Re: -EIEN in Agamemnon and LXX

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Apr 16 1998 - 08:52:15 EDT

At 6:41 PM -0500 4/15/98, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>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.

In the 1956 Gordon Messing revision of Smyth's grammar (the one currently
in print), these endings are treated at #668 with an important note in
#668D on dialect forms, noting what I said last night, that the forms are
commonly termed "Aeolic," although they're not found in any Aeolic-dialect

Sihler in _New Comparative Greek and Latin Grammar_ #542 discusses this
"alternate" form and possible explanations for it as deriving from a
distinctive aorist -SEY- infix parallel to the thematic optative -OI-
infix, but is unwilling to argue for any sure IE source for it; it has
struck me as interesting that the Latin imperfect and pluperfect
subjunctives in -SE are said to derive from an optative marker in -SE--but
all this is so much interesting speculation without significant issue.

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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