Author Topic: You will go, you will return not in the war shall you die -> Ήξεις αφήξεις ουκ εν τω πολέμω θνήξεις  (Read 11806 times)

nemo

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You will go, you will return not in the war shall you die -> Ήξεις αφήξεις ουκ εν τω πολέμω θνήξεις

Could anyone tell me how this is said in ancient Greek?

"You will go, you will return not in the war shall you die."
It is, from what I know, the reply Pythia gave a man who asked her if he would die if he went to war. The ambiguity comes from where you put the comma: before or after "not", which gives two opposite answers.
I would prefer the original version rather than a translation of this which is in itself a translation from Greek to English. And if anyone knows where the episode is mentioned, more precisely which author, which book, I would be extremely grateful...
thank you.
« Last Edit: 10 Mar, 2010, 11:29:34 by spiros »


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Re: You will go, you will return not in the war shall you die.
« Reply #1 on: 23 Sep, 2006, 14:10:45 »
Ήξεις αφήξεις ουκ εν τω πολέμω θνήξεις.

This is the original phrase but, right now, I can't remember where it is mentioned.
« Last Edit: 23 Sep, 2006, 14:13:01 by wings »

banned8

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Re: You will go, you will return not in the war shall you die.
« Reply #2 on: 23 Sep, 2006, 15:39:37 »
I'm afraid you will not find it in any of the original Greek texts. It is a back translation from the Latin translation "Ibis redibis non morieris in bello" or, according to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, "Ibis redibis nunquam per bella peribis".

In Wikipedia:

La frase latina ibis redibis non morieris (o peribis) in bello (Alberico delle Tre Fontane, Chronicon) è, tradizionalmente, il responso dato dalla Sibilla ad un soldato andato a consultare l'oracolo sull'esito della sua missione.

La frase, come tutti i responsi oracolari, è volutamente ambigua (sibillina, appunto) e offre una duplice interpretazione, a seconda della punteggiatura che si voglia utilizzare. Se, infatti, si pone una virgola prima di "non" (Ibis, redibis , non morieris in bello), il significato del responso è "Andrai, ritornerai, e non morirai in guerra", e prefigura un esito positivo della missione. Se, invece, la virgola viene spostata dopo la negazione (Ibis, redibis non, morieris in bello), il senso risulta essere sovvertito nel suo contrario: "Andrai, non ritornerai, e morirai in guerra".

La locuzione è anche diffusa nella forma Ibis redibis numquam peribis, ovvero andrai tornerai non morirai.

Nel linguaggio moderno, l'espressione "essere un ibis redibis" si applica ai documenti ufficiali, alle circolari, ai decreti e alle leggi che risultino oscuri, ambigui, cavillosi e fuorvianti.


Brewer's, under "Oracle", has:

Another prince, consulting the oracle concerning a projected war, received for answer, “Ibis redibis nunquam per bella peribis” (You shall go shall return never you shall perish by the war), It will be seen that the whole gist of this response depends on the place of the omitted comma; it may be You shall return, you shall never perish in the war, or You shall return never, you shall perish in the war, which latter was the fact.

The frequent Greek misspelling "Ήξεις αφίξεις" is due to the fact that these forms (ήξεις from the verb ήκω, αφήξεις from the verb αφήκω) are obsolete in modern Greek, while αφίξεις is an everyday word (meaning "arrivals").
« Last Edit: 23 Sep, 2006, 15:42:01 by nickel »


nemo

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I'm afraid you will not find it in any of the original Greek texts. It is a back translation from the Latin translation "Ibis redibis non morieris in bello" or, according to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, "Ibis redibis nunquam per bella peribis".

In Wikipedia:

La frase latina ibis redibis non morieris (o peribis) in bello (Alberico delle Tre Fontane, Chronicon) è, tradizionalmente, il responso dato dalla Sibilla ad un soldato andato a consultare l'oracolo sull'esito della sua missione.

La frase, come tutti i responsi oracolari, è volutamente ambigua (sibillina, appunto) e offre una duplice interpretazione, a seconda della punteggiatura che si voglia utilizzare. Se, infatti, si pone una virgola prima di "non" (Ibis, redibis , non morieris in bello), il significato del responso è "Andrai, ritornerai, e non morirai in guerra", e prefigura un esito positivo della missione. Se, invece, la virgola viene spostata dopo la negazione (Ibis, redibis non, morieris in bello), il senso risulta essere sovvertito nel suo contrario: "Andrai, non ritornerai, e morirai in guerra".

La locuzione è anche diffusa nella forma Ibis redibis numquam peribis, ovvero andrai tornerai non morirai.

Nel linguaggio moderno, l'espressione "essere un ibis redibis" si applica ai documenti ufficiali, alle circolari, ai decreti e alle leggi che risultino oscuri, ambigui, cavillosi e fuorvianti.


Brewer's, under "Oracle", has:

Another prince, consulting the oracle concerning a projected war, received for answer, “Ibis redibis nunquam per bella peribis” (You shall go shall return never you shall perish by the war), It will be seen that the whole gist of this response depends on the place of the omitted comma; it may be You shall return, you shall never perish in the war, or You shall return never, you shall perish in the war, which latter was the fact.

The frequent Greek misspelling "Ήξεις αφίξεις" is due to the fact that these forms (ήξεις from the verb ήκω, αφήξεις from the verb αφήκω) are obsolete in modern Greek, while αφίξεις is an everyday word (meaning "arrivals").
thank you both so much! I've been looking for this for years, before I found your site. Of course, not knowing any Greek was a major impediment.  But I still have one question, nickel: if it isn't mentioned in any Greek text and the original version we have is in Latin, then some Latin text must contain it... Or am I wrong? And if there is such a text, do you have any idea which one? Or, at least, what was the context? As I understand, the quotes you have given me are both from encyclopedia-type writings. Was: Alberico delle Tre Fontane, Chronicon the original text, or is the episode part of tradition ("tradizionalmente") concerning the Oracle?
« Last Edit: 24 Sep, 2006, 13:47:27 by nemo »

banned8

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Re: You will
« Reply #4 on: 24 Sep, 2006, 14:18:24 »
None of the web or my in-house sources attribute the Greek saying to any body of works, therefore I assume that it was not found in an inscription or a known work (e.g. the well-known Delphic mottos "Gnôthi sauton" and "Mêden agan" are found in Pausanias).

According to the Wikipedia entry, the Latin version is found in the Chronicon of Alberico delle Tre Fontane. Alberico was a monk in the Cistercian abbey of the Three Fountains (delle Tre Fontane). According to this page, the Chronicon is published in vol. XXIII of Monumenta Germaniae Historia (see http://www.mgh.de/, where Alberico is cited as Alberich von Troisfontaines), however I don't know any German, so it is impossible for me to find out whether I can have access to the Chronicon in order to verify this information.

The question still remains when and by whom the Greek back translation was created. And of course all this information or my interpretation of it can be entirely wrong. I tend to be a doubting Thomas in these matters unless I have information from absolutely reliable sources that I can see with my own eyes.
« Last Edit: 24 Sep, 2006, 14:25:27 by nickel »

Katerina Dimopoulou

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In 280 BC, Pyrrhus of Epirus attacked the Romans. Before doing so, he consulted the oracle of Delphi. According to Ennius, Annales 179, the oracle’s reply was

Aio te Aeacida Romanos vincere posse

which would mean  ‘I say that you, son of Aeacus, the Romans will be able to win’ – the oracle being ambiguous, since it is not clear who will be able to win after all. Ennius’ line is cited by Cicero, De Divinatione, 2.56, 116, and used by Shakespeare in Henry VI (Act 2, Scene 2). A greek rendering of that same line is given on p. 352 of the 4th volume of the Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους (where it is stated that this is only a possible translation of the latin text, and not the original): Νικᾶν σ’ Αἰακίδην Ῥωμαίους φημὶ δύνασθαι.

Now, in a couple of sources (funnily enough, they all seem to come from the 19th c.) this line appears along with the line ibis redibis nunquam in bello peribis (e.g. in H. Coppée, Elements of Logic, Philadelphia 1858, p. 193, and see also http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orakel_von_Delphi and http://kroisos.de.infoax.com). However, it seems that the second line is not being cited by any of the ancient sources, greek or latin, although many books refer to the line as one of the best known examples of delphic ambiguity.

Could it be that the second line comes from a different oracle, and was combined at some point with the oracle given to Pyrrhus? Or was the oracle simply 'expanded' at some point? By whom and when? And of course, as Nikos says, by whom and when were the lines translated into Greek?

Not a clear answer, obviously, but I though it might be of some interest.