Textkit Logo

Reading Thucydides 2014

Here's where you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby pster » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:24 pm

I accept all that. I just don't know where Smyth got even the germ of the idea that different participles are treated differently. It's not in Mastronarde nor LSJ.
User avatar
pster
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1069
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:05 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:09 pm

It's my idea that φαίνομαι + participle should probably be translated in a way that implies less absolute certainty and more reliance on the absence of evidence when referring to events in the remote past than when referring to contemporary events. But in neither case does φαίνομαι + participle suggest that appearances don't necessarily reflect reality (as would be the case with φαίνομαι + infinitive).

In English, "apparently" or "it appears that" or "evidently" don't carry an implication that things aren't as they seem unless you go on to say so.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby pster » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:26 pm

That seems like a perfectly reasonable position. But if I wanted to be difficult I would point out that while that may help with Thucydides translation, grammar doesn't track whether something is remote in the past. And moreover, participles have aspect meaning only, while the time is tracked by the tense of the main verb, which is not on the table. So the question remains: where did Smyth get his claim?
User avatar
pster
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1069
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:05 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby pster » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:32 pm

I'm not saying Smyth is wrong. But it is a very interesting claim and I want to know whether there is something to it.
User avatar
pster
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1069
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:05 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:10 pm

pster wrote:I'm not saying Smyth is wrong. But it is a very interesting claim and I want to know whether there is something to it.


I'm not sure why Smyth felt moved to differentiate the aorist participle in section 1965; in section 2143 he just refers to 'φαίνομαι with part.' as meaning 'I am plainly', and gives an example with a present participle. Perhaps it's just a case of 'Even Homer nods'! (Incidentally, in section 1965 I think his wording 'it will appear' may be an old idiom for 'it will be apparent/clear' rather than 'it will seem'.)

I've had a look in Goodwin's Moods and Tenses (1889 edn), which mentions the idiom in section 914.5. Regarding φαίνομαι + participle = 'manifestly', and φαίνομαι + infinitive = 'seems to', Goodwin comments that this distinction 'generally holds ... but in some cases the two constructions cannot be distinguished in sense.' Goodwin makes no mention of any distinction between aorist and other participles.

I see there's another example coming up in Thucydides 1.11.1:

φαίνονται δ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ἐνταῦθα πάσῃ τῇ δυνάμει χρησάμενοι

which I've translated:

'it is clear that even then they did not employ their whole force'.

Best wishes,

John
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby pster » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:46 am

Marchant says that this τε is displaced. Is it? 1.3.4:

οἱ δ᾽ οὖν ὡς ἕκαστοι Ἕλληνες κατὰ πόλεις τε ὅσοι ἀλλήλων ξυνίεσαν καὶ ξύμπαντες ὕστερον κληθέντες οὐδὲν πρὸ τῶν Τρωικῶν δι᾽ ἀσθένειαν καὶ ἀμειξίαν ἀλλήλων ἁθρόοι ἔπραξαν.

Here's my reading.

οἱ (δ᾽ οὖν) (ὡς ἕκαστοι) Ἕλληνες κατὰ πόλεις τε ὅσοι ἀλλήλων ξυνίεσαν καὶ ξύμπαντες ὕστερον κληθέντες οὐδὲν πρὸ τῶν Τρωικῶν δι᾽ ἀσθένειαν καὶ ἀμειξίαν ἀλλήλων ἁθρόοι ἔπραξαν.

So, the Greeks, each by itself, both city by city as many as understood each other, and later all (so) denominated...

Or maybe better, viewing ὡς just as a strengthener:

So, all the damned Greeks, both city by city as many as understood each other, and later all (so) denominated...

τε doesn't come directly after κατὰ because κατὰ πόλεις gets treated as a unit.

And so "both...as many as...and...all together..." is in apposition to "the Greeks".

Marchant says:

οἱ ... ὡς ἕκαστοι ... κληθέντες—the main subject is οἱ Ἕλληνες κληθέντες, those who came to be called H. This is divided into (a) ὡς ἕκαστοι κατὰ πόλεις τε ὅσοι ἀλλήλων ξυνίεσαν, referring to καθ᾽ ἑκάστους μὲν ἤδη ... Ἕλληνας 3.2; (b) καὶ ξύμπαντες ὕστερον, referring to οὐ μέντοι ... ἅπασιν ἐκνικῆσαι. In (a) τε = both is misplaced, the irregularity being explained by the fact that κατὰ ... ξυνιέσαν is added to ὡς ἕκαστοι as an afterthought. Possibly, however, τε = and, but it is hard to see any distinction between ὡς ἕκαστοι and κατὰ π. The sentence is overloaded, since ὕστερον, i e. long after the Trojan War (cf. 3.3), is combined with a statement of what happened πρὸ τῶν Τρωικῶν. Observe also that this apparent recapitulation (οἱ δ᾽ οὖν κτλ.) does not agree entirely with the statements made in 3.2, where nothing is said about a common language. Thuc., as others have noticed, does not seem to have a clear view of the matter.

But I don't really see a problem where he does. And Cameron doesn't seem to agree that οἱ Ἕλληνες κληθέντες is the subject but rather sees what follows as explaining ὡς ἕκαστοι.

More generally, is it just me, or do commentaries not only not agree on what the solution, but at least half the time don't even agree on what the problem is?

Thoughts?
User avatar
pster
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1069
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:05 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:08 pm

pster wrote:Marchant says that this τε is displaced. Is it? 1.3.4:

οἱ δ᾽ οὖν ὡς ἕκαστοι Ἕλληνες κατὰ πόλεις τε ὅσοι ἀλλήλων ξυνίεσαν καὶ ξύμπαντες ὕστερον κληθέντες οὐδὲν πρὸ τῶν Τρωικῶν δι᾽ ἀσθένειαν καὶ ἀμειξίαν ἀλλήλων ἁθρόοι ἔπραξαν.


More generally, is it just me, or do commentaries not only not agree on what the solution, but at least half the time don't even agree on what the problem is?

Thoughts?


Re your last point, it isn't just you! As you suggest, commentators not infrequently disagree on the precise nature of the problem in a particular passage, not just on the solution. Moreover some commentators skate silently over passages which have caused others considerable angst!

I think you're probably right about the reason for the placement of τε.

My own rendition of the passage is:

'Anyway, the various peoples called Hellenes – those who acquired this name city by city, in the case of all who came to understand a common language, and to whom it was collectively applied later on – achieved nothing jointly before the Trojan War on account of their weakness and lack of contact with each other.'

Comparing it with yours, the main difference appears to be that I've taken κληθέντες as going with οἱ δ᾽ οὖν ὡς ἕκαστοι Ἕλληνες, and as then being explained by κατὰ πόλεις τε ὅσοι ἀλλήλων ξυνίεσαν, καὶ ξύμπαντες ὕστερον [κληθέντες]. On this interpretation, ὡς will be fulfilling its familiar role when conjoined with an adverb or (as here) adjective, as part of an adverbial expression, i.e. ὡς ἕκαστοι ... κληθέντες. This use is common in Thucydides, e.g. at 1.15.2: κατ᾽ ἀλλήλους δὲ μᾶλλον ὡς ἕκαστοι οἱ ἀστυγείτονες ἐπολέμουν, 'but rather neighbouring cities individually warred with each other'.

I'll have another look and let you know if I have any further (or second!) thoughts on this passage.

Best wishes,

John
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:21 pm

Here's a very tentative alternative suggestion--and I offer it without any confidence that it's correct:

οἱ δ᾽ οὖν Ἕλληνες

ὡς ἕκαστοι κατὰ πόλεις τε ὅσοι ἀλλήλων ξυνίεσαν

καὶ ξύμπαντες ὕστερον κληθέντες

οὐδὲν πρὸ τῶν Τρωικῶν δι᾽ ἀσθένειαν καὶ ἀμειξίαν ἀλλήλων ἁθρόοι ἔπραξαν.

Suggested rough interpretation:

The Hellenes did nothing jointly before the Trojan War on account of weakness and isolation from one another, either in confederations of communities [ὡς ἕκαστοι κατὰ πόλεις] to the extent they could understand each others' dialects, or as the whole nation subsequently called "Hellenes."

But I think this passage could be read a number of different ways. And, yes, commentators do differ markedly in their interpretations. But Thucydides is a thorny text, written 2400 years ago in a deliberately tortured style. It's to be expected that many passages won't be well understood.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby pster » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:01 pm

1.4:
Μίνως γὰρ παλαίτατος ὧν ἀκοῇ ἴσμεν ναυτικὸν ἐκτήσατο...

Obviously, there is some incorporation of the relative into its antecedent. But beyond that, is there an implicit verb or participle here?

Or is this just to be translated: For Minos, oldest of those whom we know, established a navy...

That seems to have scope problems and thus an incorrect sense.

In English, we would more often say something like: For Minos was the oldest of those whom we know to have established a navy...

If we wanted to translate this back into Greek, what would we say?

I'm scared. I'll work on it tomorrow.
User avatar
pster
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1069
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:05 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby NateD26 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:35 pm

The sense is that Minos was the first one (the eldest) of whom we know by hearsay/report/evidence
to have established an army.

But the question is what was the original relative pronoun? Why is it genitive plural and not
singular? Or, better yet, why is the verb singular and not plural?
Is it partitive - "Of all the people who've established an army at one point or another,
Minos was the first one we know to have done so", that is, παλαίτατος τούτων ὃ... ἐκτήσατο?
Seems like quite an ellipsis much more than a mere attraction.
Nate.
NateD26
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 787
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:14 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:06 pm

Can't we take παλαίτατος here as an instance of an adjective being used where in English we would generally expect an adverb (Smyth 1042-3)? In other words, 'Minos most ancient(ly) of those of whom we know by report acquired a navy', i.e. 'Now of those of whom we have knowledge by report, Minos was the first to acquire a navy'?

John
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Scribo » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:23 pm

Oh man this thread is long and I'm reading it from the bottom up so bear with me.

My first reaction to that 1.IV passage is something found in Herodotus 3.122:

Πολυκράτης γὰρ ἐστὶ πρῶτος τῶν ἡμεῖς ἴδμεν Ἑλλήνων ὃς θαλασσοκρατέειν ἐπενοήθη, πάρεξ Μίνωός τε τοῦ Κνωσσίου καὶ εἰ δή τις ἄλλος πρότερος τούτου ἦρξε τῆς θαλάσσης: τῆς δὲ ἀνθρωπηίης λεγομένης γενεῆς Πολυκράτης πρῶτος, ἐλπίδας πολλὰς ἔχων Ἰωνίης τε καὶ νήσων ἄρξειν


The parallel is an interesting one
User avatar
Scribo
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Between Ilias and Odysseia.

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:59 pm

I agree with John's analysis.

But the question is what was the original relative pronoun? Why is it genitive plural and not
singular? Or, better yet, why is the verb singular and not plural?


This is the very common, but very confusing, syntactic phenomenon known as "attraction."

Smyth sec. 2522 ff. : http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007%3Asmythp%3D2522

τούτων is omitted. The relative pronoun, which would be οὕς, is "attracted" from the accusative into the case of the missing τούτων, which would be genitive depending on the superlative παλαίτατος. That's how we get ὧν.

So παλαίτατος ὧν = παλαίτατος τούτων οὕς = "earliest of those whom."

Smyth sec. 1315: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007%3Asmythp%3D1315

Μίνως is the subject of ἐκτήσατο, and ἐκτήσατο is therefore singular.

In other words, wIth allowances for the accute accent on οὕς, this is equivalent to:

Μίνως γὰρ παλαίτατος τούτων οὕς ἀκοῇ ἴσμεν ναυτικὸν ἐκτήσατο . . .

A literal translation:

"Minos acquired a navy earliest of those whom we know by report."

Hope this isn't too confusing.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby NateD26 » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:59 am

I was aware of attraction, Qimmik, but thought the verb was part of the relative clause
and a copula was omitted between Μίνως and παλαίτατος. Thank you for your explanation
and helpful references.
Nate.
NateD26
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 787
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:14 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:43 am

Looking ahead a little, at 1.13.4 we find a somewhat similar form of words:

ναυμαχία τε παλαιτάτη ὧν ἴσμεν γίγνεται Κορινθίων πρὸς Κερκυραίους

John
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby pster » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:31 am

Thanks to all but especially to John for the Smyth and the other Th. passage. One striking difference between the passages is that the first has a proper name while the second doesn't. The "oldest Minos" requires massaging, while "oldest naval battle" doesn't. What is oldest in the Minos sentence is his building of a navy. What is oldest in the second has nothing to do with the Corinthians and the Corcyraeans. So while the same Smyth sections may govern both, semantically, they seem quite different.

More generally, I am still working towards an understanding of how Greek distinguishes between:

a) Minos was the first person we know of to have built a navy,

and

b) Minos, the first person we know of, built a navy.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

For the next few decades, with rare exceptions, I will be doing no more than 60 min. of Greek per day. It may indeed drop to 30 min. per day in a couple of years. I apologize to any of you who find this pace too sluggish, especially given my propensity to ask rather than answer questions.
User avatar
pster
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1069
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:05 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:24 pm

The "oldest Minos" requires massaging, while "oldest naval battle" doesn't. What is oldest in the Minos sentence is his building of a navy. What is oldest in the second has nothing to do with the Corinthians and the Corcyraeans.


As John noted, the Minos sentence is an instance where a Greek adjective is best translated by an English adverb. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that in Greek a word agreeing in gender, number and case with the subject of the sentence--traditionally characterized as an "adjective"--frequently qualifies the action expressed by the verb. These situations crop up very frequently. You need to become accustomed to them so that you don't spend a lot of time puzzling over them.

More generally, I am still working towards an understanding of how Greek distinguishes between:
a) Minos was the first person we know of to have built a navy,and b) Minos, the first person we know of, built a navy.


I think you're trying to map Greek onto English, as if English somehow were the mother of all tongues and Greeks translated their thoughts from English to Greek. Don't worry about how Greek would express English thoughts--focus on what the Greek says and how it says it.

That's the point of the exercises in Sidgwick -- to get students away from thinking in English by forcing them to focus on how Greek expresses things in very different ways from English. You need to do that by mentally internalizing the modes of expression that are unique to Greek, such as the use of "adjectives" to qualify verbal ideas and "attraction" (both are very common in Greek), if you want to develop any fluency in reading Greek and the ability to read without parsing each sentence.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby pster » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:42 pm

All of that is true. Except I don't really think in terms of English. I study two other languages daily and the scope distinction I am making is present in them also. Insofar as I have a basic framework for parsing sentences, it is that of first order predicate logic with Bayesian extensions. True story. :lol: OK, I'm off to some party I don't want to attend.
User avatar
pster
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1069
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:05 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby pster » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:28 am

I looked at it some more this morning.

The natural English formulation(s) wouldn't employ adverbs. So I don't think that Smyth 1042 is what we want. It is tough to tell how general Smyth's discussion there is, but παλαίτατος is not one of the terms in his lists. Also, it is a superlative. None of his are.

It is worth noting that these adjectives in Th. are in predicate position, thus allowing us to imagine a copula.

Smyth 1169 comes to the rescue:
1169. A predicate adjective or substantive may thus be the equivalent of a clause of a complex sentence: ““ἀθάνατον τὴν περὶ αὑτῶν μνήμην καταλείψουσιν” they will leave behind a remembrance of themselves that will never die” I. 9.3, ἐπήρετο πόσον τι ἄγοι τὸ στράτευμα he asked about how large the force was that he was leading ( = πόσον τι εἴη τὸ στράτευμα ὃ ἄγοι 2647) X. C. 2.1.2, παρ᾽ ἑκόντων τῶν ξυμμάχων τὴν ἡγεμονία_ν ἔλαβον they received the leadership from their allies (being willing) who were willing to confer it I. 1.17.

Now following the lead of Smyth's second example, we can insert a copula and a relative pronoun and rewrite the Th. sentences:

1.4:
Μίνως γὰρ παλαίτατος τούτων οὕς ἀκοῇ ἴσμεν ἦν ὅς ναυτικὸν ἐκτήσατο . . .

1.13.4:
ναυμαχία ἥ γίγνεται Κορινθίων πρὸς Κερκυραίουςτε παλαιτάτη ὧν ἴσμεν ἦν

Something along those lines anyway.
User avatar
pster
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1069
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:05 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Sun Oct 06, 2013 1:37 pm

You're turning perfectly natural Greek into a literal and unidiomatic translation from English. You're trying to get the Greek to say "Minos was the first who . . . " or "Minos was the first to . . . " because that's how English would express the thought. But that's not how Thucydides expresses it. And his Greek makes perfect sense without rewriting it.

"παλαίτατος is not one of the terms in his lists" The lists in sec. 1042 aren't exclusive by any means. The examples with πρῶτος are a template for παλαίτατος.

This isn't an instance of Thucydides' deliberately thorny style--this is just idiomatic Greek.

If you try to rewrite idiomatic Greek this way every time it doesn't conform to idiomatic English, you'll never make it through Thucydides, especially if you only have an hour a day to devote to this. Just accept the Greek for what it is and try to assimilate the Greeks' way of expressing themselves. Thucydides is hard enough as it is.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby pster » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:43 pm

I'm sorry, but I don't really understand how sometimes it is perfectly fine to engage in discussions about nuances of translation while other times it is supposedly out of bounds. It is also a bit ironic given how clunky my translations are and given the fact that I almost always recuse myself from the more nuanced discussions about what the best English translation would be. My concerns, as I have tried to make clear are purely logical. There has never been a language spoken that doesn't have built into it a rich array of logical resources, in particular, resources for distinguishing the scope of subordinate clauses. As for English, I'm not the only one invoking English. Smyth himself in 1042 brings up English. But we can leave English out of it. The question remains: Which Smyth section better describes what is going on in 1.4? 1042 or 1169? I gave some reasons for preferring 1169 and I have heard no reasons for not preferring it. So until persuaded by reasons otherwise, I prefer to see implicit in Th. 1.4 a copula and relative pronoun similar to what we find in Smyth's second 1169 example.
User avatar
pster
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1069
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:05 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:12 pm

Qimmik wrote:"παλαίτατος is not one of the terms in his lists" The lists in sec. 1042 aren't exclusive by any means. The examples with πρῶτος are a template for παλαίτατος.

This isn't an instance of Thucydides' deliberately thorny style--this is just idiomatic Greek.


I agree with this.

If πρῶτος τῇ πόλει προσέβαλε can be translated (as by Smyth in section 1042) as 'he was the first to attack the city', then I really don't see why παλαίτατος ... ναυτικὸν ἐκτήσατο can't be rendered as 'he was the most ancient to acquire a navy'.

Ultimately one pays one's money and one takes one's choice, but section 1042 of Smyth, and the example with πρῶτος mentioned above, seem to me closer and more relevant to our Thucydides passage than does anything in section 1169, as well as offering a simpler solution which does not require the Greek to be recast.


John
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:09 pm

How do you rewrite other examples in Smyth 1042?

ἀφικνοῦνται τριταῖοι "they arrive on the third day”

κατέβαινον σκοταῖοι "they descended in the dark'

If it's just a matter of how best to translate the Greek expression into idiomatic English, I don't have a problem with your choice. But when you write "I prefer to see implicit in Th. 1.4 a copula and relative pronoun similar to what we find in Smyth's second 1169 example," you're suggesting that there's a structure involving ἦν ὅς underlying or implicit in Thucydides' sentence--you're rewriting Greek to fit your English translation. Thucydides' sentence is perfectly logical and stands on its own.

In any event, Smyth in 1169 doesn't write that predicate adjectives used this way are implicitly a construction with a copula and a relative pronoun, he writes that predicate adjectives are equivalent to a copula and a relative pronoun. Moreover, the examples with πρῶτος in 1042 are also instances of predicate adjectives, as Smyth 913 makes clear, and in 1042 he doesn't see a need to imply a copula and a relative pronoun to make them logical. Take a look at 915, too.

I don't doubt that you've mastered formal semantics, and I don't want to belabor this point any further. However, I really think you're setting up obstacles for yourself by clinging to English ways of expressing things when you should be trying to assimilate Greek modes of expression.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:06 am

Qimmik wrote:If it's just a matter of how best to translate the Greek expression into idiomatic English, I don't have a problem with your choice. But when you write "I prefer to see implicit in Th. 1.4 a copula and relative pronoun similar to what we find in Smyth's second 1169 example," you're suggesting that there's a structure involving ἦν ὅς underlying or implicit in Thucydides' sentence--you're rewriting Greek to fit your English translation. Thucydides' sentence is perfectly logical and stands on its own.

In any event, Smyth in 1169 doesn't write that predicate adjectives used this way are implicitly a construction with a copula and a relative pronoun, he writes that predicate adjectives are equivalent to a copula and a relative pronoun. Moreover, the examples with πρῶτος in 1042 are also instances of predicate adjectives, as Smyth 913 makes clear, and in 1042 he doesn't see a need to imply a copula and a relative pronoun to make them logical. Take a look at 915, too.


I gave this some further thought last night and reached much the same conclusions. Both 1042 and 1169 are indeed dealing with predicate adjectives; however, as I said before, the form of our Thucydides passage seems much closer to the examples in 1042 than in 1169.

Rewriting examples (as Smyth does with one of those in 1169) in Greek which adheres more closely to an English idiom is purely a way of explaining the sense more clearly to the student; it doesn't mean that the expanded form was 'implicit' in what Thucydides himself wrote (or in what he was thinking at the time). We need to keep this distinction clear, as otherwise we will confuse ourselves, and incur much unnecessary labour, by believing that all non-English idioms in Thucydides have in effect to be explained away by rewriting them.

John
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:22 pm

DELETED
Last edited by Qimmik on Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:47 pm

'the other Th. passage. One striking difference between the passages is that the first has a proper name while the second doesn't. The "oldest Minos" requires massaging, while "oldest naval battle" doesn't.'

This may be what is troubling you. But Thucydides didn't write ὁ παλαίτατος Μίνως or ὁ Μίνως ὁ παλαίτατος--he wrote Μίνως . . . παλαίτατος . . . ἐκτήσατο. παλαίτατος is a predicate adjective, not an attributive adjective.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Victor » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:12 pm

Apologies to Qimmik and John W. if I touch on ground they have already covered more fully.

Pster, as I'm sure you know, Greek didn't use punctuation as we do; it had next to none. If this text were in English and read
"For Minos first of all the people we know of by hearsay acquired a navy"
would you, having just read the sentence that ended the previous paragraph, and knowing from wider reading the extreme unlikelihood that Thucydides would be asserting that Minos is the most ancient person known, assume this sentence meant
"For Minos, first of all the people we know of by hearsay, acquired a navy"
or
"For Minos first, of all the people we know of by hearsay, acquired a navy"?

In the absence of punctuation, context and common sense would tell you it meant the second.

The Greek gives much less reason for hesitation; Thucydides had far stronger support from Greek idiom to underline the meaning he intended; for whilst the English sentence reads somewhat awkwardly (we don't know initially whether "first" is an adjective or adverb, and we would more naturally have framed the sentence "For Minos was the first person...who acquired"), Greek routinely used certain adjectives adverbially (just as Latin did) to extend the predicate as here.

So the false scent we pick up initially in the English sentence, and are intuitively predisposed perhaps to pick up also when we have got as far as Μίνως γὰρ παλαίτατος in the Greek, would simply not have given a Greek reader pause for thought as it does us. The Greek as it is written effortlessly conveys the meaning that Minos was the first person we know of who acquired a navy, and any tendency to believe that it might say otherwise simply reflects a failure to internalize one aspect of Greek idiom that happens to differ from the idiom or idioms you are used to working with.
Last edited by Victor on Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Victor
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:19 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Markos » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:49 pm

pster wrote:1.4:
Μίνως γὰρ παλαίτατος ὧν ἀκοῇ ἴσμεν ναυτικὸν ἐκτήσατο...
In English, we would more often say something like: For Minos was the oldest of those whom we know to have established a navy...
If we wanted to translate this back into Greek, what would we say?


ἄγνωστός ἐστιν ὁ μὲν πρῶτος ναυτικοποιῶν. τῶν δ' εὐγνώστων Μίνως πρῶτος.
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
Markos
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1301
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:07 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:54 pm

I think Pster understands the meaning correctly, and that his translation is good, even if it isn't a literal, word-for-word translation of the Greek (and there's nothing wrong with that).

Where in my opinion he goes astray is in not recognizing that the predicate adjective παλαίτατος is simply an instance where as Victor says, "Greek routinely used certain adjectives adverbially (just as Latin did) to extend the predicate as here." Instead, Pster feels that implicit in the Greek sentence "Μίνως γὰρ παλαίτατος ὧν ἀκοῇ ἴσμεν ναυτικὸν ἐκτήσατο" is a sentence that reads like a translation from English: "Μίνως γὰρ παλαίτατος τούτων οὕς ἀκοῇ ἴσμεν ἦν ὅς ναυτικὸν ἐκτήσατο".

Pster, as I wrote previously, and as Victor notes, you need to internalize the Greek idiom; otherwise you will create difficulties for yourself as your reading progresses, especially when you encounter this idiom again with words not listed in Smyth, as you will repeatedly.

Maybe this will help you resolve your concerns over scope. If you wanted to say this: "Minos, the first person we know of, acquired a navy", you might say: Μίνως γὰρ παλαίτατος ὢν ὧν ἀκοῇ ἴσμεν ναυτικὸν ἐκτήσατο.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:06 am

John, I responded to your message, but I can't tell whether it went through to you.

Bill
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:37 am

Qimmik wrote:John, I responded to your message, but I can't tell whether it went through to you.

Bill


Thanks, Bill. Not yet, I'm afraid - but then my message to you took an age to leave my 'out' folder, so perhaps messages on here move at a somewhat glacial speed, and it may yet arrive.

All the best,

John
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby mwh » Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:15 am

Just jumping in here. Haven't read quite all the above, but Qimmik seems to have it right. Cf. e.g. X prwtos/monos nautikon ekthsato, "X was the first/only one to get a navy." (lit. X first/only got a navy, but NB prwtos/monos not prwton/monon, i.e. he didn't get a navy first, before doing anything else, he got a navy before anyone else did; he didn't only get a navy, exclusive of other things, he alone got a navy, without others getting one). It's regular (and perfectly logical) Greek usage. Trans."M. was the oldest person we know of (lit. of whom we know by hearsay) to get a navy."
HTH.
mwh
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 400
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby mwh » Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:15 am

Just jumping in here. Haven't read quite all the above, but Qimmik seems to have it right. Cf. e.g. X prwtos/monos nautikon ekthsato, "X was the first/only one to get a navy." (lit. X first/only got a navy, but NB prwtos/monos not prwton/monon, i.e. he didn't get a navy first, before doing anything else, he got a navy before anyone else did; he didn't only get a navy, exclusive of other things, he alone got a navy, without others getting one). It's regular (and perfectly logical) Greek usage. Trans."M. was the oldest person we know of (lit. of whom we know by hearsay) to get a navy."
HTH.
mwh
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 400
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:56 am

Although I'm now meant to be just proofreading my translation of Thucydides, in doing so I can't resist the temptation to revisit some problem passages (they're like old friends by now).

One such occurs in chapter 77 of Book 1, in the course of the Athenian speech in the Lacedaemonian assembly. The Lacedaemonians have already heard complaints from the Corinthians and their other allies about alleged mistreatment by the Athenians; some Athenian ambassadors, who happen to be in Lacedaemon on other business, then ask to address the assembly. Although the Athenians say they will not be defending themselves against specific allegations, but rather just showing 'that we do not hold our possessions unreasonably, and that our city is of some account', they do in fact go into quite a lot of detail, as here.

Anyway, the passage with which I'm struggling is as follows (1.77.1):

καὶ ἐλασσούμενοι γὰρ ἐν ταῖς ξυμβολαίαις πρὸς τοὺς ξυμμάχους δίκαις καὶ παρ᾽ ἡμῖν αὐτοῖς ἐν τοῖς ὁμοίοις νόμοις ποιήσαντες τὰς κρίσεις φιλοδικεῖν δοκοῦμεν.

My translation of this currently reads as follows:

'For even though we often come off worst in lawsuits against our allies which are conducted under international agreements, and in our own courts have instituted hearings of cases for the allies under impartial laws, we are thought to be litigious.'

There are two main schools of thought about this. One holds that two separate situations are being addressed, viz. (i) cases which are still tried in the courts of Athens' allies under international agreements; (ii) cases of specific types (e.g. particularly weighty matters) which have to be referred to the Athenian courts and heard there. This is how I've taken it in my translation.

The other school thinks that we are looking at a single situation, whereby, because of their difficulty in obtaining justice in allied courts, the Athenians transferred the hearing of all international cases to Athens. This is how Steven Lattimore takes it in his 1998 translation:

'For example, because our disadvantage in lawsuits against them in cases involving international agreements caused us to bring these cases here among our impartial laws, we are considered addicted to courtrooms.'

There seem to me two principal arguments against this last interpretation:

(i) in a lengthy note in A Historical Commentary on Thucydides, Gomme concludes that the evidence does not suggest that all such cases were in fact transferred to Athens;

(ii) if the meaning involves a sequential development as Lattimore implies, I would have expected ἐλασσούμενοι to be in a past tense rather than the present.

Against my interpretation it might be argued that only the second of the two aspects (viz. the establishment of courts at Athens) would seem relevant to the accusation of being litigious. In response, one might say that the fact that the Athenians frequently come off worst in cases tried abroad suggests that they would not be over-eager to institute such cases. Moreover, in Thucydides there is not always precise logical correlation between every specific point adduced and the general argument which is being made.

Some important linguistic issues to consider are as follows:

(a) Are the two instances of καὶ correlative, or is the first one (καὶ ἐλασσούμενοι ...) concessive ('even though ...')?

(b) Could γὰρ here be an example of the 'inverted' use of this word, and hence possibly translatable as 'since' or 'as'? If so, does that favour the Lattimore interpretation, in that ἐλασσούμενοι γὰρ could then mean 'since we are at a disadvantage...', and give the reason why the hearing of all such cases had been transferred to Athens? (There would still, however, remain my query regarding the tense of ἐλασσούμενοι, and I'm also not sure what the force of καὶ ... καὶ would be.)

(c) Do the words παρ᾽ ἡμῖν αὐτοῖς go together, or should αὐτοῖς be taken separately as meaning 'for them [i.e. Athens' allies]'?

Any thoughts on all this would be very much appreciated. While I've described my current interpretation above, I'm certainly not irrevocably wedded to it, and would be quite willing to think again in the light of your comments.

Best wishes,

John
Last edited by John W. on Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby Qimmik » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:59 pm

John, could the second participial phrase introduced by καὶ be subordinate to the first, meaning "even when we brought the litigation in our own courts (παρ᾽ ἡμῖν αὐτοῖς; I think you're right that these words belong together) under impartial laws"?

And I wonder whether ποιήσαντες τὰς κρίσεις refers to the actual decision, rather than the filing of a complaint. κρίσις is the judgment or verdict, I think. Although I see that Lysias 13.35 uses the phrase κρίσιν . . . ἐποίουν to mean "brought a lawsuit," so maybe "instituted lawsuits" is correct.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0153%3Aspeech%3D13%3Asection%3D35

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dkri%2Fsis

The whole sentence would mean something like this:

For even though we often come off worst in lawsuits against our allies which are conducted under international agreements--even when we compelled the verdicts to be delivered in our own courts under impartial laws--we are thought to be litigious.

There's probably no way to be absolutely sure about a passage like this, of course. But Thucydides sometimes--in fact, often--deliberately disturbs strict parallelism.

Just a suggestion.

Bill
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:26 pm

Bill - many thanks for your comments, and my apologies for not replying sooner.

I'm certainly attracted by your suggestion. One aspect I'm not quite sure about is whether we are likely to have one concessive clause following on immediately from another in this way. I can't think offhand of a precise parallel in Thucydides; that said, there is perhaps no prima facie reason why we can't have two consecutive concessives in the way you suggest.

I'll give it all some further thought in the light of your comments.

By the way, I see that Hammond's recent translation (in the Oxford World's Classics series) agrees with Lattimore:

'For example, finding ourselves disadvantaged against our allies in lawsuits regulated by treaty, we transferred judgement in such cases to Athens under our own impartial laws - and this is viewed as an addiction to litigation.'

Thanks again,

John
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby mwh » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:01 am

Here's a naïve and fairly non-committal initial shot at this sentence:
"For both (or even?) when we find ourselves worsted in suits [no play on worsted suits intended] against our allies held under international agreements and when we held the cases in our own courts under our impartial legal system, we are deemed litigious."

While still leaving plenty of room for debate about the sense, this takes the second και as a simple copula, putting the the two participial phrases in tandem as a pair. ["και can, of course, mean 'and'," Denniston was once heard observing to a pupil – or so the tale goes.] Qimmik proposes we take the second as grammatically subordinate to the first, but I'm ignoring that for now.

I agree that the tense of ελασσουμενοι tells against SL's interpretation. Perhaps not definitively, however. Couldn't the meaning be "When we began to find ourselves losing (pres.pple representing impf) … and (on that account) transferred the cases to our own impartial courts …"? –- No, that would require εδοκουμεν (which I guess we could write if we wanted to?!)

Following your general line of interpretation, then, could we perhaps more completely separate the lawsuits in the first part from those in the second? Could the 2nd part be quasi-parenthetical, tantamount to "(as well as holding our own cases and rendering our verdicts at Athens within our impartial legal system)"? This would leave the allies out of it. The aorist (rather than present representing imperfect) then becomes awkward, however.

Something that bothers me a bit, on any interpretation, is ομοιοις attributive, as if they had other laws that were not impartial. I suppose the implied contrast is with other states' laws, but still ….

My major puzzlement here is the logic, or the sequence of thought. Under any of these construals, how can they be deemed litigious? What you say on this point goes some way towards settling my unease, but for the Athenians to say they're thought litigious because (or although!) they lose cases and held cases at Athens still seems an extraordinarily strange thing to claim. And how can they claim (76 fin.) that any of this ought to earn them praise rather than adoxia? Because they treat their allies on equal terms, and are willing to put themselves at risk of losing cases? But wouldn't the ποιησαντες phrase rather undermine this? (if it's a matter of transferring cases involving the allies to Athens, that is)

To address directly the linguistic issues your raise:
(a) kai. I find I'm vacillating on this. And I'm not sure of the effect of holding up the γαρ. Does it tie the και more closely to ελασσουμενοι? That might support a concessive sense? But does "Even though we lose … we're deemed litigious" make sense? – Or could the και be neither anticipatory of the second και nor concessive, but simply (despite the separation) intensifying the γαρ?
(b) Would this be grammatical, with a mere participle?
(c) I'd think it extremely difficult to disconnect αυτοις from παρ’ημιν. (And wouldn't we expect it to come later in the phrase? or would it be quasi-enclitic and following Wackernagel's Law?) And doesn't παρ’ημιν need αυτοις anyway? ("in our own courts," where laws are impartial, not in our allies', biased against us as they are)

Qimmik's novel take on the passage seems tenable Greek to me (at least for Thucydides), and I suppose it gives sense of a kind. I'm still bothered by the overall reasoning, though.

I've been writing all this just thinking out loud, which is no doubt a very foolish thing to do. I should have mulled it all over first. I haven't consulted anything, and it's been quite a while since I read Thucydides. And I can't speak to the historical actualities. So these thoughts count for little if anything, but having written them I'll send them anyway. I discussed one or two problem passages with Steve Lattimore while he was preparing his translation, but not this one. He would be the best person to consult. He no longer does anything academic, but he might well take an interest in this.
mwh
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 400
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:34 am

mwh - this is just to thank you for your very helpful post. I'll ponder things further in the light of your (and Bill's) comments and see what develops.

Best wishes,

John
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:10 pm

I've now had another think, with specific focus on the context.

Immediately before our passage, at the end of chapter 76, the Athenians have said:

'Thus we think that other people, if they took over our power, would show clearly whether we practise some moderation; however, in consequence of our very reasonableness, ill repute more than praise has unfairly accrued to us.'

It seems most likely that 77.1 must follow directly on from this, and give an instance of such unfairness: thus γὰρ would = 'for example'.

I'm inclining to take the first καὶ as concessive, and the second one as connective - or, perhaps better, as introducing an explanation of the first clause (ἐλασσούμενοι etc.). On this basis, and adopting a somewhat different interpretation of ἐλασσούμενοι, my latest tentative offering is as follows:

'For example, even though we settle for less than we might in cases against our allies under international agreements, and have instituted hearings of such cases in our own courts under equitable laws, we are regarded as litigious.'

Perhaps the point being made is that, given their power, the Athenians could extort far more than they actually settle for if they chose to set aside, or even distort, due process, whereas in fact they are studiously cultivating justice by having such cases heard in their own courts on an equitable basis.

After 77.1 the Athenians expand the thought: because they are seen to treat their subjects as equals before the law, those subjects feel aggrieved if they lose anything in a legal case; if, however, the Athenians had set aside all considerations of equity from the outset, and had simply operated on a basis of 'might makes right', their subjects would have accepted this, and would not have felt aggrieved as at losing out to an (in legal terms) equal.

With regard to the apparent disconnection between the points cited and the accusation of litigiousness, this is perhaps an instance (of which there are a number) of Thucydides' compressing the train of thought, or even omitting a stage altogether (I recall another one at the end of 4.85, in Brasidas' speech to the Acanthians). Perhaps the 'unpacked' meaning here is: 'Even though we do all this to ensure equity, we are nonetheless still criticised - not, it is true, for exercising arbitrary power, but instead for being litigious.' In other words, the Athenians can't (in their view) win: because they choose to work equitably through the courts, all this does is bring down upon them accusations of litigiousness!

Anyway, that's my latest - and, as always with Thucydides, highly provisional - shot at it.

Best wishes,

John
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Reading Thucydides 2013

Postby John W. » Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:24 am

(Deleted for now - needs more work. J.)
John W.
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:23 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ariphron, C. S. Bartholomew, SKMobileVN130TH and 34 guests