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Plb. 6.2.3 EASY QUESTION!

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Plb. 6.2.3 EASY QUESTION!

Postby pster » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:29 pm

...μαθεῖν πῶς καὶ τίνι γένει πολιτείας ἐπικρατηθέντα σχεδὸν πάντα τὰ κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην ἐν οὐδ᾽ ὅλοις πεντήκοντα καὶ τρισὶν ἔτεσιν ὑπὸ μίαν ἀρχὴν τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἔπεσεν...

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... hapter%3D2

I just don't know how to translate the participle ἐπικρατηθέντα.

Here is my translation for the rest of it:

...to learn how and by what kind of consitution ἐπικρατηθέντα nearly all of the inhabited world, in less than 53 years, fell under the rule of Rome...

Now some, such as the Perseus translation, just dodge the issue and pretend the word doesn't exist in the text, or perhaps they somehow absorb it into "all of the inhabited world" (See 6.1 for the English).

Others see ἐπικρατηθέντα working with the main verb ἔτεσιν and opt for a parallel translation "had been conquered and fell" ("a été conquis et est passé"-Weil).

So really the question comes down to who is the agent for the passive participle? Is it somehow those who had ruled before the Romans, or the Romans themselves? And if it is the Romans themselves, how are we to think of this participle working with the finite verb?

Any thoughts? Context doesn't help at all. Is this the kind of thing that I should worry about? Or is it wrong to worry about it? After all, if much better translators diverge like this, why should I waste my time trying to come up with anything more definite?

Thanks in advance

P.S. I guess I lied about the "EASY" part. :mrgreen:
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Re: Plb. 6.2.3 EASY QUESTION!

Postby John W. » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:07 pm

pster wrote:...μαθεῖν πῶς καὶ τίνι γένει πολιτείας ἐπικρατηθέντα σχεδὸν πάντα τὰ κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην ἐν οὐδ᾽ ὅλοις πεντήκοντα καὶ τρισὶν ἔτεσιν ὑπὸ μίαν ἀρχὴν τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἔπεσεν...

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... hapter%3D2

I just don't know how to translate the participle ἐπικρατηθέντα.

Here is my translation for the rest of it:

...to learn how and by what kind of consitution ἐπικρατηθέντα nearly all of the inhabited world, in less than 53 years, fell under the rule of Rome...

Now some, such as the Perseus translation, just dodge the issue and pretend the word doesn't exist in the text, or perhaps they somehow absorb it into "all of the inhabited world" (See 6.1 for the English).

Others see ἐπικρατηθέντα working with the main verb ἔτεσιν and opt for a parallel translation "had been conquered and fell" ("a été conquis et est passé"-Weil).

So really the question comes down to who is the agent for the passive participle? Is it somehow those who had ruled before the Romans, or the Romans themselves? And if it is the Romans themselves, how are we to think of this participle working with the finite verb?

Any thoughts? Context doesn't help at all. Is this the kind of thing that I should worry about? Or is it wrong to worry about it? After all, if much better translators diverge like this, why should I waste my time trying to come up with anything more definite?

Thanks in advance

P.S. I guess I lied about the "EASY" part. :mrgreen:


pster - I hesitate to offer comments outside my Thucydidean 'comfort zone', but I'd translate this as 'was conquered and fell under ...', as per Weil. I think ἐπικρατηθέντα just means 'having been conquered [by the Romans]'. In view of ὑπὸ μίαν ἀρχὴν τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἔπεσεν following, one might regard ἐπικρατηθέντα as somewhat redundant, and this is presumably why some English versions omit it; were one actually writing in English one probably wouldn't bother putting it in. However, I seem to recall (though I can't put my finger on one at the moment) examples of similar phrasing in Thucydides, so perhaps it works better in Greek than in English.

I don't think you're at all wrong in trying to get to the bottom of such things - I've spent ten years doing the same for Thucydides. That's one of the key reasons I've made my own translation of him - to record my personal take on places where other versions/commentaries let one down, or are in conflict. And the more one puzzles such things out, the easier it becomes to tackle similar problems in future. Moreover If one really cares about an author, one needs to make the extra effort to extract the maximum meaning from the text, in order to understand the author's thought and intentions as fully as possible. At least, that's what I think :).

Best wishes,

John
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