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Pl. Ap. 18c8

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Pl. Ap. 18c8

Postby NateD26 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:42 pm

ὃ δὲ πάντων ἀλογώτατον, ὅτι οὐδὲ τὰ ὀνόματα οἷόν τε αὐτῶν εἰδέναι καὶ εἰπεῖν

I don't understand how I should read this sentence. LSJ says this under ὅς, B.IV.2:
the neut. of the Relat. is used in Att. to introduce a clause qualifying the whole of the principal clause which follows :
the latter clause is commonly introduced by γάρ, ὅτι, εἰ, ἐπειδή, etc.,


My Hebrew commentary states it as nominal sentence, that ὃ δὲ πάντων ἀλογώτατον = τὸ δὲ πάντων ἀλογώτατόν ἐστιν ὅτι...

Should it be read this way?

"The most absurd thing of all is that it is also not possible to know and say their names."

By "their" he means those accusers, right? i thought initially that he continues the theme of defenseless, innocent children and now
he piles on 'without reasoning skills/speechless' to even know or say their own names, but it obviously doesn't make sense with the following
"except if one happens to be a comic poet".

[edited a little bit]
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Re: Pl. Ap. 18c8

Postby modus.irrealis » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:21 pm

I don't think it's necessary to replace the relative pronoun, so something like ὃ δὲ πάντων ἀλογώτατόν ἐστίν ἐστιν* ὅτι = "and that which is the most absurd of all is that..." but the meaning of course is the same. (*I have no idea if that's how the accentuation would work there.) Filling in verbs, though, doesn't necessarily work with all the examples, like in the LSJ entry, so I treat it a bit as a fixed construction.

And yes "their" refers to the (prior) accusers.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 18c8

Postby NateD26 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:09 pm

Thanks, modus.
can you please explain a little bit how we would have translated this construction elsewhere?
I did not quite understand the meaning of the LSJ entry I quoted.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 18c8

Postby NateD26 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:43 pm

reading the English 1966 translation on Perseus, I think I understand the meaning of LSJ.

"But the most unreasonable thing of all is this, (namely)* that it is not even possible to know and speak their names"
ὅ δὲ πάντων ἀλογώτατόν ἐστι [τοῦτο], ὅτι οὐδὲ τὰ ὀνόματα οἷόν τε αὐτῶν εἰδέναι καὶ εἰπεῖν.

*added this to make it clearer for me.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 18c8

Postby modus.irrealis » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:10 pm

Yeah, I think that's the best way to understand it, since that works even in cases where you have no conjunction or anything, e.g.

ὃ δὲ πάντων δεινότατόν ἐστι, τοιοῦτος ὢν ὡς εὔνους τῷ δήμῳ τοὺς λόγους ποιεῖται, καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ὀλιγαρχικοὺς καὶ μισοδήμους ἀποκαλεῖ. (Andoc. 4. 16)

where it would then be something like "What is most terrible [is this]: ..."
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Re: Pl. Ap. 18c8

Postby Swth\r » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:23 pm

You have to consider the pronoun ὅ here more as demonstrative rather than relative in meaning: ὅ = τοῦτο (so this is the subject and δεινότατον the predicate). Consequently the meaning is indeed "and the following thing is the most unreasonable of all things, the fact that...". In this sense ὅτι "replies" to ὃ. and you do not have to insert τοῦτο.

You may also think that the pronoun ὅς is like retaining here its first demonstrative use (of the primary ὁ, ἡ, τὸ form) and not have the common relative one.
See Smyth, (991-)995 and (1113-)1114.a
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Re: Pl. Ap. 18c8

Postby NateD26 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:14 am

Swth\r wrote:You have to consider the pronoun ὅ here more as demonstrative rather than relative in meaning: ὅ = τοῦτο (so this is the subject and δεινότατον the predicate). Consequently the meaning is indeed "and the following thing is the most unreasonable of all things, the fact that...". In this sense ὅτι "replies" to ὃ. and you do not have to insert τοῦτο.

Forgive me if I've misunderstood your reply, but in "the following thing is the most unreasonable of all things" you've just reordered "the most
unreasonable thing of all is this". Granted, in my translation I've added τοῦτο as predicate and you've used the demonstrative meaning of ὅ to
get that meaning, but our translations are not at all different.

However, in Smyth §995 to which you have referred me, a similar quote was not translated in this manner. Smyth took it exactly
as my Hebrew commentary have suggested taking it, namely, that the first part is the predicate in a nominal sentence,
in which ἐστί is regularly omitted.

So, the sentence should be translated this way:
ὅ δὲ πάντων ἀλογώτατόν [ἐστιν], ὅτι οὐδὲ τὰ ὀνόματα οἷόν τε αὐτῶν εἰδέναι καὶ εἰπεῖν.
But what is most absurd of all is that it is not even possible to know or say their names.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 18c8

Postby Swth\r » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:43 pm

Dear NateD26,
I did not object the translation. It is of course the same meaning. I just said that you do no need to insert the pronoun τοῦτο at all, because here ὅ works the same way. If you add τοῦτο, what syntactic function do you appoint then to ὅ pronoun?
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Re: Pl. Ap. 18c8

Postby NateD26 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:27 pm

Hi, Swth\r.

I think if I do add τοῦτο, ὅ is relative pronoun with the sense of "that which is...is this, namely the fact that..."
if I don't, it links directly to ὅτι this way: "that which is...is the fact that..."

I do appreciate your reply and suggested translation. The difference is so non-existent that I shouldn't
be overprotective of one translation over the other. :)
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