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Reading Thucydides 2014

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:20 pm

As to 3), no I don't think it is too clever. That's kind of what I was suggesting. Comes oddly from Pericles, though.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:12 am

Qimmik wrote: After reading this passage and the various arguments, I think Thucydides' meaning here is irrecoverably opaque. This is simply a crux, and neither of the suggested lines of interpretation seems to make sense in a wholly satisfying and convincing way.


I'm sure you're right, Bill - but still I keep hoping that, if I do enough research on such passages, and study them intensively, everything will drop into place - a vain hope, I know, given that generations of distinguished scholars have frequently reached an impasse on them. The best I can realistically aim for is to find an interpretation that seems more convincing to me at the time than any other.

I sometimes wish that I'd 'done a Jowett' with my translation, in terms of recording alternative interpretations in footnotes. I didn't do so because I thought it would smack of vacillation, and because, once I'd started down that route, the number of instances in which I felt moved to do so might multiply; moreover, in some places it's not just a question of two possible interpretations, but of several (and sometimes with sub-options too!). So I think all I can do, with the kind assistance of colleagues on here, is, as Winston Churchill says in 'Victory of the Daleks' (any Doctor Who fans out there?), 'KBO'!

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:20 am

mwh wrote:As to 3), no I don't think it is too clever. That's kind of what I was suggesting. Comes oddly from Pericles, though.


There's also the fact that Thucydides immediately follows his version of this speech with a highly positive assessment of Pericles' policy, and criticism of his successors for not following it. So could he really be undercutting this in chapter 62 by implying that the stance encouraged by Pericles would eventually lead to disaster for the Athenians? (I'm not saying it's impossible, though - few things are with Thucydides.)

Further study of καταφρόνησις in Thucydides (and elsewhere) is probably called for.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:07 pm

Well, I think in the days ahead I am probably going to revert to my initial impression, ie that the sense here is largely hypothetical. Why?

First Corinthian speech:

Here they accuse the Spartans of the three things. You can find all three of them. Really, the Corinthians are quite rough with them.

But, you can't really find contempt.

Second Corinthian speech:

They begin by saying they can no longer make the accusation of deriliction of duty! They know the vote is going to go their way. So now, not only are the Spartans still not guilty of contempt, they have stopped being guilty of the three things.

1.122 is hypothetical. They are talking about what the opinion would be if they fail to act.

1.123 is where they just politely (as a Corinthian can be!) eschew explicitly making the point that the Spartans used to be guilty of the three things. Ie "We need not again in this second speech repeat all the stupid cowardly non-vigilant things you Spartans did in the past now that you have come to your senses. You know damn well what we think about your past conduct. And we have just warned you in 1.122 what opinion that conduct would merit."

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

One can use perfects for hypothetical (indirect) discourse just as one can use presents for it. Does anybody want to go on record and deny that?! Speak now or forever hold your peace! Let's see a show of hands! :lol: What makes the situation a bit tricky here is that the Spartans used to be guilty of the three things. That plus the fact that the Corinthians are actually being much more polite than in the past me thinks explains the seeming opacity. The contempt point is Thucydides being a bit too clever.

À demain!

8)
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:54 am

pster - many thanks for these thoughts.

I'll consider them further, but my initial comments are:

(1) the speech is addressed not to the Lacedaemonians, but to the other allies. At the start of 120 the Corinthians say they can no longer find fault with the Lacedemonians for not voting for war themselves, and for not also bringing the allies together to vote for it; but that doesn't mean that they can't still complain of practical inaction, which has been, and is still, the situation until the allies actually vote for war (which is what the Corinthians are now urging them to do).

(2) At the moment I really do find it difficult to see the start of 123 as not following on from 122, and as referring instead to another speech on a different occasion (though I'll give it more thought).

(3) The behaviour of which the Corinthians are complaining is not just (potentially) future (if the allies do not vote for war), but also current - the cities are already suffering because of the actions of the Athenians, and the inaction hitherto of the allies.

I'll think about this further, however, and may yet change my mind in the light of your comments.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:05 pm

Many thanks again for all the comments on 1.122. I'm not sure I can take that any further at the moment, though of course I may return to it at some stage!

Now for something which is (I hope) a little less fraught. 2.25 recounts amphibious operations conducted by the Athenians and their allies, in the course of which they reach Elis; what happened next is described in 2.25.3:

... σχόντες τῆς Ἠλείας ἐς Φειὰν ἐδῄουν τὴν γῆν ἐπὶ δύο ἡμέρας καὶ προσβοηθήσαντας τῶν ἐκ τῆς κοίλης Ἤλιδος τριακοσίους λογάδας καὶ τῶν αὐτόθεν ἐκ τῆς περιοικίδος Ἠλείων μάχῃ ἐκράτησαν.

At present my translation of this reads:

'... landing at Pheia in Elis they laid waste the land for two days and defeated in battle three hundred picked men, who had come to the rescue from those living in Hollow Elis and from the Eleans in the surrounding area.'

However, Gomme comments that saying that the 300 picked men came from Hollow Elis and from the surrounding area 'is both unlikely in itself and, if true, unnecessarily complicated in expression (why not simply προσβοηθήσαντας Ἠλείων τριακοσίους λογάδας?)'. I wonder, therefore, whether τῶν αὐτόθεν ἐκ τῆς περιοικίδος Ἠλείων could mean (as similar expressions do in some other places) 'some of the Eleans in the surrounding area', so that one could translate:

' ... and defeated in battle three hundred picked men who had come to the rescue from those living in Hollow Elis, and also some of the Eleans from the surrounding area.'

The word order suggests that this second interpretation could be right; the main problem is the fact that, on the face of it, the genitives τῶν ἐκ τῆς κοίλης Ἤλιδος and τῶν αὐτόθεν ἐκ τῆς περιοικίδος Ἠλείων seem to be serving a similar function, and to be both going with προσβοηθήσαντας ... τριακοσίους λογάδας.

One further issue which needs to be addressed here is whether Ἠλείων goes with both groups; if so, would it then be more difficult to treat the two genitives differently as per my second option? If it does go with both, perhaps my current translation should in any case be revised to read:

' ... and defeated in battle three hundred picked men, who had come to the rescue from the Eleans living in Hollow Elis and also from the Eleans in the surrounding area.'

Any thoughts on this would, as always, be much appreciated.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:13 pm

I would be inclined to treat τῶν ἐκ τῆς κοίλης Ἤλιδος and τῶν αὐτόθεν ἐκ τῆς περιοικίδος Ἠλείων as parallel.

As I understand it, the point of Gomme's remark (which reflects commentary by Wilamowitz and Classen--although not in my 1889 copy of Classen-Steup--both of whom proposed textual emendations to solve their perceived difficulties) seems to be that Pheia is located in peripheral territory that was dependent upon or subject to Elis ("τῆς περιοικίδος"), but not in Elis proper ("τῆς κοίλης Ἤλιδος"), and that the inhabitants of the periphery were generally treated as metics and not as Eleian citizens and therefore would not have been among the specially chosen soldiers. But he solves this difficulty by assuming that τῶν αὐτόθεν ἐκ τῆς περιοικίδος Ἠλείων refers to Eleian landowners or other citizens living close-by in the periphery, not to the local non-citizen population.

Personally, I think the parallelism of τῶν ἐκ τῆς κοίλης Ἤλιδος τριακοσίους λογάδας and τῶν αὐτόθεν ἐκ τῆς περιοικίδος Ἠλείων is inescapable without resorting to emendation, even in Thucydides, and in the end Gomme thinks so too. So I think your first translation, which includes Eleans from the periphery, as well as from Elis proper, in the 300, is correct.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:15 pm

Hornblower says that in the Elean context, as in the Spartan, perioikoi are not just neighbors but subjects. A. Andrewes has an article on the subject in a collection of essays. Let me know if you want the full reference.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:36 pm

Mynott's translation: "300 picked men who had come out from lowland Elis and had been joined by some Eleans from the surrounding area subject to Elis."
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:37 pm

Haven't properly considered this, nor consulted comms etc, but it seems to me that from a grammatical point of view it's extremely difficult not to take the two twn phrases in parallel, rather than the 2nd as partitive gen. (So Qimmik.) That would make the perioikoi a component of the 300 logades. That's hard to swallow: the perioikoi are surely subjects (so pster). So I imagine Thuc is writing loosely: twn … Eleiwn not grammatically partitive but nonetheless not to be understood as included in the 300.

—Or perhaps not. Would subject perioikoi be described as Eleans? Contrast helots (but they're distinct from Spartiates, not from Lacedaemonians?). Eleiwn surely applies only to the 2nd phrase, would be redundant with the first; so added to distinguish from subject perioeci??
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:42 pm

mwh: Gomme solves the difficulty by assuming that the Eleans who are among the 300 are Elean citizens living in the periphery, not non-citizen subjects. As you suggest, "Eleiwn surely applies only to the 2nd phrase, would be redundant with the first; so added to distinguish from subject perioeci" [question marks omitted]. For me, this makes the best sense and gives effect to the parallelism.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:52 pm

Good. Thanks. Gomme's "unnecessarily complicated in expression" (quoted by John) lacks force. Over to John.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:23 pm

Many thanks to all three of you for your help - much appreciated.

pster - yes please, the Andrewes reference would be helpful when you have time.

Before reading all your replies I had started to wonder whether the construction might not be:

καὶ μάχῃ ἐκράτησαν προσβοηθήσαντας (a) τῶν ἐκ τῆς κοίλης Ἤλιδος (τριακοσίους λογάδας) καὶ (b) τῶν αὐτόθεν ἐκ τῆς περιοικίδος Ἠλείων.

'... and defeated in battle troops who had come to the rescue from those living in Hollow Elis (numbering three hundred picked men) and from the Eleans in the surrounding area.'

In other words, προσβοηθήσαντας would go with both elements, while τριακοσίους λογάδας would be in partial apposition to it, defining the size of the contingent from Hollow Elis. Before I make a final decision I'd appreciate any thoughts on whether this would be possible, or whether one would need (e.g.) τοὺς before προσβοηθήσαντας to make it work.

Otherwise I may stick to my current translation (as quoted in my first post), on the basis that, as Michael has suggested, Ἠλείων may be intended 'to distinguish from subject perioeci', which would give some point to the complexity of the expression.

Thanks again,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:00 pm

Yr new alternative won't work, I'd say. 300 logadas must be direct object of ekrathsan.

I think we're there, historically credible or not. Your first translation it is, except I'd delete the comma.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:16 am

I agree with mwh.

The usage you're thinking of--a subject expressed by a partitive genitive--is mentioned in Smyth sec. 928b:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007%3Asmythp%3D928

But here the partitive genitive would be the direct object, not the subject. Smyth doesn't mention that, and I'm not aware of any parallels.

Again, I think the parallelism here is compelling, and I think there's historical plausibility for that reading: Thucydides needs to specify that Eleian citizens, not perioikoi, from the perioikis, were among the three hundred. I don't find that "unnecesssarily complicated in expression."

Ἠλείων should perhaps be taken with both τῶν phrases, i.e., three hundred chosen soldiers [consisting] of Eleians from Hollow Elis and of Eleians right there from the perioikis.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:33 am

A. Andrewes, 'Argive Perioikoi', in 'Owls to Athens' (i.23. 6n), 171ff., at 172.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:05 am

Thanks again to all for the further comments/information.

I'm retaining my original translation (minus comma, as suggested by Michael). However, it's been very useful to bat this one around again - it's one of those annoying little passages where you think you've (probably) got it right, but then doubts start creeping in once you revisit it. Still, that's often the way with Thucydides!

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:52 am

A very happy new year to all Thucydidean colleagues.

To resume activity on this thread, I’d be grateful for views on a passage from Pericles’ final speech to the Athenians in Book 2. Chapter 59 has just explained that the Athenians were holding Pericles to blame for their recent misfortunes; Pericles therefore convenes an assembly, ‘as he wished to encourage them and, by drawing off the anger from their minds, to make them calmer and less fearful’. Pericles begins his speech to the assembly as follows (2.60.1):

καὶ προσδεχομένῳ μοι τὰ τῆς ὀργῆς ὑμῶν ἔς με γεγένηται (αἰσθάνομαι γὰρ τὰς αἰτίας) καὶ ἐκκλησίαν τούτου ἕνεκα ξυνήγαγον, ὅπως ὑπομνήσω καὶ μέμψωμαι εἴ τι μὴ ὀρθῶς ἢ ἐμοὶ χαλεπαίνετε ἢ ταῖς ξυμφοραῖς εἴκετε.

My translation of this currently runs:

‘As I expected (for I understand the reasons), your anger is directed against me, and I have therefore convened this assembly, so that I can remind you of certain things and censure you if you are in any way wrongly either finding fault with me or giving way to these disasters.’

My queries are:

(i) Why do we have καὶ ... καὶ here? What is the exact force of the idiom in this passage? To me it seems somewhat odd to have it right at the start of a speech. Could the second καὶ have the force of ‘and so’? In that case, there might be implications for my second query (below).

(ii) Does τούτου ἕνεκα refer backwards, to καὶ προσδεχομένῳ μοι ... γεγένηται, or forwards to ὅπως etc.? Sometimes in Thucydidean speeches (though I can’t at the moment put my finger on an example) such constructions do look forwards, in the sense ‘I have called you together for this reason, namely in order to ...’

The use of καὶ ... καὶ here may be of relevance for another passage with which I drove you all up the wall some time ago, viz. 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.

One of the (many) difficulties with that passage was working out whether the two clauses introduced by καὶ were parallel or sequential; if the second καὶ could be inferential (‘and so’), it would increase the likelihood of a sequential sense (‘For because we were at a constant disadvantage ... and so instituted hearings of such cases ...’).

Any thoughts? Many thanks for your help.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:09 pm

I wonder whether the first καὶ might give greater force to the participle, which is placed at the beginning of the clause. In any event, I would suggest translating προσδεχομένῳ μοι so as to make this phrase the main clause rather than a kind of parenthetical, since I think the main point of the entire clause is encapsulated more in the participial phrase than in the main verb. The point is not that the people are angry with Pericles, but that their anger is not unexpected.

Denniston pp. 317 ff. mentions that καὶ sometimes just emphasizes the word that follows, and means little more than "actually." If you have access to Denniston, I would suggest reading this section.

Maybe something like this: "Actually, I have been expecting your anger to be directed at me [exchanging the tenses of προσδεχομένῳ and γεγένηται]--I am aware of the reasons for it--and I have therefore convened . . . "

But maybe "actually" isn't really necessary here--maybe just turning the clause around to make "I have been expecting" the main verb is enough to convey the force of the first καὶ.

The second καὶ then just connects the two clauses.

With regard to your second question, I'm in equipoise. I would feel more comfortable with some examples of τούτου ἕνεκα introducing a purpose clause (your second option), but like you, I feel that I've encountered this elsewhere even if I can't put my finger on it.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:50 pm

Qimmik's ahead of me as usual. I may as well retire from these boards. But I post what I'd written but not posted earlier:

The way I read it, the (first) two καιs are not correlative. The opening one intensifies the participle:
"I was expecting you to be angry with me (and I quite understand why you are), and …"
Without italics you'd use "actually," but this use of και often corresponds well to italics in written English. No catching supremo-statesman Pericles by surprise.

τουτου ενεκα reads most naturally backward-looking: "… and that's why I convened an assembly." There's nothing against taking it as forward-looking if you wished ("and I convened an assembly for the purpose of giving you a gentle reminder …"), but I wouldn't.

A few little points:
"your anger is directed against me" translates not ες με but ες εμε, which we might have expected but (if the text is right) don't have. Hard but necessary to keep the "me" unemphatic.

"this assembly": just "an assembly"?

"disasters": "misfortunes" here? It's always one of the most difficult words to translate, and impossible to do so consistently.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:10 pm

Bill, Michael - many thanks for your (as always) very helpful comments.

I lifted the Greek quote from the OCT, but I'm using Alberti, which does in fact have ἐμε, so my apologies for that. I agree that τούτου ἕνεκα is most likely to be backwards looking.

I'll revise my version in the light of your comments.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:10 pm

Thanks John. Does Alberti have manuscript authority for εμε? I'm always suspicious of enclitic forms of personal pronouns with prepositions myself.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:41 pm

mwh wrote:Thanks John. Does Alberti have manuscript authority for εμε? I'm always suspicious of enclitic forms of personal pronouns with prepositions myself.


Michael - vol. I of Alberti as printed has με, but he changed this in the corrigenda at the end of vol. III, citing the manuscripts ABEFM(1), plus Dionysius of Halicarnassus, in support of ἐμε. Manuscripts CGM plus papyrus Π14 apparently have με.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:13 pm

I'm always suspicious of enclitic forms of personal pronouns with prepositions myself.


That's an insight I'd never thought of, but it makes perfect sense. Thank you!
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:56 am

I know I shouldn't really revisit things, but - at the risk of tipping you all over the edge so early in the
New Year - I've been taking another look at a passage which caused us considerable angst a while ago, viz. 1.122.4:

καὶ οὐκ ἴσμεν ὅπως τάδε τριῶν τῶν μεγίστων ξυμφορῶν ἀπήλλακται, ἀξυνεσίας ἢ μαλακίας ἢ ἀμελείας. οὐ γὰρ δὴ πεφευγότες αὐτὰ ἐπὶ τὴν πλείστους δὴ βλάψασαν καταφρόνησιν κεχωρήκατε, ἣ ἐκ τοῦ πολλοὺς σφάλλειν τὸ ἐναντίον ὄνομα ἀφροσύνη μετωνόμασται.

After various exchanges I identified two principal interpretations of this:

‘We do not know how this policy can be free from the three greatest disasters: stupidity, weakness and ignorance. For

(a) you certainly have not avoided these disasters by adopting a contemptuous attitude towards the Athenians ...’

(b) surely you have not managed to avoid these disasters, only to fall into the trap of regarding the Athenians with contempt ...’

My inclination at the time was towards (b), in response to which Michael commented:

mwh wrote:No John, not (b), please! It implies they have managed to avoid these disasters. I agree with everything you say, apart from this preference. "Rhetorical incredulity" just doesn't work here; the Melian Dialogue passage is simpler, and has the ge to mark the sarcasm. We surely have to go with (a).


Having given it a bit more thought, I'm nonetheless inclining towards (b) again. Perhaps what the Corinthians are saying is that the allies are certainly making a mistake by allowing Athens to expand its empire; they then argue that this inaction can only be motivated by some serious failing. They mention three specifically - stupidity, weakness and ignorance - and then add that, if the cause isn't one of these, it must be contempt for their opponents. I don't think that the Corinthians are specifying which of these apply (separately or in combination) to the allies; they are just rhetorically (and not necessarily sarcastically) piling on the pressure by saying that however it is viewed, or under whatever heading it is classified, their current conduct is wrong.

At least, that's my latest take on it - though I should probably leave well alone! I'm not trying to embroil everyone in this debate again, but I just wanted to set down my latest thinking on what is, by any reckoning, a highly problematic passage.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:52 pm

Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1st c. BCE), On Thucydides, 49:

. . . τῶν οὕτως διαλεγομένων οὐδὲ αἱ μητέρες ἂν καὶ οἱ πατέρες ἀνάσχοιντο διὰ τὴν ἀηδίαν, ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ ἀλλοεθνοῦς γλώσσης ἀκούοντες τῶν ἑρμηνευσόντων ἂν δεηθεῖεν.

. . . if anyone spoke this way, even their mothers and fathers wouldn't be able to endure it on account of the unpleasantness, but instead, they would need interpreters as if they were hearing a foreign language.

On Thucydides 51:

εὐαρίθμητοι γάρ τινές εἰσιν οἷοι πάντα τὰ Θουκυδίδου συμβαλεῖν, καὶ οὐδ᾽ οὗτοι χωρὶς ἐξηγήσεως γραμματικῆς ἔνια.

The number of those who can understand all of Thucydides is very limited, and even they can't do it without resorting to grammatical commentary from time to time.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:54 pm

2.36.3: τὰ δὲ πλείω αὐτῆς αὐτοὶ ἡμεῖς οἵδε οἱ νῦν ἔτι ὄντες μάλιστα ἐν τῇ καθεστηκυίᾳ ἡλικίᾳ ἐπηυξήσαμεν καὶ τὴν πόλιν τοῖς πᾶσι παρεσκευάσαμεν καὶ ἐς πόλεμον καὶ ἐς εἰρήνην αὐταρκεστάτην.

I'm having a little trouble understanding the syntax of this sentence. In particular, I don't understand the relationship, if any, between the adjective αὐταρκεστάτην and the verb παρεσκευάσαμεν.

Or is there an implied verb and pronoun?
...and we have furnished the city with all and [made it] self-sufficient in both war and peace.
Or is αὐταρκεστάτην just attributive?
...and we have furnished the city, self-sufficient in both war and peace, with all.
Or something else?

John, how did you translate it?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:22 pm

αὐταρκεστάτην is a predicate adjective. "We have equipped/made/rendered/prepared the city [to be] as self-sufficient as possible in all respects [or perhaps "against all contingencies"] both for wartime and for peacetime. "

You don't need to imply anything in the Greek, but perhaps you might add "to be" in translating into English. You don't need this with "make" or "render"--the construction is similar to Greek.

See LSJ παρασκευάζω A.3:

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

Smyth 1040b2:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007%3Asmythp%3D1040

Smyth 1579:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Smyth+grammar+1579&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:07 pm

pster wrote:2.36.3: τὰ δὲ πλείω αὐτῆς αὐτοὶ ἡμεῖς οἵδε οἱ νῦν ἔτι ὄντες μάλιστα ἐν τῇ καθεστηκυίᾳ ἡλικίᾳ ἐπηυξήσαμεν καὶ τὴν πόλιν τοῖς πᾶσι παρεσκευάσαμεν καὶ ἐς πόλεμον καὶ ἐς εἰρήνην αὐταρκεστάτην.

John, how did you translate it?


pster - my translation is:

'We ourselves here present, who at this time are still more or less in the mature vigour of life, have enlarged most parts of this empire and have in all ways made the city fully self-sufficient for both war and peace.'

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:50 pm

I'm struggling with the very next sentence:

ὧν ἐγὼ τὰ μὲν κατὰ πολέμους ἔργα, οἷς ἕκαστα ἐκτήθη, ἢ εἴ τι αὐτοὶ ἢ οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν βάρβαρον ἢ Ἕλληνα πολέμιον ἐπιόντα προθύμως ἠμυνάμεθα, μακρηγορεῖν ἐν εἰδόσιν οὐ βουλόμενος ἐάσω:...

What does ὧν mean here? Has a pronoun dropped out? Even then I'm not sure I would understand it.

What does εἴ mean here?

What does τι refer to?

I guess αὐτοὶ means "ourselves", but I don't think I've ever seen it standing alone meaning "we".
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:20 pm

ὧν ἐγὼ τὰ μὲν κατὰ πολέμους ἔργα, οἷς ἕκαστα ἐκτήθη, ἢ εἴ τι αὐτοὶ ἢ οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν βάρβαρον ἢ Ἕλληνα πολέμιον ἐπιόντα προθύμως ἠμυνάμεθα, μακρηγορεῖν ἐν εἰδόσιν οὐ βουλόμενος ἐάσω:...

ὧν refers back to the people mentioned above--our ancestors, our fathers and ourselves. It functions as a connective, and is probably best translated as a demonstrative. Smyth 2490:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007%3Asmythp%3D2490

εἴ τι -- this is a somewhat common idiom. "or if we ourselves or our fathers have ever resolutely defended ourselves against a barbarian or Greek enemy," "or the occasions, if any, on which we ourselves or our fathers have resolutely defended ourselves against . . . " τι here is an "adverbial" accusative. Smyth 1606, 1609:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007%3Asmythp%3D1606

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Smyth+grammar+1609&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007

αὐτοὶ -- with the first person plural verb, ἡμεῖς is unnecessary.

Very crudely: "The deeds of these men in war, by which each of these things was acquired [or maybe, "accomplished"] or any occasions when we ourselves or our fathers have resolutely defended ourselves against an attacking barbarian or a Greek enemy I will pass over/let go, not wanting to speak at length [about them] among those who know them well [ἐν εἰδόσιν]."
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:39 pm

pster - I agree with Qimmik's analysis. My own translation reads:

'I shall pass over our and their achievements in war, by which the various parts of the empire were obtained, or when either we ourselves or our fathers zealously repelled any barbarian or Hellene foe who attacked us, since I do not wish to speak at undue length among those who are familiar with these matters; ...'

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:10 pm

John, your translation does a good job of bringing out the contrast between offensive military operations assembling the components of the Athenian empire, τὰ μὲν κατὰ πολέμους ἔργα, οἷς ἕκαστα ἐκτήθη, and defensive operations, εἴ τι αὐτοὶ ἢ οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν βάρβαρον ἢ Ἕλληνα πολέμιον ἐπιόντα προθύμως ἠμυνάμεθα. It strikes me that this is a good example of how Th. sets up contrasts avoiding strict parallelism or the Gorgianic monotony of μὲν/δὲ. Th. probably didn't use μὲν/δὲ for this contrast, because he uses it to join this clause to the next clause -- ἀπὸ δὲ οἵας τε ἐπιτηδεύσεως ἤλθομεν ἐπ᾽ αὐτὰ καὶ μεθ᾽ οἵας πολιτείας καὶ τρόπων ἐξ οἵων μεγάλα ἐγένετο . . . . μὲν/δὲ serves to bring out the main contrast of military activities versus political institutions, but again, without strict parallelism.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:22 pm

Thanks, Bill. Yes, I agree with you - it seems an example of Thucydides' penchant for (sometimes elaborate) sets of parallelisms/contrasts, 'nested' one within another.

Best,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:10 am

I wonder if I could solicit help with another Thucydidean snippet.

In 3.51 Thucydides gives an account of Athenian operations against Minoa, an island off Megara. Despite its brevity, the chapter contains a number of problems, mainly in terms of understanding exactly what Thucydides is saying about the topography of the island and the specifics of the assault. However, what concerns me at the moment is the end of the account. Thucydides has explained how, having gained control of the island, the Athenian commander, Nicias, walls off the side of the island facing the mainland to prevent the arrival of hostile troops. The account continues (3.51.4):

ὡς δὲ τοῦτο ἐξειργάσαντο ἐν ἡμέραις ὀλίγαις, ὕστερον δὴ καὶ ἐν τῇ νήσῳ τεῖχος ἐγκαταλιπὼν καὶ φρουρὰν ἀνεχώρησε τῷ στρατῷ.

My translation of this currently reads:

'As they had completed this work in a few days, he subsequently also left behind a fort and garrison on the island and withdrew with his force.'

My queries are as follows:

(i) does the first καὶ look back to the completion of the defensive works, as I have translated it ('he ... also ...'), or are the two instances of καὶ correlative, i.e. 'both a fort and a garrison'?

(ii) If ὡς here is to be rendered 'as', there seems no clear logical connection behind the two halves of the sentence - why should the completion of the work in a few days be the cause of leaving behind a fort and a garrison? Or does ὡς mean 'when' here?

(iii) Is the δὴ after ὕστερον of any particular significance, and does it have any bearing on point (ii) above?

I'd be grateful for any thoughts on these points.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:12 pm

John, you'll have to wait for the heavy hitters. I've never really understood kai in Greek. The only thing I would say is that the exact semantics and pragmatics of it may be subtle. There are lengthy papers on the meaning of "and" in English. It's not just a simple conjunction.

So consider:

Jack and Jill got married and had a baby.

Jack and Jill had a baby and got married.

As for ws, perhaps the connection is just the shortness of time caused things to be left behind?
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:31 pm

I think you have to look at this sentence in connection with the preceding sentence:

ἑλὼν οὖν ἀπὸ τῆς Νισαίας πρῶτον δύο πύργω προύχοντε μηχαναῖς ἐκ θαλάσσης καὶ τὸν ἔσπλουν ἐς τὸ μεταξὺ τῆς νήσου ἐλευθερώσας ἀπετείχιζε καὶ τὸ ἐκ τῆς ἠπείρου, ᾗ κατὰ γέφυραν διὰ τενάγους ἐπιβοήθεια ἦν τῇ νήσῳ οὐ πολὺ διεχούσῃ τῆς ἠπείρου. [4] ὡς δὲ τοῦτο ἐξειργάσαντο ἐν ἡμέραις ὀλίγαις, ὕστερον δὴ καὶ ἐν τῇ νήσῳ τεῖχος ἐγκαταλιπὼν καὶ φρουρὰν ἀνεχώρησε τῷ στρατῷ.

Here's how I would analyze the sentence in question (without much confidence):

ὡς -- I think this is temporal: "when" or "after": first, he took two towers [I'm not quite sure exactly how the towers were situated in relation to the island], freed up the channel leading into the strait between the island [I'm not entirely sure what ἔσπλουν ἐς τὸ μεταξὺ τῆς νήσου means--the entrance to the channel between the island and the mainland?] and walled off the side of the island facing the mainland . . . "After they had completed this in a few days. . . "

ὕστερον δὴ -- "after that," or maybe even "finally," picking up from πρῶτον in the preceding sentence. δὴ, I think, gives an emphasis to ὕστερον in the catalogue of N.'s accomplishments.

The first καὶ I would translate as "also," as you do, i.e, not "both a fort and a garrison" but rather "and after that, also leaving a fort and a garrison on the island, he withdrew . . . ", "after that, he also left a fort and a garrison on the island and withdrew . . ."

I might translate the sentence this way, changing the construction a little: "They completed this in a few days, and then, after that, he also left a fort and a garrison on the island and withdrew with his army."
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:16 pm

pster, Bill - many thanks for your comments.

pster - I certainly agree with you about καὶ and its extensive subtleties and shades of meaning; καὶ ... καὶ in particular has caused me a number of headaches.

Bill - thanks for looking at the rest of the chapter; I should have quoted it myself, but I was trying to spare you its horrors! Originally I thought that one of the two towers was the Megarians' guard tower on the island; that the other was on the mainland facing it; and that Nicias sailed in between the two. However, eventually I decided that τὸ μεταξὺ τῆς νήσου couldn't really mean the stretch of sea between the island and the mainland; I've therefore followed Steup in taking it to mean the part of the island between the two towers, both of which were on the island itself. On this reading, Nicias made his approach on the side of the island away from the mainland, putting in between the two towers (where there may have been good anchorage), then subsequently walled off the side of the island facing the mainland. This implies that there were in fact three towers on the island, unless the two projecting ones together constituted the guard tower previously mentioned; sometimes Thucydides does switch between singular and plural in talking about (e.g.) a wall/walls when he is referring to the same thing. Goodness knows whether this interpretation is right, but I think it probably makes as much sense as any. As Gomme says, 'A chapter of great obscurity for a simple narrative.'

I'm attracted by your suggested rendering, on which I may well draw.

Best,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:56 pm

Yes, the topography is less than crystal-clear. And apparently we can't figure it out today because the coastline has changed and the island has disappeared (as had already happened in Strabo's time).
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:14 am

Jumping ahead a bit to Book 4, something has made me look again at chapter 80.

Thucydides states that the Lacedaemonians were eager for a pretext to send some of their helots out on a military expedition, in case they should take advantage of the Lacedaemonians' current difficulties (especially the Athenian occupation of Pylos) by causing trouble at home. He refers to the Lacedaemonians' fear 'of the helots' capacity for mischief and their numbers', and then adds:

(αἰεὶ γὰρ τὰ πολλὰ Λακεδαιμονίοις πρὸς τοὺς Εἵλωτας τῆς φυλακῆς πέρι μάλιστα καθειστήκει)

My current translation of this is:

'(for most of the Lacedaemonians' relations with the helots had always been chiefly concerned with keeping watch on them)'

However, some translate it as a more sweeping assertion:

'(for most of the Lacedaemonians' institutions had always been chiefly concerned with security against thr helots)'

Both de Romilly (translation in the Budé edition) and Gomme (A Historical Commentary on Thucydides) favour my current interpretation; Gomme comments that if the meaning had been the second one above, the word order would probably have been αἰεὶ γὰρ πρὸς τοὺς Εἵλωτας etc.

As always, I'd be grateful for any thoughts on this passage.

Many thanks,

John
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