Verbs of Motion with Directional Prepositions and Prefixes in Xenophon's Anabasis

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The thesis compares different prepositions and verbal prefixes denoting direction in Ancient Greek. The corpus covers passages in Xenophon’s Anabasis where such directional elements are used. In this work, it has been examined how the usage of prepositions differs from that of prefixes when they denote a concrete motion in space, what reasons lie behind their usage, and how various directional elements of source, path and goal differ from each other.
At the outset, the study begins by an inventory of base verbs of motion, which are divided into three groups: verbs of source, path, and goal, depending on whether they describe the beginning of a motion, motion along a path, or focus on the destination. Subsequently, it is examined with what kind of prefixes these verbs are combined, and with which prepositional phrases they co-occur. The three main chapters make a further subdivision based on which prepositions or prefixes are used with different landmarks.
According to our initial assumptions, the choice of a directional element is above all determined by how a trajectory leads with respect to a landmark, as well as by characteristics of the landmark itself. In addition to these factors, the present study investigates other considerations that may have an influence on the choice of a directional element. With regard to the differences between prefixes and prepositions, the study confirms the hypothesis that prefixes are more likely than prepositions to retain their original meaning. This can be seen by a comparison of the types of landmarks the various prefixes and prepositions co-occur with, and by the lexical meanings that are found in prefixes and prepositions of the same lexeme. Additionally, results indicate that certain semantic functions are only performed by prefixes, but not by prepositions. With regard to the three types of directional relations in the Anabasis, it appears that, compared to source and path, goal is more often expressed by help of prepositional phrases than by prefixes. As a result, a more detailed picture of the motion event is given, since the noun within the prepositional phrase overtly indicates the landmark in relation to which the trajectory of the moving entity is described. Moreover, the fact that emphasis lies on the goal is shown, not only by the explicit mention of a landmark, but also by the higher overall frequency of directional elements of goal.


  • Sanita Balode
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • Xenophon, Anabasis, prefixes, prepositional phrases, verbs of motion, surface elements, semantic elements, motion event, moving entity, landmark, source, path, goal, space, direction, trajectory, synonymy
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2011 Sep 30
Print ISBNs978-91-7473-161-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2011-09-30 Time: 10:15 Place: Sal L201, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Helgonabacken 12, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Rūmniece, Ilze Title: Professor Affiliation: Latvijas Universitāte, Riga, Lettland ---