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autos tetartos elthen

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autos tetartos elthen

Postby Eureka » Sat Jul 24, 2004 8:20 am

On page 257 of Thraymachus the sentence, "[face=SPIonic]au)to\j te/tartoj h]lqen.[/face]" is translated as, "he came with three others".

Shouldn't that sentence mean, "he came fourth"?








EDIT: Spelling
Last edited by Eureka on Sun Jul 25, 2004 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby whiteoctave » Sat Jul 24, 2004 8:51 am

It is a greek idiom - if one comes as the fourth (member of a given party) he is, re ipsa, with three others.

~D
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Postby Eureka » Sun Jul 25, 2004 2:01 am

Some answers only rase more questions... :)

It doesn't appear to mean that at all. :? After all, the verb is singular, so it applies only to him. What it appears to mean literally is that; he arrived, so did at least three others, and three of the others arrived before him.

Is this one of the subtleties of the Aorist tense? i.e. That because it makes implied reference to four actions (all four people arriving), that those actions must have therefore occurred simultaneously?


If I wanted to say, "he came fourth" in Greek. How would I do it? (I'm thinking perhaps through the use of the pluperfect tense.)
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Postby Eureka » Sun Jul 25, 2004 11:58 pm

BTW, Whiteoctave, I'm surprised to see a Cambridge student with an Oxford dictionary. :shock:

Perhaps I'm unfairly stereotyping... but you won't be wanting to be leafing through that, down by the old boating sheds, will you? :wink:
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Postby whiteoctave » Tue Jul 27, 2004 12:21 pm

hah, most true.
Due credit has to be given to the OLD - it is truly a marvellous work. At this rate Oxford only needs a good 800 years to write a decent book!
I have, however, spent a few months (and many more to come, I hope) on the Greek Lexicon Project - Cambridge's replacing of LSJ founded upon the original Greek, not a revision of LSJ.

As regards the idiom, I think you are getting too bound up in the temporal sense of the ordinal 'fourth'. 'coming fourth in time' is only one way of construing it; here it is based upon a system of counting the numbers of people involved in the group, i.e. 'he came as the fourth'. if you wanted to say 'he came fourth' in the sense of arrived after three others, you may well have to use a construction with pthanw, i.e. 'he arrived anticipated by three [others]' or perhaps use a verb with clear perfective meaning, such as aphikneomai for arrival. the aorist does carry the sense of being a finite marker of an event in the past in Grk, but with erchomai it has no specific local reference but instead refers to the whole journey from A to B, whereas a verb of arrival necessarily focuses on the point of reaching B, and thus carries fixed temporal reference.


~D
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Postby Eureka » Thu Jul 29, 2004 12:43 am

Ah, thank you.

I understand now. I see that many Greek verbs have no exact English equivalent, which creates translation problems when we try to use the definitions from the back of a textbook. :)
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Postby Eureka » Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:28 am

whiteoctave wrote:I have, however, spent a few months (and many more to come, I hope) on the Greek Lexicon Project - Cambridge's replacing of LSJ founded upon the original Greek, not a revision of LSJ.

[face=SPIonic]tou~t' a)gaqo/n.[/face]

I hope this one will have a little less Latin in it. :)
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