Vol. 53 No. 2 (2015)

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


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


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.