Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

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Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by Paul Derouda » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:54 pm

3.53.1 ἐπεὶ δὲ τοῦ χρόνου προβαίνοντος ὅ τε Περίανδρος παρηβήκεε καὶ συνεγινώσκετο ἑωυτῷ οὐκέτι εἶναι δυνατὸς τὰ πρήγματα ἐπορᾶν τε καὶ διέπειν, πέμψας ἐς τὴν Κέρκυραν ἀπεκάλεε τὸν Λυκόφρονα ἐπὶ τὴν τυραννίδα· ἐν γὰρ δὴ τῷ πρεσβυτέρῳ τῶν παίδων οὔκων ἐνώρα, ἀλλά οἱ κατεφαίνετο εἶναι νωθέστερος. 3.53.2 ὁ δὲ Λυκόφρων οὐδὲ ἀνακρίσιος ἠξίωσε τὸν φέροντα τὴν ἀγγελίην. Περίανδρος δὲ περιεχόμενος τοῦ νεηνίεω δεύτερα ἀπέστειλε ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὴν ἀδελφεήν, ἑωυτοῦ δὲ θυγατέρα, δοκέων μιν μάλιστα ταύτῃ ἂν πείθεσθαι. 3.53.3 ἀπικομένης δὲ ταύτης καὶ λεγούσης· “ὦ παῖ, βούλεαι τήν τε τυραννίδα ἐς ἄλλους πεσεῖν καὶ τὸν οἶκον τοῦ πατρὸς διαφορηθέντα μᾶλλον ἢ αὐτός σφεα ἀπελθὼν ἔχειν; ἄπιθι ἐς τὰ οἰκία, παῦσαι σεωυτὸν ζημιῶν. 3.53.4 φιλοτιμίη κτῆμα σκαιόν. μὴ τῷ κακῷ τὸ κακὸν ἰῶ. πολλοὶ τῶν δικαίων τὰ ἐπιεικέστερα προτιθεῖσι, πολλοὶ δὲ ἤδη τὰ μητρώια διζήμενοι τὰ πατρώια ἀπέβαλον. τυραννὶς χρῆμα σφαλερόν, πολλοὶ δὲ αὐτῆς ἐρασταί εἰσι, ὁ δὲ γέρων τε ἤδη καὶ παρηβηκώς· μὴ δῷς τὰ σεωυτοῦ ἀγαθὰ ἄλλοισι.” 3.53.5 ἡ μὲν δὴ τὰ ἐπαγωγότατα διδαχθεῖσα ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς ἔλεγε πρὸς αὐτόν· ὁ δὲ ὑποκρινάμενος ἔφη οὐδαμὰ ἥξειν ἐς Κόρινθον, ἔστ’ ἂν πυνθάνηται περιεόντα τὸν πατέρα.
3.53.1 As time went on, Periander, now grown past his prime and aware that he could no longer oversee and direct all his affairs, sent to Corcyra inviting Lycophron to be sovereign; for he saw no hope in his eldest son, who seemed to him to be slow-witted. 3.53.2 Lycophron did not dignify the invitation with a reply. Then Periander, pressing the young man, sent to him (as the next best way) his daughter, the boy's sister, thinking that he would listen to her. 3.53.3 She came and said, “Child, would you want the power to fall to others, and our father's house destroyed, rather than to return and have it yourself? Come home and stop punishing yourself. 3.53.4 Pride is an unhappy possession. Do not cure evil by evil. Many place the more becoming thing before the just; and many pursuing their mother's business have lost their father's. Power is a slippery thing; many want it, and our father is now old and past his prime; do not lose what is yours to others.” 3.53.5 So she spoke communicating their father's inducements. But he answered that he would never come to Corinth as long as he knew his father was alive.
Periander has killed his wife, Lycophron's mother. Lycophron 's maternal grandfather reveals the act him, and from that moment onwards Lycophron refuses to talk to his father. Lycophron is exiled to Corcyra. Later, Periander is getting old and wants to get his son back. The first attempt to win his son over having failed, Periander sends his daughter to Lycophron. What I'm wondering here are the exact semantics of ἡ μὲν δὴ τὰ ἐπαγωγότατα διδαχθεῖσα ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς ἔλεγε πρὸς αὐτόν. Does διδαχθεῖσα simply mean "having been given instructions by her father"? I find attractive Legrand's idea that there's more to it, that given the accumulation of maxims in the preceding speech it means something like "having been educated by her father"; as Periander was one of Greek's seven sages. Thanks for any help!
Legrand: "C'est pourquoi sans doute la jeune femme parlait aussi sentencieusement, accumulant les maximes d'un des Sept Sages."
I also wonder what wonder what πολλοὶ δὲ ἤδη τὰ μητρώια διζήμενοι τὰ πατρώια ἀπέβαλον exactly means. Asheri gives an explanation I don't really understand.

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by mwh » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:35 pm

I’d say it simply means she’d been coached by her father in what to say. Periander as one of the Seven Sages seems totally irrelevant. Would Hdt have even known him as such?
(Is anything known of this daughter, by the way, or is she just an ad hoc invention to provide a plausible intercessor for P’s final appeal to his alienated son? ω παι seems a bit of a giveaway: it comes oddly from a sister to her full-grown brother, and anticipates διδαχθεῖσα ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς.)

As for πολλοὶ δὲ ἤδη τὰ μητρώια διζήμενοι τὰ πατρώια ἀπέβαλον, doesn’t it allude to Periander’s murder of Lycophron’s mother, which is clearly what turned the son against the father? Dressing it up in quasi-proverbial form, along with all the other maxims, is a diplomatic way of referring to the root cause of Lycophron’s anti-paternal obduracy without overtly acknowledging it. He’s lost τα μητρωα, why lose τα πατρωα too?

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by Hylander » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:46 pm

With διδαχθεῖσα ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς sandwiched in between τὰ ἐπαγωγότατα and ἔλεγε πρὸς αὐτόν, I think the phrase means that she was specifically instructed what to say to Lycophron, not her general educational attainments at her father's feet: "having had words put in her mouth by her father, she laid out to him the most important inducements". Or is τὰ ἐπαγωγότατα accusative of respect with διδαχθεῖσα: "having had words put into her mouth with respect to the key inducements she spoke to him"? I'm not sure that ἔλεγε can take τὰ ἐπαγωγότατα as a complement (rather than an acc. + inf. construction).

Legrand's sans doute suggests to me that his remark is wry humor.

Edit: cross-posted with mwh.

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by Paul Derouda » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:49 pm

Thanks for your opinions, that's what my first instinct was as well. I don't think Herodotus ever talks about the Seven Sages, and I don't think Legrand means literally that. I don't believe Legrand is being humorous here. What he means, I think, is that already in Herodotus' time a number of maxims would have been ascribed to the "wise" Periander, even if he didn't belong to a list of Seven Sages yet; but after the proverbial maxims recited by the daughter, διδαχθεῖσα would be a playful reference to Periander's role as a "sage" and as her daughter's teacher. I didn't know what to think about this idea, but reading it I found it attractive to some point. Legrand translates "Instruite par son père(*), elle disait à Lycophron ce qui était le plus propre à le persuader" ((*) referring to the footnote I gave earlier.)

πολλοὶ δὲ ἤδη τὰ μητρώια διζήμενοι τὰ πατρώια ἀπέβαλον - I think mwh is probably right in saying that this is just a reference to Periander's murder of Lycophron's mother. But listen to Asheri: "the saying refers to the risks of inheritance suits. The heir who tries with excessive zeal to obtain his inheritance (in Attic law, the bequest passed from the maternal grandfather through an ἐπίκληρος, or inheriting daughter) can risk either being disinherited by his father or contesting the parental inheritance with a claimant with a stronger right." Is Asheri just mixing things up? (It wouldn't be the first time.)

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by Paul Derouda » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:01 pm

As for Herodotus not giving the name of the daughter: that's more difficult to interpret. The thing is that Herodotus has a way of voluntarily withholding information if he sees fit. For example, a Green & Yellow Cambridge commentary on a later book (I forget which book, and which passage) argues very persuasively that Herodotus doesn't tell the name of Candaules' wife on purpose. Candaules' wife ended up in an indecent situation against her will, but in that situation she behaved in a way that Herodotus found fitting for a reputable woman. Thus, to preserve keep her reputation stainless, he doesn't give her name. (the passage referred to in the commentary was about two Persian women, wives of the king, if I remember correctly - one of bad repute, whose name was immediately revealed, another of good repute whose name Herodotus never tells.)

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by mwh » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:51 am

If I’m not mistaken (not a token caveat), I don’t think Hdt names Lycophron’s brother either does he? He has no reason to. Naming his purported sister would give her more actuality than she has, when her sole function is here to be Periander's mouthpiece. Beyond that, she doesn’t exist. Messengers conventionally go without names.

(Candaules’ wife doesn’t need a name either. Despite the initiative Hdt has her show in punishing him, she’s basically a cipher, enacting her given role, a mechanism for effecting the dynastic change. Hdt humanizes her, Hdt being Hdt, but who is she? She’s his wife, she’s the queen: that’s enough identity. Who was Potiphar’s wife?)

On Hylander’s query about the syntax, I don’t see why we shouldn’t take τὰ ἐπαγωγότατα with both διδαχθεισα (as its position forcibly suggests) and ελεγεν. Surely in Greek it doesn’t have to be an either/or thing.

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by Bart » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:58 am

Reviving this old thread while mulling over the Periander/ Lycophron story:
mwh wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:35 pm
(Is anything known of this daughter, by the way, or is she just an ad hoc invention to provide a plausible intercessor for P’s final appeal to his alienated son? ω παι seems a bit of a giveaway: it comes oddly from a sister to her full-grown brother, and anticipates διδαχθεῖσα ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς.)
Couldn't 'ω παι' simply indicate that she is an older sister? Something like 'dear boy'.
Paul Derouda wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:49 pm
But listen to Asheri: "the saying refers to the risks of inheritance suits. The heir who tries with excessive zeal to obtain his inheritance (in Attic law, the bequest passed from the maternal grandfather through an ἐπίκληρος, or inheriting daughter) can risk either being disinherited by his father or contesting the parental inheritance with a claimant with a stronger right." Is Asheri just mixing things up? (It wouldn't be the first time.)
I don't care that much for Asheri to be honest. . This too seems far-fetched. Are the Cambridge commentaries (the yellow- and green ones) on the later books worthwhile?

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by Paul Derouda » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:59 pm

ω παι: There's a discussion of this address in Eleanor Dickey's Greek forms of address from Herodotus to Lucian. I don't remember what conclusion she reached though, and I've taken the book back to the library. If I remember correctly, it might be not as patronizing as it sounds (I seem to remember that this address was used by young people addressing their peers more generally). But it's very possible that I don't remember correctly.

I don't like Asheri too much either. The chapter on book 2 is better than the rest though, I seem to remember. I think the Cambridge commentaries are clearly better, I especially enjoyed the ones on books 8 and 9. The one on book 6 wasn't out yet when I read Herodotus, but it's probably similar to the one on book 5, since Simon Hornblower participated on both (the one on book 6 is co-authored by Christopher Pelling, 5 is by Hornblower alone).

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by Paul Derouda » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:19 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:59 pm
ω παι: There's a discussion of this address in Eleanor Dickey's Greek forms of address from Herodotus to Lucian. I don't remember what conclusion she reached though, and I've taken the book back to the library. If I remember correctly, it might be not as patronizing as it sounds (I seem to remember that this address was used by young people addressing their peers more generally). But it's very possible that I don't remember correctly.
Actually, I still have the book. I should be ashamed, I've had it for ages now. Here's what it says (footnotes omitted):
Although very often παῖ is used by an older speaker to a younger addressee, this is not always the case. There are several examples of παῖδες used by a boy to his playmates, an address which is parallel to the ἄνδρες 'men' used by a man addressing a group of men and γυναῖκες 'women' used by a woman speaking to other women. There is also one passage in which a sister addresses her brother as παῖ, although both he and she are adults (Hdt 3.53.3). In tragedy, παῖ can be used between siblings even when the addressee is older than the speaker, and similar addresses occur in modern languages as well. Παῖ is not, however, the normal address between siblings in Greek (see 5.2.3), and in this passage it appears to be used as a positive politeness strategy (see 1.2.7) to emphasize the family connection between the sister and her brother, since she is attempting to reconcile him to their father and draw him back into the family.

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by Bart » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:08 am

Thanks!

It's a perfect miniature tragedy this story of Periander and his son. Some random remarks/ thoughts:

-Herdotus never tells us what exactly happened to Melissa. Twice the term συμφορὴ is used, which sounds somehow both euphemistic and ominous at the same time. Periander refers to it once:

εἰ γάρ τις συμφορὴ ἐν αὐτοῖσι γέγονε, ἐξ ἧς ὑποψίην ἐς ἐμὲ ἔχεις, ἐμοί τε αὕτη γέγονε καὶ ἐγὼ αὐτῆς τὸ πλεῦν μέτοχος εἰμί, ὅσῳ αὐτός σφεα ἐξεργασάμην. ’

ἐν αὐτοῖσι is pretty vague too. And ...γέγονε..γέγονε .. (It has happened... it has happened) has an air of irrevocability about it. A good example of the perfectum denoting the état acquis, so to say.


-The prologue of this tragedy is the visit of the two brothers at their grandfathers house. Herdotous keeps it very short but manages to suggest a few things. We understand that the grandfather loved his daughter, which must be the reason why he can’t keep his mouth shut on this most painful of subjects.

3,50: ἐπείτε γὰρ τὴν ἑωυτοῦ γυναῖκα Μέλισσαν Περίανδρος ἀπέκτεινε, συμφορὴν τοιήνδε οἱ ἄλλην συνέβη πρὸς τῇ γεγονυίῃ γενέσθαι. ἦσάν οἱ ἐκ Μελίσσης δύο παῖδες, ἡλικίην ὃ μὲν ἑπτακαίδεκα ὁ δὲ ὀκτωκαίδεκα ἔτεα γεγονώς. τούτους ὁ μητροπάτωρ Προκλέης ἐὼν Ἐπιδαύρου τύραννος μεταπεμψάμενος παρ᾽ ἑωυτὸν ἐφιλοφρονέετο, ὡς οἰκὸς ἦν θυγατρὸς ἐόντας τῆς ἑωυτοῦ παῖδας. ἐπείτε δὲ σφέας ἀπεπέμπετο, εἶπε προπέμπων αὐτούς. ‘ἆρα ἴστε, ὦ παῖδες, ὃς ὑμέων τὴν μητέρα ἀπέκτεινε;’ τοῦτο τὸ ἔπος ὁ μὲν πρεσβύτερος αὐτῶν ἐν οὐδενὶ λόγῳ ἐποιήσατο: ὁ δὲ νεώτερος, τῷ οὔνομα ἦν Λυκόφρων, ἤλγησε ἀκούσας οὕτω ὥστε ἀπικόμενος ἐς τὴν Κόρινθον ἅτε φονέα τῆς μητρὸς τὸν πατέρα οὔτε προσεῖπε, διαλεγομένῳ τε οὔτε προσδιελέγετο ἱστορέοντί τε λόγον οὐδένα ἐδίδου. τέλος δέ μιν περιθύμως ἔχων ὁ Περίανδρος ἐξελαύνει ἐκ τῶν οἰκίων.

At the very last moment while saying goodby to his grandchildren (ἐπείτε δὲ σφέας ἀπεπέμπετο, εἶπε προπέμπων αὐτούς. ), he poses the fateful question. The younger one, Lycophron, understands at once: ἤλγησε ἀκούσας, the aorist here expressing in my view the instantaneous pain and insight on hearing the cryptic words of his grandfather (he must have suspected something, I guess). Lejeune is off the mark here, I think, translating this as ‘Il fut tellement affligé de ce qu’il entendait’. Godley’s ‘struck with horror’ is much better.

-And what about Lycophron? His single mindedness reminds me of Antigone. The harshness with which he cuts all ties with his father and refuses to speak to him is almost too extreme. His terrible silence makes me think too of the silence of Ajax when Odysseus visits him in the Underworld.

- The most haunting element in this story to me is the loneliness of the protagonists: obvious in Lycophron's case, who has been excommunicated, but Periander too is isolated, growing old while being deprived of communication with the one person he cares for. And in their loneliness one gets the strong sensation that these people -as so often in Herodotus- are beyond help. As Herodotus writes earlier in the Amasis/ Polycrates-episode: ἔμαθε ὅτι ἐκκομίσαι τε ἀδύνατον εἴη ἀνθρώπῳ ἄνθρωπον ἐκ τοῦ μέλλοντος γίνεσθαι πρήγματος
He’s no optimist, our friend from Halicarnassus.

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by Paul Derouda » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:23 pm

Bart wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:08 am
At the very last moment while saying goodby to his grandchildren (ἐπείτε δὲ σφέας ἀπεπέμπετο, εἶπε προπέμπων αὐτούς. ), he poses the fateful question. The younger one, Lycophron, understands at once: ἤλγησε ἀκούσας, the aorist here expressing in my view the instantaneous pain and insight on hearing the cryptic words of his grandfather (he must have suspected something, I guess). Lejeune is off the mark here, I think, translating this as ‘Il fut tellement affligé de ce qu’il entendait’. Godley’s ‘struck with horror’ is much better.

-And what about Lycophron? His single mindedness reminds me of Antigone. The harshness with which he cuts all ties with his father and refuses to speak to him is almost too extreme. His terrible silence makes me think too of the silence of Ajax when Odysseus visits him in the Underworld.
‘Il fut tellement affligé de ce qu’il entendait’. This has a somewhat literary clang to it, but on the other hand "struck with horror" does quite convey the idea of "pain" in ἤλγησε. But these are minor quibbles, aren't they? In my opinion both are worthy translations.

It is like a tragedy, isn't it? I feel it bit differently about it than you, but the interpretations aren't mutually exclusive I guess. For me, Lycophron exemplifies the rigidity of youth, the age where things are either black or white, and Ajax, somewhat older (but still a young man) is more like an example of what might anachronistically be termed "toxic masculinity". But it's the determination of Lycophron that makes him almost frightening and shows that his acts are not mere adolescent turmoil.

I agree that this episode exemplifies Herodotus' view of the world. Perhaps he's not an optimist, but I don't think he's a pessimist either. Perhaps we might call him a fatalist?

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by donhamiltontx » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:39 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:23 pm
I agree that this episode exemplifies Herodotus' view of the world. Perhaps he's not an optimist, but I don't think he's a pessimist either. Perhaps we might call him a fatalist?
The following remark concludes the entry for Herodotus in the second edition of The Oxford Classical Dictionary.
Herodotus has suffered the fate which befell Mozart. His charm, wit, and effortless ease have diverted attention from the note of profound sadness and pity sounded not seldom in his History.
From the first time I read this impressionistic and perhaps even irrelevant opinion, it struck me as penetrating and suggestive.

The Oxford Classical Dictionary, OUP, N.G.L. Hammond and H. H. Scullard, edd., 2d ed 1984 (originally 1970), page 509.
The entry on Herodotus is signed by J. D. D (J. D. Denniston) and L. P. (Lionel Pearson).
ἐς Τροίαν πειρώμενοι ἦνθον ᾿Αχαιοί,
καλλίστα παίδων: πείρᾳ θην πάντα τελεῖται.
Theocritus, Idyll 15

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Re: Herodotus 3.53 and the sematics of διδαχθεῖσα

Post by donhamiltontx » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:42 pm

Bart wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:58 am
I don't care that much for Asheri to be honest. . This too seems far-fetched. Are the Cambridge commentaries (the yellow- and green ones) on the later books worthwhile?
I would call the commentary at least for Book 9 quite satisfactory and recommend it.
ἐς Τροίαν πειρώμενοι ἦνθον ᾿Αχαιοί,
καλλίστα παίδων: πείρᾳ θην πάντα τελεῖται.
Theocritus, Idyll 15

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