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Eur. Med. 1404 οὐκ ἔστι

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Eur. Med. 1404 οὐκ ἔστι

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:40 pm

What is the sense of this οὐκ ἔστι here. The best I can get is "Get real!", "Look at what is actually in front of you", "That's not the way things are."

The tone of the passage seems emotionally charged and abrupt - as she rubs his face in it. The tone is also in the following statement, which seems to be, "There is no point to saying that (he wanted to embrace and touch them)", seeing as they are dead.

1402 - 1404 wrote:Ἰάσων
δός μοι πρὸς θεῶν
μαλακοῦ χρωτὸς ψαῦσαι τέκνων.

Μήδεια
οὐκ ἔστι: μάτην ἔπος ἔρριπται.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
(Keats, Ode to a nightingale, 1819).
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Re: Eur. Med. 1404 οὐκ ἔστι

Postby jeidsath » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:48 pm

I thought that it meant "they are gone" οὐκ ἔστι [τὰ τέκνα]. But Kovacs (LCL) translates "it cannot be", meaning, I think, that he reads it with the infinitive: οὐκ ἔστι [ψαῦσαι]. This fits better than my reading, since it makes it a direct reply to δός μοι...ψαῦσαι.
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Re: Eur. Med. 1404 οὐκ ἔστι

Postby mwh » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:46 pm

It just means “Impossible,” i.e. “Not gonna happen, buster.” It rejects his δός μοι plea (rather than the infinitive), “No way I’ll grant it you.”
(Exemplary anapests, btw.)
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Re: Eur. Med. 1404 οὐκ ἔστι

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:51 am

Is the accentuation of οὐκ ἔστι significant?
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
(Keats, Ode to a nightingale, 1819).
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Re: Eur. Med. 1404 οὐκ ἔστι

Postby mwh » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:35 am

No. έστι is always orthotone following ουκ (Hdn.1.553, sch.Il.1.63).

And the thrust of the following μάτην ἔπος ἔρριπται (“your word is cast in vain”) is not quite as you took it but more like “Don’t waste your breath" (by pleading, for there’s no way I’m going to grant you your plea). The "word" was his δος μοι προς θεων ... plea. She’s out to maximize his pain.

(Joel, “They are gone” would be ουκετ’ εστι, they are no more. But she wouldn’t say that. He already knows they’re dead.)
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Re: Eur. Med. 1404 οὐκ ἔστι

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:01 pm

mwh wrote:No. έστι is always orthotone following ουκ (Hdn.1.553, sch.Il.1.63).

LSJ εἰμί wrote:All forms of the pres.ind. are enclitic (exc. 2sg. εἶ and 3pl. ἔασι); but 3sg. is written ἔστι when it begins a sentence or verse, or when it immediately follows οὐκ, καί, εἰ, ὡς, ἀλλά, or τοῦτ᾽, Hdn.Gr.1.553

Going laterally for a moment on this...

Besides this οὐκ ἔστι, which doesn't have an enclitic, doing an online (manual) search of the Perseus corpus just now, I can find the orthotone - enclitic pairs;
  • οὐκ εἰμί and οὔκ εἰμι,
  • οὐκ ἐσμὲν and οὔκ ἐσμεν,
  • οὐκ εἰσίν and οὔκ εἰσιν,
but I can only find the orthotone οὐκ ἐστὲ, (ie. I can not find and example of the enclitic οὔκ ἐστε in the Perseus corpus).

Is there a significance in the difference between these orthotone - enclitic pairs? Or is it just editorial preference?
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
(Keats, Ode to a nightingale, 1819).
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Re: Eur. Med. 1404 οὐκ ἔστι

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:03 pm

mwh wrote:And the thrust of the following μάτην ἔπος ἔρριπται (“your word is cast in vain”) is not quite as you took it but more like “Don’t waste your breath" (by pleading, for there’s no way I’m going to grant you your plea). The "word" was his δος μοι προς θεων ... plea. She’s out to maximize his pain.

So, he is just wanting to embrace their corpses and touch their cool skin, not hoping for them not to be dead? He is not in a denial stage of early grief?
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
(Keats, Ode to a nightingale, 1819).
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Re: Eur. Med. 1404 οὐκ ἔστι

Postby mwh » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:08 pm

I can understand a father wanting to embrace his just murdered children. It’s a natural instinct. But he fully accepts they’re dead, and has done ever since he was authoritatively informed of the fact nearly a hundred lines ago (1309 παιδες τεθνασι χειρι μητρῳᾳ σεθεν*). And now he accepts that Medea is right to tell him ματην επος ερριπται, denying his final prayer.

* First the brute and shocking fact, then the killer identified, replicating the pattern of Stesich.fr.191.6-9 τεθνασι τοι αματι τωιδε παρ’ αισαν αδελφεοί· εκτανε δ’ αυτους … (Meleager?).

(Accentuation of the present tense of ειμί is a mess. Most editors, on little or no ancient authority, differentiate between the regular and the “existential” forms, έστι etc., in the disyllables, cf. ἔστιν ὅτε in the recent thread. After ου ancient grammatical doctrine prescribed έστι. I don’t know why ούκ εστι (or ουκ εστί) was disallowed; that doesn’t seem to make linguistic sense.)
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Re: Eur. Med. 1404 οὐκ ἔστι

Postby jeidsath » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:38 pm

mwh wrote:(Accentuation of the present tense of ειμί is a mess. Most editors, on little or no ancient authority, differentiate between the regular and the “existential” forms, έστι etc., in the disyllables, cf. ἔστιν ὅτε in the recent thread. After ου ancient grammatical doctrine prescribed έστι. I don’t know why ούκ εστι (or ουκ εστί) was disallowed; that doesn’t seem to make linguistic sense.)


Chandler has some discussion and points to Hermann for a simplifying assumption, but there’s not much light.

In Japanese, desu (the copula), moves between accents depending on the words around it, depending on whether it rubs up against unvoiced consonants. It’s not that the languages are related, but that the level of complexity that we should expect is very high.

It’s worthwhile reading through Samuel E. Martin’s 1967 paper “On the Accent of Japanese Adjectives” to get an idea of how complicated pitch accent is in a mora-timed language with single-accent words. The complexities and irregularities are far greater than anything that has come down to us about Greek.

It makes me think that everything that the grammarians wrote could well be true, or mostly true, especially compared to the simplifying rules of modern editors. The vast majority of the complexity of Greek’s accent system is probably unavailable to us, and in the rules that we do know, we are only seeing a scattering of the most prominent features.
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κλέπτε νόῳ, ἐπεὶ οὐ παρελεύσεαι οὐδέ με πείσεις.
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