The Augment in Homer

Classical Quarterly 6 (2):104-120 (1912)
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Abstract

The use of the temporal augment in narrative we have found to be purely scansional. Scansional, too, is the use of the syllabic, though this has a grammatical restriction which is of some interest; indeed, next to the maintenance of type öρovδΕ, it is the most vital fact for the whole question. The unaugmented aorist is not felt as an inflection which has been docked of its first syllable; quite the reverse, the augmented tense is treated as a compound. For example, é normally stands second in its clause; and so, if the syllabic augment was still consciously regarded as what it really is—viz. an adverb in composition—we should expect to see a great unwillingness to place Be after a tense thus augmented. Our expectation is fully borne out by the text; in the whole narrative of the Iliad there are only sixteen sure examples of é standing after the syllabically augmented aorist.

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