Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

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Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by jeidsath » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:40 pm

Sorry for the long post. It's probably too detailed for this board, but I thought I would write it up to at least organize my questions.
ἴθι δή, ἔφην, καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ καθαίρωμεν. ἑπόμενον γὰρ δὴ ταῖς ἁρμονίαις ἂν ἡμῖν εἴη τὸ περὶ ῥυθμούς, μὴ ποικίλους αὐτοὺς διώκειν μηδὲ παντοδαπὰς βάσεις, ἀλλὰ βίου ῥυθμοὺς ἰδεῖν κοσμίου τε καὶ ἀνδρείου τίνες εἰσίν: οὓς ἰδόντα τὸν πόδα τῷ τοῦ τοιούτου λόγῳ ἀναγκάζειν ἕπεσθαι καὶ τὸ μέλος, ἀλλὰ μὴ λόγον ποδί τε καὶ μέλει. οἵτινες δ᾽ ἂν εἶεν οὗτοι οἱ ῥυθμοί, σὸν ἔργον, ὥσπερ τὰς ἁρμονίας, φράσαι. ἀλλὰ μὰ Δί᾽, ἔφη, οὐκ ἔχω λέγειν. ὅτι μὲν γὰρ τρί᾽ ἄττα ἐστὶν εἴδη ἐξ ὧν αἱ βάσεις πλέκονται, ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς φθόγγοις τέτταρα, ὅθεν αἱ πᾶσαι ἁρμονίαι, τεθεαμένος ἂν εἴποιμι: ποῖα δὲ ὁποίου βίου μιμήματα, λέγειν οὐκ ἔχω. ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μέν, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, καὶ μετὰ Δάμωνος βουλευσόμεθα, τίνες τε ἀνελευθερίας καὶ ὕβρεως ἢ μανίας καὶ ἄλλης κακίας πρέπουσαι βάσεις, καὶ τίνας τοῖς ἐναντίοις λειπτέον ῥυθμούς: οἶμαι δέ με ἀκηκοέναι οὐ σαφῶς ἐνόπλιόν τέ τινα ὀνομάζοντος αὐτοῦ σύνθετον καὶ δάκτυλον καὶ ἡρῷόν γε, οὐκ οἶδα ὅπως διακοσμοῦντος καὶ ἴσον ἄνω καὶ κάτω τιθέντος, εἰς βραχύ τε καὶ μακρὸν γιγνόμενον, καί, ὡς ἐγὼ οἶμαι, ἴαμβον καί τιν᾽ ἄλλον τροχαῖον ὠνόμαζε, μήκη δὲ καὶ βραχύτητας προσῆπτε. καὶ τούτων τισὶν οἶμαι τὰς ἀγωγὰς τοῦ ποδὸς αὐτὸν οὐχ ἧττον ψέγειν τε καὶ ἐπαινεῖν ἢ τοὺς ῥυθμοὺς αὐτούς—ἤτοι συναμφότερόν τι: οὐ γὰρ ἔχω λέγειν —ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μέν, ὥσπερ εἶπον, εἰς Δάμωνα ἀναβεβλήσθω: διελέσθαι γὰρ οὐ σμικροῦ λόγου.
In the bolded section, Socrates/Plato seems to be quoting a short part of a lecture. The effect comes across to me as a bit comedic, like he's poking fun at the idea of rhythm being capable of all this, but that would not fit with the rest of the discussion. So I think that he really is summarizing a lecture that he doesn't want to discuss in detail, and is affecting an unlikely ignorance of the subject.

Adam and Jowett have different views of this.

Adam's notes
Adam's notes (image version for diagrams)
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Jowett and Campbell notes
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What are the "τρί᾽ ἄττα εἴδη"? Iambic and Hexameter are the first two? Is it J&C's claim correct that the Cretic/Paeon is the third (or did I misunderstand him)?

"καὶ ἴσον ἄνω καὶ κάτω τιθέντος" - Is Adam correct about what's going on here?

Where does Adam's description of the ἐνόπλιος (x _ u u _ u u _) come from? Is J&C's simpler cretic explanation at all realistic?
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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by Hylander » Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:09 pm

I don't think Socrates is quoting a lecture by Damon. He's simply parodying a hodge-podge of concepts taken (perhaps) from Damon's metrical analysis.

Plato's Socrates is dismissive of nearly all poetry (he would ban most of it), and he seems to be dismissing metrical analysis as a confused jumble, so I think it's somewhat futile to try to pick apart his words and analyze them in terms of actual Greek metrics. Jowett recognizes this when he writes: "The feigning of ignorance seems therefore to be an artistic excuse for touching lightly on a subject, of which the lengthened discussion would have been out of place." Adam takes nearly everything Plato writes very seriously, however.

Also, you should be aware that analyses of Greek meter from the era of Westphal and Adam and Jowett have been superseded and shouldn't be taken as authoritative. in any event I wouldn't necessarily expect consistency among them, But there is still a considerable degree of uncertainty in Greek metrical analysis, particularly the complex patterns of choral lyric. The uncertainty goes hand in hand with the severe textual corruption that afflicts most of these texts -- very frequently we can't be certain of the metrical analysis because we can't be certain of the text, and vice versa. And in non-stichic meters, we can't always be certain of where cola end so we can't be certain of the units of analysis,

And the so-called "enoplian" rhythm in particular is still a confused mess, as far as I've been able to discern (which isn't very far). On the enoplian, see M.L. West, Greek Metre, p. 195. He mentions the term only to dismiss it as essentially useless.
Last edited by Hylander on Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by Hylander » Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:22 pm

mwh discussed the passage in the Republic briefly in his post of Jun. 16, 2016 in rhe Meter in Tragedy thread. You might want to take a look at his discussion.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=65117&start=40

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by jeidsath » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:42 pm

I feel that it's not as if Plato wants to get rid of poetry out of antipathy to it. All of the examples of lies about the gods and heroes are quoted lovingly from memory, and there are one or two sections where they talk about how none of this is to call the poets bad artists -- the better artists that they are, the more dangerous they are. He also bans sex from his city in the next section. He's building the most extreme of cities, not laying down a political party plank for Athens.

When he gets to the section on rhythm, he has just spent a great deal of time on the importance of harmony, after covering poetic styles and content. Bringing up Damon here to mock him would go against the entire thrust of this argument.
West p. 195 on En(h)oplian
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D in West's notation is _uu_uu_. His examples from this suggested group of D, xD, Dx, xDx on pages 49 and 69 seem to come from Alcman, Stesichorus, and Pindar.

Mass 56. (b) has:
The enoplian rhythm (e.g. Bacchylides 19), which is typified by the group u_uu_uu_(_) linked with _u_u__.
Raven pg. 90
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Raven's point about the second half of the hexameter caught my eye. In 65a, he compares this and similar forms to modern music that begins on an upbeat.
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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by seneca2008 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:36 pm

I feel that it's not as if Plato wants to get rid of poetry out of antipathy to it.
I think it’s clear from Book 10 of the republic that Plato has great fondness for Homer but nevertheless wishes to ban him and the tragic poets from the republic. Poets are purveyors of essentially false images and unless you are highly “gifted” like Socrates you are incapable of withstanding their blandishments.

I am not sure it’s wise, as Hylander has suggested, to look for a technical account of metre etc here. Plato has a more subversive plan the overturning of traditional Greek cultural values which esteem poetry. No doubt there is a thread of irony in this as Plato is of course the consummate wordsmith.

I would be interested to know where you are going in this thread because I wasn’t sure how your last post related to the previous posts.

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by jeidsath » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:07 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:36 pm
I would be interested to know where you are going in this thread because I wasn’t sure how your last post related to the previous posts.
It seems clear enough to me, and is even stated in the thread topic. I'm interested in what the Damon lecture described by Socrates might have consisted of, evidently concerning the enoplian. Further, I'm interested in the state of Athenian metrical theory at the time. This is why the thread is in the poetry forum instead of the regular forum.

I disagreed with Hylander's suggestion that Socrates was quoting Damon only in a mocking fashion and gave my reasons. And since they apply equally well to your argument, I won't restate them.
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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by seneca2008 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:49 am

Thank you this was not clear to me.

It seems to me difficult to try to recover what Damon might have said based on this passage. One needs to think why Plato is mobilising this argument about metre at this point. You found the passage “comedic” so I don’t quite see how you have a problem with it being (gently) mocking.

I don’t think anything in Plato can be taken at face value. We have always to be aware that we are victims of his rhetorical grasp.

Good luck with your exegesis!

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by Hylander » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:33 pm

Joel, I'm not sure where you get the idea that Socrates heard a lecture by Damon. He's simply saying he has heard some concepts about rhythm/metrics, and he's dismissive of them, in my reading. He wants rhythms that are simple, not complex, and conducive to a wholesome life, and he wants the rhythms to follow the words and not vice versa.

Socrates is concerned with the ethics of rhythm, and he is dismissive of the technical aspects. He mentions Damon as an expert who he says should be consulted on the technical aspects. But nowhere in my reading does Socrates say he heard a lecture by Damon.

And also, you have to remember that what "Socrates" says in the Republic is really Plato writing a couple of decades after Socrates' death and an even longer time after the "dramatic date" of the Republic (if Plato conceived of a dramatic date, a question about which endless and inconclusive arguments have been constructed). So what Socrates says about Damon is a fiction of Plato's.

Damon was an early writer on Greek metrics whom Plato mentions by name in passing, along with a hodge-podge of metrical terms, in order to apply a patina of realism to his fiction. And, as Seneca wrote, "I don’t think anything in Plato can be taken at face value. We have always to be aware that we are victims of his rhetorical grasp."

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by jeidsath » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:15 pm

"Lecture" is Adam's interpretation. See his note under οἶμαι δέ με ἀκηκοέναι οὐ σαφῶς. It was convincing to me.

And let's not exaggerate. We are certainly not "victims of Plato's dramatical grasp." We can read what he wrote, think about it, and ask what is the intended dramatic effect, and what is the argument that he intends to convey.

The hodge-podge theory is reasonable, and I can point out other places where Plato certainly does this (his mathematical justification for breeding times later on, if I recall correctly). But this is a freshman philosophy argument -- an argument that works very well to cover anything at all that we are ignorant about or do not understand -- and we have to be careful to apply it only as a last resort. Given that we know that there was a real science of music and meter, and that we have hints of it in other places, and that it's not too far-fetched to think, as J&C, that Plato "probably knew all that was known of music and mathematics in his own day," I think that we can at least look at the terms used and try to figure out whether this was a real technical vocabulary that was used for talking about a real subject, and possibly that Plato is "touching lightly on a subject, of which the lengthened discussion would have been out of place."

And again, being dismissive of a metrical science would undercut his previous arguments of Book III that assume a working science of music.
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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by seneca2008 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:33 pm

I mean this post in the kindest way possible but exegesis requires great accuracy.

I wrote “rhetorical grasp ” not “dramatical grasp”. This may have been a slip but they mean quite different things.

I used the term because it seemed to me that you were and still are forcibly held by Plato’s rhetoric. He really is so convincing and persuasive that one is swept along.

Perhaps there is too much emphasis here on “hodge podge”. What is clear is that Plato introduces only sufficient information about metre (and Damon)here to bolster his argument as Hylander explains. I think to pursue this enquiry in a literal sense is to miss Plato’s irony.

Trying to uncover “factual material “ from rhetorical works is an industry now in decline. We know so little about Seneca’s life for example that all the incidents he recounts like the journey through the tunnel near Naples or his sojourn above the baths were gleefully seized upon as actual incidents in his life. I think in reading rhetorical works one has to consciously fight against the author asking what is he up to here?

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by jeidsath » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:17 pm

That's a good argument for skimming Plato, which you are perfectly free to do if you like. However, one can understand Plato's irony perfectly well and still ask what was the state of Greek metrical theory when he lived.

At the risk of further offending Seneca's sensibilities, I'm going include the (late) scholia here, and its source in Proclus.
Scholia 400b
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ὁ ἐνόπλιος σύνθετός ἐστιν ἐξ ἰάμβου καὶ δακτύλου καὶ τῆς παριαμβίδος, ἀνδρικὸς πρὸς πράξεις ἀναγκαίας καὶ ἀκουσίους, ἐξορμητικὸς εἰς πόλεμον. ὁ δὲ ἡρῷος δάκτυλος, ἁπλοῦς, κοσμιότητος ποιητικὸς καὶ ὁμαλότητος, παιδευομένοις προσήκων ὡς ἰσότητι κεκοσμημένος, ὡς ἐν τῷ εἰς ταῦτα ὑπομνήματι Πρόκλος φησίν.
Source(s) in Proclus pg 61, 62
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τοὺς μὲν οὖν ῥυθμούς, ἐξ ὧν καὶ Δάμωνος ἀκοῦσαι λέγει καὶ ἀποδέχεται τοῦ λόγου, δῆλός ἐστιν τῶν μὲν συνθέτων τὸν ἐνόπλιον ἀποδεχόμενος, ὅς ἐστιν ἔκ τε ἰάμβου καὶ δακτύλου καὶ τῆς παριαμβίδος· τοῦτον γὰρ ἀνδρικὸν ἦθος ἐμποιεῖν καὶ παρατεταγμένον πρὸς πάσας τὰς ἀναγκαίας καὶ ἀκουσίους πράξεις· τῶν δὲ ἁπλῶν τὸν ἡρῷον δάκτυλον, περὶ οὗ καὶ λόγων φησὶν ἀκοῦσαι Δάμωνος καὶ δάκτυλόν γε καὶ ἡρῷον διακοσμοῦντος, ἐνδεικνύμενος ὡς ἄρα τὸν τοιοῦτον ῥυθμὸν ἡγεῖται κοσμιότητος εἶναι ποιητικὸν καὶ ὁμαλότητος καὶ τῶν τοιούτων ἀγαθῶν.
μόνον δὲ τὸν δάκτυλον καὶ ἡρῷον ἁρμόττειν παιδευομένοις καὶ ὅλως τὸν τῇ ἰσότητι κεκοσμημένον.
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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by mwh » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:08 pm

I’m staying out of this. But to have any chance of understanding “the state of Greek metrical theory” in Plato’s time you’re going to have to do a lot more reading, well beyond Adam and Jowett and Proclus! Bruno Gentili spent his life expounding ancient Greek metrics and rhythmics and music in light of his understanding of Damon, and I spent a year of my life arguing with him. A recentish book, with testimonia and good biblio., is Robert Wallace’s Reconstructing Damon, published by OUP. For music theory, including the harmonies and affect and ethos, the best authority is Andrew Barker.

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by seneca2008 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:18 am

I discovered this which looks helpful: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf.

“ROBERT W. WALLACE / NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY EVANSTON, ILL.
Performing Damon’s harmoníai”


I didn’t realise that Damon was a near contemporary of Plato.

Anyway back to skimming.

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by Hylander » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:00 pm

Adam doesn't mention a "lecture" -- his words are "oral demonstration." But what does that mean?

Again, the Republic is generally thought to have been written around 380; Damon was not quite a near contemporary of Plato -- he was a contemporary and political ally of Pericles, who died in 429. Attempting to attach a specific "oral demonstration" by Damon to the words put into Socrates' mouth by Plato 40 or 50 years after Damon's time is a big stretch. And Plato himself would have been at most a very young child when his life could have overlapped with Damon's.

It's important not to lose sight of the fact that the Republic is a fictional platform for Plato's arguments, put into the mouth of a fictional character Plato calls "Socrates", which may or may not have some resemblance to the individual named Socrates who was executed in 399.

As a general criticism, having worked through the Republic along with Adam's commentary, I think that Adam had a tendency to take most everything in the Republic at face value. I think that's a mistake, for the reasons rehearsed above.

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by jeidsath » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:31 pm

Adam uses "lecture" three times on the page that I linked.

Andrew Barker -- thanks to mwh for the recommendation -- in The Science of Harmonics, references Rep. 424c and Lach. 180c–d for evidence that "Socrates had a genuine (if slightly ironic) respect for Damon’s intellectual, musical and educational attainments."
Lach. 180c–d wrote:τοῦτο μέν σοι κἂν ἐγὼ ἔχοιμι εἰπεῖν οὐ χεῖρον Λάχητος: καὶ γὰρ αὐτῷ μοι ἔναγχος ἄνδρα προυξένησε τῷ ὑεῖ διδάσκαλον μουσικῆς, Ἀγαθοκλέους μαθητὴν Δάμωνα, ἀνδρῶν χαριέστατον οὐ μόνον τὴν μουσικήν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τἆλλα ὁπόσου βούλει ἄξιον συνδιατρίβειν τηλικούτοις νεανίσκοις.
Rep. 424c wrote:οὐδαμοῦ γὰρ κινοῦνται μουσικῆς τρόποι ἄνευ πολιτικῶν νόμων τῶν μεγίστων, ὥς φησί τε Δάμων καὶ ἐγὼ πείθομαι.
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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by Hylander » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:14 pm

"Socrates had a genuine (if slightly ironic) respect for Damon’s intellectual, musical and educational attainments."

" . . . (if slightly ironic) . . ." is specifically intended to accommodate the passage at 400b-c.

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by seneca2008 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:40 pm

Because some people may not have read the paper I provided a link for I will quote an important paragraph which explains more fully Plato’s irony here.
It is amusing enough that in our principal source for Damon’s theories, Plato’s typically ironic Sokrates claims not to understand what he was about. Ánō kaì kátō, ‘up and down,’ meant the raising and lowering of the dance foot but also ‘topsy-turvy’16 – the double entendre is a little joke at Damon’s expense. Sokrates jokes again with the odd use of ‘finger’ as a metrical term: in Classical Greek the usage occurs only here and in Aristo- phanes’ Clouds 651–52, which is also joking. Finally, in the phrase enóplión tina, the indefinite signals unfamiliarity or unintelligibility. Plato’s Sokrates feigns ignorance of Damon’s rhythmic research probably because Plato distrusted and disliked technical knowledge that was not directed to the good.
As I said Plato (mis)uses Damon for his own rhetorical purposes.

As to Plato being a near contemporary of Damon I was simply quoting Wallace. It doesn’t affect the essentially fictive aspect of this passage.

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Re: Republic III.400 Damon's lecture on rhythm

Post by jeidsath » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:27 pm

Hylander wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:14 pm
" . . . (if slightly ironic) . . ." is specifically intended to accommodate the passage at 400b-c.
It's a footnote to this discussion of that passage:
Barker, Science of Harmonics, pg. 310
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Socrates poses here as a musical ignoramus (‘I do not know the harmoniai’, Rep. 399a), deferring to the greater expertise of his companion Glaucon; and his arguments are based on Glaucon’s identification of the harmoniai which match certain very impressionistic descriptions (‘mournful’, ‘sympotic’ and so on), without the least reference to structural considerations. No harmonic technicalities are involved, and the arguments should be understood in their own terms. The one point at which technical issues are raised and even Glaucon’s knowledge proves inadequate has nothing to do with harmonics; and here Socrates shelves the matter as one on which they must consult the real expert, Damon.
Barker helpfully links to M.L. West's Ancient Music, which contains a very full explanation of what he thinks is going on here, and suggests an answer for my τρί᾽ ἄττα εἴδη question:
West, Ancient Greek Music, pg 243-244
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