Author Topic: τῶν γὰρ μετρίων πρῶτα μὲν εἰπεῖν τοὔνομα νικᾷ -> the first mention of the word "moderation" wins the game (Euripides, "Medea" 125f.)  (Read 998 times)


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Hey guys,

I've never studied ancient Greek but I read an English translation of Medea in high school. I remember my version gave the ancient Greek for 'the middle way' (aka 'the golden mean'): I think this is what is being discussed in line 125 of this version: For those who cant access the link here is the entire line:

τῶν γὰρ μετρίων πρῶτα μὲν εἰπεῖν

I think the first three words (bolded) mean 'the middle way'. Could someone confirm? Also it would be great if you could provide the literal meaning and the pronunciation.

Thank so much!
« Last Edit: 25 Jan, 2016, 04:36:30 by billberg23 »


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Tῶν μετρίων τοὔνομα means literally "the name of the measured/moderate things" — in other words, as you say, "the middle way," "the mean," "moderation."  The "mean" was first (according to ancient tradition) touted by one of the Seven Sages, the tyrant Cleobulus of Rhodian Lindos, back in the sixth century B.C.:  Μέτρον ἄριστον, said he — "The measure (mean) is best."  The sentiment was seconded on the temple of Apollo at Delphi, where μηδὲν ἅγαν ("Nothing too much") was inscribed as a companion to "Know thyself."  Those became the two perennial "mottos," as it were, of Greek civilization itself.  We should probably note that societies usually extol the very virtues that are apparently most lacking in themselves.   

Pronunciation of τῶν μετρίων τοὔνομα (literally, "of the moderate things the name"):  toan meh-tree-own too-no-mah. 
Pronunciation of τὰ μέτρια ("the moderate things"):  tah meh-tree-ah.
Pronunciation of τὸ μέτρον ("the measure," "the mean"):  toh meh-tron.
« Last Edit: 02 Feb, 2016, 21:16:32 by billberg23 »
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