Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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Case (ptôsis), Ancient Theories of
(2,257 words)


The word ptôsis was the technical term for the grammatical cases in Greek linguistic treatises. Its literal translation is ‘falling down’, from the verb píptein ‘to fall’. Similarly, its Lat. calque casus derives from the verb cadere ‘to fall’. The metaphor stuck and invited the question where the cases actually fall from. In the Peripatetic tradition it was maintained that the other cases fall from the nominative, hence the nominative was den…

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Philipp Brandenburg, “Case (ptôsis), Ancient Theories of”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 01 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_COM_00000051>
First published online: 2013

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