Genitive: standard of comparison as object

Syntactical Level

ἄρχων ἀγαθὸς οὐδὲν διαφέρει πατρὸς ἀγαθοῦ

Een goed heerser verschilt in niets van een goed vader.

The genitive signals a standard of comparison as an object:

  • with verbs derived from an adjective in the comparative degree;

  • with verbs of ‘differing’, ‘excelling’ or ‘being inferior to’.

Lexical usage

The genitive signals a direct object with verbs indicating a command, subjection or domination, as with verbs of ‘excelling’ and ‘being inferior to’.

Verbs of excelling or being inferior to

Many of these verbs are derived from or compounds with comparatives (e.g. πλεονεκτέω ‘to have the advantage (over)’, ἡττάομαι, ἐλαττόομαι, μειόομαι ‘to be worse (than)’, ὑστερέω ‘to be later (than)’).
Many verbs of 'excelling’ are compounds with a preposition, including:

  • προ- (e.g. προαιρέομαι ‘choose (over)’, προέχω ‘to be better (than)’);
  • περι- (e.g. περιγίγνομαι ‘to excel’, περίειμι ‘to be better (than)’);
  • ὑπερ- (e.g. ὑπερβαίνω, ὑπερβάλλω ‘to excel’, ὑπερέχω ‘to be better (than)’).
Verbs of differing

διαφέρω ‘to differ (from)’

Verbs of ruling

ἄρχω ‘to rule (over)’, βασιλεύω ‘to be king (of)’, δεσπόζω ‘to be master (of)’, ἡγέομαι ‘to lead’ [+ dat. ‘to show the way (to)’], κρατέω ‘to be master (of)’ [+ acc. ‘to defeat’], στρατηγέω ‘to lead’, τυραννέω ‘to be monarch (of)’
Verbs of ruling are often compounds with prefixes such as ἐπι- (e.g. ἐπιστατέω ‘to be ruler of’).

Other information

Note that a standard of comparison in the genitive always implies an unequal relationship. If the two parts of the comparison are equal the dative of the companion is used.

Example Sentences: 

καὶ ὅτε εἰρήνη ἦν, ὑμεῖς καὶ χρήμασι καὶ τῑμαῖς τούτων ἐπλεονεκτεῖτε

En toen er vrede heerste, overtroffen jullie hen in rijkdom en in eerbetuigingen.

τὸ δὲ ἀνέχεσθαι τοῦ χρόνου καὶ μήτε τοῦ βάρους τῶν χειρῶν ἡττᾶσθαι μήτε τοῦ πνεύματος ἐνδεᾶ γίγνεσθαι μήτε τῷ καύματι ἄχθεσθαι, τὸ δὲ εἶναι γενναῖον

De hele tijd volhouden en noch voor het gewicht van hun vuisten onderdoen noch buiten adem geraken of door de hitte in het nauw gebracht worden, dat beschouwde hij als een schitterende prestatie.