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S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

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S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:26 pm

Χορός
1185
τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει πολυπλάγκτων ἐτέων ἀριθμός,
τὰν ἄπαυστον αἰὲν ἐμοὶ δορυσσοήτων
μόχθων ἄταν ἐπάγων
1190
ἄν τὰν εὐρώδεα Τρωΐαν,
δύστανον ὄνειδος Ἑλλάνων;

Chorus
1185 Which will be the last year? When will the sum of the years of our many wanderings stop bringing upon me the unending doom of toilful spear-battles 1190 throughout broad Troy, the cause of sorrow and of shame for Greece?


Not quite sure what ἐς is doing on line 1185. Any ideas?
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Re: S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby Qimmik » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:27 am

ἐς πότε -- I think this means "until when?" "how long?". It's a kind of double question, or maybe a parenthetical question within a question.

This phrase is specifically cited in LSJ πότε:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=po%2Fte&la=greek&can=po%2Fte0#lexicon

also under εἰς, see "OF TIME" "with adverbs":

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dei%29s
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Re: S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:27 pm

Qimmik wrote:
ἐς πότε -- I think this means "until when?" "how long?". It's a kind of double question, or maybe a parenthetical question within a question.


Thank you Qimmik. I didn't think to check under εἰς in LSJ.

Χορός
1185
τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει πολυπλάγκτων ἐτέων ἀριθμός,
τὰν ἄπαυστον αἰὲν ἐμοὶ δορυσσοήτων
μόχθων ἄταν ἐπάγων
1190
ἄν τὰν εὐρώδεα Τρωΐαν,
δύστανον ὄνειδος Ἑλλάνων;

Chorus
1185 Which will be the last year? When will the sum of the years of our many wanderings stop bringing upon me the unending doom of toilful spear-battles 1190 throughout broad Troy, the cause of sorrow and of shame for Greece?


RE: ἐς πότε
Cooper[1] considers combinations of adverbs and prepositions etymologically transparent [vol. 4, 2:66.1.1.0-1] but I will suspend judgement on claims of etymological transparency. Just because it is glossed that way in the standard lexicon doesn't prove much. I am not disagreeing with LSJ on this particular combination of ἐς πότε, just objecting to generalizations about etymological transparency of preposition + adverb patterns. It isn't something that can be assumed.

Cooper[1] notes the adverb fills the substantive slot with preposition but this doesn't "exactly" substantiveisze the adverb [ p2708, Vol 2, 1:66.1.3.A, p 1085]. Copper's metalanguage runs out of steam when confronted with an adverb filling a substantive slot.

[1] One or more of these citations from Cooper were reconstructed from corrupt readings in the index. This happens a lot in Cooper. The error rate in the indexes is alarming. Sometimes the reconstruction is fairly easy other times you just stumble on to the solution by providence as you are researching the issue. In this case it was cross referencing between subjects covered in vol 2 with vol 4 that resolved several errors.
Last edited by C. S. Bartholomew on Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:05 pm

Χορός
1185
τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει πολυπλάγκτων ἐτέων ἀριθμός,
τὰν ἄπαυστον αἰὲν ἐμοὶ δορυσσοήτων
μόχθων ἄταν ἐπάγων
1190
ἄν τὰν εὐρώδεα Τρωΐαν,
δύστανον ὄνειδος Ἑλλάνων;

Chorus
1185 Which will be the last year? When will the sum of the years of our many wanderings stop bringing upon me the unending doom of toilful spear-battles 1190 throughout broad Troy, the cause of sorrow and of shame for Greece?


Should we construe νέατος with ἀριθμός?
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Re: S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby NateD26 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:16 am

I'm not going to pretend I understand much of this. But apparently, Sir Richard C. Jebb, (1907)
suggested a comma should be inserted after νέατος, "as in some MSS." He noted that
ἀριθμός with the second question has a slightly different sense from νέατος in the first.

The sense is, “τίς νέατος ἐτέων ἀριθμὸς” (“ἔσται”), “ἐς πότε λήξει ἐτέων ἀριθμός;”
‘what will be the last number (the completed total of the years),—when will the
series of the years end?’


He referenced the scholia which understood this construction thus:
“τίς ἄρα ἡμῖν ὁ ἔσχατος τῶν ἐτῶν* ἀριθμὸς τῶν πολυπλάγκτων;”

* From what I could understand, Jebb read an implied ἔσται here.
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Re: S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:11 pm

NateD26 wrote:I'm not going to pretend I understand much of this. But apparently, Sir Richard C. Jebb, (1907)
suggested a comma should be inserted after νέατος, "as in some MSS." He noted that
ἀριθμός with the second question has a slightly different sense from νέατος in the first.

The sense is, “τίς νέατος ἐτέων ἀριθμὸς” (“ἔσται”), “ἐς πότε λήξει ἐτέων ἀριθμός;”
‘what will be the last number (the completed total of the years),—when will the
series of the years end?’


He referenced the scholia which understood this construction thus:
“τίς ἄρα ἡμῖν ὁ ἔσχατος τῶν ἐτῶν* ἀριθμὸς τῶν πολυπλάγκτων;”

* From what I could understand, Jebb read an implied ἔσται here.


Thank you Nate,

I didn't think to look at Jebb. I often have a hard time understanding his comments. It would appear that he construes ἀριθμός with νέατος: the sense is, “τίς νέατος ἐτέων ἀριθμὸς”. The comment on the comma I don't immediately understand. The citation from the scholiast in L is helpful.

Jebb note:
νέατος should be followed by a comma (as in some MSS.): the sense is, “τίς νέατος ἐτέων ἀριθμὸς” (“ἔσται”), “ἐς πότε λήξει ἐτέων ἀριθμός;” ‘what will be the last number (the completed total of the years),—when will the series of the years end?’—“ἀριθμός” having a slightly different sense with “νέατος” from that which it bears with “ἐς πότε”. This difference is the reason against taking the sentence as two questions combined in one (like “τίς πόθεν εἶς ἀνδρῶν;”). The scholiast in L understood the construction aright:—“τίς ἄρα ἡμῖν ὁ ἔσχατος τῶν ἐτῶν ἀριθμὸς τῶν πολυπλάγκτων;” [Remark that he does not supply “ἔσται”—thus indicating that it is to be understood in the text also.] “ἐς” “πότε λήξει ὁ ἀριθμὸς τῶν ἐτῶν ἐμοὶ πόνους παρασκευάζων;” For νέατος in this sense, cp. Ant. 807 f.


That fact that Jebb bothers to talk about it confirms that the syntax is a little bit tricky. It also explains why W.B. Stanford doesn't expend much effort on it, why duplicate what Jebb has already done? So it isn't a good idea to ignore Jebb, as I have been doing. He is occasionally helpful when and if I can ferret out what he trying to say.

Edit:

RE: The inserted comma, Stanford's text has two commas setting off ἐς πότε λήξει:

τίς ἄρα νέατος, ἐς πότε λήξει, πολυπλάγκτων ἐτέων ἀριθμός,
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Re: S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby NateD26 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:37 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Edit:

RE: The inserted comma, Stanford's text has two commas setting off ἐς πότε λήξει:

τίς ἄρα νέατος, ἐς πότε λήξει, πολυπλάγκτων ἐτέων ἀριθμός,

Are we then supposed to read πολυπλάγκτων ἐτέων ἀριθμός as some sort of complement
for both τίς ἄρα νέατος and ἐς πότε λήξει? I think I'm a bit confused here.
Do we have other instances of double interrogatives like this?

This commentary by T. Mitchell (1844) also reads this the same way as Jebb.
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Re: S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby Qimmik » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:03 pm

Are we then supposed to read πολυπλάγκτων ἐτέων ἀριθμός as some sort of complement
for both τίς ἄρα νέατος and ἐς πότε λήξει? I think I'm a bit confused here.
Do we have other instances of double interrogatives like this?


Two questions are collapsed into a single sentence: τίς ἄρα νέατος πολυπλάγκτων ἐτέων ἀριθμός; and ἐς πότε λήξει πολυπλάγκτων ἐτέων ἀριθμός; As Jebb notes, there is a slight zeugma or syllepsis in the use of ἀριθμός -- in the first question it means something like "the final count"; in the second it means something like "the series."

I wouldn't worry about finding parallels--there are may well be some but they won't be very illuminating, and as long as you can make sense out of this passage--which is only a little less than completely straightforward--your time would be better spent reading more Greek. These sorts of syntactic contortions are common in Greek choral poetry. PIndar, the most difficult Greek poet in my experience (but also the most dazzling), is full of them.

You really need commentaries (or translations--but only as a last, desperate resort) that approach bold poetic distortions of everyday syntax like this on a case by case basis, not treatises on grammar or syntax that deal in generalities. The better commentaries, which sometimes do supply helpful parallels, reflect the efforts of several centuries of scholars whose Greek was far better than ours (they had read much more Greek than any of us), but who still had to strain, not always successfully, to understand these difficulties--and in many instances there' s no consensus on the meaning.

We should never forget that we're trying to make sense out of grossly corrupt texts written two and a half millenia ago in a highly artificial poetic language, and in a social context of which we have only a shadowy understanding.
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Re: S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby Qimmik » Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:48 pm

One further thought. Syntactic liberties seem to me most characteristic of choral verse, and less so of hexameter, elegy, aeolic and iambic verse (even the dialogue in drama). I wonder whether the exigencies of meter didn't play a role in this. Choral meters are extremely complex, and there has to be more or less exact responsion between strophe and antistrophe (and also among epodes). Choral poetry must have been very difficult to compose (but Pindar could go on for pages of strophe/anstistrophe+epode).

Could Sophocles have written ἐς πότε instead of simply πότε, for example, because he needed a long syllable to break the sequence of six short syllables with the initial long syllable of the first choriamb and/or to respond to the first syllable of αἰθέρα in the antistrophe?
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Re: S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:39 pm

Qimmik wrote:
You really need commentaries (or translations--but only as a last, desperate resort) that approach bold poetic distortions of everyday syntax like this on a case by case basis, not treatises on grammar or syntax that deal in generalities. The better commentaries, which sometimes do supply helpful parallels, reflect the efforts of several centuries of scholars whose Greek was far better than ours (they had read much more Greek than any of us), but who still had to strain, not always successfully, to understand these difficulties--and in many instances there' s no consensus on the meaning.


Commentaries are great. I own hundreds of volumes of commentary on the Greek NT and Hebrew OT. The best I can do on no-budget is borrow books for reading Attic Tragedy. The 19th century stuff online is sometimes helpful but often assumes you know Latin, German, Italian, French and read all dialects of ancient Greek fluently. By the time you know enough to read all of these books you don't need them. Formal equivalence translations are a form of commentary. Comparing Jebb to Lattimore etc. is helpful in understanding how they interpreted the syntax. The LXX has been used as a commentary on the Hebrew OT for centuries. Translation as a preliminary stage in exegesis (NT) has been debated ad nauseam on b-greek for decades. I have argued both sides of the question. People who by profession need to teach in English what they study in Greek have often reminded me that Greek only exegesis is kind of ivory tower.

Once you reach a level of familiarity with a given text that you can read it without the aid of a translation, it is easy to forget that you have simply stored the translation in memory.
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Re: S.Aj 1185 τίς ἄρα νέατος ἐς πότε λήξει ...

Postby Qimmik » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:10 pm

You make a good point about having limited access to commentaries. The newer ones are very expensive. You can find some helpful older school editions used at reasonable prices through Abebooks (the old Macmillan series are generally quite good), but they still aren't free. And I know all too well the tyranny that an excessively large personal library imposes. I personally like to wrestle with the Greek text and to resort to translations as little as possible, but when I think about it, using translations as a help to working with the Greek is just as valid a way to experience these works, and I shouldn't have been so dogmatic in my recommendations. At any rate, I'm happy to offer whatever help I can with problems as they arise.
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