Accusative: degree/measure as adjective complement

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τόν τε Ἐπίκουρον πολλὰ κατὰ τὸν λόγον ἠγνοηκέναι καὶ πολὺ μᾶλλον κατὰ τὸν βίον

[Timocrates] further [claims] that Epicurus did not know much about philosophy and even less about life.


The accusative signals the degree or measure with comparatives and superlatives.

Lexical usage

τί ‘to what extent?’, τι ‘to some extent’, οὐδέν and μηδέν ‘by no means’ are always used in the accusative. The accusatives πολύ ‘much, very’ and ὀλίγον ‘a little, a bit’ are used interchangeably with the dative. With the exception of Thucydides, classical authors prefer πολύ and ὀλίγον to πολλῷ and ὀλίγῳ.

Syntactic behaviour

The degree or measure can be expressed not only with comparatives and superlatives of adjectives, but also with those of adverbs (e.g. πολὺ θᾶττον ‘much faster’).

Example Sentences: 


καὶ τάδε μὲν ἀμφὶ τὴν ἀκρόπολιν ὀλίγον ὕστερον ἐγένετο

En deze gebeurtenissen vonden een beetje later plaats rondom de Burcht.



σχήματος μὲν, ὀλίγον ἀνωτέρω ἄκρην χεῖρα ἀγκῶνος ἔχειν, βραχίονα δὲ κατὰ τὰς πλευράς

Wat de houding betreft, moet de hand een beetje lager dan de elleboog geplaatst worden, en de arm langs de zijden.



τό θ’ ὑπέργηρων φυλλάδος ἤδη | κατακαρφομένης τρίποδας μὲν ὁδοὺς | στείχει, παιδὸς δ’ οὐδὲν ἀρείων | ὄναρ ἡμερόφαντον ἀλαίνει

Extreme old age, with its leaves already withering, walks on three feet and wanders like a daydream, no better than a child.