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Alecestis Help

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Alecestis Help

Postby Jordan St. Francis » Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:49 am

Hey, I’m having some trouble discerning the usage of the infinitive in the Prologue of Euripides’ Alecestis

ὁσίου γὰρ ἀνδρὸς ὅσιος ὢν ἐτύγχανον
παιδὸς Φέρητος, ὃν θανεῖν ἐρρυσάμην,
Μοίρας δολώσας

This is between lines 10 and 12. I have:

For, being pious, I happened upon a pious man, the son of Pheres, whom I saved from dying, having deceived Moira

Why would the infinitive be translated as "dying" here, rather than "to die"? Obviously the former being the only sensible translation. I believe that might be called an articular infinitive, which needs a definite article (in this case, genitive to get the sense of "ek"), would it not?

Also immediately following:

ᾔνεσαν δέ μοι θεαὶ
Ἄδμητον Ἅιδην τὸν παραυτίκ᾽ ἐκφυγεῖν,
ἄλλον διαλλάξαντα τοῖς κάτω νεκρόν.

And the godesses put up with Admetus (acc., direct object of the main verb) immediately escaping Hades/ death (also acc. as the object of the infinitive?)

Here again, it seems to demand that the infinitive be translated like a present active finite verb.

Can anyone help me understand the grammar behind this?

Jordan St. Francis
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Re: Alecestis Help

Postby spiphany » Sat Jul 04, 2009 2:29 am

It's idiomatic, I think, at least as far as whether we use a gerund here or an infinitive; English requires one, Greek the other.

For the grammar, first: an infinitive used substantively may sometimes omit the article.
See the LSJ entry for ῥύομαι and Smyth § 2038 and 2744
Verbs signifying (or suggesting) to hinder take both the simple infinitive and the articular infinitive. Such verbs may take the strengthening but redundant negative μή

αἰνέω can take a complementary infinitive: They allowed him to escape, to give a parallel English construction.
The LSJ lists both a genitive and an accusative complement as possibilities with ἐκφεύγω (again, in English we can say, escape a place or escape from a place)
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Alecestis Help

Postby Markos » Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:57 pm

The Smyth reference is helpful. LSJ under ρυομαι cites more passages from Euripides and one from Herodotus 7:11: τουτο σε ρυσεται...μισθον λαβειν "This will keep you from taking a reward..." I guess in both cases you could see the infinitive as an accusative of respect.

In your second question I would read the εκφυγειν as indirect discourse. "The goddesses promised me THAT Admetus would immediately escape Hades."
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Alecestis Help

Postby Jordan St. Francis » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:24 am

Thanks for the help!
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