Use of genitive with "to be"?

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cepson
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Use of genitive with "to be"?

Post by cepson » August 8th, 2011, 1:34 am

This may not properly be a question about koine Greek, but I am learning from a primer that teaches (I think) Attic Greek. One of the exercise questions is to translate the following: Διόνυσος τῆς ἀμπέλου εὑρετής ἧν. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to say "Dionysus was the discoverer of wine." But unless I'm mistaken, both "discoverer" and "wine" are in the genitive case. I thought that the subject of "to be" took the nominative form. Is this some idiomatic expression, or am I just wrong?

Thanks for any insight.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Use of genitive with "to be"?

Post by Stephen Carlson » August 8th, 2011, 8:24 am

cepson wrote:This may not properly be a question about koine Greek, but I am learning from a primer that teaches (I think) Attic Greek.
Well, the same issue crops up in Koine too....
cepson wrote:One of the exercise questions is to translate the following: Διόνυσος τῆς ἀμπέλου εὑρετής ἧν. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to say "Dionysus was the discoverer of wine." But unless I'm mistaken, both "discoverer" and "wine" are in the genitive case. I thought that the subject of "to be" took the nominative form. Is this some idiomatic expression, or am I just wrong?
You're right that the subject of the verb "to be" is in the nominative case and that its complement needs to agree in case. What you're missing is that εὑρετής is in the nominative case. Like many other first declension masculine nouns, it has the -της ending in the nominative singular. Its genitive is εὑρετοῦ.

Stephen
Last edited by Stephen Carlson on August 8th, 2011, 1:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: typo
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Jason Hare
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Re: Use of genitive with "to be"?

Post by Jason Hare » August 8th, 2011, 12:36 pm

LSJ
εὑρετ-ής, οῦ, ὁ, an inventor, discoverer, Pl.La.186e, Isoc.2.17, SIG728K3 (Delph., i B.C.), etc.; cf. εὑρέτις.
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

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