Plato Symposium 178a3-5

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vir litterarum
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Plato Symposium 178a3-5

Post by vir litterarum » Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:03 pm

πάντων μὲν οὖν ἃ ἕκαστος εἶπεν, οὔτε πάνυ ? Ἀ?ιστόδημος ?μέμνητο οὔτ' αὖ ?γὼ ἃ ?κεῖνος ἔλεγε πάντα: ἃ δὲ μάλιστα καὶ ὧν ἔδοξέ μοι ἀξιομνημόνευτον*, τούτων ὑμῖν ??ῶ ἑκάστου τὸν λόγον.


Dover says that ?μέμνητο ought to be supplied here after μάλιστα. Even so, I don't understand how the relative clauses are relating to the main clause, which I translated thusly: " I will tell to you the speech of each of these." I took "toutwn" to be referring to the speakers, so what is the antecedent to ἃ ?

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Re: Plato Symposium 178a3-5

Post by modus.irrealis » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:24 pm

Could the το?των be a resumptive pronoun and be in the genitive as a result of (inverse) attraction due to ὧν? So the main clause would've been something like ταῦτα ὑμῖν ??ῶ ἑκάστου τὸν λόγον with ἑκάστου τὸν λόγον then amplifying the direct object (I will tell you these things, the speech of each one)?

I don't see why ἀξιομνημόνευτον is singular, though. I read the comment linked through Perseus but beyond confirming that the sentence is confused, it just makes conjectures.

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Post by vir litterarum » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:42 pm

That definitely is a possibility, but doesn't the inversely attracted demonstrative tend to precede the relative to which it is attracted? Here is the translation from the Penguin edition by Christopher Gill:

"But I'll tell you the speeches of the people he remembered best and that I thought most important."

Now I have no idea how he derived this from the text, but it seems that he wants to take "toutwn" as referring to the speakers.

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Post by modus.irrealis » Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:16 pm

As far as I know there is such a tendency and I couldn't find anything about the case of resumptive pronouns in situations like this.

The Gill translation doesn't seem possible as a literal translation because of the neuter ἅ. It's clear to me that the relative clauses are objects of ??ῶ but it's not clear how that's expressed grammatically.

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Re: Plato Symposium 178a3-5

Post by IreneY » Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:18 am


Last edited by IreneY on Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by cb » Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:30 am

hi, τὸν λόγον here doesn't mean a speech but rather the argument of a speech. if you read the next para in the dialogue this is clear: the speaker gives the argument of the speech of Φαῖδ?ος.

the general meaning here is that, of the speeches that were made, Ἀ?ιστόδημος had previously told to the speaker those he remembered, and the speaker will now describe the argument of each speech he remembers which had a good argument.

re. the queries above:

(a) τούτων: (which depends on τὸν λόγον) doesn't mean the speakers, but is defined by the relative clauses coming before τούτων, which i would expand as follows (see the square brackets):

ἃ δὲ μάλιστα [πάντων μέμνημαι] καὶ ὧν [τὸν λόγον] ἔδοξέ μοι [εἶναι] ἀξιομνημόνευτον.

(if the implied words in brackets were actually added into the sentence, the original word order would change, e.g. μοι would move forward to the position after τὸν λόγον.)

(b) ἀξιομνημόνευτον: is singular because it agrees with τὸν λόγον, which is implied here and stated in the main clause at the end. for ἔδοξέ μοι with εἶναι in plato, cf. gorgias 485B:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pt ... Gorg.+485b

(c) as a side point, with μάλιστα, i think reading an implied first-person verb μέμνημαι (referring to the speaker) is better than Dover's suggested ?μέμνητο (referring to Ἀ?ιστόδημος); the speaker can only recount what he himself remembers, and he mentioned that he forgot some of what Ἀ?ιστόδημος said ("οὔτ' αὖ ?γὼ ἃ ?κεῖνος ἔλεγε πάντα").

cheers :)

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Post by vir litterarum » Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:32 am

If the implied verb of ἃ δὲ μάλιστα is ?μέμνητο, then why isn't this relative in the genitive?

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Post by cb » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:50 am

hi, μεμνῆσθαι can either take the acc. or the gen. in attic, with a slight difference in sense which smyth describes in s1358:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pt ... =&loc=1358

smyth's explanation there of the sense of the acc. fits the context of the quote (i.e. remembering the whole of the speeches he heard), and for me plato's use of μάλιστα with the acc. relative supports this.

for refs to attic texts using the acc. with μεμνῆσθαι (smyth doesn't give any in s1358), see e.g. LSJ, μιμνήσκω, II B:

http://archimedes.fas.harvard.edu/cgi-b ... lter=CUTF8

cheers :)

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Post by vir litterarum » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:30 pm

So πάντων here means something more like "neither did Aristodemus bethink himself of all the things...", while the accusative of the relative with the verb means to remember?

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Re: Plato Symposium 178a3-5

Post by modus.irrealis » Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:00 pm



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Post by cb » Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:59 pm

vir lit., i think you are taking (in the μέν clause) πάντων as the gen. object of ?μέμνητο, and then wondering why (in the δέ clause) an implied form of the same verb μεμνῆσθαι takes an acc. relative.

but πάντων is not the object of ?μέμνητο: it is a partitive gen, of which the two οὔτε clauses give parts (i.e. the forgotten speeches).

if you are wondering where then is the object of ?μέμνητο, this is indicated by the adverb πάνυ: see a similar use by plato of πάνυ with μεμνῆσθαι in phaedrus s263d, first sentence:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pt ... edrus+263d

(if you actually made express the object implied by the adverb, e.g. filling in (in square brackets) "οὔτε πάνυ ? Ἀ?ιστόδημος ?μέμνητο [πάντα τὰ λεγόμενα]", that would be so similar to the sense of the opening partitive gen. phrase, covering the same scope of things said, that it would be redundant stylistically.)

to answer your query above, whether express or implied in this sentence, μεμνῆσθαι just means remembering and not "bethinking" or something else.

modus, i think the noun ? λόγος has as broad a scope of meaning as the verb λέγω and therefore always needs to be understood in the context of the words depending on it; here, given that:
(a) τούτων depends on τὸν λόγον, and
(b) τούτων means the speeches which the speaker remembers and which seemed to him to have a good argument,
τούτων ... τὸν λόγον means the λόγος of each of these speeches, i.e. the lines of argument of each of these speeches.

to reply to your query, i said in my post above that the following para of the dialogue made this clear, as the speaker there does not start reciting the speech of Φαῖδ?ος in direct speech, but rather he describes the lines of the argument of the speech.

cheers :)

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Post by modus.irrealis » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:17 pm


Last edited by modus.irrealis on Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by IreneY » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:54 pm

Nah! Diffferent subject of verb and infinitive right?

I actually found time to read the phrase within its context and I think I changed my mind.

"Those (things, whatever) that were worthy of mention and (the words, whatever) of those that I deemed worthy of mention (with axiomnemoneuton referring to the words), of these I will tell you (the words).

As "words, whatever" I translate "logos". It seems clumsy in English but it worked for me while I was reading it :D

Mind you, "reason" as in "argument" I guess could stand. I think. One of these days I will really give this the attention it requires I promise. :)

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Post by vir litterarum » Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:55 am

Isn't the partitive genitive a form of the adnominal genitive or used after certain verbs of filling, etc.? How can one express part from the whole with an adverb?

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Post by cb » Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:36 pm

vir. lit., the partitive gen. can be used to give the whole (of which its parts or divisions are then specified). see e.g. the sentence "ἀλλὰ µὴν τῶν γε τεχνῶν πασῶν σχεδὸν εἴδη δύο" in sophist 219a:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pt ... ction=219a

aristotle uses it v frequently: see e.g. "Τῶν λεγομένων" and "Τῶν ὄντων" in the second and third paragraphs of aristotle's categories 1a:

http://www.tlg.uci.edu/demo/browser?uid ... nicode_All

the sentence we are discussing from the symposium uses it. of all the speeches (partitive gen.), certain parts have been forgotten (specified in the μέν clause). the δέ clause by contrast concerns the speeches which the speaker has not forgotten, and divides them up into those which have a good λόγος and those which don't (and the speaker will go on to tell the λόγος of each of the former).

if you read the clause straight through, you will see that the divisions of the whole move in a sequential way to the remembered speeches which have a good λόγος. i have shown this in a diagram, breaking up the sentence into its five clauses. the intervals represent the parts of the whole (remove spaces: textkit doesn't let me post links to my site):

www . freewebs . com / mhninaeide / sumpos178a . pdf

to answer your query, the adverb does not express a part, but rather the first οὔτε clause (containing the adverb) expresses a part, i.e. the part forgotten by Ἀ?ιστόδημος (plato describes this part in reverse, by saying that Ἀ?ιστόδημος did not remember all, i.e. he forgot some). see the interval A B in my diagram linked above.

modus, you are right, both the impersonal and the personal (as per your e.g.) constructions are available for this verb. i don't have stats on the ratio of these unfortunately, or clear rules on when one or the other is preferred. i flicked through plato and saw both types. an e.g. in plato of δοκεῖ μοι followed by acc. plus inf. is "οὔ µοι δοκεῖ καλὸν εἶναι ?µὲ τούτων ο?δὲν ποιεῖν" in apology 34e:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pt ... =Apol.+34e

why did plato choose the impersonal construction in this symposium sentence? not sure; what follows is just my personal impression. the whole sentence could be loaded up with "repeats", spelling out what is implied in each clause, by e.g. inserting forms of the verb μεμνῆσθαι in the second οὔτε clause and in the ἃ δὲ μάλιστα relative clause (in addition to the express form in the first οὔτε clause), and by inserting a form of λόγος in the ὧν ἔδοξέ μοι relative clause (in addition to the express form in the main clause at the end). however all these repeats aren't necessary if the meaning can be implied, and perhaps including them makes the sentence too heavy stylistically.

in this sentence, i think that by using the impersonal construction (and thus having the agreement of case between ἀξιομνημόνευτον in the relative clause and λόγον in the main clause), despite the fact that they are actually in different clauses, the implication of τὸν λόγον in the relative clause is clear: similarly, you could rewrite "ἥντινα; ο?κ ἀγεννῆ, ἔµοιγε δοκεῖ" in euthyphro 2c using a personal construction to express what ἀγεννῆ is modifying (adding in the subject in the nominative and changing ἀγεννῆ to the nominative), but these changes are not necessary because the context allows you to imply the meaning. here is a link to euthyphro 2c:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pt ... uthyph.+2c

cheers :)

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Post by vir litterarum » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:47 pm

I understand now. Thank you so much for the explication. I was most disappointed at Dover's gloss on the passage.

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Post by cb » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:00 pm

hi vir lit., no probs. i agree, modern commentaries can often be useless when they discuss everything except the parts you find hard (sometimes i think this is no co-incidence).

ancient commentaries on aristotle grind through every sentence and so i find they are far more useful than many modern commentaries. fraenkel's commentary on aeschylus' agamemnon is an exception though: it's v helpful because it discusses the history of how various classicists interpreted almost each line and their respective arguments.

cheers :)

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Post by modus.irrealis » Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:02 pm



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Post by cb » Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:47 am

hi modus, just so that i can see your position clearly, if the apology 34e quote (linked above) isn't using an acc plus inf construction, how does the acc. pronoun ?μέ fit in? are you reading it as e.g. "οὔ µοι δοκεῖ καλὸν [= καλόν τι] εἶναι [τὸ] ?µὲ τούτων ο?δὲν ποιεῖν"? thanks, chad :)

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Post by modus.irrealis » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:00 pm



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Re: Plato Symposium 178a3-5

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