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Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

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Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:28 pm

Od. 9.98-99:
τοὺς μὲν ἐγὼν ἐπὶ νῆας ἄγον κλαίοντας ἀνάγκῃ,
νηυσὶ δ᾽ ἐνὶ γλαφυρῇσιν ὑπὸ ζυγὰ δῆσα ἐρύσσας.

Do you think it's possible to take δῆσα and ἐρύσσας as "causative" aorists, like sigmatic aorists sometimes are, i.e. not to translate "I drew them beneath the benches and bound them" but instead "I had them drawn beneath the benches and had them bound."

I consulted a number of translations and commentaries, and none agrees with this interpretation. One problem with this is that I don't think either verb has an alternative non-sigmatic aorist form.

For a causative sigmatic aorist, compare:

Il. 1.310:
ἐν δ᾽ ἐρέτας ἔκρινεν ἐείκοσιν, ἐς δ᾽ ἑκατόμβην
βῆσε θεῷ, ἀνὰ δὲ Χρυσηΐδα καλλιπάρῃον
εἷσεν ἄγων: ἐν δ᾽ ἀρχὸς ἔβη πολύμητις Ὀδυσσεύς.

What do you think?
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Qimmik » Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:58 pm

In the Iliad Agamemnon would never stoop to doing something like this himself.

In the Odyssey, I usually visualize Odysseus doing things himself, even when he still has underlings to order around. Honestly, it wouldn't occur to me to ask whether he or his companions are acting here.

But the difference between the causative sigmative aorist and the intransitive second aorist is that the sigmatic (first) aorist is transitive and the other aorist is intransitive.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Smyth+grammar+819&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007

Only verbs that can be used in an intransitive sense have a causative aorist. The causative aorist is transitive, as distinguished from the intransitive second aorist. So causative aorists never mean that the subject caused or ordered someone else to perform a transitive act that the subject could have accomplished himself, but rather merely that the subject caused someone (including animals) to perform an intransitive act (going, in the Iliad example).

Not sure that's clear.
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:48 pm

That's clear enough and I agree. It's just that the idea of Odysseus bringing his men back to the ships alone by force is strange, so I desperately tried to find a way around it. But that's the way it has to be. The emphatic pronoun ἐγὼν, much stronger than English I, also supports this.

Chantraine (GH I, 408) also sort of mixed me up by calling sigmatic aorists "causative". I think it would be a lot clearer to say that -σ- is a transitive marker. Also, Finnish has morphemes that actually do change transitive verbs into transitive-causative, so I was sort of looking for something similar.

Another difficult bit here is the imperfect ἄγον; I think the only one who got it right is Merry & Riddell's commentary from 1886: "them I proceeded to bring away forcibly to the ships, weeping; and in the hollow ships, dragging them under the thwarts, I made them fast."
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Qimmik » Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:58 pm

"-σ- is a transitive marker"

This is only true in the case of verbs with an intransitive 2d aorist, I believe.
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:28 am

Yes, I suppose so. I said that in a very shorthand way, I meant the particular cases where Chantraine says the verbs are "causative".

I wonder however, if etymologically -σ- was not really originally a more general transitive marker that assimilated functions from the second aorist later on. It's getting too late to look up anything now...
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Bart » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:09 pm

I don't know if you have access to Chantraine's Morphologie historique du grec. It contains quite an extensive chapter on the 'aorist sigmatique' that looks interesting. However being totally submerged in the famous Catalogue -apart from a lot of other work-related stuff- I have no time to read it now. But maybe you do.
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Scribo » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:47 pm

Given the debates surrounding the formation of the aorist in PIE your best bet might be something more recent like Sihler. In essence, /s/ seems to be a uniquely aoristic marker but that doesn't mean all aorists have them and the development of what we call second root aorists can be quite complicated.
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Qimmik » Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:28 pm

OK, y'all (more on that later) have prompted me to satisfy my pedantic curiosity.

Chantraine (Morphologie historique, sec. 199, p. 175) writes that the sigmatic aorist goes back to an old Indo-European athematic type with vowel gradation (alternance).

Sihler (sec. 459, p. 510): "The only stem-formation which is uniquely aoristic is an athematic stem consisting of an element *-s- directly affixed to the root perhaps because of its distinctiveness it enjoyed considerable productivity in the daughter languages."

Neither of them mentions that the -s- was a causative marker--it was simply a normal proto-Indo-European aorist marker.

The -α- of the personal endings apparently developed as an epenthetic vowel between the stem ending in -σ- and the athematic personal endings. According to Sihler (sec. 504, p. 560), the -α- was generalized from the 3rd pers. plural form, which ended up as -σαν (after various changes from an original -σντ (ν = syllabic ν), except for the 3rd sing. form, which was borrowed from the thematic conjugation.

A note on non-standard English: For those to whom it's unfamiliar, "y'all" is southern US English for the plural 2d person plural pronoun. The generalization of "you" as the number-less 2d person pronoun in English is a perpetual embarrassment to speakers of standard English, who are helpless to indicate whether they are addressing a single individual or a group. In the southern US, "y'all" (non-standard but not sub-standard) fills the morphological void (that's not my dialect, but I do use "you all" when I need to make things clear); elsewhere, "youse" (definitely sub-standard) serves this function. Once long ago in the Army, I heard a sergeant address us privates as "youse mens" (one notch below substandard).
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Scribo » Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:44 pm

Yes the a seems to be common elsewhere too, see Sanskrit: Adiksam, adiksah (previously adiksas), adiksat etcfor the aorist of dikami etc (I point, show, I'm sure the cognates are familiar). I have no doubt that the /s/ can't be causative, just an aspect marker as I said and wow omg I'm pretty sure your quote is 100% what is written in the book so kudos to you either for your memory or for taking the time to write it out for us.

The aorist is actually interesting as a PIE phenomenon and I know one person at least producing a book on it - which is scary, that is the darker side of the Classics, when things go mental.
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Bart » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:14 pm

Qimmik wrote:A note on non-standard English: For those to whom it's unfamiliar, "y'all" is southern US English for the plural 2d person plural pronoun. The generalization of "you" as the number-less 2d person pronoun in English is a perpetual embarrassment to speakers of standard English, who are helpless to indicate whether they are addressing a single individual or a group. In the southern US, "y'all" (non-standard but not sub-standard) fills the morphological void (that's not my dialect, but I do use "you all" when I need to make things clear); elsewhere, "youse" (definitely sub-standard) serves this function. Once long ago in the Army, I heard a sergeant address us privates as "youse mens" (one notch below substandard).


Nice. That sounds a bit like Dutch, where 'jullie' , a contraction of 'je lieden' meaning you people ('lieden' like German 'Leute') serves as 2d plural personal pronoun. Back to topic.
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Qimmik » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:32 pm

either for your memory or for taking the time to write it out for us
.

I've memorized Sihler, of course.
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Re: Aorists in Od. 9.98-99

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:08 pm

Ok, so if I understand correctly, although -σ- might have been a transitive marker among other meanings in some situations, it's not the original meaning and was never general by any means.

Maybe I'll have time to read all that myself sometime. Not now, though...
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