Post-Atticism - Ο Ερωτόκριτος του Βιντσέντζου Κορνάρου

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

Post-Atticism - Ο Ερωτόκριτος του Βιντσέντζου Κορνάρου

Post by Stephen Hughes » June 27th, 2014, 9:51 pm

This is really an out of place thread on a Biblical Greek forum, but among a choir of two thousand one hundred and fifty-four other voices such a small croak shouldn't affect the overal quality, focus or direction, or as one post that will soon be swamped and lost in the midst of the fifteen thousand three hundred and fifteen others it will soon be lost in the unending line of billows. 8-) That being said and all...

If you are a beginner reading this, I'd advise that you just walk on by, and especially don't try to learn the words and forms.
Jordan Day in the [url=http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=2549]Homeric, Classical, Koine...whats the REAL difference?[/url] thread wrote:What about Modern Greek? What time period did the radical shift take place that made it a "different language"?
People talk about Atticism as if it were a terminus ad quem for the Greek language, but actually there is more. The written records of Greek began to "emerge" from Atticism after more than a thousand years. Modern Standard Greek, the so called Δημοτική is the standardised form we see currently. But what about earlier evidence?

Here is a piece of Greek from the early seventeenth century. Ο Ερωτόκριτος του Βιντσέντζου Κορνάρου. It is said to be the earliest piece of early modern Greek that has not been overlaid with the redaction of Atticism. It was composed by a hellenised Venetian in the Kingdom of Candia (Crete). It is a metrically composed love story set in the kingdom (sic.) of ancient Athens.

I had the privilage to read selections from this work in an undergraduate Modern Greek (advanced stream - Why was I in that?) seminar class with the Cretan music and drama specialist Dr (now visiting professor / fellow at 4 universities) Alfred Vincent 20 years ago, a short time before his retirement. :) The poor quality of my work here is no true reflection of his scholarship.

What I don't have now is a way to check my handling of this text against the work of another. I have used the exhaustive Κρητικό Λεξικό, but was unable to access Byzantina Australiensia vol. 14 (Melbourne 2004) or even Erotokritos by Theodore Stephanides (Athens 1984). :(

The poem is over 10,000 lines long (5,000+ rhyming couplets) and this is short piece is called; Το παράπονο της Αρετούσας, το τραγούδι της Αρετούσας more classically Ο θρήνος της Αρετούσας. Even a brief glance will show you what is familiar and what is not in the language. If anyone actually wants to attempt this, there are some notes, aids and a rendering into something like Koine below each section of the text.

Part I - Aretousa describes her love
Τα λόγια σου Ρωτόκριτε, φαρμάκιν εβαστούσα
κι ουδ' όλπιζα κι ανίμενα τ' αυτιά μου ό,τι σ' ακούσα.
Και πώς μπορώ να σ' αρνηθώ κι α θέλω δε μ' αφήνει
τούτη η καρδιά που εσύ 'βαλες σ' τς' αγάπης το καμίνι.

This is written here in monotonic accentuation system, you will probably have to guess what the accents "should" be.
σου - as in Koine Greek, the second person pronoun agrees with the vocative case (by logic, not grammar)
Ρωτόκριτε - Ερωτόκριτε - the inital short vowel - epsilon - was lost in the early Byzantine period (including the syllabic augment)
φαρμάκιν - the Classical form is φάρμακον "medicine", "potion", "poison", Koine is φαρμάκιον "potion", "poison", 17th century Crete it is this φαρμάκιν, and the Modern is φαρμάκι - "poison".
εβαστούσα - εβαστούσανε - they were carrying - this agrees with Τα λόγια σου "your words" - The loss of the final nu is more common at the end of lines.
κι - και -"and"
όλπιζα - ήλπιζαν - "were hoping"
ανίμενα - ανήμεναν - The usual word in Modern Greek is περίμεναν "were waiting for" cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 καὶ ἀναμένειν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν, ὃν ἤγειρεν ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, Ἰησοῦν, τὸν ῥυόμενον ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῆς ὀργῆς τῆς ἐρχομένης. The sense seems to be to wait for somebody that you expect to come soon. The usual word in Modern Greek is περιμένω.
αυτιά - ears (alternatively it is written αφτιά)
ακούσα - perhaps this is an aorist infinitive (that's how I've taken it even though that is not part of Standard Modern Greek)
μπορώ - the initial epsilon is lost - this is the usual word for "be able to" in Modern Greek.
να - ἵνα - the initial iota is lost - for the infinitive
κι α - και αν - if - introduces a concessive sentence "and in the case which"
αφήνει - αφήνειν "to leave"
θέλω δε μ” αφήνει - θέλω οὐδεν μ” αφήνειν "I want (my heart) to not leave me".
δε(ν) is one of the negatives in Modern Greek. It is derived from οὐδέν
τούτη η καρδιά - demonstrative
που - indeclinable relatve
σ” τς” αγάπης το καμίνι - εἰς τῆς αγάπης το καμίνιον
καμίνι - furnace - NT κάμινος, ἡ

My translation and rendering into something like Koine of Part I
Τα λόγια σου Ρωτόκριτε, φαρμάκιν εβαστούσα
Τὰ λόγια σου Ἐρωτόκριτε, φαρμάκον ἐβάστασαν
Your words have brought poison, O Erotocritus,
κι ουδ' όλπιζα κι ανίμενα τ' αυτιά μου ό,τι σ' ακούσα.
καὶ οὐδ' ἠλπιζαν καὶ (/ οὐδ') ἀνέμεναν τὰ ὤτα μου ὅ,τι σου ἀκοῦσαι.
And my ears were neither hoping nor (and) waiting to hear something from you
Και πώς μπορώ να σ' αρνηθώ κι α θέλω δε μ' αφήνει
Καὶ πῶς δύναμαι ἀρνεῖσθαι σε ἐὰν οὐ ἀφήσει (<ἀφίημι) με
τούτη η καρδιά που εσύ 'βαλες σ' τς' αγάπης το καμίνι.
αὕτη ἡ καρδία ἣν ἐσύ ἔβαλες εἰς τὴν τῆς ἀγάπης κάμινον.
And how am I able to deny (forget?) you, if the heart which you have put into the furnace of love will not leave me.

Part II - Her oath
Κι αμνόγω σου στον ουρανό, στον ήλιο, στο φεγγάρι,
άλλος ογιά γυναίκα του ποτέ να μη με πάρει.

αμνόγω =ομνύω
φεγγάρι - moon (the bright shinning one)
(ο)γιά = διά - for
να = ἵνα
πάρει - get

My translation and rendering into something like Koine of Part II
Κι αμνόγω σου στον ουρανό, στον ήλιο, στο φεγγάρι,
Καὶ ὀμνύω σοι ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ἐν τῷ ἥλίω, ἐν τῇ σηλήνῃ,
And I swear to you by the sky, by the sun, by the moon
άλλος ογιά γυναίκα του ποτέ να μη με πάρει.
ἄλλος ὡς γυναίκα αὐτοῦ ποτέ μη ἀπαίρῃ με.
Somebody as his wife never to not take me.

Part III - She gives a ring of hers as a token of her love
Και βγάνει από το δαχτύλι της όμορφο δακτυλίδι,
με δάκρυα κι αναστεναγμούς του Ρώκριτου το δίδει.
Λέει του: "Να και βάλε το εις το δεξό σου χέρι,
σημάδι πως ώστε να ζω είσαι δικό μου ταίρι
και μην το βγάλεις από κει ώστε να ζεις και να 'σαι,
φόριετο κι όποια στο 'δωκε κάμε να της θυμάσαι.

βγάνει - take
δαχτύλι -δαχτύλιον finger, the diminutive takes over
όμορφο - well-formed, beautiful
δακτυλίδιον ring, the diminutive of the diminutive takes over,
αναστεναγμούς - repeated ...
του Ρώκριτου το δίδει - genitive for dative + verb to be
Λέει του - intervocalic gamma (/j/) is lost, genitive for dative. The short vowel and then the "f" has been lost from the demonstrative pronoun
«Να και βάλε το εις το δεξό σου χέρι, - the imperative in ἵνα has become the norm. It is used a few times in the New Testament.
σημάδι πως ώστε να ζω - so many particles together! collapse them into one meaning.
δικό μου my very own
ταίρι - the initial short vowel and the number-case ending have all been lost
μην not
βγάλω - take off
κει - here
φόριε - imperative
όποια - declinable relative
στο - εἰς τὸ
της - αὐτης genitive for dative
θυμάσαι - remember

My translation and rendering into something like Koine of Part III
Και βγάνει από το δαχτύλι της όμορφο δακτυλίδι,
Καὶ ἐξέβαλεν ἀπὸ τοῦ δαχτύλου αὐτῆς εὔμορφον δαχτύλιον,
And taking from her finger a beautiful ring
με δάκρυα κι αναστεναγμούς του Ρώκριτου το δίδει.
μετὰ δάκρύων καὶ ἀναστεναγμῶν τῷ Ἐρωκρίτῳ διδοῖ αὐτό.
with tears and repeated groanings to Erotocritus it she gives
Λέει του: "Να και βάλε το εις το δεξό σου χέρι,
λέγει αὐτῷ, λάβε καὶ βάλε αὐτὸ εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν χείραν σου,
She says to him, "Take and place it on your right hand,
σημάδι πως ώστε να ζω είσαι δικό μου ταίρι
σημεῖον πῶς ὥστε ζήσω ἔσῃ ἰδικὸν ἑταῖρον μου
as a symbol that as long I live, you are my very own companion
και μην το βγάλεις από κει ώστε να ζεις και να 'σαι,
καὶ μὴ ἀπόβαλε αὐτὸ ἐντεῦθεν ὥστε ζῆς καὶ ἦς
and don't it take off from here as long as you should live and be
φόριε το κι όποια στο 'δωκε κάμε να της θυμάσαι.
φόρει αὐτὸ καὶ ὁποία ἐδωκε σοι αὐτὸ ἐνθύμου αὐτῆς
Wear it and what sort of woman gave it to you, remember her

Part IV - Her self-imprecation
Καλλιά θανάτους εκατό την ώρα θέλω πάρει,
παρά άλλος μόν' ο Ρώκριτος γυναίκα να με πάρει".

Καλλιά - look at the iota!!!
την ώρα - the final nu is lost
θέλω πάρει - synthetic future
παρά - despite, besides (adv.)
μόν” - μόνον
γυναίκα - as a wife

My translation and rendering into something like Koine of Part IV
Καλλιά θανάτους εκατό την ώρα θέλω πάρει,
καλλίον θανάτους ἐκατόν τὴν ὥραν ἀπαρῶ,
It would be better if I received a thousand deaths every hour
μᾶλλον ἢ ἄλλος. μόνον ὁ Ἐρώκριτος γυναίκα ἀπάρῃ με".
Rather than somebody other than Erotocritus take me as his wife

It was written to be sung, and if you would like to experience that, or follow it if you worked through, then that is possible too. The type of music is called a Mantinada from the Venetan for "morning song".



Postscript: The entire text in Greek is available. The guitar chords are available too if somebody wants that fancy tickled.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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