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59 The Middle Voice: Aorist

2012.51.1034

An inscription of Athenian councillors. 2nd c. B.C. Athenian Agora Excavations.


The Middle Voice: First Aorist

 

Recall that the formula to form the FIRST AORIST indicative is:

  • augment + verb stem + first aorist (-σα) marker + secondary endings

To form the first aorist middle, we simply replace the active secondary endings with middle secondary endings. Note that the second person singular regularly appears in a contracted form that results from the loss of the INTERVOCALIC SIGMA (S 628).

σάμην = I (1st person singular)

σαμεθα = we (1st person plural)

(-σασο →) –σω = you (2nd person singular)

σασθε = y’all (2nd person plural)

σατο = (s)he, it (3rd person sg)

σαντο = they (3rd person pl)

Infinitive ending: –σασθαι. For the First Aorist Middle infinitive, note the following:

  • As with the PRESENT MIDDLE INFINITIVE, the accent falls on the ANTEPENULT
  • Infinitives never receive an augment

 

The Aorist, Indicative, Middle of λύω (S 383; GPH p. 78)

ἐλυσάμην

ἐλυσάμεθα

(ἐλύσασο → ) ἐλύσω

ἐλύσασθε

ἐλύσατο

ἐλύσαντο

Aorist Indicative Middle Infinitive: λύσασθαι

 

The Aorist, Indicative, Middle of δείκνυμι

ἐδειξάμην

ἐδειξάμεθα

(ἐδείξασο → ) ἐδείξω

ἐδείξασθε

ἐδείξατο

ἐδείξαντο

Aorist Indicative Middle Infinitive: δείξασθαι

 


The Middle Voice: Second Aorist

Thematic Second Aorist

Recall that the formula to form the THEMATIC SECOND AORIST indicative is:

  • augment + verb stem + thematic vowel (ο/ε) + secondary endings

To form the second aorist middle, we simply replace the active secondary endings with middle secondary endings. Note that the second person singular regularly appears in a contracted form that results from the loss of the INTERVOCALIC SIGMA (S 628). The endings, in other words, are identical to those used for the middle imperfect of thematic verbs.

ομην = I (1st person singular)

ομεθα = we (1st person plural)

(-εσο →) –ου = you (2nd person singular)

εσθε = y’all (2nd person plural)

ετο = (s)he, it (3rd person sg)

οντο = they (3rd person pl)

Infinitive ending: –έσθαι. For the Second Aorist Middle infinitive, note the following:

  • The accent falls on the PENULT
  • Infinitives never receive an augment

 

 

The Aorist, Indicative, Middle of λαμβάνω (S 384; GPH p. 83)

ἐλαβόμην

ἐλαβόμεθα

(ἐλάβεσο → ) ἐλάβου

ἐλάβεσθε

ἐλάβετο

ἐλάβοντο

 

Aorist Indicative Middle Infinitive: λαβέσθαι

 

 

Athematic Second Aorist

Recall that the formula to form the ATHEMATIC SECOND AORIST indicative is:

  • augment + verb stem + secondary endings

To form the second aorist athematic middle, we simply replace the active secondary endings with middle secondary endings. As noted before, there are not many athematic second aorists, but among them are some commonly encountered verbs, including:

  • βαίνω, βήσομαι, ἔβην (verb stem: βη-) walk, come, go
  •  γιγνώσκω, γνώσομαι, ἔγνων (verb stem: γνω-) know, learn, think

Neither of these verbs, however, occur in the aorist middle forms in preserved Greek texts, so memorization of their inflected forms in this tense and voice is not necessary.

 


The Middle Voice: Aorist –μι Verbs

The following –μι verbs all form the AORIST MIDDLE regularly, according to the following rules:

  • Short stem vowels are used for all stems
  • The intervocalic σ in the 2nd person singular drops out.

Infinitive ending: –σθαι. For the Second Aorist Middle infinitive, note the following:

  • The accent falls on the PENULT
  • Infinitives never receive an augment

Note: There is no Aorist Middle Indicative of the –μι verb ἵστημι.

 

The Aorist, Indicative, Middle of δίδωμι (S 416; GPH p. 129)

ἐδόμην

ἐδόμεθα

(ἔδοσο →) ἔδου

ἔδοσθε

ἔδοτο

ἔδοντο

Aorist Indicative Middle Infinitive: δόσθαι

 

The Aorist, Indicative, Middle of τίθημι (S 416; GPH p. 151)

ἐθέμην

ἐθέμεθα

(ἔθεσο →) ἔθου

ἔθεσθε

ἔθετο

ἔθεντο

Aorist Indicative Middle Infinitive: θέσθαι

 

The Aorist, Indicative, Middle of ἵημι (S 777)

εἵμην

εἵμεθα

εἷσο

εἷσθε

εἷτο

εἷντο

Note here that εἱ– is the result of the augment contracting with, rather than lengthening, the initial vowel of the verb stem: ἕμην, ἑσο, κτλ. Notice also that the INTERVOCALIC SIGMA has NOT dropped out (which would have resulted in a form such as ἑσο → οὑ → οὗ!).

Aorist Indicative Middle Infinitive: ἕσθαι


Vocabulary

Note that verbs used only in the MIDDLE VOICE in the PRESENT TENSE often form their AORISTS in the MIDDLE voice, as well. This form is reflected in the THIRD PRINCIPAL PART.

 

– τὸ τέλος –

 


Key Terms and Concepts

  • MIDDLE VOICE OF FIRST AORISTS
  • MIDDLE VOICE OF SECOND AORISTS
  • MIDDLE VOICE OF AORIST –μι VERBS

Vocabulary

 

αἰσθάνομαι, αἰσθήσομαι, ᾐσθόμην perceive

ἀποκρίνομαι, ἀποκρινοῦμαι, ἀπεκρινάμην answer

ἀφικνέομαι, ἀφίξομαι, ἀφικόμην come to, arrive at

γίγνομαι, γενήσομαι, ἐγενόμην happen, become, be born

δέχομαι, δέξομαι, ἐδεξάμην welcome

ἕπομαι, ἕψομαι, ἑσπόμην follow

ἐργάζομαι, ἐργάσομαι, εἰργασάμην work

ἡγέομαι, ἡγήσομαι, ἡγησάμην lead, consider

κτάομαι, κτήσομαι, ἐκτησάμην get, acquire

μάχομαι, μαχοῦμαι, ἐμαχεσάμην fight

πυνθάνομαι, πεύσομαι, ἐπυθόμην learn, hear, inquire about (+ acc. or gen.)

χράομαι, χρήσομαι, ἐχρησάμην use

Exercises

Ι. Conjugate in full the following verbs in the aorist middle, including the infinitive.

  1. λείπω
  2. ποιέω
  3. δίδωμι
  4. τίθημι
  5. ἵημι

ΙΙ. The following verb forms are all aorist active. For each, 1). Identify whether it is a 1st or 2nd aorist, and 2). Change from the aorist in the active voice to the aorist in the middle voice, keeping the same person and number. If you have forgotten the principal parts of any of these verbs, note that they can be found on the list of “Most Common Ancient Greek Verbs,” available here: Greek Verb List.

  1. ἠκούσατε
  2. ἔφυγε
  3. ἐκώλυσαν
  4. ἐδηλώσαμεν
  5. ἔφυσας
  6. ἐλάβομεν
  7. ἐβούλευσα
  8. ἤγαγες

 

 

 

License

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The Middle Voice: Aorist by Wilfred E. Major and Michael Laughy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.