Re: EKAQEUDEN: Is Perseus wrong?

Carl W. Conrad (
Sat, 11 Jan 1997 17:31:08 -0600

This has been worked over by several people; rather than cite the entire
correspondence history, I'd like to work with Jonathan's original because I
think there was a fundamental misunderstanding of the Perseus (or rather of
the LSJ) enry on EKAQEUDEN.

At 1:06 PM -0600 1/11/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>When the storm hit, Jonah went down into the ship, KAI EKAQUEDEN KAI
>ERREGXEN (Jonah 1:5). I didn't recognize EKAQEUDEN, so I ran it through the
>Perseus morphological parser, and Perseus told me this:
> ekatheuden, imperf ind act 3rd sg, nu_movable root_preverb
>Nu-movable root-preverb? I clicked on the LSJ entry, and it told me that
>this was made up of two words:
> Preverb: KATA
> Dictionary entry: KAQEUDW
>Call me blind, but I don't see a trace of KATA in EKAQUEDEN. To me, this
>looks like an imperfect form of KAQEUDW, without any nu-movable
>root-preverb, and I'd guess that Jonah went to his cabin, lay down, and
>balled his eyes out (snorting like a horse).
>Am I missing something here? How reliable is the morphological parser for
>Perseus? Does anybody know how it works?

The first problem was the confusion of "nu_movable root_preverb" as a
single notion; they are two distinctive features in this parsing. As David
Moore noted, the "nu_movable" is what appears at the end of the 3rd sg. E-
ending for euphony. What is meant by "root_preverb," however, is that the
compounding of KAQEUDO from KAT(A) + hEUDW is so early that KAQEUDW was
deemed a simple rather than a compounded verb, meaning that it is augmented
before KAQ rather than before hEUD. I don't think I have ever seen an
imperfect of this not-uncommon verb spelled KAQHUDON--rather it is always
EKAQEUDON. The compounding is very old indeed. There are some other verbs
like this, but the only one that comes readily to my mind is EPISTAMAI,
which is indeed a compound of EP(I) + hISTAMAI (or possibly, maybe even
more likely, simply of EPI + STA, since the Pi is not aspirated as it would
be by compounding of P + hI). This verb, an exremely important verb fraught
with implications for the hisory of philosophy (it gives us the word
EPISTHMH and Epistemology) means "know," "understand." It is not thought of
as a compound at all; it's imperfect is HPISTAMHN (never EP-ISTAMHN or
EF-ISTAMHN). So that is what is mean by "root_preverb" here.

As for hREGKW, I think it's one of those ablaut roots: hREGK/hROGK -- I
don't recall ever seeing a zero grade for it, but there is an o-grade noun,
hO hROGKOS for "snort," or "snore." It has to be an old Greek root, and it
appears to me to be the very epitome of an onomatopoetic root, one that
expresses in sound that very nasal snort which is its essential meaning.

Yes, I suspect that, and in fact, I know that BAGD is inadequate for
reading LXX unless the LXX word recurs in the NT. I remember hunting for
some words in the Genesis Joseph narrative in BAGD and not finding them
there or in LSJ--I ultimately found them in the Sophocles Byzantine
lexicon. hREGKW is not that uncommon (at least not any more than people
snoring at night!).

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