From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Feb 15 1997 - 21:47:09 EST
At 7:48 PM -0600 2/15/97, kdlitwak wrote:
>I know this is a very controversial statement in Greek, but I have
>to ask for some basic help on Thucydides History of the Pelopenesian
>War, 1.22: (this is actually of relevance potentially for understanding
>what Luke-Acts is intended to be)
>(WS DE AN EDOKOUN MOI (EKASTOI PERI TWN AIEI PARONTWN TA DEONTA MALIST'
>EIPEIN, ECHOMENW (OTI EGGUTATA THS XUMPASHS GNWMHS TWN ALHQWS LECHQENTWN
> My main problem is whether EDOKOUN is 1 sg. or 3 pl., because I
>canmake an argument for each choice, given that this clause seems to be
>missing something decisive anyway (Thucydides' doing). If I go with 1
>sg.,like LCL, then the first clause says something like " And as it
>seemed good to me each one concerning those who are present (PAREIMI
>1)/those who come forward to speak (PAREIMI 2) to speak always above all
>things which are fitting..." However, this has a problem. (EKASTOI is
>nominative, and must be a subject. If EDOKOUN is 1 sg. then it suplies
>a different subject for the clause, namely MOI. IN that case, it should
>be something like, "it seemed good to me FOR each one..." but there is
>no grammatical justification for "FOR". So what do we do with this
Ken, there's no way that EDOKOUN can be 1st singular in this sentence:
hEKASTOI is the only possible subject for it. While one does occasionally
see DOKEW with a reflexive pronoun (Plato has Socrates say in the Apology
something like: hOUTOS MEN hEAUTWi TE KAI POLLOIS ALLOIS EDOKEI SOFOS
EINAI, OUK WN ...), it can only mean "I appear to myself ... " In the above
sentence the MOI is the source of the first person in whatever version you
are looking at, LCL or otherwise), and EDOKOUN here doesn't have that
idiomatic "seemed good" sense, but rather the straightforward sense of
"seemed" or "were observed ... " hEKASTOI is the subject, but here we have
hEKASTOI EDOKOUN MOI TA DEONTA MALISTA EIPEIN (with an AN in a past
counterfactual condition, the AN to be construed with EIPEIN): "according
as individually they seemed most likely to have spoken (AN MALISTA EIPEIN)
the things needful (TA DEONTA) regarding the actual circumstances (PERI TWN
PARONTWN) at each particular time (AIEI).
> Should MALIST be undestood here as a superlative "above all", "most
>of all" or is there something else more DEON?
As I've said above, MALISTA goes with EIPEIN AN, the infinitive phrase
functioning after EDOKOUN as would indicatives phrased: hEKASTOI EIPON AN
MALISTA: "They would have said more than anything else" = "They would most
likely have said." MALISTA here = "more than anything else."
> How did the LCL come up with its translation "Therefore the speeches
>are given in the language in which, it seemed good to me, the speakers
>would express". I don't see the words for that here, though I prefer it
>because it allows for the interpretation I think is appropriate.
This is not a literal translation, but a reformulation of the content of
the Greek, but I think it does express what Thucydides meant. The answer to
your question is in what I said above: the AN goes with EIPEIN in an
indirect discourse construction. What the LCL translator has done is shift
the past counter-factual into temporal terms suited to the imperfect 3 pl.
EDOKOUN: hWS EDOKOUN MOI = "as they appeared to me" --> as I thought that
they ..."; then EIPEIN AN = EIPON AN = "would have spoken" --> "would speak"
> What does EChOMENWi meanhere/ I don't see whatit goes with or does.
>By having him/it ???
> Why the genitive case for XUMPASHS? What does it modify and what
>kind of genitive is it? I would understand a nominative or an
>accusative perhaps, but genitive?
No, no, no, no. It's an idiom, a rather common use of ECOMAI in the middle:
literally "maintain my hold" = "keep very close"--and this will answer your
next question, this idiom regular takes a genitive because it works just
like hAPTOMAI, "touch," or "cling to." I'm not sure whether this is a
partitive or an ablative in origin, but in any case, the thing stayed close
to is always in the genitive. ECOMENWi is dative because it consrues with
MOI. And take note of the parallel (I think this is precisely the reason
you are doing this): Lk 1:3 EDOXE KAMOI PARHKOLOUQHKOTI ANWQEN PASIN
AKRIBWS KAQEXHS SOI GRAYAI ... Here PARHKOLOUQHKOTI goes with EMOI
(K'EMOI) in the very same manner as does ECOMENWi in Thucydides, but the
idea which Thucydides expresses by means of that verb is picked up by Luke
in fresh but similar phraseology, the complex PARHKOLOUQHKOTI ANWQEN PASIN
AKRIBWS KAQEXHS, lit. "having followed along (PARHKOLOUQHKOTI) from the
outset (ANWQEN) every happening (PASIN) precisely (AKRIBWS) in sequential
order (KAQEXHS)." For my part, I don't think there can be any doubt that
Luke was imitating Thucydides in style and substance here--and this is
intimately bound up with the whole question of historical verisimilitude
vs. concrete historical factuality in the Lucan narrative.
> Finally, is EIRHTAI from EIRW, pres mid/pass subj, ERW, perf mid.
>ind, or less likely, EROMAI, pres mid. subj.?
Neither. The principal parts of the verb as it is most commonly used in
Attic Greek are: LEGW, ERW, EIPON, EIRHKA, EIRHMAI, ELECQHN. This is the
normal perfect passive of LEGW.
I don't think you'll find more dificult Greek prose than Thucydides (in
antiquity, at least), but this is not really the most difficult he gets.
When you finish this you can move on to the Periclean funeral speech in
Book 2 or the Melian debate in Book 5.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com
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