Author Topic: τῶν δ᾽ ὀρθουμένων σῴζει τὰ πολλὰ σώμαθ᾽ ἡ πειθαρχία -> But of those who make it through, following orders is what saves most of their lives (Sophocles, "Antigone" 675f.)  (Read 969 times)

stuludwig

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i'm after a very literal translation of this line form antigone, with particular attention to σώμαθ. if anyone can help out.

three existing translations read:

While discipline preserves the ordered ranks.
Where all goes well obedience is the cause.
But the lives of men who prosper upright, of these obedience has saved the greatest part.

at the moment i'm working with
those who remain upright save (lock safely?) the group of many bodies (assembled body?) with their obedience.


thanks
« Last Edit: 27 Apr, 2015, 05:40:38 by billberg23 »


billberg23

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Let me offer this as a translation, since I think it brings out the sense of the passage:
"But of those who make it through, following orders is what saves most of their lives."  It's closest to your third option (above). 
The neuter plural noun σώμαθ' is the contraction of σώματα before an aspirated vowel.  Literally, it means "bodies;"  here it emphasizes the physical survival of those who obey commands. 
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

stuludwig

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thank you.

would you say πολλὰ refers purely to the number of the bodies saved σῴζει, and not at all implying a multiple number of bodies being present?
i say this, because i understand σῴζει and σῶμα can mean to lock up?
it is word play that plato makes,
Plato, Cratylus, section 400c
and i'm wondering if something similar is happening here

i'm seeing these two images? is the first not possible?

those who remain upright, locked safely as a group of many bodies, with their obedience.
those who make it through, what saves most their lives, is following orders
« Last Edit: 27 Apr, 2015, 07:01:39 by stuludwig »


billberg23

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The idiom τὰ πολλὰ means "the most part," "the majority."  I can't see how you derive "locked safely as a group of many bodies" from the Greek.
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

stuludwig

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not sure if you saw the update i made before you posted, with my reference to σῴζει and σῶμα and safely locking up.

i guess what i'm seeing, rightly or wrongly, is something beyond the literal sense then.

i have an image of a tightly grouped together military unit, and guessed these words were pointing to that.

perhaps not.

billberg23

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No, I hadn't seen your ref. to the Cratylus.  It's hardly relevant to the Sophoclean passage.  Plato makes Socrates cite a fashionable play on word-derivation on the part of "Orphic" poets, who attempt to connect σῶμα with the verb σῴζω.  It's amusing, of course, and meant to be so, but it doesn't work linguistically.  And it has no relevance to the tragedian of the previous century.
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος


stuludwig

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i just saw those two words next too each other here too, and so thought it might also be hinting at a similar word play. 

thanks for your help.