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Reading Agamemnon status report

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Reading Agamemnon status report

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:24 pm

Now approaching line 1300, reading Agamemnon has become a routine. Transcription, evalutaing text-critical problems, lexical work, syntax analysis, constructing the flow of thought from the co-text, reading the versions and commentaries.

It's is like a factory assembly line, you feed a line or two of text into the front end and it comes out as a more or less understandable segment within a paragraph.

This process seems somewhat tedious. Would be nice to just READ Agamemnon, rather than feeding it into the Aeschylus Factory. Once in a while a line or two will be readable on sight, pretty rare however. Somewhat more frequently, a word or two needs to be looked up in LSJ and then the meaning emerges without fussing with other stages of the assembly line. In other words the assembly line has short cuts, rapid paths where the text under consideration doesn't require the full treatment. The frequency of encountering rapid processing of text segments increases. That is how progress is detected. When things begin to fall together with much less work, you see that all your previous labor is producing results.

There is a temptation to assume you know what a word means and skip lexical work. I have concluded that this is not a good idea. Looking up words you think you know often results in discovering Aeschylus has used a word in a way not common in other authors. So lexical work is pretty much indispensable.

An example from today's work,

A.Ag 1292
ἐπεύχομαι δὲ καιρίας πληγῆς τυχεῖν,

Cassandra prays for a quick death. καιρίας is often temporal but it can also refer to vital portions of the body, being wounded in a place where it kills you certainly Homer Il.8.84,326.

Homerus Epic., Ilias (
Book 4, line 185

οὐκ ἐν καιρίῳ ὀξὺ πάγη βέλος, ἀλλὰ πάροιθεν
εἰρύσατο ζωστήρ τε παναίολος ἠδ' ὑπένερθε
ζῶμά τε καὶ μίτρη, τὴν χαλκῆες κάμον ἄνδρες.


I would have assumed only a temporal meaning if I had not looked this up. There is another reference from Agamemnon fatal moment, A. Ag.1122, it looks like the semantics of καιρίας might be somewhat complex in A.Ag 1292.
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Re: Reading Agamemnon status report

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:21 am

The Aechylus Factory - that's a good one. My feelings are similar. How nice it would it be to just read Agamemnon. Anyway, after I'm through the whole text, I'll hopefully be able to read the text at a much faster pace. I'll also be able to listen to the recording and follow at least approximately the story. I think going through the story at faster pace will bring out aspects that aren't that clear when reading the text really slowly and closely. The way we do it is necessary, but it's easy to forget the big picture when it's 6 months since we read the beginning.

I have also set at a much more leisurely pace, since I don't have to keep up with an agreed pace and anyway (most importantly) I'm so near the end that there's no real risk of giving up anymore.
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Re: Reading Agamemnon status report

Postby Markos » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:43 pm

Did you guys see my levelled paraphrase of the openings lines? Scroll all the way down to the end of the thread.

viewtopic.php?f=28&t=22003

I'm wondering if this is one way to avoid the factory?
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Re: Reading Agamemnon status report

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:23 pm

Markos wrote:Did you guys see my levelled paraphrase of the openings lines? Scroll all the way down to the end of the thread.

viewtopic.php?f=28&t=22003

I'm wondering if this is one way to avoid the factory?



Mark,

Before you can paraphrase you need to have read the original. So it doesn't really cut down on the work, just adds another phase at the end. Rewriting Attic Tragedy in prose is usually done in a modern language.
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