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Prepositions with the dative: beneficiary and malefactive


ἐπὶ τῷ Μήδῳ ξυμμαχίᾱ

‘’ (Thuc. 3.63)

The preposition ἐπί with the dative signals a malefactive or, less frequently, a beneficiary.

Lexical usage

This mostly involves fixed expressions:

  • beneficiary: ἐπ’ ἀγαθῷ ‘for the good’, ἐπ’ εὐνοίᾳ ‘for benevolence’, ἐπὶ κέρδει ‘for the benefit’, ἐπὶ ὠφελείᾳ ‘in the advantage’;
  • malefactive: ἐπὶ ζημίᾳ ‘at the expense’, ἐπὶ βλάβῃ ‘to the detriment’, ἐπὶ κακῷ ‘in the disadvantage’.
Example Sentences: 

ἄνδρ’ ὁρόω κρατερὼ ἐπὶ σοὶ μεμαῶτε μάχεσθαι

I see two strong men eager to fight you.

αὐτὸς δὲ ὀμόσαι θέλειν ἀδόλως εἰσιέναι εἰς τὰ τείχη καὶ ἐπ᾽ ἀγαθῷ τῶν δεχομένων

And he himself [agreed] to swear that he would enter their walls without deception, and to the advantage of those who had given him entry.