[b-greek] Re: Agency & Passive Iliad example

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Fri Jun 15 2001 - 14:43:11 EDT

At 9:10 AM -0700 6/15/01, c stirling bartholomew wrote:
>on 6/15/01 8:49 AM, c stirling bartholomew wrote:
>>> Clay, isn't it one heck of a lot easier to understand EFHPTAI as middle
>>> with KHDEA as the subject? That's the way I, at least, would understand
>>> this text.
>>> Remember that a neuter plural subject in earlier Greek is regularly used
>>> with a singular verb.
>> Carl,
>> I was understanding KHDEA as the subject but NOT the agent. Both
>>Cunliffe and
>> LSJ list this instance EFHPTAI as a passive w/dative. Even if I we take
>> EFHPTAI as a middle I cannot see how KHDEA can fill the semantic slot of
>> agent. There still needs to be an agent unless we understand KHDEA as a
>> sort of self animated entity. So I don't see that the middle/passive choice
>> really impacts the agency issue much. Perhaps I am overlooking something.
>> Thanks for bringing up the subject. Your extensive and erudite
>>discussions of
>> middle/passive have been for the most part a little over my head.
>An additional thought. If we understand EFHPTAI as describing a state and
>not as an action brining an entity into a state then perhaps we can live
>without an agent. Since saying that something is in the state of hanging
>over something does not require an agent.

Well, I think that's what we have: a stative assertion. Furthermore the
TRWESSI can't be an agent but rather refers to those upon dire troubles

Moreover, both literary versions that you've cited seem to understand the
text in this sense:

* R. Lattimore: "and evils are in store for the Trojans"
**A.T. Murray "and over the Trojans hang woes."

If I were trying to be over-literal, I might make it: "and woes have
attached themselves to the Trojans."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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