κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Andrew Chapman
Posts: 258
Joined: February 5th, 2013, 5:04 am
Location: Oxford, England
Contact:

κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Post by Andrew Chapman » July 21st, 2015, 2:48 pm

ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ οἱ εἰς τὰ θηρία κατακριθέντες ὑπέμειναν δεινὰς κολάσεις, κήρυκας μὲν ὑποστρωννύμενοι καὶ ἄλλαις ποικίλων βασάνων ἰδέαις κολαζόμενοι ἵνα, εἰ δυνηθείη ὁ τύραννος, διὰ τῆς ἐπιμόνου κολάσεως εἰς ἄρνησιν αὐτοὺς τρέψῃ. [Martyrdom of Polycarp, 2.4]

ὑποστρώννυω (listed under ὑποστόρεννῦμι in L&S) means 'to spread or lay under' (L&S), 'to spread out underneath' (BDAG).

So I think I would have expected κήρυκες in the nominative as the subject (if that is the word) of the participle.

Clearly, the Christians were not spread out under the trumpet-shells.

So I was wondering if one could conjecture a meaning for the passive such as 'to have something spread out under one'.

Andrew
0 x



cwconrad
Posts: 2112
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Post by cwconrad » July 21st, 2015, 5:49 pm

Andrew Chapman wrote:ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ οἱ εἰς τὰ θηρία κατακριθέντες ὑπέμειναν δεινὰς κολάσεις, κήρυκας μὲν ὑποστρωννύμενοι καὶ ἄλλαις ποικίλων βασάνων ἰδέαις κολαζόμενοι ἵνα, εἰ δυνηθείη ὁ τύραννος, διὰ τῆς ἐπιμόνου κολάσεως εἰς ἄρνησιν αὐτοὺς τρέψῃ. [Martyrdom of Polycarp, 2.4]

ὑποστρώννυω (listed under ὑποστόρεννῦμι in L&S) means 'to spread or lay under' (L&S), 'to spread out underneath' (BDAG).

So I think I would have expected κήρυκες in the nominative as the subject (if that is the word) of the participle.

Clearly, the Christians were not spread out under the trumpet-shells.

So I was wondering if one could conjecture a meaning for the passive such as 'to have something spread out under one'.
Yes, I should think the sense must be "made to lie down on a bed of trumpet shells", the sense of ὑποστρώννυμαι being, "make one's bed of xxx (acc.)", i.e. put down a bedding material and lie down on it.
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Seumas Macdonald
Posts: 28
Joined: June 17th, 2013, 3:14 am
Location: Mongolia

Re: κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Post by Seumas Macdonald » July 22nd, 2015, 1:12 am

I would have taken ὑποστρωννύμενοι with the sense of "being stretched out, laid out" and the accusative κήρυκας as what they are strewn out upon. I would also suggest that the technical sense of shells has perhaps given way to a derivative meaning of simply sharp edges, spikes or the like.
0 x

Andrew Chapman
Posts: 258
Joined: February 5th, 2013, 5:04 am
Location: Oxford, England
Contact:

Re: κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Post by Andrew Chapman » July 22nd, 2015, 4:26 am

Thanks very much. If it is the Christians who are being spread out, then why υπο- rather than επι-? ἐπιστορέννῦμι does exist, although not so common. Is υπο- perhaps conveying something other than physically under?

I suppose I naturally find it easier to think of it being the shells that are strewn. L&S cite ᾗ χαλκὸς ὑπέστρωται - which looks like 'under which copper has been laid'. But then I think we would have something like κήρυκες αὐτοῖς ὑποστρωννύμενoi.

But that wouldn't really fit here, because it is the Christians who are the subject of attention, which is why I was wondering if the verb could mean 'to have something strewn under one'. But I realise that this isn't given as a meaning in BDAG or L&S.

Andrew
0 x

Andrew Chapman
Posts: 258
Joined: February 5th, 2013, 5:04 am
Location: Oxford, England
Contact:

Re: κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Post by Andrew Chapman » July 22nd, 2015, 8:58 am

cwconrad wrote: Yes, I should think the sense must be "made to lie down on a bed of trumpet shells", the sense of ὑποστρώννυμαι being, "make one's bed of xxx (acc.)", i.e. put down a bedding material and lie down on it.
Sorry, Carl I was slow (as too often) to grasp that you were suggesting (if I now understand you correctly) that they were forced to spread out the shells - and then lie on them. I think that might possibly be it, although I also appreciate the other suggestions.

Andrew
0 x

cwconrad
Posts: 2112
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Post by cwconrad » July 22nd, 2015, 1:52 pm

Andrew Chapman wrote:
cwconrad wrote: Yes, I should think the sense must be "made to lie down on a bed of trumpet shells", the sense of ὑποστρώννυμαι being, "make one's bed of xxx (acc.)", i.e. put down a bedding material and lie down on it.
Sorry, Carl I was slow (as too often) to grasp that you were suggesting (if I now understand you correctly) that they were forced to spread out the shells - and then lie on them. I think that might possibly be it, although I also appreciate the other suggestions.
No, that's not, in fact, what I meant. I don't think it's a matter of what Stephen Hughes calls "reading the Greek as English" to suggest that we understand the verb here as a middle-voice form in the perfect tense, the middle verb being ὑποστρωνύεσθαι or ὑποστρώννυσθαι, with the sense "lie down on a bed of" or "bed down on". I don't suppose that the prisoners were forced to lay down their own bed of nails or sharp points and then lie down on them; it's quite enough to point to the bed of nails and force them to lie down on them.

One of the (to me, at least) strangest remnants of antique grammatical lore as a child learning English grammar more than half a century ago was being taught that "the book" in the sentence "I was given the book" is the "received object" of a passive verb. Actually that's not at all unintelligible, but I'd say that "the book" is as much the direct object of a transitive verb as it would be if the sentence took the form, "He gave me the book." When later I sought to understand the grammar of Mark 1:6 καὶ ἦν ὁ Ἰωάννης ἐνδεδυμένος τρίχας καμήλου καὶ ζώνην δερματίνην περὶ τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσθίων ἀκρίδας καὶ μέλι ἄγριον, it occurred to me that this was not a matter of "John was dressed in a hair shirt and a leather belt around his waist" but far simpler, "John was wearing (i.e. had put on) a hair shirt and a leather blest around his waist ... " The verb was to be understood as a middle voice. So my understanding of the verb in this passage is that we have a verb in the middle voice with an accusative direct object; "to lay down a bed of nails (or "trumpet-shells) for oneself" means "to lie down on a bed of nails (or "trumpet-shells"). Cf.
Isaiah 58:5 wrote:I οὐ ταύτην τὴν νηστείαν ἐξελεξάμην καὶ ἡμέραν ταπεινοῦν ἄνθρωπον τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ· οὐδ᾿ ἂν κάμψῃς ὡς κρίκον τὸν τράχηλόν σου καὶ σάκκον καὶ σποδὸν ὑποστρώσῃ, οὐδ᾿ οὕτως καλέσετε νηστείαν δεκτήν.
and
BDAF s.v. ὑποστρωννύω/ὑποστρώννυμι wrote:σποδόν spread out ashes underneath oneself = make one’s bed in ashes as a sign of repentance B 3:2 (Is 58:5; cp. JosAs 10:16 cod. A). Pass. κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι those with trumpet-shells (κῆρυξ 3) under them=those who were laid on trumpet-shells
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 22nd, 2015, 10:58 pm

LSJ final section of the entry for στόρνυμι wrote:(Cf. Skt. stṛṇómi, stṛṇā´mi 'strew', Lat. sterno, Engl. strew.)
The type of etymologising that traces cognates in several languages back to a common root and then gives that in the dictionary meaning can be dangerous.
Luke 19:36 wrote:Πορευομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ, ὑπεστρώννυον τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.
One thing about using either of the verbs στρώννυμι/ὑποστρώννυμι for putting cloaks on the road is that if we were to have in mind "strew", then the cloaks would probably come to present a hinderance to the beast's progress along the road, rather than a "red carpet" type treatment.

The connotations of ὑποστρώννυμι are probably "low", "deliberate", "careful" and "level". It is possible that the ὑπο- could be positional, "under the donkey that would walk on them".

Applying that to a coat, to get it as low and level as possible, the arms would need to be outstretched, and the material of the cloak part also as spread out as possible.

Stephen Hughes thinks that it is important to come up with a number of almost viable alternatives, and to pick the most viable (or least inviable) option, rather than finding a single right answer. In this case, spreading a person out low and level would probably involve pinning / tying them down - either on / under one or many (broken or otherwise).
cwconrad wrote:So my understanding of the verb in this passage is that we have a verb in the middle voice with an accusative direct object; "to lay down a bed of nails (or "trumpet-shells) for oneself" means "to lie down on a bed of nails (or "trumpet-shells").
cwconrad wrote:When later I sought to understand the grammar of Mark 1:6 καὶ ἦν ὁ Ἰωάννης ἐνδεδυμένος τρίχας καμήλου καὶ ζώνην δερματίνην περὶ τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσθίων ἀκρίδας καὶ μέλι ἄγριον, it occurred to me that this was not a matter of "John was dressed in a hair shirt and a leather belt around his waist" but far simpler, "John was wearing (i.e. had put on) a hair shirt and a leather b[el]t around his waist ... " The verb was to be understood as a middle voice.
A passage from Thucydides that fascinate and puzzles me is
Thucydides 2.4.1 wrote:ξυνεστρέφοντό ... ἐν σφίσιν αὐτοῖς
they closed ranks in on themselves
where middle / passive voice is used with a reflexive pronoun. (The Koine equivalent of ἐν σφίσιν αὐτοῖς would be ἐν ἑαυτοῖς). That medio-passive + reflexive is beyond the limit of maps - where sea monsters lurk - in my grammatical atlas.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Andrew Chapman
Posts: 258
Joined: February 5th, 2013, 5:04 am
Location: Oxford, England
Contact:

Re: κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Post by Andrew Chapman » July 23rd, 2015, 2:14 am

'Strew' is one of the meanings given in LSJ, so is not necessarily etymologising, but I do agree with Stephen that it is perfectly possible that the Christians were being spread out - I still have the difficulty with υπο- rather than επι-.

Thanks, Carl, for the Isaiah reference. Still they were spreading out the ashes for themselves, not for somebody else. I am struck by the strong connection with bed-making in LSJ. Could the word in the middle voice have progressed semantically from 'spread out a bed for oneself' to 'lie down on a bed'?

Andrew
0 x

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 23rd, 2015, 6:00 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:'Strew' is one of the meanings given in LSJ, so is not necessarily etymologising, but I do agree with Stephen that it is perfectly possible that the Christians were being spread out -
Yes, I was obliquely criticising the LSJ entry to which the information on cognates is appended. "Cognates" is like parallel etymologising until the lines get distant enough and intersect in (usually) a P.E. form. While historical linguistics is a facinating subject, chance cognates with a combined distance from each other of 5,000 years of usage is no more a basis for building a lexicon, than strange women lying in pools and distibuting swords is a mandate to rule.
LSJ στόρνυμι wrote:b. generally, spread, strew, ἀνθρακιὴν ς. Il.9.213; “φιτροὺς ς. καθύπερθεν ἐλαίης” A.R.1.405; [“στιβάδας] εἰς ὁδόν” Ev.Marc. 11.8: also in Med., freq. in Theoc., as 13.33, al.
If the cloaks (or palm fronds) were strewn about the road - like clothes around a teenager's bedroom - it would have tripped the donkey colt up.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
Posts: 2112
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: κήρυκας ὑποστρωννύμενοι

Post by cwconrad » July 23rd, 2015, 6:20 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:'Strew' is one of the meanings given in LSJ, so is not necessarily etymologising, but I do agree with Stephen that it is perfectly possible that the Christians were being spread out - I still have the difficulty with υπο- rather than επι-.

Thanks, Carl, for the Isaiah reference. Still they were spreading out the ashes for themselves, not for somebody else. I am struck by the strong connection with bed-making in LSJ. Could the word in the middle voice have progressed semantically from 'spread out a bed for oneself' to 'lie down on a bed'?
I guess the question is how much you can "swallow" or "put down your gullet" -- but please don't take that literally! What I've suggested is the sense of the middle with κήρυκας as an object here is "lie down on a bed of κήρυκες". Etymological development does some surprising things, as, for example, making it possible to understand escape from death as "waking up" or "standing up", or to understand "laying one's bed" or "bedding down on" as the equivalent of as the equivalent of "sleeping on a bed of" (whether or not one has actually laid down the "mattress" of whatever composition. In English we can even talk about a "roadbed" and understand the process of paving a road as "strewing" or "laying down a surface" ("Street" derived from Latin sternere/strevisse/stratus. A comparable American English idiomatic expression for enduring hardship of one's own making is "making one's bed and lying down on it" -- sometimes used of bad marriages. Money in the bank is said to "lie" there: κεῖται where somebody has "put it down" (κατέθηκεν". I'm only stating the obvious here, that very common usages in every language are constructed on metaphoric extensions of original meaning.
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Post Reply

Return to “Church Fathers and Patristic Greek Texts”