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the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

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the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:25 pm

It seems to me that the difficulty of the text is something akin to transmission errors in telecommunications[1]. At the end of Cassandra's final speech, the last few lines are obscure and the obscurity passes over into the first four lines of the following Chorus. Then suddenly on line 1335 everything becomes marvelously readable. This looks like a corrupted packet of transmission which crosses a boundary between Casandra's last words and the Chorus.

It could be that textual corruption became more probable when the message became semantically ambiguous and this corruption over time lead to more corruption in attempts to restore meaning to the text. All of this is of course subjective. No telling why I suddenly started understanding with little difficulty at line 1335, after about 8-10 lines of fog.

[1] had the phone co. out to fix my land-line last week. Had a signal to noise ratio of 1:1.
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:01 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:It could be that textual corruption became more probable when the message became semantically ambiguous and this corruption over time lead to more corruption in attempts to restore meaning to the text. All of this is of course subjective. No telling why I suddenly started understanding with little difficulty at line 1335, after about 8-10 lines of fog.

That's might be even the most important reason for corruption. Beside plain attempts to correct the text, one mechanism that comes to mind is intrusive glosses. Somebody writes a gloss over a word or in the margin, and the next time the text is copied the scribe interpretes it as a correction, and either inserts it in the text or writes it instead of a word in the text.

I must admit though that I didn't find it very easy immediately after 1335 either... But it is subjective; I guess you were on the other hand puzzled by ἐμὸν τὸν αὐτῆς because your background is (as far as I understand) mostly in NT Greek.
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:06 pm

What is so difficult about πέρι in clause, sent. & line final position?
D-P make a big fuss about it, mark it with obelisks. It seems
that a clause final adverbial πέρι (R-T) is not considered idiomatic.
Found several others in this position following an infinitive,
but they can be construed as post-positive prepositions with
the case in front of the infinitive.

A.AG 1359
{6.} οὐκ οἶδα βουλῆς ἧστινος τυχὼν λέγω.
τοῦ δρῶντός ἐστι καὶ τὸ βουλεῦσαι πέρι.

A.AG 1368

{11.} σάφ' εἰδότας χρὴ τῶνδε θυμοῦσθαι πέρι·
τὸ γὰρ τοπάζειν τοῦ σάφ' εἰδέναι δίχα.

Aeschylus S.Th.
Line 248

{Χο.} στένει πόλισμα γῆθεν, ὡς κυκλουμένων.
{Ετ.} οὐκοῦν ἔμ' ἀρκεῖ τῶνδε βουλεύειν πέρι;

Here is another case where πέρι is clause, sent & line final and could perhaps be adverbial, it seems like kind of a reach to construe it as a prep with θεοῖσιν, but see S.Aj. 793 below.

Aeschylus Ch. 780

{Χο.} ἄγγελλ' ἰοῦσα, πρᾶσσε τἀπεσταλμένα.
μέλει θεοῖσιν ὧνπερ ἂν μέλῃ πέρι.

Not sure about this one. πέρι probably belongs with αὐτὸν ἄνδρα.


Aeschylus Ch. 850
{Χο.} ἠκούσαμεν μέν, πυνθάνου δὲ τῶν ξένων
ἔσω παρελθών. οὐδὲν ἀγγέλων σθένος
ὡς αὐτόσ' αὐτὸν ἄνδρα πεύθεσθαι πέρι.

Here is a place where we see a nested prepositional phrase. That is a prepositional phrase within another prepositional phrase. The clause final πέρι appears to belong to παίδων. It certainly cannot belong to Οἰδίπου which has τῶν ἀπ'.

S.Ant. 193
Καὶ νῦν ἀδελφὰ τῶνδε κηρύξας ἔχω
ἀστοῖσι παίδων τῶν ἀπ' Οἰδίπου πέρι·

"In the matter of the sons of Oedipus."
— E. Wyckoff

Another, somewhat complex example of a clause final πέρι. In this case it looks like it belongs to τῶν θανόντων, but this is not a simple sentence.

S.Ant.214
{ΧΟ.} Σοὶ ταῦτ' ἀρέσκει, παῖ Μενοικέως, <παθεῖν>,
τὸν τῇδε δύσνουν καὶ τὸν εὐμενῆ πόλει·
νόμῳ δὲ χρῆσθαι παντί πού γ' ἔνεστί σοι
καὶ τῶν θανόντων χὠπόσοι ζῶμεν πέρι.

The resolution, Creon is your own,
in the matter of the traitor and the true.
For you can make such rulings as you will
about the living and about the dead.
— E. Wyckoff


In the following line from Ajax, I don't see anything in oblique case prior to πέρι.
Hauled out my notes on Ajax to check this line. Don't have a translation handy but
it looks like the oblique case is omitted with the understanding that can be supplied
from the co-text & context.

S.Aj. 793
Οὐκ οἶδα τὴν σὴν πρᾶξιν, Αἴαντος δ' ὅτι,
θυραῖος εἴπερ ἐστίν, οὐ θαρσῶ πέρι.

I searched on this line and ended up at my own blog:

Sophocles Ajax 793-794 Eng. Trans. R.C. Jebb Perseus/Tufts.

οὐκ οἶδα τὴν σὴν πρᾶξιν, Αἴαντος δ᾽ ὅτι,
θυραῖος εἴπερ ἐστίν, οὐ θαρσῶ πέρι.

I have no clue of your condition, but know only that, if Ajax is away, I have little hope for him.

Hyperbaton or discontinuous syntax is evident in the distance between Αἴαντος … πέρι. The conditional construction θυραῖος εἴπερ ἐστίν, οὐ θαρσῶ is bounded by the proper noun Αἴαντος and the postpositive πέρι. In other words: “I don’t know about your situation [οὐκ οἶδα τὴν σὴν πρᾶξιν] … concerning Ajax [ Αἴαντος … πέρι] if he is out and about [θυραῖος εἴπερ ἐστίν], I have no confidence [οὐ θαρσῶ].


Not sure I totally agree with this analysis. That was nov 2011.

Here is a simple example from S.OT. 738,

{ΟΙ.} Ὦ Ζεῦ, τί μου δρᾶσαι βεβούλευσαι πέρι;

What have you planed, O Zeus, concerning me.

Another from S.El. 1111

{ΟΡ.} Οὐκ οἶδα τὴν σὴν κληδόν'· ἀλλά μοι γέρων
ἐφεῖτ' Ὀρέστου Στροφίος ἀγγεῖλαι πέρι.

Examples like these can be collected forever. But I haven't run into a lot cases where clause final πέρι is unambiguously adverbial. So perhaps there is a difficulty with πέρι in A.AG 1359.
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:59 pm

A.Ag 1368-69
σάφ᾽ εἰδότας χρὴ τῶνδε θυμοῦσθαι [mss. μυθεῖσθαι] πέρι:
τὸ γὰρ τοπάζειν τοῦ σάφ᾽ εἰδέναι δίχα.

The several commentaries I have access to ignore these lines. I guess by comparison to the lines immediately before and after these lines are considered transparent. I didn't find them so. First off, D-P reads μυθεισθαι (to speak, declare) rather than θυμοῦσθαι (become angry) and several of the translations follow that reading. On the idiom χρὴ it goes something like "it is necessary" (obligatory or inevitable/unavoidable?) "to know clearly (the facts concerning Agamemnon's current state) before getting angry (or μυθεισθαι speaking) concerning these matters" (τῶνδε ... πέρι).

A.Ag 1370-71
ταύτην ἐπαινεῖν πάντοθεν πληθύνομαι,
τρανῶς Ἀτρείδην εἰδέναι κυροῦνθ’ ὅπως.

Everyone marvels at the Chorus ending with ὅπως. However, Aeschylus has habit of putting noninflected words at the end of a line/clause/sentence. We see three here in four lines, πέρι, δίχα, ὅπως of which ὅπως is the most difficult. In my last post we observed that πέρι at the end of a line/clause/sentence is only considered difficult when it stands alone as an adverb. ὅπως at the end of a line/clause/sentence looks like something missing from the next line, since ὅπως introduces text. Reminds me a little bit of γὰρ in the Gospel of Mark 16:8, the last word in the Gospel as it is represented in early manuscripts.

Mark 16:8 καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου, εἶχεν γὰρ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις· καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπαν· ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ.
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:35 pm

The opening lines of Clytemnestra's justification speech are relatively transparent:

A.Ag. 1372-76
Κλυταιμήστρα
πολλῶν πάροιθεν καιρίως εἰρημένων
τἀναντί’ εἰπεῖν οὐκ ἐπαισχυνθήσομαι.
πῶς γάρ τις ἐχθροῖς ἐχθρὰ πορσύνων, φίλοις
δοκοῦσιν εἶναι, πημονῆς ἀρκύστατ’ ἂν
φράξειεν, ὕψος κρεῖσσον ἐκπηδήματος;

having spoken many things πολλῶν... εἰρημένων
beforehand πάροιθεν
suitable to the occasion/moment καιρίως
I am not ashamed to speak εἰπεῖν οὐκ ἐπαισχυνθήσομαι
the opposite/contradicting (to what was spoke before) τἀναντί’

for how (else) is anyone πῶς γάρ τις
preparing hostile action ἐχθρὰ πορσύνων
for enemies ἐχθροῖς
posing as friends φίλοις δοκοῦσιν εἶναι
fencing them / trapping them φράξειεν
in a place set with snares/difficulties πημονῆς ἀρκύστατ’
[walls] to high to jump over ὕψος κρεῖσσον ἐκπηδήματος

It seems that "enemies posing as friends" ἐχθροῖς φίλοις δοκοῦσιν εἶναι is a more suitable description of Clytemnestra, so perhaps there is some irony here. I assume the speech isn't intended to convince the audience, Clytemnestra's justification of her own treachery and the ensuing desciption of how she enjoyed the blood letting are intended to be horrifying according to Elizabeth Vandiver.
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:53 pm

Murder One: 1) A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when: (a) With a premeditated intent to cause the death of another person, he or she causes the death of such ...
— RCW 9A.32.030: Murder in the first degree.

A.Ag. 1377-78 Clytemnestra
ἐμοὶ δ’ ἀγὼν ὅδ’ οὐκ ἀφρόντιστος πάλαι
νείκης παλαιᾶς ἦλθε, σὺν χρόνῳ γε μήν·

This is the contest of an ancient feud, pondered by me of old,
and it has come, however long delayed.
— H. W. Smyth

The notion that this contest/struggle ἀγὼν ὅδ’ has been delayed in coming is an inference and a valid one but it isn't what texts says. The text says that a long time ago Clytemnestra started contemplating her recent action. She has been stewing over (inferential) an old conflict νείκης παλαιᾶς, the nature of which isn't expressed. ἐμοὶ is fronted and makes Clytemnestra's personal premeditation salient.

... πάλαι
νείκης παλαιᾶς ἦλθε,

Does the first πάλαι refer repetitiously (D-P) to the duration of the old conflict νείκης παλαιᾶς or to the duration of Clytemnestra's contemplation of her recent action? The contrast between recent action ἀγὼν ὅδ’ this contest/struggle and the old conflict νείκης παλαιᾶς is a framework in which Clytemnestra's personal premeditation is a salient detail, but not the focus. The focal constituent is σὺν χρόνῳ γε μήν, clearly marked by position and the particles γε μήν.
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:02 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:The opening lines of Clytemnestra's justification speech are relatively transparent:

A.Ag. 1372-76
Κλυταιμήστρα
πολλῶν πάροιθεν καιρίως εἰρημένων
τἀναντί’ εἰπεῖν οὐκ ἐπαισχυνθήσομαι.
πῶς γάρ τις ἐχθροῖς ἐχθρὰ πορσύνων, φίλοις
δοκοῦσιν εἶναι, πημονῆς ἀρκύστατ’ ἂν
φράξειεν, ὕψος κρεῖσσον ἐκπηδήματος;

having spoken many things πολλῶν... εἰρημένων
beforehand πάροιθεν
suitable to the occasion/moment καιρίως
I am not ashamed to speak εἰπεῖν οὐκ ἐπαισχυνθήσομαι
the opposite/contradicting (to what was spoke before) τἀναντί’

for how (else) is anyone πῶς γάρ τις
preparing hostile action ἐχθρὰ πορσύνων
for enemies ἐχθροῖς
posing as friends φίλοις δοκοῦσιν εἶναι
fencing them / trapping them φράξειεν
in a place set with snares/difficulties πημονῆς ἀρκύστατ’
[walls] to high to jump over ὕψος κρεῖσσον ἐκπηδήματος

It seems that "enemies posing as friends" ἐχθροῖς φίλοις δοκοῦσιν εἶναι is a more suitable description of Clytemnestra, so perhaps there is some irony here. I assume the speech isn't intended to convince the audience, Clytemnestra's justification of her own treachery and the ensuing desciption of how she enjoyed the blood letting are intended to be horrifying according to Elizabeth Vandiver.

I think the word δοκοῦσιν is a bit ambiguous here and the word φίλοις could have either a "passive" or an "active" sense - and that's why different translations render this a bit differently. Sommerstein/Loeb has "pursuing hostilities against enemies who think they are friends", Smyth "devising hate against a hated foe who bears the semblance of a friend". Maybe it isn't really important to whom those enemies look like friends, maybe it's just a choice you have to make in translation.
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:18 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
Murder One: 1) A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when: (a) With a premeditated intent to cause the death of another person, he or she causes the death of such ...
— RCW 9A.32.030: Murder in the first degree.

A.Ag. 1377-78 Clytemnestra
ἐμοὶ δ’ ἀγὼν ὅδ’ οὐκ ἀφρόντιστος πάλαι
νείκης παλαιᾶς ἦλθε, σὺν χρόνῳ γε μήν·

This is the contest of an ancient feud, pondered by me of old,
and it has come, however long delayed.
— H. W. Smyth

The notion that this contest/struggle ἀγὼν ὅδ’ has been delayed in coming is an inference and a valid one but it isn't what texts says. The text says that a long time ago Clytemnestra started contemplating her recent action. She has been stewing over (inferential) an old conflict νείκης παλαιᾶς, the nature of which isn't expressed. ἐμοὶ is fronted and makes Clytemnestra's personal premeditation salient.

... πάλαι
νείκης παλαιᾶς ἦλθε,

Does the first πάλαι refer repetitiously (D-P) to the duration of the old conflict νείκης παλαιᾶς or to the duration of Clytemnestra's contemplation of her recent action? The contrast between recent action ἀγὼν ὅδ’ this contest/struggle and the old conflict νείκης παλαιᾶς is a framework in which Clytemnestra's personal premeditation is a salient detail, but not the focus. The focal constituent is σὺν χρόνῳ γε μήν, clearly marked by position and the particles γε μήν.

I think you raise a couple of good points here. Smyth doesn't do this very well, Sommerstein a little better "This showdown was something that had long been in my thoughts, arising from a long-standing grievance; now it has come - at long last". How about this:
"For me, this struggle/showdown had been in my mind since long ago; it's about an old difference/grievance and has now come about, though after a long time."
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby NateD26 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:39 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:I think the word δοκοῦσιν is a bit ambiguous here and the word φίλοις could have either a "passive" or an "active" sense - and that's why different translations render this a bit differently. Sommerstein/Loeb has "pursuing hostilities against enemies who think they are friends", Smyth "devising hate against a hated foe who bears the semblance of a friend". Maybe it isn't really important to whom those enemies look like friends, maybe it's just a choice you have to make in translation.

A very contested subject in my first-year university course was just how to read each of the
various instances of this word in Plato's Apology. He seems to almost have a fetish of that word.
At the end of the day, nearly every instance sounded plausible either way.
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:12 pm

NateD26 wrote:
Paul Derouda wrote:I think the word δοκοῦσιν is a bit ambiguous here and the word φίλοις could have either a "passive" or an "active" sense - and that's why different translations render this a bit differently. Sommerstein/Loeb has "pursuing hostilities against enemies who think they are friends", Smyth "devising hate against a hated foe who bears the semblance of a friend". Maybe it isn't really important to whom those enemies look like friends, maybe it's just a choice you have to make in translation.

A very contested subject in my first-year university course was just how to read each of the
various instances of this word in Plato's Apology. He seems to almost have a fetish of that word.
At the end of the day, nearly every instance sounded plausible either way.


Nate,

Yes,it looks like Plato makes heavy use of δοκοῦσιν in his writings (I have not read them). It is a word which lends itself well to discussion abstractions about perception and "reality" and Plato had a few things to say about that, did he not? I probably know more about Kant than Plato, but that doesn't mean I know much about either of them.
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:52 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
A.Ag. 1372-76
Κλυταιμήστρα
πολλῶν πάροιθεν καιρίως εἰρημένων
τἀναντί’ εἰπεῖν οὐκ ἐπαισχυνθήσομαι.
πῶς γάρ τις ἐχθροῖς ἐχθρὰ πορσύνων, φίλοις
δοκοῦσιν εἶναι, πημονῆς ἀρκύστατ’ ἂν
φράξειεν, ὕψος κρεῖσσον ἐκπηδήματος;

the word φίλοις could have either a "passive" or an "active" sense - and that's why different translations render this a bit differently. Sommerstein/Loeb has "pursuing hostilities against enemies who think they are friends", Smyth "devising hate against a hated foe who bears the semblance of a friend". Maybe it isn't really important to whom those enemies look like friends, maybe it's just a choice you have to make in translation.


Paul,
RE: passive and active in reference to φίλοις. The expression φίλοις
δοκοῦσιν εἶναι, they are perceived as friends by those who are at risk if they are indeed enemies (at risk is inferential, not explicit). The perception is passive from the standpoint of those who appear as friends (a stative, to look like something) if you assume that δοκοῦσιν denotes a perception rather than an action taken by the perceived party to promote a perception. On the other hand, If you read δοκοῦσιν εἶναι as an act of deception "trying to appear as friends" then it is active. My preference is to read the notion as stative in reference to the apparent friends with the agent of perception being those who are deceived. Regardless, I think this idea fits Clytemnestra better than Agamemnon. The shoe belongs on her feet.

Edith Hamilton, who often charts her own course, makes Clytemnestra the agent of φίλοις
δοκοῦσιν εἶναι:
How can a woman work her hatred out
on him she hates yet must seem to love,
— Edith Hamilton 1937


Lattimore is somewhat ambiguous, but he can be read as agreeing with Hamilton:

How else could I, arming hate against hateful men
disguised in seeming tenderness, fence high the nets
of ruin beyond overleaping?
— R. Lattimore


Ted Huges is not ambiguous and agrees with Hamilton:

How else could I have killed the man —
My deadliest enemy?
Lies and embraces were simply my method.
— Ted Huges
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Re: the death of Agamemnon A.Ag 1331-

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:07 am

A.Ag 1399
Χορός
θαυμάζομέν σου γλῶσσαν, ὡς θρασύστομος,
ἥτις τοιόνδ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἀνδρὶ κομπάζεις λόγον.

Κλυταιμήστρα
πειρᾶσθέ μου γυναικὸς ὡς ἀφράσμονος:
ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἀτρέστῳ καρδίᾳ πρὸς εἰδότας
λέγω: σὺ δ᾽ αἰνεῖν εἴτε με ψέγειν θέλεις
ὅμοιον.

CHOROS.
We wonder at thy tongue: since bold-mouthed truly
Is she who in such speech boasts o'er her husband I
KLUTAIMNESTRA.
Ye test me as I were a witless woman:
But I -- with heart intrepid -- to you knowers
Say (and thou -- if thou wilt or praise or blame me,
Comes to the same)
— Robert Browning


English translations struggle with πειρᾶσθέ and LSJ doesn't help:

c. gen. pers., make trial of one, Il.10.444, Od.13.336, etc.; νῦν σεῦ, ξεῖνε, ὀΐω πειρήσεσθαι, εἰ . . 19.215; ἕο αὐτοῦ ἐν ἔντεσι . . εἰ οἷ ἐφαρμόσσειε Il.19.384; with gen. not expressed, ἔπεσιν πειρήσομαι 2.73; ἦ πρῶτʼ ἐξερέοιτο ἕκαστά τε πειρήσαιτο test him in each particular, Od.4.119 (v.l. μυθήσαιτο ) ; π. θεοῦ make trial of, tempt a god, Hdt.6.86 . γ, cf. A.Ag. 1663 (troch.): in hostile sense, πρὶν πειρήσαιτʼ Ἀχιλῆος Il.21.580 (with acc. cogn. added ἀέθλους . . ἐπειρήσαντʼ Ὀδυσῆος Od.8.23 ): freq. in Hdt., esp. ἀλλήλων πειρᾶσθαι, as ἐπειρῶντο κατὰ τὸ ἰσχυρὸν ἀλλήλων 1.76; πειρᾶσθέ μου γυναικὸς ὡς ἀφράσμονος A.Ag. 1401, etc.; π. τῆς Πελοποννήσου make an attempt on it, Hdt.8.100; π. τοῦ τείχους Th.2.81 .


I remember years and years ago Jeffery Gibson (PhD, Oxford) presented a paper at SBL on πειράζω as it used in the NT and LXX, purporting to demonstrate that it never means tempt someone to commit a sin. Nobody would suggest that sense for Clytemnestra's response to the chorus on line 1401. The various translations I had access to all failed at one level or another. Lattimore "try out" is very strange and is followed by Grene and O'Flaherty[1]. What ever word is chosen needs to make sense with the rest of the sentence and test doesn't do that. I would probably abandon the attempt to render πειρᾶσθέ and settle for "You treat/speak to me as a mindless woman."


[1]The Oresteia / by Aeschylus ; a new translation for the theater by David Grene and Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty ; with introductions by David Grene, Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, and Nicholas Rudall.
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