Medea

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mwh
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Re: Medea

Post by mwh » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:34 pm

Love can be viewed positively. Mimnermus
τίς δε βίος, τί δὲ τερπνὸν ἄτερ χρυσῆς Αφροδίτης;
τεθναίην ὅτε μοι μηκέτι ταῦτα μέλοι.
But not usually in tragedy or elsewhere, where love is a bane and something to be steered clear of if at all possible. (μηποτ’ ω δεσποινα κτλ.) Μηδεν αγαν is the prayer, futile when it comes to Kypris.

Yes λεκτρα ευναι and λεχη are virtual synonyms.

Kypris remains the subject of the last bit. The wish has two complementary parts, respectively negative and positive. Sophrosyne just kicks off the stanza, she’s not an active force.

It’s all situational, of course. The chorus don’t hide their sympathy for Medea, but they don’t directly blame Jason for dumping her. It’s all because of Kypris, but she’s not criticized either, merely deprecated.

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Re: Medea

Post by jeidsath » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:20 am

Thank you. Here is the rest. (This section actually seemed much easier than the last choral section.)

ὦ πατρίς, ὦ δώματα, μὴ δῆτ᾽ ἄπολις γενοίμαν
τὸν ἀμηχανίας ἔχουσα
δυσπέρατον αἰῶν᾽,
οἰκτρότατον ἀχέων.
θανάτῳ θανάτῳ πάρος δαμείην
ἁμέραν τάνδ᾽ ἐξανύσα-
σα· μόχθων δ᾽ οὐκ ἄλλος ὕπερ-
θεν ἢ γᾶς πατρίας στέρεσθαι.

My country, my house, let me not now become city-less, having the life of those without resort, frustrated forever, most pitiable of griefs. Beforehand by death let me subdue the day I suffer this in death. No other suffering is greater than to be deprived of the country of one's fathers.

I am confused by the repeated θανάτῳ. I think that it means that she wishes to subdue the day that she is exiled using death (instrumental dative), by being dead (in death) before it happens.

εἴδομεν, οὐκ ἐξ ἑτέρων μῦθον ἔχω φράσασθαι·
σὲ γὰρ οὐ πόλις, οὐ φίλων τις
ᾤκτισεν παθοῦσαν
δεινότατα παθέων.
ἀχάριστος ὄλοιθ᾽, ὅτῳ πάρεστιν
μὴ φίλους τιμᾶν καθαρᾶν
ἀνοίξαντα κλῇδα φρενῶν·
ἐμοὶ μὲν φίλος οὔποτ᾽ ἔσται.

We know, I am not able to speak of other people's experience, for neither city or any of your friends had pity on you suffering the worst of experiences. Let him die without grace, wherever a man is wont not to honor friends having opened the genuine key of their hearts, he shall never be a friend to me.

I had trouble with the bolded section. I think that τιμᾶν is an infinitive, but is καθαρᾶν really an accusative agreeing with κλῇδα? I would have expected a grave instead of circumflex.
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Re: Medea

Post by mwh » Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:36 pm

δαμειην is passive. αμεραν τανδε object of εξαν.
θαν.θαν. repetition of single words in emotive lyric, characteristic of Eur. Esp when there’s lots of shorts (οικτροτατον αχεων, 5 in succession).

ειδομεν aor., we saw
αχαριστος cf. ευχαρις above
καθαρᾶν gen.pl. w/ φρενων. Presumably his, not theirs.

str.~ant.
οικτροτατον αχεων.
~ δεινοτατα παθεων.

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Re: Medea

Post by jeidsath » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:16 pm

mwh wrote:δαμειην is passive. αμεραν τανδε object of εξαν.
Ah, of course it's passive. I understood "ἁμέραν τάνδ᾽ ἐξανύσασα" together right off the bat, but then tried to to fit it in with an active main verb. I even saw that δαμείην should be passive, but was confused about my accidence. That all makes perfect sense now.
mwh wrote:καθαρᾶν gen.pl. w/ φρενων. Presumably his, not theirs.
I'm still confused about how καθαρᾶν ἀνοίξαντα κλῇδα φρενῶν fits into the sentence. Is ἀνοίξαντα κλῇδα the subject of τιμᾶν? "Wherever he is not wont to have the key that has unlocked his heart honor friends"....But now that I look it up, Mastronarde gives the answer: ἀνοίξαντα goes with ὅτῳ. So πάρεστιν is impersonal and takes dative ὅτῳ as an object, which then serves as the subject to τιμᾶν (and ἀνοίξαντα). So: "To whomever it is wont not to honor friends and open up the catch/hook that locks his mind."
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Re: Medea

Post by mwh » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:05 pm

Greek has a tendency to slide into acc.&inf. even when a dative precedes. We’ve seen earlier instances in this play I think.

The opening is subordinate to the “honoring” of course. He’s not showing respect if he’s not open. (We use the same metaphor.) καθαρᾶν reinforces the stipulation. The implicit reference is of course to Jason.
Last edited by mwh on Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Medea

Post by Hylander » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:23 pm

Herodotus 5.12.1:

Δαρεῖον δὲ συνήνεικε πρῆγμα τοιόνδε ἰδόμενον ἐπιθυμῆσαι ἐντείλασθαι Μεγαβάζῳ Παίονας ἑλόντα ἀνασπάστους ποιῆσαι ἐς τὴν Ἀσίην ἐκ τῆς Εὐρώπης.

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Re: Medea

Post by jeidsath » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:17 pm

663-664

Μήδεια, χαῖρε· τοῦδε γὰρ προοίμιον
κάλλιον οὐδεὶς οἶδε προσφωνεῖν φίλους

I assume that this refers to the general Greek greeting of "χαῖρε" and not to Medea having greeted him pleasantly on stage somehow.

I don't really have a question about this, but if I'm reading it correctly, it seems to be a pleasant reflection on a Greek greeting that has persisted from Homer until the modern day.

It's an interesting way to follow up the final part of the choral section.
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Re: Medea

Post by jeidsath » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:30 pm

The earlier place in the play with dative/accusative confusion was 57-58, though the accusative comes first there:

ὥσθ᾽ ἵμερός μ᾽ ὑπῆλθε γῇ τε κοὐρανῷ
λέξαι μολούσῃ δεῦρο δεσποίνης τύχας

Mastronarde says to look at K-G ii.111-13
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Re: Medea

Post by jeidsath » Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:03 am

666-667

...πόθεν γῆς τῆσδ᾽ ἐπιστρωφᾷ πέδον;
Φοίβου παλαιὸν ἐκλιπὼν χρηστήριον.

Why is ἐκλιπών a participle instead of a finite verb?

668
τί δ᾽ ὀμφαλὸν γῆς θεσπιῳδὸν ἐστάλης;

Bayfield talks about the ὀμφαλός at Delphi, which Zeus used to mark the center of the world, and on which suppliants would sit, and has τί δ᾽ ὀμφαλὸν γῆς θεσπιῳδὸν ἱζάνεις; Apparently ἱκάνεις is a manuscript variant, and Verrall suggested ἱζάνεις. But Page mentions that ἱκάνειν is also a variant in Andr. 251 (ἱκάνω for ἐστάλην), and that since ἱζάνεις does not fit there, it cannot be right here. He thinks ἱκάνειν is just a quirk from the same scribe in both instances.

670
πρὸς θεῶν, ἄπαις γὰρ δεῦρ᾽ ἀεὶ τείνεις βίον;

By the gods, childless, always to here you extend your life? or
By the gods, always childless you extend your life to here? or
By the gods, childless you always extend your life to here?

From the scholia, it appears to mean: By the gods, childless until now you continue on with life?

Is that right? It seems like an important line, so I'd like to understand it correctly.
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Re: Medea

Post by anphph » Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:37 am

jeidsath wrote:666-667

...πόθεν γῆς τῆσδ᾽ ἐπιστρωφᾷ πέδον;
Φοίβου παλαιὸν ἐκλιπὼν χρηστήριον.

Why is ἐκλιπών a participle instead of a finite verb?
The verb is implied, it's pretty common since it's obvious that there's an εἶναι there somewhere.

"What are you doing?"
"I'm hunting snakes. / Hunting snakes."
670
πρὸς θεῶν, ἄπαις γὰρ δεῦρ᾽ ἀεὶ τείνεις βίον;

By the gods, childless, always to here you extend your life? or
By the gods, always childless you extend your life to here? or
By the gods, childless you always extend your life to here?

From the scholia, it appears to mean: By the gods, childless until now you continue on with life?

Is that right? It seems like an important line, so I'd like to understand it correctly.
"By the gods, does that mean [γὰρ] that you have lived up to now without children?"

τείνεις βίον means to extend one's life and it has a perfective force, so "to still be alive". δεῦρο therefore should be read as temporal, I think - until now, still-, since "to still be alive up to here" doesn't make much sense.

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Re: Medea

Post by jeidsath » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:57 pm

Thanks for the explanation of 670. That makes a lot of sense.

I've seen several explanations for 708:

λόγῳ μὲν οὐχί, καρτερεῖν δὲ βούλεται.

Mastronarde glosses: "In words he does not permit it (argues against it), but <in reality> he is eager to "endure" it. Bayfield agrees with Mastronarde: "In word, no; but he will endure it." Page: "He says not, but his will is to endure it." Page is the only one to argue that καρτερεῖν may not be wholly sarcastic.
It may be that Medea gives Jason credit for at least saying he does not 'permit' her ill-treatment; but, she adds--unpleasant as it is even for him--he is resolved to go through with it. It is, indeed, a difficult and disagreeable situation for Jason.
The Scholia:
καρτερεῖν: ἀντὶ τοῦ κρατεῖν καὶ ἀντέχειν. καὶ τὸν ἐγκρατῆ λέγουσι καρτερόν. Ἀρχίλοχος 'ὁ δ᾽ Ἀσίης τε καρτερὸς μηλοτρόφου'. φησὶν οὖν ὅτι τῷ λόγῳ μὲν προσποιεῖται, τῷ δὲ ἔγρῳ οὐ θέλει κρατεῖν καὶ ἀντέχειν.

γράφεται καρδίᾳ δὲ βούλεται
It's hard for me to imagine the irony coming across to the audience very well, as written. Bayfield says that it was "said with a sneer," which seems unlikely. Mastronarde more realistically suggests that it's delivered with a "contemptuous, ironic tone."

I was going to ask about καρτερῶς δὲ βούλεται instead, but apparently it's already been suggested, along with many other ideas:
708 schol. legisse καρτερεῖν δ᾽ οὐ βούλεται putat Porson, λόγῳ μέν, οὐχὶ καρτερεῖν δὲ βούλεται Elmsley | καρδία δὲ βούλεται Bothe, τἄργ᾽ ἐᾶν (vel κάρτ᾽ ἐᾶν) δὲ βούλεται Schoene, κάρτα πως δὲ βούλεται Schenkl, κάρτ᾽ ἐᾷ δ᾽ ἃ βούλεται L. Schmidt, (κάρτα δ᾽ ἔργῳ βούλεται Rauchenstein), καρδίᾳ δὲ καρτερεῖ Heimsoeth, καρτερεῖ δ᾽ ἃ βούλεται Weil, καὶ μένειν με βούλεται Wolfg. Bauer, κερτομεῖν δὲ βούλεται vel φρὴν δὲ κάρτα βούλεται Stadtmueller, καρτερῶς δὲ βούλεται Metzger, κάρτα φρὴν (vel φρενὶ) δὲ βούλεται Semitelos, κάρτα δ᾽ ἔργοισιν θέλει olim coniciebam
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Re: Medea

Post by jeidsath » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:50 am

746-747

ὄμνυ πέδον Γῆς, πατέρα θ᾽ Ἥλιον πατρὸς
τοὐμοῦ, θεῶν τε συντιθεὶς ἅπαν γένος.

Swear by the plain of Earth, and my father's father Sun, and setting them all together by the entire race of gods.

She's not saying "Sun, who is my father's father," but closer to "father Sun of my father," with "father Sun" as one title, correct? This confused me at first. I thought that father was some sort of cult title of Helios, special god of her father. But it turns out that he is literally her grandfather.

γένος seems to be an object of both συντιθεὶς and ὄμνυ.
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Re: Medea

Post by anphph » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:50 pm

jeidsath wrote:She's not saying "Sun, who is my father's father," but closer to "father Sun of my father," with "father Sun" as one title, correct? This confused me at first. I thought that father was some sort of cult title of Helios, special god of her father. But it turns out that he is literally her grandfather.
I got it as wordplay. A bit like Christian jokes wheres Jesus says "Oh my God!" It's Father Sun, phrased as a title, which in this case does happen to also be her father's father.

Oh Sun, Father!,
Of my father.
γένος seems to be an object of both συντιθεὶς and ὄμνυ.
In terms of sense, yes, the point of her commanding him to συντιθέναι all the gods is of course so that he can swear by them, but grammatically I don't think there's a zeugma here: not only are the words too far apart, but also the two τε's seem to create too much syntactical distance between the two.

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Re: Medea

Post by Hylander » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:11 pm

πατέρα θ᾽ Ἥλιον πατρὸς
τοὐμοῦ,

I don't think it's wordplay and I don't think πατέρα is a title. She's reminding him whom he's talking to: a lineal descendant, just one generation removed, from the Sun god himself.

The implication is that Helios, who sees everything, will surely take vengeance on anyone who swears by him and breaks his oath to her, his granddaughter. Oaths and other solemn invocations are frequently addressed to the Sun (among others), whose all-seeing power makes him the guardian and protector of truth.

Il. 3.277:

Ἠέλιός θ᾽, ὃς πάντ᾽ ἐφορᾷς καὶ πάντ᾽ ἐπακούεις,

It's all-seeing Helios who discloses to Hephaistos Aphrodite's entanglement with Ares in Od. 8.271, and who discloses to Demeter the fate of Persephone in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, 61 ff. See also Il. 19.259 (paired with Γῆ); Aeschylus, Choephori, 985 (Sun invoked as guardian of truth and justice); Prometheus 91 (paired with Earth); cf. Aeschines, Against Ktesiphon (or. 3) 260: ὦ γῆ καὶ ἥλιε καὶ ἀρετὴ καὶ σύνεσις καὶ παιδεία, ᾗ διαγιγνώσκομεν τὰ καλὰ καὶ τὰ αἰσχρά, . . .

εμου is emphatic by itself, and τοὐμοῦ is emphatically placed at the end of the noun phrase and with enjambment.

Perhaps the mention of her father (whom she has betrayed) is meant to carry a whiff of unintentional irony on her part.

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Re: Medea

Post by mwh » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:35 pm

Having Medea stress her relationship to Helios here is Euripides’ way of subtly preparing for the eventual denouement (which I won’t spoil). The audience will have known the Helios-Aietes-Medea genealogy from Hesiod’s Theogony (956ff.), but they wouldn’t know the outcome. The surprise introduction of Aigeus and this oath creates anticipation of escape to Athens; intervention by Heiios is not in prospect. I don’t see any irony in mentioning her father here; it’s just that her claim on Helios proceeds patrilineally through him.

On the grammar, ομνυ has a string of three objects, linked by τε. Repeated in the oath itself, 752-3, ομνυμι Γαιαν etc. The third item, the longest (an IE pattern), is secondarily the object of συντιθείς too, perfectly ordinary grammar. As in a prayer to the gods it’s important to be inclusive, hence this blanket collectivity clause.

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Re: Medea

Post by Hylander » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:57 pm

intervention by Helios is not in prospect.
I agree; I merely wanted to point out that Helios is frequently invoked in oaths and similar solemn affirmations as the protector and guarantor of truth. Here's he's particularly important as Medea's grandfather.

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Re: Medea

Post by mwh » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:42 pm

Certainly. As you say, Medea is reminding Aigeus that Helios is her grandfather (so he’d better be extra careful not to break so solemn an oath?!). But at the same time, and more importantly, I’m suggesting, Euripides is reminding the audience of it, and in so doing is unobtrusively paving the way for the later spectacular event, which otherwise would come entirely out of the blue. I think it’s all too easy to miss such dramaturgical subtleties.

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Re: Medea

Post by anphph » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:28 am

Unrelated, but I couldn't help thinking of the discussion here as I read this today:
ἐκτείνατ' αὐτὸ καὶ κύκλῳ παρασταδὸν
στέγαστρον ἀνδρὸς δείξαθ', ὡς ἴδῃ πατήρ -
οὐχ οὑμός, ἀλλ' ὁ πάντ' ἐποπτεύων τάδε
Ἥλιος
– ἄναγνα μητρὸς ἔργα τῆς ἐμῆς
Libation Bearers, 983-986

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