Translation of the Words Καταστροφή, Συντέλεια, and Κατάλυσις

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Bernd Strauss
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Translation of the Words Καταστροφή, Συντέλεια, and Κατάλυσις

Post by Bernd Strauss » January 22nd, 2019, 7:39 am

Is the word καταστροφὴν rendered as “culminate” and the word συντέλειαν as “end” in the below text, or is it vice versa? Or is the word συντέλειαν rendered as “destruction”?

Polybius, Histories, book 3, chapter 1, sections 8-10: “Τὴν μὲν οὖν καθόλου τῆς ὑποθέσεως ἔμφασιν καὶ περιγραφὴν ἤδη δεδηλώκαμεν. [9] τῶν δὲ κατὰ μέρος ἐν αὐτῇ γεγονότων ἀρχὰς μὲν εἶναι συμβαίνει τοὺς προειρημένους πολέμους, καταστροφὴν δὲ καὶ συντέλειαν τὴν κατάλυσιν τῆς ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ βασιλείας, χρόνον δὲ τὸν μεταξὺ τῆς ἀρχῆς καὶ τοῦ τέλους ἔτη πεντήκοντα τρία, [10] περιέχεσθαι δ᾿ ἐν τούτῳ τηλικαύτας καὶ τοιαύτας πράξεις, ὅσας οὐδεὶς τῶν προγεγονότων καιρῶν ἐν ἴσῳ περιέλαβε διαστήματι.”

Loeb Classical Library, W. R. Paton and F. W. Walbank’s translation, volume 2, 2010 revision: “I have already indicated the general scope and limits of this history. The particular events comprised in it begin with the above-mentioned wars and culminate and end in the destruction of the Macedonian monarchy. Between the beginning and end lies a space of fifty-three years, comprising a greater number of grave and momentous events than any period of equal length in the past.”
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Translation of the Words Καταστροφή, Συντέλεια, and Κατάλυσις

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 22nd, 2019, 1:25 pm

In the interests of encouraging you actually to learn the language, I'm not going to answer your question directly, but I am going to note that the translator completely restructures the syntax into good English, and that obscures what's actually going on in the Greek. Note that your words of concern are actually nouns standing apposition to τοὺς προειρημένους πολέμους. The translator has rendered them as verbs -- why might that actually be a good idea here? Another clue for you is that his renderings are heavily influenced contextually-pragmatically, and you might not find an exact match in the lexicon for all of them.
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Bernd Strauss
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Re: Translation of the Words Καταστροφή, Συντέλεια, and Κατάλυσις

Post by Bernd Strauss » January 22nd, 2019, 4:02 pm

I am aware that the translator has rendered Greek nouns by English verbs. One possible reason is to make the English text more readable. Or the translator simply translated the text the way he wanted. A more literal rendering would be “The particular events comprised in it have their beginning in the above-mentioned wars, whereas their culmination and end lie/ consist in the destruction of the Macedonian monarchy.”

I need to link the three words grammatically to see which of them is rendered by what word in the translation. I guess that the translator rendered the three words in the same order in which they appear in the Greek text. (“The particular events comprised in it begin with the above-mentioned wars and culminate [καταστροφὴν] and end [συντέλειαν] in the destruction [κατάλυσιν] of the Macedonian monarchy.”)
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Translation of the Words Καταστροφή, Συντέλεια, and Κατάλυσις

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 22nd, 2019, 9:11 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 1:25 pm
... the translator completely restructures the syntax into good English, and that obscures what's actually going on in the Greek.
That's right. Something like this was called a "transformation" fifty years ago. The process was rooted in mid-20th century syntax theory.
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Bernd Strauss
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Re: Translation of the Words Καταστροφή, Συντέλεια, and Κατάλυσις

Post by Bernd Strauss » January 23rd, 2019, 7:18 am

Since the Greek text uses the phrase συντέλειαν τὴν κατάλυσιν (where the two words are linked by the article τὴν), this seems to indicate that the two words are rendered as “culminate and end” in the translation, which may mean that the translator changed the order of the renderings of the word καταστροφὴν and the phrase συντέλειαν τὴν κατάλυσιν. Therefore, is the following linking correct?

“The particular events comprised in it begin with the above-mentioned wars and culminate [συντέλειαν] and end [κατάλυσιν] in the destruction [καταστροφὴν] of the Macedonian monarchy.”

“Τῶν δὲ κατὰ μέρος ἐν αὐτῇ γεγονότων ἀρχὰς μὲν εἶναι συμβαίνει τοὺς προειρημένους πολέμους, καταστροφὴν δὲ καὶ συντέλειαν τὴν κατάλυσιν τῆς ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ βασιλείας.”
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Translation of the Words Καταστροφή, Συντέλεια, and Κατάλυσις

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 23rd, 2019, 1:05 pm

Bernd Strauss wrote:
January 23rd, 2019, 7:18 am
Since the Greek text uses the phrase συντέλειαν τὴν κατάλυσιν (where the two words are linked by the article τὴν), this seems to indicate that the two words are rendered as “culminate and end” in the translation, which may mean that the translator changed the order of the renderings of the word καταστροφὴν and the phrase συντέλειαν τὴν κατάλυσιν. Therefore, is the following linking correct?

“The particular events comprised in it begin with the above-mentioned wars and culminate [συντέλειαν] and end [κατάλυσιν] in the destruction [καταστροφὴν] of the Macedonian monarchy.”

“Τῶν δὲ κατὰ μέρος ἐν αὐτῇ γεγονότων ἀρχὰς μὲν εἶναι συμβαίνει τοὺς προειρημένους πολέμους, καταστροφὴν δὲ καὶ συντέλειαν τὴν κατάλυσιν τῆς ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ βασιλείας.”
Again, the translator is giving you the sense of the passage without necessarily tying himself slavishly to the original, so it's a bit hard to tell. For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure he is following the order of the Greek with those three words with which you are concerned. Remember that on B-Greek we work with the Greek, not translations, so you need to concentrate on understanding the Greek.
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Re: Translation of the Words Καταστροφή, Συντέλεια, and Κατάλυσις

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 23rd, 2019, 4:23 pm

Since this is a Loeb edition, one should be aware that the editorial guidelines for the translators are to make the translations as readable as possible, without regard to maintaining the syntactic structures of the original. The thinking is, those who care about what the Greek text is actually doing can just read the Greek on the facing page. The translations are meant to be read, not to be a guide for understanding the Greek.
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