κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
Stephen Hughes
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Re: κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 7th, 2015, 2:28 am

Tony Pope wrote:
CWConrad wrote:I'd bet that κύπτειν, to the extent that it's associated with tying another's sandal-straps, means "crouch" in the context in which JB uses it
Presumably, to reach the sandal straps the slave would go down with both knees touching the ground just as if kneeling in homage?
How about "crouch" with a stool under his posterior. Have a look at these pictures of shoe-shiners

ImageImage

They are both leaning forward from a seated position, so the centre of gravity of the upper body moves forward, but not lower than the hips.

If a slave were to kneel every time the master's shoes had to be removed, his effective working life would have been greatly reduced. As a speculation, in this case, we are talking about JB's younger cousin, so it may be a childhood memory.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Tony Pope
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Re: κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Post by Tony Pope » August 7th, 2015, 6:44 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:I have an adendum for my post.

Was Jesus standing or sitting when he leant down or leant forward to write on the ground?
Well, in John 8.2 it is stated he was sitting. We are not told whether he remained sitting, but it seems not impossible.
Stephen Hughes wrote:
Tony Pope wrote:
CWConrad wrote:I'd bet that κύπτειν, to the extent that it's associated with tying another's sandal-straps, means "crouch" in the context in which JB uses it
Presumably, to reach the sandal straps the slave would go down with both knees touching the ground just as if kneeling in homage?
How about "crouch" with a stool under his posterior. Have a look at these pictures of shoe-shiners
...
They are both leaning forward from a seated position, so the centre of gravity of the upper body moves forward, but not lower than the hips.

If a slave were to kneel every time the master's shoes had to be removed, his effective working life would have been greatly reduced. As a speculation, in this case, we are talking about JB's younger cousin, so it may be a childhood memory.
Shoeshiners are at it all day long, but slaves would not have had an endless queue of masters whose sandals needed attention so I doubt they would have kept a handy stool for the purpose. If you google "assyrian palace reliefs pinterest" you will see among the images one of prostrating subjects (I suppose it's copyright so I don't know if I'm allowed to link it directly.) I was thinking of something like this, though the level of prostration would obviously not have been so abject.
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cwconrad
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Re: κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Post by cwconrad » August 7th, 2015, 6:50 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:... They are both leaning forward from a seated position, so the centre of gravity of the upper body moves forward, but not lower than the hips.

If a slave were to kneel every time the master's shoes had to be removed, his effective working life would have been greatly reduced. As a speculation, in this case, we are talking about JB's younger cousin, so it may be a childhood memory.
When we are not told what we want to know, we speculate. In this case, we consider as many possibilities as possible and we picture all sorts of possibilities open to many creatures (dolphins, turtles -- sticking their heads inwards and outwards), bending the back forward or backward, crouching, kneeling ... and the beat goes on ...
Xenophanes of Colophon wrote:οὔτοι ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητοῦντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Devenios Doulenios
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Re: κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Post by Devenios Doulenios » August 7th, 2015, 9:01 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:I have an adendum for my post.

Was Jesus standing or sitting when he leant down or leant forward to write on the ground?
Neither, since the story is not part of the authentic text of John. There is no Greek manuscript evidence for it before the 5th century, and we have MSS of John that go back at least 2-3 centuries earlier. The earliest Greek commentary on the passage is from the 12th century, and even it says that authentic MSS do not contain it.

While there is a form of this story quoted in some 2nd century Christian writers, it is not quite the same as the one associated with John.

χαρις και ειρηνη πασιν υμιν,

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Dewayne Dulaney
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Re: κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Post by cwconrad » August 7th, 2015, 10:50 am

Devenios Doulenios wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:I have an adendum for my post.

Was Jesus standing or sitting when he leant down or leant forward to write on the ground?
Neither, since the story is not part of the authentic text of John. There is no Greek manuscript evidence for it before the 5th century, and we have MSS of John that go back at least 2-3 centuries earlier. The earliest Greek commentary on the passage is from the 12th century, and even it says that authentic MSS do not contain it.

While there is a form of this story quoted in some 2nd century Christian writers, it is not quite the same as the one associated with John.
Whether or not this pericope is attested in the older MSS or not hardly seems relevant to the usage of the Greek verbs in it. Moreover, we ordinarily steer clear of discussion of text-critical issues in this forum.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Devenios Doulenios
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Re: κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Post by Devenios Doulenios » August 7th, 2015, 4:17 pm

Carl, of course you are right. I momentarily forgot that we don't deal with textual criticism here. μεταμελομαι, ω φιλοι. And apologies to you, Stephen, as well.

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Dewayne Dulaney
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Blog: https://letancientvoicesspeak.wordpress.com/

"Ὁδοὶ δύο εἰσί, μία τῆς ζωῆς καὶ μία τοῦ θανάτου."--Διδαχή Α, α'

Stephen Hughes
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Re: κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 7th, 2015, 11:40 pm

Tony Pope wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Was Jesus standing or sitting when he leant down or leant forward to write on the ground?
Well, in John 8.2 it is stated he was sitting. We are not told whether he remained sitting, but it seems not impossible.
I know that until recently, gentlemen rose to their feet when a lady entered the room as a sign of respect, but I'm not sure if that custom existed in Jewish society, or for a woman accused of a crime with a death penalty.
Tony Pope wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:If a slave were to kneel every time the master's shoes had to be removed, his effective working life would have been greatly reduced.
Shoeshiners are at it all day long, but slaves would not have had an endless queue of masters whose sandals needed attention so I doubt they would have kept a handy stool for the purpose. If you google "assyrian palace reliefs pinterest" you will see among the images one of prostrating subjects (I suppose it's copyright so I don't know if I'm allowed to link it directly.) I was thinking of something like this, though the level of prostration would obviously not have been so abject.
My best guess is that you are talking about Ashurbanipal II's Victory over the Elamites at Til Tuba (653 BC).Image
I've hot linked that from another site, rather than hostινγ it myself.

I think that the action of the Elamites would be described as προσκυνεῖν.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 8th, 2015, 12:30 am

Devenios Doulenios wrote:Carl, of course you are right. ... μεταμελομαι, ω φιλοι. And apologies to you, Stephen, as well.

If I may add a momentary touch of innanity (pointlessness) to a discussion that Carl has just steered back to the point.

Most readings that Louis points us to are with a clear voice, but let me put up this rather poor reading of the Pericope Adulterae with a head cold (in two parts -- Part 1 Part 2). I'm guessing that people who spoke Greek in antiquity suffered from head colds from time to time. [There is a slight problem with the tongue twister εἷς κασ' εἷθ]
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Tony Pope
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Re: κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Post by Tony Pope » August 10th, 2015, 4:06 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
I think that the action of the Elamites would be described as προσκυνεῖν.
Yes, of course. My point, though, is that a slave, when reaching for the sandal straps of his master, in his humility likely adopted a posture nearer to that pictured than to any posture (such as squatting or perching on a stool) that we Westerners in our relatively egalitarian society might imagine to be practical and appropriate.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: κύπτειν "bend down" spine or knees?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 10th, 2015, 1:28 pm

Tony Pope wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
I think that the action of the Elamites would be described as προσκυνεῖν.
Yes, of course. My point, though, is that a slave, when reaching for the sandal straps of his master, in his humility likely adopted a posture nearer to that pictured than to any posture (such as squatting or perching on a stool) that we Westerners in our relatively egalitarian society might imagine to be practical and appropriate.
I only did the briefest survey of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture as part of studying Greek, so please bear with this selection for not being Greek or Roman.

I think that all of these except the last one (as will be noted) would be described as προσκυνεῖν "kneel".

The variations seem to be tops of the feet on the ground (a), up on the balls of the feet (b-d), and one or other knee raised (e).
  1. Kneeling woman (Walters 541621)
    Image
  2. Kneeling figure of Hor-wedja (Walters_2279)
    Image
  3. Statue of Nephthys (Walters 22255)
    Image
  4. Worshipper kneeling before the God Anubis (Walters 54400)
    Image
  5. Woman kneeling before an offering table (Walters 322)
    Image
A similar pose is found among the Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty - Grave of Qin Shi Huang (210-209 BCE) in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China. The first is a picture as they are when they were found, and the second is with the original artwork restored.
ImageImage
(Second photo by "Charlie")

This Hellenistic statue of Venus (Lely Venus BM - GR - 1963) is crouching (κατα-)πτήσσειν). Some of her weight is supported by the right foot, and some on a water-pot.
ImageImage
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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