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the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

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the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:04 pm

ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40ff

The first ΧΟΡΟΣ is long, over 200 lines.
Not the easiest material to read.
Dialogue is less complicated.

{ΧΟΡΟΣ}
40
δέκατον μὲν ἔτος τόδ' ἐπεὶ Πριάμῳ
μέγας ἀντίδικος,
Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων,
διθρόνου Διόθεν καὶ δισκήπτρου
τιμῆς ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος Ἀτρειδᾶν,
45
στόλον Ἀργείων χιλιοναύταν
τῆσδ' ἀπὸ χώρας
ἦραν, στρατιῶτιν ἀρωγάν,

If we read the verb ἦραν line seven in clause final position, then στρατιῶτιν ἀρωγάν belong somewhere else. This is a case where commas matter. Denniston/Page "ἀρωγάν in appositon to the content of the previous clause."

I have seen a frequent pattern in Sophocles of stacking verb arguments[1] in front of the verb plus a similar pattern with head nouns coming in final position in the noun phrase. Haven’t read enough Aeschylus to talk about patterns.

[1] Arguments include any constituent that supports, modifies, qualifies the main verb.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:27 pm

a speech within the long ΧΟΡΟΣ by the στρατόμαντις:

122
κεδνὸς δὲ στρατόμαντις ἰδὼν δύο λήμασι δισσοὺς
Ἀτρεΐδας μαχίμους ἐδάη λαγοδαίτας
πομπούς τ' ἀρχάς· οὕτω δ' εἶπε τερᾴζων·
126
‘χρόνῳ μὲν ἀγρεῖ Πριάμου πόλιν ἅδε κέλευθος,
πάντα δὲ πύργων
κτήνη πρόσθε τὰ δημιοπληθέα
Μοῖρα λαπάξει πρὸς τὸ βίαιον·

Note the “inceptive μὲν” on the first line of the speech. Denniston has several negative comments on the state of the text and the syntax κτήνη πρόσθε ... , but I read it before even looking at Denniston and didn’t think it was particularly difficult. τὰ δημιοπληθέα is an emendation aimed at making the text more intelligible. Denniston called the syntax πύργων κτήνη πρόσθε "very harsh" but one doesn’t expect Aeschylus or Sophocles to be perfectly lucid and discontinuous syntax abounds, samples of word order you will not find in the Greek NT.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby NateD26 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:34 am

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40ff

The first ΧΟΡΟΣ is long, over 200 lines.
Not the easiest material to read.
Dialogue is less complicated.

{ΧΟΡΟΣ}
40
δέκατον μὲν ἔτος τόδ' ἐπεὶ Πριάμῳ
μέγας ἀντίδικος,
Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων,
διθρόνου Διόθεν καὶ δισκήπτρου
τιμῆς ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος Ἀτρειδᾶν,
45
στόλον Ἀργείων χιλιοναύταν
τῆσδ' ἀπὸ χώρας
ἦραν, στρατιῶτιν ἀρωγάν,

Hi, Stirling. I was wondering how exactly I should read this part:
διθρόνου Διόθεν καὶ δισκήπτρου
τιμῆς ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος Ἀτρειδᾶν

I assume ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος is nom. neut. in apposition to masc. Πριάμῳ μέγας ἀντίδικος,
Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων, but I don't understand the genitives, and to which noun they
relate. Translations on Perseus confused me even more.

Also, what case is Ἀτρειδᾶν? Perseus finds it to be gen. pl. in Doric & Aeolic. I think I've
read somewhere that the Chorus parts are in the Doric dialect.
If indeed it's gen. pl., would that mean the stout pair of Atreus' sons?
Nate.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:35 pm

Nate,

You are probably right about “apposition to masc. ἀντίδικος” but exactly what is in apposition to what in my thinking is less important than understanding how major participants are introduced to a discourse. Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων are global VIPs (very important persons). The ΧΟΡΟΣ assumes prior knowledge of the story and major characters so the purpose of all the heavy handed encoding in the introduction of Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων is not to convey new information. The multiple nominative appositions and long genitive chains (think construct chains in Biblical Hebrew) are something like a trumpet fanfare when the Queen of England enters the great hall ... . Subsequent reference to an active participant is often reduced to a pronoun or verb ending, when a participant has been inactive for some time they will often be re-introduced with a noun phrase, not necessarily their name, frequently an epithet or some other form of indirection.

The initial introduction of an important participant is generally more elaborate but it varies by author and genre. Take a look at how John the Baptist is introduced in Matthew, Mark and Luke. In Matthew and Mark he just shows up unannounced, followed by a description of his location of ministry, clothing and eating habits. Luke handles it like a biography, telling us about his parents and his angelic announcement. In John's Gospel John the Baptist is introduced with a description of his calling and function.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:52 pm

NateD26 wrote:Hi, Stirling. I was wondering how exactly I should read this part:
διθρόνου Διόθεν καὶ δισκήπτρου
τιμῆς ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος Ἀτρειδᾶν

I assume ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος is nom. neut. in apposition to masc. Πριάμῳ μέγας ἀντίδικος,
Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων, but I don't understand the genitives, and to which noun they
relate. Translations on Perseus confused me even more.

Also, what case is Ἀτρειδᾶν? Perseus finds it to be gen. pl. in Doric & Aeolic. I think I've
read somewhere that the Chorus parts are in the Doric dialect.
If indeed it's gen. pl., would that mean the stout pair of Atreus' sons?


I think διθρόνου and δισκήπτρου relate to τιμῆς. Literally and clumsily I translate "the stout pair of Atreus' sons, of by-Zeus-double-throned and double-sceptered honour".

I thought for a moment that ὀχυρὸν could be an accusative of respect, i.e. the ζεῦγος is ὀχυρὸν with respect to τιμή, a pair stout as to their honour - but I guess I was wrong.

I have also "read somewhere" that the chorus parts are in Doric. I'd like to find and read a discussion of that. Clearly, Ἀτρειδᾶν must be gen. pl.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby NateD26 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:15 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Nate,

You are probably right about “apposition to masc. ἀντίδικος” but exactly what is in apposition to what in my thinking is less important than understanding how major participants are introduced to a discourse. Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων are global VIPs (very important persons). The ΧΟΡΟΣ assumes prior knowledge of the story and major characters so the purpose of all the heavy handed encoding in the introduction of Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων is not to convey new information. The multiple nominative appositions and long genitive chains (think construct chains in Biblical Hebrew) are something like a trumpet fanfare when the Queen of England enters the great hall ... . Subsequent reference to an active participant is often reduced to a pronoun or verb ending, when a participant has been inactive for some time they will often be re-introduced with a noun phrase, not necessarily their name, frequently an epithet or some other form of indirection.

I like your approach to it, especially the analogy to trumpet fanfare.

Smyth rendered this part as the mighty pair of Atreus' sons, joined in honor
of throne and sceptre by Zeus.


Robert Browning's rendering is The strenuous yoke-pair of the Atreidai's honour
Two-throned, two-sceptred, whereof Zeus was donor.


I have no access to other, more modern translations.

It seems this construct chain is thus parsed:

head noun (strictly referring to the first noun in the pair) = Πριάμῳ μέγας ἀντίδικος,
apposition to head noun (proper names) = Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων,
second apposition (collective noun of both) = ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος
gen. to 2nd apposition = Ἀτρειδᾶν
gen. of Ἀτρειδᾶν = τιμῆς
gen. to τιμῆς (specifics of honor) = διθρόνου καὶ δισκήπτρου
source of the couple of gen. above = Διόθεν

Clumsy, I know, but it seems to be the way to read it.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:51 pm

NateD26 wrote:It seems this construct chain is thus parsed:

head noun (strictly referring to the first noun in the pair) = Πριάμῳ μέγας ἀντίδικος,
apposition to head noun (proper names) = Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων,
second apposition (collective noun of both) = ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος
gen. to 2nd apposition = Ἀτρειδᾶν
gen. of Ἀτρειδᾶν = τιμῆς
gen. to τιμῆς (specifics of honor) = διθρόνου καὶ δισκήπτρου
source of the couple of gen. above = Διόθεν

Clumsy, I know, but it seems to be the way to read it.

According to both Raeburn & Thomas and Denniston & Page, τιμῆς and Ἀτρειδᾶν both define ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος.

Discarding some extra words makes it clearer: διθρόνου τιμῆς ζεῦγος Ἀτρειδᾶν. The Atreidae's yoke-pair of double-throned honour.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby NateD26 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:28 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
NateD26 wrote:It seems this construct chain is thus parsed:

head noun (strictly referring to the first noun in the pair) = Πριάμῳ μέγας ἀντίδικος,
apposition to head noun (proper names) = Μενέλαος ἄναξ ἠδ' Ἀγαμέμνων,
second apposition (collective noun of both) = ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος
gen. to 2nd apposition = Ἀτρειδᾶν
gen. of Ἀτρειδᾶν = τιμῆς
gen. to τιμῆς (specifics of honor) = διθρόνου καὶ δισκήπτρου
source of the couple of gen. above = Διόθεν

Clumsy, I know, but it seems to be the way to read it.

According to both Raeburn & Thomas and Denniston & Page, τιμῆς and Ἀτρειδᾶν both define ὀχυρὸν ζεῦγος.

Discarding some extra words makes it clearer: διθρόνου τιμῆς ζεῦγος Ἀτρειδᾶν. The Atreidae's yoke-pair of double-throned honour.

Agreed.
The sentence is better translated this way.

Thanks for posting Denniston & Page's notes here. Unfortunately, I do not own this commentary.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby NateD26 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:18 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:a speech within the long ΧΟΡΟΣ by the στρατόμαντις:

122
κεδνὸς δὲ στρατόμαντις ἰδὼν δύο λήμασι δισσοὺς
Ἀτρεΐδας μαχίμους ἐδάη λαγοδαίτας
πομπούς τ' ἀρχάς· οὕτω δ' εἶπε τερᾴζων·
126
‘χρόνῳ μὲν ἀγρεῖ Πριάμου πόλιν ἅδε κέλευθος,
πάντα δὲ πύργων
κτήνη πρόσθε τὰ δημιοπληθέα
Μοῖρα λαπάξει πρὸς τὸ βίαιον·

Note the “inceptive μὲν” on the first line of the speech. Denniston has several negative comments on the state of the text and the syntax κτήνη πρόσθε ... , but I read it before even looking at Denniston and didn’t think it was particularly difficult. τὰ δημιοπληθέα is an emendation aimed at making the text more intelligible. Denniston called the syntax πύργων κτήνη πρόσθε "very harsh" but one doesn’t expect Aeschylus or Sophocles to be perfectly lucid and discontinuous syntax abounds, samples of word order you will not find in the Greek NT.

Hi, stirling. I've had some problem understanding the relationship between the accusatives in the lines
before the speech but I checked Smyth's translation to figure that one out.

Regarding the speech, can you please explain your meaning in "τὰ δημιοπληθέα is an emendation aimed
at making the text more intelligible"? What I understood from Smyth's translation is that
there is a large herds of cattle gathered in front of the city's towers whom Moira
will violently ravage. Was the emendation necessary to distinguish the herds from others inside
the city walls? Why does it even matter which of the herds is the target?

A minor question about verb tense. Why ἀγρεῖ is in present and λαπάξει in future when both clearly
relate to a future time?
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby NateD26 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:47 pm

A. Sidgwick (1881) noted that ἀγρεῖ is the prophetic present, as though the seer had seen this
vision as it had been happening. I should turn my question around then and ask why the sudden
breakage from that prophetic present mid-vision to the future λαπάξει.

One possible answer would be to indicate a later future event in relation to the prophetic present/
future event. While both clearly relate to the future, Fate's violent ravage of the town's gathered
wealth before its towers is a later event and needed to be indicated as such.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:01 am

Just dropping in to say I am working on it. The long ΧΟΡΟΣ has some difficult parts. Not the least of these is Κάλχας speech 126-156. Fortunately you can look forward to a short breather from 156ff when things lighten up. An interesting section, a little theology thrown in with some words in honor of Zeus and others.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:55 pm

NateD26 wrote:A. Sidgwick (1881) noted that ἀγρεῖ is the prophetic present, as though the seer had seen this
vision as it had been happening. I should turn my question around then and ask why the sudden
breakage from that prophetic present mid-vision to the future λαπάξει.

One possible answer would be to indicate a later future event in relation to the prophetic present/
future event. While both clearly relate to the future, Fate's violent ravage of the town's gathered
wealth before its towers is a later event and needed to be indicated as such.


Just my two cents: if we turn the question around again, and ask why should one continue with the "prophetic presents"; the first one, ἀγρεῖ, has already made the right impression and there's no need to go on. I'd rather think that this a rather heavy effect, and reverting to the future seems natural to me. Or maybe the point is that the present ἀγρεῖ shows the "general picture" the seer is seeing, and later on the "standard" future is used to describe the details

Btw, following that link of yours I saw again how diametrically opposed the different commentaries are on almost anything that's difficult or controversial. Much more than with Homer.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby pster » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:28 am

Smyth takes up the oracular present at 1882, but just gives only this very example and no explanation. I assume the future would be ἀγρήσει, but Perseus doesn't seem to like this form. But assuming that is the form, Aeschylus couldn't use it as-is, because it would screw up the meter--it would add a whole extra long at a cruicial moment in the line. So my amazingly brilliant conjecture is that he had to use the present for reasons of meter. But, you might object: How do we know he didn't choose the future at λαπάξει for reasons of meter? Ah I say, the fact that Smyth only gives this one example suggests that there aren't that many examples of the so-called "oracular present". So it seems probable that the preferred tense is the future and the present is a second best. And moreover, if this is the central example, perhaps people have more generally mistakenly taken prophecy to be the reason where really the meter is the reason! 8)
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:40 pm

190-191
Χαλκίδος πέραν ἔχων παλιρρό-
χθοις ἐν Αὐλίδος τόποις·

Did Aulis become a place name because of its association with the armada under the supreme leadership of Agamemnon which was forced to bivouac there by contrary winds?
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:39 pm

Agamemnon Chorus 218-226

ἐπεὶ δ' ἀνάγκας ἔδυ λέπαδνον {[στρ. ε.}
φρενὸς πνέων δυσσεβῆ τροπαίαν
ἄναγνον, ἀνίερον, τόθεν
τὸ παντότολμον φρονεῖν μετέγνω.
βροτοὺς θρασύνει γὰρ αἰσχρόμητις
τάλαινα παρακοπὰ πρωτοπήμων.
ἔτλα δ' οὖν θυτὴρ γενέσθαι
θυγατρός, γυναικοποίνων
πολέμων ἀρωγὰν
καὶ προτέλεια ναῶν.

This follows Agamemnon’s speech. I had some difficulty figuring out how the syntax hangs together because of the multitude of adjectives and substantives. πνέων appears to be unconnected, perhaps it looks back to the unspecified subject of the verb ἔδυ. The adjectives δυσσεβῆ, ἄναγνον, ἀνίερον appear to be fem. acc. sg. with τροπαίαν.

βροτοὺς θρασύνει γὰρ αἰσχρόμητις
τάλαινα παρακοπὰ πρωτοπήμων.

Here the object βροτοὺς is clause initial and αἰσχρόμητις τάλαινα παρακοπὰ πρωτοπήμων functions as a subject but the internal structure of the phrase isn’t particularly obvious (head noun παρακοπὰ??) nor is it particularly important.

ἔτλα δ' οὖν θυτὴρ γενέσθαι
θυγατρός ...

The result of θρασύνει (made over confident) is linked buy a “resumptive” δ' οὖν[1] to ἔτλα plus infinitive θυτὴρ γενέσθαι θυγατρός “... and thus he had the audacity to be the slayer of [his] daughter.”

... γυναικοποίνων
πολέμων ἀρωγὰν
καὶ προτέλεια ναῶν.

From there on the syntax seems murky. Does ἀρωγὰν belong to the infinitive? What about προτέλεια? It’s getting late in the day. Perhaps this will clear up if I come back to it later.


[1]“resumptive” δ' οὖν — G. Cooper, v4. p3079, 2:69.62.2.G
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:20 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Agamemnon Chorus 218-226


ἔτλα δ' οὖν θυτὴρ γενέσθαι
θυγατρός ...

The result of θρασύνει (made over confident) is linked buy a “resumptive” δ' οὖν[1] to ἔτλα plus infinitive θυτὴρ γενέσθαι θυγατρός “... and thus he had the audacity to be the slayer of [his] daughter.”

... γυναικοποίνων
πολέμων ἀρωγὰν
καὶ προτέλεια ναῶν.



[1]“resumptive” δ' οὖν — G. Cooper, v4. p3079, 2:69.62.2.G


Denniston/Page 89. n 226 "ἀρωγὰν: accusative in apposition to the content of the whole preceding clause."

Cooper[2] When apposition is nominative (A) ... when apposition is accusative (B) it either bears a loose connection to the object (not necessarily an accusative) [A.Ag 226], or (C) it sums up the consequence or effect or tendency of the sentence generally. Close analysis of such an idiom is not really possible or desirable. [paraphrase of Cooper].

To illustrate Cooper's point about close analysis, what would we do with ἀρωγὰν? A substantive fem. acc. sg. which is in apposition to θυτὴρ γενέσθαι θυγατρός which is not really an object? Cooper cites A.Ag 226 under (B) as an example of a loose connection to the object [of the previous clause] but he doesn't supply the object for any of the examples under (B). He goes on to say "Scarcely any two scholars would agree on which passages belong under (B) or (C)." It would be tempting to just do away with (B) and use (C) to cover all the cases when apposition is accusative.


[2] G. Cooper, v2, p923, 1:57.10.10.B
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby pster » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:30 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
I have also "read somewhere" that the chorus parts are in Doric. I'd like to find and read a discussion of that. Clearly, Ἀτρειδᾶν must be gen. pl.


http://www.aoidoi.org/articles/choral_doric.html

http://www.scribd.com/doc/39895410/Bakk ... k-Language (see p. 397)

Evidently the choral parts of tragedy have a "patina" of Doric that mostly consists of retaining long alpha in the first declension. Trickiest thing seems to be not taking the contracted gen. pl.--as in your example above--for acc. sg.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:34 pm

A.Ag 228-230

λιτὰς δὲ καὶ κληδόνας πατρῴους {[ἀντ. ε.}
παρ' οὐδὲν αἰῶ τε παρθένειον
ἔθεντο φιλόμαχοι βραβῆς.

Her prayers and cries of Father!
her young life,
were counted as nothing
by the bloodthirsty warlords.

some strong language.

κληδόνας πατρῴους invoking the name “Father” (LSJ invocation, λιτὰς δὲ καὶ κληδόνας πατρῴους A. Ag.228 (lyr.); κληδόνος βοή Id.Eu.397.)

παρ' οὐδὲν ... ἔθεντο put down as of no value, reckoned as zero

αἰῶ ... παρθένειον “young life” (from Anne Carson, An Orestia)
This expression is hard to translate into contemporary American English where the notion of a virgin daughter of a great king is culturally nonexistent. A prime example of a nontransferable concept from the ancient cultural context of the source text.

φιλόμαχοι βραβῆς bloodthirsty warlords, blending the concepts of military leader with loving battle.

LSJ βρᾰβ-εύς, έως, ὁ, chief, leader, μυρίας ἵππου β. A.Pers.302; φιλόμαχοι β. Id.Ag.230 (lyr.)
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:48 pm

Raeburn's comments on καλλιπρῴρου line 235 are a welcome correction to Denniston—Page who claim that the second half of the compound —πρῴρου is "meaningless" (page 90). I did a search on καλλιπρῴρου and Agamemnon and pulled up page 94 in Raeburn who states that "Adjectives in -πρῴρος (πρώιρος) are regularly used metaphorically of human faces, but this is particularly apt now that Iphigenia is horizontal.” She has fallen forward προνωπῆ into the arms of the servants who lift her up face down so that her face is like the prow of a ship.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:11 am

pster wrote:http://www.aoidoi.org/articles/choral_doric.html

http://www.scribd.com/doc/39895410/Bakk ... k-Language (see p. 397)

Evidently the choral parts of tragedy have a "patina" of Doric that mostly consists of retaining long alpha in the first declension. Trickiest thing seems to be not taking the contracted gen. pl.--as in your example above--for acc. sg.


Thanks. As to the second link, I've added the whole chapter and maybe a larger part of the book to my reading list...

About the prophetic present, discussed earlier. Chantraine's Grammaire Homérique, volume 2 § 282 mentions (my translation):
"It is a notable stylistic usage, which is also found in later Greek, to use present indicative in a prediction: ο 533 ὑμετέρου δʼ οὐκ ἔστι γένος βασιλεύτερον ἄλλο / ἐν δήμῳ Ἰθάκης".

There's no further discussion, but at least this seems to prove the concept of prophetic present is not an ad hoc invention for this line of Aeschylus.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:21 pm

Paul Derouda wrote: ... but at least this seems to prove the concept of prophetic present is not an ad hoc invention for this line of Aeschylus.


Paul,

In the last couple of decades there has been a major reassessment of the whole question of tense/aspect in Ancient Greek. Catagories like prophetic present are leftovers from the 19th century. If we reframe the question assuming that the present is a marked aspect (aorist is unmarked) and that aspect is not primarily temporal, we don't need the prophetic present to explain anything. I am not suggesting that the temporal reading of the present tense is always wrong. But there are some people writing grammars who would probably argue that trying to impose a temporal significance of the present aspect in Ancient Greek texts will lead to nothing but unsolvable problems. All of this just goes away [according to some linguists] if one approaches the subject from an aspect only (or aspect mostly) analysis of Greek verbs.

My personal approach is eclectic. The criticisms leveled at the aspect only advocates were significantly serious that it seemed best to just let the old school temporal analysis coexist with the aspectual analysis. Never the less, I don't look to compound labels of the form x + tense/aspect to solve the problem.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:01 am

I agree that giving a compound name (like prophetic present) to a phenomenon doesn't explain anything. Actually, Chantraine doesn't use the word, he just says the present is used in a prediction. Anyway, the point here is that the present is used to some effect instead of the "expected" future, and this is a real phenomenon, not just one instance in Aeschylus.

To my ear, the example he gives in the Odyssey strikes me much more than the one in Aeschylus. But maybe that just because I've read Homer a lot.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:24 pm

A.Ag 250-253
Δίκα δὲ τοῖς μὲν παθοῦ-
σιν μαθεῖν ἐπιρρέπει· τὸ μέλλον
ἐπεὶ γένοιτ' ἂν κλύοις· πρὸ χαιρέτω·
ἴσον δὲ τῷ προστένειν.

Lots of discussion of this passage in the secondary literature. Apparently the mss. read προχαιρέτω, see Raeburn-Thomas. The punctuation provided by the editors strikes me as improbable. Three semicolons in a row ἐπιρρέπει· κλύοις· κλύοις· and in a short sequence. Don't recall seeing that before.

Had to really stop and ponder this for while. Is the sense of Δίκα δὲ τοῖς μὲν παθοῦσιν μαθεῖν ἐπιρρέπει really as banal as the English translations suggest? Something vaguely like "justice weighs out our fate to learn by suffering." I don't know much about the fucntion of the ΧΟΡΟΣ. Are they generally advocates of conventional wisdom?
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:35 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Agamemnon Chorus 218-226

ἔτλα δ' οὖν θυτὴρ γενέσθαι
θυγατρός ...

The result of θρασύνει (made over confident) is linked buy a “resumptive” δ' οὖν[1] to ἔτλα plus infinitive θυτὴρ γενέσθαι θυγατρός “... and thus he had the audacity to be the slayer of [his] daughter.”

... γυναικοποίνων
πολέμων ἀρωγὰν
καὶ προτέλεια ναῶν.

[1]“resumptive” δ' οὖν — G. Cooper, v4. p3079, 2:69.62.2.G


Denniston/Page 89. n 226 "ἀρωγὰν: accusative in apposition to the content of the whole preceding clause."

Cooper[2] When apposition is nominative (A) ... when apposition is accusative (B) it either bears a loose connection to the object (not necessarily an accusative) [A.Ag 226], or (C) it sums up the consequence or effect or tendency of the sentence generally. Close analysis of such an idiom is not really possible or desirable. [paraphrase of Cooper].

To illustrate Cooper's point about close analysis, what would we do with ἀρωγὰν? A substantive fem. acc. sg. which is in apposition to θυτὴρ γενέσθαι θυγατρός which is not really an object? Cooper cites A.Ag 226 under (B) as an example of a loose connection to the object [of the previous clause] but he doesn't supply the object for any of the examples under (B). He goes on to say "Scarcely any two scholars would agree on which passages belong under (B) or (C)." It would be tempting to just do away with (B) and use (C) to cover all the cases when apposition is accusative.

[2] G. Cooper, v2, p923, 1:57.10.10.B


Phew, the 50 last lines of the long chorus are difficult.

Here I take προτέλεια to be also an accusative in apposition, on the same plane with ἀρωγὰν.

Stupid question: what is the difference between accusative in apposition and accusative of respect? I suck with this kind of grammatical analysis. I don't whether it's because I haven't been working enough or whether my brain is tuned to other kinds of stuff. I never learned to play chess or poker very well either, and somehow I feel largely the same parts of my brain are involved... ;)
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:10 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Agamemnon Chorus 218-226

ἐπεὶ δ' ἀνάγκας ἔδυ λέπαδνον {[στρ. ε.}
φρενὸς πνέων δυσσεβῆ τροπαίαν
ἄναγνον, ἀνίερον, τόθεν
τὸ παντότολμον φρονεῖν μετέγνω.
βροτοὺς θρασύνει γὰρ αἰσχρόμητις
τάλαινα παρακοπὰ πρωτοπήμων.
ἔτλα δ' οὖν θυτὴρ γενέσθαι
θυγατρός, γυναικοποίνων
πολέμων ἀρωγὰν
καὶ προτέλεια ναῶν.

This follows Agamemnon’s speech. I had some difficulty figuring out how the syntax hangs together because of the multitude of adjectives and substantives. πνέων appears to be unconnected, perhaps it looks back to the unspecified subject of the verb ἔδυ. The adjectives δυσσεβῆ, ἄναγνον, ἀνίερον appear to be fem. acc. sg. with τροπαίαν.

I agree. I translate:

"After [he] had put on the harness (or whatever) of necessity, breathing forth the impious alternating wind of his mind..."

How different the logic behind this way of speaking is from ours! Raeburn-Thomas talks about "breathing a decision". I'd maybe rather say in Greek you breathe a frame of mind. Think Homer's μένεα πνείοντες (e.g. Il 2.536).

βροτοὺς θρασύνει γὰρ αἰσχρόμητις
τάλαινα παρακοπὰ πρωτοπήμων.

Here the object βροτοὺς is clause initial and αἰσχρόμητις τάλαινα παρακοπὰ πρωτοπήμων functions as a subject but the internal structure of the phrase isn’t particularly obvious (head noun παρακοπὰ??) nor is it particularly important.

What a jumble of words! I agree.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby NateD26 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:14 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Agamemnon Chorus 218-226

ἔτλα δ' οὖν θυτὴρ γενέσθαι
θυγατρός ...

The result of θρασύνει (made over confident) is linked buy a “resumptive” δ' οὖν[1] to ἔτλα plus infinitive θυτὴρ γενέσθαι θυγατρός “... and thus he had the audacity to be the slayer of [his] daughter.”

... γυναικοποίνων
πολέμων ἀρωγὰν
καὶ προτέλεια ναῶν.

[1]“resumptive” δ' οὖν — G. Cooper, v4. p3079, 2:69.62.2.G


Denniston/Page 89. n 226 "ἀρωγὰν: accusative in apposition to the content of the whole preceding clause."

Cooper[2] When apposition is nominative (A) ... when apposition is accusative (B) it either bears a loose connection to the object (not necessarily an accusative) [A.Ag 226], or (C) it sums up the consequence or effect or tendency of the sentence generally. Close analysis of such an idiom is not really possible or desirable. [paraphrase of Cooper].

To illustrate Cooper's point about close analysis, what would we do with ἀρωγὰν? A substantive fem. acc. sg. which is in apposition to θυτὴρ γενέσθαι θυγατρός which is not really an object? Cooper cites A.Ag 226 under (B) as an example of a loose connection to the object [of the previous clause] but he doesn't supply the object for any of the examples under (B). He goes on to say "Scarcely any two scholars would agree on which passages belong under (B) or (C)." It would be tempting to just do away with (B) and use (C) to cover all the cases when apposition is accusative.

[2] G. Cooper, v2, p923, 1:57.10.10.B

Stupid question: what is the difference between accusative in apposition and accusative of respect? I suck with this kind of grammatical analysis. I don't whether it's because I haven't been working enough or whether my brain is tuned to other kinds of stuff. I never learned to play chess or poker very well either, and somehow I feel largely the same parts of my brain are involved... ;)


The two seem to overlap in some cases. See Smyth 976-995 for apposition in general (not necessarily
in accusative), and 1600-1605 for accusative of respect.

A nice example of accusative of respect - employing an inf. in acc. with an implied article - is repeated
at the beginning of Plato's Apology where Socrates reiterates that he's not a skilled speaker as
his accusers claim him to be:

τὸ γὰρ μὴ αἰσχυνθῆναι ὅτι αὐτίκα ὑπ᾽ ἐμοῦ ἐξελεγχθήσονται ἔργῳ,
ἐπειδὰν μηδ᾽ ὁπωστιοῦν φαίνωμαι δεινὸς λέγειν,
τοῦτό μοι ἔδοξεν αὐτῶν ἀναισχυντότατον εἶναι, εἰ μὴ ἄρα δεινὸν καλοῦσιν
οὗτοι λέγειν τὸν τἀληθῆ λέγοντα·

For their lack of shame that they are about to be actually refuted by me when I show
that I'm not skilled at speaking (lit. with respect to speaking) in any way whatsoever,
that seems to me to be their utmost shamelessness, unless they call skilled at speaking
him who speaks the truth.
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Re: the long ΧΟΡΟΣ Agamemnon 40-257/263

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:29 pm

Thanks, Nate. I had to give some thought to that δεινὸς λέγειν, but I think I got it...
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