Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

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Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

Post by Andrew Chapman » June 12th, 2015, 7:15 am

Some interest has been expressed in reading Aesop's Fables, and I personally find them to be at a suitable level (ie not too hard). It's also been pointed out that Louis Sorenson has some excellent helps for a selection of them and that it might be a good idea to start with one or two of those. So here is the first one on his site (http://www.letsreadgreek.com/Aesop/Perry15.htm) in Chambry's edition, version 1:

C1-1 Ἀλώπηξ λιμώττουσα, ὡς ἐθεάσατο ἀπό τινος ἀναδενδράδος βότρυας κρεμαμένους, ἠβουλήθη αὐτῶν περιγενέσθαι καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο.

C1-2 Ἀπαλλαττομένη δὲ πρὸς ἑαυτὴν εἶπεν· Ὄμφακές εἰσιν.

C1-3 Οὕτω καὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἔνιοι τῶν πραγμάτων ἐφικέσθαι μὴ δυνάμενοι δι' ἀσθένειαν τοὺς καιροὺς αἰτιῶνται.

Louis asks how we are to understand τοὺς καιροὺς. If it is something like 'the circumstances' (but is this within the word's semantic range?), then the moral hardly fits the story.

Andrew
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Re: Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

Post by cwconrad » June 12th, 2015, 7:37 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:Some interest has been expressed in reading Aesop's Fables, and I personally find them to be at a suitable level (ie not too hard). It's also been pointed out that Louis Sorenson has some excellent helps for a selection of them and that it might be a good idea to start with one or two of those. So here is the first one on his site (http://www.letsreadgreek.com/Aesop/Perry15.htm) in Chambry's edition, version 1:

C1-1 Ἀλώπηξ λιμώττουσα, ὡς ἐθεάσατο ἀπό τινος ἀναδενδράδος βότρυας κρεμαμένους, ἠβουλήθη αὐτῶν περιγενέσθαι καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο.

C1-2 Ἀπαλλαττομένη δὲ πρὸς ἑαυτὴν εἶπεν· Ὄμφακές εἰσιν.

C1-3 Οὕτω καὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἔνιοι τῶν πραγμάτων ἐφικέσθαι μὴ δυνάμενοι δι' ἀσθένειαν τοὺς καιροὺς αἰτιῶνται.

Louis asks how we are to understand τοὺς καιροὺς. If it is something like 'the circumstances' (but is this within the word's semantic range?), then the moral hardly fits the story.

Andrew
Cf. Mk 11:13 καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔχουσαν φύλλα ἦλθεν, εἰ ἄρα τι εὑρήσει ἐν αὐτῇ, καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐπ᾿ αὐτὴν οὐδὲν εὗρεν εἰ μὴ φύλλα· ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς οὐκ ἦν σύκων. It was too early in the season for edible figs; similarly, if you can't get to the grapes, you can always claim they were sour, they weren't ripe (or "'twas not the season to be jolly."
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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Re: Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

Post by Andrew Chapman » June 12th, 2015, 1:26 pm

Thanks, Carl. I can see that for figs or grapes, but find it a little harder for πράγματα. Is there still a time element - 'I failed in my endeavour, because it wasn't the right moment for it' - which I suppose is quite near to 'I failed, because the circumstances weren't propitious'.

Actually, I don't really see the fox as blaming anything, or making excuses for his failure. Why should he - the grapes were sour, after all..

Andrew
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Re: Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

Post by cwconrad » June 12th, 2015, 1:54 pm

Andrew Chapman wrote:Thanks, Carl. I can see that for figs or grapes, but find it a little harder for πράγματα. Is there still a time element - 'I failed in my endeavour, because it wasn't the right moment for it' - which I suppose is quite near to 'I failed, because the circumstances weren't propitious'.

Actually, I don't really see the fox as blaming anything, or making excuses for his failure. Why should he - the grapes were sour, after all..

Andrew
No, the grapes were not sour. But since he could not reach them, he said that it didn't matter because (he said) they were sour. As for the πράγματα, that is a word of much more far-reaching semantic range, much like the Latin res. Here I would assume that it means "success in business." If a man fails to make a deal in business, he says that the timing was bad for it; it wasn't his own fault.
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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)

Andrew Chapman
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Re: Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

Post by Andrew Chapman » June 12th, 2015, 2:18 pm

I had in mind a more radical way of reconciling himself to the situation - he did say it πρὸς ἑαυτὴν, after all. I rather liked the section on cognitive dissonance in this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fox_a ... dissonance

Andrew
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Re: Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » June 12th, 2015, 2:26 pm

Andrew wrote:Louis asks how we are to understand τοὺς καιροὺς. If it is something like 'the circumstances' (but is this within the word's semantic range?), then the moral hardly fits the story.
For me, τοὺς καιροὺς fits this line perfectly. As with its English counterpart, I understand καιρός to be used in many different contexts such as Matt 16:3.

My attempt to describe the last line is: Αὕτη ἡ παραβολή διηγεῖται τινα ἔχων ἐπιθυμίαν μεγάλην ἔχειν τινα, ἀλλὰ μὴ δυνάμενος τὰ θέλοντα αὐτοῦ ἐπιτυχεῖν· διὰ τοῦτο πρόφασιν ποιεῖ περὶ τῶν καιρῶν·
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Re: Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

Post by Louis L Sorenson » June 12th, 2015, 11:14 pm

Here are some answers from Paul Fonck, who knew/knows Greek well. These answers were submitted in the original 2007 reading group.


Q1 Just hungry. I find that λιμώττουσα sounds better than πεινῶσα (the more
common word) in literature, though in everyday life I'd say λιμώττω for I'm
starving or ravenous. I don't think the fox was really starving/famished, or
she'd have been carefully inspecting the ground for any kind of sustenance,
mice, grasshoppers et al.
To my ears ἡ πεῖνα (or ἡ πείνη), τῆς πείνης sounds more like plain "hunger"
whereas ὁ λιμός sounds more like "famine"

Q2 "The circumstances" "Now's not the right/proper time".

Q3 Attic Greek uses ττ when other kinds of Greek would use σσ: ἡ θάλαττα, ἡ
μέλιττα, πράττω, φυλάττω.....

Q4(1) πέπειρος,πέπειρον: πέπειρος βοτρύς, πέπειρος ἐλαία

Q4(2) Used as a pronoun: And when the fox saw them so nice and full, nice
thick bunches of juicy big grapes....
It's the accusative of the construction: οἱ δέ "and they". In English we
wouldn't say: And them when she saw full...., but in Greek we can.

Q5 παρωρείῃ, dative
ποικίλη adjective, nominative, feminine singular adjective (attribute of
κερδώ),
ἁκμαίη, adjective, nominative, feminine noun qualifying, like πέπειρος the
πορφυρᾶ ὥρα (purple produce/fruit) in the preceding line and itself
qualified by εἰς τρυγητόν

Q6 ἡ ποικίλη κερδώ a little like ὁ πολύμητις Ὀδυσσεύς of many wiles,
many-faceted

Q7 Practically all verbs denoting "possession, acquisition" take the
genitive case.

Q8 I first went for "season", the purple season when the whole vineyard is
covered by deep-red/purple bunches of grapes. And leaves are mostly parched
purple too by the relentless summer sun. Which led to my first
interpretation of the next line (cf my answer to Q14). I finally changed my
mind and translate ὥρα as "fruit/produce" (of the season), then Q5 and Q14
became much, much easier and more logical.

Q9 I don't really know how I could find out.
As for Iliad 21. 269/270 (which you indicate), do you mean the following
correspondance as far as grammar construction (not word-order) is concerned:
ὃ δ' - ὑψόσε ποσσὶν ἐπήδα - θυμῷ - ἀνιάζων
κερδὼ μὲν - ποσσὶν ὡρμήθη - πορφυρῆς θιγεῖν ὥρης - πηδῶσα

Q10 ἡ κερδώ, τῆς κερδοῦς [κερδοος] 3rd declension, -οι stem nouns. All
feminine, mostly names. One of the well-known ones being ἡ Κλωθώ, one of the
Fates, the one that spins the thread of our lives, decides when and where we
are born. As for standard paradigm, I wouldn't know, since every grammar
I've come across uses a different word: ἡ ἠχώ (echo), ἡ Καλυψώ, ἡ φειδώ (act
of sparing), ἡ πειθώ (Smyth, persuasion).

Q11 ὁ τρυγητός, vintage, harvest. The verb τρυγάω means "to gather in,
harvest", ἡ τρύξ, τῆς τρυγός is new wine, not yet fermented. Since contract
verbs in -α lengthen this stem α into η, to be gathered/harvested will be
τρυγητός and not τρυγατός, so the stem is τρυγά-.

Q12 "Fox", otherwise we don't know who is meant, unless we have a title or a
picture, which WE do have, but if we told the story to some child without
making clear who we're referring to they wouldn't know. They'd think we were
talking about one of their friends who was always out to make a profit at
the expense of someone else, stealing the grapes of the owner of a trelissed
vine in this case.

Q13 The only reference that springs to my mind is the black colour of the
sails of the ship taking Theseus to Crete to stop the Minotaur from feasting
on 7 youths and 7 maidens, yearly tribute paid by Athens to Minos, king of
Crete. If Theseus prevailed he was supposed to change the black sails for
white ones so that Aegeus, his father, should know his son was safe. But
Theseus forgot and Aegeus jumped of the cliffs into the sea that then took
his name: the Aegean.

Q14 I've come across the verb ἀκμάζω (mainly of flowers), the noun ἡ ἀκμή
(blossoming, climax) and the adjective ἀκμαῖος,ἀκμαία,ἀκμαῖον (cf. your
vocabulary). But nowhere have I found ἡ ἀκμαίη, which I took to mean: the
grapes were ripe and ready to be harvested (it was prime time for their
harvest). That did make sense, sort of. But I've since changed my mind and
rejected ἀκμαίη as being a noun, see Q5. So now I decide it is ἡ πορφυρᾶ
ὤρα πέπειρος καὶ εἰς τρυγητὸν ἀκμαία ῆν.

Q15 Yes, why not? It's an adverb explaining how she's wearing herself out,
to no avail, trying to get at that elusive food.

Q16 I know nothing about Greek versification, had Latin scansion rammed
down my throat all those years ago and thought the thumpety-thump was rather
off-putting. I prefer meaning to meter, so can't answer this.

Q17 κρεμάννυμι, as indicated in your word-list. I κρεμάννυμι my jacket over
my chair or from a hook, so my jacket κρέμαται there unless it falls off. In
modern Greek "bed" is called τό κρεβάτι but the β is pronounced like our v.
Maybe the modern Greeks' beds were hung up in the morning, out of the way.
Like we have folding beds, beds that retire inside the wall, under sofas
etc. etc.

Q18 I don't see anything wrong with the ponctuation.
Foxy REALLY would like to eat those tempting grapes BUT she can't reach them
because they are too high up. But there is also a contrast: While "she was
about to" eat them (she thought!), she "couldn't" eat them because they were
hanging too high up. Each time she thought she'd found a way to eat them,
she was thwarted, again and again.

Q19 According to the Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary it just means "to
smile", in this case I'd go for "mousy smirked"

Q20 Mousy said, ironically: "(All that jumping but to no avail.) You aren't
eating/gnawing anything, (as far as I can see)."
I would have preferred a question mark, mousy saying ironically: Oh my,
don't you get anything to gnaw at all then?

Q21 I think the word is spot on, the mouse IS thinking of gnawing juicy
little grapes.

Q22 I don't know. None of the dictionary entries make much sense here. But
then, I don't like this version anyway, it feels unpolished and the end
lesson this version of the fable is supposedly teaching doesn't seem to have
anything to do with the fox's reaction to failure.

Q23 Thus this fable scorns those who are evil and don't want to listen to
reason/sense. Which is not at all the meaning of this fable. The meaning,
according to me, is: If you can't do something, don't think up a stupid
excuse anybody (even a mouse) can see through.

Q24 Normal usage: put to shame, expose, scold, reprove. Depends what you
mean by caustic. All Aesop fables are rather caustic, exposing shortcomings
in a short, sharp and to the point way. This version is definitely not a
favourite of mine, caustic or not.

Q25 κερδώ, θιγεῖν (maybe), κρεβαττινά, εὐπόρω (maybe)

Q26 παρωρείῃ, ποσσὶν, πορφυρῆς, ὥρης, ἀκμαίη for
παρωρείᾳ, ποσίν, προφυρᾶς, ὥρας, ἀκμαία
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Re: Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » June 12th, 2015, 11:41 pm

Louis Sorenson wrote:Here are some answers from Paul Fonck, who knew/knows Greek well. These answers were submitted in the original 2007 reading group.
Thanks Louis - and thank you for all your work on this in 2007. Very nice setup and your questions with these answers really help to flesh it out.

Regarding, "τοὺς καιροὺς", I forgot to add that this expression sounds to me a little bit like Lucy in Peanuts who dropped the ball because "the grass was in my eyes".
cwconrad wrote:
Andrew Chapman wrote:Thanks, Carl. I can see that for figs or grapes, but find it a little harder for πράγματα. Is there still a time element - 'I failed in my endeavour, because it wasn't the right moment for it' - which I suppose is quite near to 'I failed, because the circumstances weren't propitious'.

Actually, I don't really see the fox as blaming anything, or making excuses for his failure. Why should he - the grapes were sour, after all..

Andrew
No, the grapes were not sour. But since he could not reach them, he said that it didn't matter because (he said) they were sour. As for the πράγματα, that is a word of much more far-reaching semantic range, much like the Latin res. Here I would assume that it means "success in business." If a man fails to make a deal in business, he says that the timing was bad for it; it wasn't his own fault.
Babrius has a phrase here which I find very nice - βουκολοῦσα τὴν λύπην· - 'beguiling (his) grief'. The crafty fox 'beguilded his disappointment'. Now that's the stuff of a well written fable.
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Re: Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

Post by cwconrad » June 13th, 2015, 8:23 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:Babrius has a phrase here which I find very nice - βουκολοῦσα τὴν λύπην· - 'beguiling (his) grief'. The crafty fox 'beguilded his disappointment'. Now that's the stuff of a well written fable.
Yes, it is a nice phrase. There's a bit of literary history here of the sort that I, for one, find interesting. While "we' moderns consider literary borrowing to be plagiarism, it was evidently an element of the ancient poetic tradition. One of the most celebrated literary "borrowings" was Catullus' reformulation in Latin -- in his own poem best known for its opening lines ille mi par esse deo videtur -- of Sappho's Greek "confessional exploration" of the psychic experience of lover's jealousy in her poem, φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἶσος θεοῖσιν. Babrius, the fabulist of the 2nd c. CE employs this phrase βουκολοῦσα τὴν λύπην in imitation of a celebrated poem of Theocritus, the original bucolic poet of the 4th c. BCE. .In his eleventh Idyll Theocritus curiously made fun of the mythic cyclops Polyphemus (the monster whose eye was poked out by Odysseus) and at the same time portrayed him as an object of pity. Theocritus describes the musing of an adolescent Polyphemus “shepherding his Liebesleid” for the mermaid Galatea. It’s a poem worth the read; the phrase in question is found in lines 80-81:
Theocritus, Idyll 11.80-81 wrote:Οὕτω τοι Πολύφαμος ἐποίμαινεν τὸν ἔρωτα
μουσίσδων, ῥᾷον δὲ διᾶγʼ ἢ ειʼ χρυσὸν ἔδωκεν.
loosely Englished: “And thus, you see, did Polyphemus shepherd his passion with song-and-verse, and he got past it more easily than if he had paid gold.” Vergil later produced his own literary emulation of Theocritus in Eclogue 2, where Corydon, the country-bumpkin, is hopelessly in love with a sleek boy from the nearby city.
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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)

Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 400
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Re: Ἀλώπηξ καὶ βότρυς (Aesop, Perry 15)

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » June 13th, 2015, 12:09 pm

cwconrad wrote:Babrius, the fabulist of the 2nd c. CE employs this phrase βουκολοῦσα τὴν λύπην in imitation of a celebrated poem of Theocritus, the original bucolic poet of the 4th c. BCE. .In his eleventh Idyll Theocritus curiously made fun of the mythic cyclops Polyphemus (the monster whose eye was poked out by Odysseus) and at the same time portrayed him as an object of pity. Theocritus describes the musing of an adolescent Polyphemus “shepherding his Liebesleid” for the mermaid Galatea. It’s a poem worth the read; the phrase in question is found in lines 80-81:
Interesting background. I suspect that, like novices reading ignorantly over many OT allusions in the NT, there are all sorts of allusions here which blow right over the head of the uninitiated (like me). Like the typical college freshmen who imagines that he has 'read' TS Eliot.

I find the last line of Chambry's v2 to be quite oblique, and the answers of Louis' co-readers are not very precise here:
Chambry 32 v2) - Line C2-4 wrote:Ὅτι τοὺς πονηροὺς καὶ μὴ βουλομένους πείθεσθαι τῷ λόγῳ ὁ μῦθος ἐλέγχει.
I would render this something like: "This fable (ὁ μῦθος) refutes (ἐλέγχει) the evil doers (τοὺς πονηροὺς) who do not wish to be persuaded (καὶ μὴ βουλομένους πείθεσθαι) by the obvious (τῷ λόγῳ)". This treats the "Ὅτι" simply as a marker for the explanation, and ignores the καὶ.
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