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Phocylides

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Phocylides

Postby Lina » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:48 am

Would anyone be willing to translate this saying by Phocylides for me?
Και τοδε Φωκυλιδεω: Λεριοι κακοι, ουχ ο μεν, ος δ’ ου,
παντες, πλην Προκλεους, και Προκλεης Λεριος.

Another related one:
Παντες μεν Κιλικες κακοι ανερες, εν δε Κιλιξιν
εις αγαθος Κινυρης, και κινυρης δε Κιλιξ.

And here's a related one in English:
The Germans in Greek
are sadly to seek:
not five in five score
but ninety-five more.
All save only Hermann,
and Hermann's a German.
(Richard Porson on the German professor Hermann)

I translate this to mean: You can't find any Germans who are good at Greek, not even five in 100 score. Except for Professor Hermann who is German.

Is this intended to be funny?
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Re: Phocylides

Postby IreneY » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:43 am

It is supposed to be funny and down right mean. Of snickering kind of humour apparently (sorry, I just fail to see the wit)

The first one I'd translate (loosely)

And this by Phocylides: The Lerians (?) are bad, (and I don't mean that) one person maybe bad, but another not, (but) all of them (are bad), apart from Proclees (sp?), and Procless is a Lerian (therefore by default, apparently, bad)

Same goes for the next one
All the Cilicians (sp?) are bad, Kinyres (sp?) is the only good one among them, but then he's Cilician so there you go.

Same goes for the English one. If you search google books you'll find (at least) one book where the author (can't remember who) explains that Germans just aren't good scholars with the exception of Hermann and another. After mildly chiding Porson for his little piece of wit, the author goes on to say that Hermann did not in fact lack anything to be considered a true scholar (being very close to the English as opposed to the German school of though or something) apart from an English education :D (need to go to sleep so memory is worse than usual)
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Re: Phocylides

Postby Lina » Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:13 am

OK. Thanks, that is very helpful. οὐχ ὁ μέν, ὃς δ’ οὐ...is that an idiomatic phrase? I'm not really getting it.

I cannot figure out why Nairn put a weird, insulting little poem about Germans in his reader, or what the Phocylides quote has to do with Greek mythology, but I'm sure it made some sort of sense to him.
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Re: Phocylides

Postby modus.irrealis » Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:27 pm

Think of it as it as οὐ + ὁ μέν, ὃς δ’ οὔ. The latter is just a version of ὁ μέν ... ὁ δέ ... (as far as I know there's no difference if ὅς is used), meaning in this case "some [are bad], some not". And then the οὐ gets put in front to say that it's not that some are bad, some not.
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Re: Phocylides

Postby IreneY » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:40 am

modus is right. Perhaps it may help if you think of it like "[..] are bad, not (that) this one (is), that one (isn't), all (of them are bad)"

Being more awake :D I managed to find the book I was talking about: clickety click here

As for the book you are referring to, I'm afraid I am not familiar with it at all. In what context are these "witty" verses mentioned?
Last edited by IreneY on Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phocylides

Postby Lina » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:42 am

Thanks! To me that phrase looked like: “on one hand this one is not, on the other hand, this one is not”, which made no sense.

I read all those quotes in a 1974 edition of J.A. Nairn’s “Greek Through Reading”, a little book of easy readings divided by topic, so that “…by much early reading of good and varied Greek a sense of idiom will rapidly be gained.” And heaven knows I need to rapidly gain a sense of idiom.

The aforementioned verses are included in the section about “Heroes” and are subtitled “Inter caecos luscus rex”. Of course, I don’t know Latin, so I have no idea of what that means either. It looks a little naughty, actually.

(I checked out the Nairn book from my public library system. Their most current book for Attic Greek study is 26 years old, and most of the books are far older than that. They have a Sanskrit grammar that is more current. I plan to check out all their Attic Greek books and see if I can create a blip on their circulation statistics for Classical Greek materials.)
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Re: Phocylides

Postby spiphany » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:43 am

The grammar book translation of μὲν...δὲ is possibly a bit misleading. We say "on the one hand...on the other hand" because that's the closest we come to having a set English expression for the relationship expressed by these two words.

Basically what they do is indicate a parallel and often a contrast between two sentence elements. These sentence elements can be anything from single nouns or pronouns or entire clauses. In example of ὁ μὲν...ὁ δὲ the article + particle combination is used where we would normally need a noun, this is confusing at first but perfectly normal in Greek, where "man" or "one" is understood.
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: Phocylides

Postby IreneY » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:34 am

OK this book may be great but it does confuse me! The Latin phrase is the equivalent of "The one eyed man (is) king among the blind", "in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king" (or any other rendition of the saying in English). "Among the blind the one eyed man king" is a verbatim translation. What does this have to do with the rest I have no idea.
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