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Reading Thucydides 2014

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:40 am

pster wrote: Yes, I noticed the textual difficulties around 3.17, and so decided to not linger very long there.

Still, I want to ask about this nominative business. I was imagining that all the cases are possible. Indeed, that was why I wanted to examine 3.17. I agree with you about all of the other examples being nominative. I have the vague sense that you seem to be leaning towards the view that the nominative is required. Correct me if I'm wrong.

If the nominative is indeed required, then that would give us something meaty to ponder. So what is your view? And do any of the commentaries address this?


pster - thanks. I'm not sure I'm really inclining towards the nominative being absolutely required, though the example at 4.105.1 does stand out by being in the dative. Some scholars have considered amending certain examples to the dative, but others have pointed out that textual corruption could have led to changes having been made either way (nominative to dative or vice versa), and so they are inclined to leave things textually as they are, but to treat the sense of the idiom as unaffected by whether it's nominative or dative.

Andrewes (A Historical Commentary on Thucydides, vol. 5) does suggest a distinction, with the dative adjective meaning 'among the first'; at 8.89.2 he therefore suggests reverting to the reading of MS B, ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις, which Bekker had amended to ἐν τοῖς πρῶτοι, as Andrewes wants the restrictive shade of meaning here. However, his logic doesn't seem watertight, since, as I mentioned before, he also attempts to take 8.68.4 (καὶ Θηραμένης ὁ τοῦ Ἅγνωνος ἐν τοῖς ξυγκαταλύουσι τὸν δῆμον πρῶτος ἦν) as 'a weak superlative', and restrictive in sense, even though we have the nominative there!

So I'm not sure how much further the nominative/dative distinction will actually take us. It partly depends, I suppose, on whether one is willing and able to 'unpack' the construction in a certain way (e.g. along the lines of the unusual example at 8.68.4 quoted above), and whether one thinks that this takes the meaning in a certain direction.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:07 am

Argh, I meant 4.105, not 3.17 for the dative example. Only one computer working at the moment and the wifey keeps closing my Greek windows!
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:24 pm

I tried, but it's really impossible to use Perseus to investigate this idiom in other authors, or even in Thucydides, because ἐν τοῖς usually is just ἐν + article + a dative plural masculine noun.

3.17.1 . . . is square-bracketed by the OCT, but not by Alberti, and contains some other textual difficulties.


Not just section 1, but the whole of chapter 3.17. There are substantial notes on this in Hornblower and Gomme. It was Steup who originally condemned the whole chapter, but according to Alberti it shows up in one 2d c. CE papyrus (P. Ox. 3891) (listed in the third volume of Alberti). The problem is that it seems to relate to 430, not 428, and one solution that has been offered is to transpose it elsewhere.

It's a pity that mwh is no longer posting on this site. He would probably have had something valuable to say about this.

I just finished Book 1 last night. I was using Marchant for Book 1, as well as Gomme, Hornblower and (occasionally) Classen-Steup. (I've been buying books over about 30 years in preparation for my assault on Thucydides.) And I have to confess that I'm also using the new Mynott translation, which is closer to literal than some of the others, when (1) I want to make sure that I understand a passage correctly (2) I'm completely stumped -- not an infrequent occurrence, and (3) I get lazy. For Book 2, I have Rusten and Rhodes to replace Marchant (which is available on-line). I'm trying not to get too bogged down in detail, though. At my age, this may be my only opportunity to read Th. in his entirety, and I want to get through it.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:01 pm

Qimmik wrote:I tried, but it's really impossible to use Perseus to investigate this idiom in other authors, or even in Thucydides, because ἐν τοῖς usually is just ἐν + article + a dative plural masculine noun.

I'm trying not to get too bogged down in detail, though. At my age, this may be my only opportunity to read Th. in his entirety, and I want to get through it.


Bill - many thanks for trying.

For a really literal translation, with some useful notes, the old one by Dale (1845?) can still be helpful. It was frequently reprinted by Bohn/Bell, and copies can be purchased relatively cheaply (I don't know if it's on line anywhere).

I sometimes wish I'd adopted your approach; as it is, I've been churning around with Thucydides for around 12 years now (though it's been fun as well as frustrating). At present I'm rereading my translation, making minor stylistic tweaks, but also (as will have become apparent) succumbing to the temptation to revisit some of the knottiest passages and problems. This is definitely my last read-through for the time being, though - the idea is that then, armed with my translation, I'll start working my way through my collection of books about Thucydides.

At least, that's the plan ...

Best,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:02 am

I've been pondering these this morning:


Plat. Phaedrus 261e

Σωκράτης
τῇδε δοκῶ ζητοῦσιν φανεῖσθαι. ἀπάτη πότερον ἐν πολὺ διαφέρουσι γίγνεται μᾶλλον ἢ ὀλίγον;
Φαῖδρος
ἐν τοῖς ὀλίγον.

Plat. Sym. 178a

πρῶτον μὲν γάρ, ὥσπερ λέγω, ἔφη Φαῖδρον ἀρξάμενον ἐνθένδε ποθὲν λέγειν, ὅτι μέγας θεὸς εἴη ὁ Ἔρως καὶ θαυμαστὸς ἐν ἀνθρώποις τε καὶ θεοῖς, πολλαχῇ μὲν καὶ ἄλλῃ, οὐχ ἥκιστα δὲ κατὰ τὴν γένεσιν. τὸ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς πρεσβύτατον εἶναι τὸν θεὸν τίμιον, ἦ δ᾽ ὅς, τεκμήριον δὲ τούτου: γονῆς γὰρ Ἔρωτος οὔτ᾽ εἰσὶν οὔτε λέγονται ὑπ᾽ οὐδενὸς οὔτε ἰδιώτου οὔτε ποιητοῦ, ἀλλ᾽ Ἡσίοδος πρῶτον μὲν Χάος φησὶ γενέσθαι—“ ... αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα
Γαῖ᾽ εὐρύστερνος, πάντων ἕδος ἀσφαλὲς αἰεί,
ἠδ᾽ Ἔρος ...
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:48 am

pster wrote:I've been pondering these this morning:


Plat. Phaedrus 261e

Σωκράτης
τῇδε δοκῶ ζητοῦσιν φανεῖσθαι. ἀπάτη πότερον ἐν πολὺ διαφέρουσι γίγνεται μᾶλλον ἢ ὀλίγον;
Φαῖδρος
ἐν τοῖς ὀλίγον.

Plat. Sym. 178a

πρῶτον μὲν γάρ, ὥσπερ λέγω, ἔφη Φαῖδρον ἀρξάμενον ἐνθένδε ποθὲν λέγειν, ὅτι μέγας θεὸς εἴη ὁ Ἔρως καὶ θαυμαστὸς ἐν ἀνθρώποις τε καὶ θεοῖς, πολλαχῇ μὲν καὶ ἄλλῃ, οὐχ ἥκιστα δὲ κατὰ τὴν γένεσιν. τὸ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς πρεσβύτατον εἶναι τὸν θεὸν τίμιον, ἦ δ᾽ ὅς, τεκμήριον δὲ τούτου: γονῆς γὰρ Ἔρωτος οὔτ᾽ εἰσὶν οὔτε λέγονται ὑπ᾽ οὐδενὸς οὔτε ἰδιώτου οὔτε ποιητοῦ, ἀλλ᾽ Ἡσίοδος πρῶτον μὲν Χάος φησὶ γενέσθαι—“ ... αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα
Γαῖ᾽ εὐρύστερνος, πάντων ἕδος ἀσφαλὲς αἰεί,
ἠδ᾽ Ἔρος ...


pster - many thanks for digging these out.

The first one seems straightforward, since, in response to the preceding question - ἀπάτη πότερον ἐν πολὺ διαφέρουσι γίγνεται μᾶλλον ἢ ὀλίγον - the answer given is ἐν τοῖς ὀλίγον [διαφέρουσι]. The second, however, seems much closer to our Thucydidean examples, and must mean 'among the most ancient of the gods', not 'the most ancient', since the following quote from Hesiod mentions Chaos as more ancient, and Gaia as on a temporal par with Eros. So this appears to be an example of the restrictive sense of the idiom, which may reinforce the likelihood of its being used in that sense elsewhere.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:03 pm

It's above my pay grade, but I'm not sure that Chaos and Gaia actually count as gods here. I can see how not having parents would make one the oldest. The idea that it would make one one of the oldest but not necessarily the oldest seems odd and problematic. Jowett opts for: "For he is the eldest of the gods, which is an honour to him".

Anyway, and thinking out loud, are there really only two options on the table?

And, in these passages, is it in any way possible to read the whole expression "en tois X" as adverbial? Or are we of the view that according to both the restrictive and the intensive interpretations "en tois X" is a substantive?
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:43 pm

pster wrote:It's above my pay grade, but I'm not sure that Chaos and Gaia actually count as gods here. I can see how not having parents would make one the oldest. The idea that it would make one one of the oldest but not necessarily the oldest seems odd and problematic. Jowett opts for: "For he is the eldest of the gods, which is an honour to him".

Anyway, and thinking out loud, are there really only two options on the table?

And, in these passages, is it in any way possible to read the whole expression "en tois X" as adverbial? Or are we of the view that according to both the restrictive and the intensive interpretations "en tois X" is a substantive?


I'll have to think further about your second and third points. Re the first, I would have thought that Gaia at least should probably be counted as a god (I'm less sure about Chaos) but I too would appreciate input from others on this point. I see the Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd edn) describes Gaia as 'a primordial goddess', and under 'Eros' states: 'he [Hesiod] also makes him, together with Earth and Tartarus, the oldest of all gods'.

In the complete translation of Plato published by Hackett, the Symposium example is rendered as 'one of the most ancient gods'.

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:35 pm

In Dover's edition of the Symposium, he translates ἐν τοῖς πρεσβύτατον as "among the oldest", noting that "ἐν τοῖς with a superlative that does not agree with τοῖς is a fixed phrase." ἐν τοῖς πρεσβύτατον is picked up again at 178c.

The consensus seems to lean towards "among the" + superlative, not "the very" + superlative.

I think the absence of gender agreement shows that ἐν τοῖς is or has become adverbial, but the superlative does agree with the noun, so I would be inclined to characterize it as an adjective modified by adverbial ἐν τοῖς.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:52 pm

Qimmik wrote:I think the absence of gender agreement shows that ἐν τοῖς is or has become adverbial, but the superlative does agree with the noun, so I would be inclined to characterize it as an adjective modified by adverbial ἐν τοῖς.


This does seem the most plausible way to analyse the idiom. I also agree that the restrictive sense is currently looking more likely than the intensive.

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:06 pm

2.37.1:

μέτεστι δὲ κατὰ μὲν τοὺς νόμους πρὸς τὰ ἴδια διάφορα πᾶσι τὸ ἴσον, κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀξίωσιν, ὡς ἕκαστος ἔν τῳ εὐδοκιμεῖ, οὐκ ἀπὸ μέρους τὸ πλέον ἐς τὰ κοινὰ ἢ ἀπ’ ἀρετῆς προτιμᾶται, οὐδ’ αὖ κατὰ πενίαν, ἔχων γέ τι ἀγαθὸν δρᾶσαι τὴν πόλιν, ἀξιώματος ἀφανείᾳ κεκώλυται.

I'm not sure what ἀπὸ μέρους refers to. Rusten says that it refers to chosing magistrates by lot. Marchant says that it just refers to one's social standing. Both seem to think Pericles is alluding to lots in the passage. But neither Hobbes nor Strassler nor Jowett seem to reflect that in their translations.

Also, I'm having trouble with ὡς ἕκαστος ἔν τῳ εὐδοκιμεῖ. Does it just mean: as each is honoured in this [=ἀξίωσις]? What kind of ὡς is this?
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:14 pm

ἔν τῳ = ἔν τινι, dative of τι, not ἐν τῷ. "in something" Smyth 334

κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀξίωσιν, ὡς ἕκαστος ἔν τῳ εὐδοκιμεῖ, οὐκ ἀπὸ μέρους τὸ πλέον ἐς τὰ κοινὰ ἢ ἀπ’ ἀρετῆς προτιμᾶται

"each man [ἕκαστος] is respected in public affairs [ἐς τὰ κοινὰ . . . προτιμᾶται] according to his worth [κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀξίωσιν], as he [each] is held in distinction in some respect [ὡς ἕκαστος ἔν τῳ εὐδοκιμεῖ], [and] not more [οὐκ . . . τὸ πλέον] on the basis the mechanical rotation of offices by lot [ἀπὸ μέρους] than on the basis of merit [ἢ ἀπ’ ἀρετῆς] . . .

ἕκαστος is the subject of the whole sentence, even though it's packed into the ὡς clause.

κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀξίωσιν -- maybe "according to how his worth is judged"

ὡς -- maybe "according to how"

Most of the commentators seem to understand ἀπὸ μέρους as referring to the rotation of offices by lot, a practice for which the Athenian democracy was criticized on the grounds that it was irrational and didn't result in a "meritocracy." Some argue that it means "on the basis of political party." Hornblower has a note setting out the various interpretations of ἀπὸ μέρους, and comes down in favor of "from rotation."

Rhodes: "This is one of many passage in the speech where scholars have found it hard to reach agreement on the meaning."

Hope this helps!
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:18 pm

One more suggestion: ἐς τὰ κοινὰ . . . προτιμᾶται -- maybe translate "each man is respected for his contribution to public affairs" to capture the force of ἐς, or maybe even recast the sentence to mean "each man's contribution to public affairs is respected"
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:54 pm

pster – I translate this bit as follows:

‘... but while, in terms of legal rights, equality is shared by all in relation to their private affairs, nonetheless, regarding recognition by the state, an individual receives preference for public office not by rotation, but from his own merit, based on the distinction he has achieved in some field; as for poverty, if a person is able to perform any service for the city he is not debarred from doing so by lack of social status.’

Best,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:37 pm

ἐς τὰ κοινὰ . . . προτιμᾶται again:

LSJ translates this as "to be preferred to public honours"; Rusten: "receive preference for public office"; Hornblower: "wins promotion in the state"; Rhodes: "in public life men gain preferment"

It seems a little odd to say that men gain preferment by merit, not by rotation, when rotation was the method of choosing magistrates. That's why I translated it as "is respected in public affairs", rather than as a specific reference to preferment for public office. One suggestion (Roberts, according to Hornblower) is that the reference is to the strategoi, the real leaders of public policy, who were elected, not chosen by lot. Maybe "each wields influence in public affairs" would be a way to capture this expression.

John, I wonder whether the distinction and contrast between πρὸς τὰ ἴδια διάφορα τὸ ἴσον and κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀξίωσιν ἐς τὰ κοινὰ could be brought into sharper focus: equality before the law in private disputes, and (maybe not "while . . . nonetheless") merit holds sway in public affairs. Two complementary aspects of the Athenian "constitution."
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:53 pm

Qimmik wrote:ἐς τὰ κοινὰ . . . προτιμᾶται again:

LSJ translates this as "to be preferred to public honours"; Rusten: "receive preference for public office"; Hornblower: "wins promotion in the state"; Rhodes: "in public life men gain preferment"

It seems a little odd to say that men gain preferment by merit, not by rotation, when rotation was the method of choosing magistrates. That's why I translated it as "is respected in public affairs", rather than as a specific reference to preferment for public office. One suggestion (Roberts, according to Hornblower) is that the reference is to the strategoi, the real leaders of public policy, who were elected, not chosen by lot. Maybe "each wields influence in public affairs" would be a way to capture this expression.

John, I wonder whether the distinction and contrast between πρὸς τὰ ἴδια διάφορα τὸ ἴσον and κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀξίωσιν ἐς τὰ κοινὰ could be brought into sharper focus: equality before the law in private disputes, and (maybe not "while . . . nonetheless") merit holds sway in public affairs.


Bill - many thanks, as always.

I chose the interpretation 'receives preference for public office' because the reference to rotation seems to relate to some sort of specific office or position, and so I thought that the other part, with which it is being contrasted, should too. But I may be wrong in that.

The reason I opted for 'while ... nonetheless' was because of what precedes this. In essence: 'Our system may be called a democracy, but - while there is legal equality for all in private affairs - we certainly don't just dole out offices to anyone and everyone in rotation, but award them on the basis of merit.'

However, I'll have a rethink in the light of your comments.

One small point I've just noticed is that, in the later part of the sentence, Alberti reads ἔχων δέ τι ἀγαθὸν δρᾶσαι τὴν πόλιν, rather than the OCT's ἔχων γέ ... etc.

Best,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:24 pm

I wonder whether οὐκ ἀπὸ μέρους really refers to rotations. An alternative explanation, apparently endorsed in LSJ s.v. μέρος I.A.2 and IV, is that it refers to social classes rank or castes, or to political factions or parties (though "parties" would seem to reflect a discredited 19th century understanding of Athenian politics along the lines of modern political parties). Although most of the modern commentators seem to endorse "rotations," perhaps some thought should be given to the possibility that he is distinguishing oligarchy, where family and wealth are the source of political power, from democracy, where political influence is open to all by merit, even to poor people who have something to contribute. That strikes me as more consonant with the thrust of the passage.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dme%2Fros
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:58 pm

Qimmik wrote:I wonder whether οὐκ ἀπὸ μέρους really refers to rotations. An alternative explanation, apparently endorsed in LSJ s.v. μέρος I.A.2 and IV, is that it refers to social classes rank or castes, or to political factions or parties (though "parties" would seem to reflect a discredited 19th century understanding of Athenian politics along the lines of modern political parties). Although most of the modern commentators seem to endorse "rotations," perhaps some thought should be given to the possibility that he is distinguishing oligarchy, where family and wealth are the source of political power, from democracy, where political influence is open to all by merit, even to poor people who have something to contribute. That strikes me as more consonant with the thrust of the passage.

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


Coincidentally, I actually spotted this idea in the editions of Bloomfield (1830) and Goeller (1836) earlier this evening - apparently the scholiast took it similarly. I'll give it some thought.

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:58 am

Gomme, who endorses "rotations," has a long comment on this. He thinks that the contrast between equality before the law in private disputes and meritocracy in public affairs is signaled by μὲν. . . δὲ. Both readings go back to antiquity--"social class" according to the scholiast; "rotation" apparently to the Oxyrhynchus papyrus containing part of a commentary on Thucydides Book 2.

http://books.google.com/books?id=40BXAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA107&lpg=PA107&dq=oxyrhynchus+thucydides+commentary&source=bl&ots=ainSpQ8Rxj&sig=OjJU4-4si2NarojgRx6_qJVxN94&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Cp_5UvKcDcng0gGdqoBQ&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=oxyrhynchus%20thucydides%20commentary&f=false

Mynott prefers to translate "not by rank". He writes (fn. 5, p. 111): "Most current commentators prefer the interpretation 'taking turns' or 'by rotation', a reference to the Athenian practice of choosing some officials in an annual lottery (Rusten, pp. 145-6; Hornblower I, pp. 300-1). But that seems both to undermine the logic of the section and to involve Thucydides in appearing to deny this common practice."

Personally, I don't think it's possible to decide this without asking Thucydides what he meant. But I'm inclined to favor "not by rank/status/social position" or something of that sort. I think the larger implicit contrast is with oligarchy where rank and not necessarily merit would prevail in public life, and not the contrast between equality before the law in private disputes and merit as the determinant of influence in public affairs. Weighing somewhat against that is μὲν. . . δὲ, but I think that can be explained by the contrast merely between private disputes and public life, and might even be translated by "and". Equality before the law is the rule in private disputes; merit prevails in public life--and even the poor are taken seriously if they have something valid to contribute. I think that adding the point about the poor makes more sense if Pericles' main point is that in public life merit, not social rank, is the key to advancement, and, not that despite equality before the law in private disputes, in public life there is scope for merit to rise to the top.

Reasonable minds may differ.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:22 am

Bill - thanks for your further analysis.

What I'm struggling with at the moment is how the alternative interpretation ('on the basis of rank' vel sim.) fits into the overall structure of the sentence. It isn't just a case of the μὲν. . . δὲ within this part of the sentence, but of the other one which precedes it:

καὶ ὄνομα μὲν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐς ὀλίγους ἀλλ᾽ ἐς πλείονας οἰκεῖν δημοκρατία κέκληται: μέτεστι δὲ κατὰ μὲν τοὺς νόμους πρὸς τὰ ἴδια διάφορα πᾶσι τὸ ἴσον, κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀξίωσιν, ὡς ἕκαστος ἔν τῳ εὐδοκιμεῖ, οὐκ ἀπὸ μέρους τὸ πλέον ἐς τὰ κοινὰ ἢ ἀπ᾽ ἀρετῆς προτιμᾶται, οὐδ᾽ αὖ κατὰ πενίαν, ἔχων γέ τι ἀγαθὸν δρᾶσαι τὴν πόλιν, ἀξιώματος ἀφανείᾳ κεκώλυται.

I've been working so far on the assumption that the second μὲν. . . δὲ pairing is effectively subordinate to the preceding δὲ. Hence (to repeat my version, with the start of the sentence now added, and with the μὲν. . . δὲ contrasts, as I have interpreted them):

‘In name [μὲν] it is called a democracy, because it governs not for the few but for the many; but [δὲ] while [μὲν], in terms of legal rights, equality is shared by all in relation to their private affairs, nonetheless [δὲ ], regarding recognition by the state, an individual receives preference for public office not by rotation, but from his own merit, based on the distinction he has achieved in some field; as for poverty, if a person is able to perform any service for the city he is not debarred from doing so by lack of social status.'

Because this is how I've so far taken the structure of the sentence as a whole , on the alternative interpretation of ἀπὸ μέρους I would end up with, in effect, the sense: 'Although it's called a democracy, an individual doesn't receive preference based on his rank.' This wouldn't seem a very logical train of thought.

Am I therefore misinterpreting the structure somehow? If so, how do you see it working? As a Doctor Who fan I often wish for access to the Tardis so I could ask Thucydides exactly what he had in mind!

Best,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:33 pm

This is how Mynott negotiates the μὲν/δὲ embedded within μὲν/δὲ: "Democracy is the name we give to it, since we manage our affairs in the interests of the many not the few; but though everyone is equal before the law in the matter of private disputes, in terms of public distinction preferment for office is determined on merit, not by rank but by personal worth; moreover, poverty is no bar to anyone who has it in them to benefit the city in some way, however lowly their status."

There is another contrast signaled by οὐδ᾽ αὖ. In light of αὖ, I'm inclined to think that οὐδ᾽ αὖ κατὰ πενίαν is not merely a new thought, but draws a contrast with what precedes it--specifically, οὐκ ἀπὸ μέρους. Merit prevails; both social status and, on the other hand, poverty are irrelevant.

This is how I would analyze the train of thought: It's called democracy because the government is for the many, not the few, but although in private disputes everyone is equal before the law, in public life it is merit that prevails, not social rank, and, on the other hand, poverty is no bar to participation if someone has something valid to offer.

It's a difficult balancing act to give all of the particles their just deserts. In the end, reasonable minds can differ.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:57 pm

δέ vs. γέ: According to Alberti's apparatus, γέ is a conjecture of Reiske (1761). He probably felt there were too many δέ's. γέ does make a little more sense, but it doesn't appear in any of the mss. or in a quotation by Dionysius.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:06 pm

Bill - many thanks for your two recent posts above.

With Mynott's version I'm afraid I find the same structural problem: "Democracy is the name we give to it, ... but ... in terms of public distinction preferment for office is determined on merit, not by rank but by personal worth ... ." This still seems open to the criticism voiced by Gomme (HCT ad loc.): "No one would write, 'it is in name a democracy, but office-holding is not confined to a class'."

With the aid of Betant, I've been having a look at examples of μέρος in Thucydides. There are a few places where μέρος appears in expressions meaning 'in turn', but these take the form ἐν τῷ μέρει (4.11.3, 8.86.3), ἐν μέρει (8.93.2) or κατὰ μέρος (3.49.3, 4.26.3). Our present passage seems to be the only instance of ἀπὸ μέρους: however, the variety of the expressions quoted above for ‘in turn’ makes it possible that Thucydides could have used it here in that sense as a further variation, especially to parallel ἀπ᾽ ἀρετῆς following. But there can of course be no certainty on this, and I'll keep pondering.

Best,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:00 am

Bill - I should have mentioned in my last post that there seems to be no other place in Thucydides where μέρος could mean one's lot or rank in life; of course, as with the fact that there is no other instance of ἀπὸ μέρους, that is by no means conclusive.

I also need to give some more thought to your helpful comments regarding οὐδ᾽ αὖ κατὰ πενίαν, and the bearing which this has on interpreting the preceding part of the sentence, and in particular whether it is adding to οὐκ ἀπὸ μέρους. That is attractive, but I'm still trying to find a way through the maze of μὲν. . . δὲ clauses which makes logical sense on any interpretation other than the 'rotation' one.

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John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:30 pm

John, you've made some strong points in favor of "rotation," and I don't have anything more to add in defense of "rank", except to note, as Mynott does, that many offices in Athens were in fact filled by "rotation" or by lot. I guess the explanation for this would be that Pericles is talking about the influence wielded by speakers in the public assembly, not about office-holding.

οὐδ᾽ αὖ perhaps moves on to a new thought. If "rotation" is correct--"not by rotation but by merit"--maybe γέ is right, reinforcing the idea of "merit" as the key to the Athenian system of government: "moreover, poverty is no bar, at least if someone has something valid to contribute."

But I come back to Rhodes's remark: "This is one of many passage in the speech where scholars have found it hard to reach agreement on the meaning."
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:48 pm

Thanks, Bill. I think you're right, and there's probably not much scope for taking things further at this stage - unless, that is, one of us has a belated flash of inspiration, or someone else feels like chipping in. Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to discuss this.

Best,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:42 pm

Isn't it ironic that this is one of the most famous and often-quoted passages in Thucydides, yet there is no agreement on what it means?
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:56 pm

Qimmik wrote:Isn't it ironic that this is one of the most famous and often-quoted passages in Thucydides, yet there is no agreement on what it means?


A very good point. A few years ago part of 2.37.1 - χρώμεθα γὰρ πολιτείᾳ … καὶ ὄνομα μὲν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐς ὀλίγους ἀλλ’ ἐς πλείονας οἰκεῖν δημοκρατία κέκληται - was included in a draft of the EU's proposed constitution (but was removed from a later draft; the constitution was of course in any case rejected). I remember thinking at the time that the proposed inclusion of this passage in its truncated form, especially as it was rendered into English at the time, ignored the complexities and qualifications of the μὲν. . . δὲ clauses!

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John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Scribo » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:29 pm

So are we on book 2 then? picking up a copy of Thucydides in a few days (no longer have my old one :( ) as soon as I finish with Dover's Prose Style and reviewing my Donovan notes. Will try to catch up asap.

You know John that's terrifying. EU Constitution. The only constitution I ever want to see drafted is "dear God this idea is terrible, we're basically Hitler, let's dissolve the political union and kill ourselves".
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:04 pm

You are way over my head in this thread, but for some time already I've been tempted to read Thucydides. I don't think opportunities like this with all you competent people in this great thread will come any time soon if ever again in my life. What I need is basically a correct text with just enough commentary to understand the rudiments of the historical/political setting and some help with the Greek; I don't want to get drowned. Like "Green and Yellow" level, or maybe even a bit more simple. Can you help me a bit? Probably you've discussed this before, but this thread is currently at 589 posts, so maybe you excuse me for asking this...

This is what I have understood:
- The Loeb edition is old and maybe outdated
- The OCT is apparently outdated
- There's a commentary by someone called Marchant, which is old but maybe good for a beginner like me
- There's recent commentary by Hornblower, which is good, but I might get drowned
- The Budé which I saw at the library looks nice, has some commentary (but Budés don't usually offer help with comprehension problems), is this any good?
- There's a green and yellow at least on book II, are there any others? Anything at this level or a bit below for book I?
- The current standard edition is Alberti, if I ever get serious with Thucydides

I suppose the my best bet is Budé / Marchant / Green and yellow if I read book II, which is apparently what you are doing now. How about if I start from book I?
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:11 pm

Scribo wrote:So are we on book 2 then? picking up a copy of Thucydides in a few days (no longer have my old one :( ) as soon as I finish with Dover's Prose Style and reviewing my Donovan notes. Will try to catch up asap.

You know John that's terrifying. EU Constitution. The only constitution I ever want to see drafted is "dear God this idea is terrible, we're basically Hitler, let's dissolve the political union and kill ourselves".


Good to hear from you, Scribo. I'm actually just starting a reread of my version of Book 4, but am very happy to chip in on any queries regarding any part of Thucydides, as I'm sure are pster and Qimmik.

The EU constitution certainly polarised opinion, and I don't think it ever had much chance of being ratified - certainly not by the UK. Personally I lost interest once the quote from Thucydides was removed! :)

All the best,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:41 pm

Paul,

Alberti is 3 vols., about 30 euros each. Very good apparatus and, according to Hornblower, the best edition of Thucydides. Latin apparatus and introduction. Hard but not impossible to get ahold of. Beautiful printed text--I almost hesitate to use it in order to keep it pristine. Awkward to read in bed.

The OCT is still serviceable, as is the Loeb. The Loeb translation strays too far from the literal for my taste, although a strictly literal translation of Th. into English would be unreadable.

The Budé (Romilly) is supposed to be quite good, with helpful notes--and you're fluent in French. The translation can and should be used to help decipher the Greek. You will want a translation into a modern language with which you're familiar, if only to check your own interpretation after you've struggled with a sentence for an hour or so (but in reading Thucydides, a certain amount of cheating with a translation is condoned, if you try to understand the Greek first). I think the full Budé set will cost about as much as or more than Alberti.

You'll also want at least one commentary. Marchant Books 1 and 2 (and maybe more) is available on-line on the Perseus site. He provides linguistic commentary, as well as historical. But not enough of either, and there has been a lot of work on the historical side since his commentary.

For Book 2, there are (1) Rhodes (Aris & Phillips) -- Greek text and English translation, good historical commentary, with some linguistic, but the translation is expected to elucidate the grammar; and (2) Rusten (green & yellow) both historical and linguistic commentary.

Hornblower's commentary is exclusively historical (except where linguistic issues affect the historical interpretation). Gomme is older than Hornblower, but still very useful.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:44 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:I suppose the my best bet is Budé / Marchant / Green and yellow if I read book II, which is apparently what you are doing now. How about if I start from book I?


Hi, Paul - glad to hear you (and Scribo) are going to have a crack at Thucydides. It's long and demanding, but I've personally found it immensely rewarding, and I hope you will too.

We're really all just going at our own paces - pster had raised a query on Book 2, which we've been discussing - but I'm sure we're all happy to help each other out.

You asked about editions/commentaries, and so I'll try to summarise my understanding - Qimmik will no doubt put me right if I go wrong.

In my view the OCT is somewhat outdated now - hardly surprising, as it's over a century old. I think that the best text available is Alberti's, in three volumes; it can be hard to find (I think Qimmik or someone posted a link to a site to get hold of it at some stage), but is well worth it.

In terms of complete commentaries, I would strongly recommend A Historical Commentary on Thucydides by Gomme, Dover and Andrewes (Clarendon Press, 5 vols.); this offers much more help in terms of discussing problem passages than does the more recent commentary by Hornblower.

I like the Bude Thucydides very much; the text and translation are both good and the notes (especially the Notes Complementaires gathered at the end of each book) can be very helpful.

The classic 19th century commentaries by Krueger (German commentary), Poppo-Stahl (Latin commentary) and Classen-Steup (German commentary) are all still well worth consulting.

On individual books, the only complete run of school/college commentaries is that published by Macmillan, and edited variously by Marchant, Graves and Tucker. They're still useful, though sometimes a bit sketchy. Rather fuller are those issued by Ginn and Co. of Boston in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, based on Classen's edition, and edited variously by Morris, Smith and Fowler; however, this series includes only Books 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7.

There are other worthwhile commentaries on individual books. Two old favourites of mine are Book 1 edited by W.H. Forbes (Oxford 1895), which has very good sections on Thucydidean grammar and style, and Book 8 edited by H.C. Goodhart (Macmillan 1893).

Of recent commentaries, Thucydides Book 1: A Students' Grammatical Commentary by H.D. Cameron (Michigan) can be helpful, and for Book 2 there is J.S. Rusten's excellent 'Green and Yellow' series commentary (the only book of Thucydides so far covered in that series).

One book I always advise people to read pari passu with Thucydides is Thucydides by W. Robert Connor (Princeton 1984), a sequential reading of Thucydides with valuable discussions (especially in the footnotes) of many problem passages.

I hope this helps a little; let me know if you (or Scribo) would like any more information, and have fun with your reading of Thucydides!

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:17 pm

Thanks a lot! I don't want to immerse myself to deep into Thucydides, at least for time being (my Homer addiction is already totally out of control), so in the first place I want mostly grammatical help with not too much on the historical side. From what you say, it looks like the most useful for me for book 1 would be Budé, Cameron and for occasional consultation Gomme & al. Maybe I'll occasionnally have a look at Marchant too. It's nice to know that there's a number of old commentaries that are still useful; I saw at the library an old German commentary with a similar format as the Ameis-Hentze-Cauer Homer commentaries, I suppose that was Classen. I'll resist the temptation to buy anything at present -- I actually saw the Albertis at the library and they do look very nice, but I must be strong, I really don't need them!

If I'm able to finish book 1 with the student's commentary, I'll then be able to attack book 2 with the slightly more advanced Green & Yellow...

My approach, especially with a difficult text, is to cheat a lot. I don't mind checking the translation soon, but I don't go on before I get the meaning of the Greek. One thing that I've found helpful is actually using two cribs in different languages (usually French and English). That way, the paraphrases are bound to be a bit different and it's easier to see beyond the translation.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:31 pm

Paul Derouda wrote: From what you say, it looks like the most useful for me for book 1 would be Budé, Cameron and for occasional consultation Gomme & al. Maybe I'll occasionnally have a look at Marchant too.

If I'm able to finish book 1 with the student's commentary, I'll then be able to attack book 2 with the slightly more advanced Green & Yellow...


That sounds like a good plan, Paul. Marchant also did Book 2 for the Macmillan series, so it would be useful to have that on hand too when you get on to that book.

Best,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby pster » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:34 pm

The EU can't stop horse meat being sold as beef in a half dozen countries, but they can stop some Germans from saying their bottled water prevents dehydration. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... ation.html Seems doubtful such people can be reasoned with.

@ Paul and Scribo: I'll buy you a reasonably priced commentary of your choice if you participate in this thread for 24 months.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:56 pm

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:26 pm

Bill - by way of a late postscript to our previous discussion:

Qimmik wrote:John, you've made some strong points in favor of "rotation," and I don't have anything more to add in defense of "rank", except to note, as Mynott does, that many offices in Athens were in fact filled by "rotation" or by lot. I guess the explanation for this would be that Pericles is talking about the influence wielded by speakers in the public assembly, not about office-holding.


I'm afraid my knowledge of Athenian institutions is deplorably lacking, but weren't the στρατηγοὶ - who I believe possessed considerable power and influence by this time - elected? I don't know whether or not the same applied to any of the older magistracies, or whether they would be relevant in this context.

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John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:16 pm

"weren't the στρατηγοὶ - who I believe possessed considerable power and influence by this time - elected?"

Yes. Hornblower cites some scholars who have made that point, suggesting in support of "rotations" that κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀξίωσιν, ὡς ἕκαστος ἔν τῳ εὐδοκιμεῖ, οὐκ ἀπὸ μέρους τὸ πλέον ἐς τὰ κοινὰ ἢ ἀπ᾽ ἀρετῆς προτιμᾶται, refers to the elected strategoi. But it still seems strange to make the assertion that men achieved honors by their abilities and not by rotation in light of the widespread use of lotteries to choose magistrates in Athens.

In support of "rotations", Gomme cites this passage from Aristotle, Rhetoric 1.8:

ἔστιν δὲ δημοκρατία μὲν πολιτεία ἐν ᾗ κλήρῳ διανέμονται τὰς ἀρχάς, ὀλιγαρχία δὲ ἐν ᾗ οἱ ἀπὸ τιμημάτων, ἀριστοκρατία δὲ ἐν ᾗ κατὰ τὴν παιδείαν,

where democracy is characterized by the use of lotteries to distribute the magistracies. This would support reading 2.37.1 as you've translated it, roughly as follows: "Because our government is for the benefit of the many, not the few, we're called a democracy, but even though everyone is equal before the law, political influence is not attained by lottery, but by merit, and even poverty is no bar if someone has something valuable to offer."
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:43 pm

Bill - many thanks for this most interesting material. Perhaps, then, Pericles is arguing that, despite its name, the Athenian system is not a democracy in the extreme sense, but (at least to some degree) a meritocracy.

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