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Plato's Ion, 540e (two finite verbs in the same clause?)

Posted: April 25th, 2020, 11:23 am
by Keith
Hi everyone, I am a beginner/intermediate in Greek and I'm having trouble translating this sentence and similar ones from the Ion:
"οὐκοῦν εἰ καὶ τοὺς εὖ κιθαρίζοντας διεγίγνωσκες, ὡμολόγεις ἄν, ᾗ κιθαριστὴς εἶ, ταύτῃ διαγιγνώσειν, ἀλλ' οὐχ ᾗ ἱππεύς."

My translation runs as follows: "Then, likewise, if you were determining whether people were playing the cithara well, you would agree that you are someone who knows based on the art of playing the cithara and not that of riding horses."

My specific question is: How does the εἶ function grammatically in this sentence? The ὡμολόγεις ἄν seems to anticipate either an acc. + infin. or a οτι + indic., yet neither construction appears. This issue with the εἶ shows up again a line or two later. Socrates says to Ion: "Ἐπειδὴ δὲ τὰ στρατιωτικὰ γιγνώσκεις, πότερον ᾗ στραηγικὸς εἶ γιγνωσκεις ἢ ᾗ ῥαψῳδὸς ἀγαθός;" Here, again, I don't understand how the εἶ fits into the passage. Help is much appreciated!

Re: Plato's Ion, 540e (two finite verbs in the same clause?)

Posted: April 25th, 2020, 2:52 pm
by Barry Hofstetter
Greetings, Keith. Just a reminder that B-Greek policy requires both first and last names for screen name, so if you could contact me or another moderator we would be glad to change that for you. We do normally focus specifically on biblical Greek here, but neither are we allergic to other authors. However, you might want to consider posting questions about Plato and other classical authors to textkit.com, where there are a number of people with a great deal of experience with Plato and other classical authors.

Look again carefully at your text:

οὐκοῦν ειʼ καὶ τοὺς εὖ κιθαρίζοντας διεγίγνωσκες, ὡμολόγεις ἄν, ᾗ κιθαριστὴς εἶ, ταύτῃ διαγιγνώσκειν, ἀλλʼ οὐχ ᾗ ἱππεύς.

Did you pick up on the fact that it's an infinitive? That's your infinitive in indirect statement after ὡμολόγεις. Since the subject of the infinitive is the same as the subject of the main verb, it's omitted here. Smyth:
1973. When the subject of the infinitive is the same as that of the governing verb, it is omitted, and a predicate noun stands in the nominative case.
I'm not sure what your question is regarding εἰ. It simply sets up the condition in the protasis, "If you know good zither players..."

Your second sentence:

ἐπειδὴ δὲ τὰ στρατιωτικὰ γιγνώσκεις, πότερον ᾗ στρατηγικὸς εἶ γιγνώσκεις ἢ ᾗ ῥαψῳδὸς ἀγαθός;

Did you notice how εἶ is accented? It's not the proclitic εἰ, but the second person singular of εἰμί.

Re: Plato's Ion, 540e (two finite verbs in the same clause?)

Posted: July 4th, 2020, 11:37 am
by Keith
Thank you, Barry. I managed to put the pieces together with your advice. I'll be sure to consult textkit.com going forward, but might find my way here again if I'm ever reading koine!