The marks of accent are placed over the
vowel of the accented syllable. A diphthong has the accent over its
second vowel (τοῦτο), except in the case of capital ᾳ, ῃ, ῳ (as
Ἅιδης), where the accent stands before the first vowel.
A breathing is written before the acute
and grave (οἵ, ἤ), but under the circumflex (ὦ, οὗτος).
Accents and breathings are placed before capitals: Ὅμηρος, Ὧραι.
The accent stands over a mark of diaeresis:
The grave is written in place of a final
acute on a word that is followed immediately by another word in the
sentence. Thus, μετὰ τὴν μάχην after the
battle (for μετά τήν μάχην). It is also sometimes placed on τὶς,
τὶ, to distinguish these indefinite
pronouns from the interrogatives τίς, τί.
An oxytone changes its acute to the grave
when followed by another word, except: (1) when the oxytone is followed
by an enclitic; (2) in τίς, τί interrogative, as τίς οὗτος;
who's this? (3) when an elided syllable
follows the accented syllable: νύχθ' ὅλην,
not νὺχθ' ὅλην; (4) when a colon
or period follows. (Usage varies before a comma.)
The ancients regarded the grave
originally as belonging to every syllable not accented with the acute or
circumflex; and some Mss. show this in practice, e.g. πὰγκρὰτής. Later
it was restricted to its use as a substitute for a final acute.
The circumflex is formed from the union
of the acute and the grave ( ́̀ = ^), never from ̀́. Thus, παῖς =
πάὶς, εὖ = ἔὺ. Similarly, since every long
vowel may be resolved into two short units (morae), τῶν
may be regarded as = τόὸν. The circumflex was thus spoken with a rising
tone followed by one of lower pitch. μοῦσα, δῆμος are thus = μόὺσα,
δέὲμος; μούσης, δήμου are = μὸύσης, δὲέμου. In διδοῦσα (i.e.
διδόὺσα) compared with διδούς the accent has
receded one mora.
The whole vowel receives the acute when
the second short unit of a vowel long by nature is accented:
Δί̄ ̂ Δὶί.
Words are named according to their accent
Oxytone (acute on the ultima): θήρ, καλός,
Paroxytone (acute on the penult): λύ̄ω, λείπω,
Proparoxytone (acute on the antepenult):
Perispomenon (circumflex on the ultima): γῆ,
Properispomenon (circumflex on the penult):
Barytone (when the ultima is
unaccented): μοῦσα, μήτηρ, πόλεμος.