σκεύη μου, καὶ ἕστηκα ἐνώπιόν
σου ἐν ὁλοκλήρῳ δέρματι,
  lastly, I gathered up my chattels, and stand
  before you with a whole skin

ἀγαθῇ τύχῃ· ἀεὶ εὐτυχεῖς· πανταχοῦ πίπτεις, τρόπον τῶν
αἰλούρων, τοὺς πόδας ἔχων ἐμπέδους ἐν τῷ δαπέδῳ,
  good luck be with you; you are a lucky dog;
  you always fall on your feet like the cats

οὐ τυφλώττω· καὶ ἕκαστα εἴωθα πράττειν προσκόποις
τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς,
  I am not blind, and am accustomed to do
  everything with forecasting eyes

σοφός σύ γε,  a wise man you!

English Affinities

Philanthropy. Steady. Navy. Hollow. Chest. Theology. Epidermis. Physiology. Patriot. Atmosphere. Plethora. Podagra.


Moods: Subjunctive and Conditional

The subjunctive or conjunctive mood is the form which the verb takes when no independent assertion is made as a fact, but only as a sequence of an asserted fact or truth, and having only a secondary or conditional existence; as if I should say in English, I give you this, that it may be in your power to do so and so, the secondary sentence preceded by that is altogether dependent on the precedent thing done, I give you this. In this example the substantival proposition is in the present indicative, and the [Pg 43] subjunctive nature of the dependent sentence is expressed by the auxiliary verb may; but, if the leading clause is in the past tense, the dependent clause is expressed by might, which in fact is the past tense of may, as I gave you this that you might. In Greek this past conditional is, from a peculiar usage, commonly called the optative mood. In the present lesson we shall confine ourselves to the dependent tense subjoined to a present or a future. The form of the subjunctive is very simple, consisting as it does in the mere change of the terminational vowel or diphthong of the present into ω and η—

κόπτ-ω, -ῃς, -ῃ, I, thou, he  may strike;
κόπτ-ωμεν, -ητε, -ωσι, we, you, they 

and in the first and second aorist the same—κόπτω, ἔκοψα, κόψω,-ῃς, -ῃ.

The subjunctive mood is often introduced by ἐάν or ἤν, ἵνα, and ὅταν, and when a negative particle belongs to it, it is μή, not οὐ.

δίδωμί σοι ταύτην τὴν βίβλον ἵνα καταλαμβάνῃς
ὅσον ἐστὶ χαλεπὸν τὸ πρᾶγμα περὶ οὗ ἔγραφες,
  I give you this book that you may understand
  how difficult the matter is on which you were writing

ἐὰν μὴ ἐκπονῇς τὰ διδάγματα, οὐ διδάξω σε,
  if you don’t work out the lessons, I will not teach you.

ἢν τὸν δάκτυλον κόψῃς ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὀξείᾳ μαχαίρᾳ, οὐ παρ’ ἐμοὶ ἡ αἰτία,
  if you cut your finger with that sharp knife, the blame is not with me.

ἐκτέλεσον τὸ ἔργον τὸ προκείμενον, ἵνα μή σε ταράσσῃ
αὔριον τὰ τῆς σήμερον ἡμέρας ὑστερήματα,
  finish the work that lies before you, that the leavings
  of to-day may not disturb you to-morrow

λαβὼν τὸ σκάλευθρον κΐνει τὸ πῦρ, ἵνα μὴ πνίγῃ
τὴν φλόγα τὸ βάρος τῶν ἀνθράκων,
  take the poker and stir the fire, that the weight
  of the coals may not choke the flame

ἐὰν μὴ φυλάττῃ τὴν φλόγα, καύσεις τὰς χειρίδας τοῦ ἱματίου,
  if you do not take care of the flame,
   you will burn the sleeves of your coat

φέρε δὴ τὸν Ὅμηρον ἐκ τοῦ θηκίου, ἵνα ἀκούω τί λέγει
περὶ τοῦ κάλλους τῶν γυναικῶν,
  bring me Homer from the shelf, that I may hear
  what he says about the beauty of women

[Pg 44]

ἰδοῦ,  here it is.

ἀνάγνωθι,  read it.

καλὴ καὶ μεγάλη καὶ ἀγλαὰ ἔργ’ εἰδυῖα,
  beautiful and tall, and skilful in tasteful works.

φεῦ· ὡς εὖ λέγεις. οὐκ ἀργαὶ αἱ γυναῖκες αἱ παρὰ τῷ ἀοιδῷ,
  excellent. The singer’s ladies were no idlers.

μιμήτριαί γε τῆς ἐν τοῖς περὶ τὸν βίον σοφῆς προστατίδος Παλλάδος,
  they were imitators of their patron goddess Pallas,
   wise in all that relates to life

ῥίψον τὸ κυνάριον εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ, ἵνα μανθάνῃ τὸ νήχεσθαι,
  fling the dog into the water, that he may learn to swim.

ἰδοῦ—νήχεται—ὡς εὐμαθὲς τὸ θρέμμα,
  there he goes—he swims—what a clever creature!

ποίησον σὺ κατὰ ταὐτά,  do you the same.

οὐδαμῶς· φοβοῦμαι μὴ βαπτίσῃ με τὸ κῦμα,
  no; I fear the wave will overwhelm me.

γελοῖα λέγεις· ἐλαφρότερον γὰρ τὸ σῶμα τὸ ἀνθρώπινον τοῦ ὕδατος,
  nonsense; the human body is lighter than the water.

οὐ καταποντίσει σε τὸ ὕδωρ ἀλλὰ ὁ φόβος,
  it is not the water that will drown you, but fear.

πιθανόν· ὅμως ἀντέχομαι τῆς ξηρᾶς,
  likely enough; nevertheless I hold by the dry land.

σοφός σύ γε, δεξιώτερον δὲ τὸ ζῷον. χαῖρε,
  you are wise, but the animal is more clever. Adieu.

English Affinities

Anthracite. Barometer. Phlogiston. Caustic. Ferry. Mimetic. Pantomime. Hydropathy. Baptize. Anthropology. Dexterity.


The Optative Mood

The optative mood, or subjunctive in a historic sequence after a past tense, is distinguished by the domination of the diphthong οι, and runs thus— [Pg 45]

βουλεύω, I advise.  
βουλεύοιμι, βουλεύοις, βουλεύοι, I, thou, he   might
βουλεύοιμεν, βουλεύοιτε, βουλεύοιεν, we, you, they   advise.

And so in the second aorist, where there is one, as λάβοιμι, λάβοις, λάβοι, etc., from λαμβάνω, might, could, would, or should get.

In the first aorist the vowel α rules, and becomes αι, as singular, βουλεύσαιμι, βουλεύσαις or ειας, βουλεύσαι or ειε; plural, βουλεύσαιμεν, βουλεύσαιτε, βουλεύσαιεν or ειαν.

The most common uses of the optative may be classified thus—

(1) In narrating what some one said, without guaranteeing the fact; as if I should say in English, he said that he were going to do so, instead of was; e.g. ἔλεγεν ὅτι ἀνδρὶ νέῳ καὶ σφοδρῷ οὐ ῥᾴδιον εἴη κολάζειν τὰ πάθη, he said that it was not easy for a man young and vehement to control his passions.

(2) To express a purpose or consequence in past time, with ὡς, ἵνα, or ὅπως, as ἐπόνει σταθερῶς ἵνα ἆθλον λάβοι, he laboured steadily that he might gain a prize.

(3) After εἰ, if, to express an indefinite future, generally with ἄν in the dependent clause, as εἴ τις αἵρεσίν μοι δοίη, σπουδάζοιμι ἂν περὶ τὴν Ἑλληνικὴν γλῶσσαν μᾶλλον ἢ περὶ τὴν Ἰταλικήν, if one gave me the choice, I should prefer to study Greek rather than Italian.

(4) To express a wish (from which use the name optative came), as μὴ γένοιτο, may it not happen—God forbid!

ὁ φίλος μου συνεβούλευσέ μοι πηδᾷν εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ, ὅπως κυνὸς δίκην μάθοιμι τὸ
νήχεσθαι· ἐγὼ δὲ οὐκ ἐς τοσοῦτο ἥκω μωρίας,
  my friend advised me to leap into the water that I might
  learn to swim like a dog; but I am not such a fool

εὖ λέγεις· ὁμολογῶ σοι τερπνότερον μὲν εἶναι τὸ ὀρχεῖσθαι, χρησιμώτερον δέ ποτε
τὸ νήχεσθαι ἔν γε τῇ ναυαγίᾳ,
  you say well; I must confess dancing is more agreeable, but swimming
  is sometimes more useful, especially in a shipwreck

τῶν γνωρίμων τῶν ἐμῶν τις εἶπε ὅτι ἀσκοῖ τὸ νήχεσθαι, ἵνα
διαφεύγοι τοὺς κινδ́ῡνους τῆς θαλάσσης,
  an acquaintance of mine told me that he is practising
  swimming to escape the dangers of the sea

[Pg 46]

σοφὸς ἐκεῖνος,  a wise man he.

ἀσπὶς τῶν σοφῶν ἡ πρόνοια,
  forethought is the shield of the wise.

ἀκούσας ᾄδοντος τοῦ ἀλεκτρυόνος εὐθὺς ἀπέσεισα τὸν ὕπνον καὶ
ἀπέδραμον ὡς τάχιστα ἵνα μὴ ὑστεροῖμι τῶν ἀγώνων,
  hearing the cock crow I forthwith shook off sleep, and ran at
  full speed that I might not be too late for the games

ἐγὼ δὲ ἄνευ τῆς χλαίνης ἀπέδραμον ἵνα μὴ τοῦ λαμπροῦ θεάματος ἀστοχοῖμι,
  and I ran off without my plaid, that I might not miss so splendid a spectacle.

ἐκεῖ δὲ τί εἶδες;
  what did you see there?

θύλακον μέγαν εἶδον ὑδρογόνῳ οἰδοῦντα ἀέρι,
  I saw a huge bag full of hydrogen gas.

καὶ ἄνδρα ἔντοσθεν ἀεροβατοῦντα, ἵνα γε προσχάνοι αὐτῷ πολὺς
ὄχλος ὡς ἐπισκεψομένῳ δῆθεν τὸν ἄνδρα τὸν ἐν τῇ σελήνῃ,
  and a man inside, sailing through the air, that he might
  make a rabble of people stare at him, as one going to pay
  a visit to the man in the moon

ὦ τῆς μωρίας,  O what folly!

μωρὸς μωρὸν θαυμάζει,  fool admires fool.

καταβαίνοντα αὐτὸν σφοδρότερος αἰφνιδίως ἁρπάσας ἄνεμος
παρήνεγκε εἰς τὸ κωδωνοστάσιον τοῦ μεγάλου ἱεροῦ τῶν ἐπισκοπικῶν,
καὶ ὁ ἀλεκτρυὼν ὁ ἐν τῷ ἄκρῳ διεκέντησε τὰ ἐντόσθια,
  as he was coming down a strong blast suddenly seized him
  and drove him on to the steeple of the cathedral, and the
  cock on the top of the steeple pierced his bowels

ὦ τοῦ δειλαίου,  O the poor wretch!

ὦ τοῦ ἄφρονος· δίκαια ἔπαθεν· ἀεροβατεῖν δεῖ τὰς ὄρνῑθας
τὸν αἰθέρα, οὐ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους,
  O the fool! served him right!
  birds ought to tread the air, not men.

English Affinities

Mathematics. Homologate. Orchestra. Ode. Agony. Theatre. Acrobat. Ochlocracy. Sceptic. Ornithology. Fugitive. Hypnotism. Pathology. Ether.

[Pg 47]


The Particle ἄν

Besides the use of ἄν with the optative in reference to a future probability, noticed in the last lesson, it is joined in Greek with the past tenses, the imperfect or aorists, to express what might, could, would, or should have taken place in past time if something else had happened, or had not happened, as ἔπραξας ἂν τὸ δίκαιον εἰ ἔπραξας τοῦτο, you would have done what is right if you had done this.

ἐγώ, εἰ ἔγνων τὸ ἦθός σου, οὐκ ἂν ἔδωκά σοι τὸ ἀργύριον,
  if I had known your character, I would not have given
  you the money

τίνα δὴ ἁμαρτίαν ἡμάρτηκα;  how have I done wrong?

ἐσπάθησας ἀχρήστως τὰ χρήματα· εἰ γὰρ ἐτύγχανες νοῦν ἔχων,
οὐκ ἂν ἀνήλωσας ἅπαντα εἰς τέρψιν ἐξίτηλον,
  you squandered your money uselessly. If you had had sense,
  you would not have spent it all on a fleeting pleasure.

εἰ ἐτύγχανες σοφὸς ὤν, διέσωσας ἂν τι τῶν σήμερον θησαυρῶν
εἰς τὴν χρείαν τῆς αὔριον,
  if you had been wise, you would have saved some of to-day’s
  treasure for to-morrow’s need

μωρὸς ἂν ἦν ὀνειροπολῶν τὴν μέλλουσαν ἡδονήν, τῆς δὲ παρούσης ἁμαρτών,
I should have been a fool, dreaming of the future and missing the present pleasure.

οὕτως λέγοντα ἐλέγχουσί σε οἱ μύρμηκες καὶ αἱ μέλισσαι,
  when you speak thus the ants and the bees confute you.

εἰ ὁ Βρούσσιος ἔτυχε μὴ νικήσας ἐν τῇ μάχῃ τοῦ Βαννοκβούρνου, τί ἂν συνέβη;
  if Bruce had not gained the victory at Bannockburn,
  what would have been the consequence?

ἐπικρατήσασα ἡ Ἀγγλία ἠφάνισεν ἂν τὸν Σκῶτον ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς,
  dominant England would have caused the Scot to disappear
  from the face of the earth

καὶ τοῦτο θεῖον πάνυ ἂν ἐγένετο εὐτύχημα,
  and this would have been a great piece of good luck.

ἐνίοις μὲν οὕτως δοκεῖ, ἐνίοις δὲ οὔ,
  some think so and some not.

[Pg 48]

τί ἂν συνέβη, εἰ ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ τοῦ Φιλίππου
οὐκ ἐνίκησε τὴν ἐν Ἀρβήλοις νίκην;
  what would have been the consequence if Alexander,
  the son of Philip, had not gained the battle of Arbela?

διετέλει ἂν ὁ Πέρσης δεσπόζων τῆς ἀνατολῆς, καὶ οὐκ ἂν
ἐκήρυσσον τὸ εὐαγγέλιον οἱ ἀπόστολοι Ἑλληνιστί· εἰσήγαγε γὰρ ὁ τοῦ
Φιλίππου υἱὸς τὴν Ἑλληνικὴν παιδείαν εἰς ὅλην τὴν ἀνατολήν,
  the Persian would have continued lording it over the East, and
  the Apostles would not have preached the gospel in Greek; for it
  was the son of Philip that introduced Greek learning into all the East

λαμπαδηφόρος δήπου τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς σοφίας ὁ μέγας Ἀλέξανδρος,
καὶ προάγγελος τοῦ εὐαγγελίου,
  Alexander the Great truly was the torch-bearer of
  Greek wisdom and the harbinger of the gospel

ἀληθέστατα λέγεις,  very true.

καὶ ταῦτα μὲν περὶ τῆς ἄγαν ὑπηρετικῆς ταύτης προσθήκης εἰρήσθω.
  and now enough of this very serviceable particle ἄν.

English Affinities

Ethics. Terpsichore. Ephemeral. Treasure. Alexander. Despot. Anatolia. Evangel. Angel. Scheme. Geography. Apostle. Pedagogue.


The Passive Voice

expressing not what a man does to another person or thing by the putting forth of his active force, but what he suffers from the active force of another, has its characteristic form in Greek as follows—


  πείθ-ομαι, -ῃ, -εται, I, thou, he is  persuaded.
  -όμεθα, -εσθε, -ονται, we, you, they are 

[Pg 49] Subjunctive, with the long vowel as in the active voice—

πείθ-ωμαι -ῃ -ηται
-ώμεθα -ησθε -ωνται

and optative with οι—

πειθ-οίμην -οιο -οιτο
-οίμεθα -οισθε -οιντο


ἐπειθόμην ἐπείθου ἐπείθετο
ἐπειθόμεθα ἐπείθεσθε ἐπείθοντο


πεισθ-ήσομαι -ήσῃ -ήσεται
-ησόμεθα -ήσεσθε -ήσονται

First Aorist

ἐπείσθ-ην -ης
-ημεν -ητε -ησαν
  singular, πεισθ-είην -είης -είη
  plural, -εῖμεν -εῖτε -εῖεν

In the perfect as in the active voice the reduplication takes place, as—

πέπεισμαι πέπεισαι πέπεισται
πεπείσμεθα πέπεισθε πεπεισμένοι εἰσίν

Certain verbs have a second aorist, as στέλλω, I send, not ἐστάλθην but ἐστάλην, I was sent; and pure verbs have the characteristic contraction of the vowel into a diphthong, as φιλούμεθα for φιλεόμεθα; but these variations are best learned by practice.

ἐστάλησαν οἱ ἀπόστολοι κηρύξοντες τὸ εὐαγγέλιον,
καὶ ἐκήρυξαν δεινῶς,
  the Apostles were sent to preach the gospel,
  and they preached it with power

ὅτε οἱ ἀπόστολοι ἐκήρυξαν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἐν ταῖς Ἀθήναις,
ὀλίγοι ἐπείσθησαν,
  when the Apostles preached the gospel in Athens,
  few were persuaded

[Pg 50]

ὁ κακοῦργος ἐκεῖνος ἐπήνεγκέ μοι βιαίαν πληγὴν τῇ βακτηρίᾳ
καὶ τὸ νῶτόν μοι ἐτραυματίσθη χαλεπῶς,
  that bad fellow struck me a heavy blow with his cudgel,
  and my back was severely wounded

εἶτα δὲ τί συνέβη;  then what happened?

τῶν τοξοτῶν τις τῶν φυλασσόντων τὴν πόλιν ἥρπασεν αὐτόν,
καὶ εὐθὺς ἐνεβλήθη εἰς τὸ δεσμωτήριον,
  one of the policemen who keep the peace of the city
  laid hold of him, and he was forthwith cast into prison

δίκαια ἔπαθεν,  served him right.

κατὰ φύσιν τοῦτο· πάντες ὅσοι ἄνομοι καὶ βίαιοι δικαίως
ἐμβληθήσονται εἰς τὸ δεσμωτήριον· οὐ γὰρ ἄνθρωποι οἱ τοιοῦτοι ἀλλὰ
συγγενεῖς τῶν τίγρεων,
  quite natural; all lawless and violent persons will
  naturally be cast into prison; for such persons are not men,
  but related to tigers

οἴμοι πέπληγμαι, πόθεν ἡ πληγή;
  woe’s me, I am struck! whence came the blow?

ὁ γνώριμός μου ὁ Ἰωάννης Καμερὼν παίζων τὴν κορύνην ἐν τῷ
πεδίῳ ἔπληξε πλαγίως τὴν σφαῖραν, ἥπερ παρετράπη εἰς τὴν κεφαλήν σου,
  my acquaintance John Cameron, playing at golf on the links,
  struck his ball obliquely and it was driven against your head

οἴμοι—μοι—ὀτοτοτοτοῖ,  O woe’s me, woe!

ὦ τοῦ ταλαιπώρου,  O poor fellow.

τί χρὴ πρᾶξαι;  what must we do?

φέρε εἰς τὸ νοσοκομεῖον, καὶ κάλεσον τὸν ἰατρόν·
ἔχει γὰρ κίνδῡνον τὸ πρᾶγμα,
  take him to the infirmary and call the doctor;
  it is a dangerous business

αὐτίκα μάλα· κληθήσεται,  instantly; he shall be called.

English Affinities

Oligarchy. Plague. Toxicology. Phylacteries. Tiger. Sphere. Nosology. Call. Physic.

[Pg 51]


The Middle Voice

The middle voice, or, as it might more significantly be called, the reflexive or the subjective voice, is a form of the verb where the action does not pass on from the agent to an outward object, but comes back on him, or in some loose way is looked on as done for his benefit, or affecting himself specially. Thus it is in the main identical with what in Latin grammar used to be called neuter verbs, only it is subject to not a few nice shades of personal reference, which leads to its apparent confusion with the active voice, and to various anomalous usages which can only be learned by practice. It is, of course, in strictness more nearly allied to the passive than to the active voice; for in both these voices, as distinguished from the active, the force of the verb is either altogether spent on the agent, or is in some way passively or emotionally or intentionally connected with him. This intimate relationship leads to a similarity of form in the two voices, the present and imperfect middle being in fact identical with the same tenses in the passive voice, and the other tenses, in their characteristic changes, more allied to the passive than to the active.

Future Indicative

λύσομαι λύσῃ λύσεται
λυσόμεθα λύσεσθε λύσονται

First Aorist

ἐλυσάμην ἐλύσω ἐλύσατο
ἐλυσάμεθα ἐλύσασθε ἐλύσαντο

οὐ τῶν τυχόντων κατέλαβέ με ἔχειν διδασκάλους
τῆς σοφίας, τὰ νῦν δὲ δικαίως αὐτὸς σοφίζομαι,
  I had the good luck to have no common teachers of wisdom,
  but now with good reason I profess wisdom for myself

ἐδεξάμην τὴν βίβλον ἣν σὺ ἐδέξω παρὰ τοῦ ἀνεψιοῦ,
καὶ ἀναγνώσομαι αὐτὴν πάσῃ σπουδῇ,
  I received the book which you got from your cousin,
  and I will read it carefully

[Pg 52]

οὗτος ὁ νεανίας τρέχει δεινῶς· βλάψεται,
  this young man runs furiously; he will hurt himself.

οὐ φοβοῦμαι,  I am not afraid.

ἀσφαλὴς ἐστὶ τοῖς ποσίν,  he is a steady-footed fellow.

οὗτος ὁ νεανίας ταλαιπώρως κυπτάζει εἰς τὰς βίβλους·
τρίψεται ὑπερτρυφῶν ἐν τῇ ἀναγνώσει,
  this young man stoops miserably down into his books;
  he will wear himself away, stuffing himself with reading

μὴ χαλέπαινε· βαθμηδὸν ἀκμάζει πάντα. τὰ μικρότατα σπέρματα,
ἀρξάμενα ἀπὸ τοῦ ἠρινοῦ χρόνου, πρὸ τῆς ὀπώρας γενήσεται
φυτὰ μεγάλα,
  do not repine. All things grow ripe by degrees.
   The smallest seeds beginning with the spring by
  harvest time will become large plants.

οὑτοσὶ πλήρεσιν ἀνάγεται τοῖς ἱστίοις,
ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐχ ἡττησόμεθα,
  this fellow sails out with full sails,
  but we shall not fall behind

σήμερον λαμπρῷ χρώμεθα τῷ οὐρανῷ,  to-day we have fine weather.

αὔριον δὲ ὕσει ὁ θεός,  but it will rain to-morrow.

ὤ, τάλᾱς ἐγώ· οὐδὲν διαγίγνεται μένον ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ τῷ κατὰ τὴν Καληδονίαν,
  alas, alas! there is no continuity or permanence of weather in Scotland.

ἀληθῆ λέγεις· μόνον τὸ τῶν Καληδονίων ἦθος
σεμνύνεται ἐπὶ τῷ ἄγαν σταθερῷ καὶ ἀμεταβόλῳ· κρατερὸν
τὸ Καληδόνιον ἦθος ὡς ὁ γρανιτόλιθος, ὁ ἐν Ἀβερδονίᾳ,
  true; only the character of the Scots boasts of
  steadiness and permanence. The Scottish character
  is strong as the Aberdeen granite.

χάριν οἶδα τῷ Θεῷ· αὐτὸς ἀλαζονεύομαι τῆσδε τῆς
ἐπιμόνου κράσεως οὐ σπανίως μεταλαμβάνεσθαι,
  thank God! myself boast that I have a fair
  share of this persistent temperament

δικαίως γε· ἐγγυᾶται τὴν κατόρθωσιν ἡ ἐπιμονή.
  and with good reason; perseverance is the pledge of success.

English Affinities

Didactic. Sophist. Study. New. Early. Vernal. Chronology. Grace. Hypertrophy. Idiosyncrasy. Orthography. Acme. Phytology.

[Pg 53]



The Greek participle has a large range of idiomatic and significant usages, which can only be learned by reading. For a start, however, it may be enough to say that the participle follows the leading verb of the sentence in many cases where both Latin and English use the infinitive, and that when joined with the definite article the participle performs the function of a relative clause in a less formal style; as if in English, instead of the man who used such language is not a gentleman, we should say the man the having used, which no doubt sounds very clumsy, because we require an auxiliary verb to express the past participle, but in Greek ὁ ταῦτα λέξας is manifestly neater and more succinct than ὃς ταῦτα ἔλεξε.

οὐκ ἀνέχομαι οὕτω διαβαλλόμενος,
  I cannot stand to be slandered in this way.

ἀμέλει· ἀμέλει· οἶδα τὸ ἀνθρωπάριον· χαίρει ἀεὶ
βλασφημῶν κατὰ τῶν κρεισσόνων,
  never mind; never mind; I know the creature; it is his delight
  always to be speaking ill of men better than himself

ποία τις ἦν ἡ βλασφημία;
  what was he slandering about?

ἐτύγχανον ἐγὼ ἐπαινῶν τινὰ τῶν δυνατῶν, ἄνδρα πλούσιον καὶ εὔφρονα
καὶ σώφρονα ἐν Μαγκεστρίῳ· ὁ δὲ εὐθὺς ἤρξατο διαβάλλων ὁλοσχερῶς
ἅπᾱσαν τήν τε ἀριστοκρατίαν καὶ πλουτοκρατίαν τὴν ἐν τῇ πόλει,
  I happened to be praising a gentleman of the influential classes
  in Manchester, rich and good and sensible, and forthwith
  he began to denounce in a sweeping style all the plutocracy
  and the aristocracy of the country

φαίνεται διάβολος ὤν, καὶ ὡς ἀληθῶς συγγενὴς τοῦ Κακοδαίμονος,
τοῦ Διαβόλου,
  he appears to be a calumniator, and a cousin-german of the
  evil Spirit, the Devil

[Pg 54]

καὶ διετέλει ἐπηρεάζων, ὡς ἐμοῦ παρασίτου ὄντος καὶ ἀκολούθου
τῆς βδελυκτῆς τῶν ὀλιγαρχῶν αἱρέσεως· πρὸς δὲ τούτοις τὰ τοιαῦτα
λοιδορήματα ἐποίησε τυπωθῆναι ἐν ταῖς ἐφημερίσι,
  and he went on to use insolent language, saying
  (or implying) that I was a parasite and a flunkey
  of the detestable faction of the oligarchs; and in addition
  to all this he got this insulting language printed in the newspapers

τοὺς τοιούτους ἀνθρώπους ἐχρῆν μαστίξαι· ὅμως, τὸ πρότερον
λεχθέν, ἀμέλει. δηλός ἐστι νικήσας τὴν ὀργὴν ὁ λέγων ἀμέλει,
  such ill-tongued rascals should have been flogged; but,
  as I said before, never mind. It is plain that the man who
  says ἀμέλει has conquered his passion.

δυνατὰ λέγεις· ὅμως σύνοιδα ἐμαυτῷ τὴν τῶν Κυαικέρων
ἀπάθειαν οὐκ ἐπαγγελλόμενος,
  possibly; but I am conscious that I do not profess
  the apathy of the Quaker

ἀμέλει· ἀμέλει· τρὶς νῑκηφόρος ὁ νῑκήσας τὴν ὀργήν.
βραχεῖα μανία ἡ ὀργή,
  never mind; never mind; he is three times conqueror
  who has conquered his passion. Anger is a brief madness.

English Affinities

Devil. Blasphemy. Dynamics. Dynasty. Plutocracy. Aristocracy. Cacodemon. Parasite. Heresy. Oligarchy. Type. Ephemeral. Apathy. Maniac.

[Pg 55]


Elementary Hints on Etymology

(1) In borrowed words, especially when the borrowing language, as English, does not deal largely in sounding terminations, it is a common practice to let the termination drop, either altogether or partly, and leave only the simple root, as from λαμπάδα, lamp; from δημοκρατία, democracy; from κακοφωνία, cacophony, and other such feminines, as theology, philology, where the α is dropped, and the accent transferred to the antepenultimate after the favourite English fashion, while the German, more faithful to the Greek, preserves the accented ι, and marks the presence of the α by an e, as in Theologié, Philologié.

(2) As the Greek element in the English language often comes to us not directly from the Greek, but indirectly through the Latin of the Middle Ages, it sometimes happens that we find a pure Greek word with a Latin termination attached to it naturalised in English, as in cathédral, from καθέδρα, and in ephemeral, from ἐφήμερος. In this example the termination al, so common in Latin, takes the place of the Greek ος, with the same adjectival force; but in not a few cases, as optical, ethical, clinical, political, the al is an unmeaning superfluity, as the adjectival character of the word is already fixed by the Greek termination κος, as in κλινικός from κλίνη. In verbs the termination ate is pure Latin, but appears sometimes barbarously appended to a pure Greek verb, as homologate, from ὁμολογῶ.

(3) It is a general rule in etymology that cognate letters, that is, [Pg 56] letters pronounced by the same organs, or a similar modification of the vocal organs, easily pass into one another; thus σ and τ being both dental, τ a pure dental, and σ a sibilant dental, and δ being only the blunt form of τ, these three letters pass into one another, as in Attic πράττω for πράσσω, and ῥόδον, English rose. So in German das for English that. In like manner, λ and ρ being both liquids, λείριον becomes lily, and the Latin Tibur becomes the Italian Tivoli, by the interchange of the labials and of the liquids.

(4) The termination s in the names of many of the sciences, as optics, acoustics, mechanics, is simply the sign of the plural in English, put for ά the neuter plural in Greek, as in τὰ πολιτικά, things belonging to the state; τὰ ὀπτικά, things belonging to vision, which, however, the Greeks often express by ἡ ὀπτική in the nominative singular feminine, with τέχνη, art, or θεωρία, theory, understood.

(5) The termination ise or ize, so common in English, generally though not always with an active signification, as in advertise, solemnise, is the ίζω of Greek, as in σοφίζω, I make wise, with σοφίζομαι, in the middle voice, I profess myself wise. The word σοφιστής from this verb, in English sophist, is the person who makes this profession, as in baptist, theorist, atheist, and other pure Greek words for an agent, with only the loss of the termination ής; sometimes in a hybrid way ist is added to a Latin root, as in deist, etymologically but not colloquially identical with theist.

(6) Sometimes not only is the terminational syllable cut off, but the initial also, either wholly or in part; so ἐπίσκοπος, with the change of π into the kindred labial β, becomes bishop.

(7) When two consonants of different kinship come together, one of them, specially that not belonging to the root, disappears, as from λάπτω, lap; from τύπτω, τύπος, type.

(8) The aspirate h, in Greek spiritus asper, has a close affinity with the sibilant s; so for ἕξ we have in Latin sex, in English six; ὗς for sow; ἕδος, sedes, seat.

(9) When a word in Latin or Greek commences with a p, by aspiration it becomes f in English and the Teutonic languages; thus for πῦρ we have fire, for ποδ-foot, for πατήρ, father, etc. [Pg 57]

(10) The English w is closely connected with the vowels, as appears from water and ooater; hence it disappears in Greek altogether, or is represented by a breathing, as in οἶνος, wine; ὕδωρ, water; ὑετός, wet.

(11) In some adjectives the Latin an, like al, is superfluously appended to the Greek termination in κός, as rhetorician, from ῥητορικός.

(12) The Greek κ, as in κύων, and cornu in Latin, appears in the Teutonic languages as h, so hound, horn; κολώνη, collis, hill.

(13) The letter m at the end of an English word curtailed from Greek signifies the thing done, the product of the verb, as ποίημα, poem, the thing made, a poem, from ποιέω, I make; so baptism from βαπτίζω, and chrism from χρίω, I anoint, and other isms.

(14) Finally, as at least two-thirds of the technical words used in our scientific nomenclature, and not a few even outside of the range, are of Greek extraction, the student would act wisely if at starting he were to make a list of all such terms in familiar use, with their Greek form and Greek analysis in an opposite column; as—

theology θεολογία
(θεός, God; λόγος, discourse)

He will thus find that he knows already some two or three hundred Greek words in a slightly disguised English form.



In accordance with the principle set forth in the preface, these vocabularies, containing the names of the most familiar objects, are to be taken with him as a vade mecum wherever the student goes. He must in no wise be content with the lazy habit of recognising a word only in a passive recipient style when he meets with it in a book, but he must stamp it directly on every object that comes in his way, and repeat it frequently without the [Pg 58] intervention of the mother tongue, till he uses it as familiarly as a workman handles his tools. The language will thus become his familiar friend, not, as in the mere bookish method, an occasional visitor. Of course, such a catalogue of words is not intended to be exhaustive; but the learner, after training himself to the habit of thinking and speaking in the foreign idiom, may supply the deficiency by consulting any good English-Greek dictionary, such as Arnold and Browne’s, London 1856, and for modern Greek, where that may be necessary, Lascarides’s English-Greek dictionary, London 1882. From these sources also, and from his own reading, which must in no wise be neglected, he will be able to pick out appropriate verbs with which he may put the Hellenised objects around him, so to speak, into motion, and hold a conversation with a fellow-student trained to the colloquial method, or with himself, solus cum solo, if he can find no partner in his colloquial exercise.


Printed by R. & R. Clark,


[1] Phaedrus, 275 E.

[2] Greek and English Dialogues for the use of Schools and Colleges. London: Macmillan, 1871.

[3] See Zampolides’s Modern Greek. London, Williams and Norgate, 1887.

[4] Final αι and οι for accentual purposes are pronounced short in the terminal flexions of nouns and verbs—τέτυμμαι, ἄνθρωποι, τράπεζαι.

[5] A dual number for τὰς χεῖρας, which both in nouns and verbs the Greeks sometimes used for a pair of persons or things. See the grammar.

[6] For the use of the particle ἄν here and below see Lesson XV infra.

Transcriber’s Notes:

Antiquated spellings were preserved.

Typographical and punctuation errors have been silently corrected.