Thrasymachus CHAPTERS XXIII and XXIV

u(po\ panti\ li/qw| skorpi/on, w} e(tai~re, fula/sseo *

Keep watch, o friend, for a scorpion under every rock.



As you read Chapter XXIII, you encountered several noun-participle pairs in the genitive case, such as a)poqano/ntwn tw~n e(tai/rwn. Such a pair is known as a genitive absolute, and is usually translated as a subordinate clause, for example, "When the companions died, ...," or "After the companions died," as if the noun were in the nominative and the participle in the indicative mood. For a more literal translation, a participial phrase may make sense in an English sentence, for example, "The companions having died, we sailed away." This noun-participle pair is called "absolute" because the noun and the participle are not related grammatically to the rest of the sentence.

Participles in genitive absolutes may be any tense and voice, and may take a direct object. Adverbs, adjectives, and prepositional phrases may appear in genitive absolutes to modify the noun or the participle. A pronoun in the genitive case may appear in place of a noun.


XXIII, A. Read carefully Thrasymachus, page 272, M. THE ABSOLUTE CONSTRUCTION (a). Note the various possible translations for the genitive absolute, and the possible alternative expressions of the same ideas. Context will be important in understanding the precise meaning of any genitive absolute.

XXIII, B. Translate each genitive absolute from Chapter XXIII according to your understanding of the context:

 1. a)poqano/ntwn tw~n e(tai/rwnne
 2. a)pokriname/nwn d' au)tw~n ou)de/n
3. e)retto/ntwn h(mw~n
 4. genome/nhj de\ th~j nukto/j
 5. galh/nhj genome/nhj
6. kai\ tw~n nefelw~n tw~| h(li/w| diasxisqeisw~n
 7. e)mou~ e)potru/nontoj
 8. tw~n d' e(tai/rwn a(/lij fago/ntwn
 9. kaqeu/dontoj e)mou~ e)pi\ tou~ ai)gialou~

XXIII, C. Thrasymachus, page 148, Exercise 1. Before you start to rewrite the sentence in Greek using a participle, consider whether a genitive absolute is necessary to express the idea in the subordinate clause, or whether a simple participle agreeing with a noun will suffice.

Answer Key



An impersonal verb in the accusative neuter singular participle forms an accusative absolute. You read several of them in Chapter XXIV. It is usually translated as a subordinate clause introduced by "since." For example, de/on tou~to poiei~n: "Since it was necessary to do this, ..." or, more literally, "It being necessary to do this, ..." See Thrasymachus, page 273, 79 (b).


XXIV, A. Reread Chapter XXIV carefully, and find four examples of the accusative absolute. Translate each into a clause that makes sense in the context.

XXIV, B. Thrasymachus, page 149, Exercise I. Write only the accusative absolute in Greek. Translate the entire sentence.

XXIV, C. Review: find some examples of the genitive absolute in Chapter XXIV and translate them according to your understanding of the story.

Answer Key


Forward to Chapter XXV

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