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Dative: direction as satellite

Syntactical Level

αἱματόεσσα δὲ χεὶρ πεδίῳ πέσε

‘His bloody hand fell to the ground.’ (Hom. Il. 5.82)

The dative signals a direction (and more specifically a destination that has been reached) as a satellite, albeit mainly in poetry.

Lexical usage

This dative is used with verbs of motion such as βάλλω ‘to throw’, ἕζομαι ‘to sit down’, κλίνω ‘to lean’, ὀρέγω ‘to reach out’, πελάζω ‘to approach’, πήγνυμι ‘to fix in’, πίπτω ‘to fall’, ῥίπτω ‘to throw’ or τίθημι ‘to place’.

Syntactic usage

Prose writers tended to use a preposition (εἰς or πρός) with the accusative.

Historical background

The adverb χαμαί ‘on(to) the ground’, in origin a fossilised locative, can also express direction. Since it can be used in combination with the same verbs it comes under this rule.


In theory, this construction is typically Homeric, although it also occurs in Attic poets such as the tragedians.

Example Sentences: 

δέλτον τε γράφεις ...

ῥίπτεις τε πέδῳ πεύκην, θαλερὸν

κατὰ δάκρυ χέων

ἀλλ’ ἄγε δὴ κολεῷ μὲν ἄορ θέο, νῶι δ’ ἔπειτα

εὐνῆς ἡμετέρης ἐπιβείομεν

Come then, put your sword in the sheath, and let's go to bed. [provisional translation]

ὁ δ᾽ ἐν κονίῃσι χαμαὶ πέσεν αἴγειρος ὣς

ἥ ῥά τ᾽ ἐν εἱαμενῇ ἕλεος μεγάλοιο πεφύκει

λείη, ἀτάρ τέ οἱ ὄζοι ἐπ᾽ ἀκροτάτῃ πεφύασι