previous next

12. Nominative for the vocative.

In the absence of a vocative form, the nominative is used as a vocative. When the vocative exists, the use of the nominative as a vocative has often a perceptible difference of tone. It is graver and more respectful, because it appeals to character, though sometimes metrical considerations come into play. In Homer, the nominative of proper nouns is frequently substituted for the vocative because of certain irregularities of metre.

ἐγὼ . . ., γῆ καὶ ἥλιε καὶ . . . σύνεσις . . . βεβοήθηκα,AESCHIN. 3.260.

PLATO, Hipp. Mai. 281 A:Ἱππίας καλός τε καὶ σοφός, ὡς διὰ χρόνου ἡμῖν κατῆρας εἰς τὰς Ἀθήνας” .

δέσποτ᾽ ἄναξ
λαμπρός τ᾽ αἰθήρ

. 1168.

EUR. Hel. 1399: κλεινὸς ἡμῖν πόσις” . Suppl. 277: φίλος, δοκιμώτατος Ἑλλάδι” .

SOPH. Ai. 525:Αἴας” , and so regularly in Sophocles. (See Ellendt, Soph. ).

δῖος αἰθὴρ καὶ ταχύπτεροι πνοαί,
ποταμῶν τε πηγαὶ ποντίων τε κυμάτων,
ἀνήριθμον γέλασμα, παμμῆτόρ τε γῆ

. Ibid. 545: φίλος, εἰπέ” . Fr. 207 N2:τράγος, γένειον ἆρα πενθήσεις σύ γε”.

HOM. Od. 1.301:καὶ σύ, φίλος, μάλα γάρ σε, κτε” . 17.415:δός, φίλος” . 19.406:γαμβρὸς ἐμὸς θύγατέρ τε, τίθεσθ᾽ ὄνομ᾽ ὅττι κεν εἴπω” .

Ζεῦ πάτερ Ἴδηθεν μεδέων κύδιστε μέγιστε
Ἠέλιός θ᾽ ὃς πάντ᾽ ἐφορᾷς


For the occasional use of the Nominative of an Adjective with a Vocative Substantive, or of a Vocative Adjective with a Nominative Substantive, see Index.

1 This is a curious coincidence with the Vedic rule (Delbrück, Forsch. V. Synt.§ 66) which prohibits copulation of two vocatives by ca (“τε”), but requires the word connected by ca to be put in the nominative instead of in the vocative.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

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