Re: Third Aorist - an example

Carl W. Conrad (
Thu, 28 Nov 1996 12:50:24 -0600

At 12:18 AM -0600 11/28/96, Carlton Winbery wrote:
>Carl Conrad wrote;
>>>Chris writes:
>>><< I have an example of the 3rd aorist, if you are interested. Gen 43:2.
>>> priasthe is 2nd pl, 3 aor middle imperative of oneomai (at least according
>>>to my prof, and his correction on my final :-( >>
>>I'm at home with fewer resources ready to hand, but I'm inclined to think
>>that this is really just a present middle 2 pl. imperative of
>>PRIAMAI,"buy." Of course I'd really rather call it "reflexive," equivalent
>>to Fr. "s'acheter."
>The initial entry in LSJ is
>*pria^mai (assumed as Pres.), au=Hsch. 1625.1=lr aor. epri^amn freq. in
>Att., supplying aor. of ™neomai, buy; 2sg. epri™ Aristoph. Wasps 1440; 3sg.
>epriato IG12.94.22, Ep. priato Hom. Od. 1.430; imper. priaso Aristoph. Ach.
>870; pri™ IBID=au=Aristoph. Ach. 34, au=Aristoph. Ach. 35, Eup.1, etc.;
>Dor. pria_ Epich.137; subj. pri™mai Aristoph. Ach. 812, 2sg. prii
>IDEM=Aristoph. Cl. 614, 3sg. pritai Dem. 18.247, Thphr.Fr.97.3; opt.
>priaimn Soph. Ant. 1171, Leg.Gort.6.13, etc.; inf. priasthai IG12.10.5,
>Eur. Med. 233, Aristoph. Wasps 253, etc. (priasasthai v.l. in LXXGe.42.10);
>part. priamenos Hdt. 1.196, IG12.94.22, Leg.Gort.6.20, etc.:--
>It seems that both PRIAMAI and ONEOMAI mean "to buy" and that EPRIAMHN was
>more frequent in the aorist. This is an interesting use of the present
>impv. for a simple command. I would not see this as "3rd" aorist which I
>think generally was applied to what I call "non-thematic" aorist such as

Interesting all the more in the light of this citation from LSJ (presumably
>from Perseus web site? Maybe not). It would appear there's at least one
Septuagint citation (Gen. 42:10) giving a First/Sigmatic aorist infinitive
form: PRIASASQAI. Since the form cited by Chris above is from Gen. 43:2, it
may very well be from the same translator who gave the imperative form
PRIASQE, which is thus all the more probably a present middle imperative.

ON THE OTHER HAND, PRIAMAI is an athematic verb even in the presumably
present-tense form: the contracted thematic verb would be PRIWMAI. So the
question arises regarding the aorist form cited by LSJ, EPRIAMHN: is it a
First Aorist alpha form without a sigma? Or is it an Athematic Aorist (3rd
aorist!) form with long-alpha stem? There's no way of being sure about
this, since alpha doesn't show long or short quantity in the spelling, but
I'm inclined to think it may very well be athematic. I only know of two
verbs that have alpha aorists without a sigma in Homer (HNEGKA from FERW
and EXEA from XEW) although there may be more; it strikes me that EPRIAMHN
just may be a long-alpha athematic stem that doesn't change to eta because
it is preceded by an iota. If that's the case, then PRIASQE could
conceivably be a 3rd aorist form parallel to, let's say, GNWSQE, as 2 pl.
aor. mid. imptv. Not that I think it is in the Genesis text, but
theoretically, at least, it could be. Ain't theory wunnerful?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR