previous next


1290. A substantive in the genitive limits the meaning of a substantive on which it depends.

1291. The genitive limits for the time being the scope of the substantive on which it depends by referring it to a particular class or description, or by regarding it as a part of a whole. The genitive is akin in meaning to the adjective and may often be translated by an epithet. Cp. στέφανος χρυ_σίου with χρυ_σοῦς στέφανος, φόβος πολεμίου with πολέμιος φόβος, τὸ εὖρος πλέθρου with τὸ εὖρος πλεθριαῖον (1035). But the use of the adjective is not everywhere parallel to that of the genitive.

1292. In poetry a genitive is often used with βία_, μένος, σθένος might, etc., instead of the corresponding adjective: βίη Διομήδεος mighty Diomede E 781.

1293. In poetry δέμας form, κάρα_ and κεφαλή head, etc., are used with a genitive to express majestic or loved persons or objects: Ἰσμήνης κάρα_ S. Ant. 1.

1294. χρῆμα thing is used in prose with a genitive to express size, strength, etc.: ““σφενδονητῶν πάμπολύ τι χρῆμαa very large mass of slingersX. C. 2.1.5. Cp. 1322.

1295. The genitive with substantives denotes in general a connection or dependence between two words. This connection must often be determined (1) by the meaning of the words, (2) by the context, (3) by the facts presupposed as known (1301). The same construction may often be placed under more than one of the different classes mentioned below; and the connection between the two substantives is often so loose that it is difficult to include with precision all cases under specific grammatical classes.

a. The two substantives may be so closely connected as to be equivalent to a single compound idea: τελευτὴ τοῦ βίου ‘life-end’ (cp. life-time) X. A. 1.1.1. Cp. 1146.

b. The genitive with substantives has either the attributive (1154), or, in the case of the genitive of the divided whole (1306), and of personal pronouns (1185), the predicate, position (1168).

1296. Words denoting number, especially numerals or substantives with numerals, often agree in case with the limited word instead of standing in the genitive: ““φόρος τέσσαρα τάλανταa tribute of four talentsT. 4.57 (cp. 1323), ἐς τὰ_ς ναῦς, αἳ ἐφρούρουν δύο, καταφυγόντες fleeing to the ships, two of which were keeping guard 4. 113. So with οἱ μέν, οἱ δέ in apposition to the subject (981).


1297. The genitive denotes ownership, possession, or belonging: ““ οἰκία_ Σίμωνοςthe house of SimonL. 3.32, ““ Κύ_ρου στόλοςthe expedition of CyrusX. A. 1.2.5. Cp. the dative of possession (1476).

1298. Here may be classed the genitive of origin: ““οἱ Σόλωνος νόμοιthe laws of SolonD. 20.103, ἐπιστολὴ τοῦ Φιλίππου the letter of Philip 18. 37, κύ_ματα παντοίων ἀνέμων waves caused by all kinds of winds B 396.

1299. The possessive genitive is used with the neuter article (singular or plural) denoting affairs, conditions, power, and the like: ““τὸ τῶν ἐφόρωνthe power of the ephorsP. L. 712d, ““τὸ τῆς τέχνηςthe function of the artP. G. 450c, ““τὸ τοῦ Σόλωνοςthe maxim of SolonP. Lach. 188b, ““ἄδηλα τὰ τῶν πολέμωνthe chances of war are uncertainT. 2.11, ““τὰ τῆς πόλεωςthe interests of the StateP. A. 36c, ““τὰ τοῦ δήμου φρονεῖis on the side of the peopleAr. Eq. 1216. Sometimes this is almost a mere periphrasis for the thing itself: ““τὸ τῆς τύχηςchanceD. 4.12 τὰ τῆς σωτηρία_ς safety 23. 163, τὸ τῆς ὁσία_ς, ὁτιδήποτ᾽ ἐστί the quality of holiness, whatever it is 21. 126, ““τὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἡμῶνwe eldersP. L. 657d. So τὸ τούτου S. Aj. 124 is almost = οὗτος, as τοὐμόν is = ἐγώ or ἐμέ. Cp. L. 8.19.

1300. The genitive of possession may be used after a demonstrative or relative pronoun: ““τοῦτό μου διαβάλλειhe attacks this action of mineD. 18.28.

1301. With persons the genitive may denote the relation of child to parent, wife to husband, and of inferior to superior: Θουκυ_δίδης Ὀλόρου Thucydides, the son of Olorus T. 4.104 (and so υιός is regularly omitted in Attic official documents), Διὸς Ἄρτεμις Artemis, daughter of Zeus S. Aj. 172, ““ Σμι_κυθίωνος ΜελιστίχηMelistiche wife of SmicythionAr. Eccl. 46, Αυ_δὸς Φερεκλέους Lydus, the slave of Pherecles And. 1.17, ““οἱ Μένωνοςthe troops of MenonX. A. 1.5.13 (οἱ τοῦ Μένωνος στρατιῶται 1. 5. 11).

a. In poetry we may have an attributive adjective: Τελαμώνιος Αἴα_ς ( = Αἴα_ς Τελαμῶνος) B 528. Cp. 846 f.

1302. The word on which the possessive genitive depends may be represented by the article: ἀπὸ τῆς ἑαυτῶν from their own country (γῆς) T. 1.15 (cp. 1027 b). A word for dwelling (οἰκία_, δόμος, and also ἱερόν) is perhaps omitted after ἐν, εἰς, and sometimes after ἐξ. Thus, ““ἐν Ἀρίφρονοςat Ariphron'sP. Pr. 320a, ἐν Διονύ_σου (scil. ἱερῷ) at the shrine of Dionysus D. 5.7, ““εἰς διδασκάλου φοιτᾶνto go to schoolX. C. 2.3.9, ““ἐκ Πατροκλέους ἔρχομαιI come from Patroclus'sAr. Plut. 84. So, in Homer, εἰνεἰς) Ἀίδα_ο.

1303. Predicate Use.—The genitive may be connected with the noun it limits by means of a verb.

““Ἱπποκράτης ἐστὶ οἰκία_ς μεγάληςHippocrates is of an influential houseP. Pr. 316b, ““Βοιωτῶν πόλις ἔσταιthe city will belong to the BoeotiansL. 12.58, ““ Ζέλειά ἐστι τῆς Ἀσία_ςZelea is in AsiaD. 9.43, ““οὐδὲ τῆς αὐτῆς Θρᾴκης ἐγένοντοnor did they belong to the same ThraceT. 2.29, ““ διώκει τοῦ ψηφίσματος, ταῦτ᾽ ἐστίνthe clauses in the bill which he attacks, are theseD. 18.56.

1304. The genitive with εἰμί may denote the person whose nature, duty, custom, etc., it is to do that set forth in an infinitive subject of the verb: πενία_ν φέρειν οὐ παντός, ἀλλ᾽ ἀνδρὸς σοφοῦ 'tis the sage, not every one, who can bear poverty Men. Sent. 463, ““δοκεῖ δικαίου τοῦτ᾽ εἶναι πολί_τουthis seems to be the duty of a just citizenD. 8.72, ““τῶν νι_κώντων ἐστὶ καὶ τὰ ἑαυτῶν σῴζειν καὶ τὰ τῶν ἡττωμένων λαμβάνεινit is the custom of conquerors to keep what is their own and to take the possessions of the defeatedX. A. 3.2.39.

1305. With verbs signifying to refer or attribute, by thought, word, or action, anything to a person or class. Such verbs are to think, regard, make, name, choose, appoint, etc.

““λογίζου . . . τὰ δ᾽ ἄλλα τῆς τύχηςdeem that the rest belongs to chanceE. Alc. 789, ““τῶν ἐλευθερωτάτων οἴκων νομισθεῖσαdeemed a daughter of a house most freeE. And. 12, ““ἐμὲ γράφε τῶν ἱππεύειν ὑπερεπιθυ_μούντωνput me down as one of those who desire exceedingly to serve on horsebackX. C. 4.3.21, ““τῆς πρώτης τάξεως τεταγμένοςassigned to the first classL. 14.11, ““τῆς ἀγαθῆς τύχης τῆς πόλεως εἶναι τίθημιI reckon as belonging to the good fortune of the StateD. 18.254, ““εἰ δέ τινες τὴν Ἀσία_ν ἑαυτῶν ποιοῦνταιbut if some are claiming Asia as their ownX. Ages. 1.33, ““νομίζει ὑ_μᾶς ἑαυτοῦ εἶναιhe thinks that you are in his powerX. A. 2.1.11.


1306. The genitive may denote a whole, a part of which is denoted by the noun it limits. The genitive of the divided whole may be used with any word that expresses or implies a part.

1307. Position.—The genitive of the whole stands before or after the word denoting the part: ““τῶν Θρᾳκῶν πελτασταίtargeteers of the ThraciansT. 7.27, ““οἱ ἄποροι τῶν πολι_τῶνthe needy among the citizensD. 18.104; rarely between the limited noun and its article: ““οἱ τῶν ἀδίκων ἀφικνούμενοιthose of the unrighteous who come hereP. G. 525c. Cp. 1161 N. 1.

1308. When all are included there is no partition: so in οὗτοι πάντες all of these, all these, τέτταρες ἡμεῖς ἦμεν there were four of us, ““τὸ πᾶν πλῆθος τῶν ὁπλι_τῶνthe entire body of the hoplitesT. 8.93, ὅσοι ἐστὲ τῶν ὁμοίων as many of you as belong to thepeersX. A. 4.6.14.

1309. The idea of division is often not explicitly stated. See third example in 1310.

1310. (I) The genitive of the divided whole is used with substantives.

““μέρος τι τῶν βαρβάρωνsome part of the barbariansT. 1.1, οἱ Δωριῆς ἡμῶν those of us who are Dorians 4. 61. The governing word may be omitted: Ἀρχία_ς τῶν Ἡρα_κλειδῶν Archias (one) of the Heraclidae T. 6.3. To an indefinite substantive without the article may be added a genitive denoting the special sort: Φεραύλα_ς Πέρσης τῶν δημοτῶν Pheraulas, a Persian, one of the common people X. C. 2.3.7.

1311. Chorographic Genitive.—““τῆς Ἀττικῆς ἐς Οἰνόηνto Oenoë in AtticaT. 2.18 (or ἐς Οἰνόην τῆς Ἀττικῆς, not ἐς τῆς Ἀττικῆς Οἰνόην), τῆς Ἰταλία_ς Αοκροί the Locrians in Italy 3. 86. The article, which is always used with the genitive of the country (as a place well known), is rarely added to the governing substantive (““τὸ Κήναιον τῆς Εὐβοία_ςCenaeum in EuboeaT. 3.93).

1312. (II) With substantive adjectives and participles.

““οἱ ἄδικοι τῶν ἀνθρώπωνthe unjust among menD. 27.68 (but always οἱ θνητοὶ ἄνθρωποι), ““μόνος τῶν πρυτάνεωνalone of the prytansP. A. 32b, ““ὀλίγοι αὐτῶνfew of themX. A. 3.1.3, ““τῶν ἄλλων Ἑλλήνων βουλόμενοςwhoever of the rest of the Greeks so desiresT. 3.92. So ““τὸ καταντικρὺ αὐτῶν τοῦ σπηλαίουthe part of the cavern facing themP. R. 515a. For nihil novi the Greek says οὐδὲν καινόν.

1313. Adjectives denoting magnitude, and some others, may conform in gender to the genitive, instead of appearing in the neuter: ““ἔτεμον τῆς γῆς τὴν πολλήνthey ravaged most of the landT. 2.56, τῆς γῆς ἀρίστη the best of the land 1. 2. This construction occurs more frequently in prose than in poetry.

1314. But such adjectives, especially when singular, may be used in the neuter: ““τῶν Ἀργείων λογάδων τὸ πολύthe greater part of the picked ArgivesT. 5.73, ἐπὶ πολὺ τῆς χώρα_ς over a great part of the land 4. 3.

1315. (III) With comparatives and superlatives.

““ἡμῶν γεραίτεροςthe elder of usX. C. 5.1.6 (1066 b), ““οἱ πρεσβύτατοι τῶν στρατηγῶνthe oldest of the generalsX. A. 3.3.11, ““σί_τῳ πάντων ἀνθρώπων πλείστῳ χρώμεθ᾽ ἐπεισάκτῳwe make use of imported grain more than all other peopleD. 18.87. So with a superlative adverb: ““ ναῦς ἄριστά μοι ἔπλει παντὸς τοῦ στρατοπέδουmy ship was the best sailer of the whole squadronL. 21.6.

1316. In poetry this use is extended to positive adjectives: ἀριδείκετος ἀνδρῶν conspicuous among men A 248, ““ φίλα_ γυναικῶνoh dear among womenE. Alc. 460. In tragedy an adjective may be emphasized by the addition of the same adjective in the genitive: ““ἄρρητ᾽ ἀρρήτωνhorrors unspeakableS. O. T. 465. Cp. 1064.

1317. (IV) With substantive pronouns and numerals.

““οἱ μὲν αὐτῶν, οἱ δ᾽ οὔsome of them and not othersP. A. 24e, ““οἳ ὕστερον ἐλήφθησαν τῶν πολεμίωνthose of the enemy who were taken laterX. A. 1.7.13, ““οὐδεὶς ἀνθρώπωνno one in the worldP. S. 220a, ““τὶ τοῦ τείχουςa part of the wallT. 7.4, ““τὶς θεῶνone of the godsE. Hec. 164 (““τὶς θεόςa godX. C. 5.2.12), ““ἓν τῶν πολλῶνone of the many thingsP. A. 17a; rarely after demonstrative pronouns: τούτοις τῶν ἀνθρώπων to these (of) men T. 1.71.

a. With ὀλίγοι and with numerals ἀπό and ἐξ are rarely added: ““ἐκ τριῶν ἕνone of threeS. Tr. 734. ἐξ with superlatives is also rare. See also 1688. 1 c.

1318. The genitive of the divided whole may do duty as the subject of a finite verb (928 b) or of the infinitive: (ἔφασαν) ἐπιμειγνύναι σφῶν πρὸς ἐκείνους they said that some of their number associated with them X. A. 3.5.16.

1319. Predicate Use.—““ἦν δ᾽ αὐτῶν Φαλῖνοςand among them was PhalinusX. A. 2.1.7, Σόλων τῶν ἑπτὰ σοφιστῶν ἐκλήθη Solon was called one of the Seven Sages I. 15.235, ““τῶν ἀτοπωτάτων ἂν εἴηit would be very strangeD. 1.26; and often with verbs signifying to be, become, think, say, name, choose. With some of these verbs εἷς with the genitive may be used instead of the genitive alone.


1320. The genitive to denote quality occurs chiefly as a predicate.

““ἐὼν τρόπου ἡσυχίουbeing of a peaceful dispositionHdt. 1.107, ““οἱ δέ τινες τῆς αὐτῆς γνώμης ὀλίγοι κατέφυγονbut some few of the same opinion fledT. 3.70, ““ταῦτα παμπόλλων ἐστὶ λόγωνthis calls for a thorough discussionP. L. 642a, θεωρήσατ᾽ αὐτόν, μὴ ὁποτέρου τοῦ λόγου, ἀλλ᾽ ὁποτέρου τοῦ βίου ἐστίν consider, not the manner of his speech, but the manner of his life Aes. 3.168, ““εἰ δοκεῖ ταῦτα καὶ δαπάνης μεγάλης καὶ πόνων πολλῶν καὶ πρα_γματεία_ς εἶναιif these matters seem to involve great expense and much toil and troubleD. 8.48.

a. The attributive use occurs in poetry: ““χόρτων εὐδένδρων Εὐρώπα_ςEurope with its pastures amid fair treesE. I. T. 134, λευκῆς χιόνος πτέρυξ a wing white as snow (of white snow) S. Ant. 114.

1321. The use of the genitive to express quality, corresponding to the Latin genitive, occurs in the non-predicate position, only when age or size is exactly expressed by the addition of a numeral (genitive of measure, 1325). The Latin genitive of quality in mulier mirae pulchritudinis is expressed by γυνὴ θαυμασία_ κάλλος (or τοῦ κάλλους), γυνὴ θαυμασία_ ἰδεῖν, γυνὴ ἔχουσα θαυμάσιον σχῆμα, etc.


1322. The genitive of an explicit word may explain the meaning of a more general word.

Ἰ_λίου πόλις E 642, as urbs Romae, ““ἄελλαι παντοίων ἀνέμωνblasts formed of winds of every sortε 292. This construction is chiefly poetic, but in prose we find ὑὸς μέγα χρῆμα a monster (great affair, 1294) of a boar Hdt. 1.36, ““τὸ ὄρος τῆς ἸστώνηςMt. IstoneT. 4.46 (very rare, 1142 c). An articular infinitive in the genitive often defines the application of a substantive: ““ἀμαθία_ τοῦ οἴεσθαι εἰδέναι α: οὐκ οἶδενthe ignorance of thinking one knows what one does not knowP. A. 29b.

a. But with ὄνομα the person or thing named is usually in apposition to ὄνομα: ““τῷ δὲ νεωτάτῳ ἐθέμην ὄνομα ΚαλλίστρατονI gave the youngest the name CallistratusD. 43.74.


1323. The genitive expresses material or contents.

ἕρκος ὀδόντων the fence (consisting) of the teeth Δ 350, ““κρήνη ἡδέος ὕδατοςa spring of sweet waterX. A. 6.4.4, σωροὶ σί_του, ξύλων, λίθων heaps of corn, wood, stones X. H. 4.4.12, ““ἑξακόσια τάλαντα φόρουsix hundred talents in taxesT. 2.13 (cp. 1296).

1324. Predicate Use: ““στεφάνους ῥόδων ὄντας, ἀλλ᾽ ου᾽ χρυ_σίουcrowns that were of roses, not of goldD. 22.70, ““ἐστρωμένη ἐστὶ ὁδὸς λίθουa road was paved with stoneHdt. 2.138, and often with verbs of making, which admit also the instrumental dative. Hdt. has ποιεῖσθαι ἀπό and ἔκ τινος.


1325. The genitive denotes measure of space, time, or degree.

““ὀκτὼ σταδίων τεῖχοςa wall eight stades longT. 7.2, πέντε ἡμερῶν σι_τία provisions for five days 7. 43 (cp. fossa pedum quindecim, exilium decem annorum Less commonly with a neuter adjective or pronoun: ἐπὶ μέγα ἐχώρησαν δυνά<*> they advanced to a great pitch of power T. 1.118, τὶ δόξης some honour (aliq<*> famae) 1. 5, ἀμήχανον εὐδαιμονία_ς (something infinite in the way of happiness) infinite happiness P. A. 41c (with emphasis on the adj.). But the phrases εἰς τοῦτο, εἰς τοσοῦτο ἀφικέσθαι (ἤκειν, ἐλθεῖν, προσβαίνειν, usually with a personal subject) followed by the genitive of abstracts are common: ““εἰς τοῦτο θράσους ἀφί_κετοhe reached such a pitch of boldnessD. 21.194, ““ἐν παντὶ ἀθυ_μία_ςin utter despondencyT. 7.55, ἐν τούτῳ παρασκευῆς in this stage of preparation 2. 17, κατὰ τοῦτο καιροῦ at that critical moment 7. 2. The article with this genitive is unusual in classical Greek: ““εἰς τοῦτο τῆς ἡλικία_ςto this stage of lifeL. 5.3. Some of these genitives may also be explained by 1306.

1326. Under the head of measure belongs amount: ““δυοῖν μναῖν πρόσοδοςan income of two minaeX. Vect. 3.10. Cp. 1296, 1323.

1327. Predicate Use.—““ἐπειδὰν ἐτῶν τις τριά_κονταwhen a man is thirty years oldP. L. 721a, ““τὰ τείχη ἦν σταδίων ὀκτώthe walls were eight stades longT. 4.66.


1328. With a verbal noun the genitive may denote the subject or object of the action expressed in the noun.

a. Many of these genitives derive their construction from that of the kindred verbs: ““τοῦ ὕδατος ἐπιθυ_μία_desire for waterT. 2.52 (1349), χόλος υἱός anger because of his son O 138 (1405). But the verbal idea sometimes requires the accusative, or (less commonly) the dative.

1329. In poetry an adjective may take the place of the genitive: ““νόστος βασίλειοςthe return of the kingA. Pers. 8. Cp. 1291.

1330. The Subjective Genitive is active in sense: τῶν βαρβάρων φόβος the fear of the barbarians (which they feel: οἱ βάρβαροι φοβοῦνται) X. A. 1.2.17, βασιλέως ἐπιορκία_ the perjury of the king (βασιλεὺς ἐπιορκεῖ) 3. 2. 4, ““τὸ ὀργιζόμενον τῆς γνώμηςtheir angry feelingsT. 2.59 (such genitives with substantive participles are common in Thucydides; cp. 1153 b, N. 2).

1331. The Objective Genitive is passive in sense, and is very common with substantives denoting a frame of mind or an emotion: φόβος τῶν Εἱλώτων the fear of the Helots (felt towards them: φοβοῦνται τοὺς Εἵλωτας) T. 3.54, τῶν Ἑλλήνων εὔνοια good-will towards the Greeks (εὐνοεῖ τοῖς Ἕλλησι) X. A. 4.7.20, τῶν καλῶν συνουσία_ intercourse with the good (σύνεισι τοῖς καλοῖς) P. L. 838a.

a. The objective genitive often precedes another genitive on which it depends: ““μετὰ τῆς ξυμμαχία_ς τῆς αἰτήσεωςwith the request for an allianceT. 1.32.

1332. Various prepositions are used in translating the objective genitive: ““ θεῶν πόλεμοςwar with the godsX. A. 2.5.7, ““ὅρκοι θεῶνoaths by the godsE. Hipp. 657, ““θεῶν εὐχαίprayers to the godsP. Phae. 244e, ““ἀδικημάτων ὀργήanger at injusticeL. 12.20, ““ἐγκράτεια ἡδονῆςmoderation in pleasureI. 1.21, ““ τῶν ἡδονῶν νί_κηvictory over pleasuresP. L. 840c, ““τρόπαια βαρβάρωνmemorials of victory over barbariansX. A. 7.6.36, ““παραινέσεις τῶν ξυναλλαγῶνexhortations to reconciliationT. 4.59, ““μῦθος φίλωνtidings about friendsS. Ant. 11, ““σοῦ μῦθοςspeech with theeS. O. C. 1161. In ““θανάτου λύσιςrelease from deathι 421, μεταπαυσωλὴ πολέμοιο respite from war T 201, it is uncertain whether the genitive is objective or ablatival (1392).

1333. The objective genitive is often used when a prepositional expression, giving greater precision, is more usual: τὸ Μεγαρέων ψήφισμα the decree relating to (περί) the Megarians T. 1.140, ἀπόβασις τῆς γῆς a descent upon the land (ἐς τὴν γῆν) 1. 108, ἀπόστασις τῶν Ἀθηναίων revolt from the Athenians (ἀπὸ τῶν Ἀθηναίων) 8. 5.

1334. For the objective genitive a possessive pronoun is sometimes used: ““σὴν χάρινfor thy sakeP. Soph. 242a, ““διαβολὴ ἐμήcalumniation of meP. A. 20e. ἐμὸς φόβος is usually objective: the fear which I inspire. (But ““σοῦ μῦθοςspeech with theeS. O. C. 1161.)

1335. Predicate Use.—οὐ τῶν κακούργων οἶκτος, ἀλλὰ τῆς δίκης compassion is not for wrong-doers, but for justice E. fr. 270.


1336. The genitive expresses value.

““ἱερὰ τριῶν ταλάντωνofferings worth three talentsL. 30.20, ““χι_λίων δραχμῶν δίκην φεύγωI am defendant in an action involving a thousand drachmasD. 55.25.

1337. Predicate Use: ““τοὺς αἰχμαλώτους τοσούτων χρημάτων λύ_εσθαιto ransom the captives at so high a priceD. 19.222, τριῶν δραχμῶν πονηρὸς ὤν a threepenny rogue 19. 200.


1338. Two genitives expressing different relations may be used with one noun.

““οἱ ἄνθρωποι διὰ τὸ αὑτῶν δέος τοῦ θανάτου καταψεύδονταιby reason of their fear of death men tell liesP. Ph. 85a, ““Διονύ_σου πρεσβυ_τῶν χορόςa chorus of old men in honour of DionysusP. L. 665b, ““ τοῦ Αάχητος τῶν νεῶν ἀρχήLaches' command of the fleetT. 3.115, Φαιά_κων προενοίκησις τῆς Κερκύ_ρα_ς the former occupation of Corcyra by the Phaeacians 1.25.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: