Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Discussion of Greek texts that do not fall into the other categories, including texts in other dialects or texts from other periods.
Forum rules
This is not a beginner's forum, competence in Greek is assumed.
Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 400
Joined: May 20th, 2014, 10:13 am
Location: west coast of Canada

Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » June 19th, 2015, 12:57 pm

Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες
  • C1-T Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες.
    C1-1 Χειμῶνος ὥρᾳ τὸν σῖτον βραχέντα οἱ μύρμηκες ἔψυχον.
    C1-2 Τέττιξ δὲ λιμώττων ᾔτει αὐτοὺς τροφήν.
    C1-3 Οἱ δὲ μύρμηκες εἶπον αὐτῷ· Διὰ τί τὸ θέρος οὐ συνῆγες καὶ σὺ τροφήν;
    C1-4 Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Οὐκ ἐσχόλαζον, ἀλλ' ᾖδον μουσικῶς.
    C1-5 Οἱ δὲ γελάσαντες εἶπον· Ἀλλ' εἰ θέρους ὥραις ηὔλεις, χειμῶνος ὀρχοῦ.
    C1-M Ὁ μῦθος δηλοῖ ὅτι οὐ δεῖ τινα ἀμελεῖν ἐν παντὶ πράγματι, ἵνα μὴ λυπηθῇ καὶ κινδυνεύσῃ.
So here is a very different fable, and a ‘moral’ which is bound to raise the eyebrow of every artist – at least every modern artist. I could sympathize with the fox, and even identify with him, but these μύρμηκες strike me as nasty little beggars! Plebeian hoarders with no appreciation for the arts and a mean-spirited attitude to those whose contribution is to bring a little joy and insight into the life of the common worker!

The only song οἱ μύρμηκες would hear, it seems, would go something like:
Robert Frost wrote:No memory of having starred
Atones for later disregard
Or keeps the end from being hard.

Better to go down dignified
With boughten friendship at your side
Than none at all. Provide, provide!
I think βραχέντα has to be modifying σῖτον here – they were ‘drying out the wet wheat’. However, the participle is not in the attributive position and the cases don't match. I'm assuming βραχέντα is - Participle / neuter / nom or accusative / plural / aorist / passive - from βρέχω. What else could βραχέντα be?
γράφω μαθεῖν

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1169
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 20th, 2015, 7:21 am

βραχέντα is the aorist passive participle from βρέχω, and is in fact accusative masculine singular modifying σίτον. The form happens to be identical to the nom/acc neuter plural forms. The participle works fine as a predicate here -- "the grain, while it was wet..." but I think here it's the practical equivalent of the adjective.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 400
Joined: May 20th, 2014, 10:13 am
Location: west coast of Canada

Re: Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » June 20th, 2015, 9:47 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:βραχέντα is the aorist passive participle from βρέχω, and is in fact accusative masculine singular modifying σίτον. The form happens to be identical to the nom/acc neuter plural forms. The participle works fine as a predicate here -- "the grain, while it was wet..." but I think here it's the practical equivalent of the adjective.
Yes, of course – 3rd declension masculine singular accusative. Thank you. I was looking at a parallel version (from: TLG - AESOPUS et AESOPICA, Fabulae. {0096.002} #114, ver. 3) which has “χειμῶνος ὥρᾳ τῶν σίτων βραχέντων οἱ μύρμηκες ἔψυχον”, and was thinking plural.
γράφω μαθεῖν

Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 400
Joined: May 20th, 2014, 10:13 am
Location: west coast of Canada

Re: Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » June 22nd, 2015, 12:27 am

Bugs and foxes and mice don’t talk - at least not in human languages; nor do they reason through the dilemmas of life in order to draw moral or ethical or even amusing lessons from their experiences. Or rather, they don’t do this in the real world. They do, in fact, perform such wonders in fables though, and in Walt Disney. Fabulists are sort of the Walt Disney of the ancient world.

To the bugs and animals and birds of fables, human beings ascribe their own foibles, and experiences and observations and ethics and logic – anthropomorphism.

With all this in mind, I was so interested to read all five versions of “τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες” which Louis gathered together, and then compare them to a modern version – by no less than Disney itself. All five versions of the ancient fable have a very harsh judgment for the cricket who spent the summer singing instead of working. Four of the five versions have οἱ μύρμηκες laughing mockingly at the famished and begging τέττιξ. Four of the five also have the well fed and well stocked ants calling out to the starving cricket, while hiding their food more securely, “You sang all summer, now dance all winter!”

As I said, I find all of this ancient world “moralizing” so interesting against the Disney take, which sees the ants – though hard working and diligent like their ancient ancestors – rescuing the poor starving cricket, and giving him shelter and care right in their own winter digs! Fiction - ancient and modern!
γράφω μαθεῖν

Andrew Chapman
Posts: 258
Joined: February 5th, 2013, 5:04 am
Location: Oxford, England
Contact:

Re: Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Post by Andrew Chapman » June 22nd, 2015, 5:42 am

Thank you, Thomas, for posting this, and thank you to Barry for help with βραχέντα. I am with the ants: 2 Thessalonians 3.10. Andrew

Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 400
Joined: May 20th, 2014, 10:13 am
Location: west coast of Canada

Re: Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » June 22nd, 2015, 12:32 pm

Andrew Chapman wrote:Thank you, Thomas, for posting this, and thank you to Barry for help with βραχέντα. I am with the ants: 2 Thessalonians 3.10. Andrew
For at least 4 of the five versions of τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες I would characterize the 'moral' as follows:

Ὁ μῦθος δηλοῖ ὅτι δεῖ πρὸ τῶν αὐλοῦντων καὶ πρὸ τῶν ᾀδόντων λαβεῖν τὸν μισθόν σοῦ. Ὁ Τέττιξ πράξας ἄνευ ἀργυρίου, λιμώττων χάριν οὐ εὗρεν εἰς εὔκαιρον βοήθειαν.
γράφω μαθεῖν

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1169
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 22nd, 2015, 5:06 pm

An interesting feature of the ancient fables is that the animals not only talk, but also often behave in ways that have nothing to do with their real life instincts and habits. For instance, why would a donkey and a sheep hunt prey with a lion? But that's not the point...
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 400
Joined: May 20th, 2014, 10:13 am
Location: west coast of Canada

Re: Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » June 22nd, 2015, 9:36 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:An interesting feature of the ancient fables is that the animals not only talk, but also often behave in ways that have nothing to do with their real life instincts and habits. For instance, why would a donkey and a sheep hunt prey with a lion? But that's not the point...
I used to work with a group of scientists who were appalled at the effect of the image of creation that was conveyed by Disney in its many (pseudo) nature films. They contended that the effect was to create a far-reaching false paradigm of creation by ammassing fiction after fiction which confused the true picture of both creation and Creator. I thought their position a bit narrow and churlish at the time, but have since come to see their point.

Creation has an awesome and true story which it “pours forth day after day”, but it is not about ants which mockingly refuse sustenance to starving crickets. Crickets which sing in the summer are not required to give an explanation to ants which gather in the summer. Instead, both διηγοῦνται δόξαν θεοῦ in the display of their appointed harmonies. I can understand ‘sly’ foxes, and ‘industrius’ ants, and ‘strong’ bulls, but have become a bit suspicious of ‘morals’ packaged in false paradigms.

The effect of this confusion on me when I read τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες in Greek is not that one should work diligently, but that if I judge my neighbour’s work of less value than my work, then I am free to mock him and extend to him no grace in time of need. Quite an ugly picture, really, but then the Disney version is even worse in my opinion. Dissociated moralizing and confusion.
γράφω μαθεῖν

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1169
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 23rd, 2015, 8:48 am

Well, you are bringing your own framework and presuppositions to the text, now aren't you? :roll:

Most scholars also are pretty well agreed that the morals are a later addition to most of the fables, so what you have are various ancient editors? redactors? who bring their interpretative framework to the text.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 400
Joined: May 20th, 2014, 10:13 am
Location: west coast of Canada

Re: Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες (ἤ μύρμηξ)

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » June 23rd, 2015, 11:51 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Well, you are bringing your own framework and presuppositions to the text, now aren't you?
Yes. Always.
γράφω μαθεῖν

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest