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ἐλάμβανε τὴν συντέλειαν in Plutarch's Lives, Pericles, Chapter 13, Section 1

Posted: February 18th, 2018, 9:05 am
by Bernd Strauss
Plutarch, Lives, Pericles, chapter 13, section 1 states: ἀναβαινόντων δὲ τῶν ἔργων ὑπερηφάνων μὲν μεγέθει, μορφῇ δ᾽ ἀμιμήτων καὶ χάριτι, τῶν δημιουργῶν ἁμιλλωμένων ὑπερβάλλεσθαι τὴν δημιουργίαν τῇ καλλιτεχνίᾳ, μάλιστα θαυμάσιον ἦν τὸ τάχος. ὧν γὰρ ἕκαστον ᾤοντο πολλαῖς διαδοχαῖς καὶ ἡλικίαις μόλις ἐπὶ τέλος ἀφίξεσθαι, ταῦτα πάντα μιᾶς ἀκμῇ πολιτείας ἐλάμβανε τὴν συντέλειαν.

Loeb Classical Library, Bernadotte Perrin’s translation: "So then the works arose, no less towering in their grandeur than inimitable in the grace of their outlines, since the workmen eagerly strove to surpass themselves in the beauty of their handicraft. And yet the most wonderful thing about them was the speed with which they rose. Each one of them, men thought, would require many successive generations to complete it, but all of them were fully completed in the heyday of a single administration."

Is the word ἐλάμβανε a form in the past tense, or is it an infinitive? I need to know the literal meaning of the phrase ἐλάμβανε τὴν συντέλειαν. Is it correct to say that its literal meaning is "reached the end" (in the past tense)?

Re: ἐλάμβανε τὴν συντέλειαν in Plutarch's Lives, Pericles, Chapter 13, Section 1

Posted: February 18th, 2018, 9:26 am
by EricSowell
ἐλάμβανε is the imperfect active indicative 3rd singular form, not an infinitive. And yes, past tense. As for the meaning and a "literal" rendering, the translation you supplied seems like a good one and "completion" rather than "end" seems best.

Re: ἐλάμβανε τὴν συντέλειαν in Plutarch's Lives, Pericles, Chapter 13, Section 1

Posted: February 19th, 2018, 1:35 pm
by Bernd Strauss
Thank you. Can you also explain what is the tense of the form ἀφίξεσθαι?

Re: ἐλάμβανε τὴν συντέλειαν in Plutarch's Lives, Pericles, Chapter 13, Section 1

Posted: February 20th, 2018, 3:26 pm
by Barry Hofstetter
Bernd Strauss wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 1:35 pm
Thank you. Can you also explain what is the tense of the form ἀφίξεσθαι?
Aorist middle infinitive, but remember that for infinitives it's aspect, not tense per se.