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Theognis Eleg. 1.903-9

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Theognis Eleg. 1.903-9

Postby NateD26 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:32 am


Ὅστις ἀνάλωσιν τηρεῖ κατὰ χρήματα θηρῶν,
κυδίστην ἀρετὴν τοῖς συνιεῖσιν ἔχει.
εἰ μὲν γὰρ κατιδεῖν βιότου τέλος ἦν, ὁπόσον τι
ἤμελλ' ἐκτελέσας εἰς Ἀίδαο περᾶν,
εἰκὸς ἂν ἦν, ὃς μὲν πλείω χρόνον αἶσαν ἔμιμνεν,
φείδεσθαι μᾶλλον τοῦτον ἵν' εἶχε βίον.
νῦν δ' οὐκ ἔστιν.

I'm having trouble understanding the grammar of the protasis in this unreal conditional sentence.

He begins with a general statement:

    Anyone who watches over his expenditure when he's hunting for property
    holds the greatest virtue (possible) to the intelligent.

Then he gives the reason in a form of unreal condition. I understand the notion (or at least I think I do):
saving money while living -> passing it into Hades with you when your time has come -> living sparingly on your own
possessions while in Hades (rather than toiling for unseasonable crops, as he says afterward).

But how is it grammatically expressed in the protasis?

εἰ μὲν γὰρ κατιδεῖν βιότου τέλος ἦν, [indirect speech after βιότου τέλος ἦν?]
    For if it had been the end of his life that he had perceived,

ὁπόσον τι ἤμελλ' ἐκτελέσας εἰς Ἀίδαο περᾶν, [how does this connect to the previous line?]
    [and ?] he had been intending to pass whatever he had achieved into Hades,

εἰκὸς ἂν ἦν...ἵνα εἶχε βίον. [apodosis]
    it would have been likely that he'd have lived sparingly, he who indeed had so long awaited his destiny,
    so that he would have had means of living.

νῦν δ' οὐκ ἔστιν. [implied opposite]
    But now it is not possible.

Thanks.

EDIT: Perhaps εἰ goes with ἤμελλε and κατιδεῖν βιότου τέλος ἦν is simply modifying it causally :
    For if he had been intending to pass whatever he had achieved into Hades, perceiving it had been the end of his life,...
Nate.
NateD26
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Re: Theognis Eleg. 1.903-9

Postby Imber Ranae » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:13 pm

NateD26 wrote:
Ὅστις ἀνάλωσιν τηρεῖ κατὰ χρήματα θηρῶν,
κυδίστην ἀρετὴν τοῖς συνιεῖσιν ἔχει.
εἰ μὲν γὰρ κατιδεῖν βιότου τέλος ἦν, ὁπόσον τι
ἤμελλ' ἐκτελέσας εἰς Ἀίδαο περᾶν,
εἰκὸς ἂν ἦν, ὃς μὲν πλείω χρόνον αἶσαν ἔμιμνεν,
φείδεσθαι μᾶλλον τοῦτον ἵν' εἶχε βίον.
νῦν δ' οὐκ ἔστιν.

I'm having trouble understanding the grammar of the protasis in this unreal conditional sentence.

He begins with a general statement:

    Anyone who watches over his expenditure when he's hunting for property
    holds the greatest virtue (possible) to the intelligent.


I believe κατὰ χρήματα means "according to his means". The verb θηράω here seems to be used absolutely, with a general sense of "pursuing happiness/wealth/well-being". The phrase τοῖς συνιεῖσιν is probably dative of reference explaining whose point-of-view the statement is in accordance with, i.e. "in the eyes of the wise" or "according to the wise".

Also keep in mind that the imperfect indicative in contrary-to-fact conditionals and wishes shows contemporaneous (present) time, not anterior time.

NateD26 wrote:Then he gives the reason in a form of unreal condition. I understand the notion (or at least I think I do):
saving money while living -> passing it into Hades with you when your time has come -> living sparingly on your own
possessions while in Hades (rather than toiling for unseasonable crops, as he says afterward).

But how is it grammatically expressed in the protasis?

εἰ μὲν γὰρ κατιδεῖν βιότου τέλος ἦν, [indirect speech after βιότου τέλος ἦν?]
    For if it had been the end of his life that he had perceived,


Recall that εἰμί with an infinitive usually suggests possibility, and take βιότου τέλος as the subject of κατιδεῖν: "...For if it were possible to behold/regard the end of [one's] life..."

NateD26 wrote:ὁπόσον τι ἤμελλ' ἐκτελέσας εἰς Ἀίδαο περᾶν, [how does this connect to the previous line?]
    [and ?] he had been intending to pass whatever he had achieved into Hades,


The syntax is quite complex here, but yes, I would take the pronoun ὁπόσον as introducing an indirect question that clarifies the preceding phrase, with τι merely strengthening it. The tricky part is that it appears to be the direct object of the aorist participle ἐκτελέσας "having spent [time]" rather than of the main verb. I don't think ἤμελλω shows intention here, though. It probably just marks the action as being in the future, albeit with emphasis on the interval between present time and future occurrence.

I suppose literally it says: "...how much [time] having spent he was about to pass into [the realm of] Hades..."
Perhaps a better rendering might be: "how much [time] he would spend on his way to [the realm of] Hades..."

Notice also that Ἀίδαο is genitive, meaning that it's not the true object of εἰς, which governs the accusative alone. This is actually an instance of ellipsis wherein an object of εἰς, such as βασιλείαv, must be understood from the possessive genitive taking its place (in Greek Ἅιδης is strictly the god Hades, not the place).

NateD26 wrote:εἰκὸς ἂν ἦν...ἵνα εἶχε βίον. [apodosis]
    it would have been likely that he'd have lived sparingly, he who indeed had so long awaited his destiny,
    so that he would have had means of living.


"...it would be likely that he who awaited his fate for a greater [period of] time would act sparingly/frugally through it..."

The conjunction ἵνα with the imperfect or aorist indicative has a special sense in contrary-to-fact statements which expresses a consequence of the contrafactual proposition that is not or cannot be true.

"...in which case he'd have his life."

NateD26 wrote:νῦν δ' οὐκ ἔστιν. [implied opposite]
    But now it is not possible.

Looks correct.


So, to recap:

    Ὅστις ἀνάλωσιν τηρεῖ κατὰ χρήματα θηρῶν,
    κυδίστην ἀρετὴν τοῖς συνιεῖσιν ἔχει.

    "Whoever watches over his expenditure while seeking happiness according to his means
    holds the noblest virtue in the eyes of the wise."

    εἰ μὲν γὰρ κατιδεῖν βιότου τέλος ἦν, ὁπόσον τι
    ἤμελλ' ἐκτελέσας εἰς Ἀίδαο περᾶν,

    "For if it were possible to regard the end of one's life, [i.e.] how much time
    one would spend on his way to Hades,

    εἰκὸς ἂν ἦν, ὃς μὲν πλείω χρόνον αἶσαν ἔμιμνεν,
    φείδεσθαι μᾶλλον τοῦτον ἵν' εἶχε βίον.

    "it would be likely that he who awaited his fate for a longer period of time
    would live more frugally during it, in which case he'd continue to live."

    νῦν δ' οὐκ ἔστιν.

    "But that isn't now possible."

There's still I bit of ironing out to do, but I think that's the gist of it.

NateD26 wrote:Thanks.


No problem.
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
Imber Ranae
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Re: Theognis Eleg. 1.903-9

Postby NateD26 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:05 am

Imber Ranae wrote:I believe κατὰ χρήματα means "according to his means". The verb θηράω here seems to be used absolutely, with a general sense of "pursuing happiness/wealth/well-being". The phrase τοῖς συνιεῖσιν is probably dative of reference explaining whose point-of-view the statement is in accordance with, i.e. "in the eyes of the wise" or "according to the wise".

Also keep in mind that the imperfect indicative in contrary-to-fact conditionals and wishes shows contemporaneous (present) time, not anterior time.

That sense of the dative, to the intelligent is the same as in the eyes of intelligent. At least that´s how LSJ translated this participle.

I used Smyth to check whether impf. can have that meaning of past time, and in 2304, he translated it also with regard to the past,
just like aorist only continuous. But I guess since I didn't understand the sentence to begin with, it didn't fit the context here.

Imber Ranae wrote:"...it would be likely that he who awaited his fate for a greater [period of] time would act sparingly/frugally through it..."

The conjunction ἵνα with the imperfect or aorist indicative has a special sense in contrary-to-fact statements which expresses a consequence of the contrafactual proposition that is not or cannot be true.

"...in which case he'd have his life."

I did not know this special sense. Thanks.
Nate.
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