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Charmides 156A

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Charmides 156A

Postby jeidsath » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:55 pm

Καὶ ὅς, Ἀπογράψομαι τοίνυν, ἔφη, παρὰ σοῦ τὴν ἐπῳδήν.
Πότερον, ἦν δ᾿ ἐγώ, ἐάν με πείθῃς ἢ κἂν μή;
Γελάσας οὖν, Ἐάν σε πείθω, ἔφη, ὦ Σώκρατες.

Overall it's clear enough what's going on here, but I'm a little confused about the precise meaning of Socrates' question.

Is Socrates saying:

"Will it happen that way, whether you persuade me or not?" And then Charmides answers "If I should persuade you."

Or is it closer to how the Loeb has it:

Do you prefer, I asked, to get my consent first, or to do without it?

This made him laugh, and he said: To get your consent, Socrates.


"Πότερον" seems to make more sense following the Loeb, but I don't understand the use of "ἐάν" then.
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Re: Charmides 156A

Postby mwh » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:57 pm

ποτερον … η is a disjunct direct question, picking up απογραψομαι. “(Will you copy it down) with my consent or (will you do so) even without it?
"with my consent" lit. if you persuade me, "even without it" lit. even if not.
Your “… whether you persuade me or not” would be ειτε … ειτε (και) μη, and not have ποτερον … η.
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Re: Charmides 156A

Postby jeidsath » Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:19 am

Thank you. I've been puzzling over your answer for a bit (and reading Smyth/Goodwin/LSJ on πότερον questions), and I think that I now understand what you (and Socrates) are saying.

He's asking which of the two conditional clauses is the case. 1) protasis ἐάν με πείθῃς, apodosis ἀπογράψῃ, or 2) protasis κἂν μή, apodosis ἀπογράψῃ.

So: πότερον ἀπογράψῃ ἐάν με πείθῃς ἢ ἀπογράψῃ κἄν με μὴ πείθῃς;

"Are you saying that you will write it down if you should persuade me, or that you will write it down even if you should not persuade me?"

And then the answer makes sense:

"If I should persuade you."
Ἐάν σε πείθω
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Re: Charmides 156A

Postby mwh » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:03 am

That’s it, but of course you don’t need απογραψῃ even once let alone twice. It’s readily understood, as regularly in English conversation as well as Greek. (E.g. “Will you be coming?” “If I can.”) Extremely common in Plato and the tragedians as we’ve seen previously.

Incidentally, I wish you wouldn’t use these archaic “should/would” translations for subj.+αν. Nobody talks like that today.

Should I stay or should I go?
πότερον δεῖ με μένειν ἢ απελθεῖν;
If you say [“If you should say” coni. Smyth] that you are mine, I'll be here till the end of time.
ἐὰν εἴπῃς …
If I go [“should go” Smyth] there will be trouble, and if I stay [“should stay” Smyth] it will be double.
εαν μεν απέλθω, … , εαν δε μένω, ….

Let me refer again to my guide to conditionals, viewtopic.php?f=2&t=64823&p=181115.
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Re: Charmides 156A

Postby jeidsath » Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:47 am

I like your guide to the conditionals, but I notice that it leaves out εἰ + future indicative, which I would have thought gets used in slightly different contexts than ἐὰν + subj. There's an example in the next paragraph of Charmides:

Ἕρμαιον, ἔφη, ὦ Σώκρατες, γεγονὸς ἂν εἴη ἡ τῆς κεφαλῆς ἀσθένεια τῷ νεανίσκῳ, εἰ ἀναγκασθήσεται καὶ τὴν διάνοιαν διὰ τὴν κεφαλὴν βελτίων γενέσθαι. (ἀναγκασθήσεται is being used for a single event.)

And to take the example out of my grammar:

εἰ μὴ καθέξεις γλῶσσαν, ἔσται σοι κακά (Single event, or continuous "keep holding"?)

The grammar claims that this is a conditional that doesn't imply things one way or another. If it were changed to ἐὰν κατέχῃ, my gut feeling would be that it felt "nearer" somehow, and more of a direct threat or worry.

Probably neither here nor there, but in other contexts (specifically expressing agency) Plato uses εἰ μέλλει.

For the Clash lyrics, if I'm just going to go by what my grammar says, I would think that non-committal εἰ λέξεις would fit better, since "the indecision's bugging me". (βαρύνει με τἄκριτα?). To me, ἐὰν εἴπῃς seems to imply that he wants her to say it, or at least that it matters to him that she says it. And that wouldn't be Punk.

(I saw "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" this week, and seem to be the only person on the planet that liked it)
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Re: Charmides 156A

Postby mwh » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:57 pm

I was using the Clash lyrics simply to serve two purposes (to kill two birds, but not in a punk sense): to show how ποτερον is used, and to show how to translate εαν+subjunctive, and subjunctives in indefinite clauses more generally.

Any indicative can (of course) be used after ει.
One specific: in a sentence such as εἰ μὴ καθέξεις γλῶσσαν, ἔσται σοι κακά (which you’ll have recognized as a trimeter), the fut.indic. condition is more threatening than εαν+subj would be, not less. I won’t try to explain why, but if you think about it you might see. (Or you could simply read more Greek, to adjust your gut feelings.) And aspectual distinctions don’t apply to the future tense, as you seem to think.

It would be good if you could break free of Smyth’s organization of Greek syntax. There’s nothing special about an εαν clause—it behaves exactly the same as any other indefinite clause. (That’s a point I tried to incidentally get across in my conditionals guide.) Similarly with use of future indicative in subordinate clauses.
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Re: Charmides 156A

Postby jeidsath » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:03 pm

(Or you could simply read more Greek, to adjust your gut feelings.)


Thanks. I will read more. I think that the "shoulds" in the grammars have been influencing me more than what I've read in Greek.

Now that I look at Smyth, I see that εἰ with future indicative is labelled as "emotional," contra Kaegi, where the above quote is given as one example of εἰ with indicative "expressing conditioned reality." In Rouse & Sing -- their presentation is somewhat similar to yours, actually -- there is a note.

Note. The εἰ may be used with the fut. indic. in Greek as in English, and then there is no ἄν. This, however, has not the same meaning as the condition, but is modal. Compare αἷρε πλῆκτρον, εἰ μαχεῖ, ᾽up with your spur, if you are going to fight.'


"Modal" means nothing to me there, but Smyth's description of "emotional" (Smyth 2328) has a much more detailed explanation.
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