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996. Collective Singular.—A noun in the singular may denote a number of persons or things: ““ Μῆδοςthe MedesT. 1.69, τὸ Ἑλληνικόν the Greeks 1. 1, τὸ βαρβαρικόν the barbarians 7. 29, πλίνθος the bricks 3. 20, ““ἵππον ἔχω εἰς χι_λία_νI have about a thousand horseX. C. 4.6.2, ““μυ_ρία_ ἀσπίςten thousand heavy armedX. A. 1.7.10. On the plural verb with collectives, see 950. Cp. 1024, 1044.

a. So with the neuter participle: τὸ μαχόμενον almost = ““οἱ μαχόμενοιthe combatantsT. 4.96.

b. The name of a nation with the article may denote one person as the representative (King, etc.) of a class: Μακεδών the Macedonian (Philip) D. 7.6.

997. The inhabitants of a place may be implied in the name of the place: ““Λέσβος ἀπέστη βουληθέντες καὶ πρὸ τοῦ πολέμουLesbos revolted, having wished to do so even before the warT. 3.2.

998. Distributive Singular.—The singular of abstract nouns may be used distributively (rarely with concrete substantives): ““ὅσοι δίκαιοι ἐγένοντο ἐν τῷ ἑαυτῶν βίῳall who proved themselves just in their livesP. A. 41a, ““διάφοροι τὸν τρόοπονdifferent in characterT. 8.96. The distributive plural (1004) is more common than the distributive singular: cp. ““νεα_νίαι τὰ_ς ὄψειςyouths in appearanceL. 10.29 with ““ἡδεῖς τὴν ὄψινpleasing in appearanceP. R. 452b.

999. Dual.—The dual is chiefly employed of two persons or things which, by nature or association, form a pair: ὀφθαλμώ the eyes (both eyes), χεῖρε the hands, ἵππω a span of horses. The addition of ἄμφω both indicates that the two things belong together: δύο emphasizes the number. Both ἄμφω and δύο were early used with the plural. The dual died out in the living speech of Attica by 300 B.C. Aeolic has no dual, and Ionic lost it very early. In Hom. the dual is used freely, and often in conjunction with the plural.

1000. Plural.—The plural of proper names, of materials, and of abstracts is used to denote a class. (1) of proper names: ““Θησέεςmen like TheseusP. Th. 169b. (2) of materials: here the plural denotes the parts, the different kinds of a thing, a mass, etc.: ““τόξαbowHdt. 3.78, πυ_ροί, κρι_θαί wheat, barley X. A. 4.5.26, οἶνοι wines 4. 4. 9, ““κρέα_meatAr. Ran. 553 (κρέας piece of meat), ““ἥλιοιhot daysT. 7.87, ““ξύλαtimberT. 7.25. (3) of abstracts: here the plural refers to the single kinds, cases, occasions, manifestations of the idea expressed by the abstract substantive; or is referred to several persons: ““ἀγνωμοσύναιmisunderstandingsX. A. 2.5.6, ““θάλπηdegrees of heatX. M. 1.4.13. Used in the plural, abstract nouns may become concrete, as ““ταφαίfuneralT. 2.34 (ταφή sepulture), ““εὐφροσύναιgood cheerX. C. 7.2.28 (εὐφροσύνη mirth), ““χάριτεςproofs of good will, presentsD. 8.53, ““εὔνοιαιcases of benevolence, presentsD. 8.25.

a. Many concrete substantives are commonly used only in the plural: πύλαι gate, θύραι door, τὰ Ὀλύμπια the Olympic festival; and in poetry δώματα house, κλί_μακες ladder, λέκτρα bed; cp. 1006.

b. The plural, especially in poetry, may correspond to the English indefinite singular: ἐπὶ ναυσί by ship.

1001. In Homer the plural denotes the various forms in which a quality is manifested: ““τεκτοσύναιthe arts of the carpenterε 250. In poetry, often of feelings, emotions, etc.: μανίαι (attacks of) madness A. Pr. 879.

1002. οὐδένες (μηδένες) denotes classes of men, states, nations (D. 5.15).

1003. The neuter plural is often used even in reference to a single idea or thought in order to represent it in its entirety or in its details, as τὰ ἀληθῆ the truth. This is very common with neuter pronouns: ἐχειρονόμουν δέ: ταῦτα γὰρ ἠπιστάμην but I waved my arms, for I knew how to do this X. S. 2. 19, ““διὰ ταχέωνquicklyP. A. 32d.

a. Thucydides is fond of the neuter plural of verbal adjectives used impersonally: ““ἐψηφίσαντο πολεμητέα εἶναιthey voted that it was necessary to make warT. 1.88, ἀδύνατα ἦν it was impossible 4. 1. Cp. 1052.

1004. Distributive Plural.—Abstract substantives are often used distributively in the plural: ““σι_γαὶ τῶν νεωτέρων παρὰ πρεσβυτέροιςthe silence of the younger men in the presence of their eldersP. R. 425a.

1005. Names of towns and parts of the body are sometimes plural: Ἀθῆναι Athens, Θῆβαι Thebes, στήθη and στέρνα breast (chiefly poetic). The name of the inhabitants is often used for the name of a city: Δελφοί D. 5.25.

1006. Plural of Majesty (poetic).—The plural may be used to lend dignity: ““θρόνοιthroneS. Ant. 1041, ““σκῆπτραscepterA. Ag. 1265, ““δώματαdwellingε 6; παιδικά favourite in prose (only in the plural form).

1007. Here belongs the allusive plural by which one person is alluded to in the plural number: δεσποτῶν θανάτοισι by the death of our lord A. Ch. 52, παθοῦσα πρὸς τῶν φιλτάτων I (Clytaemnestra) having suffered at the hands of my dearest ones (Orestes) A. Eum. 100.

1008. Plural of Modesty.—A speaker in referring to himself may use the first person plural as a modest form of statement. In prose, of an author: ““ἔννοιά ποθ᾽ ἡμῖν ἐγένετοthe reflection once occurred to meX. C. 1.1.1. In tragedy, often with interchange of plural and singular: εἰ κωλυ_όμεσθα μὴ μαθεῖν βούλομαι if I (Creusa) am prevented from learning what I wish E. Ion 391, ““ἱκετεύομεν ἀμφὶ σὰ_ν γενειάδα . . . προσπίτνωνI entreat thee, as I grasp thy beardE. H. F. 1206. See 1009.

1009. In tragedy, if a woman, speaking of herself, uses the plural verb (1008), an adjective or participle, in agreement with the subject, is feminine singular or masculine plural: ““ἥλιον μαρτυ_ρόμεσθα, δρῶσ᾽ δρᾶν οὐ βούλομαιI call the sun to witness, that I am acting against my willE. H. F. 858, ἀρκοῦμεν ἡμεῖς οἱ προθνῄσκοντες σέθεν it is enough that I (Alcestis) die in thy stead E. Alc. 383.

1010. εἰπέ, φέρε, ἄγε may be used as stereotyped formulas, without regard to the number of persons addressed: εἰπέ μοι, Σώκρατές τε καὶ ὑ_μεῖς οἱ ἄλλοι tell me, Socrates and the rest of you P. Eu. 283b.

1011. One person may be addressed as the representative of two or more who are present, or of his family: Ἀντίνο᾽, οὔ πως ἔστιν . . . μεθ᾽ ὑ_μῖν δαίνυσθαι Antinous, it is in no wise possible to feast with you β 310, “ τέκνον, πάρεστον; μψ ξηιλδρεν, αρε ψε ηερε̣S. O. C. 1102. So in dramatic poetry, the coryphaeus may be regarded as the representative of the whole chorus, as “ ξένοι, μή μ᾽ ἀνέρῃ τίς εἰμι στρανγερς ῾αδδρεσσεδ το τηε ωηολε ξηορυς᾿ δο νοτ ασκ ῾τηε σινγυλαρ οφ τηε ξορψπηαευς᾿ με ωηο ι αμS. O. C. 207.

1012. Greek writers often shift from a particular to a general statement and vice versa, thus permitting a free transition from singular to plural, and from plural to singular: ““οὐδὲ τότε συγχαίρει τύραννος: ἐνδεεστέροις γὰρ οὖσι ταπεινοτέροις αὐτοῖς οἴονται χρῆσθαιnot even then does the despot rejoice with the rest; for the more they are in want, the more submissive he thinks to find themX. Hi. 5.4.

hide References (45 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (45):
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1265
    • Aeschylus, Eumenides, 100
    • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers, 52
    • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 879
    • Aristophanes, Frogs, 553
    • Demosthenes, On the Halonnesus, 6
    • Demosthenes, On the Chersonese, 25
    • Demosthenes, On the Chersonese, 53
    • Demosthenes, On the Peace, 15
    • Demosthenes, On the Peace, 25
    • Euripides, Alcestis, 383
    • Euripides, Heracles, 1206
    • Euripides, Heracles, 858
    • Euripides, Ion, 391
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.78
    • Homer, Odyssey, 2.310
    • Homer, Odyssey, 5.250
    • Lysias, Against Theomnestus 1, 29
    • Plato, Republic, 425a
    • Plato, Republic, 452b
    • Plato, Apology, 41a
    • Plato, Apology, 32d
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 169b
    • Plato, Euthydemus, 283b
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1041
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1102
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 207
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.69
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.88
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.34
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.96
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.25
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.87
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.96
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 1.7.10
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 2.5.6
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 4.5.26
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 1.1.1
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 4.6.2
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 7.2.28
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 1.4.13
    • Xenophon, Hiero, 5.4
    • Xenophon, Symposium, 2
    • Homer, Odyssey, 5.6
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