Re: -EIEN in Agamemnon and LXX

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Apr 15 1998 - 19:41:53 EDT

At 9:55 AM -0500 4/15/98, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>In line 38 of Agamemnon I ran into a verb suffix that gave me trouble, -EIEN.
>I took out my NT verb chart and didn't find it. I looked in the indices of
>Smyth and didn't find it. I looked under the morphology of the Optative,
>because I had guessed by the context that it was probably an aorist 3rd sing
>optative. I looked in LS (intermed.) and didn't find it. As a last resort I
>went to the computer room and launched Accordance, searched in the GNT for
>this suffix and didn't find it. Then I switched to the LXX and there it was in
>Job and 4th Mac. The references where this form was found in the LXX are:
>4Mac. 4:13, 4Mac. 4:17, 4Mac. 5:13, 4Mac. 7:22,
>4Mac. 8:12, 4Mac. 9:24, 4Mac. 12:6, 4Mac. 17:1, Job 18:18, Job 20:16.
>Could anyone point me to a section in Smyth where he discusses this ending? I
>use Smyth a lot but somtimes I don't find what I am looking for right away.

I've just tried to find the first edition Smyth at the Perseus site and
can't seem to find it with a search. I happen to be at home and my own
Smyth is at the office. I'll check it tomorrow if the reference doesn't
turn up sooner.

At any rate, the facts are as follows: In the aorist 2sg and 3sg and 3pl
there are three alternative aorist active endings. Of course the grammars
teach the standard pattern for LUW thus:


But then one starts to read Attic texts and confronts these so-called
"alternative" forms that are actually more common in Attic and Ionic than
the "standard" ones:

        2sg. LUSEIAS
        3sg. LUSEIE(N) 3pl. LUSEIAN

What's going on here is that an -SE- marker, itself evidently consisting of
the aorist -S- precedes the weak-grade optative -IE- marker, following
which we have the standard alpha endings seen in the first aorist.
Traditionally this is called "Aeolic" aorist, but I'm not sure that I've
seen it in Sappho or Alcaeus, who wrote in Lesbian Aeolic dialect.

I'll try to get you the Smyth reference tomorrow.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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