Aristophanes' Frogs line 54 - why is this dative?

By Phoebus Apollo, in 'Ancient Greek', Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Phoebus Apollo Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Διόνυσος

    καὶ δῆτ᾽ ἐπὶ τῆς νεὼς ἀναγιγνώσκοντί μοι
    τὴν Ἀνδρομέδαν πρὸς ἐμαυτὸν ἐξαίφνης πόθος
    τὴν καρδίαν ἐπάταξε πῶς οἴει σφόδρα.

    My translation is:
    And indeed, while I was on the ship reading
    the Andromeda to myself...


    My question is - why is this phrase in the dative (and not the nominative)? I've looked in some grammars but can't seem to find an explanation for this.
  2. Hemo Rusticus Member

    Location:
    Scurrarum Urbs
    It is to be taken with τὴν καρδίαν, that is the common Indo-European construction called by many names (call it 'dative of reference'): that is,

    A desire struck upon the heart to me (as I was reading)
    or rather
    A desire fell upon my heart as I read.

    It is the Latin tetigit capillos mihi (he touched my hair).

    Edit: It is generally reserved for intimate details, like body parts.
    Last edited by Hemo Rusticus, Sep 10, 2017
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  3. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Or, rather, with ἐπάταξε. The dative modifies the verb*, not the noun.

    *That is, the dative denotes who is affected by the action of the verb."It struck the heart (and it did so) to me."

    I wrote an explanation about the phenomenon in Latin (but it's the same in this Greek passage) here (in part 2).
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  4. Phoebus Apollo Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Thanks so much, both of you! :)
  5. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    By the way, do you know why it couldn't possibly be nominative? Because the nominative is the case of the subject, but here the subject of the verb of the clause, ἐπάταξε, is πόθος. You can't have another nominative in the same clause just "hanging in the air" without any verb that it would be the subject of.
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  6. Phoebus Apollo Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Thanks for explaining Pacifica :)
  7. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    You're welcome!
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