Classical Greek syntax

Wackernagel’s law in Herodotus


I offer the first theoretically informed study of second-position clitics in Ancient Greek and challenges the long-standing belief that Greek word order is ‟free” or beyond the reach of systematic analysis. On the basis of Herodotus’ Histories, he demonstrates that there are in fact systematic correspondences between clause structure and meaning. Crucial to this new model of the Greek clause is Wackernagel’s Law, the generalization that enclitics and postpositives occur in ‟second position,” as these classes of words provide a stable anchor for analyzing sentence structure. The results of this work not only restore word order as an interpretive dimension of Greek texts, but also provide a framework for the investigation of other areas of syntax in Greek, as well as archaic Indo-European more broadly.

Leiden: Brill