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a long chorus Agamemnon 681-809

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a long chorus Agamemnon 681-809

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:41 pm

Last few days I have been studying the middle portion of this chorus, 738-762. A lot of ambiguity in the metaphors which leave one wondering who is being talked about. Helen, the most obvious referent, doesn't fit all that well with some of the details as Denniston points out in his notes on line 744f.


πάραυτα δ᾽ ἐλθεῖν ἐς Ἰλίου πόλιν 738
λέγοιμ᾽ ἂν φρόνημα μὲν
νηνέμου γαλάνας, 740
ἀκασκαῖον δ᾽ ἄγαλμα πλούτου,
μαλθακὸν ὀμμάτων βέλος,
δηξίθυμον ἔρωτος ἄνθος.

Some minor syntax and lexical difficulties; there is no subject for ἐλθεῖν, φρόνημα is the object of λέγοιμ᾽, the sense of πάραυτα "immediately" doesn't fit the co-text, the ἐλθεῖν clause is broken off incomplete, λέγοιμ᾽ ἂν ... probably answers "what came to Ilium" but not grammatically.

Is anyone still reading Agamemnon? I assume Paul D. is, anyone else?
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Re: a long chorus Agamemnon 681-809

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:30 pm

I was looking for alternate readings of ἐν κακοῖς βροτῶν line 765 which C. Collard translates “in evil men” when I ran across this brief snippet in an article by T. R. Walsh.

Given this sense it is easy to see that Fraenkel correctly retains κότον in as vexed a passage as Agamemnon 767, where the notion of ὕβρις, persistence, and so forth are brought to bear on the ethical center of the play’s action (Agamemnon 763–771):
φιλεῖ δὲ τίκτειν ὕβρις μὲν παλαι-
ὰ νεάζουσαν ἐν κακοῖς βροτῶν
ὕβριν, τότ’ ἢ τόθ’ †ὅταν† τὸ κύριον μόληι
†νεαρὰ φάος† κότον
δαίμονά †τε τὸν† ἄμαχον ἀπόλεμον, ἀνίερον
θράσος, μέλαιναν μελάθροισιν Ἄταν,
εἰδομέναν τοκεῦσιν.

An old hubris loves to engender a young hubris among the ills of mortals, right then when the appointed day has come, [?] as a κότος, a daimon, a boldness not to be battled, not to be warred against, unholy, a dark Atē, in the likeness of her parents. [42]

42. Translation and text after Fraenkel.

T. R. Walsh, Some Refractions of Homeric Anger in Athenian Drama


Rather than get bogged down in text critical issues, I decided to just work with whatever text I found available. D.Page, Perseus (H.W. Smyth?), Murray, were all a little different so I tried to make sense of each one. Fraenkel’s text I do not have.

The rendering of ἐν κακοῖς βροτῶν as “among evil men” in one of the translations prompted some exploration of datives followed by βροτῶν in Attic Tragedy. I didn’t find much justification for skewing the semantics here but it’s a microscopic quibble so I will not dwell on it.
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Re: a long chorus Agamemnon 681-809

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:04 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Last few days I have been studying the middle portion of this chorus, 738-762. A lot of ambiguity in the metaphors which leave one wondering who is being talked about. Helen, the most obvious referent, doesn't fit all that well with some of the details as Denniston points out in his notes on line 744f.

πάραυτα δ᾽ ἐλθεῖν ἐς Ἰλίου πόλιν 738
λέγοιμ᾽ ἂν φρόνημα μὲν
νηνέμου γαλάνας, 740
ἀκασκαῖον δ᾽ ἄγαλμα πλούτου,
μαλθακὸν ὀμμάτων βέλος,
δηξίθυμον ἔρωτος ἄνθος.

Some minor syntax and lexical difficulties; there is no subject for ἐλθεῖν, φρόνημα is the object of λέγοιμ᾽, the sense of πάραυτα "immediately" doesn't fit the co-text, the ἐλθεῖν clause is broken off incomplete, λέγοιμ᾽ ἂν ... probably answers "what came to Ilium" but not grammatically.

Why can't φρόνημα be both subject of ἐλθεῖν and object of λέγοιμ᾽?

Is anyone still reading Agamemnon? I assume Paul D. is, anyone else?

I have reached the point of no return and will continue to the bitter end!

709-715
μεταμανθάνουσα δ᾽ ὕμνον
Πριάμου πόλις γεραιὰ
πολύθρηνον μέγα που στένει κικλήσκου-
σα Πάριν τὸν αἰνόλεκτρον,
παμπορθῆ πολύθρηνον
αἰῶνα διαὶ πολιτᾶν
μέλεον αἷμ᾽ ἀνατλᾶσα.

We are told this a corrupted passage, and the manuscripts have ἀμφί instead of διαὶ, and παμπορθῆ is also an emendation. But as it stands above, I don't get how διαὶ should be taken. Is it constructed with ἀνατλᾶσα? Shouldn't it be constructed with an infinitive, not a participle? Or should διαὶ be constructed with αἰῶνα?
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Re: a long chorus Agamemnon 681-809

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:54 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
Given this sense it is easy to see that Fraenkel correctly retains κότον in as vexed a passage as Agamemnon 767, where the notion of ὕβρις, persistence, and so forth are brought to bear on the ethical center of the play’s action (Agamemnon 763–771):
φιλεῖ δὲ τίκτειν ὕβρις μὲν παλαι-
ὰ νεάζουσαν ἐν κακοῖς βροτῶν
ὕβριν, τότ’ ἢ τόθ’ †ὅταν† τὸ κύριον μόληι
†νεαρὰ φάος† κότον
δαίμονά †τε τὸν† ἄμαχον ἀπόλεμον, ἀνίερον
θράσος, μέλαιναν μελάθροισιν Ἄταν,
εἰδομέναν τοκεῦσιν.

An old hubris loves to engender a young hubris among the ills of mortals, right then when the appointed day has come, [?] as a κότος, a daimon, a boldness not to be battled, not to be warred against, unholy, a dark Atē, in the likeness of her parents. [42]

42. Translation and text after Fraenkel.

I don't get it, how should νεαρὰ be understood in this version of the passage?
Rather than get bogged down in text critical issues, I decided to just work with whatever text I found available.

Sounds like a sensible approach, though I think I'll have look yet at what West has to say. Lots of crosses here, looks like a classicist's graveyard... ;)
The rendering of ἐν κακοῖς βροτῶν as “among evil men” in one of the translations prompted some exploration of datives followed by βροτῶν in Attic Tragedy. I didn’t find much justification for skewing the semantics here but it’s a microscopic quibble so I will not dwell on it.

“Among evil men” sounds strange to me too, but it's just a gut feeling.
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Re: a long chorus Agamemnon 681-809

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:58 pm

The dance ends at 781, what follows is the introduction of Agamemnon. The first few lines are very simple.

782
ἄγε, δή, βασιλεῦ, Τροίας πτολίπορθ',
Ἀτρέως γένεθλον,
πῶς σε προσείπω; πῶς σε σεβίξω
786
μήθ' ὑπεράρας μήθ' ὑποκάμψας
καιρὸν χάριτος;

Hail, King, sacker of Troy, son of Atreus! [785] How shall I address you? How shall I honor you, not overshooting or falling short ... ?

I can remember sometime in the 90s overhearing an old Swiss scholar address a WWII Luftwaffe veteran using a formula very much like this, πῶς σε προσείπω; πῶς σε σεβίξω.The tone was extremely ironic. The two men had encountered each other periodically in a public park on Puget Sound where they both took their daily walks. The verbal formula was highly "marked" and stuck in my mind, it sounded vaguely like something from Shakespeare. At that time I had never seen it in Greek Texts.
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Re: a long chorus Agamemnon 681-809

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:55 pm

Aeschylus Agamemnon 788-789

πολλοὶ δὲ βροτῶν τὸ δοκεῖν εἶναι
προτίουσι δίκην παραβάντες.

The idiom τὸ δοκεῖν εἶναι here only in Attic Tragedy[1] is well attested outside Attic Tragedy. It appears to mean something roughly like “that which seems to be.” LSJ’s treatment of προτίουσι “prefer in honour, prefer, τι A.Ag.789” didn’t help me much. I guess in this co-text it would mean “many mortals prefer to give honor based on mere appearances ... ” tentatively understanding προτίουσι to mean “give honor in preference to” τι.

[1]
Euripides Orestes
Line 236

{Ορ.} μάλιστα· δόξαν γὰρ τόδ' ὑγιείας ἔχει·
κρεῖσσον δὲ τὸ δοκεῖν, κἂν ἀληθείας ἀπῆι.
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Re: a long chorus Agamemnon 681-809

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:49 pm

Just dropping in with a progress report. I found 797-809 to be generally very difficult. Since Paul has all the relevant secondary literature at his disposal, I didn't see much point in trying to reinvent the wheel. Have moved on the Agamemnon's speech in 810-854.
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Re: a long chorus Agamemnon 681-809

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:08 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Aeschylus Agamemnon 788-789

πολλοὶ δὲ βροτῶν τὸ δοκεῖν εἶναι
προτίουσι δίκην παραβάντες.

The idiom τὸ δοκεῖν εἶναι here only in Attic Tragedy[1] is well attested outside Attic Tragedy. It appears to mean something roughly like “that which seems to be.” LSJ’s treatment of προτίουσι “prefer in honour, prefer, τι A.Ag.789” didn’t help me much. I guess in this co-text it would mean “many mortals prefer to give honor based on mere appearances ... ” tentatively understanding προτίουσι to mean “give honor in preference to” τι.

[1]
Euripides Orestes
Line 236

{Ορ.} μάλιστα· δόξαν γὰρ τόδ' ὑγιείας ἔχει·
κρεῖσσον δὲ τὸ δοκεῖν, κἂν ἀληθείας ἀπῆι.


I agree on both τὸ δοκεῖν εἶναι and προτίουσι. προτίουσι is πρό 'before, in front of' + τίω 'honor'; compare προβέβουλα in Iliad 1.113 (Agamemnon speaking):

καὶ γάρ ῥα Κλυταιμνήστρης προβέβουλα 'I prefer [her] to Clytaemestra'.

Since you're moving on, I'll try to reach 854 before weekend. It seems were the only ones left...

As for secondary literature, they don't have all the answers (not for my humble questions at least) and they're often way over my head. Anyway, you're right we are not likely to find new solutions to the textual problems just like that, so maybe we'd better concentrate on easier stuff.
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