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xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

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xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby daivid » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:20 pm

ἐν τούτῳ δὲ τῷ τόπῳ ἦν μὲν ἡ γῆ πεδίον ἅπαν ὁμαλὲς ὥσπερ θάλαττα, ἀψινθίου δὲ πλῆρες: εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο ἐνῆν ὕλης ἢ καλάμου, ἅπαντα ἦσαν εὐώδη ὥσπερ ἀρώματα

In this place the ground was a plain which was on the one hand entirely flat like the sea, on the other full of wormwood (and inside there was other stuff in the form of brushwood or reeds) - all were sweet smelling like perfume.

I am fairly confident with the translation but the εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο bit I haven't really translated - its what I have got from reading a translation and from the context. I haven't a clue why it means that and how I would use the construction if I was writing something.

The μὲν δὲ is about position rather than meaning. The μὲν δὲ bits both describe the plain ie ἅπαν ὁμαλὲς ὥσπερ θάλαττα plus ἀψινθίου δὲ πλῆρες. Hence I would have expected ἅπαν μὲν ὁμαλὲς ὥσπερ θάλαττα . This doesn't really affect the meaning as the place and the land and the plain are just aspects of same thing. πλῆρες is of course neuter so it must apply to the πεδίον but if the plain is full of wormwood so must the land and the place. But what if he had had something like βροχή could you have something like this?:
ἐν τούτῳ δὲ τῷ τόπῳ ἔβρεχε μὲν ἡ βροχὴ πεδίον ἅπαν ὁμαλὲς ὥσπερ θάλαττα, ἀψινθίου δὲ πλῆρες: εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο ἐνῆν ὕλης ἢ καλάμου, ἅπαντα ἦσαν εὐώδη ὥσπερ ἀρώματα

Come to think of it is it possible for μὲν to drift even further forward to just behind the first δὲ?

(This is one the sentences that I have memorized but it is very hard to say it without a break as whenever I get to the μὲν I start debating with myself as to why it should be there)
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby Hylander » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:43 am

εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο ἐνῆν ὕλης ἢ καλάμου means literally "if there was also something else of brushwood or reeds . . . " This is idiomatic for "whatever else there was of brushwood or reeds, everything was sweet smelling like aromatic herbs."

μεν . . . δε is really just a weak connective here--nothing more than "and": the earth was a plain flat as the sea and full of wormwood", not "on the one hand . . . on the other"

μεν is positioned where it is because after the introduction that applies to the whole sentence, ἐν τούτῳ δὲ τῷ τόπῳ, μεν is the second word in the clause. As a result, the two limbs aren't exactly parallel, since
ὁμαλὲς ὥσπερ θάλαττα and ἀψινθίου δὲ πλῆρες both agree with πεδίον. You could see this as a slight anacolouthon, but you only notice it if you are parsing very strictly. Don't let it trouble you.
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby mahasacham » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:57 am

When I looked up this passage in E.C Marchant's commentary on Book 1 of the Anabasis he indicated that the "ὕλης ἢ καλάμου" was a partitive genitive.

I think the "εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο ἐνῆν ὕλης ἢ καλάμου" means "if there was actually anything else among the brush and reeds....."

I have become accustomed when I come across "ἄλλο" before a genitive to assume a partitive. In the Phaedo 59a, Plato uses a stock phrase similar to this:

εὖ πράξειν εἴπερ τις πώποτε καὶ ἄλλος
He would be well, if anyone else ever could

This is the first time I have attempted to answer someone's question in this forum so take this interpretation lightly.
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby seneca2008 » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:05 am

mahasacham and Hylander have explained all this very thoroughly. I have two points. First, I would want to reinforce what Hylander says about μεν . . . δε. I remember when I first learned greek i was fascinated by the Greek obsession with antithesis and would laborious write "on the one hand and on the other" every time. Until it was pointed out that the Greeks use this form of connection where no antithesis is intended, or if it is, it is so slight that it would be best to raise your eyebrows or shrug your shoulders to express it. Translating particles can be very hard. Rule of thumb notice μεν . . . δε but dont feel obliged to translate it.

Secondly I urge you to take very careful note of mwh's post to you here http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=64531

Trying to identify every word in the sentence and analysing its grammatical form is the key to making progress in Greek. Do this before you translate anything. Even the idiomatic εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο can be cracked by looking up each word in the dictionary and consulting a grammar book. (Although this phrase is explained in commentaries which shows its not as straightforward as the rest of the text). Turning the literal into decent English is the next step which you can take if you like but the literal approach is the first step.

If you start from a translation and then try to figure it out its difficult to make progress. Inevitably it leads to guessing Translations can be very helpful but when you are learning you need to develop a bit more your own powers of analysis.

MWH gave excellent advice we should all follow it.

You should be congratulated on the perseverance you show with your Greek studies. You got most of it right. Hang on to that!
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby Hylander » Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:54 am

I have to disagree, respectfully, with Mehasacham.

εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο ἐνῆν ὕλης ἢ καλάμου is an instance of relatively common Greek idiom that is equivalent to an indefinite pronoun or adverb. If you translate it as "if any . . . " instead of as "whatever . . ." you will be led astray in many other passages. Xenophon is implying that there was indeed brushwood and reeds on the plain, and that they smelled sweet, not that if there was any--leaving us to wonder whether or not there was--everything would smell sweet.

This is an idiom worth noting because it is quite common. It doesn't rule out a pure conditional, however--the context is determinative. Here it doesn't make sense to translate as a conditional.

ει τις -- "whoever" or "if anyone"

ει τι -- "anything that" or 'if anything"

ει ποτε -- "whenever" or "if ever"

κτλ

I should add that the important thing is not how you translate this, but that when you encounter this in the Greek, you recognize that by using this idiom, Xenophon is implying that there was brushwood and reeds on the plain, not--as a literal translation would suggest--leaving you in equivocation with the possibility that maybe there was no brushwood or reeds on the plain. And the next time you encounter this idiom, you should be attuned to the implications.
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby Hylander » Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:27 am

One more point: ἅπαντα ἦσαν, a plural verb with a neuter plural noun--which flies in the face of everything we (think we) know about Greek. Obviously, Xenophon failed to read his Mastronarde and his Smyth.

I think (though I could be wrong) what's going on here is that there are two different categories of plural objects--brushwood and reeds (both of which are mass nouns in Greek). So "everything," απαντα, takes a plural verb.
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby Hylander » Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:27 am

Deleted--duplicated post.
Last edited by Hylander on Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby mwh » Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:37 am

I have to confess that when I saw εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο ἐνῆν ὕλης ἢ καλάμου I first read it as meaning “and if there was anything there other than brushwood or reed.” So daivid don’t worry if you were thrown by the idiom.

As to memorizing sentences, I do wonder how much that is going to help you. The important thing is to understand the syntax of any given sentence. Once you have that, you can try substitution exercises, substituting words or phrases for what stands in the original while retaining the structure of the sentence. I think this would better serve you than memorizing sentences whose syntax you may not entirely understand. Where you tend to trip up is over things like cases and number (sing./pl.) and concord (e.g. νεφέλαι ἐκάλυπτε τὸν αἰθέρα). So you could try replacing a noun with a different noun and making any necessary adjustments to adjectives agreeing with it, or turning plural nouns to singular ones, adjusting articles and adjectives and verbs as necessary, and so on.

You do try something like this with your attempted βροχη substitution, but it is too ambitious. If you replace ἦν μὲν ἡ γῆ with ἔβρεχε μὲν ἡ βροχὴ, then you have changed the sentence structure and created a non-sentence. (In Xenophon’s sentence πεδίον ἅπαν ὁμαλὲς ὥσπερ θάλαττα, is nominative, as the predicate of the preceding ἦν ἡ γῆ. It can no longer be that after ἔβρεχε ἡ βροχὴ.) You have to make sure you don’t change the grammatical structure. I would recommend sticking to simple sentences and simple substitutions, until you get more adept. E.g. for ἐν τούτῳ τῷ τόπῳ, “in this place,” you could instead say “in that place”, or “in those places.” This should remind you that the article is needed, so you’ll be less likely to write something like ἐκείνους λόγους.

You’re definitely improving, but you have trouble juggling so many balls in the air at once.
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby daivid » Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:15 pm

Hylander wrote:This is an idiom worth noting because it is quite common. It doesn't rule out a pure conditional, however--the context is determinative. Here it doesn't make sense to translate as a conditional.

ει τις -- "whoever" or "if anyone"

ει τι -- "anything that" or 'if anything"

ει ποτε -- "whenever" or "if ever"

κτλ
.

Thanks now it is all clear - it can mean one or the other depending on context. I had found another case of this idiom but made my confusion worse. It is when Menon is urging his men to be the first to cross the Euphrates. He tells them they will gain Kyros' favor and so can expect him to reward them and:

ἐπίσταται δ᾽ εἴ τις καὶ ἄλλος: (1.4.1)

clearly in this context it means "He knows how to if anyone else does"
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby Hylander » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:20 pm

clearly in this context it means "He knows how to if anyone else does"


Right. Maybe in idiomatic English we would say, "he knows how to if anyone does."
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby daivid » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:40 pm

mwh wrote:You do try something like this with your attempted βροχη substitution, but it is too ambitious. If you replace ἦν μὲν ἡ γῆ with ἔβρεχε μὲν ἡ βροχὴ, then you have changed the sentence structure and created a non-sentence. (In Xenophon’s sentence πεδίον ἅπαν ὁμαλὲς ὥσπερ θάλαττα, is nominative, as the predicate of the preceding ἦν ἡ γῆ. It can no longer be that after ἔβρεχε ἡ βροχὴ.) You have to make sure you don’t change the grammatical structure. I would recommend sticking to simple sentences and simple substitutions, until you get more adept.
But πεδίον is neuter so it cans serve as an accusative as well as a nominative. And if it is not agreement that creates the problem what is it that I'm missing?

mwh wrote: E.g. for ἐν τούτῳ τῷ τόπῳ, “in this place,” you could instead say “in that place”, or “in those places.” This should remind you that the article is needed, so you’ll be less likely to write something like ἐκείνους λόγους.

As I wrote in my Agora studying Greek today thread! :oops: Thanks for pointing it out.
mwh wrote:
You’re definitely improving, but you have trouble juggling so many balls in the air at once.


Thanks very much for the encouragement

seneca2008 wrote:mahasacham and Hylander have explained all this very thoroughly. I have two points. First, I would want to reinforce what Hylander says about μεν . . . δε. I remember when I first learned greek i was fascinated by the Greek obsession with antithesis and would laborious write "on the one hand and on the other" every time. Until it was pointed out that the Greeks use this form of connection where no antithesis is intended, or if it is, it is so slight that it would be best to raise your eyebrows or shrug your shoulders to express it. Translating particles can be very hard. Rule of thumb notice μεν . . . δε but dont feel obliged to translate it.

Secondly I urge you to take very careful note of mwh's post to you here http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=64531

Trying to identify every word in the sentence and analysing its grammatical form is the key to making progress in Greek. Do this before you translate anything. Even the idiomatic εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο can be cracked by looking up each word in the dictionary and consulting a grammar book. (Although this phrase is explained in commentaries which shows its not as straightforward as the rest of the text). Turning the literal into decent English is the next step which you can take if you like but the literal approach is the first step.

If you start from a translation and then try to figure it out its difficult to make progress. Inevitably it leads to guessing Translations can be very helpful but when you are learning you need to develop a bit more your own powers of analysis.

MWH gave excellent advice we should all follow it.

You should be congratulated on the perseverance you show with your Greek studies. You got most of it right. Hang on to that!


Thanks for the μεν . . . δε advice. I do only use translations as a last resort. I do only use them as pointers and spot cases where I have jumped to an incorrect conclusion. The translation I posted was intentionally over literal as its purpose was simply to allow people to spot where I might be going wrong. And again thanks for the encouragement.
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby Hylander » Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:20 pm

But πεδίον is neuter so it cans serve as an accusative as well as a nominative. And if it is not agreement that creates the problem what is it that I'm missing?


ἔβρεχε μὲν ἡ βροχὴ πεδίον ἅπαν ὁμαλὲς ὥσπερ θάλαττα, ἀψινθίου δὲ πλῆρες


Let me try to explain this.

ὁμαλὲς and πλῆρες would be predicative adjectives: "the rain wetted/innundated an entire plain [making it] level like the sea and full of wormwood." But even if that made sense, θάλαττα would have to be accusative θάλατταν, to agree with accusative πεδίον. The absence of a definite article with πεδίον would also be difficult to make sense of.

Xenophon's sentence, ἦν μὲν ἡ γῆ πεδίον ἅπαν ὁμαλὲς, makes sense without a definite article with πεδίον because there's a definite article with ἡ γῆ: "the whole land was a complete plain/entirely a plain level like the sea and full of wormwood."
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Re: xenophon Anabasis 1.5.2 εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο + μὲν δὲ

Postby ariphron » Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:56 am

Hylander wrote:One more point: ἅπαντα ἦσαν, a plural verb with a neuter plural noun--which flies in the face of everything we (think we) know about Greek. Obviously, Xenophon failed to read his Mastronarde and his Smyth.

I think (though I could be wrong) what's going on here is that there are two different categories of plural objects--brushwood and reeds (both of which are mass nouns in Greek). So "everything," απαντα, takes a plural verb.


I think you got the meaning correct right off the bat, and Mahasacham expressed the key insight about the construction, that "ὕλης ἢ καλάμου" is a partitive genitive. It's worthwhile to analyze how a partitive works. It defines a general set, from which specific elements are taken to form the head of the noun phrase. In this case the indefinite pronoun τι is the head of the noun phrase, εἰ τι ἄλλο, "whatever else." When we hit ἅπαντα, we've got a subject set up awaiting a predicate. ἅπαντα, in my view, functions as an adverb rather than a subject for ἦσαν, and the plural verb indicates that he remembered seeing more than one kind of plant (other than wormwood), without, presumably, knowing the names for them.

I don't think it would have made any difference to the number of the verb if Xenophon had been able to classify all the vegetation he saw as ὕλη; that phrase doesn't serve either as the subject or as a direct antecedent to the subject.
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