Neuter for Feminine?

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bedwere
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Neuter for Feminine?

Post by bedwere » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:40 pm

Last night Joel and I were reading one of Lucian dialogue adapted by Rouse.
Τρίτ. Οὔκ· ἀλλὰ ἴστε, οἶμαι, ὦ Ἰφιάνασσα, τὸν Περσέα, τὸ τῆς Δανάης παιδίον, ὃ μετὰ τῆς μητρὸς ἐν τῇ κιβωτῷ ἐμβληθὲν ἐς τὴν θάλατταν ὑπὸ τοῦ μητροπάτορος ἐσώσατε, οἰκτίραντα αὐτούς.
I thought that οἰκτίραντα should be οἰκτίρασαι (the Nereids nymphs are feminine) and in fact Joel found the original on Perseus with οἰκτείρασαι. Never mind ειρ vs. ιρ, but why would Rouse write οἰκτίραντα? Just a typo or what else?

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Re: Neuter for Feminine?

Post by Hylander » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:47 pm

It's not neuter plural. It's masculine accusative agreeing with τὸν Περσέα. A supplementary participle is the standard form of indirect discourse with οιδα.

"I suppose you know that Perseus . . . took pity on them."

Probably a tweak designed to reinforce the student's grasp of indirect discourse. It doesn't work here, though, in view of Iphianassa's response:

οἶδα ὃν λέγεις: εἰκὸς δὲ ἤδη νεανίαν εἶναι καὶ μάλα γενναῖόν τε καὶ καλὸν ἰδεῖν.

"I know the person you're talking about. He's probably in his late teens or early twenties by now, and very comme il faut, and good-looking."

Her response makes it clear that she understood the question to mean "do you know Perseus?", not "do you know that Perseus took pity on them?", referring to Andromeda, Cepheus and Cassiopea.

And then Triton goes on to explain that it was Perseus who killed the sea-monster.

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Re: Neuter for Feminine?

Post by mwh » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:01 pm

Yes obviously it ought to be οικτείρασαι. I first wondered if οιτ(ε)ιραντα might be a transmitted variant, but if so it’s a very bad one. But I don’t understand why Rouse should have made the change. He surely can’t have wanted it to be construed as dependent on ιστε as an indirect statement, to have it mean “You know that Perseus, D’s infant child that was thrown …, took pity on them (i.e. himself and mom).” That would be quite absurd, as well as putting an intolerable strain on the Greek. Even without the response (nicely rendered by Hylander) it’s clear that ιστε οιμαι τον Περσεα is complete in itself and the sentence won’t be returning to masc. Περσεα.

So I can’t answer bedwere’s question.

I trust everyone’s read the Simonides fragment, which has all Hellenophiles longing for more of Simonides' dirges.

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Re: Neuter for Feminine?

Post by jeidsath » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:41 pm

In story #40 of Greek Boy at Home, Rouse made a similar error.

ἔπαιζόν ποτε αἱ κόραι. καὶ ἐκάθητο μὲν μία τῶν κορῶν ἐν μέσῳ. αἱ δ’ ἄλλαι κύκλον ποιησάμενοι ἐχόρευον, ᾄδοντες· ἡ δ’ ἐν μέσῳ ἀντῇδεν. ἡ δ’ ᾠδὴ τοιάδε...

An erratum is included in the book "For ᾄδοντες read ᾄδουσαι." But nothing is said about "ποιησάμενοι." I wonder if this grammatical blind spot was brought on by Rouse's all-male Greek classrooms.

(Nereids has a wider meaning in modern Greek, by the way. Would a group of 50 modern Nereids be of mixed gender?)
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Re: Neuter for Feminine?

Post by mwh » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:29 pm

Shameful. You’d have thought an all-male environment would heighten awareness of the otherness of females, rather than obliterating it. But in our sentence it’s not just a matter of getting the gender wrong, but substitution of masc.acc.sing. for fem.nom.pl., ruining the syntax and the meaning. Truly shameful.

(Are Nereids not necesssarily female in modern Greek? I know only κολυμβ/π- for swimming, which always reminds me of Alcman’s mysterious κολυμβωσαι book-title—corrupt for μελιαμβ(ικαi) ᾠδαί?)

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Re: Neuter for Feminine?

Post by jeidsath » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:10 am

mwh wrote:I trust everyone’s read the Simonides fragment, which has all Hellenophiles longing for more of Simonides' dirges.
Are you referring to West's 1992 Iambi et Elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati vol. II, editio altera? (I haven't read it, just the description on Bryn Mawr.)

That has the following quote:
ἀλλὰ σὺ μὲ]ν νῦν χαῖρε, θεᾶς ἐρικυ[δέος υἱέ
κούρης εἰν]αλίου Νηρέος: αὐτὰρ ἐγώ
κτλ.
Who is the son of the Nereid here?

But Googling for that leads to the full fragment.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Paul Derouda
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Re: Neuter for Feminine?

Post by Paul Derouda » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:56 am

Yes, tell us what Simonides fragment!

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Re: Neuter for Feminine?

Post by mwh » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:24 pm

Sorry, I didn’t mean to mystify. I was referring to the so-called Danae fragment, quoted by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, which I thought I remembered was featured by Joel in correspondence with everyone here. Fr.543 Page/Campbell. Danae addressing Perseus: … εὗδε βρεφος, ευδετω δε ποντος, ευδετω ⟨δ’⟩ αμετρον κακον ..., “Sleep, babe, and sleep the sea, ….” Splendid stuff.
I didn't mean to imply it was from a dirge itself.

In the elegy the son of the Nereid is Achilles, son of Thetis. It’s an extremely interesting poem with considerable importance for the history of early Greek literature. In addition to IEG there’s a text given in Deborah Boedeker and David Sider, edd., The New Simonides (2001), a collection of essays.

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Re: Neuter for Feminine?

Post by opoudjis » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:44 pm

mwh wrote:Are Nereids not necesssarily female in modern Greek?
Yes.

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