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Weird use of accusative in Odyssey 6.29

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Weird use of accusative in Odyssey 6.29

Postby jswilkmd » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:33 pm

What's up with the use of the accusative case here? What syntactical category does this fall under?

Odyssey 6.29 (and the first word of l.30) reads:

ἐκ γάρ τοι τούτων φάτις ἀνθρώπους ἀναβαίνει ἐσθλη

Which translates as "For indeed from among these things a good reputation rises up (to? among? for?) men.

One could imagine the meaning being "to men" or "for men," but wouldn't that require ἀνθρώπους to be in the dative case? One could imagine that ἀνθρώπους is the direct object of ἀναβαίνει: "a good reputation raises men up." That seems the most straightforward interpretation to me. In fact, for the life of me, I can't figure out why it DOESN'T mean that.

But then why do Merry, Riddell and Monro recommend "good report spreads among men" specifically when commenting about this unparalleled construction? http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... mline%3D29

Why does A.T. Murray translate as "good report arises among men" and Lattimore as "a good reputation among people springs up"?

Is there some syntactical category of the accusative that allows it to be taken as "among men"? Can somebody refer me to some section in Smyth or Monro's Homeric Greek that discusses this?
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Re: Weird use of accusative in Odyssey 6.29

Postby Markos » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:54 pm


In Homer, unlike in English and Koine, verbs of motion can regularly take the accusative without a preposition. You have to add one in an English translation. It doesn't really matter if you say the good report goes to or among men. Call it the accusative of arrival. Accusatives really limit the verb. The report is going up, not in general, but as far as men are concerned.

ὁ Ομηρος γραφει καλως ωδε και πανταχoῦ. αρα συ λεγεις το αυτο?

οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.
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