Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

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Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:27 pm

καθήμενοι δὲ περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος ἐπυνθάνοντο καὶ εὐδαιμόνιζον αὐτοὺς τοιούτου γηροτρόφου εὐτυχήσαντας.
Without considerations of the overall story, would there be a reason why the text would need to be interpreted with one or the other of these two groupings of genitives, or could either be okay. In other words, are their constraints on Greek usage here, rather than only context, that the authour could safely assume his readers would emply as they decoded the meaning of this part of the text?

Which is possible?
Either:
καθήμενοι δὲ περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης "Sitting around M"
καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος ἐπυνθάνοντο "they both made enquiries about L"
καὶ εὐδαιμόνιζον αὐτοὺς τοιούτου γηροτρόφου εὐτυχήσαντας. "and considered them blessed because ..."
And / or:
καθήμενοι δὲ περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος "sitting around M and L"
ἐπυνθάνοντο καὶ εὐδαιμόνιζον αὐτοὺς τοιούτου γηροτρόφου εὐτυχήσαντας. "they made enquiries and considered them blessed because ..."
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by jeidsath » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:32 pm

A participle and a finite verb wouldn’t need a conjunction to connect them like that. So it’s connecting the nouns.
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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:37 pm

Going with the assumption that the καὶ... καὶ... "both... and..." doesn't work here, might I ask why?
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by Hylander » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:59 pm

Without considerations of the overall story,
Impossible to tell without context, and context would make this clear.

I read this a long time ago, and I don't remember who Mytale and Lamo were, or anything about the situation described in this passage, but how about this:

καθήμενοι δὲ
περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος ἐπυνθάνοντο
καὶ εὐδαιμόνιζον αὐτοὺς τοιούτου γηροτρόφου εὐτυχήσαντας.

"Sitting down, they learned about Myrtale and Lamo, and considered them lucky to have had the good fortune to find such a care-giver for their old age."

This is the way I read it, and I think plural αὐτοὺς makes it clear that they learned about both M and L. Also, I think ἐπυνθάνοντο would seem strange without a complement. See LSJ:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... qa%2Fnomai

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:24 pm

They're Daphnis' foster parents. He has come alone to Chloe's house.

I think that because there is not a conversation already going on about them - although the meaning of the Greek covers the situation of initiating enquiries and of hearing without initiating the enquiry - they actually must have asked, because nobody else is there to prompt Daphnis to talk about them. Daphnis, presumably, talked himself up in their estimation for them to "inadvertantly" praise him as the good γηρότροφος.
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:44 pm

Am I right in assuming that, if somebody only heard καθήμενοι δὲ περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος, then that would not raise red flags, and they would have understood it to mean sitting in close physical proxymity?
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by anphph » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:39 pm

Maybe I'm totally missing the point of the thread, but I think that if anyone wanted to separate the two adjectives they would likely separate them. Plus what jeidsath said.

καθήμενοι δὲ περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης <...>, τοῦ Λάμωνος ἐπυνθάνοντο

Punctuated like this it could probably mean what you want. As the text stands, it seems bulletproof that the genitives are just required by ἐπυνθάνοντο.

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by mwh » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:30 pm

ἑκηβόλος wrote:
καθήμενοι δὲ περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος ἐπυνθάνοντο καὶ εὐδαιμόνιζον αὐτοὺς τοιούτου γηροτρόφου εὐτυχήσαντας.
...
Which is possible?
Either:
καθήμενοι δὲ περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης "Sitting around M"
καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος ἐπυνθάνοντο "they both made enquiries about L"
καὶ εὐδαιμόνιζον αὐτοὺς τοιούτου γηροτρόφου εὐτυχήσαντας. "and considered them blessed because ..."
And / or:
καθήμενοι δὲ περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος "sitting around M and L"
ἐπυνθάνοντο καὶ εὐδαιμόνιζον αὐτοὺς τοιούτου γηροτρόφου εὐτυχήσαντας. "they made enquiries and considered them blessed because ..."
What a bizarre question. Both “alternatives” are wrong. It should be perfectly obvious that περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος is a single phrase and that it doesn’t go with καθήμενοι but with ἐπυνθάνοντο. Hylander chunks the sentence correctly, as any minimally competent reader would, with or without context.

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:13 am

ἑκηβόλος wrote:if somebody only heard καθήμενοι δὲ περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος,
Listener response.
mwh wrote:minimally competent reader would, with or without context.
I guess this means somebody comprehending the meaning from text, but still a valuable comment, if one takes oracy and literacy to be two aspects of the one skill.
anphph wrote:Maybe I'm totally missing the point of the thread,
Prosody and diction. If I asked directly, "How should this be read?", I am more likely to get rehashed answers about that we couldn't know, and that modern attempts while futile are adequate.

Let me interpret the responses:
anphph wrote:καθήμενοι δὲ περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης <...>, τοῦ Λάμωνος ἐπυνθάνοντο

Punctuated like this it could probably mean what you want. As the text stands, it seems bulletproof that the genitives are just required by ἐπυνθάνοντο.
Be sure and not pause or draw breath at the "<...>" juncture.
mwh wrote:Hylander chunks the sentence correctl
Read in "chunks" (as divided by H) as a top-level division of time - major pausations according to sense.
ἑκηβόλος wrote:Going with the assumption that the καὶ... καὶ... "both... and..." doesn't work here,
Without the response of others, I will assume that one should not read the first καὶ should not be read too strongly, nor with too long a pause before it.
ἑκηβόλος wrote:Daphnis, presumably, talked himself up in their estimation for them to "inadvertantly" praise him as the good γηρότροφος.
The second καὶ means that the meaning of one phrase leads to the next, which might mean it should be read more closely, (consequentially).
Hylander wrote:plural αὐτοὺς makes it clear
Perhaps this needs to be read more strongly, clearly or slowly.
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by mwh » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:46 pm

I’m afraid these responses are no less misguided than your original question. Now you seem fixated on how to perform the text, how to read it out aloud. That’s secondary to simply reading the text as it stands on the page, the way one reads a book or anything else. Remember it’s a written artifact, and an exceptionally clear and lucid one, presenting very few challenges to the reader.

Where you went wrong is in misarticulating the text, in chunking it in unnatural ways. Chunking is not a matter of “division of time” or “pausations” but of recognizing the discrete constituent units that make up the whole. It's structural, not temporal.

Here we have first an unmodified participle, καθήμενοι (“As they sat,” “Once seated”), which applies over the whole sentence;
then περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος ἐπυνθάνοντο, describing what they did while sitting (a competent reader would not even think of disconnecting the prepositional phrase from επυνθανοντο and attaching it to καθημενοι instead);
then καὶ εὐδαιμόνιζον αὐτοὺς τοιούτου γηροτρόφου εὐτυχήσαντας, paratactically adding a second main clause (a competent reader would automatically refer αυτους to Myrtale and Lamo just mentioned).

It’s perfectly straightforward. I suggest that rather than “interpreting” the responses you receive you’d do better to take this to heart and work on improving your reading practice. The parsing you are so fond of seems to lead you in unproductive directions.

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:05 am

mwh wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:46 pm
Now you seem [interested in] how to perform the text, how to read it out aloud. That’s secondary to simply reading the text as it stands on the page, the way one reads a book or anything else. Remember it’s a written artifact, and an exceptionally clear and lucid one, presenting very few challenges to the reader.
I don't actually believe it was Ambrose who first read silently, but going with the common misconception for a moment, let me clarify, that when you say "read", you mean read in the post-Ambrose sense, I assume.

I think it is much easier to deal with a language (or a text) with the aid of technology, in this case writing and alphabet. As with any reduction of a complex system to a set of symbols, however, we can't forget that 27 characters, 6 diacritics, 4 punctuation marks and spacing between words, is only a subset of what was present in the oral performance of the language. In trying to read (aloud), we read according to the text as written symbolically and guided by our appreciation of the sense in a way that seems best to us.

Alternatively, someone might ignore the oral nature of the language and claim it is just a written language, as texts written in classical style during the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods may have been. By definition, however, a text written in the venacular - such as this one written in Koine Greek - has a closer relationship to the spoken forms of a language than one composed in a literary form of the language. Not giving a portion of one's attention to how it was "read aloud" (ie formed in the mouth of a speaker of the language reading it aloud) seems like a methological shortcoming in the way one approaches the text.

As noted, this is a beautiful and well-composed text, with simple well-balanced phrasing, contrasting portions and a good flow of words and thoughts. The perfect combination for reading aloud in a way to be best understood.
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:21 am

mwh wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:46 pm
then περὶ τῆς Μυρτάλης καὶ τοῦ Λάμωνος ἐπυνθάνοντο, describing what they did while sitting (a competent reader would not even think of disconnecting the prepositional phrase from επυνθανοντο and attaching it to καθημενοι instead);
By way of speculation. After trying many alternatives, my best guess for this is that when the prepositional phrase leads up to the verb (occurs to the left) it would have a pause before it, and have been spoken together (without pause) with the nominal phrase that follows it, and similarly for other elements to the left of the verb. If the prepositional phrase was to the right of the first verb (participle), I guess there would have been a slight pause after or emphasis on the preposition then the noun phrase. Not differentiation them at all leaves a listener with no cue about whether to take the clause with what proceeds it or follows.

Grouping (or separating) the genitives within the prepositional phrase is just another variation with the experience of reading, listening and making sense - either correctly or incorrectly of a text. The "competent reader" (bald-headed and reading Longus aloud while commuting to work from Clapham) would not break up the nominal phrase outside the prepositional phrase.

What do ither people experimenting with reading feel about collocational cues?
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

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Re: Grouping the genitives in Longus 3.9.1

Post by mwh » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:56 am

ἑκηβόλος wrote:Alternatively, someone might ignore the oral nature of the language and claim it is just a written language, as texts written in classical style during the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods may have been. By definition, however, a text written in the venacular - such as this one written in Koine Greek - has a closer relationship to the spoken forms of a language than one composed in a literary form of the language.
You need to correct your notion that Longus' work is written in the vernacular. It's prose pastoral, inscribing itself in the Theocritean pastoral tradition (with more than a token nod to Sappho), with gracefulness as its hallmark. The language and style are far from vernacular. Longus is sensitive to classical vowel quantity as well as vocabulary and syntax, just as he is to the sound and rhythm of his composition. It's as polished and "literary" a work as anything you'll find in Greek.

As to pauses in oral delivery (your last post), you’re free to put them wherever appropriate. You can do that only if you chunk the text properly. For that you need to develop a better sense how the text articulates itself, and of what goes with what.

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