Date: Thu Apr 30 1998 - 11:01:21 EDT
Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> >> PLAZW therefore originally means (etymologically)
> >> "knock off course" while PLANAW means "make go without direction." In
> >> practice, however, both verbs function to have the same meaning. We see the
> >> first in the second line of the Odyssey:
> >> ANDRA MOI ENNEPE, MOUSA, POLUTROPON, hOS MALA POLLA
> >> PLAGCQH, EPEI TROIHS hIERON PTOLIEQRON EPERSEN ...
> >> "Recount to me, Muse, the versatile man, who roamed quite a lot
> >> POLLA PLANGCQH), after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy ..."
> >> Now the problem with these verbs, so far as VOICE is concerned, is that the
> >> active clearly is used in the sense of "make go astray," whereas the middle
> >> voice is used in what we call an INTRANSITIVE sense, "go astray"--and the
> >> -QH- "passive" forms provide simply the aorist of this middle
> >> "intransitive" sense of "go astray." That is to say, this is one of those
> >> verbs for which it is hard to demonstrate any genuine passive sense UNLESS,
> >> as Clay notes, one can show an external agent as the key factor in the
> >> going-astray.
> >Carl ~
> >This QH 'passive' 2nd [strong] aorist business has got me muddling. I
> >love this the first two lines of the Oddyssey ~ 1st time I have seen
> >them in the Greek ~ And the idea that is being conveyed with the QH
> >passive aorist here is the fact that Oddysseus did not CHOOSE to roam,
> >but 'was roamed' [was made to go without direction] by things that
> >were quite beyond his control, is it not? And would that not make
> >this passive truely a passive? And if so, would that not call into
> >question our original understanding of the QH 2nd aorist? The voice
> >is passive, and the action transitive, yes? The fact that the 'agent'
> >is not indicated is the purpose of saying it this way, as an
> >introduction to the story that portrays this agency [these agencies].
> George, I understand the notion you're suggesting, and it is certainly true
> that Odysseus' "roaming" for ten years after the sack of Troy is not of his
> own choice, for the most part, yet some of it is a consequence of his own
> folly (the boasting revelation of his name to the Cyclops) and much more of
> it is owing to the folly of his crewmen, who never even survived to return
> to Ithaca.
Beginnings are so important...
I have read and re-read this beginning of the Oddyssey that you
provided, and I do not recover from my sense of awe at its profound
simplicity and generative power. You are right, of course, when you
say that Oddysseus is the real 'agent' of this passive form [through
his folly], and yet at the same time so are the Gods, Fate, his crew,
the winds, and on and on. And the PLANGCQH evokes ALL of them,
including Oddysseus, who set it all in motion through his rashness
with the Cyclops, and now must suffer the consequences, which he would
not normally choose. Sounds almost Biblical, eh?
> The point I was making however had to do with the FORM, the -QH-
> aorist with active endings, a form which only in the course of Greek
> linguistic history came to have regular association with passive meaning
> and which, in quite a number of Greek verbs is simply the standard form of
> an intransitive or even active aorist. Traditionally this class of verbs,
> which most commonly have middle voice forms in the present tense, is called
> "passive deponents" (a term which I have argued is a misnomer because the
> phrasing suggests that they are odd-ball verbs that don't behave as we
> think they ought to behave). In this category are such verbs as
> POREUOMAI/EPOREUQHN, BOULOMAI/HBOULHQHN, DUNAMAI/EDUNHQHN, none of which
> involves any passive notion at all. The lengthy discussion of this which I
> originally posted almost a year ago is in the archives, dated May 27, 1997
> and titled, "Some Observations on Greek Voice." Much of this was based on
> the fact that Indo-European had no distinct passive voice, the passive
> being a secondary development in the daughter languages, this being
> achieved in Greek by using the middle voice to express passive meanings and
> by using the athematic aorist, especially with the -QH- infix, as a
> standard passive formative for aorist and future passives.
The original state of Greek verbs as having no passive voice, only
active and middle, is an awesome fact to think about and to consider
the implications of... A week ago I was unaware of this fact. So
regarding Homer's opening lines, did he even HAVE the passive voice in
his vocabulary? The QH ending so clearly involves consequences that
begin with Oddysseus' folly, yet are inflicted upon him 'externally',
that the blending by our language of external and internal is all
three: Active [boasting], middle [he brought it on himself] and
passive [these things all happenned TO him] And all this with the
aorist plus QH... Theta-eta... Opening the narrative... Beginning it.
Is there a root meaning for QH? Is it connected to QEOS, QEW, etc.
Is there a family of words that connect to the QH core?
> I might add that Greek may and sometimes does regularly use active forms to
> represent passive notions. EKBALLW means "send into exile," but rather than
> the perfectly permissible form EKBALLOMAI Greek normally uses EKPIPTW for
> "be sent into exile"; similarly APOKTEINW means "put to death," "execute,"
> but Greek normally uses APOQHNiSKW for the passive of that, "be put to
> death." And there are quite a few other idiomatic "anomalies" of this sort
> in ancient Greek.
I share your quotation marks around anomalies. The Greeks using them
didn't seem to find them so anamalous, and perhaps the "anamalies" are
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