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Soph. OT 523 Jebb note

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Soph. OT 523 Jebb note

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:58 pm

Soph. OT 523

Χορός

ἀλλ᾽ ἦλθε μὲν δὴ τοῦτο τοὔνειδος τάχ᾽ ἂν
ὀργῇ βιασθὲν μᾶλλον ἢ γνώμῃ φρενῶν.

Perhaps it was a sudden gust of anger
that forced that insult from him, and no judgement.
— David Grene 1942


In the Bristol reprint of the 1897 revised edition of Soph. OT by R.C. Jebb there is a line in middle of a long note on S.OT 523 reading:
We cannot take τάχ᾽ ἂν as = 'perhaps' and take ἦλθε as a simple indic[ative].


I read that comment (note) against Cooper's treatment of the same passage (vol 3, 54.3.10a p.2415). Cooper claims that this is not best read as a vague hypothetical potential scenario, rather a contrary to fact scenario. I don't know what Jebb means as a "simple indicative." Is he suggesting that this indicative is functioning as an optative or … ?

Jebb note from Perseus is from a different edition:
[523] ἀλλὰ ... μὲν δὴ cp. Soph. Trach. 627.
ἦλθε ... τάχ᾽ ἂν, “might perhaps have come.” ἧλθεν ἂν is a potential indicative, denoting for past time what ἔλθοι ἂν denotes for future time. That is, as ἔλθοι ἂν can mean, “it might come,” so ἦλθεν ἂν can mean, “it might have come.” ἦλθεν ἂν does not necessarily imply that the suggested possibility is contrary to fact; i.e., it does not necessarily imply, ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἦλθεν. Cp. Dem. 37.57 “πῶς ἂν ὁ μὴ παρὼν ... ἐγώ τί σε ἠδίκησα;” “how was I likely to do you any wrong?” [This was the view taken in my first edition. Goodwin, in the new ed. of his Moods and Tenses (1889), has illustrated the “potential” indicative with ἄν (sect. 244), and has also shown at length that ἦλθεν ἂν does not necessarily imply the unreality of the supposition (sect. 412). This answers the objection which led me, in a second edition, to suggest that ταχ᾽ ἂν was here no more than τάχα, and that the usage arose from an ellipse (ἦλθε, τάχα δ᾽ ἂν ἔλθοι). In Soph. OC 964 ff. also I should now take ἦν ... τάχ᾽ ἂν as = “perchance it may have been.”]


This edition appears to clear up the ambiguity in the 2nd edition. I looks to me like Cooper doesn't agree with Jebb. The recent commentary (Dawe on S.OT 2nd ed. 2006) ignores this issue entirely. He probably considered the question settled a long time ago.
Last edited by C. S. Bartholomew on Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Soph. OT 523 Jebb note

Postby Scribo » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:32 pm

I think the presence of both alla and an must highlight the potentiality of verb despite it technically not being in the right mood. Especially given the context e.g was this forced out or perhaps in a poor mental condition.

There are some parallels here btw, I'm not sure helpful or likely we ought to find them:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... ythp%3D244
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Re: Soph. OT 523 Jebb note

Postby Qimmik » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:41 pm

Doesn't it seem to make more sense as a "potential indicative", than as a contrafactual?

Kreon: I'm here on the most serious charge, not a simple one, if I'm going to be called evil for the city, and evil for you and those dear to me.

Chorus: But maybe the insult might have been the product of anger and not rational thought.

This makes more sense to me than "But [if that were the case, if something were true--what?] the charge would have perhaps (?) been the product of anger and not rational thought."
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Re: Soph. OT 523 Jebb note

Postby Scribo » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:48 pm

I think so too personally, hence my statement about its potentiality. Honestly when reading it I didn't even really pause to think since it seemed so natural to me. But then again I'm reading Dawe's text (OCT's are expensive, yo). It seems like the other chap was just needlessly complicated things - though I can see the appeal in that reading too.
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Re: Soph. OT 523 Jebb note

Postby MiguelM » Thu Aug 14, 2014 3:54 am

I'm in the same situation as Scribo, actually read this a couple of months ago in Dawe's edition, but for lack of note it didn't even register as problematic.

I agree with you, Scribo, the other words in the sentence should force a potentiality reading, but even if you exclude alla I'm not sure how you can avoid having tach' by itself giving it that entonation (especially with it being so close). Looking back on what I was thinking back then, that's what settled it for me in my unconscious reading.
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Re: Soph. OT 523 Jebb note

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:05 pm

Well once again I must say the commentators and grammars or more difficult than the text itself which seems to agree with your comments.

I made the error of trying to comprehend Cooper's treatment in vol 3 (poetry) without reading his parallel treatment in volume one (prose). It appears (??) that Cooper is treating this something like the second half of a EI + indicative protasis, AN + indicative apodosis (Cooper v1 54.3.10 p688, 54.10.0 p731). Cooper thinks the past tense indicative makes this contrary to fact since the time for it to occur is already past. I don't follow that argument since Oedipus mental state is something uncertain even if it is in the past.

There is no way I can be certain that I understand what Cooper is driving at. His treatment is too subtle.
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