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Reading Thucydides 2014

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:01 am

John, I've paused my rereading of Thucydides to read through Demosthenes' speech on the Crown for another thread. Any chance you might join us for this? After Thucydides it's a breeze! (Not really.)
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:44 am

Bill - many thanks, and apologies for the late reply.

I would certainly have liked to join you and others in this, but unfortunately I'm snowed under at the moment with various other commitments, so regretfully I'll have to pass. But thanks for thinking of me in this context.

I'll perhaps have a crack at this speech at a later date - I've never read any Demosthenes, and really ought to do so.

Good luck to you and the others with your reading.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Lucretius2327 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:28 pm

Before attacking anything as difficult as Thucydides, I would suggest getting a firm basis in Herodotus and/or Xenophon. The speeches of Thucydides are back-breakingly difficult and though the standard narratives of military movement are pretty straight forward, things like the opening bit on early Greek history are very complex in their syntax. Herodotus is much simpler and about 200 pages of him would give a good deal of fluency. Xenophon, of course, is the classic; but he is a bit dull. I have hand-written PDFs of running vocabulary to most of Herodotus. My bits for books 8 and 9 are the best to begin with (I think) and also one can follow the double-green Cambridge commentaries for advanced information. I honestly think one should work up to Thucydides in order to minimize the pain. But if one is REALLY bent on that, I myself would be glad to read the first few chapters with someone on Google Hangouts — just to help one orient.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Lucretius2327 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:31 pm

Qimmik,

How far are you along on De Corona? I have been wanting to re-read it, and got about 4 pages in when other things distracted me. If there is an ongoing group, I would love to join in.

WMR
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:44 pm

Walter,

I finished De Corona a few weeks ago. I'm about to finish Phaedrus now. Not sure whether I'll go back and re-read Thucydides--I've got a backlog of stuff to read, not all in Greek.

Bill
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Lucretius2327 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:10 pm

Oh, yes, we all have a backlog of reading . . . a lot of it not Greek. Ha, ha. No doubt I will be seeing you around Textkit.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:48 pm

I've revived this thread to ask a question, if I may, arising from Thucydides 5.10.6. At this point Brasidas and his troops are about to sally forth from Amphipolis to mount a surprise attack on the withdrawing Athenians:

καὶ ὁ μὲν κατὰ τὰς ἐπὶ τὸ σταύρωμα πύλας καὶ τὰς πρώτας τοῦ μακροῦ τείχους τότε ὄντος ἐξελθὼν ἔθει δρόμῳ τὴν ὁδὸν ταύτην εὐθεῖαν, ᾗπερ νῦν κατὰ τὸ καρτερώτατον τοῦ χωρίου ἰόντι τροπαῖον ἕστηκε, καὶ προσβαλὼν τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις πεφοβημένοις τε ἅμα τῇ σφετέρᾳ ἀταξίᾳ καὶ τὴν τόλμαν αὐτοῦ ἐκπεπληγμένοις κατὰ μέσον τὸ στράτευμα τρέπει.

It's the bit in bold, and specifically εὐθεῖαν, that is troubling me. Some take it as meaning that Brasidas advanced at a run straight along this road; others interpret it as simply meaning that the road was straight.

I've so far been inclined to take it as restrictvely qualifying τὴν ὁδὸν, in the sense 'the road where it ran straight', i.e. 'the straight section of the road'. But I'n unsure about the force of ταύτην - is it looking ahead to the clarification provided by ᾗπερ etc., qualifying τὴν ὁδὸν in conjunction with εὐθεῖαν (as per my suggestion above) or fulfilling some other function here?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:41 pm

Hi John,

I’m not sure this is an either/or choice. I suppose εθει ευθειαν by itself would mean “he ran straight” (he ran a straight course), while την οδον ταυτην ευθειαν suggests the route itself was straight—and he could hardly have run straight up it if it wasn’t. If pressed I’d say ευθειαν was predicative, and not necessarily restrictive, but I wouldn’t see that as incompatible with a quasi-adverbial function. Don’t the two merge? ταυτην I’d take to be anticipatory of ᾗπερ, as you suggest, rather than looking back to a road/route whose existence is no better than implied in what precedes.

Michael
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:58 am

Michael - many thanks for your help.

I take your point about this not necessarily being a matter of 'either/or' - except that, for the (admittedly self-restricting) purpose of revising my Thucydides translation, I'm faced with making such a choice. Since I can't recall Thucydides using an adjectival form in this way when he talks about someone heading straight for somewhere (though perhaps straight along, as here, is different in that there's an object for the adjective to agree with), I'm currently choosing to take εὐθεῖαν as predicative, and to translate:

' ... and charged along the road (which runs straight) where the trophy now stands as one passes the strongest part of the place ...'

I hope this makes sense - thanks again.


Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:01 pm

John,

I must say I don’t care too much for the parenthesis. It’s not as if it’s ἥπερ ευθεια εστιν or even ευθειαν ουσαν. I’d prefer “along the straight road” (even if that loses the predicativeness), but I suspect (though I can’t say quite why) “straight along the road” gets closer.

Would “raced” rather than “charged” be more faithful?

“, where today a trophy stands, at the strongest point of the place as one goes along”? At all events not “the trophy.”

Best,
Michael
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:48 pm

mwh wrote:John,

I must say I don’t care too much for the parenthesis. It’s not as if it’s ἥπερ ευθεια εστιν or even ευθειαν ουσαν. I’d prefer “along the straight road” (even if that loses the predicativeness), but I suspect (though I can’t say quite why) “straight along the road” gets closer.

Would “raced” rather than “charged” be more faithful?

“, where today a trophy stands, at the strongest point of the place as one goes along”? At all events not “the trophy.”

Best,
Michael


Michael - many apologies for having only just spotted this post of yours; I must have been dozier than normal in the last few weeks.

I'm happy to agree with the various points you've made, and I'm grateful for your suggestions. I too was less than happy with the parenthesis, and only kept it to indicate the predicative status of εὐθεῖαν.

I've found an article entitled 'Excavating Classical Amphipolis' by Chaido Koukouli-Chrysanthaki (BAR International Series 1031, 2002), which includes suggested maps of this battle after W.K. Pritchett and N. Jones, both of which show the 'straight road'. I need to study this article, and any other sources I can find, in more detail (since the topography of the action seems far from certain), but in the mean time I'll probably stick with 'straight road' for now (though I'll also give further thought to your 'straight along the road').

I also like your suggestion of 'raced', and the change from 'the trophy' to 'a trophy', both of which I'll gratefully adopt.

My thanks, and apologies, again.


Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:41 am

I’d be grateful for help with a passage in Book 7.

In 7.29 Thucydides describes the horrific massacre of the inhabitants of Mycalessus by a party of Thracians. The Mycalessians were caught undefended and off their guard, and the Thracians killed everyone whom they met with, young and old alike, not sparing even the livestock. In explanation Thucydides adds (7.29.4):

τὸ γὰρ γένος τὸ τῶν Θρᾳκῶν ὁμοῖα τοῖς μάλιστα τοῦ βαρβαρικοῦ, ἐν ᾧ ἂν θαρσήσῃ, φονικώτατόν ἐστιν.

Commentators seem agreed that τοῖς μάλιστα τοῦ βαρβαρικοῦ = τοῖς μάλιστα <φονικοῖς> τοῦ βαρβαρικοῦ. What I’m really struggling with is the force of the adverbial ὁμοῖα here. Does the passage mean:

(a) ‘for the Thracian race, like the most bloodthirsty of the barbarian peoples, is especially murderous whenever it has nothing to fear’, or:

(b) ‘for the Thracian race - which is on a par with the most bloodthirsty of the barbarian peoples - is especially murderous whenever it has nothing to fear’.

Opinions seem divided on this – de Romilly favours the second option. I suppose it depends on whether one takes ὁμοῖα in a strictly adverbial sense, or as functioning in a more adjectival manner. According to Betant’s Lexicon Thucydideum, the only other adverbial occurrence of ὁμοῖα in Thucydides is at 1.25.4, where the Corcyraeans are described as follows (in Alberti’s text):

κἀν [καὶ OCT] χρημάτων δυνάμει ὄντες κατ᾽ ἐκεῖνον τὸν χρόνον ὁμοῖα τοῖς Ἑλλήνων πλουσιωτάτοις

which I have translated :

‘since at that time the Corcyraeans possessed financial power on a par with the wealthiest of the Hellenes’.

Here the use of ὁμοῖα seems an instance of an adverb having adjectival force, so perhaps the same is true at 7.29.4, which would point to option (b). Any thoughts would, however, be most welcome.


Many thanks,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:23 pm

Herodotus apparently uses this idiom, too, in a way that suggests your first interpretation (adverbial) is correct. See LSJ ὅμοιος :

C. Adv., freq. in the neut. sg. and pl. ὅμοιον, ὅμοια (older ὁμοῖον, ὁμοῖα) in like manner with, c. dat., ὁμοῖα τοῖσι μάλιστα 'second to none', Hdt.3.8, cf. Th.7.29 ; “ὁμοῖα τοῖσι πλουσιωτάτοισι” Hdt.3.57 ; “ὅμοιον μουσίσδει . . ταῖσιν ἀηδονίσι” Theoc.8.37 : folld. by a relat. Partic., ὁμοῖον ὥστε . . even as, S.Ant.587 (lyr.) ; “ὁ. ὡς εἰ . . ” Pl.Lg.628d ; “ὁμοῖα καὶ βοῦς ἐργάτης” S.Fr.563.


Herodotus 3.8:

σέβονται δὲ Ἀράβιοι πίστεις ἀνθρώπων ὅμοια τοῖσι μάλιστα,

3.57:

χρημάτων γὰρ ἐδέοντο, τὰ δὲ τῶν Σιφνίων πρήγματα ἤκμαζε τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον, καὶ νησιωτέων μάλιστα ἐπλούτεον, ἅτε ἐόντων αὐτοῖσι ἐν τῇ νήσῳ χρυσέων καὶ ἀργυρέων μετάλλων, οὕτω ὥστε ἀπὸ τῆς δεκάτης τῶν γινομένων αὐτόθεν χρημάτων θησαυρὸς ἐν Δελφοῖσι ἀνάκειται ὅμοια τοῖσι πλουσιωτάτοισι: αὐτοὶ δὲ τὰ γινόμενα τῷ ἐνιαυτῷ ἑκάστῳ χρήματα διενέμοντο.
Last edited by Qimmik on Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby jeidsath » Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:26 pm

Two adverbial examples from Herodotus:

σέβονται δὲ Ἀράβιοι πίστις ἀνθρώπων ὅμοια τοῖσι μάλιστα

and

οὕτω ὥστε ἀπὸ τῆς δεκάτης τῶν γινομένων αὐτόθεν χρημάτων θησαυρὸς ἐν Δελφοῖσι ἀνάκειται ὅμοια τοῖσι πλουσιωτάτοισι

Is there a reason not to take τοῖς μάλιστα similarly to τοῖσι?

For the race of the Thracians, more than any other foreigners, are the most murderous when they can be in a position of confidence.

EDIT: Qimmik comes in first.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:19 pm

Bill, Joel - many thanks for your comments. Looks like adverbial it is, then - which on further reflection I was inclining to myself.

Thanks too for the interesting Herodotean passages. In the one from 3.8, I wonder if one should take ὅμοια τοῖσι μάλιστα as ὅμοια τοῖσι μάλιστα <σεβόμενοις>, on the basis of how the commentators seem to take ὅμοια τοῖσι μάλιστα in the passage from Thucydides.


All the best,

John
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