λέγω with infinitive (MPol 3.1)

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Andrew Chapman
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λέγω with infinitive (MPol 3.1)

Post by Andrew Chapman » July 29th, 2015, 6:47 am

Πολλὰ γὰρ ἐμηχανᾶτο κατ’ αὐτῶν ὁ διάβολος, ἀλλὰ χάρις τῷ θεῷ, κατὰ πάντων γὰρ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν. ὁ γὰρ γενναιότατος Γερμανικὸς ἐπερρώννυεν αὐτῶν τὴν δειλίαν διὰ τῆς ἐν αὐτῷ ὑπομονῆς, ὃς καὶ ἐπισήμως ἐθηριομάχησεν. βουλομένου γὰρ τοῦ ἀνθυπάτου πείθειν αὐτὸν καὶ λέγοντος τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ κατοικτεῖραι, ἑαυτῷ ἐπεσπάσατο τὸ θηρίον προσβιασάμενος, τάχιον τοῦ ἀδίκου καὶ ἀνόμου βίου αὐτῶν ἀπαλλαγῆναι βουλόμενος. [Martyrdom of Polycarp 3.1]

In the genitive absolute clause, βουλομένου γὰρ τοῦ ἀνθυπάτου πείθειν αὐτὸν καὶ λέγοντος τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ κατοικτεῖραι, I had read that the proconsul was wanting to persuade Germanicus (to swear and sacrifice, no doubt), and was saying that he (the proconsul) felt pity for (him because of) his (probably young) age. But I see that the translations take it as the proconsul telling Germanicus to have pity upon (himself for) his own age. I assume that they are right, and certainly in English the infinitive would be used with 'tell' and not with 'say', but it's still not obvious to me. In the first part of the clause, the proconsul is the subject of πείθειν, and perhaps I would have expected to see an αὐτόν as the object of λέγοντος and 'subject' of κατοικεῖραι if the subject had changed. LSJ does show λέγω used with the infinitive with the meaning 'say that' [III.2], although not necessarily in the way I was supposing here. So I would just like to ask if the way I had originally read it is possible, or not.

Andrew

Stephen Hughes
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Re: λέγω with infinitive (MPol 3.1)

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 2nd, 2015, 8:28 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:In the first part of the clause, the proconsul is the subject of πείθειν, and perhaps I would have expected to see an αὐτόν as the object of λέγοντος and 'subject' of κατοικεῖραι if the subject had changed.
In most cases, one of the characteristics of the genitive absolute is that the subject of the genitive absolute is different from the subject of the rest of the sentence. That is probably enough to allow the construction of the sentence without the αὐτόν you have mooted.
Andrew Chapman wrote:his (probably young) age
4 Maccabees 8:20 wrote:ἐλεήσωμεν τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἡλικίας καὶ κατοικτίρωμεν τὸ τῆς μητρὸς γῆρας
Perhaps the ἡλικία here is the "prime of life", compared to the τὸ ... γῆρας of the mother. The word that would express what you are supposing might be ἥβη "youth", "youthful vigour" or νεότης "youth", "youthful spirit". Those younger ages might be something that one grows up to be αὐξήσασα πρὸς ἥβην (Plato Menexenus 238b), while "prime of life" ἡλικία is something that was probably attained to ἀνήκειν, so it might be that the proconsul is appealing to the fact that he has attained to a status.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Andrew Chapman
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Re: λέγω with infinitive (MPol 3.1)

Post by Andrew Chapman » August 2nd, 2015, 9:52 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Andrew Chapman wrote:In the first part of the clause, the proconsul is the subject of πείθειν, and perhaps I would have expected to see an αὐτόν as the object of λέγοντος and 'subject' of κατοικεῖραι if the subject had changed.
In most cases, one of the characteristics of the genitive absolute is that the subject of the genitive absolute is different from the subject of the rest of the sentence. That is probably enough to allow the construction of the sentence without the αὐτόν you have mooted.
Surely, if the subject has changed to Germanicus, then this would now be the same subject as the rest of the sentence, since it is Germanicus who draws the beast upon himself. So it seems to me that this could be an argument for reading it the way I am suggesting as a possibility, with the proconsul as the subject of κατοικτεῖραι - so that the genitive absolute clause does not contain a subject (if admittedly only subject of an infinitive phrase/clause within the genitive absolute clause) the same as the main clause.
Stephen Hughes wrote:
Andrew Chapman wrote:his (probably young) age
4 Maccabees 8:20 wrote:ἐλεήσωμεν τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἡλικίας καὶ κατοικτίρωμεν τὸ τῆς μητρὸς γῆρας
Perhaps the ἡλικία here is the "prime of life", compared to the τὸ ... γῆρας of the mother. The word that would express what you are supposing might be ἥβη "youth", "youthful vigour" or νεότης "youth", "youthful spirit". Those younger ages might be something that one grows up to be αὐξήσασα πρὸς ἥβην (Plato Menexenus 238b), while "prime of life" ἡλικία is something that was probably attained to ἀνήκειν, so it might be that the proconsul is appealing to the fact that he has attained to a status.
BDAG says 'From the context, ἡλικία in the sense of 'age' can be more closely defined as youthfulness', giving this text as an example, along with 4 Maccabees 8:10, 20 and Ignatius to the Magnesians 3:1. But you may well be right.

Andrew

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: λέγω with infinitive (MPol 3.1)

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 3rd, 2015, 1:14 pm

Andrew Chapman wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
Andrew Chapman wrote:his (probably young) age
4 Maccabees 8:20 wrote:ἐλεήσωμεν τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἡλικίας καὶ κατοικτίρωμεν τὸ τῆς μητρὸς γῆρας
Perhaps the ἡλικία here is the "prime of life", compared to the τὸ ... γῆρας of the mother. The word that would express what you are supposing might be ἥβη "youth", "youthful vigour" or νεότης "youth", "youthful spirit". Those younger ages might be something that one grows up to be αὐξήσασα πρὸς ἥβην (Plato Menexenus 238b), while "prime of life" ἡλικία is something that was probably attained to ἀνήκειν, so it might be that the proconsul is appealing to the fact that he has attained to a status.
BDAG says 'From the context, ἡλικία in the sense of 'age' can be more closely defined as youthfulness', giving this text as an example, along with 4 Maccabees 8:10, 20 and Ignatius to the Magnesians 3:1. But you may well be right.
Highly unlikely.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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