a small group of faint starts (traditionally seven in number, though only six are visible), were for the Greeks crucial signs of the seasons. Their rising just before sunrise marked the beginning of summer, and their setting at this time marked the beginning of winter (cf. West on Hes. Op. 383-4; Gow on Theoc. 13. 25-6; Kidd on Arat. 254-67). The appearance of the Pleiades is a notable feature of winter. At E. Hel . 1489, means ‘during the time when the Pleiades are in mid-course', i.e. visible in the sky at night (cf. Kannicht on 1489-91; Ion 1152-3), and might have a similar sense here. If so, the speaker is saying that 'night is falling (i.e. ending) at the time when the Pleiad is in mid-course', that is, in midwinter ...
Hp. Epid. 1. 1 ; Arist. HA 598b7 ), and Giangrande accordingly suggests that be understood ‘in the middle of the season during which the Pleiad sets (at dawn)', i.e. at the beginning of winter. On either interpretation, the
The word for this constellation is either singular Πλειάς or plural Πλειάδες, never ἡ Πλειάδα or anything like that.
jeidsath wrote: However, I still think this must be nominative in the original version. In Greek, it's heavenly bodies that are talked of as sinking. The Sun, the Moon, etc. Almost every time the Pleiades are mentioned, they are the subject of some form of δύνειν. The moon is not mentioned here, the sun is logically impossible. So it seems to me that the Pleiades must be the subject here.
Paul Derouda wrote:I agree that the idea of the Pleiades being the subject is attractive, but that doesn't mean it was nominitave originally. Accusatives can be subjects if the verb is in the infinitive (see my example from the Iliad), and I was actually wondering if we could emend the verb into aorist infinitive δῦναι. But we still would have to find a way to deal with μέσην.
Paul Derouda wrote:I suppose the singular nominative of Pleiades in pleiada you found belongs to modern Greek...
cramberepetita wrote:Paul Derouda, I have to say I don't see much similarity between Od. 1.421f and the epigram; more so with the Sappho fragment (fr. 52 Bergk = fr. 74 Reinach) jeidsath mentioned, which had also crossed my mind. But of course it can’t be exluded that a construction with μένω was used here before some monk dozed off on the job.
Hylander wrote:I'm late to the party, and I don't have anything to add on the Greek--the upshot is that the heliacal setting of the Pleiades marks the onset of winter, even if the Greek is somewhat obscure--but beginning Tuesday or Wednesday, 1/17-18, when the moon will be rising late in the evening, it would be a good time to go out and take a look at the Pleiades in the early evening with binoculars. A dazzling sight, even modest binoculars! Perseus and fiery red Aldebaran will be spectacular to the naked eye, too.
Paul Derouda wrote:Helsinki is probably the most light-polluted place I know. I spent Christmas in southern France a few kilometers from Marseille, and I was surprised how starry the sky can be. Should have taken a look at the stars back then!
Paul Derouda wrote:in the real metropoles of the world
It’s funny, though, how much the English language likes the plural of the original language, from formulae, matrices, genera, corpora, Cyclopes, and phalanges to Poltergeister, châteaux, criteria, miasmata, and cherubim, to name only a few.
mwh wrote:Incidentally, that soppy δεδυκε μεν poem is certainly not by Sappho. I doubt that it’s even hellenistic.
übrigens ist es eine sünde, das reizende volkslied der Sappho zuzuschreiben. überliefert ist es nicht, und wenn das gedicht unter ihren werken gestanden haben sollte, so würde das nichts verschlagen. dies mädchen harrt bei offener kammertür auf den geliebten: das soll Sappho sein?
The weeping Pleiads wester,
And the moon is under seas;
From bourn to bourn of midnight
Far sighs the rainy breeze:
It sighs from a lost country
To a land I have not known;
The weeping Pleiads wester,
And I lie down alone.
mwh wrote:I doubt the author had any clear idea of what he meant by μεσην δ’επι πλειαδα δυνει, which seems an impossibly muddled phrase. None of the proposed emendations has any plausibility. It shouldn’t be primarily a seasonal marker (despite the long night and the χειμα and e.g. Ovid Amores 1.9.15f. quis nisi vel miles vel amans et frigora noctis | et denso mixtas perferet imbre nives?) but ought to refer somehow to the passage of the night, cf. e.g. the recurrent tempora noctis eunt in Ovid’s paraclausithuron Am.1.6. But for all its seeming specificity it’s quite incoherent. The inept closing conceit about Kypris not shooting Eros is in its way even worse. I wouldn’t waste time worrying about it.
30, 21 οὓς Πλειάδα ἐκάλεσαν διὰ τὸ λαμπροὺς εἶναι ἐν τῇ τραγικῇ ὡς τὰ ἄστρα τῆς Πλειάδος
(K: οὓς Πλειάδας ἐκάλεσαν διὰ τὸ λαμπροὺς εἶναι ἐν τῇ τραγικῇ ὡς τὰ ἄστρα τὰς Πλειάδας)
140, 9: ἑπτὰ γὰρ ἐλέγοντο εἶναι τραγῳδοί· διὸ καὶ πλειὰς ὠνομάσθησαν, ὧν εἷς ἐστιν οὗτος ὁ Φίλικος· ἐπὶ Πτολεμαίου δὲ γεγόνασιν οὗτοι ἄριστοι τραγικοί· εἰσὶ δὲ οὗτοι· Ὅμηρος νεώτερος, Σωσίθεος, Λυκόφρων, Ἀλέξανδρος, Φίλικος, Διονυσιάδης
279, 6: ἑπτὰ ἄριστοι γεγόνασι τραγικοί, οὗς Πλειάδας ἐκάλεσαν διὰ τὸ λαμπροὺς εἶναι ἐν τῇ τραγικῇ ὥσπερ ἄστρα τὰ ἐν τῇ Πλειάδι
387, 9: εἷς τῆς ἐπὶ Πλειάδος
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