Textkit Logo

Plato, Republic, Book 3, 393 e

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.

Plato, Republic, Book 3, 393 e

Postby DBLB » Fri May 25, 2018 10:16 pm

Since this is my first post, I would like to start off by greeting the textkit community, and informing everybody here that English is not my native language, so I hope everyone will be able to understand what I am trying to write.

I'm 29 years old, have been studying Ancient Greek for a year and a half now, and am currently translating an excerpt from the Book III of Plato's Republic (393 d- e). I've stumbled upon a sentence which I can actually figure out the translation, but cannot determine the syntactical function of some of the words. I'm referring to this sentence:

"εἶχε δ᾽ ἂν ὧδε πως—φράσω δὲ ἄνευ μέτρου: οὐ γάρ εἰμι ποιητικός—ἐλθὼν ὁ ἱερεὺς ηὔχετο ἐκείνοις μὲν τοὺς θεοὺς δοῦναι ἑλόντας τὴν Τροίαν αὐτοὺς σωθῆναι, τὴν δὲ θυγατέρα οἱ λῦσαι δεξαμένους ἄποινα καὶ τὸν θεὸν αἰδεσθέντας." (Book 3 393 d - e),

So, two problems are making me stuck in this excerpt.

First of all, I simply cannot understand the article οἱ in the last part of the sentence. Why isn't it a plural accusative? All the participles are accusatives (I'm supposing that they are related to οἱ ), this is an Infinitive Sentence, so why isn't the article in the Acusative? What's it's syntactical function?

Secondly, is the participle ἑλόντας considered a supplementary participle (introduced by δοῦναι ) or a circumstantial temporal participle (meaning something like "after having conquered Troy")?

I would be very grateful if anyone could help me out with this one!

PS: Sorry once more for my bad English and for not being more specific in my self-description on my first post. It just happens that I'm one of those persons that doesn't like to give out too much personal information on the Internet. I hope it's ok.
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 9:39 pm

Re: Plato, Republic, Book 3, 393 e

Postby jeidsath » Fri May 25, 2018 10:32 pm

ὑμῖν μὲν θεοὶ δοῖεν Ὀλύμπια δώματ᾽ ἔχοντες
ἐκπέρσαι Πριάμοιο πόλιν εὖ δ᾽ οἴκαδ᾽ ἱκέσθαι
παῖδα δ᾽ ἐμοὶ λύσαιτε φίλην τὰ δ᾽ ἄποινα δέχεσθαι
ἁζόμενοι Διὸς υἱὸν ἑκηβόλον Ἀπόλλωνα
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

μὴ δ’ οὕτως ἀγαθός περ ἐὼν θεοείκελ’ Ἀχιλλεῦ
κλέπτε νόῳ, ἐπεὶ οὐ παρελεύσεαι οὐδέ με πείσεις.
User avatar
Posts: 2483
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Γαλεήπολις, Οὐισκόνσιν

Re: Plato, Republic, Book 3, 393 e

Postby bedwere » Fri May 25, 2018 10:35 pm

User avatar
Global Moderator
Posts: 3317
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:23 pm
Location: Didacopoli in California

Re: Plato, Republic, Book 3, 393 e

Postby DBLB » Fri May 25, 2018 10:44 pm

Hello, first of all thank you for answering so quickly!

However, I'm afraid I didn't understand your reply.
From what I see you are quoting from the beginning of the Iliad. I know that in the excerpt I posted, Socrates is narrating through his own words this passage of the Iliad that you quoted. However, my doubts were more related to the syntactical functions of some of the words in the excerpt rather than it's meaning.
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 9:39 pm

Re: Plato, Republic, Book 3, 393 e

Postby DBLB » Fri May 25, 2018 10:57 pm

bedwere, thank you very much for your reply!

I get it now! So οἱ is not an article but the dative of the personal pronoun in the third person! Boy, is Greek difficult…

As for the participle, were you able to figure out if it's a circumstancial participle or if it's introduced by the
verb δοῦναι ?

Once again, many thanks, you just made my life so much easier! Thank god for this forum
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 9:39 pm

Re: Plato, Republic, Book 3, 393 e

Postby Hylander » Sat May 26, 2018 2:17 am

οἱ is the dative singular "indirect reflexive", not an article.

Bedwere sent you to LSJ; here is what Smyth says:

1226. When the subject of the leading clause is not the same as the subject of the subordinate clause or of the accusative with the infinitive (1975), the context must decide to which subject the reflexive pronoun refers: (ὁ κατήγορος) ἔφη . . . ἀναπείθοντα τοὺς νέους αὐτὸν . . . οὕτω διατιθέναι τοὺς ἐαυτῷ συνόντας κ.τ.λ. the accuser said that, by persuading the young, he (Socrates) so disposed his (i.e. Socrates') pupils, etc. X. M. 1.2.52.

1227. ἑαυτοῦ, etc., are rarely used as indirect reflexives in adjectival clauses: τὰ ναυά_για, ὅσα πρὸς τῇ ἑαυτῶν (γῇ) ““ἦν, ἀνείλοντο” they took up the wrecks, as many as were close to their own land” T. 2.92.

1228. Instead of the indirect ἑαυτοῦ, etc., there may be used--

* * *

b. Of the forms of the third personal pronoun, οἷ and σφίσι (rarely οὗ, σφεῖς, σφῶν, and σφᾶς). Thus, ““ἠρώτα_ αὐτὴν εἰ ἐθελήσοι δια_κονῆσαί οἱ” he asked her if she would be willing to do him a service” Ant. 1.16, ““τοὺς παῖδας ἐκέλευον τοῦ Κύ_ρου δεῖσθαι διαπρά_ξασθαι σφίσιν” they ordered their boys to ask Cyrus to get it done for them” X. C. 1.4.1, ““κελεύουσι γὰρ ἡμᾶς κοινῇ μετὰ σφῶν πολεμεῖν” for they urge us to make war in common with them” And. 3.27, ἔφη δέ, ἐπειδὴ οὗ ἐκβῆναι τὴν ψυ_χὴν . . . . . . ἀφικνεῖσθαι σφᾶς εἰς τόπον τινὰ δαιμόνιον he said that when his soul had departed out of him, they (he and others) came to a mysterious place P. R. 614b. See 1195.


The dative singular indirect reflexive οἱ refers back to ὁ ἱερεὺς, the subject of ηὔχετο. The accusative subject of the infinitive λῦσαι (which here stands for optative λύσαιτε, as the quote from the Iliad shows) is αὐτοὺς. The participles, ἑλόντας, δεξαμένους and αἰδεσθέντας agree with αὐτοὺς. οἱ λῦσαι: "release to/for him", i.e., the priest, and it also serves to mark his relationship to τὴν θυγατέρα, "his daughter."

ἑλόντας τὴν Τροίαν αὐτοὺς σωθῆναι: ἑλόντας is a "circumstantial temporal" participle, not a supplementary participle. "having taken Troy, to escape alive".

Plato's Socrates is rewriting the Iliad (at least the first book) in prose, ἄνευ μέτρου. He doesn't write poetry, and he most certainly doesn't approve of it. Here he's demonstrating how he thinks the story of the Iliad should be told, stripped of the ornamentation of poetry and reduced to a bald, prosaic narrative of "just the facts," stated one after another in the order in which they occurred. His prose narration corresponds to the Homeric passage jeidsath helpfully quoted.

In Homer, the verbs ἐκπέρσαι and ἱκέσθαι are syntactically parallel, with δ᾽ serving as a connective. This is typical of Homer, who uses subordinating constructions much less frequently than Attic prose. But Plato's Socrates here is rewriting Homer in Attic prose, so his natural instinct is to subordinate the verb that occurs first, ἑλόντας, casting it as a "temporal circumstantial" aorist participle, to the more important verb σωθῆναι. The prosaic ἑλόντας τὴν Τροίαν and αὐτοὺς σωθῆναι correspond to the Epic, poetic, expressions ἐκπέρσαι Πριάμοιο πόλιν and εὖ δ᾽ οἴκαδ᾽ ἱκέσθαι, respectively.
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1382
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Plato, Republic, Book 3, 393 e

Postby DBLB » Sat May 26, 2018 2:49 pm

Hylander, many thanks for your clarification!

I was having sort of a hard time with the sentence, but it's now perfectly clear.
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 9:39 pm

Return to Learning Greek