Republic 2.377a

Here you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Greek, and more.
Post Reply
Rvdalex
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:23 am

Republic 2.377a

Post by Rvdalex » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:12 pm

Hi Everyone

I believe there was a discussion of a part of this passage a while back, but I can't seem to find it. I have a few questions about a short line from this passage that I wanted to get some feedback on. The relevant passage:

οὐ μανθάνεις, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, ὅτι πρῶτον τοῖς παιδίοις μύθους λέγομεν; τοῦτο δέ που ὡς τὸ ὅλον εἰπεῖν ψεῦδος, ἔνι δὲ καὶ ἀληθῆ.

I understand what the passage is saying, but the grammar in the second half is confusing me for a few reasons. I'm wondering if one should carry the verb λέγομεν into the second half so that τοῦτο is part of an indirect discourse construction, or whether that τοῦτο is adverbial, or whether it refers back to μύθους. I read in LSJ that sometimes a neuter singular can refer back to a m/f antecedent. Additionally, ὡς τὸ ὅλον εἰπεῖν is throwing me off. I am familiar with the expression ὡς εἰπεῖν (so to speak), but the neuter adjective (probably functioning adverbially) is confusing me by being placed in between the two.

Thank you in advance for any help you provide, and my apologies if any of my queries seem elementary or pedestrian. I always insist on understanding every little part of the Greek, if at all possible because why not?

User avatar
jeidsath
Administrator
Posts: 3130
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Γαλεήπολις, Οὐισκόνσιν

Re: Republic 2.377a

Post by jeidsath » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:33 pm

Understanding what the passage is saying should make pretty clear whether τοῦτο is adverbial or has an antecedent, and what τὸ ὅλον is doing, or whether it is indirect discourse or not. It is hard to claim more than a general gist if we can't answer these questions.

But it does seem straightforward to me. He's tying it back to λόγων δὲ διττὸν εἶδος, τὸ μὲν ἀληθές, ψεῦδος δ᾽ ἕτερον, hence the phrasing.

ὡς τὸ ὅλον εἰπεῖν - "so to speak of the whole". It is on its own grammatically, but explains the τοῦτο for us, letting us know that it refers to the sum total of the stories we tell a child.

I assume that there is an implied εστι before ψεῦδος, and don't see any way that indirect discourse could be understood. (Does ἔνι always stand for a finite verb? I would think so, but I don't know.)
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

User avatar
Barry Hofstetter
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1011
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:22 pm

Re: Republic 2.377a

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:06 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:33 pm
I assume that there is an implied εστι before ψεῦδος, and don't see any way that indirect discourse could be understood. (Does ἔνι always stand for a finite verb? I would think so, but I don't know.)
LSJ wrote:ἐνί, poet. for ἐν, both Ep. and Att., also in Ion. prose.


ἔνι, for ἔνεστι, ἔνεισι, ἐνέσται; v. ἔνειμι.

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon (p. 567). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

But it clearly stands for ἔνεστι here.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Hylander
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1719
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Republic 2.377a

Post by Hylander » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:34 pm

ὡς τὸ ὅλον εἰπεῖν is an idiom, or rather two idioms:

ὡς . . . εἰπεῖν -- not quite English "so to speak" but it softens a categorical statement; maybe "more or less". που also softens the expression.

τὸ ὅλον -- "generally", i.e. taking it as a whole (adverbial accusative).

Generally, that (τοῦτο) [is] more or less BS, but there's also some truth in [it].

User avatar
jeidsath
Administrator
Posts: 3130
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Γαλεήπολις, Οὐισκόνσιν

Re: Republic 2.377a

Post by jeidsath » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:15 pm

Hylander wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:34 pm
ὡς τὸ ὅλον εἰπεῖν is an idiom, or rather two idioms:

ὡς . . . εἰπεῖν -- not quite English "so to speak" but it softens a categorical statement; maybe "more or less". που also softens the expression.

τὸ ὅλον -- "generally", i.e. taking it as a whole (adverbial accusative).

Generally, that (τοῦτο) [is] more or less BS, but there's also some truth in [it].
Crat. 192C. Πότερον οὖν αἱ γυναῖκες ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν φρονιμώτεραί σοι δοκοῦσιν εἶναι ἢ οἱ ἄνδρες, ὡς τὸ ὅλον εἰπεῖν γένος;

Leges 917a. κρείττους δὲ οἱ ἀμείνους τῶν χειρόνων, πρεσβῦταί τε ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πᾶν εἰπεῖν τῶν νέων

So I don't think that this functions like που, softening the statement in R 2.377A, but is about establishing exactly what it applies to.

There are also a number of examples in Plato where a substantive, not an adverb, is used in the ὡς...εἰπεῖν statement. Leg. 624A. Ὡς πόλιν εἰπεῖν. Rep. 577E. Ὥς γε τὸ δικαιότατον εἰπεῖν.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

Hylander
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1719
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Republic 2.377a

Post by Hylander » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:45 pm

Look up ολος and ειπον in LSJ.

Without having looked at the examples you cited, I think they can be translated as something like "generally", qualifying a broad generalization which may not hold true in every instance.

User avatar
jeidsath
Administrator
Posts: 3130
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Γαλεήπολις, Οὐισκόνσιν

Re: Republic 2.377a

Post by jeidsath » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:50 pm

I recommend Goodwin's Moods and Tenses 777 instead of the LSJ ειπον article, as the LSJ doesn't do more than give the gloss for the very common ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν.

No, I don't disagree that τὸ ὅλον can be taken adverbially, but it felt a little flat to do so here, and leaves the somewhat surprising "τοῦτο".

It needed to be τοῦτο, of course, because Socrates is making his point about τὸ μὲν ἀληθές, τὸ δὲ ψεῦδος, but it seems to me that "ὡς τὸ ὅλον εἰπεῖν" is how he makes it fit the preceding "ὅτι πρῶτον τοῖς παιδίοις μύθους λέγομεν", which wouldn't normally be referred to by τοῦτο. He's not applying ψεῦδος to τὸ τοῖς μύθους λέγειν, but to what we tell them. But τοῦτο can't refer to μῦθοι (though maybe ταῦτα could?).
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

Rvdalex
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:23 am

Re: Republic 2.377a

Post by Rvdalex » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:58 pm

Thank you so much!

Lucid and insightful.

Hylander
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1719
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Republic 2.377a

Post by Hylander » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:05 pm

τοῦτο because ψεῦδος -- disdainfully lumping together the μυθοι told to children: "all that stuff is generally, just about all of it, a bunch of lies". That why τοῦτο and ψεῦδος are singular, and why τοῦτο is neuter singular and not masculine plural in agreement with μῦθοι.

τὸ ὅλον is better explained as "as a whole" rather than "generally", contrary to what I suggested in my previous post. But ὡς . . . εἰπεῖν softens it. He's preparing to admit that there's some truth in it.

Post Reply