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Question about κτῆσιν in Plato's Symposium

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Question about κτῆσιν in Plato's Symposium

Postby Cursus » Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:00 pm

It's my first time working my way through some Plato, and I've come across a word I can't quite figure out. It's in the Symposium, 180B 6-8:

"οὕτω δὴ ἔγωγέ φημι ἔρωτα θεῶν καὶ πρεσβύτατον καὶ τιμιώτατον καὶ κυριώτατον εἶναι εἰς ἀρετῆς καὶ εὐδαιμονίας κτῆσιν ἀνθρώποις καὶ ζῶσι καὶ τελευτήσασιν."

I've referred to three different translations (Jowett, Lamb, and Hamilton), but each of them translates it differently, with it rendered (basically) as "give," "provide," and "acquire," respectively. These all seem to come from κτάομαι, but despite the change from passive to active, I would expect the contraction to be κτῶσιν instead.

If anyone could explain what's going on with this verb, I'd appreciate it. My grammar's still rather soft and Plato is a little tougher than the Xenophon I'd worked on previously.
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Re: Question about κτῆσιν in Plato's Symposium

Postby Qimmik » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:20 pm

It's not a verb--it's a noun formed from κτάομαι, meaning "acquisition" or "possession." In the passage from the Symposium, it's the object of the preposition εἰς. Something like this "So I maintain that of [all] the gods, Eros is the oldest, the most revered, and the most effective for [εἰς] the acquisition of happiness for both the living and the dead [for both living human beings and those who have died]."

You could translate κτῆσιν here with an English gerund: "the most effective for acquiring/obtaining/attaining happiness"

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dkth%3Dsis

You might have to try clicking on the link (to the LSJ entry for κτῆσις) more than once.
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Re: Question about κτῆσιν in Plato's Symposium

Postby Cursus » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:38 pm

I was afraid it was a noun, but it seemed like a verb was required in there somewhere. Apparently I need to brush up on my declensions (among everything else). Thanks much for the response!
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