Author Topic: δέ -> but, and, then, so  (Read 1140 times)

ChaceofSpades

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δέ -> but, and, then, so
« on: 17 Jan, 2009, 02:06:00 »
How do I tell when δὲ is but, versus when it is and. Here is the specific example that brought it up...

ἀπέχει δὲ ἡ Πλάταια τῶν Θηβῶν σταδίους ἑβδομήκοντα.
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vbd.

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Re: δέ -> but, and, then, so
« Reply #1 on: 17 Jan, 2009, 02:41:57 »
Take for instance: ἔπειτ' ἔξεισιν ἐκ τοῦ δικαστηρίου ὁ τοιοῦτος κριτὴς ἑαυτὸν μὲν ἀσθενῆ πεποιηκώς, ἰσχυρὸν δὲ τὸν ῥήτορα. (Aeschines, Against Ctesiphon 233)

C. D. Adams translates as "...having made himself weak and the politician strong". One could just as well have said "having made on the one hand himself weak, and on the other the politician strong", or "having made himself weak, but the politician strong".

δοκοῦμεν δ' ἔμοιγε...παρακινδυνεύειν εἰς τὴν πολιτείαν (Aeschines, Against Ctesiphon 234)

Adams translates as "But it seems to me". He could have said "It then seems to me that..." or "So it seems to me that..." or "And it seems to me that..." and the meaning would be almost identical. So I don't think you should worry too much about this, it is a matter of style too. There are some cases where one should only translate as "but", not "and", or "then", or "so", but in these cases it's obvious from the context. In textbook exercises there is no context so it doesn't really matter, what matters is that you know what its possible translations are so that you can find your own way through an ancient text.
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ChaceofSpades

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Re: δέ -> but, and, then, so
« Reply #2 on: 17 Jan, 2009, 02:46:19 »
Ευχαριστώ
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billberg23

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Re: δέ -> but, and, then, so
« Reply #3 on: 17 Jan, 2009, 03:44:25 »
In textbook exercises there is no context so it doesn't really matter, what matters is that you know what its possible translations are so that you can find your own way through an ancient text.
I absolutely agree.  It's also important to realize, Chace, that ancient Greek, unlike modern European languages like ours, needed connectives to link each sentence with the preceding context.  The connective could be something like a relative pronoun, or a temporal adverb, or a simple vocal gesture like δέ — anything that would point back to what had already been said.  This phenomenon has to do with the tonal quality of the language:  in modern languages (English and Greek, for example), we use vocal emphasis (modulating the voice) to denote connection, which you couldn't do in ancient Greek without spoiling the sense.

The upshot is that you will often see δέ where there's no need to translate it at all:  the natural flow of your English translation will convey the connection.
« Last Edit: 17 Jan, 2009, 05:40:47 by billberg23 »
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

ChaceofSpades

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Re: δέ -> but, and, then, so
« Reply #4 on: 18 Jan, 2009, 22:00:03 »
Thanks for all of the help.
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