Dative: agent as satellite

studieniveau: 
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πῶς οὐκ τὴν εἰρήνην ποιητέον ἡμῖν;

Why should it not be our duty to secure peace?


The dative signals an agent as a satellite with a passive predicate.

Syntactic behaviour

In practice this passive predicate can be:

  • any passive form (especially in the perfect stem, particularly the participle);
  • a verbal adjective in -τέος or (less often) in -τός;
  • an active or middle predicate of which the subject exercises no control over the state of affairs (e.g. ‘to fall’, ‘to die’).


Usually the dative of the agent denotes natural forces or inanimate entities; however, cases of animate agents in the dative do occur, namely when the predicate is impersonal. In contrast to the prepositions which indicate an agent (mainly ὑπό with the genitive) the dative is rarely used with a dynamic predicate.

Frequential information

In de dichtkunst, met name in de epiek, komt de handelende datief vaker voor dan in proza. Zo gebruikt Homerus de handelende datief bij een kleine reeks werkwoorden, in het bijzonder δάμνημι ‘bedwingen’.

Example Sentences: 


ἐν δὲ τοῖς ὅπλοις ἐνυκτέρευον φυλαττόμενοι ἱκανοῖς φύλαξι

Zij brachten de nacht onder de wapens door, bewaakt door valabele wachters.



ἀλλ’ οὐκ αὖθις ἀλώπηξ πάγαις ἁλώσεται

Nee, een vos wordt niet tweemaal door een val gegrepen.

Zenobios, Epigrammen 1.67



οὔ σφι περιοπτέη ἐστὶ ἡ Ἑλλὰς ἀπολλυμένη

Zij moeten niet dulden dat Griekenland tenonder gaat.