Textkit Logo

Pl. Ap. 18c3-8.

Here you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Greek, and more.

Pl. Ap. 18c3-8.

Postby angelfolc » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:35 pm

Can someone please help me understand the syntactic structure of the following passage (Pl. Ap. 18c3-8).

ἔπειτά εἰσιν οὗτοι οἱ κατήγοροι πολλοὶ καὶ πολὺν χρόνον ἤδη κατηγορηκότες, ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ ἡλικίᾳ λέγοντες πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ᾗ ἂν μάλιστα ἐπιστεύσατε, παῖδες ὄντες ἔνιοι ὑμῶν καὶ μειράκια, ἀτεχνῶς ἐρήμην κατηγοροῦντες ἀπολογουμένου οὐδενός.

There are a few things I don't understand:

How are both participles related to the main verb (εἰσιν)?; are they nominal predicates of a copulative use of εἰμί (linking verb), or does the main verb here mean "there are". In the first case, why would they be translated as finite verbs if they're not predicative participles = participa coniucta? What is more, it seems to me as if λέγοντες were an isolated participle.

The translations I've checked translate the participles as finite verbs, κατηγορηκότες and λέγοντες, respectively.
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:16 pm

Re: Pl. Ap. 18c3-8.

Postby Hylander » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:48 am

The translations are not necessarily a guide to the grammatical analysis of the Greek. Sometimes they can be helpful for that purpose, but apparently not here.

οὗτοι οἱ κατήγοροι is the subject.

εἰσιν functions as the main verb, with πολλοὶ as one predicate, and it also forms a kind of periphrastic perfect with κατηγορηκότες. I doubt the Greeks would have made a mental distinction between the use of the perfect participle as predicate with present tense forms of ειμι and the periphrastic perfect.

The periphrastic perfect is more common in the subjunctive and optative, but also occurs in the indicative. See Smyth 599a:

For the simple perfect and pluperfect periphrastic forms are often used.
a. For the perfect or pluperfect active indicative the forms of the perfect active participle and εἰμί or ἦν may be used: as λελυκώς εἰμι for λέλυκα, λελυκὼς ἦν for ἐλελύκη. So βεβοηθηκότες ἦσαν for ἐβεβοηθήκεσαν (βοηθέω come to aid); εἰμὶ τεθηκὼς for τέθηκα I have placed; γεγραφὼς ἦν for ἐγεγράφη I had written; πεπονθὼς ἦν I had suffered. Such forms are more common in the pluperfect and in general denote state rather than action.


The perfect here indicates that the accusations began in the past and are continuing into the present.

λέγοντες is simply a participle agreeing with οὗτοι οἱ κατήγοροι, something like this: "these accusers are many, and they have been making accusations for a long time, [having] already [been] talking to you even at the age when . . . "

The present participle here represents the imperfect: "they were already talking to you when you were children", but it requires the perfect tense to get the point across in intelligible English -- an example of why you can't necessarily rely on an English translation to analyze the Greek.

This is what Smyth calls the "participle of the imperfect." See Smyth 1872a1:

The action set forth by the present participle is generally coincident (rarely antecedent or subsequent) to that of the leading verb: ““ἐργαζόμεναι μὲν ἠρίστων, ἐργασάμεναι δὲ ἐδείπνουν” the women took their noonday meal while they continued their work, but took their supper when they had stopped work” X. M. 2.7.12.

1. Antecedent action ( = imperf.): ““οἱ Κύρειοι πρόσθεν σὺν ἡμῖν ταττόμενοι νῦν ἀφεστήκασιν” the forces of Cyrus that were formerly marshalled with us have now deserted” X. A. 3.2.17, ““τοὺς τότε παρόντας αἰτιάσονται συμβούλους” they will accuse those who were their counsellors at that time” P. G. 519a, οἱ Κορίνθιοι μέχρι τούτου προθύμως πρά_σσοντες ἀνεῖσαν τῆς φιλονεικία_ς the Corinthians, who up to that time had been acting zealously, now slackened in their vehemence T. 5.32. An adverb (πρότερον, πρόσθεν, τότε, ποτέ) often accompanies the participle, which is sometimes called the participle of the imperfect.


We don't have an adverb here, but we do have an adverbial expression of time, ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ ἡλικίᾳ . . .
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1113
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Pl. Ap. 18c3-8.

Postby angelfolc » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:44 am

Very helpful. I never thought of that possibility. Thank you very much.
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:16 pm

Return to Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 94 guests