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infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

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infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:28 pm

763
φιλεῖ δὲ τίκτειν Ὕβρις
μὲν παλαιὰ νεά-
ζουσαν ἐν κακοῖς βροτῶν

an old outrage wants to give
birth to a new outrage
amidst the sufferings of mortals

1612
Αἴγισθ', ὑβρίζειν ἐν κακοῖσιν οὐ σέβω

I do not respect/approve of insolence
amidst the sufferings [of others]


The infinitive at ὑβρίζειν at 1612 is emended to an accusative participle by several editors who find fault with the syntax of the mss. but note LSJ and Cooper[1]

LSJ ὑβρίζειν ἐν κακοῖσιν οὐ σέβω, i.e. τὸ ὑβρίζειν, I do not respect, approve it, A.Ag.1612;

Cooper[1] calls this an objective complement of the main verb σέβω, φιλεῖ. I have problems with the metalanguage here; complement has a very flexible meaning in grammar books and linguistics. If 763-64 is an example of an objective complement then the rendering of 1612 in LSJ appears to be wrong. It would be something like Sommerstein’s “I’m not in the habit of being insolent at a time of trouble.”

I am wondering why LSJ appears(?) to disagree with Cooper, R-T, D-P, and others in regard to ὑβρίζειν ... σέβω. It looks like LSJ construes the infinitive as the direct object. On the other hand a functional direct object is a subset of complement in the broad sense of the word.

EDIT: I just scanned the b-greek archives for objective complement and it appears that it is a second accusative which complements the accusative direct object. In the citations from A.Ag above there is no accusative direct object for the finite verbs φιλεῖ & σέβω so we either supply one by emendation or fall back on the notion of an "understood" accusative direct object (R-T) to which the infinitive functions as a complement. All of this still doesn't answer the question about the apparent discrepancy between LSJ and the various editors, commentators and translators.
LSJ ὑβρίζειν ἐν κακοῖσιν οὐ σέβω, i.e. τὸ ὑβρίζειν, I do not respect, approve it, A.Ag.1612;

[1] Guy Cooper, Greek Syntax vol 3, p2525, 2.55.3.14.A
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby Qimmik » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:18 pm

The problem here seems to be the use of σέβω with an infinitive; usually it would take an accusative noun as direct object; here the only conceivable direct object is ὑβρίζειν. Using σέβω with an infinitive as direct object (if Aesch. did indeed write ὑβρίζειν and not ὑβρίζοντ') seems like a bold expression, but not beyond the bounds of tragic verse, i.e., it's possible to make sense out of it,with the infinitive functioning as a verbal noun. If ὑβρίζοντ' is an attested varia lectio and not a conjecture, ὑβρίζειν is the difficilior lectio. I don't think the difference between the LSJ interpretation and that of Sommerstein is a syntactic difference, it's a difference in how they make sense out of the strange expression ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω.

"I don't respect committing outrage in the midst of woes."

LSJ: I don't approve of anyone committing outrage in the midst of woes.
Sommerstein: I don't approve of committing outrage in the midst of woes, so I never do it myself.

φιλεῖν, in contrast, can normally have an acc. noun as direct object or an infinitive complement, so there is no difficulty with the syntax. Though I haven't looked at the passage, I suspect that φιλεῖ here doesn't mean "want" in the current situation, but rather "like to" as a general proposition.
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby Qimmik » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:26 am

LSJ notes that that φιλεῖν + infinitive is post-Homeric. So there must have been a time when φιλεῖν + infinitive would seem just as odd as σέβειν + infinitive.
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby Qimmik » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:47 am

Fraenkel has a long note on σέβω. He cites a handful of other instances where σέβειν is used with an infinitive, and writes: "In every other case where σέβειν (and σέβεσθαι) governs an infinitive, the infinitive denotes an action or a state of the σέβων", citing Eum. 749 Pers. 694f., E. Iph. A. 824, Pl. Tim. 69d, Laws 798b. He explicates the passage from the Ag. by paraphrasing it thus: "I do not practise (as if it were an act of piety) insolence towards misfortunes (of others); I neither have nor ever will have anything to do with it." Evidently, Sommerstein follows Fraenkel's explanation.

Denniston & Page disagree with this.

But φιλεῖν + infinitive complement is common enough that it needs no explanation, as the LSJ entry shows.

West and Fraenkel read ὑβρίζειν, but Denys Page (OCT) adopts ὑβρίζοντ', which is apparently a conjecture by Heyse (1884).
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby Qimmik » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:18 pm

After reading the Denniston & Page note, I think I understand better now what you are saying, and you have a very good point: if ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω is an analogous construction to φιλεῖ τίκτειν, the implied agent of ὑβρίζειν should be the subject of οὐ σέβω. That's the way Fraenkel and Sommerstein view it, but Denniston & Page don't think οὐ σέβω can be read to mean (as Fraenkel and Sommerstein would have it) "I do not practice," and adopt the conjecture (as Page does in his OCT edition). LSJ's interpretation, where the subject of οὐ σέβω is not the agent of ὑβρίζειν, would arguably require an articular infinitive, which they supply: τὸ ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω.

Denniston & Page also don't accept Fraenkel's reading of the other passages where σέβειν and σέβεσθαι govern an infinitive. Their interpretation (with ὑβρίζοντ'): "I have no respect for someone who triumphs insolently amid misfortunes." A rebuke to Aegistheus, instead of (if Fraenkel's reading is possible) a bland and cautious statement of the Chorus' own ethical behavior. They answer the difficilior lectio argument by asserting that ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω in fact isn't possible.

To summarize, there are three different approaches to this passage:

1. LSJ treats ὑβρίζειν as equivalent to τὸ ὑβρίζειν and interprets οὐ σέβω as "I do not respect".

2. Fraenkel and Sommerstein treat ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω as analogous to φιλεῖ τίκτειν, treating the subject of οὐ σέβω as the agent of ὑβρίζειν and interpreting οὐ σέβω as "I don't do it myself": "I do not practice".

3. Denniston and Page think ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω is impossible Greek and emend the expression to ὑβρίζοντ' οὐ σέβω: "I do not respect someone who".

Personally, I think that ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω strains syntax and sense, and that Denniston and Page make considerable sense. However, I would have to concede that tragic diction isn't always transparent. Also, it's hard to see how ὑβρίζοντ' could be transformed into ὑβρίζειν; if, contrary to D&P, ὑβρίζειν is possible as a linguistic matter, the opposite process would be explicable as an obvious conjecture attempting to make sense of a difficult expression but it isn't supported by the mss.

But what we have here is a Clash of the Titans: Denniston and Page (or at least Page, since Denniston died before their edition saw light) ranged against Fraenkel, West and Sommerstein. It's probably best for us mere mortals to duck and get out of the way.
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:17 pm

I don't have much to add. This discussion made me review some grammar in Smyth (§ 1972 ff). Approach 1 & LSJ seem clearly wrong to me, but it's more a question of interpretation between approaches 2 and 3. D-P says "I am not in awe of committing hybris" isn't possible, but that's not from a grammatical point of view, it's just that the meaning doesn't suit him. I think I've noted before that Page likes to use the word impossible...

I'm trying to find time to finish Agamemnon in the near future. Reading Aeschylus isn't always compatible with "normal" life...
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:35 pm

Qimmik wrote:After reading the Denniston & Page note, I think I understand better now what you are saying, and you have a very good point: if ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω is an analogous construction to φιλεῖ τίκτειν, the implied agent of ὑβρίζειν should be the subject of οὐ σέβω. That's the way Fraenkel and Sommerstein view it, but Denniston & Page don't think οὐ σέβω can be read to mean (as Fraenkel and Sommerstein would have it) "I do not practice," and adopt the conjecture (as Page does in his OCT edition). LSJ's interpretation, where the subject of οὐ σέβω is not the agent of ὑβρίζειν, would arguably require an articular infinitive, which they supply: τὸ ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω.

Denniston & Page also don't accept Fraenkel's reading of the other passages where σέβειν and σέβεσθαι govern an infinitive. Their interpretation (with ὑβρίζοντ'): "I have no respect for someone who triumphs insolently amid misfortunes." A rebuke to Aegistheus, instead of (if Fraenkel's reading is possible) a bland and cautious statement of the Chorus' own ethical behavior. They answer the difficilior lectio argument by asserting that ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω in fact isn't possible.

To summarize, there are three different approaches to this passage:

1. LSJ treats ὑβρίζειν as equivalent to τὸ ὑβρίζειν and interprets οὐ σέβω as "I do not respect".

2. Fraenkel and Sommerstein treat ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω as analogous to φιλεῖ τίκτειν, treating the subject of οὐ σέβω as the agent of ὑβρίζειν and interpreting οὐ σέβω as "I don't do it myself": "I do not practice".

3. Denniston and Page think ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω is impossible Greek and emend the expression to ὑβρίζοντ' οὐ σέβω: "I do not respect someone who".

Personally, I think that ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω strains syntax and sense, and that Denniston and Page make considerable sense. However, I would have to concede that tragic diction isn't always transparent. Also, it's hard to see how ὑβρίζοντ' could be transformed into ὑβρίζειν; if, contrary to D&P, ὑβρίζειν is possible as a linguistic matter, the opposite process would be explicable as an obvious conjecture attempting to make sense of a difficult expression but it isn't supported by the mss.

But what we have here is a Clash of the Titans: Denniston and Page (or at least Page, since Denniston died before their edition saw light) ranged against Fraenkel, West and Sommerstein. It's probably best for us mere mortals to duck and get out of the way.


Qimmik,
Thank you for taking this seriously. My initial problem was simply understanding Cooper's metalanguage; objective complement could be understood as a either a 2nd acc. complement to the direct object or any "complement" (a.k.a, acc. argument) in the predicate which functions as an object to the main verb. Looking at two of Cooper's examples, A.Ag. 763-64 appeared to be one thing and A.Ag 1612 another. From there I launched into D-P and R-T, C. Collard, Summerstein and other translations. I think you have now correctly identified the issue and expanded the investigation beyond the resources I have on hand [don't have access to Frankel, West, ...].

[quote="Qimmik"Personally, I think that ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω strains syntax and sense, and that Denniston and Page make considerable sense. However, I would have to concede that tragic diction isn't always transparent.
[/quote]

D. Page finds all kinds of constructions impossible which someone approaching the text as a “modern” linguist would just see as interesting examples of what a poet could do with language. Cooper, while not a linguist, at least has dropped the prescriptive tone. He catalogs and discusses all manner of weird things (syntax) found in epic, tragedy, poetry, prose and narrative without fussing about "impossible" constituents.
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby Qimmik » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:40 pm

I wouldn't dismiss Denys Page's views without careful consideration. He knew Greek backwards and forwards, he would have read the entire corpus of Greek tragedy many times, and he had a very keen intellect. Over the course of his career, he made enormous contributions to ancient Greek scholarship. And he usually supports his views by more than just "it isn't Greek," even if he throws that it for good measure, based on his thorough knowledge of ancient Greek texts. (He wasn't shy about reaching a conclusion and expressing his opinion forcefully.)

Any editor of the Agamemnon undertaking to present the reader with a readable text is faced with a very corrupt medieval manuscript tradition. The editor has to decide whether a strange expression such as ὑβρίζειν ἐν κακοῖσιν οὐ σέβω is a striking and novel poetic usage, or just a textual corruption. The editor searches for parallels in the same and other authors. If a fix by way of a conjectural emendation is at hand, that must be taken into consideration--and sometimes bold modern conjectures have been confirmed by papyrus finds. Sometimes it's easy to see the solution, but often an editor has to rely to a large degree on instinct and judgment. (And just reading a text of an ancient author, especially a text as corrupt as the Agamemnon, requires the reader to participate vicariously to some degree in the editorial process--to independently weigh the alternative readings, particularly in places where it makes a difference in the interpretation, though this doesn't seem like such a passage.)

Some editors are more interventionist than others. Page was one of those, in the great British tradition of Bentley, Porson and Housman. Today, I think, there's a bias against radical surgery (just as previous "restorations" of fragmentary ancient sculpture and architecture are deprecated today). But without a large measure of editorial intervention, the Agamemnon would be an unreadable mass of cruces. And Page certainly had the command of Greek, the intelligence and the judgment to undertake the task of editing a difficult text. While we may not agree with him in every instance, his views are always worth taking into consideration.
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:15 pm

I basically agree with you Qimmik, I think in your last post you're giving a good summary of many of the problems we've been discussing while reading the Agamemnon. As for Page, I'm not denying he's one the great Greek scholars. But he is pretty black and white in his judgments, he prefers to say something is impossible rather than just improbable. I read Page's Homeric Odyssey not long ago, and as you might have noticed ( :) ) I'm not completely unsympathetic to the analytic school of Homerists, but Page went just way too far in that direction. I mean I learnt a great deal from the book and it was really brilliant at places, but Page's conclusion is just unacceptable for me: for him, the Odyssey has been just completely messed up by a later editor who left it in sorry state; anything else is "impossible". I mean if the Odyssey were really that bad, nobody would still be reaging it. But it feels like we're having the same discussion here as the one we had about West, except we've swapped positions;).
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:30 pm

Qimmik wrote:After reading the Denniston & Page note, I think I understand better now what you are saying, and you have a very good point: if ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω is an analogous construction to φιλεῖ τίκτειν, the implied agent of ὑβρίζειν should be the subject of οὐ σέβω. That's the way Fraenkel and Sommerstein view it, but Denniston & Page don't think οὐ σέβω can be read to mean (as Fraenkel and Sommerstein would have it) "I do not practice," and adopt the conjecture (as Page does in his OCT edition). LSJ's interpretation, where the subject of οὐ σέβω is not the agent of ὑβρίζειν, would arguably require an articular infinitive, which they supply: τὸ ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω.

Denniston & Page also don't accept Fraenkel's reading of the other passages where σέβειν and σέβεσθαι govern an infinitive. Their interpretation (with ὑβρίζοντ'): "I have no respect for someone who triumphs insolently amid misfortunes." A rebuke to Aegistheus, instead of (if Fraenkel's reading is possible) a bland and cautious statement of the Chorus' own ethical behavior. They answer the difficilior lectio argument by asserting that ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω in fact isn't possible.


Went back over this, looking at Denniston & Page, your posts, R-T, Cooper who has two pages of examples (vol3 2525f, 55.3.14.A) including two others from A.Ag:
A.Ag 341-342
ἔρως δὲ μή τις πρότερον ἐμπίπτῃ στρατῷ
πορθεῖν ἃ μὴ χρή, κέρδεσιν νικωμένους.

But do not let any desire fall first upon the army to plunder ...

A.Ag 600-601
ὅπως δ' ἄριστα τὸν ἐμὸν αἰδοῖον πόσιν
σπεύσω πάλιν μολόντα δέξασθαι

... I will make haste to welcome

Note that the subject of ἐμπίπτῃ is ἔρως but the agent of then infinitive is στρατῷ. The desire falls but the army plunders. On the other hand, the subject of σπεύσω is Clytemnestra and she is also the agent of δέξασθαι. Cooper is dealing at once with the semantic properties of the main verb and with the syntax of the infinitive. He is talking about verbs that show an exercise of the will (lexical semantics) with an accusative infinitive as objective complement (syntax).

The objection of Denniston & Page (impossible greek) appears to be tied up with the lexical semantics of σέβω not an objection to the syntax of the medieval text. On the other hand the solution to the lexical problem is to modify the syntax supplying a participle. So I suppose D-P could be argued both ways. Their objection is a combination of lexical and syntax.

We cannot really compare Cooper to D-P because we don’t know what Cooper’s take on ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω was, or if he even considered the problem at hand. He could be reading it in agreement with Sommerstein or not (see πορθεῖν in A.Ag 341-342 above).
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:06 pm

A.Ag 341-342
ἔρως δὲ μή τις πρότερον ἐμπίπτῃ στρατῷ
πορθεῖν ἃ μὴ χρή, κέρδεσιν νικωμένους.

I don't think this is really comparable to ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω, because here I think the dative in στρατῷ works as a cue to take στρατός as the subject of πορθεῖν.

Smyth §1060: "When the subject of the infinitive is the same as a genitive or dative depending on the governing verb, it is often omitted."

There's no such cue in ὑβρίζειν ἐν κακοῖσιν οὐ σέβω, so the subject of ὑβρίζειν is the same as σέβω "by default".
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:55 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
A.Ag 341-342
ἔρως δὲ μή τις πρότερον ἐμπίπτῃ στρατῷ
πορθεῖν ἃ μὴ χρή, κέρδεσιν νικωμένους.

I don't think this is really comparable to ὑβρίζειν οὐ σέβω, because here I think the dative in στρατῷ works as a cue to take στρατός as the subject of πορθεῖν.

Smyth §1060: "When the subject of the infinitive is the same as a genitive or dative depending on the governing verb, it is often omitted."

There's no such cue in ὑβρίζειν ἐν κακοῖσιν οὐ σέβω, so the subject of ὑβρίζειν is the same as σέβω "by default".


Paul,

So far, after looking at about 10 examples from Aeschylus and Sophocles, this is the only one which unambiguously shows a different agent for the infinitive. I would venture a guess that A.Ag 341-342 fell through the cracks of the editorial process. It doesn't appear to conform to the other examples but I have only looked at a small fraction of them, less than 10%. One thing that has come out of this, clearly the b-greek archives definition of objective complement is not the definition being used by Cooper. I don't see a lot of double accusatives[1] in his sample. An example of the old familiar meta language nightmare that haunts all discussions of ancient classical languages.

[1]
here is an example which appears fits the b-greek definition of objective complement:
S.El 542
Ἢ τῶν ἐμῶν Ἅιδης τιν' ἵμερον τέκνων
ἢ τῶν ἐκείνης ἔσχε δαίσασθαι πλέον;

Did Hades have some greater desire to feast on my offspring than on hers? RC Jebb


Perhaps a double accusative where Ἅιδης ἔσχε τιν' ἵμερον δαίσασθαι is the "deep structure"[2] and the infinitive δαίσασθαι serves as a complement to τιν' ἵμερον.

[2] just of form of short hand for syntax analysis, not implying anything in regard to generative grammar.
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Re: infinitive as obj. complement A.Ag 763-764, 1612

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:58 pm

Another sample from Sophocles cited in Cooper:

OC 1143
οὐ γὰρ λόγοισι τὸν βίον σπουδάζομεν
λαμπρὸν ποιεῖσθαι μᾶλλον ἢ τοῖς δρωμένοις.

It is not with words that I am eager to
make my life shine out ...


Here the double accusative is the object of the infinitive
"deep structure": σπουδάζομεν ποιεῖσθαι τὸν βίον λαμπρὸν.

and another from S.Ajax 1-2

S.Ajax .1
{ΑΘΑΝΑ}
Ἀεὶ μέν, ὦ παῖ Λαρτίου, δέδορκά σε
πεῖράν τιν' ἐχθρῶν ἁρπάσαι θηρώμενον·

Always, son of Laertes, have I observed you on the prowl to snatch some means of attack against your enemies. R.C.JEBB


This is a truly fine example of too many accusatives or complements of the same. Main clause: δέδορκά σε all the rest complements the accusative pronoun σε either directly or complements a complement of σε. The chain of command is not immediately obvious. The complement directly attached to the pronoun appears to be the participle θηρώμενον: "I have observed you hunting down ..." and perhaps the infinitive ἁρπάσαι is a complement of θηρώμενον but that isn't perfectly clear. The object of ἁρπάσαι appears to be πεῖράν τιν' some means of attacking. This analysis depends on the way we read the lexical semantics of each word and the combinations, i.e., the semantic relationships among the accusative constituents plus the infinitive.
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