Genitive: possessor as modifier

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ἡ γῆ τῶν μὲν μήτηρ, τῶν δὲ μητρυιά ἐστι

De aarde is voor sommigen een moeder, maar voor anderen een stiefmoeder.

Aisopos, Fabels 121.1.4


The genitive signals a possessor as a modifier.

Lexical usage

The genitive of the possessor is the most common way of forming a patronym: Αἴᾱς ὁ Τελαμῶνος (outside Attic often an adjective, like Τελαμώνιος Αἴᾱς - Hom. Il. 2.528).

Syntactic behaviour

The genitive precedes the governing word of the noun phrase if it contains new or noteworthy information. If the identification of the possessor is less important, the genitive follows its governing noun.
The word on which the genitive of the possessor is dependent can be omitted if the article or a preposition (usually ἐν + dat. or εἰς + acc.) is retained. The omitted word is either the customary residence of a person or god (cf. Nld. in de Sint-Pieters[kerk], Eng. at John’s [house]), or the word for son or daughter (cf. Nld. Thomas Pieters[zoon]):

τὸ τοῦ Σόλωνος [ῥῆμα] the statement of Solon
οἱ Μένωνος [ἄνδρες] Menon's men
ἐν Ἁιδου [οἰκίᾳ] in Hades (underworld)
εἰς διδασκάλου [οἰκίαν] at the schoolmaster's
Θουκυδίδης, ὁ τοῦ Ὀλόρου [υἱός] Thucydides, son of Oloros​
Example Sentences: 


Λῡδὸς ὁ Φερεκλέους τοῦ Θημακέως ἐμήνυσε μυστήρια γίγνεσθαι ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Φερεκλέους τοῦ δεσπότου τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ

Lydos, de slaaf van Pherekles uit [de deme] Themakos, onthulde dat er mysteriën plaatsvonden in het huis van zijn eigen meester Pherekles.



ἡ μὲν τοῦ σώματος ἰσχὺς γηράσκει, ἡ δὲ τῆς ψυχῆς ῥώμη τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀνδρῶν ἀγήρατός ἐστιν.

De kracht van het lichaam veroudert, maar de geesteskracht van goede mannen kan niet oud worden.



τῆς παιδείας, ἔφη, τὰς μὲν ῥίζας εἶναι πικράς, τὸν δὲ καρπὸν γλυκύν

De wortels van de opvoeding, zo sprak hij, zijn bitter, maar de vrucht is zoet.



λαβὼν γὰρ δύο παιδία ἀνδρῶν ἐπιχωρίων ἔντομα σφέα ἐποίησε

Want hij nam twee kinderen van de lokale mensen en maakte er slachtoffers van.



καὶ τὸν εἰπεῖν ὅτι ἐπὶ δεῖπνον εἰς Ἀγάθωνος

En [Sokrates] antwoordde hem: “naar een diner bij Agathon thuis”.