The royal 'we' ?

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Daniel Semler
Posts: 106
Joined: February 18th, 2019, 7:45 pm

The royal 'we' ?

Post by Daniel Semler » May 3rd, 2019, 10:16 am

Hi ya,

I am reading through the freebie Amazon sample pages from the Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek mentioned, in another thread recently. I ran across this which I thought was a mis-translation initially but given these guys are experts and I have next to no classical greek I went checking. So here is the snippet and their translation:

(2) ἀλλ’ ἔσθ’ ὅθ’ ἡμᾶς αἰνέσεις. (= ἀλλ() ἔστ(ῐ) ὅτ(ε) ἡμᾶς αἰνέσεις.) (Eur. Alc. 1109) But there will be a day when you will praise me.

Now I would have expected ἡμᾶς to be translated as 'us'. Yet the translations I can find online show 'I' consistently.

Is this what we call the 'royal we', referring to oneself in the first person plural ? (This is Heracles after all) Is that something done in lyric Greek ? Is this an idiom I've not yet run across ?

As an aside, the CGCG looks good from the section I've read so far. I don't the freebie gets anywhere near the syntax so I'm reading phonology and such. So the impact of linguistics here is not so obvious. They do make various notes in their initial comments and terminology. They note the various issues in the terminology relating to the verbal system and how they plan to handle that. They do talk about crasis, something that came up the other day too. Also the contents pages shows they have some treatment of accentuation which is nice to see.

Thx
D
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Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 941
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: The royal 'we' ?

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 3rd, 2019, 12:24 pm

Daniel Semler wrote:
May 3rd, 2019, 10:16 am
the impact of linguistics here is not so obvious ...
If you perform searches on the names of the authors you will discover papers and monographs floating in cyberspace which can be accessed at no charge. Generally speaking, the heavy duty theoretical stuff doesn't come packaged in reference grammars. It takes hundreds of pages just to explore some very minor issue in Ancient Greek text linguistics. The authors of this new grammar have been publishing for decades.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1561
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: The royal 'we' ?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 3rd, 2019, 1:09 pm

Smyth wrote:1008. Plural of Modesty.—A speaker in referring to himself may use the first person plural as a modest form of statement. In prose, of an author: ἔννοιά ποθʼ ἡμῖν ἐγένετο the reflection once occurred to me X. C. 1. 1. 1. In tragedy, often with interchange of plural and singular: εἰ κωλῡόμεσθα μὴ μαθεῖν ἃ βούλομαι if I (Creusa) am prevented from learning what I wish E. Ion 391, ἱκετεύομεν ἀμφὶ σᾱ̀ν γενειάδα … προσπίτνων I entreat thee, as I grasp thy beard E. H. F. 1206. See 1009.
Smyth, H. W. (1920). A Greek Grammar for Colleges (pp. 270–271). New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company.

I have heard a bit of buzz about this grammar, most of it positive. My copy arrives the 7th (it's the paperback edition). What I'm mainly looking forward to is the contribution of modern linguistics, which these authors are uniquely qualified to provide. It's not going to replace Smyth or Goodwin, but it will provide necessary updates, and simply seeing descriptions of various syntax in modern language is going to be helpful.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Bruce McKinnon
Posts: 26
Joined: October 21st, 2013, 3:49 pm

Re: The royal 'we' ?

Post by Bruce McKinnon » May 3rd, 2019, 3:47 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
May 3rd, 2019, 1:09 pm

I have heard a bit of buzz about this grammar, most of it positive. My copy arrives the 7th (it's the paperback edition). What I'm mainly looking forward to is the contribution of modern linguistics, which these authors are uniquely qualified to provide. It's not going to replace Smyth or Goodwin, but it will provide necessary updates, and simply seeing descriptions of various syntax in modern language is going to be helpful.
And my paperback copy should arrive in a week or so. I considered the Kindle version but always find electronic reference books awkward to use. The new grammar will sit alongside my almost 50 year old copy of Goodwin and Gulick[sic?] (my electronic copy of Smyth lives elsewhere).
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Daniel Semler
Posts: 106
Joined: February 18th, 2019, 7:45 pm

Re: The royal 'we' ?

Post by Daniel Semler » May 3rd, 2019, 4:39 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
May 3rd, 2019, 12:24 pm
If you perform searches on the names of the authors you will discover papers and monographs floating in cyberspace which can be accessed at no charge. Generally speaking, the heavy duty theoretical stuff doesn't come packaged in reference grammars. It takes hundreds of pages just to explore some very minor issue in Ancient Greek text linguistics. The authors of this new grammar have been publishing for decades.
True enough. The trade off of course is time. I read a bunch of papers - lately on subject-verb number agreement. But you can also end up bogged down in unresolved debates - not utterly useless perhaps, but time consuming nonetheless. Anyhow, I'll do some searches on these authors and see what turns up. Of course, my linguistics background could, only generously, be described as weak.
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Daniel Semler
Posts: 106
Joined: February 18th, 2019, 7:45 pm

Re: The royal 'we' ?

Post by Daniel Semler » May 3rd, 2019, 4:46 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
May 3rd, 2019, 1:09 pm
Smyth wrote:1008. Plural of Modesty.—A speaker in referring to himself may use the first person plural as a modest form of statement. In prose, of an author: ἔννοιά ποθʼ ἡμῖν ἐγένετο the reflection once occurred to me X. C. 1. 1. 1. In tragedy, often with interchange of plural and singular: εἰ κωλῡόμεσθα μὴ μαθεῖν ἃ βούλομαι if I (Creusa) am prevented from learning what I wish E. Ion 391, ἱκετεύομεν ἀμφὶ σᾱ̀ν γενειάδα … προσπίτνων I entreat thee, as I grasp thy beard E. H. F. 1206. See 1009.
Smyth, H. W. (1920). A Greek Grammar for Colleges (pp. 270–271). New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company.
Thanx for the Smyth ref. I should have looked that up. Hate it when that happens. Oh well. "Insufficient homework Semler !". "Plural of Modesty" though is interesting. Comes off in English sounding pretentious, which is perhaps why it's translated to singular. Anyhow thanx for that. I really need to get a copy of Smyth. I just use a PDF that's lying around the web - well ... when I remember to refer to it.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
May 3rd, 2019, 1:09 pm
and simply seeing descriptions of various syntax in modern language is going to be helpful.
I'd be interested in how well you think they achieve that, given what they say in the introduction.

I've not laid out the money for it yet but I'm increasingly inclined to.

Thx
D
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Daniel Semler
Posts: 106
Joined: February 18th, 2019, 7:45 pm

Re: The royal 'we' ?

Post by Daniel Semler » May 3rd, 2019, 4:50 pm

Bruce McKinnon wrote:
May 3rd, 2019, 3:47 pm
I considered the Kindle version but always find electronic reference books awkward to use.
I'm slowly trying to learn to use electronic versions of stuff but I prefer a book still, particularly for the long read. The main concern I had particularly with a book like this - mix of languages and diacritics - was whether the formatting in the Kindle edition was ok. Seems so so far.

Thx
D
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