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Plato, Apology 34 e3-4

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Plato, Apology 34 e3-4

Postby Tugodum » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:00 pm

οὔ μοι δοκεῖ καλὸν εἶναι ἐμὲ τούτων οὐδὲν ποιεῖν
(1) Do I understand it correctly that
(a) οὔ goes with καλὸν, not with δοκεῖ ,
(b) and to say "μοι δοκεῖ οὐ καλὸν εἶναι..." would be simply un-Greek ?
(2) It is clear from the context that οὐδὲν here amplifies οὔ in accordance with the rule for a simple negative followed by a compound negative; I am wondering, though, whether it is normal for this rule to apply across the border between an indirect statement and the clause that introduces it.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 e3-4

Postby mwh » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:59 am

Tugodum wrote:οὔ μοι δοκεῖ καλὸν εἶναι ἐμὲ τούτων οὐδὲν ποιεῖν
(1) Do I understand it correctly that
(a) οὔ goes with καλὸν, not with δοκεῖ ,
(b) and to say "μοι δοκεῖ οὐ καλὸν εἶναι..." would be simply un-Greek ?
(2) It is clear from the context that οὐδὲν here amplifies οὔ in accordance with the rule for a simple negative followed by a compound negative; I am wondering, though, whether it is normal for this rule to apply across the border between an indirect statement and the clause that introduces it.

Tugodum, Straight answers to all these questions would be “Yes and No,” but I’ll try to provide something more helpful and explanatory than that! After our previous frustrating exchanges, however, I’ll warn you in advance that I probably won’t be responding to follow-up questions from you. Hopefully this post will adequately clarify things for you (and maybe for others), if you can moderate the rigidity of your thinking. So I hope you’ll open your mind to what I offer you here, and genuinely chew it over and apply it in your reading.

(a) is a false dichotomy. The negative at the outset applies to the rest of the sentence. But the syntax is like English “I don’t think that’s right” meaning “I think that’s wrong.” In that sense we might say that ου “goes with” καλον, but syntactically it goes with δοκεῖ.

(b) is a good related question. Actually “μοι δοκεῖ οὐ καλὸν εἶναι” is ungreek because μοι cannot stand first, since it’s enclitic. But probably you mean to ask whether δοκει μοι (or εμοι δοκει) ου καλον ειναι followed by acc.&inf. would be acceptable Greek. It would, but it would be rather unusual, and would tie ου and καλον very tightly together, “I think it’s not-good” as it were, as if “not-good” were a category in itself. The negative much more “naturally” goes ahead of the main verb. You might keep an eye out for exceptional cases where it doesn’t.

As to your (2), it’s best not to think in terms of “the border between an indirect statement and the clause that introduces it.” Greek simply does not recognize the border. Think of a structure like σὲ φασι σοφον ειναι, where the “indirect statement” is distributed either side of the governing verb. “Indirect statement” is not really the best description of an infinitive or an acc.&inf. (syntactically quite distinct from a οτι or ως clause, which is a clause in its own right). In our particular sentence the “indirect statement” does follow “the clause that introduces it,” but there’s no necessity for it to do so. The sentence is a single integrated unit. So yes, what we have here is normal enough, though in other contexts ουδεν could retain its negative force and mean “nothing” rather than “anything.” Formally it’s ambiguous, but not in context, as you say.

I do hope this helps. If it doesn’t, I’d recommend reading further and maybe coming back to it later when you’ve finished the Apology.
And if anyone else wants to discuss, I'm open to that.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 e3-4

Postby Tugodum » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:17 am

Thanks a lot, mwh! This makes perfect sense to me and fully answers my questions, in which I tentatively introduced those rigid dichotomies precisely to double check whether they are applicable.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 e3-4

Postby jeidsath » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:42 pm

I came across this in Charmides yesterday, and I thought it was interesting in light of question 1.

Σοὶ δέ, ἦ δ᾿ ὅς, ὦ βέλτιστε, οὐχ οὕτω δοκεῖ;

Is it that μοι can’t come first, or that it always changes to ἐμοί when it does?
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 e3-4

Postby mwh » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:49 pm

σοί with an accent of its own (“orthotone”) is emphatic, like ἐμοί, while σοι enclitic is not. The orthotone forms (σοί, εμοί) can naturally stand first. It just so happens (so to speak) that the only orthographic difference between the two σοι’s is the accent. It’s important to distinguish them in reading.
So in your Charmides sentence, “Doesn’t it seem this way to you?”

σοι ~ μοι, enclitic (unaccented, postpositive)
σοί ~ ἐμοί, orthotone (accented, emphatic)
Similarly με:ἐμέ ~ σε:σέ, and μου:ἐμοῦ ~ σου:σοῦ.
The distinction applies in the plural too: ἥμας ἥμων ἥμιν and ὕμας ὕμων ὕμιν quasi-enclitic, as distinct from orthotone ἡμᾶς ἡμῶν etc. But most modern editors wrongly treat them all as orthotone. (You can see this from verse endings in Babrius, Joel, cf. Chandler for ancient testimony.)
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 e3-4

Postby jeidsath » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:17 pm

Yes, that's exactly what I was getting at. I was wondering whether it's more correct to state the rule as 1) unemphatic personal pronouns are enclitic and therefore can't come first, or 2) the first position in the sentence is so emphatic that only emphatic words can stand there. My understanding is that it's the first, not the second.

The distinction applies in the plural too: ἥμας ἥμων ἥμιν and ὕμας ὕμων ὕμιν quasi-enclitic, as distinct from orthotone ἡμᾶς ἡμῶν etc. But most modern editors wrongly treat them all as orthotone. (You can see this from verse endings in Babrius, Joel, cf. Chandler for ancient testimony.)


I had never heard of this before. The discussion seems to be at Chandler 956. I can't see a justification for the modern orthography in light of this.

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EDIT:

I recall being mystified seeing trochee ὑμίν in Sophocles. It's much easier for me to accept ὕμιν -> ὗμιν than it would be ὑμῖν -> ὑμίν.
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