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οὐ τὰ μέν, τὰ δὲ οὔ (Hdt. I, 139)

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οὐ τὰ μέν, τὰ δὲ οὔ (Hdt. I, 139)

Postby Polyfloisbos » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:26 pm

Herodotus I, 139:

Ἐς τοῦτο διζήμενος εὑρήσεις τελευτῶντα τῶν Περσέων τὰ οὐνόματα, οὐ τὰ μέν, τὰ δὲ οὔ, ἀλλὰ πάντα ὁμοίως.

If you investigate this, you will find that the Persian names -not only some, but all of them- end exactly in the same way.

This is a tranlsation I made -with my limited capabilities for English- of the passage, but I have not translated the sentence οὐ τὰ μέν, τὰ δὲ οὔ -at least not entirely-. Similar expressions are found in Plutarch (Solon 16,3) but the meaning is quite obscure to me.

One possibility is that the meaning is "not some do it, and some do not, (but all do)", where the μέν would be both connector (in correlation with the δὲ) and an affirmative particle. I have also a vague memory of μέν used in the same way (with the affirmative meaning) in Plato. Suggestions?
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Re: οὐ τὰ μέν, τὰ δὲ οὔ (Hdt. I, 139)

Postby NateD26 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:12 pm

Polyfloisbos wrote:Ἐς τοῦτο διζήμενος εὑρήσεις τελευτῶντα τῶν Περσέων τὰ οὐνόματα, οὐ τὰ μέν, τὰ δὲ οὔ, ἀλλὰ πάντα ὁμοίως.

I think it's simply the case of μέν & δὲ joined by the article to suggest two distinct subgroups of
the whole: Not that some do, and some don't, but that all do.
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Re: οὐ τὰ μέν, τὰ δὲ οὔ (Hdt. I, 139)

Postby Polyfloisbos » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:26 pm

NateD26 wrote:
Polyfloisbos wrote:Ἐς τοῦτο διζήμενος εὑρήσεις τελευτῶντα τῶν Περσέων τὰ οὐνόματα, οὐ τὰ μέν, τὰ δὲ οὔ, ἀλλὰ πάντα ὁμοίως.

I think it's simply the case of μέν & δὲ joined by the article to suggest two distinct subgroups of
the whole: Not that some do, and some don't, but that all do.



Thanks for asking :D . It's also clear to me that the correlative clauses denotate two subgroups of the τὰ οὐνόματα, nevertheless I don't understand what the bold letters stand for. I mean, the translation is quite similar to mine, but I think that the μέν stands for do (this becomes clearer in romanic languages, where it's possible to say *some yes (in the sense of some do it).
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Re: οὐ τὰ μέν, τὰ δὲ οὔ (Hdt. I, 139)

Postby NateD26 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:49 pm

Polyfloisbos wrote:Thanks for asking :D . It's also clear to me that the correlative clauses denotate two subgroups of the τὰ οὐνόματα, nevertheless I don't understand what the bold letters stand for. I mean, the translation is quite similar to mine, but I think that the μέν stands for do (this becomes clearer in romanic languages, where it's possible to say *some yes (in the sense of some do it).

It is similar to yours, only that I don't read μέν as standing for do, but as going with the article
to form the subject of the clause [τὰ μέν...τὰ δὲ = some...others...], and the verb is to be supplied.
At least that's how I was taught to read such constructions though I could be wrong.
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Re: οὐ τὰ μέν, τὰ δὲ οὔ (Hdt. I, 139)

Postby Polyfloisbos » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:34 am

NateD26 wrote:
Polyfloisbos wrote:Thanks for asking :D . It's also clear to me that the correlative clauses denotate two subgroups of the τὰ οὐνόματα, nevertheless I don't understand what the bold letters stand for. I mean, the translation is quite similar to mine, but I think that the μέν stands for do (this becomes clearer in romanic languages, where it's possible to say *some yes (in the sense of some do it).

It is similar to yours, only that I don't read μέν as standing for do, but as going with the article
to form the subject of the clause [τὰ μέν...τὰ δὲ = some...others...], and the verb is to be supplied.
At least that's how I was taught to read such constructions though I could be wrong.



Yeah :D , the verb elision is probably the best answer... anyway, if I find the Plato's passage I'll tell you more.
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