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Reading Thucydides 2014

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Sat May 17, 2014 1:01 pm

John,

Mynott translates: "the idea being to divert Athenian attention from those setting out towards those crossing the Isthmus later." But he adds a footnote: "The practical logic of this is unclear (and the passage has been suspected). Hobbes translates in the opposite, more meaningful sense, that they diverted attention to those setting out."

Hornblower and Andrewes-Dover don't offer any help on this particular issue.

I think your focus on μᾶλλον makes some sense -- the point being that the Lacedaemonians wanted the Athenians to focus their attention on both contingents, not primarily on those still crossing the Isthmus. But then why not launch the whole fleet at once? And the next sentence notes that the Lacedaemonians made no attempt to conceal their plans because they were contemptuous of the Athenians for their weakness due to the evident lack of a large fleet.

So there are two alternatives, neither of which seems truly compelling:

1. The Lacedaemonians wanted the Athenians to focus on the ships that were still crossing the Isthmus. Presumably the point of this would be to escape the Athenians' notice in embarking the first contingent. But the Lacedaemonians didn't conceal what they were doing and were contemptuous of the Athenians anyway.

2. The Lacedaemonians wanted the Athenians to be aware of the magnitude of their fleet--that after the launch of the first half, still more ships were on their way. But then why not launch the entire fleet at once?

I have to agree with Mynott, who seems to share your discomfort: the point of the stratagem is mystifying to me, and it's difficult to make a choice between the alternative translations you discuss without a clear understanding of what the Lacedaemonians expected to achieve by dividing their fleet this way.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sat May 17, 2014 4:49 pm

Bill - many thanks for your thoughts, and for the information on Mynott's views - it's good to know that I'm not alone in my perplexity!

Poppo-Stahl takes the point of the ruse to be that, if the Athenians were focused more on the second contingent still crossing the isthmus, the first contingent would be more likely to be able to make a quick (and safe) crossing to Chios. But then what about the fate of the second contingent, if that was going to be left to experience the full weight of Athenian opposition? Since it represented nearly half the total fleet, it was surely too important to be offered up as a sacrificial lamb.

As far as I can see, the only way to make much sense of the text as a whole is:

(i) the Peloponnesians were contemptuous of the Athenians' ability to stop them, and so were making the voyage openly;

(ii) nonetheless, just to be on the safe side, they decided to send part of their fleet off first, not so the Athenians would concentrate on one part rather than another, but so that their attention would be divided equally between the two, and in their confusion and indecision they would end up stopping neither group from getting through.

My worry is whether that is reasonably extractable from the Greek, especially as an interpretation of μὴ ... μᾶλλον ἢ ... In English we sometimes say 'You can no more do X than you can do Y', meaning of course that you are equally unable to do either; however, I'm uncertain as to whether it is legitimate to take μὴ ... μᾶλλον ἢ ... in the same way here. More thought/study needed, I fear.

I hope your own reading of Thucydides is still going well.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sat May 17, 2014 5:50 pm

PS - a footnote in Bloomfield's 1829 translation quotes the following paraphrase from Mitford's History of Greece:

'... thus it was hoped the Athenians, having their attention divided between the division sailing, and that remaining to sail, would act effectually against neither.'

This is exactly how I would like to interpret the Greek, if feasible.

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Sun May 18, 2014 1:56 pm

John, I did a very crude search on the Perseus website for all instances of μᾶλλον in Thucydides. I just looked at a few instances in the first two books where μᾶλλον occurs in a negative context, not all 274 citations.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/searchresults?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0199&inContent=true&target=greek&all_words=ma%3Dllon&phrase=&any_words=&exclude_words=&search=Search

μᾶλλον ἢ usually does mean "rather than" or "instead of," which in a negative context would yield "so that the Athenians would focus less on those which were setting out than on those which were additionally being carried across afterwards." I only found a few instances of μᾶλλον ἢ in a negative context, "not X rather than Y", where the possibility of X seemed to be excluded, or "Y more than X", where both X and Y might be possible, but "X less than Y" seemed to be intended. None of these instances would seem to mean "X and Y equally."

1.10.3, 1.73.3, 2.22.1.

But I don't see why your reading -- "X not more than Y", i.e., "X and Y equally" -- would be impossible, especially after completing nearly five books of Thucydides' convoluted Greek. I still feel that I'm missing something in the passage you're concerned about--both alternatives seem to me difficult to explain in a coherent and compelling way.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Mon May 19, 2014 4:01 pm

Bill - many thanks for all your help, and for going to the trouble of searching for me; I'm most grateful.

For the moment I've left my version as it was - i.e. '... would focus less on those which were setting out than on those ...' etc. - as I'm still lacking the confidence to change it. As you say, with Thucydides almost anything is possible, but it would be reassuring to find a parallel.

I may yet summon up the courage to change to the 'X and Y equally' interpretation, however. Thucydides has just mentioned the first group's setting off, so it would seem not unreasonable then to say 'so the Athenians wouldn't give any more attention to these than to the second group', meaning their attention would be (more or less) equally divided.

I'm a little surprised that some of the commentators haven't gone further into this passage.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed May 21, 2014 4:50 pm

In 8.24 Thucydides praises the Chians for becoming 'both prosperous and prudent at the same time'; in the course of this encomium, he states that even their revolt from Athens does not debar them from being considered prudent (8.24.5):

καὶ οὐδ᾽ αὐτὴν τὴν ἀπόστασιν, εἰ τοῦτο δοκοῦσι παρὰ τὸ ἀσφαλέστατον πρᾶξαι, πρότερον ἐτόλμησαν προιήσασθαι ἢ μετὰ πολλῶν τε καὶ ἀγαθῶν ξυμμάχων ἔμελλον ξυγκινδυνεύσειν ...

I've translated this as follows:

'And if they seem to have acted against the safest option in undertaking this very revolt, even in this instance they did not venture to proceed until they were going to share the danger with many courageous allies, ...'

In rendering it thus I've assumed that προιήσασθαι (in bold) is simply Alberti's misprint for ποιήσασθαι (which is the OCT's reading); am I correct in this assumption, or have I overlooked some other verb which (i) does yield the form προιήσασθαι, and (ii) makes sense in this context?

Many thanks,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Wed May 21, 2014 5:51 pm

Just looking in here again. You seem to be doing ok without me!

A misprint, surely.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed May 21, 2014 7:28 pm

mwh wrote:Just looking in here again. You seem to be doing ok without me!

A misprint, surely.


Good to hear from you again, Michael - I hope all's well with you.

I think you're right - I've picked up a number of apparent misprints in Alberti over and above those listed at the end of volumes 2 and 3. I just wanted to check, though, in case my limited knowledge of Greek had caused me to overlook something in this instance.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Wed May 21, 2014 8:32 pm

I just finished the Melian Dialogue. Until now, I thought the Corcyrean Stasis was hard . . .
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Thu May 22, 2014 7:50 am

Qimmik wrote:I just finished the Melian Dialogue. Until now, I thought the Corcyrean Stasis was hard . . .


I remember having much the same experience the first time I tackled the Melian Dialogue. I suppose I had assumed that it would be relatively straightforward, given its format; I was swiftly disabused of that notion!

Anyway, good luck with all the speeches in Book 6!

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Tue May 27, 2014 11:36 pm

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed May 28, 2014 7:53 am



Yes, in my view it certainly is - on several fronts. The reading of Thucydides is simplistic and highly selective: no attention is paid to the context of the funeral oration within Thucydides' work, for example, or to how this might affect our reading of it. Moreover neither in the case of Pericles, nor in those of the other leaders mentioned, is any consideration given as to mixed human motivations - they're all simply put on a pedestal as people who 'dedicated themselves to public service'.

I also have major problems with the division between books in the 'Athens basket', which 'arouse energy and aspiration', and those in the 'Jerusalem basket', which 'interrogate worldly ambition and encourage righteousness'.

As so often nowadays, everything seems crudely oversimplified and reduced to little more than soundbites.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Wed May 28, 2014 1:59 pm

I can recall hearing David Brooks on the radio, on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Someone raised questions about the outcome, the presence of WMDs in Iraq, the opposition of the Europeans, etc. Brooks said something like "Look, it will be a cakewalk, in a few weeks it will be all over, everyone will forget about the questions, and the French will be falling all over George W. Bush, proclaiming him a great, heroic leader."

Brooks doesn't seem to have read his Thucydides then or now.

Here's an article about this self-proclaimed reader of Thucydides:

http://www.salon.com/2013/09/15/david_brooks_was_wrong_on_iraq_and_afghanistan/

We're too late for WWI, but in our lifetimes, if there was ever an event where reading Thucydides might have helped policy-makers, and commentators egging them on, avoid blundering into disaster, it was surely the US invasion of Iraq. (Of course, there are those like Donald Kagan and his brood who read Thucydides à rebours.)

καὶ ἐς μὲν ἀκρόασιν ἴσως τὸ μὴ μυθῶδες αὐτῶν ἀτερπέστερον φανεῖται: ὅσοι δὲ βουλήσονται τῶν τε γενομένων τὸ σαφὲς σκοπεῖν καὶ τῶν μελλόντων ποτὲ αὖθις κατὰ τὸ ἀνθρώπινον τοιούτων καὶ παραπλησίων ἔσεσθαι, ὠφέλιμα κρίνειν αὐτὰ ἀρκούντως ἕξει. κτῆμά τε ἐς αἰεὶ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀγώνισμα ἐς τὸ παραχρῆμα ἀκούειν ξύγκειται.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed May 28, 2014 4:13 pm

Bill - many thanks; the article about Mr Brooks makes somewhat depressing reading.

Unfortunately, far too many invocations of Thucydides in IR and other contexts do little more than seek to lend authority to specious and simplistic arguments.

Re your quotation, by the way, I'm now inclining to the alternative punctuation suggested by Goodwin in 1864, with the comma moved from after ἔσεσθαι to after κρίνειν, i.e.:

καὶ ἐς μὲν ἀκρόασιν ἴσως τὸ μὴ μυθῶδες αὐτῶν ἀτερπέστερον φανεῖται: ὅσοι δὲ βουλήσονται τῶν τε γενομένων τὸ σαφὲς σκοπεῖν καὶ τῶν μελλόντων ποτὲ αὖθις κατὰ τὸ ἀνθρώπινον τοιούτων καὶ παραπλησίων ἔσεσθαι ὠφέλιμα κρίνειν, αὐτὰ ἀρκούντως ἕξει. κτῆμά τε ἐς αἰεὶ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀγώνισμα ἐς τὸ παραχρῆμα ἀκούειν ξύγκειται.

I may well move this interpretation from a footnote in my translation (where it currently resides) into the main text, as it seems to me an improvement in terms of both structure and sense.

Best,

John
Last edited by John W. on Wed May 28, 2014 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Wed May 28, 2014 4:47 pm

Moving the comma as Goodwin suggested:

ὅσοι δὲ βουλήσονται

τῶν τε γενομένων τὸ σαφὲς σκοπεῖν

καὶ

τῶν μελλόντων . . . ἔσεσθαι ὠφέλιμα κρίνειν,

αὐτὰ ἀρκούντως ἕξει.

This results in stricter parallelism and seems a more natural way to read this sentence.

Hence, utterly un-Thucydidean!
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed May 28, 2014 5:20 pm

Qimmik wrote:Hence, utterly un-Thucydidean!


:) One of the biggest difficulties I've found in such cases is deciding whether they are examples of Thucydides' fondness for (a) antithesis and balance, or (b) variation.

In the present case, I'm partly influenced by issues over the interpretation of τὸ σαφὲς. In a paper of 2010, Hunter Rawlings translates τὸ σαφὲς as 'the clear and certain truth'. Unless one is ascribing to Thucydides (implausibly in my view) a strictly cyclical interpretation of history, I am uneasy over applying τὸ σαφὲς to future (rather than past) events. It seems to me more likely that Thucydides is suggesting that, by examining accurate information about past events (τῶν τε γενομένων τὸ σαφὲς σκοπεῖν), one will be able to draw useful conclusions (ὠφέλιμα κρίνειν) about those which subsequently occur. At any rate, that's my best take on it at present.

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Wed May 28, 2014 5:43 pm

John, despite my (only half-)facetious remark above, I agree with you. I think Thucydides invites the reader to learn accurate information about the past as a basis for drawing useful conclusions about future events which may be similar (τοιούτων καὶ παραπλησίων) to past events, given human nature, but I don't think he is promising that his account will allow readers to predict the future course of events with exactitude. Goodwin's punctuation seems preferable--even if it's a little too limpid and not convoluted enough for Thucydides--because it disassociates τὸ σαφὲς σκοπεῖν from τῶν μελλόντων . . . ἔσεσθαι.

I think Connor makes the point that this passage should be read as you and Goodwin suggest. The unpredictability of future events is one of Thucydides' most salient themes.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Thu May 29, 2014 12:23 am

I can't quite make up my mind about this, but find myself leaning to the opposite view. The construction seems complete at εσεσθαι, without anything to suggest we should be waiting for a second infinitive, and ωφελιμα κρινειν seems awkward ("hence Thucydidean"?) with the simple genitive rather than e.g. περι των μελλοντων. Of course, these are not decisive considerations, and ωφελιμα κρινειν also seems a bit awkward (ditto) with αυτα αρκουντως εξει, which makes a fine apodosis in itself. But doesn't it better suit the context if it's his account (αυτα) that Thucydides wants his readers to judge useful, μυθωδες-less as it is, in contradistinction to an entertaining account that would have more appeal? I'm less troubled than the two of you by Thucydides' extending το σαφες (why not "clarity"?) to analogous future events. He's not stressing unpredictability here but if anything the reverse; that's the value of the past.

All I have to hand is Steve Lattimore's translation, which reads "Yet if they are judged useful by any who wish to look at the plain truth about both past events and those that at some future time ... will recur ..., that will suffice." It takes a moment to see how he gets that from the Greek (the "they" and the "that" should have the same reference, and the "if" seems an over-interpretation of the infinitive) but I think that's basically right. At least, that's what I think for the moment.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Thu May 29, 2014 8:06 am

Michael - a few miscellaneous comments in response:

(i) with the traditional punctuation, I find the long, rather rambling, clause, which peters out with ἔσεσθαι, somewhat odd. It's not impossible, of course, with Thucydides (what is, one might well ask), but to me it seems structurally less convincing than the other option;

(ii) I'm not sure about taking το σαφες as 'clarity' here - 'the clarity of those events' doesn't sound quite right. In 'Thucydidean Epistemology: Between Philosophy and History' (Rheinisches Museum für Philologie vol. 153 (2010), pp. 247-90), Hunter Rawlings makes a strong case for its meaning here being something like 'clear and certain knowledge', or 'accurate information'. I still struggle to apply it to future events;

(iii) αὐτὰ ἀρκούντως ἕξει would mean 'this work will be satisfactory as it is', i.e. without the mythological element, so this interpretation still gets this point across;

(iv) a number of older translators take ἀρκούντως ἕξει in the sense 'it will be enough for me [=Thucydides]'; however, in my view such an interpretation smacks more of Victorian literary style than of what one might expect to find in Thucydides. Lattimore drops the 'for me', but does seem influenced by this school.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Thu May 29, 2014 5:08 pm

mwh wrote:ωφελιμα κρινειν seems awkward ("hence Thucydidean"?) with the simple genitive rather than e.g. περι των μελλοντων.


I forgot to touch on this point. You're right that the simple genitive here is certainly unusual, though not (I think) impossible for Thucydides. It could moreover be explained on stylistic grounds by the desire to balance τῶν τε γενομένων τὸ σαφὲς σκοπεῖν with καὶ τῶν μελλόντων ... ὠφέλιμα κρίνειν.

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Sat May 31, 2014 2:22 am

John – thanks for the come-back. You may be right. I don’t see the clause as “peter(ing) out” with εϲεϲθαι, however, rather than reaching its anticipated conclusion, and is the simple genitive is any more “unusual” with το ϲαφεϲ ϲκοπειν than with ωφελιμα κρινειν? As to το ϲαφεϲ, to try to particularize its “meaning” beyond what’s inherent in the word itself (it is, after all, an extremely common word) seems to me mistaken in principle.

Hunter Rawlings and I were at the Center for Hellenic Studies together in the 70’s, and I remember our discussing this along with other crucial passages – but I don’t remember what either of us said! It may be that this is the way I’ve always read it (with my Victorian sensibility? – I don’t think so, but quite possibly under the sway of earlier translators or commentators) and (Qimmik-like) I can’t bring myself to change now.

It’s been too long since I properly read Thucydides, and I fear I’ve lost whatever feel for him I may ever have had. So don’t take any notice of me.

-- I’m aware I still owe you a reply to your PM.

All best. End is sight, it seems!
Michael
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Sat May 31, 2014 8:00 am

Michael - thanks very much for your reply.

I take your points, and you may well be right. Ever since learning of Goodwin's interpretation (via Connor's Thucydides), however, I've been (perhaps erroneously) attracted by it. I'm a little surprised it's not even mentioned (as far as I'm aware) in any of the big commentaries; apart from Connor's book, and of course Goodwin's actual paper of 1864, the only two works I've found that discuss it are Shilleto's 1872 edition of Book 1, and Pritchett's 1975 translation of Dionysius of Halicarnassus' On Thucydides. I don't know who introduced the traditional punctuation, but it has become so ingrained as to be difficult to overturn (not that this proves it to be wrong).

I had the good fortune to discuss this passage with Hunter Rawlings in 2012. At that time, as I recall, his view was that, while both interpretations have their problems, Goodwin's has fewer than the traditional one.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:28 pm

Help!

I’m really struggling with one aspect of 8.46, in which Alcibiades is offering advice to the satrap Tissaphernes. My problem is trying to work out which third person pronouns relate to Tissaphernes, and which to the Persian King. In the text below I’ve set the problem pronouns in bold and also lettered them as <A>, <B> etc.

παρῄνει δὲ καὶ τῷ Τισσαφέρνει μὴ ἄγαν ἐπείγεσθαι τὸν πόλεμον διαλῦσαι, μηδὲ βουληθῆναι κομίσαντα ἢ ναῦς Φοινίσσας ἅσπερ παρεσκευάζετο ἢ Ἕλλησι πλέοσι μισθὸν πορίζοντα τοῖς αὐτοῖς τῆς τε γῆς καὶ τῆς θαλάσσης τὸ κράτος δοῦναι, ἔχειν δ᾽ ἀμφοτέρους ἐᾶν δίχα τὴν ἀρχήν, καὶ βασιλεῖ ἐξεῖναι αἰεὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς αὐτῷ λυπηροὺς τοὺς ἑτέρους ἐπάγειν. [2]γενομένης δ᾽ ἂν καθ᾽ ἓν τῆς ἐς γῆν καὶ θάλασσαν ἀρχῆς ἀπορεῖν ἂν <A>αὐτὸν οἷς τοὺς κρατοῦντας ξυγκαθαιρήσει, ἢν μὴ <B>αὐτὸς βούληται μεγάλῃ δαπάνῃ καὶ κινδύνῳ ἀναστάς ποτε διαγωνίσασθαι. εὐτελέστερα δὲ τάδ᾽ εἶναι, βραχεῖ μορίῳ τῆς δαπάνης καὶ ἅμα μετὰ τῆς <C>ἑαυτοῦ ἀσφαλείας αὐτοὺς περὶ ἑαυτοὺς τοὺς Ἕλληνας κατατρῖψαι.[3]ἐπιτηδειοτέρους τε ἔφη τοὺς Ἀθηναίους εἶναι κοινωνοὺς <D>αὐτῷ τῆς ἀρχῆς: ἧσσον γὰρ τῶν κατὰ γῆν ἐφίεσθαι, τὸν λόγον τε ξυμφορώτατον καὶ τὸ ἔργον ἔχοντας πολεμεῖν. τοὺς μὲν γὰρ ξυγκαταδουλοῦν ἂν σφίσι τε αὐτοῖς τὸ τῆς θαλάσσης μέρος καὶ <E>ἐκείνῳ ὅσοι ἐν τῇ βασιλέως Ἕλληνες οἰκοῦσι, τοὺς δὲ τοὐναντίον ἐλευθερώσοντας ἥκειν, καὶ οὐκ εἰκὸς εἶναι Λακεδαιμονίους ἀπὸ μὲν σφῶν τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἐλευθεροῦν νῦν τοὺς Ἕλληνας, ἀπὸ δ᾽ ἐκείνων τῶν βαρβάρων, ἢν μή ποτε αὐτοὺς μὴ ἐξέλωσι, μὴ ἐλευθερῶσαι. [4]τρίβειν οὖν ἐκέλευε πρῶτον ἀμφοτέρους, καὶ ἀποτεμόμενον ὡς μέγιστα ἀπὸ τῶν Ἀθηναίων ἔπειτ᾽ ἤδη τοὺς Πελοποννησίους ἀπαλλάξαι ἐκ τῆς χώρας.

In his 1893 edition Tucker takes the view that A (ἀπορεῖν ἂν αὐτὸν) must refer to ‘Tissaphernes, not the king. since the clause with βασιλεῖ ἐξεῖναι is dependent on ἐᾶν, of which the subject is Tissaphernes. So Tissaphernes is the αὐτὸς . . . ἑαυτοῦ . . . αὐτῷ . . . ἐκείνῳ of the following passage.’ However, a previous owner of my copy of Tucker has dissented from this in a MS annotation, on the grounds that D (αὐτῷ τῆς ἀρχῆς) must refer to the King, because of τῆς ἀρχῆς. But what about example E? If the King is being referred to by these pronouns, is it likely/possible that ἐκείνῳ will refer to the King with ἐν τῇ βασιλέως following, or is ἐκείνῳ there more likely to be Tissaphernes? If so, what then are the implications for the preceding pronouns – does it increase the likelihood of their also referring to Tissaphernes?

My apologies for troubling you with this. I had hoped to replace at least some of these pronouns with the relevant name in my translation in the interests of clarity; if it comes to it, however, I suppose I could just leave them as pronouns, thus preserving the ambiguity found in the original. Before falling back on that, however, any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:42 am

I now have the OCT to hand (but not Alberti). To judge by the variants and corruptions in the MSS (ευτελεστερα δε τα δεινα?!) no-one’s ever been able to sort this out. What a mess it is. But reading through the text as you give it, before looking at app.crit. or your report of Tucker etc., I automatically referred A to the King. I didn’t take it as intensive (as I now see Lattimore does) but as providing a subject for the infinitive after the change of case; the clause seemed to continue the point just made (“the King could play each side against the other, whereas if land and sea arxh were unified he’d be at a loss as to …”) rather than leapfrogging that to refer back to the clause before that (“… and to let both sides split possession of the arxh”), though in itself that would be a no less logical thing to say. That still seems to me the most natural way to read it. (Lesser punctuation after επαγειν?) I don’t see Tucker’s grammatical objection as having a great deal of force (but I dare say I’m wrong about that).

Then what of B? Now that could be Tissaphernes, with αυτος marking the switch back. The expense and risk would fall on him, Tiss (“—unless he wanted to … himself,” a touch sardonic, and with the αυτος going more with the subordinate verbs but put up front for clarity[?!] and emphasis; not unusual). Referred to the King, it would mean the King would have to pony up himself, instead of letting the costs of fighting fall on the Pels and Aths. That makes sense of a kind, but not such good sense?

Then C is Tiss also, though it would be the King on a different reading of A and B. (I’m approaching this sequentially, as it goes along, which seems to me the only good way to read. I’m no fan of retrospective interpretations, except in the likes of Callimachus and Ovid.) It’s Tiss he’s manipulating, after all, and appealing to Tiss’s own interests (identified, as they have to be, with the King’s) is paramount.

Then D. Here’s the stumbling-block identified by your annotator. It would be heresy to suggest that by this point the two (Tiss & King) have merged. But can’t it really be Tiss? The arxh is the same as that which Alcib would have him allow to be split in para.1. Doesn’t that imply it’s (kind of) his? Even if it’s not, it flatters Tiss to suggest that it is. It’s also (isn’t it?) the arxh by land and sea of para.2, which Tiss would now be sharing with the Athenians. So I favor Tiss, consistently with my reading of what precedes.

Same goes for E. εκεινω rather than reflexive (or just intensive αυτω) effects the oppositive pairing with σφισιν αυτοις; emphatic σοί in direct speech. (Actually that might be a helpful exercise, to try the oratio recta equivalent of the various interpretations and see which reads most cogently.) Your point against referring it to the King is a strong one, I’d say.

So my vote goes to
A: King
BCDE: Tiss.
But I could be wrong about it all. As I explained, I no longer have confidence in my ability to read Thucydides.

All that’s assuming [sorry: now that I know who you are: on the assumption that] the reconstructed text is right. Incidentally, though, it seems pretty obvious to me that των Ελληνων and των βαρβαρων towards the end of 3 are complementary explanatory glosses and don’t belong in the text.

I once edited a papyrus text from this neighborhood, but all I remember about it is that (unsurprisingly but reassuringly) it had ξυνεπολεμει at the end of the chapter, present only in the Vaticanus—its absence being an exemplary conjunctive error in the rest of the tradition.

A right cunning bastard, Alcibiades.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:19 am

Michael - many thanks for your comprehensive and very helpful analysis.

I agree with you that A seems likely to refer to the King, and continues the line of thought from the end of the preceding sentence. I'm less sure about B (and hence C) being Tissaphernes, mainly because this would entail a switch of reference within a fairly short space (ἀπορεῖν ἂν <A>αὐτὸν οἷς τοὺς κρατοῦντας ξυγκαθαιρήσει, ἢν μὴ <B>αὐτὸς βούληται). But I suppose this is possible.

Re D, I've since noticed that in 8.5.5 ἐκ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ ἀρχῆς refers to Tissaphenes, albeit there with regard to his province rather than in any wider sense.

Like you, I think that E is likely to be Tissaphernes.

In view of the uncertainty I may cover these issues in footnotes rather than substituting nouns for pronouns in the body of my translation.

I certainly agree with you re Alcibiades - he practically defines self-serving, and the way in which he segues effortlessly from one side to another is truly astonishing. Thucydides clearly had some regard for his abilities, but I wonder what he really made of all this. One of the books I've got lined up to read once my translation is (pro tem) out of the way is Steven Forde's The Ambition to Rule, which may shed some light on this.

Thanks again,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:12 pm

"I'm less sure about B (and hence C) being Tissaphernes, mainly because this would entail a switch of reference within a fairly short space (ἀπορεῖν ἂν <A>αὐτὸν οἷς τοὺς κρατοῦντας ξυγκαθαιρήσει, ἢν μὴ <B>αὐτὸς βούληται). But I suppose this is possible."

For me, the shift of reference isn't just possible--αὐτὸς at B actually establishes that Th. means Tiss and not the King. I think this is mwh's point. If the subject of βούληται were the King, it would not need to be expressed: αὐτὸς is emphatic here and, it seems to me, can only signal a shift to Tiss.

And it seems to me more likely that when Al talks about someone's volition (βούληται) in an intimate conversation with Tiss, he is referring to Tiss rather than the distant King. This intimate conversation seems to me explicitly aimed at Tiss, not the King. Al, I think, is tailoring his advice to Tiss's own interests, which don't necessarily coincide completely with those of the King. (How did Th. know what passed between these two ruthless bastards--Tiss no less than Al--in their tête-à-tête, anyway?)

For me, B is the key to the rest of the pronouns. After B, everything falls into place, referring to Tissaphernes:

C. ἑαυτοῦ -- If B refers to Tiss, then I think this must, too, since ἀσφαλείας picks up from κινδύνῳ.

D. αὐτῷ -- I'm not troubled by τῆς ἀρχῆς: Tiss is operating more or less autonomously in his satrapy. (Wasn't that a persistent problem of the Persian Empire--rogue satraps? In the first book of the Anabasis, Tiss and Cyrus are in armed conflict with one another.)

E. ἐκείνῳ -- If this referred to the King, I think it would be followed by ὅσοι ἐν τῇ ἑαυτοῦ Ἕλληνες οἰκοῦσι, wouldn't it? (Or at least αὐτοῦ.)

But I have to admit I'm by no means confident of this. If mwh (of all people) has lost confidence in his ability to read Th., I have to say that after struggling through 5+ books (I'm now into the 6th), I have no confidence at all in my own ability and I'm quite certain that I never will have any such confidence. I take some consolation from Dionysius, though.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:52 pm

Bill - many thanks indeed for your comments.

Hitherto I've just taken B (ἢν μὴ αὐτὸς βούληται etc.) as meaning 'if he were not willing at some stage to stand up and fight the contest through himself', i.e. by himself incurring all the necessary expense and danger, as opposed to leaving that to the Athenians or Lacedaemonians (depending on which side he was using against the other). However, I can certainly see the attraction if we are saying that A = the King, but B = Tissaphernes; the sense of B could then be that 'the King would have no one to put down those who held such power - unless, that is, Tissaphernes were willing to do so'. I think this is what you and Michael have in mind.

I certainly agree with you that the wording around E suggests that it (ἐκείνῳ) refers to Tissaphernes rather than the King.

I'm therefore now inclining to agree with both of you that, probably, A = the King and B to E = Tissaphernes. (I'll next have to decide whether I'm sufficiently emboldened to reflect this in my translation, rather than simply in the footnotes.)

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:08 pm

Hitherto I've just taken B (ἢν μὴ αὐτὸς βούληται etc.) as meaning 'if he were not willing at some stage to stand up and fight the contest through himself', i.e. by himself incurring all the necessary expense and danger, as opposed to leaving that to the Athenians or Lacedaemonians (depending on which side he was using against the other).


John, I would expect ἢν μὴ βούληται αὐτὸς μεγάλῃ δαπάνῃ καὶ κινδύνῳ ἀναστάς ποτε διαγωνίσασθαι, or possibly ἢν μὴ βούληται μεγάλῃ δαπάνῃ καὶ κινδύνῳ ἀναστάς ποτε αὐτὸς διαγωνίσασθαι, i.e., with αὐτὸς linked more closely to ἀναστάς ποτε διαγωνίσασθαι, if the King were meant. Putting αὐτὸς so emphatically before βούληται feels more like a shift to Tissaphernes. But this is very subjective.

Assuming Thucydides wanted to shift to Tiss at B, how else could he have done so to make the shift clearer (apart from simply writing Τισσαφέρνη instead of a pronoun)?

But, again, I think interpreting all the pronouns as referring to the King is perhaps just as plausible.

However you choose to translate the passage, I'd recommend a footnote pointing out the ambiguity. I glanced at Mynott last night. Usually he helpfully footnotes questions in the Greek like this, but this time he didn't seem to pick up on the ambiguity and made the King the referent of the whole string of pronouns.

Bill
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:03 am

Bill - many thanks.

Qimmik wrote:Assuming Thucydides wanted to shift to Tiss at B, how else could he have done so to make the shift clearer (apart from simply writing Τισσαφέρνη instead of a pronoun)?


Would using ἐκεῖνος instead of αὐτὸς have worked? (I'm far from confident about this, however, as I know that ἐκεῖνος can serve a variety of functions, and perhaps its use here would have muddied the waters still further.)

I see that Jowett and (apparently) Lattimore ('he himself') take example A, as well as the later ones, as referring to Tissaphernes; in contrast, Blanco takes all the pronouns as referring to the King. Since I'm not at all sure which way to go on this, I'm on the verge of declaring myself in a state of ἀπορία, and simply leaving all the references as pronouns, with a general footnote explaining the problem. But thanks again to you and Michael for all your help.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:54 am

PS - on reflection I'm not sure that ἐκεῖνος would have been much clearer. At any rate, in 8.12.2 Alcibiades is advising the ephor Endius, and we have the following:

Ἐνδίῳ τε αὐτῷ ἰδίᾳ ἔλεγε καλὸν εἶναι δι᾽ ἐκείνου ἀποστῆσαί τε Ἰωνίαν καὶ βασιλέα ξύμμαχον ποιῆσαι Λακεδαιμονίοις ...

I've taken ἐκείνου here as referring to Alcibiades himself; Tucker says that 'ἐκεῖνος is the proper word for emphatic reference to the speaker in opposition to some other person'.

The only advantage in using ἐκεῖνος in 8.46 would have been to avoid having αὐτὸς with a different referent so soon after αὐτὸν.

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:03 pm

Thucydides doesn't go out of his way to make things easy for the reader. In fact, just the opposite.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby cb » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:22 pm

hi, maybe the orators (who i've been reading much more of than thucy) use pronouns much more helpfully (e.g. Antiphon's against the stepmother for poisoning s15, look at how nicely the 2 people are consistently separated by the different pronouns: "εἰ οὖν ἐθέλει πείθεσθαι, ἔφη ἱκανὴ εἶναι ἐκείνῃ τε τὸν Φιλόνεων φίλον ποιῆσαι καὶ αὑτῇ τὸν ἐμὸν πατέρα, εἶναι φάσκουσα αὑτῆς μὲν τοῦτο εὕρημα, ἐκείνης δ᾽ ὑπηρέτημα."), but when i read this my first inclination is to take it that, in the long indirect discourse beginning παρῄνει, the pronouns you mention (A to C) are all referring to the king - the whole indirect discourse is expanding on one idea of getting the others to be divided, and so at least on a straightforward reading that's what i'd expect all these same pronouns to be referring to.

then you finally have a new verb introducing new indirect disc, ἔφη, and the pronoun following (D) is the only one that's not syntactically straightforward because there wasn't a previous noun in the same direct/indirect discourse, but i took D as the king following on from the previous παρῄνει sentence (given no contrary indication was syntactically given by a preceding noun) and then E either as tiss shown by the different pronoun just like in the antiphon e.g. above or as the king contrasting against σφίσι αὐτοῖς, but in view of context as many have said above probably tiss.

so if i had to vote i'd say ABC = king, D = undetermined but natural reading would be king and E = undetermined but context suggests tiss.

PS, in relation to the position in the phrase of B discussed above, for me this doesn't lean the interpretation away from keeping the pronoun reference consistent throughout the whole παρῄνει sentence. it sits exactly in the phrase where i would expect it to sit, i.e. what i call the "preferential" place (see pgs 21-22 of dover's grk word order)[/url] after what i call the wackernagel position (where words like ἄν live - see list on pgs 12-13 of dover) and before the verb (see pgs 28-30 of dover). i think these page refs are right, i don't have dover on me but i've done a summary in a google doc of his data and am pulling this from it.

cheers, chad
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:12 pm

Chad - many thanks for going through this for me. I'm still dithering, but your analysis is very helpful.

On looking through the Greek again, I'm starting to think that D and E should perhaps have the same referent. Alcibiades has just said that the Athenians would be more serviceable (than the Lacedaemonians) as partners for 'him' (αὐτῷ, D) in dominion; the next clause (ἧσσον γὰρ ... etc.) explains exactly why, and this explanation is expanded (with a further γὰρ) in the following sentence. That sentence includes ἐκείνῳ (E); since this is part of the explanation of the statement which included αὐτῷ (D), wouldn't one prima facie expect the referent of the pronoun to be the same? This troubles me, though, as we have noted, the wording around E itself (ἐκείνῳ ὅσοι ἐν τῇ βασιλέως Ἕλληνες οἰκοῦσι) might lead one to think that ἐκείνῳ is not the King.

Perhaps, then, B to E (if not A to E) are Tissaphernes. That said, a perfectly natural reading of the text has led many to think that we are talking about the King throughout, and I certainly can't say that is wrong.

Back to the drawing board - or just duck the issue, and take refuge in a footnote!

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:14 pm

"in relation to the position in the phrase of B discussed above, for me this doesn't lean the interpretation away from keeping the pronoun reference consistent throughout the whole παρῄνει sentence. it sits exactly in the phrase where i would expect it to sit, i.e. what i call the "preferential" place . . ."

It's not exactly the position of αὐτὸς at B that to me (with much diffidence) suggests a shift to Tiss--it's the fact that Th. uses the pronoun here again, where I feel (again with diffidence) it would normally be omitted before βούληται if it referred to the King. If the King were meant, it seems to me that αὐτὸς would more likely be positioned after βούληται in the infinitive phrase μεγάλῃ δαπάνῃ καὶ κινδύνῳ ἀναστάς ποτε διαγωνίσασθαι. But I can certainly see the other point of view.

"the orators . . . use pronouns much more helpfully"

Of course, their aim is to persuade. Th's aim is to confuse.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:37 pm

The thing I'm most confident about (even though not very much so in absolute terms) in all of this is that the wording around E (ἐκείνῳ ὅσοι ἐν τῇ βασιλέως Ἕλληνες οἰκοῦσι) does suggest that ἐκείνῳ is Tissaphernes, not the King; rather than taking this as an isolated reference to Tissaphernes, I now (at least pro tem) think that A to E most likely refer to him. I've therefore annotated A in my translation to the effect that it probably refers to Tissaphernes, though there is some debate over whether, here and elsewhere in this chapter, Alcibiades is referring to Tissaphernes or the King.

I think (unless a sudden flash of inspiration suddenly strikes anyone) that this is about as far as I can usefully take it; my thanks to Michael, Bill and Chad for their very helpful comments.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby mwh » Fri Jun 06, 2014 4:13 am

Fair enough, John, and you have scholars who agree with you. I'm not going to fight it, but I am a little disappointed you reject A=King and haven't taken the point about B (hoc loco) switching back to Tiss, which I suggested and Qimmik eloquently backed up.

Incidentally, I see the Budé counters the objection to referring E ekeinw to Darius.

Best,
Michael
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:57 am

mwh wrote:Fair enough, John, and you have scholars who agree with you. I'm not going to fight it, but I am a little disappointed you reject A=King and haven't taken the point about B (hoc loco) switching back to Tiss, which I suggested and Qimmik eloquently backed up.

Incidentally, I see the Budé counters the objection to referring E ekeinw to Darius.

Best,
Michael


Michael - many thanks.

Before reading your email, and after a further night's reflection, I had already decided I wasn't happy with my latest 'Tisssaphernes passim' approach. I'm certainly attracted by A = the King; however, I'm still struggling a bit with a switch from the King to Tissaphernes between A and B. I note what has been said about αὐτὸς signalling a shift, but to me the most obvious intepretation of this sentence is to the effect that the King would himself have to stand up and fight unless he could call on one of the other two parties. But let me think further on this.

I'm sorry to be so indecisive - after 12 years of this I think Thucydides is finally wearing me down. And this chapter is like wrestling an octopus - as soon as you think you've finally got the thing under control, another bit pops out to cause trouble.

By the way, thanks also for the reference to the Budé - I'd missed the note there. In the light of that I'm now starting to veer towards the King passim - but watch this space!

All the best,

John

PS - if we refer B (ἢν μὴ αὐτὸς βούληται) to Tissaphernes, would that not attribute to him a greater freedom of action vis-à-vis the King than would seem likely in reality? By this I mean that surely Tissaphernes would have to move against an enemy if the King told him to; it would not be a matter of personal choice or decision for Tissaphernes. Does it therefore make sense effectively to say that 'the King would have no one to help him, unless Tissaphernes were willing'? But perhaps I'm over-analysing.
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:53 am

Blimey - I hadn't realised how long this thread had been in cryogenic storage.

I'm still fiddling and twiddling with my translation. One point has just struck me in Book 2.

The Athenian fleet based at Naupactus under Phormio has - despite being heavily outnumbered - just won a second victory against a Peloponnesian fleet. After the account of this we read the following (2.92.4):

ἀναχωρήσαντες δὲ οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι τροπαῖον ἔστησαν, ὅθεν ἀναγαγόμενοι ἐκράτησαν, καὶ τοὺς νεκροὺς καὶ τὰ ναυάγια ὅσα πρὸς τῇ ἑαυτῶν ἦν ἀνείλοντο, καὶ τοῖς ἐναντίοις τὰ ἐκείνων ὑπόσπονδα ἀπέδοσαν.

Now returning the opposition's dead under truce is of course a well-known feature of Greek warfare; however, the bit in bold seems to imply that the Athenians also returned the wrecked/damaged enemy vessels which they had retrieved from near their own shore. From a linguistic viewpoint, this hinges on whether (as I have presumed) τὰ ἐκείνων encompasses τὰ ναυάγια as well as τοὺς νεκροὺς - if it does not, why isn't it masculine?

More widely, it seems a little odd to return damaged vessels, some of which could possibly be refitted and used again against the Athenians. Perhaps the latter had no use for them, or lacked the crews to man them and take them away - but then why not burn or otherwise completely destroy them?

Any thoughts, either on the linguistic point or any historical parallels?

Many thanks,

John
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby Qimmik » Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:55 pm

John, this is, as you note, one of many instances throughout Thucydides of one side allowing the other to recover corpses after a battle--the normal conclusion of a Thucydidean battle, along with the trophy, and the word ὑπόσπονδος is typically used, although usually the masculine form agreeing with νεκροὺς. This occurs so often to mark the conclusion of a battle that it's almost like a Homeric formula, or like one of the sentences that begins a season of warfare in Thucydides, which follow specific patterns.

Would allowing the Peloponnesians to recover their shipwrecks after the battle be such an extraordinary event as to require some comment? I can't recall any other instances where the losing side was specifically allowed to collect its shipwrecks, but collecting shipwrecks after a battle was a typical practice. Are you aware of any? Returning the corpses wouldn't require a comment, of course.

I checked Bétant, who seems to think that ὑπόσπονδα refers to the ναυάγια. But I can't believe that the Athenians gave the Peloponnesians their shipwrecks but not their corpses. So I would guess that ὑπόσπονδα simply agrees with the nearest antecedent.

Perhaps you could translate something like this, which conveys the ambiguity of the Greek: "they gave back to their enemies their own."
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Postby John W. » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:37 pm

Bill - many thanks.

As you say, reference to returning the other side's dead is so common in Thucydides as to be practically formulaic. However, I don't think I can recall a similar instance of such provision being made for the return of ships or other materiel of war. Perhaps Thucydides has left out (or did not know) some details which would have made this more understandable.

My translation currently stands: '... and gave the enemy's back to them under truce', which I think avoids being too specific.

I hope your (re)reading of Thucydides is going well.

Best wishes,

John
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