I'm reading Ανάβασις by Ξενοφών. I came across this sentence:

ἐν δὲ τούτῳ ἧκε Τισσαφέρνης ἔχων τὴν ἑαυτοῦ δύναμιν ὡς εἰς οἶκον ἀπιὼν καὶ Ὀρόντας τὴν ἑαυτοῦ δύναμιν: ἦγε δὲ καὶ τὴν θυγατέρα τὴν βασιλέως ἐπὶ γάμῳ.

I've searched to see whether a mis-copying might have occurred, but this appears to be what Xenophon wrote.

I don't quite get the need for the second "τὴν" here. I assumed it simply meant "the king's daughter" ... and obviously it's in the accusative. But wouldn't "τὴν θυγατέρα βασιλέως" have meant the same? And if X had felt a real need to put a relative pronoun in there, wouldn't the obvious one be "ἥν", "whom"? Squashing an acc. f. s. definite article next to a gen. m. s. noun looks pretty uncomfortable to me.

Is this maybe a recognised idiomatic way of writing? Is something extra added by repeating "τὴν" like this?

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is common and idiomatic. Smyth mentions this repetition of the definite article at §1158. (I'll quote §1157 as well so you can see the contrast he's making.)

  1. (1) Commonly, as in English, the article and the attributive precede the noun: ὁ σοφὸς ἀνήρ the wise man. In this arrangement the emphasis is on the attributive. Thus, τῇ πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ on the first day T. 3.96, ἐν τῷ πρὸ τοῦ χρόνῳ in former times D. 53.12, τὸν ἐκ τῶν Ἑλλήνων εἰς τοὺς βαρβάρους φόβον ἰδών seeing the terror inspired by the Greeks in the barbarians X. A. 1.2.18.

  2. (2) Less often, the article and the attributive follow the noun preceded by the article: ὁ ἀνὴρ ὁ σοφός the wise man. Thus, τὸ στράτευμα τὸ τῶν Ἀθηναίων the army of the Athenians T. 8.50, ἐν τῇ πορείᾳ τῇ μέχρι ἐπὶ θάλατταν on the journey as far as the sea X. A. 5.1.1. In this arrangement the emphasis is on the noun, as something definite or previously mentioned, and the attributive is added by way of explanation. So τοὺς κύνας τοὺς χαλεποὺς διδέασι they tie up the dogs, the savage ones (I mean) X. A. 5.8.24.

  • Thanks. I recognise "ὁ ἀνὴρ ὁ σοφός" ... this seems familiar to me. But at least in such cases the article agrees in terms of case, gender and number with the following word. My example seems less intuitive. Anyway, in my example text I'm assuming this puts some kind of extra emphasis on the daughter being the daughter of the king, specifically... Though I still can't really see the need. Commented Jun 11 at 12:32
  • 1
    I was highlighting more τὸ στράτευμα τὸ τῶν Ἀθηναίων. I think it can certainly be difficult to express in English, but yes, there's emphasis. I'd say it's more like this particular daughter is the daughter of the king, perhaps something like, "married the daughter of the king." Not quite as rhetorically strong, perhaps, but approaching it.
    – cmw
    Commented Jun 11 at 12:42
  • It should be noted that with genitives unlike other modifiers the second article is optional, so τὴν θυγατέρα βασιλέως is grammatical (and common), while ὁ ἀνὴρ σοφός in the intended meaning is not.
    – TKR
    Commented Jun 11 at 16:38

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