De verborum Graeci et Latini differentiis vel societatibus. Middle diathesis and Latin point of view

Marina Benedetti


A close inspection of a passage from Macrobius’ treatise De differentiis throws new light into a highly debated issue, namely the qualification of strong -α perfects (like πέπηγα) as instances of middle diathesis. The difficult passage highlights the contrast between two different approches: one – very popular since the Tέχνη γραμματική – assumes ‘mediality’ as a form/meaning contrast (active form/passive meaning); the other – drawn from an obscure passage by Apollonius Dyscolus – assumes ‘mediality’ as the coexistence of both meanings (active and passive) in the same form. The influence of the latter approach – which has generally been neglected – is confirmed by the De differentiis, thanks to some Homeric quotations which clearly identify Apollonius Dyscolus as Macrobius’ (not necessarily direct) source.


Greek-Latin grammatical tradition; diathesis; middle voice; perfect (tense); Macrobius

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