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Agamemnon speaks 810-854

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Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:23 pm

Agamemnon speaks 810-854

ἄτης θύελλαι ζῶσι· συνθνῄσκουσα δὲ 819
σποδὸς προπέμπει πίονας πλούτου πνοάς. 820

An error in the Diogenes app. raised a lexical question. For some reason the only headword in LSJ displayed for ζῶσι was ζέω. But the parsing info was:

1. ζάω: pres part act masc/neut dat pl (attic epic doric ionic)
2. ζάω: pres subj act 3rd pl (attic epic ionic)
3. ζάω: pres ind act 3rd pl (attic epic doric ionic)
4. ζέω (boil): pres subj act 3rd pl (attic epic doric)
5. ζῶσις (girding on): fem voc sg

On the other hand, all the seven translations at my disposal choose ζήω/ζάω for this context. It seems to me that semantic range of ζέω fits the context fairly well. So I am assuming that the pres subj act 3rd pl was deemed unworkable in this context.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:33 am

810-813
πρῶτον μὲν Ἄργος καὶ θεοὺς ἐγχωρίους
δίκη προσειπεῖν, τοὺς ἐμοὶ μεταιτίους
νόστου δικαίων θ᾽ ὧν ἐπραξάμην πόλιν
Πριάμου

822-823 (according to Sommerstein/Loeb):
ἐπείπερ ἁρπαγὰς ὑπερκόπους
ἐπραξάμεσθα

701-705
τραπέζας ἀτί-
μωσιν ὑστέρῳ χρόνῳ
καὶ ξυνεστίου Διὸς
πρασσομένα τὸ νυμφότι-
μον μέλος ἐκφάτως τίοντας,

On 812, R-T says πράσσομαι is constructed with one accusative of the justice exacted (i.e. punishment) and another of the offender. But here because of attraction to the antecedent we have a genitive δικαίων ἅ -> δικαίων ὧν for the punishment.

However, in 822-823, πράσσομαι is constructed with an accusative of the offence (not the punishment) and similarly 701-705 has two accusatives, one of the offence (again, not the punishment), the other of the offenders.

Somehow, I would have expected a genitive for the offense. I suppose it's impossible to construct a sentence like 'they made him pay with his life for his crimes' with a triple accusative, you would have to make use of a pronoun (see LSJ). With accusatives, you have to choose either the offense or the punishment, you can't express both.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:48 am

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:On the other hand, all the seven translations at my disposal choose ζήω/ζάω for this context. It seems to me that semantic range of ζέω fits the context fairly well. So I am assuming that the pres subj act 3rd pl was deemed unworkable in this context.

I agree, since smoke and ashes are mentioned just before and after. Is ζέω pres ind act 3rd pl completely excluded? LSJ doesn't seem to give an exact parallel, but close. But D-P says there's some kind of play with δυσθνῄσκουσα; the ashes are dying hard, being kept alive by the θύελλαι.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:30 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:810-813
πρῶτον μὲν Ἄργος καὶ θεοὺς ἐγχωρίους
δίκη προσειπεῖν, τοὺς ἐμοὶ μεταιτίους
νόστου δικαίων θ᾽ ὧν ἐπραξάμην πόλιν
Πριάμου

822-823 (according to Sommerstein/Loeb):
ἐπείπερ ἁρπαγὰς ὑπερκόπους
ἐπραξάμεσθα

701-705
τραπέζας ἀτί-
μωσιν ὑστέρῳ χρόνῳ
καὶ ξυνεστίου Διὸς
πρασσομένα τὸ νυμφότι-
μον μέλος ἐκφάτως τίοντας,

On 812, R-T says πράσσομαι is constructed with one accusative of the justice exacted (i.e. punishment) and another of the offender. But here because of attraction to the antecedent we have a genitive δικαίων ἅ -> δικαίων ὧν for the punishment.

However, in 822-823, πράσσομαι is constructed with an accusative of the offence (not the punishment) and similarly 701-705 has two accusatives, one of the offence (again, not the punishment), the other of the offenders.

Somehow, I would have expected a genitive for the offense. I suppose it's impossible to construct a sentence like 'they made him pay with his life for his crimes' with a triple accusative, you would have to make use of a pronoun (see LSJ). With accusatives, you have to choose either the offense or the punishment, you can't express both.


Paul,

I looked at this and tried to figure out what it was you were asking or observing. It sounds to me like you are perhaps expecting a little too much regularity in the syntax. There may be observable patterns of case functions with a given verb, but it is isn't profitable to think of these as rules. The patterns are no more than habits of usage shared by a community of language users. Aeschylus is famous for doing things not to be expected and just because he did one thing in fifteen lines earlier doesn't mean he will repeat it on the current line. It isn't really chaos, just freedom of expression.

My current approach to Tragic syntax is to observe without judgement. I don't try and find a way of rationalizing everything I see in Sophocles or Aeschylus. A lot time gets spent hunting down a discussion of some idiom in a lexicon or grammar, just to discover that the lexicon or grammar just ends up telling us, Yes Aeschylus did that. You arn't much more enlightened at the end of your search. I have worn out the index in Cooper and Smyth doing this sort of searching.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:30 pm

I wasn't really expecting or judging anything... Just observing like you say, I wanted to point a usage I found interesting and a bit surprising. By looking at the examples at LSJ, it seems that both accusative of the punishment and accusative of the offense are current with this verb, so it's not limited to Aeschylus. Just something I thought worth of notice... The fact that I said I would have expected the genitive was just giving the reason I found this interesting.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:40 pm

Compare LSJ τίνω (5.), "with gen. of the thing for which one pays". That's what I would have expected for πράσσομαι too, which is why made the observation.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:11 am

Paul Derouda wrote:I wasn't really expecting or judging anything... Just observing like you say, I wanted to point a usage I found interesting and a bit surprising. By looking at the examples at LSJ, it seems that both accusative of the punishment and accusative of the offense are current with this verb, so it's not limited to Aeschylus. Just something I thought worth of notice... The fact that I said I would have expected the genitive was just giving the reason I found this interesting.


Paul,

I'm about 10 time zones away. I don't always understand what people intend or what they are asking, saying and so forth.

I also had some reasons to pause while reading νόστου δικαίων θ᾽ ὧν ἐπραξάμην πόλιν Πριάμου, didn't just jump out at me what this was saying.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:51 am

Ἀγαμέμνων
810-813
πρῶτον μὲν Ἄργος καὶ θεοὺς ἐγχωρίους
δίκη προσειπεῖν, τοὺς ἐμοὶ μεταιτίους
νόστου δικαίων θ’ ὧν ἐπραξάμην πόλιν
Πριάμου· δίκας γὰρ οὐκ ἀπὸ γλώσσης θεοὶ

I have a problem understanding the syntactical function of δίκη on 811.
It might be functioning as an adverb but one would expect an accusative case.
It might be a defective impersonal clause with a missing copula:
"it is ... δίκη to greet the local gods ... "

δίκη is a pet word of Aeschylus, frankly I cringe every time I see it since it supports the notion that Aeschylus is all caught up in an obsession with abstract political ideology, statecraft and so forth. Perhaps δίκη is to Aeschylus what "freedom" is to the White House. A word you just bandy around when you are making excuses for something that will not stand the light of day[1].

Makes me want to run back to Sophocles or Euripides.

[1]
You know there's something that's goin' on here,
That surely, surely, surely won't stand the light of day. D. Crosby, 1968
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby NateD26 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:38 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:δίκη is a pet word of Aeschylus, frankly I cringe every time I see it since it supports the notion that Aeschylus is all caught up in an obsession with abstract political ideology, statecraft and so forth. Perhaps δίκη is to Aeschylus what "freedom" is to the White House. A word you just bandy around when you are making excuses for something that will not stand the light of day[1].

Makes me want to run back to Sophocles or Euripides.

I love this hypothesis. :D
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:55 pm

I agree δίκη on 811 is a defective impersonal clause with a missing copula.
NateD26 wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:δίκη is a pet word of Aeschylus, frankly I cringe every time I see it since it supports the notion that Aeschylus is all caught up in an obsession with abstract political ideology, statecraft and so forth. Perhaps δίκη is to Aeschylus what "freedom" is to the White House. A word you just bandy around when you are making excuses for something that will not stand the light of day[1].

Makes me want to run back to Sophocles or Euripides.

I love this hypothesis. :D

Me too!

What's difficult here is that Agamemnon is saying this and he isn't exactly a saint, but among other things a member of an accursed family murdering each other from generation to generation. So we don't know how wholeheartedly Aeschylus is condoning the Trojan expedition for δίκη (or Freedom or whatever...). On the other hand, there's certainly an analogy between the Trojans and the Persians, whom Aeschylus himself had been fighting against for the sake of Freedom (But the Greeks really were almost invaded by the Persians and the danger they represented to the Greeks was quite real. I don't know if this is true of all the threats 'Freedom' is experiencing nowadays...).

I think it's quite probable there are political implications in this language, like you say. But I don't really feel bad reading things I don't approve ethically if the author and all the protagonists have been dead for over 2400 years. Actually that's one for the reason I like to read classics: I believe I can learn about who we are when I learn what people - who were just like us - did and thought in a totally different world, while not having to feel bad about anything, because it's not happening now.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:10 pm

Agamemnon doesn't know if Ὀδυσσεύς is dead or alive.

841-844a
μόνος δ' Ὀδυσσεύς, ὅσπερ οὐχ ἑκὼν ἔπλει,
ζευχθεὶς ἑτοῖμος ἦν ἐμοὶ σειραφόρος,
εἴτ' οὖν θανόντος εἴτε καὶ ζῶντος πέρι
λέγω.

The switch from the aorist to the present participle θανόντος ... ζῶντος might temp someone to dip into the murky waters of aspectology (a.k.a. verb aspect). One might say that death is a state whereas living is a process. But the aorist isn't marked for stative aspect. Anyway, I'm just hanging this on the wall to see if anyone wants to talk about it.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:56 pm

They say that the aorist has really temporal meaning only in the indicative. But with a verb like 'to die' I guess it's almost the same thing whether you call it a temporal or aspectual distinction, even if we're talking about a participle and not an infinitive. If you put θνῄσκοντος here, it would be very close to English 'dying'.

I think the most elusive of all is the perfect (as well as the pluperfect). At least in Homeric Greek, you could change θανόντος here to τεθνηῶτος, without much changing the meaning. But of course there must be some nuance intended, otherwise this elusive form wouldn't exist.

E.g. Odyssey 1.289 εἰ δέ κε τεθνηῶτος ἀκούσῃς μηδ' ἔτ' ἐόντος 'but if you hear he's dead and not living anymore". By the way, this passage is obviously a reference to the Odyssey, where they're wondering all the time whether Odysseus is dead or alive.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:02 pm

Ah, forgot to ask: what does "marked for stative aspect" mean?

Once I read about a theory that Proto-Indo-European was an active-stative language. I didn't fully understand what it meant. Does it have anything to do with that?
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:05 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
What's difficult here is that Agamemnon is saying this and he isn't exactly a saint


RIght. δίκη in the mouth of someone who sacrificed his daughter so he could sail off to Troy with his armada where the army bleeds for 10 years and is almost totally wasted on the return journey and then he expects a hero's welcome at home ... δίκη hast to have some irony associated with it but I don't know Aeschylus that well, just read him in English decades ago. I get impression from the secondary literature that Aeschylus' point of view is not that of the other Tragic authors.

Some of the old textbooks from fifty years ago treat Greek classics like medieval morality plays. I read them as windows into ancient paganism; bloodthirsty, savage and brutal. Euripides is certainly more to my tastes than Aeschylus. But havn't spent that much time reading Aeschylus.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:10 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:Ah, forgot to ask: what does "marked for stative aspect" mean?

Once I read about a theory that Proto-Indo-European was an active-stative language. I didn't fully understand what it meant. Does it have anything to do with that?


Aorist according to some aspectologists is the unmarked aspect. It is what an author used by default.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:17 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Aorist according to some aspectologists is the unmarked aspect. It is what an author used by default.

That sounds plausible at least diachronically, when you think about the fact that the present forms are often extended compared to the aorist forms (e.g. λαμβάνω - λάβον [dispensing with the augment]). But is this still true in Aeschylus' time?
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:56 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Aorist according to some aspectologists is the unmarked aspect. It is what an author used by default.

That sounds plausible at least diachronically, when you think about the fact that the present forms are often extended compared to the aorist forms (e.g. λαμβάνω - λάβον [dispensing with the augment]). But is this still true in Aeschylus' time?


Don't know. Most of the studies on aspect have been focused on Koine, at least the ones that were going on in the 1990s when I was interested in the subject. I'm sure some research has been done on attic but specifically targeted at Aeschylus? Again, I don't know. The one good thing that came out of all this: people are not going to get away with hanging some dubious exegetical argument on the aorist tense. Not in cyberspace anyway. Someone will blow it out of water.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:12 pm

851-854

νῦν δ’ ἐς μέλαθρα καὶ δόμους ἐφεστίους
ἐλθὼν θεοῖσι πρῶτα δεξιώσομαι,
οἵπερ πρόσω πέμψαντες ἤγαγον πάλιν.
νίκη δ’ ἐπείπερ ἕσπετ’, ἐμπέδως μένοι.

δεξιώσομαι: is this a metaphor, meaning simply a greeting? D-P doesn't agree with LSJ's raise the hand in greeting.

νίκη δ’ ἐπείπερ ἕσπετ’: not sure if ἐπείπερ is causative, resultive or what? Something like: seeing that victory has followed [me] let it remain not failing. Aeschylus seems to be cranking up the irony here, laying it on thick. Not sure how to optative μένοι functions in this sentence.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:37 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:851-854

νῦν δ’ ἐς μέλαθρα καὶ δόμους ἐφεστίους
ἐλθὼν θεοῖσι πρῶτα δεξιώσομαι,
οἵπερ πρόσω πέμψαντες ἤγαγον πάλιν.
νίκη δ’ ἐπείπερ ἕσπετ’, ἐμπέδως μένοι.

δεξιώσομαι: is this a metaphor, meaning simply a greeting? D-P doesn't agree with LSJ's raise the hand in greeting.
I think this is the sort of situation where you can never be exactly sure unless you have some additional evidence, because concrete meanings tend to evolve into abstract ones.
νίκη δ’ ἐπείπερ ἕσπετ’: not sure if ἐπείπερ is causative, resultive or what? Something like: seeing that victory has followed [me] let it remain not failing. Aeschylus seems to be cranking up the irony here, laying it on thick. Not sure how to optative μένοι functions in this sentence.

ἐπείπερ surprised me a bit too. I'm sort of grown to think that περ has a concessive force, which is obviously not the case here. I looked the passage up in Denniston's Greek Particles; no real explanations given, just parallels I'm too lazy to look up, but περ just seems to strengthen ἐπεί here.

μένοι - wishes for the future are expressed with the optative.
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:20 pm

The irony at the end of Agamemnon's speech is underlined by the opening words of Κλυταιμήστρα

854 νίκη δ' ἐπείπερ ἕσπετ' ἐμπέδως μένοι.
May victory, now that it has attended me, remain ever with me constant to the end!
H. W. Smyth


Κλυταιμήστρα
855
ἄνδρες πολῖται, πρέσβος Ἀργείων τόδε,
οὐκ αἰσχυνοῦμαι τοὺς φιλάνορας τρόπους
λέξαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς·

Clytaemestra
[855] Citizens of Argos, you Elders present here, I shall not be ashamed to confess in your presence my fondness for my husband ...
H. W. Smyth
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Re: Agamemnon speaks 810-854

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:49 am

Paul Derouda wrote:810-813
πρῶτον μὲν Ἄργος καὶ θεοὺς ἐγχωρίους
δίκη προσειπεῖν, τοὺς ἐμοὶ μεταιτίους
νόστου δικαίων θ᾽ ὧν ἐπραξάμην πόλιν
Πριάμου

822-823 (according to Sommerstein/Loeb):
ἐπείπερ ἁρπαγὰς ὑπερκόπους
ἐπραξάμεσθα

701-705
τραπέζας ἀτί-
μωσιν ὑστέρῳ χρόνῳ
καὶ ξυνεστίου Διὸς
πρασσομένα τὸ νυμφότι-
μον μέλος ἐκφάτως τίοντας,

On 812, R-T says πράσσομαι is constructed with one accusative of the justice exacted (i.e. punishment) and another of the offender. But here because of attraction to the antecedent we have a genitive δικαίων ἅ -> δικαίων ὧν for the punishment.

However, in 822-823, πράσσομαι is constructed with an accusative of the offence (not the punishment) and similarly 701-705 has two accusatives, one of the offence (again, not the punishment), the other of the offenders.

Somehow, I would have expected a genitive for the offense. I suppose it's impossible to construct a sentence like 'they made him pay with his life for his crimes' with a triple accusative, you would have to make use of a pronoun (see LSJ). With accusatives, you have to choose either the offense or the punishment, you can't express both.


Paul,

810-813
πρῶτον μὲν Ἄργος καὶ θεοὺς ἐγχωρίους
δίκη προσειπεῖν, τοὺς ἐμοὶ μεταιτίους
νόστου δικαίων θ᾽ ὧν ἐπραξάμην πόλιν
Πριάμου

I went back and tried to figure this out. First of all θ᾽ is τε solitarium, a conjunction joining two clauses, right? I noted that LSJ under δίκαιος cites this passage in the form: τὰ δ. πράττεσθαι πόλιν. Cooper cites it: δικαίων ... ὧν [i.e. ἃ] ἐπραξάμην πόλιν, suggesting, I would assume, that a neut acc. Pl. was “attracted” to a gen. pl. which sort of looks like what LSJ is doing with it. So LSJ and Cooper are agreeing more or less with R-T, right?

In regard to the rest of your question, πράσσω is a very common verb, the semantic roles of the accusative arguments can not be expected to present a perfectly uniform pattern.
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