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Pl. Ap. 26a1-3

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Pl. Ap. 26a1-3

Postby NateD26 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:26 am


εἰ δὲ ἄκων διαφθείρω, τῶν τοιούτων [καὶ ἀκουσίων] ἁμαρτημάτων
οὐ δεῦρο νόμος εἰσάγειν ἐστίν, ἀλλὰ ἰδίᾳ λαβόντα διδάσκειν καὶ νουθετεῖν.

Is the subject of the infinitives and participle impersonal?

The law is that one not bring (a person/people) in here for such errors, but teach and admonish by taking (him/them) in private.

Shouldn't there have been τινά, as the subject of inf. and part., or is this the common construction in Greek?
Last edited by NateD26 on Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 26a1-3

Postby NateD26 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:11 pm

I've found in Smyth 1980, that "an indefinite subject of the inf. (τινά/τινάς) is commonly omitted" in such cases.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 26a1-3

Postby modus.irrealis » Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:25 pm

As far as I know, this is very common in all languages with infinitives (at least the European ones I'm familiar with), and in English you could have said "it's not the law to bring me here, but to..." Just in case it comes up later, there are some cases where at least for English, it seems like you have to translate a Greek active infinitive by a passive infinitive because of this implicit subject "one". If you know French, Greek can sometimes do things like "je me fais comprendre" = "I make myself understood", where the French has a sort of implicit "one", "I make one understand me" with the active infinitive.

But I just wanted to add that since the object of the infinitives is also implicit, I read it as με because of the preceding if-clause. That feels more natural to me in context than having a general "person" or something, but looking at different translations, some translators have read it differently.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 26a1-3

Postby NateD26 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:24 pm

modus.irrealis wrote:As far as I know, this is very common in all languages with infinitives (at least the European ones I'm familiar with), and in English you could have said "it's not the law to bring me here, but to..." Just in case it comes up later, there are some cases where at least for English, it seems like you have to translate a Greek active infinitive by a passive infinitive because of this implicit subject "one". If you know French, Greek can sometimes do things like "je me fais comprendre" = "I make myself understood", where the French has a sort of implicit "one", "I make one understand me" with the active infinitive.

But I just wanted to add that since the object of the infinitives is also implicit, I read it as με because of the preceding if-clause. That feels more natural to me in context than having a general "person" or something, but looking at different translations, some translators have read it differently.

Do you mean that με is the subject of the inf./part, and should be translated by a passive inf.?
"the law is that I not be brought here for such errors, but that I be taken and instructed and admonished in private"

or do you mean that the subject was Meletus, σε, and the object is Socrates, με, and both were omitted because, as Smyth noted in 1972, they have
already been mentioned in this (or the previous) sentence, thus retaining the active meaning?
"...that [you] not bring [me] here for such errors, but..."
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Re: Pl. Ap. 26a1-3

Postby Swth\r » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:00 pm

NateD26 wrote:
εἰ δὲ ἄκων διαφθείρω, τῶν τοιούτων [καὶ ἀκουσίων] ἁμαρτημάτων
οὐ δεῦρο νόμος εἰσάγειν ἐστίν, ἀλλὰ ἰδίᾳ λαβόντα διδάσκειν καὶ νουθετεῖν.

Is the subject of the infinitives and participle impersonal?

The law is that one not bring (a person/people) in here for such errors, but teach and admonish by taking (him/them) in private.

Shouldn't there have been τινά, as the subject of inf. and part., or is this the common construction in Greek?


The main verb is νόμος ἐστίν, and id needs infinitive as supplement (it' s subject). As fas as the other verbal types concerns, I read like the subject of εἰσάγειν is the accusative σέ, and the object με. So with λαβόντα, διδάσκειν, νουθετεῖν, the subject being σε and the object με.

"But if i corrupt without any intention, it is not right by law that for such errors you should bring me into this court, but to take me privately and to teach me and admonish me."
Dives qui sapiens est...
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Re: Pl. Ap. 26a1-3

Postby modus.irrealis » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:46 pm

NateD26 wrote:Do you mean that με is the subject of the inf./part, and should be translated by a passive inf.?
"the law is that I not be brought here for such errors, but that I be taken and instructed and admonished in private"

You could translate it this way, but for the Greek grammar I would read με as the implied object and the implied subject being "one" or something like that. (The comment about active inf > passive inf was only about the translation and not about the grammar of the Greek itself.)

or do you mean that the subject was Meletus, σε, and the object is Socrates, με, and both were omitted because, as Smyth noted in 1972, they have
already been mentioned in this (or the previous) sentence, thus retaining the active meaning?
"...that [you] not bring [me] here for such errors, but..."

The translation is okay, but I would read it as general "you", rather than as referring to Meletus (as Swth\r does) -- but that's just how I read it, I see no reason why Meletus couldn't be the subject. So I didn't mean to imply that the active infinitive in Greek can sometimes not have an active meaning.

(The ultimate meaning/point of the sentence is clear in any case, and this is an example of why I'm not a big fan of filling in a word to make sense of the grammar. It's almost a pseudo-problem to figure out what word has been ellipted, and I'm not sure that approach is always the best one to understanding the grammar. It's also why I would translate it using an infinitive in English and therefore have the same "problem" in the translation as well.)
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