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Ajax 1150-1151 syntax

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Ajax 1150-1151 syntax

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:09 pm

Sophocles Ajax 1150-1151
{ΤΕΥ.} Ἐγὼ δέ γ' ἄνδρ' ὄπωπα μωρίας πλέων,
ὃς ἐν κακοῖς ὕβριζε τοῖσι τῶν πέλας.

Two problems. The Perseus analysis of the form πλέων is somewhat baffling. Here is an abbreviation of the data.

under: πλείων

πλέων adj sg fem nom comp
πλέων adj sg masc nom comp

under: πλέως

πλέων adj sg masc acc (and six others)

under: πλέω

πλέων part sg pres act masc nom

To make sense in Ajax 1150 the process of elimination appears to leave us with adj sg masc acc in agreement with ἄνδρ'. πλέων takes a genitive of the substance which fills, μωρίας, which precedes πλέων in accordance with Sophocles habit of stacking “modifiers” in front. I stumbled on this because a quick glance at LS-Intermediate gave πλέων as a nominative mas/fem singular. It also looks like a part sg pres act masc nom, or a genitive plural. The option acc masc sing was the least intuitively obvious, it didn’t jump out at me. But the syntax appears to require an acc masc sing and if I had been reading this fluently I would have without any conscious analysis supplied that solution.

The next problem:

What is the syntatic relationship between τοῖσι and κακοῖς?

Does it introduce a subordinate constituent? In other words, does τοῖσι τῶν πέλας function as a modifier attached to ἐν κακοῖς which is adverbial with ὕβριζε. What I am really asking is a Chomsky:1959 parsing tree question. Do we attached a branch on the tree below κακοῖς for τοῖσι τῶν πέλας? If the early-Chomsky gives you a headache, ignore it.

C. Stirling Bartholomew

Finglass translation:

“And I saw a man full of foolishness, who behaved with contempt amid his neighbor’s troubles.”
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Re: Ajax 1150-1151 syntax

Postby NateD26 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:57 am

[I've written a reply but when I tried posting it, I've been directed to the login window
even though I was already logged in, and I've lost what I wrote. This is a close approximation,
my frustration notwithstanding.]

As to the first problem, it seems to be an example of Smyth 1169, which deals with
adjectives in predicate positions, essentially equivalent to a relative clause, or I guess you
can also add an implied ὄντα.

The second line's syntax is interesting. This commentary has some references to similar
constructions.

From the word order alone, it seems that there is a general act thought of as wrong
and is presented as such -- ὃς ἐν κακοῖς ὕβριζε -- but that it needed to be modified further
-- τοῖσι τῶν πέλας, and in τοῖσι we see the emphatic demonstrative use of the article:

...who was wont to behave with contempt amid someone's troubles, [especially] those of his neighbours.

Of course, meter and other factors could have been the reason for this separation of
noun and its article and modifiers, and that seems to be the way everyone translated it,
that is, as one unit.
Nate.
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Re: Ajax 1150-1151 syntax

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:20 am

NateD26 wrote:

As to the first problem, it seems to be an example of Smyth 1169, which deals with
adjectives in predicate positions, essentially equivalent to a relative clause, or I guess you
can also add an implied ὄντα.


Nate,

Thank you for going to the trouble. I've had similar experiences with the online editors. I will take the first question today and put off the other until later.

Sophocles Ajax 1150-1151
{ΤΕΥ.} Ἐγὼ δέ γ' ἄνδρ' ὄπωπα μωρίας πλέων,
ὃς ἐν κακοῖς ὕβριζε τοῖσι τῶν πέλας.

Looks like we could also read πλέων as attributive since ἄνδρ' is anarthrous. If we read πλέων as predicate adjective, does that mean there are two assertions being made about ἄνδρ'? He is "full of foolishness" and he "behaved with contempt amid his neighbor’s troubles" [Finglass]. If we read πλέων as attributive then "full of foolishness" is not asserted but information which is assumed without argument. If you include [assume] the participle ὄντα then the participle clause would function as a contextualizer and it would be background information rather than an assertion. I would lean toward an analysis which ends up with a single assertion. I'm not sure how this would work with πλέων as predicate adjective.

More later, thank you.

C. Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Ajax 1150-1151 syntax

Postby NateD26 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:54 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Looks like we could also read πλέων as attributive since ἄνδρ' is anarthrous. If we read πλέων as predicate adjective, does that mean there are two assertions being made about ἄνδρ'? He is "full of foolishness" and he "behaved with contempt amid his neighbor’s troubles" [Finglass]. If we read πλέων as attributive then "full of foolishness" is not asserted but information which is assumed without argument. If you include [assume] the participle ὄντα then the participle clause would function as a contextualizer and it would be background information rather than an assertion. I would lean toward an analysis which ends up with a single assertion. I'm not sure how this would work with πλέων as predicate adjective.

I agree it'd fit the sentence better as attributive with anarthrous ἄνδρα, because I
have to ask myself why would one assertion be written as relative clause and the other one
not be included in it, assuming both assertions require equal emphasis? But I'm not sure
I understand why reading it as background information (adding the participle ὄντα) would not
be an acceptable reading here.
Nate.
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Re: Ajax 1150-1151 syntax

Postby NateD26 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:35 am

NateD26 wrote:The second line's syntax is interesting. This commentary has some references to similar
constructions.

From the word order alone, it seems that there is a general act thought of as wrong
and is presented as such -- ὃς ἐν κακοῖς ὕβριζε -- but that it needed to be modified further
-- τοῖσι τῶν πέλας, and in τοῖσι we see the emphatic demonstrative use of the article:

...who was wont to behave with contempt amid someone's troubles, [especially] those of his neighbours.

I'd like to amend my above response. This deictic iota is not added to the article, only
to demonstratives, and when it does, it would be accented with an acute on the ultimate
instead of the usual accent.
τοῖσι is just an Epic form of the regular dat. pl. article often found in
Poetry and also in Tragedy (LSJ).

There's still the matter of why the article was separated from its substantive.
Smyth wrote in 1644 that in Poetry it is common to find the preposition between the article and
its substantive, and very rarely in Prose. This is not the case here, and I'm not sure in which category
Tragedy falls.
Nate.
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Re: Ajax 1150-1151 syntax

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:30 pm

NateD26 wrote:There's still the matter of why the article was separated from its substantive.
Smyth wrote in 1644 that in Poetry it is common to find the preposition between the article and
its substantive, and very rarely in Prose. This is not the case here, and I'm not sure in which category
Tragedy falls.


Nate,
Tragedy is considered Poetry.

Sophocles Ajax 1150-1151
{ΤΕΥ.} Ἐγὼ δέ γ' ἄνδρ' ὄπωπα μωρίας πλέων,
ὃς ἐν κακοῖς ὕβριζε τοῖσι τῶν πέλας.

“And I saw a man full of foolishness, who behaved with contempt amid his neighbor’s troubles.” Finglass

The article is syntactically flexible and may function as a demonstrative or a relative pronoun. I am not certain that it is separated from it's substantive here, it may be anaphoric. This isn't uncommon in Sophocles, putting a second article in front of an articular constituent. The article τοῖσι appears to connect τῶν πέλας with κακοῖς, he acted with contempt in the midst of troubles, i.e., the ones which were his neighbors.



thank you,

CSB
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Re: Ajax 1150-1151 syntax

Postby NateD26 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:46 am

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Nate,
Tragedy is considered Poetry.

Sophocles Ajax 1150-1151
{ΤΕΥ.} Ἐγὼ δέ γ' ἄνδρ' ὄπωπα μωρίας πλέων,
ὃς ἐν κακοῖς ὕβριζε τοῖσι τῶν πέλας.

“And I saw a man full of foolishness, who behaved with contempt amid his neighbor’s troubles.” Finglass

The article is syntactically flexible and may function as a demonstrative or a relative pronoun. I am not certain that it is separated from it's substantive here, it may be anaphoric. This isn't uncommon in Sophocles, putting a second article in front of an articular constituent. The article τοῖσι appears to connect τῶν πέλας with κακοῖς, he acted with contempt in the midst of troubles, i.e., the ones which were his neighbors.



thank you,

CSB

Thank you, CSB.
Nate.
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