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Plato, Phaedrus 245a

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Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon May 05, 2014 3:56 pm

Plato, Phaedrus 245a:
τρίτη δὲ ἀπὸ Μουσω̂ν κατοκωχή τε καὶ μανία, λαβου̂σα ἁπαλὴν καὶ ἄβατον ψυχήν, ἐγείρουσα καὶ ἐκβακχεύουσα κατά τε ᾠδὰς καὶ κατὰ τὴν ἄλλην ποίησιν, μυρία τω̂ν παλαιω̂ν ἔργα κοσμου̂σα τοὺς ἐπιγιγνομένους παιδεύει: ὃς δ᾽ ἂν ἄνευ μανίας Μουσω̂ν ἐπὶ ποιητικὰς θύρας ἀφίκηται, πεισθεὶς ὡς ἄρα ἐκ τέχνης ἱκανὸς ποιητὴς ἐσόμενος, ἀτελὴς αὐτός τε καὶ ἡ ποίησις ὑπὸ τη̂ς τω̂ν μαινομένων ἡ του̂ σωφρονου̂ντος ἠφανίσθη.

I have trouble understanding the the end, ἀτελὴς αὐτός τε καὶ ἡ ποίησις ὑπὸ τη̂ς τω̂ν μαινομένων ἡ του̂ σωφρονου̂ντος ἠφανίσθη. What is ὑπὸ? Does it make (an implied) ποίησις τω̂ν μαινομένων agent here, something like "the poetry of the sane is made to disappear by that of the insane"?
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Re: Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby Qimmik » Mon May 05, 2014 7:07 pm

Duplicate post deleted.
Last edited by Qimmik on Mon May 05, 2014 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby Qimmik » Mon May 05, 2014 7:07 pm

I think you're on the right track.

ὃς δ᾽ ἂν ἄνευ μανίας Μουσῶν ἐπὶ ποιητικὰς θύρας ἀφίκηται, πεισθεὶς ὡς ἄρα ἐκ τέχνης ἱκανὸς ποιητὴς ἐσόμενος, -- he who arrives at the doors of poetry convinced that he will be an adequate poet by technique [alone] . . .

ἀτελὴς αὐτός -- "he himself is uninitiated" (no aorist of εἰμί, so no linking verb?)

ἡ ποίησις ὑπὸ τῆς τῶν μαινομένων ἡ τοῦ σωφρονοῦντος ἠφανίσθη -- " and the poetry of the sane person is obliterated by that of the insane."

"Sane" and "insane" don't really capture the contrast between someone who is possessed by divine inspiration and someone who isn't. Maybe "the poetry of the sober is obliterated by that of the possessed."

(Although in English "possessed" perhaps conjures up the Dostoevsky novel, which would be better translated as "Devils" or Demons.")

ὑπό isn't restricted to human agency.

LSJ A.II.3:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Du(po%2F
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Re: Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon May 05, 2014 8:02 pm

Thanks!

I was mixed up by the translation provided by Perseus, which is correct in meaning but construed a bit differently: " the poetry of the sane man vanishes into nothingness before that of the inspired madmen".

ἀτελὴς αὐτός τε καὶ ἡ ποίησις ὑπὸ τη̂ς τω̂ν μαινομένων ἡ του̂ σωφρονου̂ντος ἠφανίσθη

But for exercise's sake, would it be possible to construct αὐτός with ἠφανίσθη as well? Something like "uninitiated, he is obliterated along with his poetry by that of the possessed". What disturbs me is that to it seems strange to me if two elements linked by τε καὶ don't share the same verb here.

ἠφανίσθη is singular of course, but it's not seldom that Greek words are attracted to another case or number a bit like this. But would something like αὐτός τε καὶ ἡ ποίησις αὐτοῦ be necessary?

Your points about "sane" and "insane" must be correct, my attempt at a translation were just trying to get to the grammatical point.
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Re: Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon May 05, 2014 8:09 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:But for exercise's sake, would it be possible to construct αὐτός with ἠφανίσθη as well? Something like "uninitiated, he is obliterated along with his poetry by that of the possessed". What disturbs me is that to it seems strange to me if two elements linked by τε καὶ don't share the same verb here.

ἠφανίσθη is singular of course, but it's not seldom that Greek words are attracted to another case or number a bit like this. But would something like αὐτός τε καὶ ἡ ποίησις αὐτοῦ be necessary?

No, I got it now. It's impossible to interpret it like this.
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Re: Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby Qimmik » Mon May 05, 2014 8:43 pm

i think you can find plenty of instances where τε καὶ joins two independent clauses.

I actually thought about the possibility of treating both ἀτελὴς αὐτός and ἡ ποίησις . . . ἡ τοῦ σωφρονοῦντος as joint subjects of ἠφανίσθη. But I think that it's strange to say that the would-be poet is obliterated or caused to disappear by the poetry of madmen; and τοῦ σωφρονοῦντος, "the man in his right mind" suggests to me that this is a new generalization about a different class of individuals, not a continuation of the generalization about the man arriving at the doors of poetry expecting to rely on technique alone (though the same individuals may fall into both classes). Also the word order of ἀτελὴς αὐτός suggests to me that ἀτελὴς is predicative, not attributive.

"The man who arrives at the gates of poetry expecting to rely on technique alone is unconsecrated, and the poetry of the man in his right mind is obliterated by that of the possessed."
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Re: Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby mwh » Wed May 21, 2014 8:02 pm

Still and all, there does appear to be a slight anacolouthon here, doesn't there, created by the position of te, which should be linking autos with h poihsis (not atelhs autos with the second clause: that would have the te) directly after atelhs). It's as if he first set out to say simply "he's atelhs" and then enlarged the point by semi-converting it to "he's atelhs both himself and his poetry", only since atelhs can apply only to people, not to poihsis, what is said about the poetry of the swfronwn (i.e. of the atelhs, anyone who ... as above) is made into a fresh complete clause.
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Re: Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed May 21, 2014 8:33 pm

Thanks. I suppose this is the sort of thing we do all the time in actual speech, but don't really accept in modern writing, when we don't have the help of pauses, intonation, body language etc.
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Re: Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat May 24, 2014 9:29 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:Thanks. I suppose this is the sort of thing we do all the time in actual speech, but don't really accept in modern writing, when we don't have the help of pauses, intonation, body language etc.



I just happened to have the LCL Plato, Phaedrus on hand and read this portion and others. The problem I have with Plato is relevance, I don't understand what pertinence his "dialogues" have to anything what so ever. Kind of like a comment I heard roughly 40 years ago from a book seller about Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards. "He is answering questions no one is asking…"
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Re: Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat May 24, 2014 9:59 pm

I agree with you to a certain point. My primary reason for reading this is to learn Attic. "Philosophy" has never really interested me much. But reading this has made me a bit more curious, because it's beginning to dawn on me how influential Plato was, how much he has influenced later thinking. How many of his ideas are similar to later Christian ones, for instance - a subject I know little about but which is starting to interest me. Plato is interesting because so many people have found him so, even if he seems irrelevant for us.
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Re: Plato, Phaedrus 245a

Postby mwh » Sat May 24, 2014 10:05 pm

"The problem I have with Plato is relevance, I don't understand what pertinence his "dialogues" have to anything what so ever. Kind of like a comment I heard roughly 40 years ago from a book seller about Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards. "He is answering questions no one is asking…""

And much of the time he doesn't even answer them, you could add.

Certainly John of Patmos is more entertaining, but I fancy the Western world would be in a worse way without the one, and in a better way without the other. (As Paul suggests, it's a matter of influence.)
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