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Plb. 6.2.4

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Plb. 6.2.4

Postby pster » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:21 pm

κεκριμένου δὲ τούτου καιρὸν οὐχ ἑώρων ἐπιτηδειότερον εἰς ἐπίστασιν καὶ δοκιμασίαν τῶν λέγεσθαι μελλόντων ὑπὲρ τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ νῦν ἐνεστῶτος.

My poor translation:

This having been selected, I did not see an opportunity more suitable for stopping and observing the things likely to be said about the constitution than the putting forth now.

-How are we to understand the active substantialized participle τοῦ ἐνεστῶτος? Shouldn't it refer to a person? Or at least some kind of agent? And how would this work in a comparison with καιρὸν, an opportunity? Or maybe there is an implicit καιρὸu in the genitive here? But I still don't see how that would work.
-How should we understand τῶν λέγεσθαι μελλόντων ? It seems like he is talking about the things he is likely to say. But it is an odd expression. Notice that it is not even the future inf. which would give us "the things about to be said", which would still be odd.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby NateD26 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:42 am

I don't know the context so I hesitate to post any reply whatsoever,
but upon looking in LSJ, I've found that in the Roman Senate, ἐνίστημι had the special
meaning of the tribune vetoing or protesting a law.

μέλλω + pres. inf., "indicating an estimated certainty or strong probability in the present",
doubtless, in all likelihood (LSJ).

I would take ὑπέρ here as in the name of, perhaps giving his view a true adherence
to the constitution rather than his opponents'.

In light of this, I'd offer this correction:
This having been selected, I did not see an opportunity more suitable for stopping to
examine that which in all likelihood is said in the name of the constitution than my
vetoing that very moment.
Nate.
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby pster » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:13 am

Sorry Nate, I could have given you some context. Up until now, Polybius had just been narrating events. But in Book VI, he digresses to discuss the Roman constitution. ἐπίστασιν is a noun here and has nothing to do with vetoing. εἰς ἐπίστασιν καὶ δοκιμασίαν is perhaps the clearest part of the sentence and crudely translates to "stopping and examining".

Here is one translation for the gist: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... us/6*.html

But I have my doubts about that translation because I find think the idea of testing what you are about to say rather loopy and I have a French one that is somewhat different albeit slightly evasive, "les développements qui vont suivre sur la constitution", ie "the developments that will follow on/from the constitution"--"développements" perhaps being richer in French than English.

Either the end of the sentence has to do with what he is going to say/what he believes, as that English translation reads, or it somehow has to do with effects of the constitution as the French one does.

But the more I look at it, I actually find the Greek clearer than the French or the English. I just think he is saying, "Now is the best time to talk about the constitution", but I can't quite tease that out of the Greek.

Actually, I just checked the master, ie Walbank, and he glosses εἰς ἐπίστασιν καὶ δοκιμασίαν as "for directing attention to what I am about to say, and putting it to the test". So, we should probably work with that. But I still can't unpack the Greek, especially at the end. But it is getting late.

(If you get a chance someday, check out Walbank's three volumes, one of the true high points of 20th century scholarship.)
Last edited by pster on Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby NateD26 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:28 am

pster wrote:Sorry Nate, I could have given you some context. Up until now, Polybius had just been narrating events. But in Book VI, he digresses to discuss the Roman constitution. ἐπίστασιν is a noun here and has nothing to do with vetoing.

I referred to ἐνίστημι, (not to ἐπίστασιν ), the verb from which the pf.part.
ἐνεστῶτος came at the end of the sentence, because it seemed to fit the spirit
of the line, but I can't argue with existing translations so I'll let others pitch in.
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby John W. » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:48 am

pster wrote:How are we to understand the active substantialized participle τοῦ ἐνεστῶτος? Shouldn't it refer to a person? Or at least some kind of agent? And how would this work in a comparison with καιρὸν, an opportunity? Or maybe there is an implicit καιρὸu in the genitive here? But I still don't see how that would work.


pster - doesn't καιρὸν ... ἐπιτηδειότερον ... τοῦ νῦν ἐνεστῶτος just mean ' an opportunity ... more suitable ... than the one which now presents itself [i.e. than the present opportunity]'? In other words, I think ἐνεστῶτος qualifies καιροῦ understood. LSJ cites Polybius 2.26.3 for τὰ ἐνεστῶτα in the sense of 'present circumstances'.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby pster » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:37 am

@ Nate: Argh. Sorry about that. I was up way too late and then saw your reply just as I was going to bed. I should have read it closer obviously. What tricked me is that the very first time through I thought ἐπίστασιν was finite. Add to that after doing a year of vocabulary, my eyes glaze over when faced with ίστημι verbs. Very sorry.
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby pster » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:53 pm

John W. wrote:
pster - doesn't καιρὸν ... ἐπιτηδειότερον ... τοῦ νῦν ἐνεστῶτος just mean ' an opportunity ... more suitable ... than the one which now presents itself [i.e. than the present opportunity]'? In other words, I think ἐνεστῶτος qualifies καιροῦ understood. LSJ cites Polybius 2.26.3 for τὰ ἐνεστῶτα in the sense of 'present circumstances'.


Yes John. Excellent. I forgot about the intransitive forms. I was trying to understand the participle as transitive, and hence as something with either Polybius or the consitution being the subject/agent. And I thought the νῦν had to be carrying all the temporal load. I think that an even better translation would be something like: "the (opportunity) now pending". I haven't read any Greek in a year, except for some Aeschylus--a kind of rule proving exception :mrgreen: --so I feel very insecure trying to unpack these things. But I suspected you guys could unpack it for me.

What about the other issue?
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby John W. » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:04 pm

pster wrote:Yes John. Excellent. I forgot about the intransitive forms. I was trying to understand the participle as transitive, and hence as something with either Polybius or the consitution being the subject/agent. And I thought the νῦν had to be carrying all the temporal load. I think that an even better translation would be something like: "the (opportunity) now pending". I haven't read any Greek in a year, except for some Aeschylus--a kind of rule proving exception :mrgreen: --so I feel very insecure trying to unpack these things. But I suspected you guys could unpack it for me.

What about the other issue?


Glad that helped. I'll look at the other point and get back to you later - if I can shed any light!

Best,

John
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby pster » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:06 pm

τῶν λέγεσθαι μελλόντων? Walbank gives us "what I am about to say". The genitive seems ok, at least for the moment. :mrgreen: But why is μελλόντων active rather than passive? And why is λέγεσθαι mid/pass? And why is λέγεσθαι not future, which would seem to be required for Walbank's gloss?
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby pster » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:12 pm

I guess the mid/pass are very infrequent. See my latest LSJ question. That helps.
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby pster » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:30 pm

At the moment, I am leaning towards just working off the first basic meaning for mellw, which takes the present infinitive.

"the (things) destined to be said"

ie " the (things) necessary to be said"

ie "the things that need to be said"

ie "the things that need to be said" (about the consitution but that have been on ice, yada yada yada)

Thoughts?
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby John W. » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:39 pm

Going back to the sentence as a whole:

κεκριμένου δὲ τούτου καιρὸν οὐχ ἑώρων ἐπιτηδειότερον εἰς ἐπίστασιν καὶ δοκιμασίαν τῶν λέγεσθαι μελλόντων ὑπὲρ τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ νῦν ἐνεστῶτος.

You've translated ἐπίστασιν as 'stopping', but I wonder whether, like δοκιμασίαν, it doesn't in fact go with τῶν λέγεσθαι μελλόντων, in the sense of 'turning one's attention to' (see LSJ for some similar uses). I see from one of your posts that Walbank takes it in the same way.

τῶν λέγεσθαι μελλόντων ὑπὲρ τῆς πολιτείας is, as you say, somewhat perplexing. Could ὑπὲρ here = 'concerning', and could the overall sense be:

'As this decision had been taken, I saw no opportunity more suitable than the present for turning my attention to the examination of those matters which are to be discussed regarding the constitution'

This is all very tentative; does P. go on to defend the Roman constitution, in which case ὑπὲρ could still mean 'in defence of'?

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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby pster » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:19 pm

John W. wrote:You've translated ἐπίστασιν as 'stopping', but I wonder whether, like δοκιμασίαν, it doesn't in fact go with τῶν λέγεσθαι μελλόντων, in the sense of 'turning one's attention to' (see LSJ for some similar uses). I see from one of your posts that Walbank takes it in the same way.

That's fine. I was just giving a crude translation to get the ball rolling
John W. wrote:τῶν λέγεσθαι μελλόντων ὑπὲρ τῆς πολιτείας is, as you say, somewhat perplexing. Could ὑπὲρ here = 'concerning',

That's how I understand it.
John W. wrote:and could the overall sense be:

'As this decision had been taken, I saw no opportunity more suitable than the present for turning my attention to the examination of those matters which are to be discussed regarding the constitution'


I'm not so crazy about this because I think ἐπίστασιν καὶ δοκιμασίαν have to work in parallel. Am I missing something?
John W. wrote:This is all very tentative; does P. go on to defend the Roman constitution, in which case ὑπὲρ could still mean 'in defence of'?

"Defence" is too strong a term. I don't think he thinks it needs any defence. He is explaining, arguably for the Greeks back home, how Rome came to rule the world. The answer is roughly through its mixed constitution, an idea that makes its first appearance in Sparta and is first mentioned Thucydides VII.
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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby John W. » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:35 pm

pster wrote:I'm not so crazy about this because I think ἐπίστασιν καὶ δοκιμασίαν have to work in parallel. Am I missing something?


No, I was just being a bit free in my translation. More literally, it would be: '... for turning my attention to, and examining, those matters ...'

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Re: Plb. 6.2.4

Postby pster » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:43 pm

Yeah, that is fine by me. :D
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