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Gettysburg Address

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Gettysburg Address

Postby Damoetas » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:36 pm

Since the board is kind of slow today, I present this for your edification and diversion. I wrote it as a Prose Comp assignment last year - it probably still has mistakes in it, but I only had time to do a brief revision. For those unfamiliar with American history, this was the speech given by President Abraham Lincoln after the Battle of Gettysburg (1863), during the US Civil War. My translation is first, followed by Lincoln's actual speech. As usual, comments and critiques are welcome!

ἡ μὲν πολιτεία αὕτη, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀμερικήσιοι, ἐν γῇ νέᾳ συλληφθεῖσα, ἐν ἐλευθερίᾳ δὲ τεχθεῖσα, εἰς πρόθεσιν δὲ προτεθεῖσα – τὸ πάντας ἰσοτίμως ἰσονομίας ἀξίους πεφυκέναι – ἡβῶσά τε καὶ τεθαλυῖα ἐκ κεφαλῆς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν ἐξεπήδησε· τούτων δὲ γενομένων ἤδη ἔτος ὀγδοηκοστὸν καὶ ἕβδομον τόδε. νῦν δὲ πόλεμος μέγιστος καὶ κατακλυσμὸς ἔχθιστος στάσεως αἱματοέσσης ἐφ᾽ ἡμᾶς ἐκκέχυται· ἐξ οὗ δηλωθήσεται καὶ οὐ κρυβήσεται πότερον ἡ πολιτεία αὕτη εἴτε δὴ καὶ ἄλλη ἡτισοῦν οὕτω γεγεννημένη δὴν μένειν δυνήσεται. ἐν δὲ τῷ πεδίῳ τούτῳ ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μαχησόμενοι ἡμεῖς δὲ μνησόμενοι συνήλθομεν, ἐκεῖνοι μὲν ἐν παντὶ τῷ πεδίῳ ἀποθνῄσκοντες ἵνα ζῇ διὰ παντὸς ἡ πολιτεία, ἡμεῖς δὲ μόριον τοῦ πεδίου τεμενίζοντες ἵνα ἀναπαύσωνται διὰ παντὸς οἱ ἀποθανόντες. οὐ μὴν οὐδ᾽ ἀπρεπὲς ἀλλὰ μάλ᾽ εὐπρεπές ἐστιν ἡμῖν τοῦτο ποιῆσαι.

ἀλλὰ δικαιότερον ἂν φαίην ἡμᾶς οὐ δύνασθαι τεμενίζειν οὐδὲ ἁγνίζειν οὐδὲ ἁγιάζειν τὸ πεδίον τοῦτο· ὃ γὰρ ἄνδρες ἀνδρεῖοι ἀγωνίζοντες ἡγίασαν, ἡμεῖς μόγις ἂν ἐγκωμιάζοντες εὐκλεέστερον ποιήσαιμεν, ἧττον δ᾽ αὖ ψέγοντες δυσκλεέστερον. καὶ μὴν ὁ κόσμος οὔτε πολὺ νοήσεται οὔτε δὴν μνησθήσεται τῶν ἡμετέρων λόγων, τῶν δὲ ἐκείνων ἔργων οὔποτ᾽ ἐπιλαθήσεται. τί οὖν χρὴ ἡμᾶς ποιεῖν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀμερικήσιοι; πρέπει ἡμῖν, φημί, τοῖς ζῶσιν, ἔργον ἐπιτελέσαι τὸ ὑπὸ τῶν ἐνθάδε μαχεσαμένων, καίπερ γενναίως ἀγωνισάντων, ἀτελὲς ἡμῖν ἐπιλειφθέν· τὸν νοῦν πᾶσι πρέπει προθύμως προσέχειν τῇ προκειμένῃ προθέσει· ἵνα τούτων τῶν τιμίων φίλων φιλοτιμῶμεθα ἀξίως τε ζῆν ἀξίως τε ἀποθνῄσκειν· ἵνα ἀξιώσωμεν τὸν τούτων θάνατον οὐ μάτην οὐδ᾽ ἀνωφέλιμον ἀλλὰ προὔργου καὶ χρήσιμον γενήσεσθαι τῇ πολιτείᾳ· ἵνα ἡ νέα πολιτεία αὕτη, θεῶν βοηθούντων, ἐν νέᾳ ἐλευθερίᾳ νέον γεννηθῇ· ἵνα ἐκ τοῦ δήμου, διὰ τοῦ δήμου, εἰς τὸν δῆμον μείνῃ ἡ δημοκρατία· ἵνα μὴ ἀφανισθῇ ἐκ τῆς γῆς μήθ᾽ ἡ πολιτεία αὕτη μήτε τὸ ἐμὸν παίγνιον.


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate...we can not consecrate...we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
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Re: Gettysburg Address

Postby petitor » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:48 pm

Sorry, no comments on your translation - I haven't learnt Greek (yet).
But, if you don't mind, here's my Latin version; comments are also welcome.

*

Abhinc septem et quater viceni annos maiores nostri in hac continente pepererunt novam civitatem, quae in Libertate concepta dedicata est ei consilio quo omnes aequales creentur.

Nunc magno in bello civili commissi, num illa vel ulla civitas sic concepta ac dedicata perdurare possit probamus. congressi enim in claro eius belli campo convenimus ut, quod omnino decet nobis agendum, eis qui ad servandam civitatem suas vitas hic dediderunt partem huius campi sedem ultimam dedicemus.

Atqui, ad maiorem, quod ita iam fortes, et vivi et mortui, hoc loco luctati multo magis quam pauper addendi detractandive potestas nostra confecerunt, ideo nec dedicare nec consecrare nec sanctificare hanc terram possumus. quamquam vero mundus quid hic dicamus parum notabit, neque tenebit longe memoria, quid autem hic fecerint nequiet umquam oblivisci. nobis immo vivis est et rei infectae, quam adhuc pugnantes tanto animo protulerunt, et immani sic praeposito labori dedicari: illam causam a caesis ornandis datam ultimumque in modum actam nobis aucta cum cura curandam; constantiam nostram, ne frustra hi mortui, summa voluntate nobis confirmandam; huic civitati, sub Deo Annuenti, libertatem renatam futuram; et quidem rem publicam populi factam populoque parandam atque utendam numquam a mundo perituram.
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Re: Gettysburg Address

Postby Markos » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:35 pm

χαίροις ὦ Damoetas!

Καλῶς μὲν οὖν, φίλτατε! Τὴν γὰρ μετάφρασιν φεφίληκα σφόδρα. νῦν δὲ διορθῶ σε. ἀντὶ γὰρ τοῦ «θεῶν βοηθούντων» ἔδει σε γράψαι τὸ «τοῦ Θεοῦ βοηθοῦντος.» πλὴν μὲν οὖν πάνυ καλῶς γράφεις Ἑλληνιστί.

ἴθι πολλὰ χαίρων!
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: Gettysburg Address

Postby Markos » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:56 pm

ὦ χαῖρε Δαμοητας,

I hope you don’t mind me asking you a few questions. I don’t normally ask these questions about Ancient Greek, because they only marginally affect meaning, and I think our attention is better spent reading and writing and listening to and speaking Greek, rather than parsing it. But in this case, we have the actual Greek writer present, and I am curious to know if my analysis of your writing holds up in light of what you actually intended. Let me again say at the outset that I think your Greek prose is fantastic.

ἡβῶσά τε καὶ τεθαλυῖα ἐκ κεφαλῆς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν ἐξεπήδησε•


Is this a conscious allusion to the story of Athena leaping out of the head of Zeus, or an established Greek idiom based on that story, or your own rhetoric?

ἐν δὲ τῷ πεδίῳ τούτῳ ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μαχησόμενοι ἡμεῖς δὲ μνησόμενοι συνήλθομεν


I really like this line, not only because of the pun, but because of what you do with the tenses. The future participle is standard after verbs of coming to express purpose. One could say

ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μαχησόμενοι ἦλθον, ἡμεῖς δὲ μνησόμενοι ἤλθομεν.
These came in order to fight, and we came in order to remember.

but by using the one verb, the tenses are not quite logically correct:

ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μαχησόμενοι ἡμεῖς δὲ μνησόμενοι συνήλθομεν
We have come together, these in order to fight, we in order to remember

because the fighting preceded the remembering. It would be more accurate, grammatically, I think, to use the aorist for the fighting:

ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μαχησάμενοι ἦλθον, ἡμεῖς δὲ μνησόμενοι ἦλθον.
We have come together, these having fought, we in order to remember.

but, just trying to read your mind, it seems to me that you were using two futures for rhetorical effect, to point to the paradox of time, conflict and remembrance. Cf. Faulkner on the Civil War: “The past is never over, it’s not even past.” Am I reading things into your prose that you did not intend?

Also, any reason why you chose the aorist συνήλθομεν for Lincoln’s “We are met” instead of the perfect συνεληλύθαμεν? I always wonder if for the Ancients the distinctions were more euphonic than semantic. Which was it for you?


ἐν παντὶ τῷ πεδίῳ...


Is the πᾶς a subtle argument that the Southerners also died for the Union. Lincoln would later make that point, so I guess you get that from the larger context. Or is the παντὶ also for euphony?

οὐδὲ ἁγνίζειν οὐδὲ ἁγιάζειν


This picks up quite well the homophony of Lincoln’s “...we can not dedicate; we can not consecrate…” Did you do any kind of word study to see the difference in meanings between τεμενίζειν and ἁγνίζειν and ἁγιάζειν? By the way, would any two fluent English speakers be able to agree on what is the precise difference between “hollow” and “consecrate?” Is it not enough to say that they basically mean the same thing, and that style and euphony and personal taste and experience determine which one is used?

ὃ γὰρ ἄνδρες ἀνδρεῖοι ἀγωνίζοντες ἡγίασαν, ἡμεῖς μόγις ἂν ἐγκωμιάζοντες εὐκλεέστερον ποιήσαιμεν, ἧττον δ᾽ αὖ ψέγοντες δυσκλεέστερον.

I know basically what you are saying here, and I think I would understand it even without Lincoln’s vorlage, but as long you are here, let me ask you about the exact construction and the vocab. What is the ἧττον doing there and how do you mean ψέγω? I understand you as:

For the brave mean have hallowed this by fighting, and if we, by with difficulty praising, would make it more glorious, rather finding fault (we would make it) less glorious. ????

ἵνα τούτων τῶν τιμίων φίλων φιλοτιμῶμεθα ἀξίως τε ζῆν ἀξίως τε ἀποθνῄσκειν


Again, just so I understand the precise syntax:

So that we might, worthily OF our honoured friends, strive to live and die worthily.

Again, I really like your translation, and did not find any mistakes. I might make my own simplified Koine translation, if I get a chance.

χαρήσομαι δὴ δεξόμενος τὴν ἀπόκρισίν σου.

ἔρρωσο.
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: Gettysburg Address

Postby Damoetas » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:54 am

Hey Markos,

Thanks for your comments! And I'm sorry it took me a few days to notice them - I don't check that thread every time I log in.... So yes, I suppose I am an "actual Greek writer," as strange as it is to think of it that way - anyway, I'd be happy to answer your questions!

Before getting to specifics, a word on my general philosophy in writing this. To be honest, I was mainly just trying to make the assignment entertaining for myself, because these kinds of composition exercises usually involve a lot of tedious poring over dictionaries. So to do that, I decided to make the rhetoric as overblown as possible, using every possible trope or figure I could think of, in the style of Gorgias - have you read the Encomium of Helen? If not, check it out, and you'll see what I was aiming for. His speech ends by saying, ἐβουλήθην γράψαι τὸν λόγον Ἑλένης μὲν ἐγκώμιον, ἐμὸν δὲ παίγνον, which I echo in my last line as a sort of "interpretive key."

Now, for your questions:

ἡβῶσά τε καὶ τεθαλυῖα ἐκ κεφαλῆς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν ἐξεπήδησε


Is this a conscious allusion to the story of Athena leaping out of the head of Zeus, or an established Greek idiom based on that story, or your own rhetoric?


It's a conscious allusion to the Athena story. When I wrote my opening sentence, I felt like it was building toward something, so it needed some kind of dramatic and arresting conclusion; I hoped the Athena allusion would be suitably out of place, even grotesque! From searching on Perseus, I found that the verb normally used for Athena's "leaping forth" was ἀνέθορεν, but this didn't have a nice metrical shape to end a line (four short syllables), so I switched to the heavier ἐξεπήδησε. (It occurs humorously in Lysias 3.)

ἐν δὲ τῷ πεδίῳ τούτῳ ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μαχησόμενοι ἡμεῖς δὲ μνησόμενοι συνήλθομεν


I really like this line, not only because of the pun, but because of what you do with the tenses. The future participle is standard after verbs of coming to express purpose. One could say

ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μαχησόμενοι ἦλθον, ἡμεῖς δὲ μνησόμενοι ἤλθομεν.
These came in order to fight, and we came in order to remember.

but by using the one verb, the tenses are not quite logically correct:

ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μαχησόμενοι ἡμεῖς δὲ μνησόμενοι συνήλθομεν
We have come together, these in order to fight, we in order to remember

because the fighting preceded the remembering. It would be more accurate, grammatically, I think, to use the aorist for the fighting:

ἐκεῖνοι μὲν μαχησάμενοι ἦλθον, ἡμεῖς δὲ μνησόμενοι ἦλθον.
We have come together, these having fought, we in order to remember.

but, just trying to read your mind, it seems to me that you were using two futures for rhetorical effect, to point to the paradox of time, conflict and remembrance. Cf. Faulkner on the Civil War: “The past is never over, it’s not even past.” Am I reading things into your prose that you did not intend?


With this part, as with most of the speech, I was trying to create an antithesis that was as balanced as possible, even if that meant adding something to one part that was not in the original. So, if "we have come together to remember," then "they" must also have come together "to [something]." μαχησόμενοι and μνησόμενοι even have a similar sound, so things fell nicely into place :) I don't quite get your point about the tenses: at the time when ἐκεῖνοι [ἦλθον], the fighting was still in the future; at the time that ἡμεῖς συνήλθομεν, our remembering (in the sense of this formal ceremony) was also in the future. So it doesn't seem paradoxical to me.

Also, any reason why you chose the aorist συνήλθομεν for Lincoln’s “We are met” instead of the perfect συνεληλύθαμεν? I always wonder if for the Ancients the distinctions were more euphonic than semantic. Which was it for you?


Hmmm, I didn't even think of using a perfect here. Since I was using a lot aorists throughout that section to juxtapose what "they did (long ago)" and "we did (just now)", I think a perfect would have been out of place. It wouldn't have allowed ἦλθον to be understood as the verb of the first part, and an aorist is required for the sense that "they came together to fight."

ἐν παντὶ τῷ πεδίῳ...


Is the πᾶς a subtle argument that the Southerners also died for the Union. Lincoln would later make that point, so I guess you get that from the larger context. Or is the παντὶ also for euphony?


Interesting thought! πᾶς is there to balance out the antithesis. Since I had to say that we are consecrating a μόριον τοῦ πεδίου (sticking close to Lincoln's original words), I felt like I ought to contrast this with something that they did differently. So, ἐν παντὶ τῷ πεδίῳ accomplished that - and was reasonably true, since soldiers died throughout the battlefield.

οὐδὲ ἁγνίζειν οὐδὲ ἁγιάζειν


This picks up quite well the homophony of Lincoln’s “...we can not dedicate; we can not consecrate…” Did you do any kind of word study to see the difference in meanings between τεμενίζειν and ἁγνίζειν and ἁγιάζειν? By the way, would any two fluent English speakers be able to agree on what is the precise difference between “hollow” and “consecrate?” Is it not enough to say that they basically mean the same thing, and that style and euphony and personal taste and experience determine which one is used?


Thanks - yes, I wanted to use as many Greek synonyms as possible, preferably ones that had sound play. I don't remember if I looked up the precise meanings, but it didn't matter for my purposes! I agree with you that "hallow" and "consecrate" are pretty synonymous in English. Besides euphony, there's the fact that "hallow" is a lot more archaic and poetic.

ὃ γὰρ ἄνδρες ἀνδρεῖοι ἀγωνίζοντες ἡγίασαν, ἡμεῖς μόγις ἂν ἐγκωμιάζοντες εὐκλεέστερον ποιήσαιμεν, ἧττον δ᾽ αὖ ψέγοντες δυσκλεέστερον.


I know basically what you are saying here, and I think I would understand it even without Lincoln’s vorlage, but as long you are here, let me ask you about the exact construction and the vocab. What is the ἧττον doing there and how do you mean ψέγω? I understand you as:

For the brave mean have hallowed this by fighting, and if we, by with difficulty praising, would make it more glorious, rather finding fault (we would make it) less glorious. ????


I meant it as, "For what brave men have consecrated by struggling, we would scarcely make more glorious by praising, and even less [would we make it] more inglorious by criticizing." This was my convoluted way of rendering Lincoln's "[they] have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract." Again, I was trying to make every antithesis as exact and balanced as possible, a la Gorgias.

ἵνα τούτων τῶν τιμίων φίλων φιλοτιμῶμεθα ἀξίως τε ζῆν ἀξίως τε ἀποθνῄσκειν


Again, just so I understand the precise syntax:

So that we might, worthily OF our honoured friends, strive to live and die worthily.


Yep! It was a somewhat labored attempt at chiasmus with τιμίων φίλων and φιλοτιμῶμεθα :) And also to create balanced structures with ἀξίως τε ζῆν ἀξίως τε ἀποθνῄσκειν.

Alright, thanks again for your comments - it's nice to know that someone performed such a close reading!
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Re: Gettysburg Address

Postby Sceptra Tenens » Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:18 pm

petitor wrote:Sorry, no comments on your translation - I haven't learnt Greek (yet).
But, if you don't mind, here's my Latin version; comments are also welcome.


Alright, here goes:

Abhinc septem et quater viceni annos


While "fourscore and seven" was once perfectly normal English, and was probably fairly common in Abe Lincoln's time, it would be far better to translate it as abhinc octoginta septem annos.

maiores nostri in hac continente pepererunt novam civitatem, quae in Libertate concepta dedicata est ei consilio quo omnes aequales creentur.


The ei threw me for a loop, thinking it referred to something already mentioned - perhaps illi. Perhaps crearentur for creentur, although I think that either one might work here.

Nunc magno in bello civili commissi,


Since committo is a compound of mitto, you need nunc magnum in bellum civile commissi.

num illa vel ulla civitas sic concepta ac dedicata perdurare possit probamus.


Hmm... I'm not sure about this, but I think that an might be better for vel. If I'm wrong on that, though, then the whole phrase looks good. Of course, you could use ipsa for illa.

congressi enim in claro eius belli campo convenimus


I did a cursory search, and wasn't able to find campus with or without belli meaning "battlefield". I may have missed something, but just in case I didn't, I offer acies (ablative acie.

ut, quod omnino decet nobis agendum, eis qui ad servandam civitatem suas vitas hic dediderunt partem huius campi sedem ultimam dedicemus.


agere or facere for agendum - the accusative gerund is only used with prepositions.

Atqui, ad maiorem, quod ita iam fortes, et vivi et mortui, hoc loco luctati multo magis quam pauper addendi detractandive potestas nostra confecerunt


Is ad maiorem idiomatic? I've never seen it, though I imagine that partem is implied.

Addendi detractandive potestas sounds like a legal term, and I was surprised that Google didn't return any hits save this page. The ve makes it sound like Lincoln's going off on a slight tangent - I would just use potestas.

Also, I'm not sure about pauper outside of a monetary sense. I'm not sure that it doesn't work, either, so I'll leave it.

ideo nec dedicare nec consecrare nec sanctificare hanc terram possumus.


Good.

quamquam vero mundus quid hic dicamus parum notabit, neque tenebit longe memoria, quid autem hic fecerint nequiet umquam oblivisci.


Sadly, Lincoln was wrong. I've read through American history a few times, but his speech is far more memorable that the battle that took place there, for someone who didn't live to experience it. But I digress...

I don't think there's any need to make quod autem hic fecerunt into an indirect question - there is no question as to what happened, and everyone there knew about it.

nobis immo vivis est et rei infectae, quam adhuc pugnantes tanto animo protulerunt, et immani sic praeposito labori dedicari:


Good. A note, though - "immanis" can also mean "savage". Also, I'm not sure what purpose the sic serves here.

illam causam a caesis ornandis datam ultimumque in modum actam nobis aucta cum cura curandam;


I'll be completely honest here - I can't make it through this part.

constantiam nostram, ne frustra hi mortui, summa voluntate nobis confirmandam;


I would add a sint after mortui, but it can be omitted as you have it. Do these accusatives depend on the clause that I couldn't read? If not, I would drop them.

huic civitati, sub Deo Annuenti, libertatem renatam futuram;


Image

I have the same comments here on the accusatives as in the last phrase.

et quidem rem publicam populi factam populoque parandam atque utendam numquam a mundo perituram.


Hmmm... my comments on this one will depend somewhat on the breakdown of the one sentence that I could read.
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Re: Gettysburg Address

Postby petitor » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:43 pm

Many thanks for your comments, and apologies for my delayed response: my time away from work is, unfortunately, both rare and limited.

Indeed, I don't even have enough time to compose a proper post, and I really just wanted to acknowledge your reply at this time. But, I'll return soon to complete it.
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Re: Gettysburg Address

Postby Markos » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:21 pm

εὐχόμεθα πάνυ ἵνα ἡ τοῦ δήμου πατρίς, σὺν θεῷ, γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν ἐν ἐλευθερίᾳ, ὥστε μένειν εἰς τὴν χρῆσιν τῶν ἡμετέρων παίδων, ἀρχομένη μὲν ὑφ’ ἡμῶν, ὑπὲρ δὲ πάντων πανταχοῦ.
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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