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A.Ag. 52

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A.Ag. 52

Postby pster » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:49 pm

We have:

πτερύγων ἐρετμοῖσιν ἐρεσσόμενοι

What I don't understand is in what way this is a passive construction. That is what LSJ say:

ἐρέσσω , Plu.2.1128c, Pomp.73, Cic.47, rarely ἐρεό-ττω , Luc.Cont.I, al. (earlier ἐλαύνω): Ep. impf.
A. “ἔρεσσον” Od.11.78 : aor. “ἤρεσα” A.R. 1.1110, (δι-) Od.12.444, ἤρεσσα (δι-) 14.351 : (ἐρέτης):—row, “ἄνδρας ἐρεσσέμεναι μεμαῶτας” Il.9.361 ; “οἱ δὲ προπεσόντες ἔρεσσον” Od.9.490, 12.194 ; “ἐρετμόν, τῷ καὶ ζωὸς ἔρεσσον” 11.78 ; “πομπίμοις κώπαις ἐ.” S. Tr.561 ; “ἤρεσαν ἐς λιμένα” A.R.1.1110 ; of birds flying, “πτεροῖς ἐ.” E.IT289 : abs., Id.Ion161 (lyr.); [ναυτίλος] “οὖλος ἐρέσσων ποσσίν” Call.Epigr.6.5.
II. trans., speed by rowing : metaph., γόων..ἐρέσσετ᾽.. πόμπιμον χεροῖν πίτυλον ply with your hands the measured stroke of lamentation, A.Th.855 (cf. “ἔρεσσ᾽ ἔρεσσε καὶ στέναζ᾽” Id.Pers.1046):—Pass., ναῦς ἠρέσσετο ib.422, cf. Supp.723, A.R.1.633 ; of birds, “πτερύγων ἐρετμοῖσιν ἐρεσσόμενοι” A.Ag.52.
2. generally, put in quick motion, ply, “τὸν πόδα” E.IA138(anap.), AP10.22(Bianor); γεωτόμον ὅπλον ib.101 (Id.) : metaph., “τοίας ἐρέσσουσιν ἀπειλὰς.. καθ᾽ ἡμῶν” S.Aj.251 (lyr.); “ἐ. μῆτιν” Id.Ant.158 (anap.):—Pass., of a bow, to be plied, handled, Id.Ph.1135 (lyr.); of Io, “οἴστρῳ ἐρεσσομένα” driven onward, A.Supp.541 (lyr.).
III. row through, traverse, in Pass., “νήεσσιν ἐρέσσεται..ὕδωρ” AP4.3b.30 (Agath.).

(For better fonts: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... =s#lexicon)

I think Smyth's translation is fine:

rowing with the oars of their wings

Except that translation would seem to require an active verb form. Of the transitive, LSJ say: ply with your hands the measured stroke of lamentation. (The italics are in LSJ but don't always appear when I cut and paste into textkit.) The usage of the verb seems to be: People row a stroke with oars. But if we change this around, to the passive, we would have: A stroke is rowed by someone with oars. If I am understanding the verb correctly. But the Aeschylus line that we began with doesn't seem to have the stroke as the subject!! So what is going on here? How the heck are we supposed to understand the punctuation LSJ use when the start talking about the Pass. sense? What does that semicolon mean here?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: A.Ag. 52

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:04 pm

With the text Agamemnon, every commentator have often very different views on particular passage. Just compare a couple on what they to say on about any particular line.

Though I too took this as a medium, "rowing themselves [forward] with the oars of their wings", I suppose you can take it as a passive: "rowed (i.e. brought from some place to another by rowing) with their wings as their oars.", with no specific subject expressed. Like "he was taken to school on a bus".

I don't know if this clarifies anything, I'm not absolutely sure what's bothering you... ;)
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Re: A.Ag. 52

Postby pster » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:39 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:With the text Agamemnon, every commentator have often very different views on particular passage. Just compare a couple on what they to say on about any particular line.

Though I too took this as a medium, "rowing themselves [forward] with the oars of their wings", I suppose you can take it as a passive: "rowed (i.e. brought from some place to another by rowing) with their wings as their oars.", with no specific subject expressed. Like "he was taken to school on a bus".

I don't know if this clarifies anything, I'm not absolutely sure what's bothering you... ;)


But you are translating it as a gerund. I was hoping for something more literal.

What is bothering me is : I don't know what the subject of the verb is. Is it the two kings/birds? Or is it what is rowed? Another point that intrudes here that I didn't make the first time is that the object of the trans. form seems to be almost an internal accusative. What else could you row but strokes? Here when it goes passive, it seems maybe we get an internal nominative. So my translation for the Ag. would be: Strokes with oars of their wings were rowed. Maybe something cognate would sway you? Rowings with the oars of their wings were rowed? Or how about we just say it is poetry and we don't need a subject. If English can do without a subject, surely Greek can: With the oars of their wings were rowed.

And another related thing that is bothering me is I just don't have a clue what LSJ are saying when they say: II. trans., speed by rowing...

Say what? They are trying to give you the trans. sense now and they do so with speed by rowing?? Speed as a noun? No you say. OK, speed as a verb? But what the heck is the object of speed? It is pretty intrans. as far as I can tell. So how the heck would this illustrate a trans. meaning? LSJ fascinate me. Their Greek is very impressive, but their English is even more so sometimes. Now, can somebody please tell me what the (&#($&%(#$% they are talking about? Speed by rowing?

UPDATE:
OK, maybe there is a trans. speed, namely to hasten. So here it seems like the two kings/birds is the subject. Why? Because maybe the Greek trans. is similar to the English in that you can speed the oars, the strokes, or some people. Lots of things can be plied. Lots of things can be hastened. Lots of things can be sped by rowing. New translation: ...The birds .......with the oars of their wings were sped by rowing.
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Re: A.Ag. 52

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:12 am

pster wrote:New translation: ...The birds .......with the oars of their wings were sped by rowing.

This is how I understand it. Saying "with no specific subject expressed" was nonsense from me.
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Re: A.Ag. 52

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:45 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
pster wrote:New translation: ...The birds .......with the oars of their wings were sped by rowing.

This is how I understand it. Saying "with no specific subject expressed" was nonsense from me.


Paul,

The subject appears as a relative pronoun οἵτ᾽ and then as the inflection of the middle-passive form in the indicative verb στροφοδινοῦνται followed by the middle-passive participle ἐρεσσόμενοι. The subject is the birds which represent the brothers via metaphor. In this metaphor the motion of the wings is likened to oars of a boat/ship. The action of wheeling around and rowing with wings is one that affects the birds in the metaphor and is placed in the middle-passive form which is understood as subject—affected. Ignore Pass. in LSJ.
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