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Aristotle:ὑγροῦ λευκὴ γίνεται

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Aristotle:ὑγροῦ λευκὴ γίνεται

Postby Bowdoin Painter » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:11 am

Hi,

this is from Aristotle's Περί Χρωμάτων (De Coloribus):

"δῆλον δ᾽ ἐπὶ τῆς τέφρας τοῦτ᾽ ἐστίν· ἐκκαυθέντος γὰρ τοῦ τὴν βαφὴν πεποιηκότος ὑγροῦ λευκὴ γίνεται... "
Loveday and Forster translate as follows: "...ashes turn white when the moisture that tinged them is burnt out."

But is it possible that υγρού λευκή means "white like water", so that the quoted text would read "...ashes turn white like water when burned?" In the paragraph before this, Aristotle refers to water as being white (λευκόν).

Thanks.
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Re: Aristotle:ὑγροῦ λευκὴ γίνεται

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:03 am

I don't know anything about Aristotle, so I can't comment as to what this particular passage means. I just wanted to point out that the Greek word λευκός has wider semantic field than the English word 'white'. Depending on the context in can mean bright, light or white at least. According to LSJ (I.1.) applied to water it means 'clear'; the quoted instances are poetic but I don't see why it couldn't be so in Aristotle too. Applied to ashes, on the other hand, 'white' seems a better translation.
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Re: Aristotle:ὑγροῦ λευκὴ γίνεται

Postby spiphany » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:51 am

In this case ὑγροῦ is not standing by itself, but has an article that goes with it:
τοῦ τὴν βαφὴν πεποιηκότος ὑγροῦ
Because of the word order, it makes the most sense to read ὑγροῦ as governing the participle πεποιηκότος and its object, which are sandwiched between article and noun.
The translation you propose would require that τοῦ τὴν βαφὴν πεποιηκότος is in predicative position (agreeing with ἐκκαυθέντος), without an attributive article, which seems less natural to me. Also, πεποιηκότος is active -- it makes more sense for the water to be giving depth [of color] than the ashes to be doing so.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Aristotle:ὑγροῦ λευκὴ γίνεται

Postby Bowdoin Painter » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:46 pm

Thank you both for your help.
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