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46. Attic more than any other dialect disliked the immediate succession of two vowel sounds in adjoining syllables. To avoid such succession, which often arose in the formation and inflection of words, various means were employed: contraction (48 ff.), when the vowels collided in the middle of a word; or, when the succession occurred between two words (hiatus), by crasis (62 ff.), elision (70 ff.), aphaeresis (76), or by affixing a movable consonant at the end of the former word (134).

47. Hiatus is usually avoided in prose writers by elision (70 ff.); but in cases where elision is not possible, hiatus is allowed to remain by different writers in different degrees, commonly after short words, such as , εἰ, , καί, μή, and the forms of the article.

47 D. Hiatus is allowed in certain cases.

1. In epic poetry: a. After ι and υ: ἄξονι ἀμφίς, σύ ἐσσι.

b. After a long final syllable having the rhythmic accent: μοι ἐθέλουσα ([macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]˘).

c. When a long final syllable is shortened before an initial vowel (weak , or improper, hiatus): ἀκτῇ ἐφ᾽ ὑψηλῇ ([macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]¯[macrdot]).

d. When the concurrent vowels are separated by the caesura; often after the fourth foot: ἀλλ᾽ ἄγ᾽ ἐμῶν ὀχέων ἐπιβήσεο, ὄφρα ἴδηαι; very often between the short syllables of the third foot (the feminine caesura): as, ἀλλ᾽ ἀκέουσα κάθησο, ἐμῷ δ᾽ ἐπιπείθεο μύ_θῳ; rarely after the first foot: αὐτὰρ ἔγνω A 333.

e. Where ϝ has been lost.

2. In Attic poetry hiatus is allowable, as in 1 c, and after τί what? εὖ well, interjections, περί concerning, and in οὐδὲ (μηδὲ) εἷς (for οὐδείς, μηδείς no one).


48. Contraction unites in a single long vowel or diphthong two vowels or a vowel and a diphthong standing next each other in successive syllables in the same word.

a. Occasion for contraction is made especially by the concurrence of vowel sounds which were once separated by ς, [υγλιδε] (ϝ), and [ιγλιδε] (17, 20 a).

The following are the chief rules governing contraction:

49. (I) Two vowels which can form a diphthong (5) unite to form that diphthong: γένεϊ γένει, αἰδόϊ αἰδοῖ, κλήϊθρον κλῇθρον.

50. (II) Like Vowels.—Like vowels, whether short or long, unite in the common long; εε, οο become ει, ου (6): γέραα γέρα_, φιλέητε φιλῆτε; ἐφίλεε ἐφίλει, δηλόομεν δηλοῦμεν.

a. ι is rarely contracted with ι (ὀφι ¨ ιδιον ὀφί_διον small snake) or υ with υ (ὕ_ς son in inscriptions, from ιύς υἱός, 43).

50 D. ι ¨ ι ι_ occurs chiefly in the Ionic, Doric, and Aeolic dative singular of nouns in -ις (268 D.), as in πόλιι πόλι_; also in the optative, as in φθι-ι_-το φθῖτο.

51. (III) Unlike Vowels.—Unlike vowels are assimilated, either the second to the first (progressive assimilation) or the first to the second (regressive assimilation).

a. An o sound always prevails over an a or e sound: ο or ω before or after α, and before η, forms ω. οε and εο form ου (a spurious diphthong, 6). Thus, τι_μάομεν τι_μῶμεν, αἰδόα αἰδῶ, ἥρωα ἥρω, τι_μάω τι_μῶ, δηλόητε δηλῶτε; but φιλέομεν φιλοῦμεν, δηλόετον δηλοῦτον.

b. When α and ε or η come together the vowel sound that precedes prevails, and we have α_ or η: ὅραε ὅρα_, τι_μάητε τί_μᾶτε, ὄρεα ὄρη.

c. υ rarely contracts: υ ¨ ι υ_ in ἰχθύ_διον from ἰχθυίδιον small fish; υ ¨ ε strictly never becomes υ_ (273).

52. (IV) Vowels and Diphthongs.—A vowel disappears before a diphthong beginning with the same sound: μνάαι μναῖ, φιλέει φιλεῖ, δηλόοι δηλοῖ.

53. A vowel before a diphthong not beginning with the same sound generally contracts with the first vowel of the diphthong; the last vowel, if ι, is subscript (5): τι_μάει τι_μᾷ, τι_μάοιμεν τι_μῷμεν, λείπεαι λείπῃ, μεμνηοίμην μεμνῴμην.

a. But ε ¨ οι becomes οι: φιλέοι φιλοῖ; ο ¨ ει, ο ¨ become οι: δηλόει δηλοῖ, δηλόῃ δηλοῖ.

54. Spurious ει and ου are treated like ε and ο: τι_μάειν τι_μᾶν, δηλόειν δηλοῦν, τι_μάουσι τι_μῶσι (but τι_μάει τι_μᾷ and δηλόει δηλοι_, since ει is here genuine; 6).

55. (V) Three Vowels.—When three vowels come together, the last two unite first, and the resulting diphthong may be contracted with the first vowel: thus, τι_μᾷ is from τι_μα-ῃ out of τι_μα-εςαι; but Περικλέους from Περικλέεος.

55 D. In Hom. δεῖος of fear from δέες-ος the first two vowels unite.

56. Irregularities.—A short vowel preceding α or any long vowel or diphthong, in contracts of the first and second declensions, is apparently absorbed (235, 290): χρύ_σεα χρυ_σᾶ (not χρυ_σῆ), ἁπλόα ἁπλᾶ (not ἁπλῶ), by analogy to the α which marks the neuter plural, χρυ_σέαις χρυ_σαῖς. (So ἡμέας ἡμᾶς to show the -ας of the accus. pl.) Only in the singular of the first declension does εα_ become η (or α_ after a vowel or ρ): χρυ_σέα_ς χρυ_σῆς, ἀργυρέᾳ ἀργυρᾷ. In the third declension εεα becomes εα_ (265); ιεα or υεα becomes ια_ (υα_) or ιη (υη). See 292 d.

Various special cases will be considered under their appropriate sections.

57. The contraction of a long vowel with a short vowel sometimes does not occur by reason of analogy. Thus, νηΐ (two syllables) follows νηός, the older form of νεώς (275). Sometimes the long vowel was shortened (39) or transfer of quantity took place (34).

58. Vowels that were once separated by ς or [ιγλιδε] (20) are often not contracted in dissyllabic forms, but contracted in polysyllabic forms. Thus, θεςός god, but Θουκυ_δίδης Thucydides (θεός ¨ κῦδος glory).


[After ει or ου, gen. means genuine, sp. means spurious.]

α ¨ α= α_γέραα= γέρα_
α_ ¨ α= α_λᾶας= λᾶς
α ¨ α_= α_βεβάα_σι= βεβᾶσι
α ¨ αι= αιμνάαι= μναῖ
α ¨ = α?μνάᾳ= μνᾷ
α ¨ ε= α_τι_μάετε= τιμᾶτε
α ¨ ει (gen.)= α?τι_μάει= τι_μᾷ
α ¨ ει (sp.)= α_τι_μάειν= τι_μᾶν
α ¨ η= α_τι_μάητε= τι_μᾶτε
α ¨ = α?τι_μάῃ= τι_μᾷ
α ¨ ι= αικέραϊ= κέραι
α_ ¨ ι= α?ῥα_ί_τερος= ῥᾴτερος
α ¨ ο= ωτι_μάομεν= τι_μῶμεν
α ¨ οι= τι_μάοιμι= τιμῷμι
α ¨ ου (sp.)= ωἐτι_μάεςο55
= ἐτι_μῶ
α ¨ ω= ωτι_μάω= τι_μῶ
ε ¨ α= ητείχεα= τείχη
= α_ὀστέα= ὀστᾶ56
ε ¨ α_= ηἁπλέα_= ἁπλῆ
ε ¨ αι= λύ_εαι= λύ_ῃ
whence λύ_ει
= αιχρυ_σέαις= χρυ_σαῖς
ε ¨ ε= ει (sp.)φιλέετε= φιλεῖτε
ε ¨ ει (gen.)= ει (gen.)φιλέει= φιλεῖ
ε ¨ ει (sp.)= ει (sp.)φιλέειν= φιλεῖν
ε ¨ η= ηφιλέητε= φιλῆτε
ε ¨ = φιλέῃ= φιλῇ
ε ¨ ι= ει (gen.)γένεϊ= γένει
ε ¨ ο= ου (sp.)φιλέομεν= φιλοῦμεν
ε ¨ οι= οιφιλέοιτε= φιλοῖτε
ε ¨ ου (sp.)= ουφιλέουσι= φιλοῦσι
ε ¨ υ= ευἐΰ= εὖ
ε ¨ ω= ωφιλέω= φιλῶ
ε ¨ = χρυ_σέῳ= χρυ_σῷ
η ¨ αι= λύ_ηςαι= λύῃ
η ¨ ε= ητι_μήεντος= τι_μῆντος
η ¨ ει (gen.)= ζήει= ζῇ
η ¨ ει (sp.)= ητι_μήεις= τι_μῆς
η ¨ η= ηφανήητε= φανῆτε
η ¨ = ζήῃ= ζῇ
η ¨ οι= μεμνηοίμην=
η ¨ ι= κληΐς= κλῇς
ι ¨ ι= ι_Χίιος= Χῖος
ο ¨ α= ωαἰδόα= αἰδῶ
= α_ἁπλόα= ἁπλᾶ
ο ¨ ε= ου (sp.)ἐδήλοε= ἐδήλου
ο ¨ ει (gen.)= οιδηλόει= δηλοῖ
ο ¨ ει (sp.)= ουδηλόειν= δηλοῦν
ο ¨ η= ωδηλόητε= δηλῶτε
ο ¨ = οιδηλόῃ= δηλοῖ
= δόῃς= δῷς
ο ¨ ι= οιἠχόϊ= ἠχοῖ
ο ¨ ο= ου (sp.)πλόος= πλοῦς
ο ¨ οι= οιδηλόοιμεν= δηλοῖμεν
ο ¨ ου (sp.)= ου (sp.)δηλόουσι= δηλοῦσι
ο ¨ ω= ωδηλόω= δηλῶ
ο ¨ = πλόῳ= πλῷ
υ ¨ ι= υ_ἰχθυίδιον= ἰχθύ_διον
υ ¨ υ= υ_ὑύς (for υἱός= ὕ_ς
ω ¨ α= ωἥρωα= ἥρω
ω ¨ ι= ἥρωι= ἥρῳ
ω ¨ ω= ωδώω (Hom.)= δῶ

N.—The forms of ῥι_γόω shiver contract from the stem ῥι_γω- (yielding ω or ).

59 D. Attic contracts more, Ionic less, than the other dialects. The laws of contraction often differ in the different dialects.

1. Ionic (Old and New) is distinguished by its absence of contraction. Thus, πλόος for πλοῦς voyage, τείχεα for τείχη walls, ὀστέα for ὀστᾶ bones, ἀοιδή for ᾠδή song, ἀεργός for ἀ_ργός idle. The Mss. of Hdt. generally leave εε, εη uncontracted; but this is probably erroneous in most cases. Ionic rarely contracts where Attic does not: ὀγδώκοντα for ὀγδοήκοντα eighty.

2. εο, εω, εου generally remain open in all dialects except Attic. In Ionic εω is usually monosyllabic. Ionic (and less often Doric) may contract εο, εου to ευ: σεῦ from σέο of thee, φιλεῦσι from φιλέουσι they love.

3. αο, α_ο, αω, α_ω contract to α_ in Doric and Aeolic. Thus, Ἀτρείδα_ from Ἀτρείδα_ο, Dor. γελᾶντι they laugh from γελάοντι, χωρᾶν from χωρά_ων of countries. In Aeolic οα_ α_ in βα_θόεντι (Ion. βωθόεντι) = Att. βοηθοῦντι aiding (dative).

4. Doric contracts αε to η; αη to η; αει, αῃ to . Thus, νί_κη from νί_καε conquer! ὁρῇ from ὁράει and ὁράῃ; but α_ε α_ (ἅ_λιος from ἀ_έλιος, Hom. ἠέλιος sun).

5. The Severer (and earlier) Doric contracts εε to η, and οε, οο to ω. Thus, φιλήτω from φιλεέτω, δηλῶτε from δηλόετε, ἵππω from ἵππο-ο (230 D.); the Milder (and later) Doric and N. W. Greek contract to ει, and ου. Aeolic agrees with the Severer Doric.


60. In poetry two vowels, or a vowel and a diphthong, belonging to successive syllables may unite to form a single syllable in pronunciation, but not in writing. Thus, βέλεα missiles, πόλεως city, Πηληϊάδεω son of Peleus, χρυ_ςέῳ golden. This is called Synizēsis (συνίζησις settling together).

61. Synizesis may occur between two words when the first ends in a long vowel or diphthong. This is especially the case with δή now, or, (interrog.), μή not, ἐπεί since, ἐγώ I, oh; as ου᾽ O 18.

a. The term synizesis is often restricted to cases where the first vowel is long. Where the first vowel is short, ε, ι were sounded nearly like y; υ nearly like ω. Cp. 44 a. The single syllable produced by synizesis is almost always long.


62. Crasis (κρᾶσις mingling) is the contraction of a vowel or diphthong at the end of a word with a vowel or diphthong beginning the following word. Over the syllable resulting from contraction is placed a ' called corōnis (κορωνίς hook), as τἄ_λλα from τὰ ἄλλα the other things, the rest.

a. The coronis is not written when the rough breathing stands on the first word: ἄνθρωπος ἅ_νθρωπος.

b. Crasis does not occur when the first vowel may be elided. (Some editors write τἄλλα, etc.)

63. Crasis occurs in general only between words that belong together; and the first of the two words united by crasis is usually the less important; as the article, relative pronoun (, ), πρό, καί, δή, . Crasis occurs chiefly in poetry.

a. It is rare in Hom., common in the dialogue parts of the drama (especially in comedy), and frequent in the orators.

64. π, τ, κ become φ, θ, χ when the next word begins with the rough breathing (124): τῇ ἡμέρᾳ θἠμέρᾳ the day, καὶ οἱ and the = χοι᾽ (68 c).

65. Iota subscript (5) appears in the syllable resulting from crasis only when the first syllable of the second word contains an ι: ἐγὼ οἶδα ἐγᾦδα I know (but τῷ ὀργάνῳ τὠργάνῳ the instrument, 68 a).

66. The rules for crasis are in general the same as those for contraction (48 ff.). Thus, τὸ ὄνομα τοὔνομα the name, ἐν οὑν, ἄνερ ὦνερ oh man, πρὸ ἔχων προὔχων excelling, τὸ ἱ_μάτιον θοἰμάτιον the cloak (64), ἐγώ ἁ_γώ.

But the following exceptions are to be noted (67-69):

67. A diphthong may lose its final vowel: οἱ ἐμοί οὑμοί, σοι ἐστί σοὐστί, μου ἐστί μοὐστί. Cp. 43, 68.

68. The final vowel or diphthong of the article, and of τοί, is dropped, and an initial α of the next word is lengthened unless it is the first vowel of a diphthong. The same rule applies in part to καί.

a. Article.— ἀνήρ ἁ_νήρ, οἱ ἄνδρες ἅ_νδρες, αἱ ἀγαθαί ἁ_γαθαί, ἀγήθεια ἁ_λήθεια, τοῦ ἀνδρός τἀ_νδρός, τῷ ἀνδρί τἀ_νδρί, αὐτός αὑτός the same, τοῦ αὐτοῦ ταὐτοῦ of the same.

b. τοί.—τοὶ ἄρα τἄ_ρα, μέντοι ἄν μεντἄ_ν.

c. καί.—(1) αι is dropped: καὶ αὐτός καὐτός, καὶ οὐ κου᾽, καὶ χη᾽, καὶ οἱ χοι᾽, καὶ ἱκετεύετε χἰ_κετεύετε and ye beseech (64). (2) αι is contracted chiefly before ε and ει: καὶ ἐν κἀ_ν, καὶ ἐγώ κἀ_γώ, καὶ ἐς κἀ_ς, καὶ εἶτα κᾆτα (note however καὶ εἰ κει᾽, καὶ εἰς κεἰς); also before ο in καὶ ὅτε χὤτε. καὶ ὅπως χὤπως (64).

N.—The exceptions in 68 a-c to the laws of contraction are due to the desire to let the vowel of the more important word prevail: ἅ_νηρ, not ὡνηρ, because of ἀνήρ.

68 D. Hom. has ὤριστος ἄριστος, ωὐτός αὐτός. Hdt. has οὕτερος ἕτερος, ὡνήρ ἀνήρ, ὡυτοί οἱ αὐτοί, τὠυτό τὸ αὐτό, τὠυτοῦ τοῦ αὐτοῦ, ἑωυτοῦ ἕο αὐτοῦ, ὧνδρες οἱ ἄνδρες. Doric has κἠπί καὶ ἐπί.

69. Most crasis forms of ἕτερος other are derived from ἅτερος, the earlier form: thus, ἕτερος ἅ_τερος, οἱ ἕτεροι ἅ_τεροι; but τοῦ ἑτέρου θοὐτέρου (64).


70. Elision is the expulsion of a short vowel at the end of a word before a word beginning with a vowel. An apostrophe (') marks the place where the vowel is elided.

ἀλλ᾽ () ἄγε, ἔδωκ᾽ (α) ἐννέα, ἐφ᾽ (= ἐπὶ) ἑαυτοῦ (64), ἔχοιμ᾽ (ι) ἄν, γένοιτ᾽ (ο) ἄν.

a. Elision is often not expressed to the eye except in poetry. Both inscriptions and the Mss. of prose writers are very inconsistent, but even where the elision is not expressed, it seems to have occurred in speaking; i.e. ὅδε εἶπε and ὅδ᾽ εἶπε were spoken alike. The Mss. are of little value in such cases.

71. Elision affects only unimportant words or syllables, such as particles, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions of two syllables (except περί, ἄχρι, μέχρι, ὅτι 72 b, c), and the final syllables of nouns, pronouns, and verbs.

a. The final vowel of an emphatic personal pronoun is rarely elided.

72. Elision does not occur in

a. Monosyllables, except such as end in ε (τέ, δέ, γέ).

b. The conjunction ὅτι that? (ὅτ᾽ is ὅτε when).

c. The prepositions πρό before, ἄχρι, μέχρι until, and περί concerning (except before ι).

d. The dative singular ending ι of the third declension, and in σι, the ending of the dative plural.

e. Words with final υ.

72 D. Absence of elision in Homer often proves the loss of ϝ (3), as in κατὰ ἄστυ X 1. Epic admits elision in σά thy, ῥά, in the dat. sing. of the third decl., in -σι and -αι in the personal endings, and in -ναι, -σθαι of the infinitive, and (rarely) in μοί, σοί, τοί. ἄνα oh king, and ἄνα ἀνάστηθι rise up, elide only once, ἰδέ and never. Hdt. elides less often than Attic prose; but the Mss. are not a sure guide. περί sometimes appears as πέρ in Doric and Aeolic before words beginning with other vowels than ι. ὀξεἶ ὀδύναι Λ 272. Cp. 148 D. 1.

73. Except ἐστί is, forms admitting movable ν (134 a) do not suffer elision in prose. (But some cases of ε in the perfect occur in Demosthenes.)

73 D. In poetry a vowel capable of taking movable ν is often cut off.

74. αι in the personal endings and the infinitive is elided in Aristophanes; scarcely ever, if at all, in tragedy; its elision in prose is doubtful. οι is elided in tragedy in οἴμοι alas.

75. Interior elision takes place in forming compound words. Here the apostrophe is not used. Thus, οὐδείς no one from οὐδὲ εἷς, καθοράω look down upon from κατὰ ὁράω, μεθί_ημι let go from μετὰ ἵ_ημι (124).

a. ὁδί_, τουτί_ this are derived from the demonstrative pronouns ὅδε, τοῦτο + the deictic ending ι_ (333 g).

b. Interior elision does not always occur in the formation of compounds. Thus, σκηπτοῦχος sceptre-bearing from σκηπτο ¨ οχος (i.e. σοχος). Cp. 878.

c. On the accent in elision, see 174.

75 D. Apocope (ἀποκοπή cutting off) occurs when a final short vowel is cut off before an initial consonant. In literature apocope is confined to poetry, but in the prose inscriptions of the dialects it is frequent. Thus, in Hom., as separate words and in compounds, ἄν, κάτ, πάρ (ἀπ, ὑπ rarely) for ἀνά, κατά, παρά (ἀπό, ὑπό). Final τ is assimilated to a following consonant (but κατθανεῖν to die, not καθθανεῖν, cp. 83 a); so final ν by 91-95. Thus, ἀλλέξαι to pick up, ἂμ πόνον into the strife; κάββαλε threw down, κάλλιπε left behind, κακκείοντες lit. lying down, καυάξαις break in pieces, for καϝϝάξαις κατ-ϝάξαις, κὰδ δέ, καδδῦσαι entering into, κὰπ πεδίον through the plain, κὰγ γόνυ on the knee (kag not kang), κὰρ ῥόον in the stream; ὑββάλλειν interrupt, ἀππέμψει will send away. When three consonants collide, the final consonant of the apocopate word is usually lost, as κάκτανε slew, from κάκκτανε out of κατέκτανε. Apocope occurs rarely in Attic poetry. πότ for ποτί (= πρός in meaning) is frequent in Doric and Boeotian.

N.—The shorter forms may have originated from elision.


76. Aphaeresis (ἀφᾳίρεσις taking away) is the elision of ε at the beginning of a word after a word ending in a long vowel or diphthong. This occurs only in poetry, and chiefly after μή not, or. Thus, μὴ ᾿ νταῦθα, ᾿ μέ, παρέξω ᾿ μαυτόν, αὐτὴ ᾿ ξῆλθεν. In some texts editors prefer to adopt crasis (62) or synizesis (60). α is rarely elided thus.

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