[B-Greek] A Couple of Questions

Richard Ghilardi qodeshlayhvh at juno.com
Mon Jun 30 22:17:09 EDT 2003


Carl and fellow b-greekers,

Thank you for your interesting response. The quotes you provided from
Protagoras and Aeschylus bring me all the way back to my first semester
of Greek. Your own rendering of Cromwell is quite elegant. I only wish
you had addressed some of the questions I asked.

Yours in His grace,

Richard Ghilardi -- qodeshlayhvh at juno.com
New Haven, CT USA

On Mon, 30 Jun 2003 17:33:38 -0400 "Carl W. Conrad"
<cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu> writes:
> At 2:47 PM -0400 6/30/03, Richard Ghilardi wrote:
> >Hi b-greekers,
> >
> >1) Thayer's Corrected Edition of 1889 has a Greek quote in it which 
> I
> >find rather puzzling:
> >
> >ATELES OUDEN OUDENOS METRON
> >
> >I would English this as:
> >
> >"The incomplete serves as standard measure for nothing."
> >
> >If I've gotten this right, Thayer was an incredibly modest man. 
> His
> >"incomplete" work stood as the standard lexical "measure" for 
> nearly 70
> >years (at least in the English-speaking world) until BAG came along 
> in
> >1957! This is a very long time indeed considering the revolution 
> in
> >lexical studies that took place in the first half of the 20th 
> century.
> >(I'm not trying to build an apologetic for Thayer, but merely 
> making some
> >observations.) One more thing. Where does this quote come from?
> 
> My own guess at the above adage would be, "Nothing (that is) 
> incomplete is
> measure of anything"--but upon reflection, that's pretty close in 
> sense to
> what you've already offered. I would guess that this was Thayer's 
> apologia
> for issuing a "Corrected" edition. If so, it's a pretty good 
> reflection
> upon the inadequacy of all our tools: "completeness" or "perfection" 
> in
> lexicography or philology or grammatical understanding is, to cite 
> Hamlet,
> "a consummation devoutly to be wished."
> 
> Whether Thayer was citing something he'd seen I don't know, but the
> formulation is reminiscent of the classical formulation of 
> Protagoras:
> 
>         PANTWN CRHMATWN METRON ANQRWPOS, TWN MEN ONTWN, hWS ESTIN, 
> TWN DE
> MH ONTWN, hWS OUK ESTIN.
> 
> >2) I found a quote from Oliver Cromwell recently which looked like 
> it
> >might go easily into Greek:
> >
> >"He who ceases to be better, ceases to be good."
> >
> >My Greek rendering:
> >
> >AMEINWN EINAI hO PAUSAMENOS EPAUSATO AGAQOS
> >
> >Could this be improved?
> >Is it necessary to repeat EINAI in the independent clause?
> >Should AMEINWN and AGAQOS be accusative? (AMEINONA, AGAQON)
> >Would it be better (no pun intended) to use BELTIWN rather than 
> AMEINWN?
> 
> And this reminds me of the formulation by Aeschylus from "Seven 
> against
> Thebes":
> 
>         OU GAR DOKEIN ARISTOS, ALL' EINAI QELEI.
> 
> My own suggestion for Cromwell's bit--can't quite get it to 
> scan--is:
> 
>         PWS hOUTOS AGAQOS, hOS OUKET' AREIWN PELEI?



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