This paper argues that the Greek desiderative formation in -σειε/ο- may be explained as continuing a form in *-s-eu̯-i̯e/o-, derived from the weak stem in *-eu̯- of u-stem adjectives built to non-reduplicated s-presents/desideratives of the type Ved. d(h)akṣu- ‘burning’ which is marginally preserved in Mycenaean e-wi-su° and probably Alphabetic Greek φαῦλος and αἴσυλα.
1 Desideratives in -σειε/ο-
Ancient Greek has a present stem formation in -σειε/ο- with “desiderative” meaning, i.e. expressing the intention of the subject to bring about a state of affairs. The first and only instance in Homer is the participle ὀψείοντες ‘wishing to see’ in Il. 14.37:
τώ ῥ’ οἵ γ’ὀψείοντες ἀϋτῆς καὶ πολέμοιο / ἔγχει ἐρειδόμενοι κίον ἀθρόοι
The kings therefore were faring all in one body, leaning each on his spear, to look upon the war and the combat.
In Classical Greek both participles and indicative forms are attested, e.g. E. Med. 93 δρασείουσαν, S. Ph. 1245 δρασείεις, also an imperfect in Sophron (5th c. BC, Sicily) frg. 81.1 [Kaibel] ἐγὼν δέ τυ καὶ πάλαι ὤψεον ‘I wanted/have been wanting to see for long’.1 In postclassical times the formation seems to have lost its productivity: later authors restrict the use of -σειε/ο-forms to the participle and largely to the same lexemes or semantic fields attested in classical times, as may be seen from the following table.2
‘get rid of’
Thuc. 1.95.7, 3.84.1 ἀπαλλαξείοντες, 8.89.2 ἀπαλλαξείειν
Aristides 284.10 [Jebb] ἀπαλλαξείων, Procopius Historia arcana 4.40.4, Theodoretus 326.5 ἀπαλλαξείοντα, Macarius Macres Orationes 2.9.9 ἀπαλλαξείοντας etc.
Thuc. 8.56.3 ξυμβασείοντα (codd.) ξυμβησείοντα (Pierson)
Dio Cassius 40.32.2 διαβησείων, Luc. Charon 9.7 ἐλασείοντι ‘wishing to campaign against’, Agath. 111.26 πελασείοντες (τῇ πολιορκίᾳ)
Pl. Phd. 64b1 γελασείοντα
Euseb. PE 2.3.18 γελασείουσιν etc., antonym κλαυσείοντες ‘wishing to cry’ in Synesius de regno 14.28
‘give’, ‘buy’ δίδωμι, ἀγοράζω, ὠνέω
Thuc. 4.28.2 παραδωσείοντα
Procopius de bellis 7.34.21 ἀποδωσείοντες,
schol. Ar. Ran. 1068 ἀγορασείων ‘wishing to buy’, Dio Cassius 47.14 ὠνησείοντα ‘id.’
S. Aj. 326 δρασείων, Aj. 585, Ph. 1245 δρασείεις, E. Med. 93 δρασείουσαν, Ph. 1208 δρασείετον, Ar. V. 168 δρασείει, Pax 62 δρασείεις, S. Tr. 1232 ἐργασείων, Ph. 1001 ἐργασείεις
Pachym. 63.19, 568.6 [Failler/Laurent] δρασειόντων
Ar. Eq. 998, Nub. 295 χεσείω, Eq. 888 χεσείῃ
Call. Aetia frg. 24.17 [Pfeiffer] βρωσείοντες ‘wishing to eat’
‘battle’, ‘be a tyrant’
Thuc. 1.33.4 πολεμησείοντας
πολεμησειοντ- App. 3×, D.C. 2×, Theodoretus 1×, Syrianus 1×, Agath. 1×, Procop. 4× etc.
τυραννησειε/ο- Sol. ap. D.L.1.65 -οντα, Philostr. VA 5.33 -οντι, 8.7 -οντας
S. frg. 991 [Radt] ἀκουσείων
Georgius Pachymeres (13th/14th c.) Συγγρ. 25.7 τοῖς ἀκουσείουσι
It seems likely that this restriction is an Atticist phenomenon, as later authors imitated only those morphological forms (i.e. participles) and only those lexemes or semantically related verbs (as near-synonyms, antonyms etc.) that were attested in their canonized predecessors with some frequency. This does not preclude that a later author might have become creative and used a form not known from earlier literature—unless, of course, this impression is due to our limited data3—, but the overall correspondence between classical and postclassical usage may be interpreted as showing that the desiderative had ceased to be productive by the 3rd c. BC and was perpetuated only as a literary marker in the forms known from the classical authors.4
1.2 Earlier explanations
The origin of the Greek desiderative formation in -σειε/ο- has remained unclear, despite various attempts at a derivation. Wackernagel (1887) bases his reconstruction on the fact that the desiderative, as seen in 1.1, frequently occurs as a participle. The unexpected genitive objects ἀϋτῆς καὶ πολέμοιο in the single desiderative attested in Homer, ὀψείοντες ‘wishing to see’, might neatly be explained if, as Wackernagel proposes, there was an original syntagm *ὄψει ἰόντες ‘going to the sight’ with a dative of ὄψις triggering an adnominal genitive. Several problems are connected with this hypothesis, however: a) as already pointed out by Ehrlich (1912: 97), there is no evidence for a syntagm *ὄψει εἶμι anywhere else, hence it is assumed ad hoc. b) the desiderative is not restricted to the participle in Classical Greek and its later perseveration in participles only is likely to be an effect of literary language use. Hence, there is no compelling reason to base an etymological explanation on the participle.5 c) While a genitive object is indeed rare with verbs of seeing,6 the desiderative meaning of ὀψείοντες may be responsible for the genitive, marking partial or non-affectedness of the object as in the case of ὀρέγομαι ‘stretch towards, reach out, take hold’ with accusative of body-part vs. genitive of person and other verbs meaning ‘aim at, try to reach’ such as ἐπιμαίομαι ‘strive after’, ἵεμαι ‘desire’, ἔλδομαι ‘desire’, ἔραμαι ‘love, desire’, ἐπείγω ‘press for, be eager’ etc., as pointed out by Chantraine (2013: 71 = 1953: 50 f.),7 who lists ὀψείοντες among these forms.
1.2.2 Ehrlich, Schwyzer et al.
The weaknesses of Wackernagel’s explanation have led to other proposals that have not met with universal approval either:8
a) Ehrlich (1912: 97) compares Ved. iṣ ‘search’, Av. aēšma- ‘wrath’, Gk. οἶμα ‘rush’ and explains the first element as going back to abstract nouns in -τι-, i.e. ὀψείοντ- < *ὀπτι̯- + -ειοντ- from *-εισοντ-, i.e. something like ‘rushing to the sight of’. The connection with iṣ is difficult on formal grounds, since the PIE root was probably *h2ei̯s- (LIV2 260, cf. Arm. ayc‘ ‘visit, inspection’) and one would expect Gk. *-αισοντ-. Gk. οἶμα and Av. aēšma- probably belong to PIE *h1ei̯sh2- ‘invigorate, urge’9 (> Gk. *-εισαντ/οντ-) or a root *h3ei̯s- (> Gk. *-oισoντ-).10 As in the case of Wackernagel’s explanation, there is no further evidence in Greek for such a grammaticalization of periphrastic constructions.
b) Schwyzer (1939: 789) takes -σείω to be an “expressive” form *-sei̯i̯ō of *-sei̯ō, which in turn he interprets as an enlargement of the *-se/o-future. Probably the future in *-si̯e/o- (Skt. -sya-, Lith. 1sg -siu) is an enlargement of the simple *-s-future parallel to its simple thematic variant *-se/o-,11 whereas a form *-sei̯e/o- seems to be unparalleled. Another problem with this explanation is the gratuitous assumption of gemination.
c) Frequently, researchers try to connect the desiderative with both the future in -σε/ο- and the “Doric” future in -σεε/ο-:12 according to Lindeman (1965), the Greek desiderative and the “Doric” future continue a formation in *-si̯e/o- comparable with the Vedic future forms in -sya- and the Lith. 1sg fut. of the type busiù ‘I will be’. For Lindeman, Greek inherited desideratives going back to *-si̯e/o- and to *-h1si̯e/o- after resonants beside futures in *-se/o- of the type λείψω. The variants *-si̯e/o- and (*h1si̯e/o- >) *-esi̯e/o- were contaminated to *-sesi̯e/o- > *-sei̯i̯e/o-, which yielded both the desiderative -σειε/ο- and the “Doric” future -σέω by simplification of the geminate as in Hom. τελείω, τελέω, Att. τελῶ, from τέλος.13 The arbitrary hypothesis of a contamination of two formations assumed ad hoc to be continued in Greek makes this explanation rather unlikely. This is also true of Hollifield (1981), who assumes -σειε/ο- to stem from *-se- + *-si̯e/o-. A similar explanation has recently been proposed by Willi (2017: 458 fn. 106), who also takes the Greek desideratives to go back to forms in *-si̯e/o-: after obstruent-final roots, desideratives in *-si̯e/o- would have become indistinguishable from futures in *-se/o-, e.g. *dei̯ḱ-si̯e/o- > *δειξε/ο- like *dei̯ḱ-se/o- > δειξε/ο-, which led to a remarking by analogy to roots with final resonant, e.g. *men-esi̯e/o- > *μενειε/ο- → δειξειε/ο-. The Greek data are not favourable for this approach, as the only possible instance of a desiderative of a root ending in a resonant is Homeric κειε/ο- ‘wish to lie’ (16×), which, whatever its origin, does not lend itself as a model for analogy as synchronically it consists of the root κει- and the ablauting thematic vowel.14
As pointed out by Wackernagel (1887: 144), an intermediate consonant /u̯/, /s/ or /i̯/ may have been lost in the desiderative in -σειε/ο-.15 The following discussion will try to show that this form continues a denominal verb formation with /u̯/.
2 -ειε/ο- < *-eu̯i̯e/o-?
The phonological possibility of a derivation from a hypothetical preform *-eu̯-i̯e/o- > -ειε/ο- is shown by parallel cases such as Att. καίω ‘burn’ from *kau̯i̯e/o-, aor. ἔκαυσα,16 and Elean, the Greek dialect famous for preserving the original alternation between presents in -είω beside aorists in -ευσ(α)- derived from nouns in -εύς,17 in forms such as λατρειόμενον, σταθμείοι, κατιαραίων, φυγαδείην, φυγαδείοι vs. aor. φυγαδεύαντι, and πολιτειομένοιρ. In the first case, the noun λατρεύς ‘servant’ is attested only from the 2nd c. onward (Lyc.), the only older form being λάτρις (Thgn. 302+). This shows the productivity of the formation in -είω : -ευσ(α)-, which has become independent of the existence of a corresponding noun in -εύς. Likewise, there is no *πολιτεύς from which to derive πολιτειομένοιρ, only πολίτης, and φυγάς, but no **φυγαδεύς, etc.
3 Nouns in -εύς18
Since the formal relation between nouns in -εύς and presents in -είω is well established, it is tempting to pursue the hypothesis that the desideratives in -σειε/ο- are denominals based on nouns in *-s-eus. As the following discussion will show, however, both the derivation of desideratives from nouns in -εύς and the assumption of a connection of the subgroup in -σεύς with a verbal stem are problematic. The latter type is already attested in Mycenaean, and in the first edition of Documents Ventris & Chadwick (1953: 94) interpreted it as based on the future stem, a view they changed in the second edition where they speak more cautiously of “verbal stems with a -s-suffix”:19
Ἀλεξεύς (Argos 303 BC)20
ἀλέξω ‘ward off’ (cf. Ved. rákṣati)
ἀέξω, αὐξάνω ‘grow’ (cf. Ved. ukṣant-)
Δεξεύς (Argos 4th/3rd c. BC)
χαριοῦμαι, χαρίξομαι, χαρίσομαι ‘grant’
ὀνήσω ‘profit, help’
As a further argument for this derivation, one could point out that both in Mycenaean and Alphabetic Greek nouns in -eus may be derived from verbal stems, although this is apparently much less often the case than the productive denominal pattern of the type χαλκός ‘copper’, χαλκεύς ‘smith’, χαλκεύω ‘forge’, cf. e.g. in Alphabetic Greek forms such as22
- στιγεύς ‘tattooer’ (Hdt. 7.35) : στίζω ‘to tattoo’.23
- πνῐγεύς ‘damper, extinguisher, cover of a stove’ (Ar. Nu. 96+) : πνῐγῆναι ‘to choke’.24
- ψῠγεύς ‘cooler (for wine)’ (=ψυκτήρ, Alex. 64 [4th c. BC], Euphro 3 [3rd c. BC]) : ψῠγῆναι ‘to cool’.25
- σκαλεύς ‘hoer’ (X. Oec. 17.12,15) : σκάλλω ‘to stir up, hoe’.26
- πλῠνεύς ‘clothes-cleaner’ (=πλύντης, IG 2.1327, Poll.7.38) : πλύνω ‘to wash’.
- ἀλειφεύς ‘anointer’ (imp., Priene) : ἀλείφω ‘to anoint’.
In Mycenaean a similar pattern is found in27
- pe-re-ke-u /plekeus/ ‘weaver’ : πλέκω ‘to weave’.
- pe-ke-u /pekeus/ : πέκω ‘to comb’ or /sperkheus/ : σπέρχομαι ‘to strive’.
- pe-qe-u /pekweus/ ‘cook, chef’ : πέττω/πέσσω ‘to cook’.28
- e-pe-ke-u /Epeigeus/ ‘one who urges on, impels’ : ἐπείγω ‘to urge on, impel’, Alph.-Gk. Ἐπειγεύς.29
By analogy one might assume that if deverbal nouns in -eu- are possible, built either to aorist stems (as in πνιγεύς) or to present stems (as in πλυνεύς), nouns in -s-eu- might go back to sigmatic aorist stems or desiderative/future stems in -s-, which served as the basis for denominal verbs:
aorist/future/desiderative -s- → noun in -s-eu- → denominal present in -s-eu̯-i̯e/o- > -σειε/ο-30
In contrast to the denominal presents based on nouns in -eu-, the type in -s-eu- does not seem to have been productive in post-Mycenaean times. This might account for the fact that there was no analogical restitution of -eu- in the forms in -σειε/ο-, because the corresponding nouns in -σευ- no longer existed (or never had), whereas in the case of the presents in *-eu̯-i̯e/o- the nouns in -ευ- are usually present (with the exceptions noted above), e.g. βασιλεύς / *βασιλείω → βασιλεύω. Further analogical pressure was exerted by the other tense/aspect forms aor. βασιλευσ(α)- and fut. βασιλευσε/ο-, while there is no evidence for secondary sigmatic forms built to *-s-eu̯-nouns.
But even if we assume that some of the names in -s-eus are based on sigmatic verbal stems and that it was possible to derive appellatives in -eus from verbal stems in general (such as πνιγεύς), the lack of unambiguous appellatives in -s-eus makes a direct derivation of these simplicia unlikely, i.e. there is no evidence for a nomen agentis of the type *ὀψεύς ‘one who wants to see’ derived from the stem of ὄψομαι. The exception is personal names in -s-eus, and these are likely to be the result of a shortening of corresponding longer forms, mostly compounds, even though such compounds may not be attested in early times for all such personal names, cf.31
- a-re-ke-se-u : Ἀλεξίκακος (Athens, 188/7 AD), Ἀλεξίμβροτος (3×)32
- a-we-ke-se-u : Αὐξίβιος (Delos, 218 BC), frequent Αὐξησίβιος, Αὐξιτύχη (3rd c. AD), cf. also adj. ἀεξίγυιος ‘strengthening the limbs’ (Pi. N. 4.73), ἀεξίφυλλος ‘nourishing leaves’ (A. Ag. 697)
- de-ke-se-u : Δεξίμαχος (10×), Δεξίχαρις (2×), δεξίμηλος ‘receiving sheep, rich in sacrifices’ (E. Andr. 129 [lyr.], 1138, Ph. 632)
- ka-ri-se-u : Χαρίσανδρος (34×)
- o-na-se-u : Ὀνασίτιμος (6×), overall names with Ὀνασι° 380×
- pa-ra-ke-se-u : Πραξίδαμος (14×)33
4 Comparative data
If an inner-Greek explanation of the desiderative in -σειε/ο- is not forthcoming, a comparative perspective may be helpful. In Vedic, the productive desiderative is a reduplicated form with a suffix -s-a-,34 e.g. cit ‘realize, note’ : ci-kit-sati ‘tries to see’, pā ‘drink’ : pí-pā-sati/pi-pī-ṣati ‘is thirsty, wishes to drink’ and dabh- ‘damage’ : di-p-sati ‘wishes to damage’ < *di-dbh-sa-, cf. OAv. inf. diβžaidiiāi [Y. 45.4] ‘deceive’.35 In the latter case, the proto-form *di-dbh-se/o- underwent loss of the intermediate /d/ followed by assimilation of *b(h)s to Ved. -ps- and Av. -βž- respectively. The desiderative stem serves as a basis for u-stem adjectives, i.e. dabh- : dipsú- ‘wishing to damage’, cit : cikitsú- ‘cautious, wise’ (AV), yaj- ‘sacrifice’ : īyakṣú-, ji ‘win, conquer’ : jigīṣú- etc.36
Beside this, an unreduplicated desiderative may be supposed to have existed in an early layer of Indo-Iranian, of which only a few remnants seem to be attested in Vedic such as RV 1.100.8 apsanta ‘they try/want to reach’, which may be an independent -sa-subjunctive built to the root ap ‘reach’ or a desiderative without reduplication,37 and the presents nákṣa- from PIE *h2neḱ- ‘reach’, which may continue *h2neḱ-s(e/o)-;38 ukṣáti ‘to sprinkle’, from PIE *u̯egu̯- ‘make wet’;39 and caṣṭe ‘sees’, to which corresponds YAv. cašte ‘teaches’ (PIE *ku̯eḱ-s-).40 Other membra disiecta of this formation may be Hittite kweršun ‘I cut’ (KBo 10.2 ii 48 [OH/NS]) beside the reduplicated form kuguršant- ‘mutilated’41 and a set of roots ending in /s/ that seem to have been lexicalized already in the protolanguage, losing the putative desiderative meaning, such as Gk. ἀέξω and ἀλέξω (v. supra), which are simple presents meaning ‘grow’ and ‘defend’ respectively. Instances of this type may be PIE *bhleh1(s)- ‘blow’ (Goth. blesan, OHG blâsan [v. infra on Gk. φαῦλος] beside OHG blāen ‘id.’, Lat. flēre, fleō ‘to cry’, Latv. blêju, blêt ‘to bleat’),42 *ḱleu̯(s)- ‘hear’ (Ved. śroṣan ‘they obey’, OCS slyšati, slyšǫ, OHG [h]losēn), *h2eu̯g- ‘grow’ : *h2u̯eks- (Lat. augēre, Goth. aukan; Gk. ἀέξω, αὐξάνω, Ved. úkṣant-), *h2elk- ‘defend, ward off’ : *h2leks- (Gk. ἀλαλκεῖν, Lat. ulciscor; Gk. ἀλέξω, Ved. rákṣati), *ku̯ei̯(s)- ‘realize, notice’ (Ved. cā́yati, Gk. τίω ‘honour’; OAv. cōišt [aor.], cinasti ‘assign’),43 and *ten(s)- ‘stretch’ (Gk. τείνω; Goth. °þinsan ‘draw’, Lith. tęsiù, tę̃sti ‘stretch’, Ved. taṁsaya- ‘pull’). Beside such lexicalized forms, the Baltic and Italic s-futures (Lith. 3sg duõs ‘will give’, Osc. 3sg fust ‘will be’) may speak in favour of the assumption of an original athematic s-present, probably with desiderative meaning, from which the thematic futures in *-se/o- and *-si̯e/o- and the reduplicated Indo-Iranian desiderative and Old Irish future (3sg gigis, ·gig ‘will pray’) are derived.44
As discussed by Nussbaum (2014: 222 f.), u-stem adjectives based on unreduplicated desideratives may be dah ‘burn’ → d(h)ákṣu- ‘eager to burn [Jamison/Brereton]; brennlustig [Geldner]’ (RV 10.115.4)45 and cákṣuṣ- ‘eye’, if this is derived from a desiderative adjective *cakṣu- *‘wishing to see’. Cf. similar -s-derivatives based on u-stem adjectives such as tápuṣ- ‘heat’ from tápu- ‘hot’ and ā́yuṣ- ‘life, vitality’ from āyú- ‘lively’, and from the -su-adjective d(h)ákṣu- the s-stem d(h)akṣuṣ- in RV 1.141.7 dakṣúṣaḥ ‘burning [gen. sg.]’.46
4.2 Myc. e-wi-su-°
This unreduplicated formation in -su- has been suspected in Greek as well in the Myc. form e-wi-su-zo-ko, read as /ewisu-°/ since the first edition of Documents in Mycenaean Greek in 1956:47
- e-wi-su-zo-ko (KN Se 965, 1007) (epithet of a chariot)
- e-wi-su-*79-ko (PY Va 404, 482) (related to pieces of ivory)
Since intervocalic /s/ may denote a geminate /ss/ going back to a consonant cluster, one possible interpretation is /ewi(s)su-/ from */ewidsu-/, a form which would be the predecessor of thematized Alph.-Gk. *ἐϝισϝᾱ in Homer, e.g. Il. 1.468 δαιτὸς ἐΐσης, Il. 13.405 ἀσπίδι πάντοσ’ ἐΐσῃ, beside the form without initial ἐ- found in Att. ἴσος ‘same, identical’ < *ϝισϝος (Arc. Cret. Boeot. ϝισϝός, Hesych. γισγόν· ἴσον)48 and probably attested in Myc. wi-so-ẉọ-pa-ṇạ /wiswo-°/ (PY Sh 740), an epithet of armour. The parallel presence and absence of initial /e-/ in Mycenaean /ewisu-/ and /wiswo-/ on the one hand and Alphabetic Greek *ἐϝισϝo- and *ϝισϝο- on the other makes a connection of these forms likely, whatever the origin of /e-/.49 Myc. /(e)wisu-/ and its putative continuants in Alphabetic Greek may derive from an adjective *u̯id-s-u- built to PIE *u̯ei̯d- ‘look, see’, cf. the -s-form from the same root in Lat. vīsere ‘go to see, look closely’. The process of thematization can be compared with that found in στενός ‘narrow’ < *stenu̯o- for earlier *stenu-, cf. the name of a plane in Messenia Στενύκληρος (Hdt. 9.64).50 As argued by Ruijgh (1987: 536 f.), the thematic forms may be backformed from the neuter plural as in δάκρυ : δάκρυα → δάκρυον ‘tear’, i.e. *στενϝά (like *δόρϝα after the oblique cases *δορϝός etc.) → *στενϝός.51 Alternatively, one may consider a derivation with “possessive” *-ó- of the type βιός ‘bow’ < *‘having a bowstring’ (Ved. jyā́), which would, however, require the additional assumption of a substantivized adjective as intermediary, i.e. *stenú- ‘narrow’ → *sténu- ‘something narrow, strait; narrowness’ → *stenu̯-ó- ‘having narrowness = narrow’. The adjective *u̯idsu- was probably polysemous, meaning ‘wishing/trying to see’ and ‘wishing/trying to look like x’, which corresponds to the activity and phenomenon readings in Viberg’s classification of the semantics of verbs of perception.52 As in NE look, these meanings may be colexified, cf. (activity) Look at that! beside (phenomenon) He looks sad., Gk. Att. ἰδέ/Hom. ἴδε (Il. 17.179) ‘Look!’ and εἰδόμενος ‘looking like x’ (Il. 5.462 εἰδόμενος Ἀκάμαντι ‘looking like Akamas’). A neuter plural *u̯idsu̯a referring to non-agents would probably have meant ‘things looking like x’, or, if one follows the possessive derivation, the adjective *u̯idsu̯ó- may have come to mean ‘having the look of x’ from *u̯ídsu- ‘wishing/attempting to look like x’.
4.3 Gk. φαῦλος
Another instance of a -su-adjective could be Gk. φαῦλος ‘slight, mean, bad’, which may have been dissimilated from *φλαῦλος; cf. the parallel adjective φλαῦρος (Pi. P. 1.87) which may either show a different dissimilation or contain the suffix -ro-.53 Gk. φαῦλος may be connected with the root PIE *bhleh1- ‘to blow, howl’ (Lat. flēre, fleō ‘to cry’, OHG blāen ‘to blow’, etc., v. supra), which may be analyzed as a stative present in *-eh1- built to a root *bhel-54 whose anteconsonantal zero-grade form *bhl̥- would be reflected in Greek as *φλα-. A possible context for *bhl̥C- could be a formation in /s/ parallel to that found in *bhleh1-s- (Goth. blēsan, OHG blâsan etc.), i.e. *bhel-s-, to which an adjective *bhl̥-s-ú- was built that resulted in Greek *φλαhύ- > *φλαΰς → φ(λ)αυ-λο- / φλαυ-ρο-. The semantic development would have been from ‘blowing; like a breath, hint’ to ‘windy, mean, worthless, bad’, cf. ἀνεμώλιος ‘windy, vain, powerless’ from ἄνεμος ‘wind’. The same complex suffix -υλο- is found in other adjectives with a pejorative meaning, cf. στωμύλος ‘talkative’ (Ar. Ach. 429, Pl. Erx. 397d, Theoc. 5.79)55 and αἱμύλος (Hes.+), αἱμύλιος (H.) ‘flattering’.56
4.4 Gk. αἴσυλος
Finally, the adjective αἴσυλος* may belong to this small group as well. It means roughly ‘unseemly, evil’ (LSJ), ‘verderblich, frevelhaft, ungebührlich, schlecht’ (LfgrE), cf. in Hesychius αἴσυλα ῥέζεις· ἀπρεπῆ πράττεις (Φ 214) and αἴσυλα· κακά, ἄδικα, ἁμαρτήματα (E 403). The only attested form—apart from grammarians using the quotation form nom. sg. αἴσυλος/-ον—is the ntr. pl. αἴσυλα as a substantive ‘evil things’ used as the object of a verb meaning ‘say’ or ‘do’ (H. 6×),57 cf. Il. 5.403 αἴσυλα ῥέζων, 20.202, 20.433 αἴσυλα μυθήσασθαι, 21.214 αἴσυλα ῥέζεις, Od. 2.232, 5.10 αἴσυλα ῥέζοι (in Od. 2.231 f. opposed to αἴσιμα εἰδώς ‘(not) heeding righteousness’). It may go back to a form *ai̯d-su- > *αἰσύ- (+-λο-) built to αἴδομαι ‘be ashamed, feel awe’ (cf. αἰδώς, αἰδέομαι), meaning ‘wishing/trying to put someone to shame’ (Germ. beschämen). The neuter plural form expressing words and deeds that ‘put someone to shame’ may have applied both to the speaker feeling shame for someone else’s immoral behaviour and to the addressee who ought to be ashamed. From this use, the more general meaning ‘causing the feeling of shame, shameful, to be reproached, evil’ may have developed (cf. Germ. beschämende Worte/Taten).58 In Il. 20.201 f. ἐπεὶ σάφα οἶδα καὶ αὐτὸς / ἠμὲν κερτομίας ἠδ’ αἴσυλα μυθήσασθαι “I know well myself how to utter both taunts and αἴσυλα”, Düntzer has conjectured αἴσιμα ‘proper words’ against all mss., as ἠμὲν … ἠδέ may imply a contrast, but, as Edwards (1991: 315) points out, “there may be contrast enough between a mocking taunt […] and a malicious false statement”. Furthermore, the parallel in l. 246 ἔστι γὰρ ἀμφοτέροισιν ὀνείδεα μυθήσασθαι “Revilings are there for both of us to utter”, including the rebuked comparison with children’s talk in l. 200 νηπύτιον ὣς and l. 244 νηπύτιοι ὥς, can be taken to summarize both κερτομίας and αἴσυλα, the more so, if, as proposed here, αἴσυλα is related to αἴδομαι and hence close in meaning to ὄνειδος. A moral overtone is also noticeable in Il. 5.403 (describing Heracles) in the combination with οὐκ ὄθομαι ‘care not, have no scruples’, σχέτλιος ὀβριμοεργὸς (v.l. Ar. αἰσυλοεργὸς) ὃς οὐκ ὄθετ’ αἴσυλα ῥέζων “Harsh man, worker of violence, who did not hesitate (‘who had no scruples’) to do evil deeds.”59
It is unclear whether the hapax legomenon ἀήσυλα in Il. 5.87660 belongs to αἴσυλος. It has been supposed to be an itacistic spelling of *ἀΐσυλα, e.g., by Fraenkel (1955: 308), who connects both forms as *ἀϝίσυλα with *ϝίσϝος (ἴσος),61 but in this case a number of ad hoc changes have to be made to the relevant verses (as discussed by Fraenkel) for which there is no independent evidence. Therefore it seems best to separate the two forms and accept that ἀήσυλα remains unexplained for the time being.62
To sum up: the combined data of Greek and Vedic -su-adjectives and remnants of unreduplicated desiderative stems in various languages may allow the assumption that both Indo-Iranian and Greek inherited an unreduplicated desiderative in -s- to which adjectives in -u- could be built:63
*cakṣu-, cakṣuṣ- ‘eye’
*ϝιδσ- (lat. vīsō)
Myc. e-wi-su- /e-wis(s)u-/
*φλα(h)υ- → φ(λ)αῦλος
*αἰδσυ- → αἴσυλος
5 Greek derivation
If this type of *-su- adjective existed in Greek, the question arises what a denominal verb stem derived from a u-stem adjective should look like. In the case of ablauting stems, denominal verbs usually take the weak stem as their basis, cf. βλίττω ‘cut out the comb of bees, take honey’ from μέλιτ- ‘honey’, i.e. *mlit-i̯e/o-, and n-stems like
φρήν ‘midriff, mind’, φρέν(-ες)
dat. pl. φρασί (Pi.) < *-n̥-si
εὐφραίνω ‘to gladden’ < *-n̥-i̯e/o-
ποιμήν ‘shepherd’, ποιμέν-(ες)
dat. pl. *-ασι
ποιμαίνω ‘to herd’
In originally proterokinetic u-stem adjectives, the weak stem had the full grade of the suffix, i.e. *-eu̯-, cf. Gk. nom. sg. m. ἡδύς, gen. -έ(ϝ)ος ‘sweet’. The same ablaut grade is found in the feminine: *ἡδέϝια > ἡδεῖα. In contrast to this, Indo-Iranian derives the feminine from the strong stem: m./n. svādú- : f. svādvī́ < *-u-ih2, OAv. vohu- ‘good’ : f. vaŋvhī. Greek seems to have innovated here, reinterpreting the feminine stem as derived from the weak stem of the m./n., whereas in the other languages it derives from the strong stem with -u-.64 This innovation is known from other stem classes as well, e.g. n-stems such as f. τέρεινα ‘soft, delicate’ after m. τέρην, τερεν-(ος) instead of *τέραινα < *-n̥-ih2. In adjectives in *-u̯ent-, the vowel has been transferred from the m./n. to the f., cf. χαρίεσσα ‘graceful, beautiful’ instead of *χαρίασσα < *-u̯n̥ti̯a (~ Ved. -vatī) after m./n. χαριεντ-.65 This seems to invite the conclusion that if a) the weak stem of the m./n. is the basis of denominal verbs and if b) this stem in the case of u-stems has a full grade (as in the f. forms), the expected derivation based on an adjective in *-s-u- is a present in *-s-eu̯-i̯e/o- > -σειε/ο-.
A counterargument would seem to be verbs in -ύω, but these are not based on u-adjectives, but on substantives in *-u- or *-u-h2 of the type Ved. tanū́ ‘body’ f., instr. tanúā < *-uh2(-), and neither of them shows ablaut of the suffix in Greek,66 e.g.
- ἀρτύω ‘to arrange, prepare’ : Hesch. ἀρτύς· σύνταξις, Ved. r̥tú- m. ‘right time’
- κορθύεται ‘to rise to a head, tower up’ (Il. 9.7) : κόρθυς f. ‘heap’
- πληθύω ‘to be/become full’ : Ion. πληθύς f. ‘crowd, people’
- ὀϊζύω ‘to lament’ : ὀϊζύς f. ‘lamentation’
The derivational chain for the desiderative in -σειε/ο- would then look like this:
- PIE desiderative *-se/o- → adj. *-s-u- → denom. verb *-s-eu̯-i̯e/o- > -σειε/ο-.
The lack of comparable denominal verbs to simple u-stem adjectives such as *βαρύω ‘be heavy’ on the one hand, and the presumed productivity of denominals to desiderative u-stem adjectives on the other, may be due to their different semantics: while simple u-stem adjectives mostly describe “basic property concepts” and hence stative concepts such as ‘hot, cold, heavy, light’ that tend to be expressed nominally in Indo-European languages, e.g. βαρύ ἐστι ‘it is heavy’, not **βαρύει ‘it heavies’, desiderative adjectives in *-su- would more frequently than not describe an agent’s transient desire and effort to bring about a state of affairs relevant at the moment of speaking, e.g. ‘wanting/trying to see’, ‘wanting/trying to fight’ etc., which tends to be expressed verbally. The preponderance of participles in the -σειε/ο- formation may in turn be due to the semantic equivalence between the basic *-su-adjectives and the participles of the denominal verbs, both meaning ‘wanting/trying to x’, which may have triggered the replacement of the former by the latter, leaving only isolated remnants in the lexicon as discussed in section 4.67
Appendix: desideratives in Attic authors
Ar. Eq. 888. οὔκ, ἀλλ’ ὅπερ πίνων ἀνὴρ πέπονθ’ ὅταν χεσείῃ, / τοῖσιν τρόποις τοῖς σοῖσιν ὥσπερ βλαυτίοισι χρῶμαι. “No, it’s your own tricks that I am borrowing, just as a drunken guest, when he has to take a crap, seizes some other man’s shoes.”
Ar. Eq. 998 οἴμ’ ὡς χεσείω· κοὐχ ἅπαντας ἐκφέρω. “Ugh! The weight of them is squeezing the crap right out of me, and still I’m not bringing them all!”
Ar. Nu. 295 κεἰ θέμις ἐστίν, νυνί γ’ ἤδη, κεἰ μὴ θέμις ἐστί, χεσείω. “And right now, if it’s sanctioned, and even if it isn’t, I need to shit!”
Ar. V. 168. ἅνθρωπος οὗτος μέγα τι δρασείει κακόν. “The man’s set to commit some awful crime!”
Ar. Pax 62 ὦ Ζεῦ, τί δρασείεις ποθ’ ἡμῶν τὸν λεών; “Zeus! What on earth are you trying to do to our people?”
E. Med. 92 ἤδη γὰρ εἶδον ὄμμα νιν ταυρουμένην / τοῖσδ’, ὥς τι δρασείουσαν. “For I have seen her turn a savage glance at them, as if she meant to do something to them.”
E. HF 628 οὐ γὰρ πτερωτὸς οὐδὲ φευξείω φίλους “For I cannot fly away, nor have I any wish to flee from those I love.”
E. Ph. 1208 τί τἀπὶ τούτοις παῖδ’ ἐμὼ δρασείετον; “What are my two sons planning to do after this?”
Pl. Phd. 64a–b Καὶ ὁ Σιμμίας γελάσας, Νὴ τὸν Δία, ἔφη, ὦ Σώκρατες, (b) οὐ πάνυ γέ με νυνδὴ γελασείοντα ἐποίησας γελάσαι. “And Simmias laughed and said, ‘By Zeus, Socrates, I don’t feel much like laughing just now, but you made me laugh.’ ”
S. Aj. 326 καὶ δῆλός ἐστιν ὥς τι δρασείων κακόν. “And plainly he plans to do something terrible”
S. Aj. 585 ὦ δέσποτ’ Αἴας, τί ποτε δρασείεις φρενί; “Ajax, my lord, what can you have in mind?”
S. Tr. 1232 ὡς ἐργασείων οὐδὲν ὧν λέγω θροεῖς. “Your words show no willingness to do as I say.”
S. Ph. 1001. τί δ’ ἐργασείεις; “What do you plan to do?”
S. Ph. 1245 Σὺ δ’ οὔτε φωνεῖς οὔτε δρασείεις σοφά. “Neither your words nor your intentions are clever!”
S. fr. 991 Radt ἀκουσείων
Th. 1.33.3 οὐκ αἰσθάνεται τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους φόβῳ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ πολεμησείοντας. “[He] fails to perceive that the Lacedaemonians, through fear of you, are eager for war.”
1.95.7 οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι […] ἀπαλλαξείοντες δὲ καὶ τοῦ Μηδικοῦ πολέμου “The Lacedaemonians […] wanted to be rid of the Persian war.”
3.84.1 Ἐν δ’ οὖν τῇ Κερκύρᾳ τὰ πολλὰ αὐτῶν προετολμήθη, καὶ ὁπόσ’ ἂν ὕβρει μὲν ἀρχόμενοι τὸ πλέον ἢ σωφροσύνῃ ὑπὸ τῶν τὴν τιμωρίαν παρασχόντων οἱ ἀνταμυνόμενοι δράσειαν, πενίας δὲ τῆς εἰωθυίας ἀπαλλαξείοντές τινες. “It was in Corcyra, then, that most of these atrocities were first committed—all the acts of retaliation which men who are governed with highhanded insolence rather than with moderation are likely to commit upon their rulers when these at last afford them opportunity for revenge; or such as men resolve upon contrary to justice when they seek release from their accustomed poverty.”
4.28.2 ὁ δὲ τὸ μὲν πρῶτον οἰόμενος αὐτὸν λόγῳ μόνον ἀφιέναι ἑτοῖμος ἦν, γνοὺς δὲ τῷ ὄντι παραδωσείοντα ἀνεχώρει καὶ οὐκ ἔφη αὐτὸς ἀλλ’ ἐκεῖνον στρατηγεῖν. “As for Cleon, he was at first ready to go, thinking it was only in pretence that Nicias offered to relinquish the command; but when he realized that Nicias really desired to yield the command to him, he tried to back out, saying that not he but Nicias was general.”
8.56.3 ὁ δὲ Ἀλκιβιάδης, ἐπειδὴ ἑώρα ἐκεῖνον καὶ ὣς οὐ ξυμβησείοντα, δοκεῖν τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις ἐβούλετο μὴ ἀδύνατος εἶναι πεῖσαι. “But Alcibiades, as soon as he saw that even on his own terms he did not want to reach an agreement, wished it to appear to the Athenians, not that he was unable to persuade him.”
8.89.2 ἀπαλλαξείειν conj. for ἀπαλλάξειν (Abresch) οὔτοι ἀπαλλαξείειν τοῦ ἄγαν ἐς ὀλίγους ἐλθεῖν “(They did not indeed openly profess that) they wanted to avoid reducing the government to an extreme oligarchy.”
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