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odd (to me) infinitive: γεγονέναι

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odd (to me) infinitive: γεγονέναι

Postby daivid » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:58 pm

This is from Chariton's Chaereas and Callirhoe
Τοιοῦτον ὑμνοῦσι ποιηταὶ τὸν Θέτιδος γάμον ἐν Πηλίῳ γεγονέναι.

Okay, I get that the gist is that "In such a way the poets sing the praises of the marriage of Thetis and Pelidon"
The comparison being of course with the marriage of Chaereas and Callirhoe.

But what does the perfect infinitive on the end add to the sense.
Further, what does Τοιοῦτον agree with. If it agrees with γάμον then it comes out
as "The poets praise that kind of marriage of Thetis with Pelidon." Which sort of works
but sort of doesn't.
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Re: odd (to me) infinitive: γεγονέναι

Postby Victor » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:16 pm

Translated more literally, the Greek reads "Of such a kind the poets sing the marriage of Thetis on Pelion to have been". Does this help you understand the function of γεγονέναι?
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Re: odd (to me) infinitive: γεγονέναι

Postby daivid » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:40 pm

Victor wrote:Translated more literally, the Greek reads "Of such a kind the poets sing the marriage of Thetis on Pelion to have been". Does this help you understand the function of γεγονέναι?


Yes that makes much clearer.
Thank you very much.
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Re: odd (to me) infinitive: γεγονέναι

Postby mwh » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:25 am

What's less clear is why perfect not aorist, no?
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Re: odd (to me) infinitive: γεγονέναι

Postby renaissancemedici » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:34 am

daivid wrote:This is from Chariton's Chaereas and Callirhoe
Τοιοῦτον ὑμνοῦσι ποιηταὶ τὸν Θέτιδος γάμον ἐν Πηλίῳ γεγονέναι.



You could also go this way:

What is the verb? Sing.

Who sings? The poets.

What do they sing? γεγονέναι. I think this is the object of ὑμνοῦσι.

What is the subject of γεγονέναι? An accusative case which in this case is τὸν γάμον. Τοιοῦτον I read as agreeing with γάμον.

So, what I read is: The poets sing that this is how the marriage of Thetis, in Pelion, went down.

At least that's what I think, but I am also struggling with... eveything, so I may be wrong.
Πολλ' οίδ' ἀλώπηξ, ἐχῖνος δέ έν, μέγα.
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Re: odd (to me) infinitive: γεγονέναι

Postby mwh » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:23 pm

The sentence is perfectly natural greek but such constructions are unenglish. Best approached via the much easier (to us)
toioutos o Thetidos gamos en Phliwi gegonen, "Such was Thetis's wedding on Pelion." Grammatically speaking toioutos is predicative, and Greek, unlike English, retains the construction even when the noun (and accordingly the predicative adjective) is in a case other than the nominative. As here, where it's accusative in indirect speech. Lit. (and pretty close to being English, however stilted) "Such do poets sing was Thetis's wedding on Pelion."

Or more literally still, "Such do poets sing has been Th's wedding on Pelion." (See Viktor's translation.) I can't say why he uses perfect gegonenai rather than aorist genesthai (I haven't looked up the passage, but I doubt that would make it clearer), but it may be because the wedding of Peleus and Thetis is conceived of not simply as a past event but more as something that still exists -- an immutable mythological datum known to all. But I may be giving Chariton too much credit. It's a rather subtle point anyway, and you can ignore it. The important thing to grasp is the predicative use of toiouton.

renaissancemedici, it's ton Thetidos gamon that's the object of umnousi. umnousi takes an accusative and infinitive construction. You have the rest right. toiouton belongs within the acc+infin. (agreeing with gamon, as you say) but is pulled to the front.
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Re: odd (to me) infinitive: γεγονέναι

Postby daivid » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:37 pm

mwh wrote:The sentence is perfectly natural greek but such constructions are unenglish. Best approached via the much easier (to us)
toioutos o Thetidos gamos en Phliwi gegonen, "Such was Thetis's wedding on Pelion." Grammatically speaking toioutos is predicative, and Greek, unlike English, retains the construction even when the noun (and accordingly the predicative adjective) is in a case other than the nominative. As here, where it's accusative in indirect speech. Lit. (and pretty close to being English, however stilted) "Such do poets sing was Thetis's wedding on Pelion."

Or more literally still, "Such do poets sing has been Th's wedding on Pelion." (See Viktor's translation.) I can't say why he uses perfect gegonenai rather than aorist genesthai (I haven't looked up the passage, but I doubt that would make it clearer), but it may be because the wedding of Peleus and Thetis is conceived of not simply as a past event but more as something that still exists -- an immutable mythological datum known to all. But I may be giving Chariton too much credit. It's a rather subtle point anyway, and you can ignore it. The important thing to grasp is the predicative use of toiouton.

The one bit I had least trouble with was the perfect. I did raise an eyebrow, however, because I have often read how in Ancient Greek the perfect is not as common as in English, especially British English. However Chariton was not attempting to write Attic. In the introduction to the translation I am reading he is described as using "straight forward literary Koine". I suspect he wrote pretty much as he spoke. It would be interesting to see if Chariton has a general tendency to use the perfect where it would not be normal in Attic. If so I would suspect that would also be true of educated speakers of his area living in the area of Anatolia from which he came. Your explanation sounds right. I would add that the context where he is using it as a model to compare with another marriage makes that stronger.
mwh wrote:renaissancemedici, it's ton Thetidos gamon that's the object of umnousi. umnousi takes an accusative and infinitive construction. You have the rest right. toiouton belongs within the acc+infin. (agreeing with gamon, as you say) but is pulled to the front.


I am reminded of an article on Serbo-Croat (oops Croatian :roll: ) which has cases and so a similar freedom of word order. This argued that the default was for the theme to come to the front. It seems to me that the theme up to this point has been the marriage of Chaereas and Callirhoe and the word that eludes to that is Τοιοῦτον.
I don't know whether that applies in general to Ancient Greek but it would explain why here Τοιοῦτον has been yanked to the front in a way that looks so brutal to someone like me used to English word order.
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Re: odd (to me) infinitive: γεγονέναι

Postby mwh » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:25 am

Yes Chariton does write "straightforward literary koine" (a whole lot more elegant than Xenophon, but less so than the exquisite Longus, not to mention the ineffably glorious stylistic supremo Heliodorus). That means (inter alia!) he does not use perfect for aorist. That's why I came up with the explanation I did, "The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis" as a kind of mythological or cultural monument always already in the world--there were pictures of it (cf. the opening description of Chaereas!), as well as descriptions in the poetic texts--Hesiod, Euripides, others--that Chariton references, to give it a permanent existential status. (NB umnousi present: so long as the texts are there to be read the poets continue to sing, and the P&T wedding continues to be a thing that has happened and is still with us, rather than simply a thing that happened in the past.) Unfortunately we can no longer ask Bryan Reardon, but I'm pretty sure he'd agree. While it's always good to be on the lookout for epichoric language phenomena he'd be amused at the idea of its being Anatolian Greek.

Your "theme" would be the "topic" for classicists, or for classicists who have caught up with linguistics and discourse analysis and pragmatics, and our sentence can well be analyzed in terms of topic and focus. But there is really no other place for toiouton than up front, initiating the comparison. (You could imagine it preceded by a correlative clause such as oios hn o gamos o Xaireou kai Kallirohs - I know it isn't!) Cf. concluding sentences introduced by outws, for example, similarly in asyndeton (important). That's how it went down, that's the kind it was. It was the same sort of marriage as poets sing Thetis's as being.
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