Reading Thucydides 2014

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Qimmik
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by Qimmik » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:38 pm

Some inconclusive thoughts:

ξυμμαχίας without an explicit participle is a little odd, though perhaps not unprecedented. Maybe οὔσης is to be understood--in the preceding genitive absolute the OCT didn't see a need for an explicit ὄντων. I agree that πολεμουμένων δὲ is a genitive absolute parallel ἐν μὲν εἰρήνῃ to with Athenians and Lacedaemonians understood (understanding αὐτῶν is less of a stretch than implying a participle, see Smyth 2072). The connective καὶ also suggests that ξυμμαχίας is parallel with πολεμουμένων, lending support to the interpretation of ξυμμαχίας.

But the understood subject of οὐκ ἂν ἐχόντων πρόφασιν οὐδ᾽ ἑτοίμων <ὄντων> παρακαλεῖν αὐτούς must be the opposing democratic and oligarchic factions within the smaller polities just mentioned in the preceding sentence (with αὐτούς referring to the L. and the A., as it did immediately before as the object of παρακαλεῖν) and that would argue, I think, for ἑκατέροις referring to the opposing factions in the smaller polities also, not to the L. and the A.

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by Qimmik » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:48 pm

Here's another thought. In the preceding sentence we have τοῖς τε τῶν δήμων προστάταις τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ἐπάγεσθαι καὶ τοῖς ὀλίγοις τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους. The parallelism between ἐπάγεσθαι and ἐπαγωγαὶ suggests to me that ἑκατέροις is parallel to τοῖς τε τῶν δήμων προστάταις and τοῖς ὀλίγοις, and so refers to the leaders of the factions, not to the A. and the L.

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by Scribo » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:16 pm

For those of you annoyed at Thucydidean style: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... hapter%3D1
(Occasionally) Working on the following tutorials:

(P)Aristotle, Theophrastus and Peripatetic Greek
Intro Greek Poetry
Latin Historical Prose

Qimmik
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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by Qimmik » Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:07 pm

I posted some additional caustic remarks by Dionysius of Halicarnassus on Thucydides on January 16 in this thread.

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by John W. » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:01 pm

Qimmik wrote:Here's another thought. In the preceding sentence we have τοῖς τε τῶν δήμων προστάταις τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ἐπάγεσθαι καὶ τοῖς ὀλίγοις τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους. The parallelism between ἐπάγεσθαι and ἐπαγωγαὶ suggests to me that ἑκατέροις is parallel to τοῖς τε τῶν δήμων προστάταις and τοῖς ὀλίγοις, and so refers to the leaders of the factions, not to the A. and the L.
Bill - many thanks for this and your previous post.

I think you've convinced me to stick to my original view that ἑκατέροις does after all refer to the factional leaders.

My other problem has been with πολεμουμένων. My translation inclined to Hude's view that this was a neuter plural; however, I've just been looking at 4.20.2: πολεμοῦνται μὲν γὰρ ἀσαφῶς ὁποτέρων ἀρξάντων, which I translate: 'For they are embroiled in war ...' Betant says that πολεμοῦνται here is from πολεμέω. I'm unclear whether there and at 3.82.1 it is actually from that or from πολεμόω, and indeed LSJ (s.v. πολεμόω) is equally uncertain, but it seems as if at 3.82.1 πολεμουμένων could mean 'with the Athenians and Lacedaemonians at war'.

Best,

John

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by John W. » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:11 pm

Qimmik wrote:I posted some additional caustic remarks by Dionysius of Halicarnassus on Thucydides on January 16 in this thread.
Thanks to you and Scribo for your postings regarding what D. of H. says re Thucydides.

I'm not much of a fan of Dionysius, though his Second Letter to Ammaeus (on the style of Thucydides) brings out some interesting points. In the main, however, he appears to see historiography as little more than an exercise in rhetoric, and judges Thucydides by whether particular passages are suited to serve as rhetorical models; the power of Thucydides' (admittedly compressed and frequently very difficult) style seems to be beyond him. I'd rather spend years grappling with the profundities of Thucydides' language and thought (as I have done) than endure the sort of bland panegyric which Dionysius advocates.

Anti-Dionysian rant over! :)

Best,

John
Last edited by John W. on Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by Qimmik » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:41 pm

Dionysius' remarks show that Thucydides was difficult even to native speakers of Greek with full command of the classical language.

With αὐτούς immediately preceding πολεμουμένων, it strikes me that αὐτῶν is probably the understood subject of πολεμουμένων, i.e., the L. and the A. No need to repeat the word when it has just been written (though in a different case). And the contrast is between ἐν μὲν εἰρήνῃ and πολεμουμένων δὲ. I think this must refer to the war between the A. and the L.

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by John W. » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:07 am

Qimmik wrote:Dionysius' remarks show that Thucydides was difficult even to native speakers of Greek with full command of the classical language.

With αὐτούς immediately preceding πολεμουμένων, it strikes me that αὐτῶν is probably the understood subject of πολεμουμένων, i.e., the L. and the A. No need to repeat the word when it has just been written (though in a different case). And the contrast is between ἐν μὲν εἰρήνῃ and πολεμουμένων δὲ. I think this must refer to the war between the A. and the L.
I take your point re Dionysius - and I believe Cicero somewhere comments to the effect that the speeches in Thucydides are sometimes almost unintelligible. It would be fascinating to know just what his very earliest readers made of his book and its style; some of it must surely have presented problems for Xenophon, even if there is any truth in Diogenes Laertius' suggestion that he was responsible for publishing Thucydides' work.

Overnight I thought a bit more about πολεμουμένων. If it does refer to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians I think what you say about αὐτούς/<αὐτῶν> (understood) is indeed the way to interpret it. I did worry a bit, though, whether the proximity of other genitives (οὐκ ἂν ἐχόντων πρόφασιν οὐδ᾽ ἑτοίμων <ὄντων>) which refer to the factional leaders might suggest that πολεμουμένων ought to refer to them too; however, I doubt if that would work in practice. Corcyra was itself at war in the sense that it had allied itself with Athens in the conflict, and had already supported the Athenian war effort (see e.g. 2.25), but even so I'm not sure it would make much sense to apply πολεμουμένων to the factional leaders, who are referenced by the preceding genitives. So it looks as if we're back to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians.

Since you've not expressly commented on it, I take it you see no merit in Hude's idea that πολεμουμένων could be neuter, and mean 'with things in a state of war'? The nearest parallel I can find for that would be 3.6.2, καὶ τὰ μὲν περὶ Μυτιλήνην οὕτως ἐπολεμεῖτο, but I don't know if this is enough of a basis for taking it as neuter at 3.82.1.

Best,

John

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by Qimmik » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:16 pm

Since you've not expressly commented on it, I take it you see no merit in Hude's idea that πολεμουμένων could be neuter, and mean 'with things in a state of war'? The nearest parallel I can find for that would be 3.6.2, καὶ τὰ μὲν περὶ Μυτιλήνην οὕτως ἐπολεμεῖτο, but I don't know if this is enough of a basis for taking it as neuter at 3.82.1.
Here's what Smyth has to say about nouns omitted in genitive absolute constructions:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... thp%3D2072

πολεμουμένων could fit under b, with something like τῶν πραγμάτων understood (though not "easily"), but the impersonal construction τὰ μὲν περὶ Μυτιλήνην οὕτως ἐπολεμεῖτο seems itself somewhat strained, at least to me (though typically Thucydidean). In the end, I come back to the fact that the word immediately before πολεμουμένων is αὐτούς, and it seems more natural and straightforward to supply a genitive pronoun with a referent that is identical to that of αὐτούς as the subject of πολεμουμένων. That would fall in line with Smyth's 2072a. But, again, this is Thucydides.

Incidentally, if πολεμουμένων is from πολεμόω, "to make an enemy," (though I doubt it), it would likely have a personal subject, i.e., the L. and the A., wouldn't it? ". . . when they became enemies to one another." πολεμέω, the more common verb, seems much more likely here from the context, especially in contrast to ἐν μὲν εἰρήνῃ, "when they were waging war with one another."

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Re: Reading Thucydides 2014

Post by Qimmik » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:41 pm

I take your point re Dionysius - and I believe Cicero somewhere comments to the effect that the speeches in Thucydides are sometimes almost unintelligible.
Quintilian, too, I think. But all of these writers are evaluating Th. as a model for rhetoric and prose style, not necessarily as a historian. In the post-classical period and even earlier (e.g., Demosthenes), he was read and studied to a large extent for that purpose.

That doesn't necessarily mean that his work wasn't also read as a profound and compelling historical narrative, allied to both epic and tragedy, especially by Greeks interested in their own history, for whom he and Herodotus almost reached the stature of Homer in that respect. And obviously he was read both as a historian and as a master of prose style by Romans, too, as Sallust and Tacitus demonstrate.

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