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Another Question about Plato's Symposium

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Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby mahasacham » Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:09 am

Because of the recent thread concerning the Symposium of Plato, I was prompted to review my notes on this dialogue of Plato. After consulting a few commentaries on the relevant passages, I am still left with confusion concerning the following sections in Pausanius' speech. (I consider Pausanius' speech the most difficult of those delivered in the symposium.)

1. The first concerns Symposium 181b-c:
ἔστι γὰρ καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς θεοῦ νεωτέρας τε οὔσης πολὺ ἢ τῆς ἑτέρας, καὶ μετεχούσης ἐν τῇ γενέσει καὶ θήλεος καὶ ἄρρενος.

The first thing I don't understand is the "ἀπὸ τῆς θεοῦ νεωτέρας τε οὔσης πολὺ". The preposition ἀπὸ is what throws me off. I seem to be expecting a verb besides the "ἔστι" to interact with the preposition "ἀπὸ" but I see none. (perhaps it is brachology/ellipsis). Currently, I translate this sentence as follows:
For it [proceeds] from this goddess, both being more younger than the other and being a participant in the genus of female and male. (I assume a ἱέναι or ἵημι works with ἀπὸ).

2. The second sentence I don't understand is 181e:
"τὸ γὰρ τῶν παίδων τέλος ἄδηλον οἷ τελευτᾷ κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς ψυχῆς τε πέρι καὶ σώματος".

This seems to be an anacoluthon digression. The part I don't understand is "κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς ψυχῆς τε πέρι καὶ σώματος". I can deduce what is meant because I understand what proceeds; that is, the "τὸ γὰρ τῶν παίδων τέλος ἄδηλον οἷ τελευτᾷ" = "for where the destiny of children will terminate is unclear". However, the second part seems to be some sort of odd chiastic structure. I assume the "καὶ" and the "τε" are connected, but I have never seen the "τε" come after the "καὶ". Also why was the the genitive case selected for κακίας ἀρετῆς. This seems like a really sloppy form of chiastic structure but perhaps it is actually beautiful, but I am too much of a novice to perceive this.
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Re: Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby jeidsath » Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:56 am

I haven't read the Symposium in Greek yet, but I'll take a stab on the first question. The paragraph opens up with "ὁ μὲν οὖν τῆς Πανδήμου Ἀφροδίτης..."

So the type of lover we are concerned with here then is the one associated with the Vulgar Aphrodite. Following this discussion to the line you are asking about we get the description:

ἔστι γὰρ καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς θεοῦ νεωτέρας τε οὔσης πολὺ ἢ τῆς ἑτέρας...
"For he is from the goddess who is much younger than the other..."

In the next sentence it provides the contrast with the lover who is: "ὁ δὲ τῆς Οὐρανίας"
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Re: Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby seneca2008 » Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:29 am

ἔστι γὰρ καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς θεοῦ νεωτέρας τε οὔσης πολὺ ἢ τῆς ἑτέρας, καὶ μετεχούσης ἐν τῇ γενέσει καὶ θήλεος καὶ ἄρρενος.


" I seem to be expecting a verb besides the "ἔστι" to interact with the preposition "ἀπὸ" but I see none."

"ἔστι" does not interact with "ἀπὸ" at least directly. As Dover points out the subject of "ἔστι" is Eros, described in the previous sentences. "ἀπὸ" means here "proceeding from" or "sent by". Imagine it as ellipsis if you like, I think of it more as a wider meaning of "ἀπὸ" . The important issue is not to translate "ἀπὸ" as "born of".

"both being more younger than the other and being a participant in the genus of female and male." isnt quite right. ἐν τῇ γενέσει is "in her origin". The goddess is the subject of "μετεχούσης". I think it reads very confusingly to translate "both... and" here. Not sure its right anyway. Just "and"... "and" might be better. Or not bother translating one of them.
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Re: Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby seneca2008 » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:12 am

"τὸ γὰρ τῶν παίδων τέλος ἄδηλον οἷ τελευτᾷ κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς ψυχῆς τε πέρι καὶ σώματος".


A few points. παίδων here means boys. I dont think Plato thought much about (of) girls.

καὶ ...τε .....καὶ doesnt seem to me to be exceptional.

I think you have to take τὸ γὰρ τῶν παίδων τέλος ἄδηλον together and then "οἷ τελευτᾷ κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς ψυχῆς τε πέρι καὶ σώματος", which literally (thanks Dover) is "whither of badness and goodness it ends concerning body and soul". "κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς" depends on οἷ or πέρι. There are examples of both usages.
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Re: Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby Lvpvs Silvae » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:33 pm

hello guys,
i'd like to state that i do not know ancient greek ( :( ) but i am from greece plus i have in front of me the book "plato's symposium" with the ancient text transferred into modern greek so i can translate to english what the book says.
So, according to the book, the text:

"τὸ γὰρ τῶν παίδων τέλος ἄδηλον οἷ τελευτᾷ κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς ψυχῆς τε πέρι καὶ σώματος" ,

means (and i try to translate to the letter):

"because it is uncertain how good or bad will become in the end the soul and the body of small children."

So, according to the book the word "παίδων" means "(small) children" and not boys and the word ἄδηλον means "uncertain".

I hope i helped :) .

EDIT: instead of writing "transferred into modern greek" i wrote "transferred into modern english" :) . Sorry about that!
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Re: Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby Hylander » Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:41 pm

τὸ γὰρ τῶν παίδων τέλος ἄδηλον οἷ τελευτᾷ κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς ψυχῆς τε πέρι καὶ σώματος

Taking this unit by unit:

τὸ γὰρ τῶν παίδων τέλος ἄδηλον -- The outcome of kids is unclear

οἷ τελευτᾷ κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς -- where in goodness and badness it ends up

ψυχῆς τε πέρι καὶ σώματος -- concerning both the soul and the body.

Notes:

κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς are partitive genitives with οἷ --"where of/in goodness and badness". This is a relative common Greek usage.

ἄδηλον οἷ τελευτᾷ -- this is the "I know thee who thou art" construction. In translating into idiomatic English, you might write: "It is unclear where the outcome of kids ends up with regard to goodness and badness, both as to soul and body", but τὸ γὰρ τῶν παίδων τέλος is the subject of ἄδηλον (with εστι understood).

πέρι is postpositive to ψυχῆς; hence the anastrophe of the accent. I don't see that κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς could depend on πέρι here.
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Re: Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby seneca2008 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:36 pm

πέρι is postpositive to ψυχῆς; hence the anastrophe of the accent. I don't see that κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς could depend on πέρι here.

Good point. I was picking up a point in a commentary which said that κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς "could" depend on πέρι on the model of Apol. 19 C, Soph. Aj. 793. On looking at the actual lines referenced neither seem to be very convincing.
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Re: Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby seneca2008 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:54 pm

@Lvpvs Silvae

I think you have to read all this in context. Whilst παῖς may be translated as "child" it also means boy. In 181 b3 c4 παῖς means 'younger male" in d1 and thereafter it means boy (well below the age at which the beard begins to grow). See Dover 1980.

If you want to translate παῖς as child then you need to explain what " ἐρῶσι δὲ οἱ τοιοῦτοι πρῶτον μὲν οὐχ ἧττον γυναικῶν ἢ παίδων" from 181b means.
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Re: Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby Hylander » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:59 pm

It might be possible to parse κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς ψυχῆς τε πέρι καὶ σώματος as a unit here, but I think it's more natural to read κακίας καὶ ἀρετῆς as a complement of οἷ.
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Re: Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby Hylander » Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:29 am

To follow up, LSJ οἷ:

οἷ , relat. Adv.
A.whither, “οἷ μολὼν δώσεις δίκην” S.Ant.228 ; οἴκησις οἷ πορεύομαι ib.892, cf. El.8 ; “οὐκ ἤκουσας οἷ προβαίνει τὸ πρᾶγμα” Ar.Ach. 836 ; “οἷ χρὴ βλέπειν” Pl.Lg.714b ; οἷ (i. e. εἰς ἃ) “μὲν ἔδει δαπανώμενον . . , οἷ δ᾽ οὐδὲν ἔδει ἀναλώσαντα” Id.Virt.378b ; so “οἷ δή” Id.Prm.127c ; “οἷπερ” S.El.404, Ar.Fr.403 : freq. c. gen., οἷ μ᾽ ἀτιμίας ἄγεις to what a depth of dishonour, S.El.1035 ; “οἷ προελήλυθ᾽ ἀσελγείας” D.4.9.
2. with Verbs of ending, οἷ φθίνει τύχα where, i. e. how, in what, it ends, E. Hipp.371 ; so οἷ τελευτᾷ κακίας in what state of vice he ends, Pl.Smp. 181e. (Orig. loc. of ὅς.)
Last edited by Hylander on Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another Question about Plato's Symposium

Postby mahasacham » Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:18 am

Thanks for all the help. That second sentence is quite well explained. What it all boils down to is that the word order is what seems strange to me.

I may be mistaken but Pausanius' speech seems to have a subtle tragic/dramatic feel to it. Some of Plato's later dialogues seem to have a very poetic feel to them almost like he was trying to reconcile his prior love of drama and poetry with his decision to become a literary philosopher.

I believe this dialogue is from Plato's middle period and one thing I have noticed about the dialogues from this period is how free his word order became....especially when he is impersonating another's way of speaking. In the Phaedrus, his impersonation of Lysias is quite well done.

It would be really cool to use the symposium's speeches to compose parallel speeches based on the other ancient gods and or Christ and the saints. (To fulfill Pausinus' exhortation to praise all the gods) This would give one a feel for some of the shifts in language that are possible in Attic Greek.......Some day when I have more time.
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