Monday, November 22, 2010


A Participial Construction in Greek

In a series of posts at Gypsy Scholar, Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges has been discussing Milton, Paradise Lost 9.791-794:
Greedily she ingorg'd without restraint,
And knew not eating Death: Satiate at length,
And hight'nd as with Wine, jocond and boon,
Thus to her self she pleasingly began.
In one of his posts on this subject, entitled Milton's 'Awkward' Grecism: "know" with nominative participle?, Dr. Hodges quotes Kenneth Haynes, English Literature and Ancient Languages (Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 79, on line 792:
Greek may use a participle after verbs of knowledge or perception, and the line, modeled after Greek, means "and knew not that she ate Death."
Haynes cites (but does not quote) a famous Latin example, viz. Vergil, Aeneid 2.377: "sensit medios delapsus in hostis" (he realized that he had fallen into the midst of enemies), on which see R.G. Austin in his commentary on Vergil, Aeneid Book 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), p. 159.

But Haynes gives no Greek examples. Perhaps it is worthwhile to examine a few Greek examples in which a verb of perception takes a participle in the nominative case. In most of the English translations below you'll find a clause starting with the word "that" and containing a finite verb—in the corresponding Greek there is a participle in the nominative case.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1670 (tr. Herbert Weir Smyth):
Know that thou shalt make me atonement for thy insolent folly.

ἴσθι μοι δώσων ἄποινα τῆσδε μωρίας χάριν.
Euripides, Alcestis 150-151 (tr. David Kovacs):
Let her know then that she will die glorious and the noblest woman by far under the sun.

ἴστω νυν εὐκλεής γε κατθανουμένη
γυνή τ᾽ ἀρίστη τῶν ὑφ᾽ ἡλίῳ μακρῷ.
Euripides, Hecuba 397 (tr. David Kovacs):
I am not aware that I have a master.

οὐ γὰρ οἶδα δεσπότας κεκτημένος.
Herodotus 4.76.6 (tr. A.D. Godley):
Now if Anacharsis was truly of this family, then let him know [that] he was slain by his own brother; for Idanthyrsus was the son of Saulius, and it was Saulius who killed Anacharsis.

εἰ ὦν ταύτης ἦν τῆς οἰκίης ὁ Ἀνάχαρσις, ἴστω ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀδελφεοῦ ἀποθανών: Ἰδάνθυρσος γὰρ ἦν παῖς Σαυλίου, Σαύλιος δὲ ἦν ὁ ἀποκτείνας Ἀνάχαρσιν.
Herodotus 5.42.1 (tr. A.D. Godley):
...and fully believed that he would be made king for his manly worth...

εὖ τε ἐπίστατο κατ᾽ ἀνδραγαθίην αὐτὸς σχήσων τὴν βασιληίην.
[Plato], Theages 122 C (tr. W.R.M. Lamb):
...we may perceive how ridiculous we are...

...αἰσθώμεθα γελοῖοι ὄντες...
Sophocles, Ajax 1399:
Know that to us you are a noble man.

ἀνὴρ καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς ἐσθλὸς ὢν ἐπίστασο.
Thucydides 2.51.4 (tr. Charles Forster Smith):
...when they once became aware that they were sick...

...ὁπότε τις αἴσθοιτο κάμνων...
Xenophon, Anabasis 2.1.13 (tr. Carleton L. Brownson):
Be sure, however, that you are a fool if you imagine that your valour could prove superior to the King's might.

ἴσθι μέντοι ἀνόητος ὤν, εἰ οἴει τὴν ὑμετέραν ἀρετὴν περιγενέσθαι ἂν τῆς βασιλέως δυνάμεως.

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