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

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandling (monografi)


Popular Abstract in English
The present thesis investigates ways in which motion is described in Xenophon’s Anabasis, written in the 2nd part of the third century BC. The Anabasis tells the story of the Ten Thousand – the Greek soldiers who marched from Sardis to Babylon, and from there back to the Greek coast of the Black Sea – covering a great variety of motion events. The study examines passages which contain verbs of motion prefixed with directional prefixes and/or governing directional prepositional phrases.
One peculiarity of Greek is that both verb prefixes and prepositions may be used to express in which direction the movement takes place. The Ancient Greek prefixes and prepositions can be divided into three groups, depending on what kind of trajectory is described. The beginning of a trajectory is here categorised as source, while the motion along a path and the final stage are seen as path and goal, respectively.
Three main questions are answered in this study: (i) what factors influence the usage of directional prefixes and prepositions; (ii) what differences can be found between the prefixes and the prepositions in directional expressions, and finally, (iii) which directional relation – source, path or goal – receives most emphasis in Xenophon’s description. The frequency and number of different prefixes and prepositions is investigated. Since both prefixes and prepositions have a close relationship with the verb, certain issues concerning the synonymy of base verbs of motion are also examined.
Results indicate that the choice of a directional element is above all influenced by how a trajectory leads with respect to a landmark – that is, the place relative to which the movement takes place – as well as by the characteristics of this landmark. With regard to the question of how prefixes differ from prepositions, it has been found that prefixes are more likely than prepositions to retain their original meaning. The analysis also shows that the goal receives most emphasis in the narration. This is not only seen in the number of directional prefixes and prepositions of goal, but also by their frequency compared to source and path.
These findings are not only of interest for the study of Ancient Greek and our understanding of the historical events narrated in the Anabasis, but may also inspire new ways of describing motion in modern languages which involve similar forms of directional elements.


  • Sanita Balode
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Språk och litteratur


Tilldelande institution
Handledare/Biträdande handledare
Tilldelningsdatum2011 sep 30
Tryckta ISBN978-91-7473-161-3
StatusPublished - 2011