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Commentaries on Anabasis

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Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby mahasacham » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:30 pm

I did a search to see if anyone has brought up the topic of commentaries on the Anabasis. I have the Goodwin commentary from Textkit as well as the two beta versions of Geoffrey Steadman. I was hoping to try and track down a few more to address some of the harder parts (for me at least) of the text. I apologize if there is already a thread for this topic but I could not locate it in the forum. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby Markos » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:31 pm

The Phillpotts simplified Greek paraphrase of the text

https://archive.org/details/easyselectionsa00xenogoog

is a de-facto (L2) commentary in that quite often one can unpack the difficult Greek by reading the simplified Greek. The problem is that not the entire text is covered, and it does not have line numbers that allows one to find the corresponding portion of the original. Still, if you just read through Phillpotts, when you turn back to the original, you are likely to find it easier to the point where you may not need a commentary.

Also, be sure to check out Bedwere's audio of Phillpotts:

https://archive.org/details/Esafx
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby jeidsath » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:32 pm

Mather and Hewitt have a commentary that seems to be a more verbose Goodwin.

Also, I'd be happy to participate in a read-through of Anabasis with you, and hopefully other Textkit members, if you would be interested.

I second Markos' audio recommendation.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:21 pm

I would definitely recommend White's Illustrated Dictionary to Xenophon’s Anabasis, also found on Textkit. Much more handy for reading the Anabasis than Middle Liddell, not to mention LSJ. (Actually, it was originally printed in the same volume with Goodwin's commentary over a hundred years ago. Myself, I had my copy borrowed from a university library, but there are usually nice not too expensive copies of books like this available from Abebooks and the like. Only I recommend avoiding reprints and getting the old, original copy instead, as reprints are usually pretty low quality and not necessarily even cheaper than the original work. I'm not sure if all editions of the Goodwin's Anabasis included the dictionary, though.)
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby mahasacham » Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:23 am

Excellent. I can already tell the J.S. Phillpotts and C. S. Jerram edition is really gonna help. Also it will make the reading go a little faster. My current method is to print off the original text and go through line by line using a highlighter and pen to mark up the text and indicate what is going on in the sentence. But with this it is a lot easier to just read the text.
One of the more difficult recent passages I came across was this one:

οὐ μὲν δὴ ἂν μάχεσθαί γε δέῃ, ἱππεῖς εἰσιν ἡμῖν ξύμμαχοι, τῶν δὲ πολεμίων ἱππεῖς εἰσιν οἱ πλεῖστοι καὶ πλείστου ἄξιοι: ὥστε νικῶντες μὲν τίνα ἂν ἀποκτείναιμεν; ἡττωμένων δὲ οὐδένα οἷόν τε σωθῆναι.

The "οὐ μὲν δὴ ἂν μάχεσθαί γε δέῃ, ἱππεῖς εἰσιν ἡμῖν ξύμμαχοι" was what confused me because at first I wanted to translate it literally as:
"it would not be necessary for us to battle, there are auxiliary cavalry for us" but then I realized that the "οὐ μὲν δὴ" seems to fit better with the " ἱππεῖς εἰσιν ἡμῖν ξύμμαχοι" rather than the "ἂν μάχεσθαί γε δέῃ" thus I now translate it literally as:
there is not for us an auxiliary cavalry if it would be necessary to battle.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby jeidsath » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:46 pm

The "οὐ μὲν δὴ ἂν μάχεσθαί γε δέῃ, ἱππεῖς εἰσιν ἡμῖν ξύμμαχοι" was what confused me because at first I wanted to translate it literally as:

"it would not be necessary for us to battle, there are auxiliary cavalry for us" but then I realized that the "οὐ μὲν δὴ" seems to fit better with the " ἱππεῖς εἰσιν ἡμῖν ξύμμαχοι" rather than the "ἂν μάχεσθαί γε δέῃ" thus I now translate it literally as:

there is not for us an auxiliary cavalry if it would be necessary to battle.


Yes, I noticed the same thing the first few times that I read Book II. However, on my latest read-through I noticed that the clauses broke apart very naturally οὐ μὲν δὴ (pause) ἄν μάχεσθαί γε δέῃ (pause) ἱππεῖς εἰσιν ἡμῖν σύμμαχοι (pause). Once you get the feeling of what words stick to each other, this bit parses a lot like English. Something like: It is not the case if we needed to fight that we'd have cavalry

My guess is that this sort of thing only starts to make sense once you've absorbed massive quantities of Greek. And until then, briefly note the problem (if you want to mark the page, then put a small pencil dot next to it and write a note in the back that you can look up later), and just keep reading.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby mwh » Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:23 am

What might confuse is ἄν (long alpha) = ἐάν. And the editor’s punctuation doesn’t help either. But it's worth noting that the way the sentence breaks down,
οὐ μὲν δὴ | ἂν μάχεσθαί γε δέῃ | ἱππεῖς εἰσιν ἡμῖν ξύμμαχοι,
is reinforced by the two hiatuses—the harsh clash of vowels at δη αν and δεη ιππεις—which virtually effect the articulation by themselves. That's one reason it’s important to vocalize the text, even if only internally.

The corollary is that we should effect elision of short vowels within phrases. ὥστε νικῶντες μὲν τίν(α) ἂν ἀποκτείναιμεν;

We've veered off topic, sorry.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby mahasacham » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:30 am

Thanks for all the input. Perhaps there is a website forum or thread on text kit that is devoted exclusively to the study of the Anabasis. I am starting to come across some pretty strange sentences in Xenophon. It would be interesting to have a thread that would be devoted to commentary/collecting all of the more odd sentence structures. Even though odd sentence structure is somewhat subjective, I think it would be cool to have a big repository of hard sentences from the Anabasis. It seems more useful if there were more anthologies of really hard sentences from authors that usually write more predictable sentences. Perhaps this thread could be mutually supportive of the thread devoted to the vocalization of Xenophon.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby mwh » Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:44 am

I venture to say there are no odd sentence structures in Xenophon. That's not to say it's all plain sailing.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby jeidsath » Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:49 am

Speaking of areas where it's not plain sailing, I've wondered a bit about Hellenica 3.1.2 and the authorship of Anabasis. William K. Prentice suggested that Themistogenes was a copyist's error.

ΘΕΜΙΣΤΩΣΕΝΙΤΩΝΚΥΡΟΥΚΟΣΙΩΣΓΕΓΡΑΠTΑΙ

became

ΘΕΜΙΣΤΟΓΕΝΙΤΩΙΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩΙΓΕΓΡΑΠΤΑΙ

He has a long explanation, beginning with a copyist mistaking the second Σ for a Γ, and trying to make sense of the resulting sentence. I find it kind of far-fetched, but what do I know about manuscripts? It's hard to imagine anything of Hellenica being left after going through that (before Plutarch's time, even).
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby mwh » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:11 pm

In his Text-Crit book (p.59 n.11) Martin West comments caustically on those “who think that in order to make a conjecture palaeographically plausible it is only necessary to print it an the transmitted text in capitals.” And the conjecture itself has no plausibility either. (θεμιστῶς γέγραπται?!) No, the text says what it says, and the conundrum remains.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby jeidsath » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:41 pm

That quote by West I like.

θεμιστῶς is what tripped me up, since I can't really evaluate the likelihood of the suggested copyist errors (beyond that it requires several of them at once). It seemed both to be rare (according to TLG searches) and an unlikely thing to say at the same time. But the JSTOR article seems to be popular.

Everyone in antiquity said that Xenophon was writing under an alias. An alias seems strange to me (who would have been fooled?), but he was banished from Athens for something or other related to all of this. There is no hint in the text that it is meant to be pseudo-anonymous.

My own best guess is that the Anabasis is based on a flimsier work -- possibly written by a young Xenophon or perhaps by someone else (Themistogenes?). Chapter 1.8 (obviously by Xenophon, and just as obviously written by someone who had campaigned with Cyrus in a part of the world without much forage) seems to abruptly interrupt a more continuous narrative. There are some irregularities in the number of Tissaphernes's soldiers at different times in books one and two. Also, the interests of the author seem to be wildly different in different parts of the narrative.

(Reading through the Anabasis many times gives me too much time to think about this sort of thing.)
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby markcmueller » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:00 pm

Also, be sure to check out Bedwere's audio of Phillpotts:

https://archive.org/details/Esafx


I've been snooping through TextKit for weeks and have seen many references to 'Easy Selections Adapted from Xenophon', but this is the first time I've seen a reference to Bedwere's audio -- mp3's of each paragraph of the entire book. I'm taking a vacation from Athenaze, reading Phillpotts's book with a goal of getting a rough understanding without worrying about grammar or vocabulary. One thing I have picked up from TextKit is the idea that I should be pronouncing all the words as I read, whether orally or in my mind, so having a model to listen to is really helpful.

I understand the value of reconstructed pronunciation, particularly when reading poetry, but Bedwere's clear Erasmian pronunciation is just what I need right now. For anyone looking for a first book to read in Greek, Phillpotts's book and Bedwere's audio is a winning combination.

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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby bedwere » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:13 am

Many thanks, Mark!
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby markscala » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:20 pm

I'd also participate if people are interested in reading the Anabasis. I'm actually about three-quarters through a first reading, and would love the opportunity to go through it again with a group.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby mwh » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:30 am

A word of caution. I’ve made a quick comparison of Klearchos’ speech in Xenophon (1.3.3ff.) with Phillpotts’ "adaptation" of it, and I’m struck by a particularly pernicious feature of his adaptation. I don’t mean his insensitivity to rhythm and hiatus and articulation, but simply his practice of messing with Xenophon’s word order so as to make it match English word order. One small but telling example: he changes Xenophon’s perfectly ordinary πρὸς τοὺς Θρᾷκας ἐπολέμησα (1.3.4) to the less ordinary ἐπολέμησα πρὸς τοὺς Θρᾷκας. This may seem trivial, and in itself it is, but it’s his constant practice, and the effect of the perversion is cumulative. He treats English word order as normative (or as he puts it in his preface, he puts the words “in the order in which they should be taken”!), and this seriously harms a student’s ability, when confronted with Xenophon's or any other ancient author's Greek, to recognize that there is nothing weird or aberrant about Greek word order just because it's not the same as English.

So I’d advise against reading the adaptation—and necessarily against listening to it too. bedwere’s reading is admirably clear and consistent, but I fear it may obscure the fact that Phillpotts’ is very unGreek Greek. If you must read it (or listen to it), the sooner you leave it behind the better, or your idea of Greek will be permanently warped. Don’t go thinking you’re reading Xenophon when you're reading Phillpotts. Far better to read Xenophon’s own Greek, even if you have to struggle with it from time to time. Any difficulties can be resolved here.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:31 am

mwh wrote:So I’d advise against reading the adaptation—and necessarily against listening to it too. bedwere’s reading is admirably clear and consistent, but I fear it may obscure the fact that Phillpotts’ is very unGreek Greek. If you must read it (or listen to it), the sooner you leave it behind the better, or your idea of Greek will be permanently warped. Don’t go thinking you’re reading Xenophon when you're reading Phillpotts. Far better to read Xenophon’s own Greek, even if you have to struggle with it from time to time. Any difficulties can be resolved here.


The sooner one begins reading real Greek (or Latin, "real" defined as what the ancient author actually wrote), the better. Adapted readings (sometimes nowadays called "embedded readings"), like parsing, or sentence diagramming and other techniques used for improving the beginner's grasp of the language need to be put aside as soon as possible. We love it when a 4 year old can recite the alphabet and spell out words. We get very concerned when that's all an 8 year old can do...
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby mwh » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:59 pm

I’m sorry Barry isolates the second paragraph of my post and ignores the first which provides the basis for it, where I identify what seems to me a potentially damaging feature of this particular adaptation that might otherwise escape notice.
I should say that I have nothing against adaptations and simplifications as such, and I don't agree that parsing and sentence diagramming are childish things that need to be put away as early as possible. (Try telling a linguist that.) But that’s by the way.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:10 pm

mwh wrote:I’m sorry Barry isolates the second paragraph of my post and ignores the first which provides the basis for it, where I identify what seems to me a potentially damaging feature of this particular adaptation that might otherwise escape notice.
I should say that I have nothing against adaptations and simplifications as such, and I don't agree that parsing and sentence diagramming are childish things that need to be put away as early as possible. (Try telling a linguist that.) But that’s by the way.


Well, people can certainly look at your response and recontextualize my decontextualization. Yes, they are childish things. People who know the language shouldn't have to parse consciously -- they should simply see the form and know what it is without having consciously to break it down. Sentence diagramming (which I never had to do in any of the linguistics courses that I took either in college or grad school) is simply parsing full sentences, showing the relationship of the various parts one to another. Again, the one learning the language should get to the point where it's automatic, where one simply sees the relationships, as you are doing now reading this somewhat rambling sentence.

Now, all of these things are very good things at the appropriate stage of learning. Parsing? Helps the first year student get those pesky paradigms down. Sentence diagramming? Really helps a second year student grasp the complicated syntax of a periodic sentence. Embedded readings gradually becoming more complicated? Helps the students get to the point where they actually can read Caesar and Xenophon with minimum external aids...

I also agree that some adapted readings are better than others. They syntax should be simpler, but it should reflect how a native speaker might simplify the text and not be disguised English. That's actually harder to find than you might think.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby jeidsath » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:34 pm

Perhaps Bedwere will be willing to re-record the original Xenophon at some point.

I understand the value of reconstructed pronunciation, particularly when reading poetry, but Bedwere's clear Erasmian pronunciation is just what I need right now.


Erasmian is a reconstructed pronunciation. If you read Allen's Vox Graeca, especially the Appendix on the history of English Greek pronunciations, you'll find that it was fairly accurate when first introduced, but was made less accurate due to the English "Great Vowel Shift." By 1900, English schools began using a corrected version of Erasmian with corrected vowel quantities. The bulk of Allen's work is really to justify this usage.

There are quibbles (long diphthongs, fricatives, pitch accents, long vowels). But none of the other reconstruction systems do them any better.

TLDR: Listen to Bedwere's recordings and enjoy.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby mwh » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:39 pm

May I suggest that Barry start a new thread for his off-topic dicta on what people should and should not do? But his final point about disguised English echoes my warning about Phillpotts’ rewrite of the Anabasis.

I think it would be great if bedwere recorded Xenophon. If he does, I hope he’ll effect elisions and crases at appropriate vowel junctions, which greatly facilitates correct chunking and gives a better indication of the text’s internal articulation.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby bedwere » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:15 pm

I was thinking of recording the Anabasis for Librivox.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby Scribo » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:42 pm

That's going to freak me out, since in my head your voice = Augustine's.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby Markos » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:09 pm

bedwere wrote:I was thinking of recording the Anabasis for Librivox.

Scribo wrote:That's going to freak me out, since in my head your voice = Augustine's.

τὸ οὖν tolle, lege λέγω σοι. :lol:
Scribo wrote:...in my head your voice = Augustine's.

In my head your φώνη is Aesop and Paul and Kendrick and Phillpotts and always and everywhere appreciated.
οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.
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Re: Commentaries on Anabasis

Postby markcmueller » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:10 pm

jeidsath wrote (quoting me):
I understand the value of reconstructed pronunciation, particularly when reading poetry, but Bedwere's clear Erasmian pronunciation is just what I need right now.

Erasmian is a reconstructed pronunciation. If you read Allen's Vox Graeca, especially the Appendix on the history of English Greek pronunciations, you'll find that it was fairly accurate when first introduced, but was made less accurate due to the English "Great Vowel Shift." By 1900, English schools began using a corrected version of Erasmian with corrected vowel quantities. The bulk of Allen's work is really to justify this usage.

As a rank beginner I suppose my opinion is worth little, nevertheless I realize that I have a personal definition of 'Erasmian' pronunciation which is almost totally unjustified. It's based on the idea that many European countries have their own 'Erasmian' pronunciations and to my ear preferable to the English one. My personal definition is a vaguely European pronunciation, using, for example, the French 'u', to maximally distinguish Greek letters. I was surprised and pleased that Bedwere pronounces iota subscripts. The word that's in my ear is the word I can look up in the dictionary. My personal challenge right now is to learn to pronounce kappa and chi differently so I remember which one I'm looking for.
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