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Two new Sappho fragments

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Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:22 pm

Everyone probably knew about this already--everyone but me, that is--but two new fragments of Sappho have been found in a papyrus and are going to be published. In the meantime, Dirk Obbink, the papyrologist who is publishing them, has posted a preliminary version of his paper online here:

http://www.papyrology.ox.ac.uk/Fragments/Obbink.Sappho7.draft.pdf

Comments on his paper here:

http://newsappho.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/discussing-the-two-new-sappho-poems/#comments

A translation of one fragment here:

http://languagehat.com/

And some background here:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/28/scholars-discover-new-poems-from-ancient-greek-poetess-sappho.html
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby John W. » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:33 pm

Bill - I certainly didn't know about this, so many thanks for the info. Amazing to think that such things can still turn up.

Best,

John
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:33 pm

Fascinating indeed! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:14 pm

"Tom's" comment seems to make sense. ἀέρρη (or rather ἀέρρηι) instead of ἀέργη. But of course Prof. Obbink has actually examined the papyrus.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Scribo » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:26 pm

To be fair I wouldn't second guess Obbink, he's ridiculously sharp as a papyrologist. Whitmarsh has a translation out http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/j ... CMP=twt_gu though I've looked at neither that nor the actual fragments yet.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:31 am

Well, I'm sure that Prof. Obbink knows what he's doing. He undoubtedly inspected the actual papyrus, not a photocopy, and he must have a very comprehensive knowledge of paleography. The Whitmarsh translation leaves a blank for the word αερ.η, suggesting that there is some uncertainty on the part of others, too. It does seem to call for a verb, not an adjective.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:16 pm

The link to Dr. Obbink's paper with the text of the poems no longer works. I wonder whether he's making some changes to his reconstruction.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:24 pm

Ah, frustrating. I was saving it for the weekend to have enough time to read it. Maybe I still have it cached on the other computer...
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:38 pm

It's worth having a look at the comments circulating on the internet.

Eveline Rutten writes that Prof. Obbink doesn't think that the markings on the papyrus support the reading ἀέρρη.

http://newsappho.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/discussing-the-two-new-sappho-poems/#comments

You can find a reconstructed text here with Italian translation:

http://www.grecoantico.it/home/filologia-classica/se-larico-diventasse-finalmente-uomo/

More here on the 3rd stanza, some in English and French:

http://www.grecoantico.it/home/filologia-classica/carasso-larico-e-gli-accusativi/
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby daivid » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:32 pm

That a poem of Sappho is of course good news but the origin is disturbing. The papyrus was clearly plundered and far from being optimistic about other documents coming to light it makes me more worried about how much is being lost as Egyptian sites are turned over by people who are not merely greedy but clueless.

And while the collector did do the right thing by showing it to an expert, did he really not know that he was helping financing the illegal theft of archaeological sites?
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:40 pm

We don't know anything about the history of the Sappho papyrus, so let's not rush to judgment.

There are a number of important private collections of papyri that are derived from "plunder" to no greater degree than those residing in universities. There's a market for these things--some have been in circulation for 100+ years.

Some of the private collections are available to scholars.

http://www.brill.com/news/brill-publish-new-papyrus-series-green-collection

http://www.cbl.ie/Collections/The-Western-Collection/Papyri/History.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodmer_Papyri

Many of the university collections are the result of private collecting, to some degree by distinguished scholars themselves. And, untimately, you might say that the university collections themselves are the product of plunder. But if the plunder hadn't occurred, the finds would never have been published. Most of the manuscripts on which ancient Greek texts are based were themselves plundered at one time or another.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby daivid » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:36 pm

Qimmik wrote:We don't know anything about the history of the Sappho papyrus, so let's not rush to judgment.

Yes, you're right, we don't know its origin but we can be pretty certain that it wasn't discovered by a legal archaeological dig. It may have been inherited from his father, it may have been in circulation for many years true. And maybe once a document has been plundered then paying up may the lesser evil. But it is the kind of dilemma that faces those who receive demands by kidnappers.

What I was really disagreeing with was the comment in one of the links that this find gives grounds for optimism for further finds. At the moment the plundering of sites is being conducted on an industrial scale. If this poem is from a recent theft it is pretty safe bet vastly more historical value was lost when the site was plundered than the remnant that the plunderers think worth selling.

So the poem itself is good news but the background of its origin is to me very depressing.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:54 pm

To me, Obbink's original ἀέργη seems a better solution than ἀέρρη - I mean what would "if Larikhos raises his head and becomes a man" mean? At least I don't remember encountering any parallels for such an expression. "If lazy-head Larichos were to become a man" seems more natural; I think this sort of expression with κεφαλή are very typical in poetry (Well, I don't know Aeolic so well, but other poetry I've read).

ἄϊ apparently means ἀεί - this isn't to be found in LSJ. I suppose both syllables are short?

μεγάλαν ἀήταν (pl gen) is another form that surprised me, I didn't know this was Aeolic. Doric has this form, I think.

I have difficulties to make sense of the 4th stanza as it stands (I suppose it's that one you mean, not the 3rd, Qimmik?).
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:52 am

Yes, I meant the 4th stanza.

"I suppose both syllables are short?"

The iota is probably long. The syllable has to be long to fit the meter. θρ could lengthen a preceding short vowel, but usually doesn't, if I'm not mistaken (mute + liquid). I'm not sure whether ἄϊ is a genuine archaic Aeolicism or simply a 2d c. CE spelling due to the merger of iota and epsilon iota.

ἀέργη seems to leave the words preceding καὶ without a verb. And what noun does it agree with? Aeolic, like Doric, has long alpha where Attic/Ionic have eta in the first declension, but ἀεργός , όν, has no separate feminine form. A puzzle.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:37 am

I was thinking it must be acc fem sg of ἀεργής, with recessive accentuation. The word isn't in the online LSJ but is found in a more recent Spanish dictionary also included in Logeion, which apparently also has ἄϊ. But now I'm wandering if such an accusative in -η is proper Aeolic.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:14 pm

I don't have access to anything correct now, I only found this 111 years old book online. Apparently, if ἀεργής were Lesbian, it should have as acc sg either the uncontracted -εα or the analogical formation -ην. But since ἀέργην and ἀέργη are metrically equivalent, I suppose the latter one could be a mistake for the first one, since it was the one that was current in later times.

I suspect though that this is the sort of thing where the discovery of new papyri etc. could have changed things in a century, so probably that old book is not so much good anyway.

Actually, the newest printed version of LSJ has both ἀεργής (1 attestation) and ἄϊ, while I couldn't find neither one in online version.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:28 pm

"Actually, the newest printed version of LSJ has both ἀεργής (1 attestation) and ἄϊ, while I couldn't find either one in online version."

The on-line version is very deficient.

The text of the papyrus in the fourth stanza could well be corrupt. No one seems to be able to make sense of it. Someone did correct the papyrus text, but if the papyrus dates from the 2d c. CE, there's a gap of 700-800 years between Sappho and the papyrus.

It doesn't seem probable that ἀέργρη was mistakenly written instead of ἀέρρη.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Scribo » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:01 pm

Depends on the font, in Byzantine times I'd be like sure γ and ρ seem like something that could get caught up in terms of hand writing. Obviously this is much earlier but I still wouldn't be surprised, especially since taking aergh as acc of resp seems typical to me.

EDIT: Papyrus seems to have gone offline for now so working off memory, I think I've held most of it in my head though tbh. The wonders of metre.

Also not to discourage David's line of discussion, he's right...there is infinite amounts of dodgy stuff at work in the procurements (and care) of antiquities, it sucks but that's how it is. I mean I've seen stuff for sale I know damn well ought not to be, what exactly can I do?

EDIT β:

κἄμμες, αἴ κε τὰν [τὴν?] κεφάλαν ἀέργη
Λάριχος καὶ δήποτ’ ἄνηρ γένηται,
καὶ μάλ’ ἐκ πόλλαν βαρυθύμιάν κεν
[αἶψα?] λύθειμεν

I can't recall eta or alpha in the first bit, 60% sure /aipsa/ belongs in the last bit. We need to wait till its back up to resume discssion I've only seen it like 3 times.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:19 pm

I wonder whether ZPE demanded that the paper be pulled from the internet.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:34 pm

The debate seems to be whether the papyrus reads ἀέργη or ἀέρρη.

My point was that ἀέργη doesn't appear to be the regular Aeolic acc sg form for ἀέργης; the regular form would be ἀέργην or ἀέργεα (if that 111 year old book is correct). However, I suppose this doesn't rule out that the papyrus could read ἀέργη, since that would be the expected form later on, and this ἀέργη could be a corruption for ἀέργην. At least as far as I can see the accusative of respect interpretation makes good sense - "if lazy-headed Larichos were to become a man".

I find the interpretation "if Larikhos raises his head and becomes a man" strange. But what do I know...

There could be of course far deeper corruption involved than the reading of this one word.

Of course, Obbink might have some other interpretation in mind for ἀέργη, but I can't think what it could be.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:37 pm

Qimmik wrote:I wonder whether ZPE demanded that the paper be pulled from the internet.

It might well be. But actually I couldn't imagine better advertisement for their next number - I'm at least very temptated to actually buy it if it's possible. Unfortunately they don't sell ZPE at my nearest newspaper stand...
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:41 pm

"taking aergh as acc of resp seems typical to me"

But it still leaves tan kefalan as a direct object without a verb. Wouldn't the acc. of aerghs (if that's the word) be uncontracted aergea in Lesbian, which would be metrically impossible?

But, as I mentioned earlier, one of the commenters (Evelyn Ruttnen) on this link: http://newsappho.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/discussing-the-two-new-sappho-poems/#comments reports that Dr. Obbink doesn't think aerrh is a possible reading of the papyrus.

You wouldn't expect aerrh, an easily recognizable word, would be changed to aergh, a reading that seems impossible to make sense of (as others have noted). Usually the opposite happens, which is the origin of the maxim difficilior lectio potior, but you can't carry difficilior lectio to the point of nonsense.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:00 pm

Qimmik wrote:"taking aergh as acc of resp seems typical to me"

But it still leaves tan kefalan as a direct object without a verb. Wouldn't the acc. of aerghs (if that's the word) be uncontracted aergea in Lesbian, which would be metrically impossible?


Why couldn't it be an accusative of respect? τὰν κεφάλαν ἀέργη Λάριχος. πόδας ὠκὺς Ἀχιλλεύς. See Smyth. Or does the article pose some kind of problem here?
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:15 pm

Qimmik wrote: Wouldn't the acc. of aerghs (if that's the word) be uncontracted aergea in Lesbian, which would be metrically impossible?

See the 111 year old book I linked to above. The regular Aeolic acc sg for a word like ἀέργης would be either ἀέργεα or ἀέργην (some sort of analogical formation apparently). ἀέργην would be metrical here.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:47 pm

τὰν κεφάλαν ἀέργη Λάριχος

Λάριχος is nominative, so ἀέργη can't modify Λάριχος. It might modify τὰν κεφάλαν, but that leaves τὰν κεφάλαν ἀέργη without a syntactic function in the sentence, and why καὶ?

By the way, I wouldn't be so tentative about citing the 111 year old book. It looks like a very careful and thorough study, taking into account the epigraphic evidence, even though it may to some extent be outdated. The author questions the idea that Thessalian, Boeotian and Lesbian/Asiatic "Aeolic" should be lumped together in a single "Aeolic" dialect, suggesting that these three dialects should be viewed as continuations of "Mycenaean" with some parallel and some divergent developments, which I think is consistent with current thinking. To a large extent, ancient Greek linguistics is based on work like this, mostly by Germans but some by French and British scholars, too.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Scribo » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:57 pm

Yeah that is a problem, thing I can't for the life of me think what else would go without spending a lot of time going over it. Especially now that I only have the text in my head and already its fading and I know some of it is wrong...This is aging, as a kid I had huge amounts of verse in my head. Wow.

As for dialectology, well its in a state of flux. I'm sure you're aware that in terms of post Mycenaean Mycenaean we group Arkadian and Cypriot together as a dialect, though the Greeks had no sense of this being the case, closest to Mycenaean. In general things are in a state of flux and actually I'm applying to be part of a project that's going to put together a series of studies on this but its moot since I shall, alas, undoubtedly fail.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:06 am

Qimmik wrote:τὰν κεφάλαν ἀέργη Λάριχος

Λάριχος is nominative, so ἀέργη can't modify Λάριχος. It might modify τὰν κεφάλαν, but that leaves τὰν κεφάλαν ἀέργη without a syntactic function in the sentence, and why καὶ?.

Why couldn't τὰν κεφάλαν ἀέργη as a whole modify Λάριχος? καὶ can't mean "and" of course, so it would have to mean something like "even", i.e. strengthen δήποτ’. I don't know. I guess I just want to make some sence out of the stanza as given by Obbink. The alternative with ἀέρρη doesn't seem very satisfying either. I mean it's syntactically quite clear but the sense just somehow feels artificial. Probably there's deeper corruption involved, and we have to wait until someone comes up with a really ingenious conjecture.

As for the old book, I guess I agree. I was cautious because it was just something I hit upon with Google, not knowing who the author is. I really didn't read anything but the bit I was looking for and anyway I have no idea how much these things have changed in a century. Hence my caution.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:36 pm

"Why couldn't τὰν κεφάλαν ἀέργη as a whole modify Λάριχος?" I can't say that such a construction -- an accusative modifying a noun in the nominative -- exists nowhere in Greek, but I don't think I've ever seen such a construction.

πόδας ὠκὺς Ἀχιλλεύς - ὠκὺς is an adjective modifying Ἀχιλλεύς, not πόδας.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Scribo » Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:59 pm

The conundrum being "raise his head" seems to make the most sense grammatically, easy to turn it into a 3rd pers subjunctive despite the missing subscript. However the papyrus apparently doesn't support that and the sense doesn't seem as...well, nice. Not that the latter matters, I'm not an aesthete. But still.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:34 pm

Apparently, M.L. West has already contributed one conjecture to the Sappho fragment; maybe he'll propose a convincing solution to this problem.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:02 pm

Qimmik wrote:"Why couldn't τὰν κεφάλαν ἀέργη as a whole modify Λάριχος?" I can't say that such a construction -- an accusative modifying a noun in the nominative -- exists nowhere in Greek, but I don't think I've ever seen such a construction.

Of course. I feel like a total idiot. I must say I can't figure out what it could mean with ἀέργη then.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:59 pm

I think it just has to be accepted as a crux unless and until someone proposes a better solution.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby cb » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:28 pm

hi, just some random thoughts (nothing of value :) ), when i first read this i thought it was a fake, did anyone else have that impression? I'm probably too biased to judge well as my favourite grk passages come from sappho. there's something about the wooden stacking of infinitives etc in the earlier part of the poem that felt a bit modern verse comp, and the poem overall just didn't seem as good as the ones that previously survived (maybe that's why they did…). This may just be that it's new and so hasn't acquired the charm of a thousand readings, as william harris once said about some horace poems that he saved unread until his retirement, and didn't seem as good as he hoped…

anyway i checked it against my aeolic grammar and metre notes that i took a few years ago, as you do: http://mhninaeide.webs.com/writingsapphics.pdf . i was surprised to see the localisation of word metrical shapes did actually match what i found when i did my notes on word metrical shapes in sappho (at bottom of pg 16, and on pg 24, of my linked notes) – e.g. trochaic words are largely localised at the beginning of the line (νᾶϊ, οἶδε, ταῦτα etc), i was expecting a fake to get things like this wrong...

a few things struck me as odd, like alpha not omega in the last syll of µεγάλαν (against the paradigm of μέγας that I took from Hamm 1957 pg 160, on pg 5 of my linked notes)… i would have expected an iota in θρύλησθα, as the alternative 2nd person ending of a verb in -εω (pf 3 of my notes summarising lobel 1927 pg 43), but iotas do get left out sometimes…

as for the expression which is bugging everyone, my first thought was that, if this actually is a genuine sappho poem, then before we get to the last corrupt word ΑΕΡ.Η, we should figure out what τὰν κεφάλαν might mean. people seem to be assuming this has its literal simple meaning and that it's acc sg, but it could be gen pl (which ends -αν in aeolic), and could have another meaning entirely like the source of a river (see LSJ κεφαλή II(d) for this usage in the plural), and so maybe it's some sort of metaphor for drawing from the source, i.e. in attic τῶν κεφαλῶν (τι) αἴρηι (assuming the verb does come from aeolic ἀέρρω and either the papyrus is corrupt or the scribe made a mistake). or something else entirely. who knows… not me. cheers, chad
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:29 pm

You're not alone in thinking it was fake at first. Apparently, Prof. Gauthier Liberman, the editor of Alcaeus fragments in the Bude/ series, originally thought so, too, but changed his mind, as this link explains (in Italian and Latin):

http://www.grecoantico.it/home/filologia-classica/carasso-larico-e-gli-accusativi/

Thanks for the link to your very comprehensive study of the composition of Sapphics.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby cb » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:46 pm

oh man i'm thinking about this now. must... stop... taking a step back i'd expect to see a reference in the last strophe back to the idea in the 1st strophe - this is conjectured (although not actually possible to determine given the lack of evidence): see top of pg 13 of my sappho notes, summarising page 1955 pgs 11-12: http://mhninaeide.webs.com/writingsapphics.pdf

it would make sense if sappho was saying to put that bloody ship out of our minds, i.e. τάν functioning as a fem sg demonstrative referring back to the ship in the first strophe (and the article can replace the demonstrative in sappho: see pg 12 of my notes summarising lobel 1927 pg 63), with κεφάλαν in the gen pl. i realised assuming τάν is the same as κεφάλαν is not necessary, see my summary of the use of the definite article in sappho on pg 11 of the notes. as if she was saying in attic about the ship something similar to, ἔα χαίρειν αὐτήν! and stop talking to us about it...

who knows. i'll wait for someone else to figure this out! cheers, chad
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Qimmik » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:11 pm

Wouldn't µεγάλων be masc./neut. while the feminine form would be μεγάλαν or μεγαλᾶν ( α < α + ων)?
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby cb » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:21 pm

hi, i'm sure you're right there. i'm at work and so don't have my books which i assume explain the paradigm i gave in my notes there doesn't apply through all the genders. cheers, chad
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:21 pm

Qimmik wrote:Wouldn't µεγάλων be masc./neut. while the feminine form would be μεγαλᾶν ( ᾶ < ά + ων)?


Apparently Sappho has -αων as an archaism and regularly αν. See the Old Book here.

cb wrote:it would make sense if sappho was saying to put that bloody ship out of our minds, i.e. τάν functioning as a fem sg demonstrative referring back to the ship in the first strophe (and the article can replace the demonstrative in sappho: see pg 12 of my notes summarising lobel 1927 pg 63), with κεφάλαν in the gen pl. i realised assuming τάν is the same as κεφάλαν is not necessary, see my summary of the use of the definite article in sappho on pg 11 of the notes. as if she was saying in attic about the ship something similar to, ἔα χαίρειν αὐτήν! and stop talking to us about it...

who knows. i'll wait for someone else to figure this out! cheers, chad

That's interesting, the idea that the end of the poem could refer back to the beginning. But I understood that the beginning is missing, so the end could point out to something that we don't have...

Another thing: I agree that κεφάλαν could be something else than "head". But I don't think that word can be used for "the inner workings of the mind", i.e. for what somebody feels inside - for that you have thumos, phrenes, stethos, etc. I don't know how to exactly define kephale, but I think it's more how other people see you, the representation that other people make of you, your "face" or "image". I haven't thought it all through, but I think the important thing is that the Greeks didn't say that they think with their heads.

Good that you brought attention to the article. Is the Aelian Lesbian article then more like a demonstrative, like in Homer? I'll have to have a more thorough look at your notes... The Old Book does not treat the article, apparently.
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby cb » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:24 pm

hi, i guess one other random thought is that the corrupt letter in ΑΕΡ.Η, which we've been assuming might be Ρ, could instead be Θ, i.e. ἀερθῆι, aorist subjunc pass of ἀέρρω (with the iota dropped as elsewhere in this poem). τάν κεφάλαν would then be a gen pl reference to κἄμμες mentioned at the beginning of the line (with τάν acting like a possessive as it can do), ie if Λάριχος is removed from us (maybe he's crashing at home too long) and ... i could imagine that theta could be mistaken /incorrectly written as gamma ... i can't dig into this further, so this time i really will try to stop thinking about it, someone else will crack this nut :)
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Re: Two new Sappho fragments

Postby Scribo » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:03 pm

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