Author Topic: τῷ οὖν τόξῳ ὄνομα βίος, ἔργον δὲ θάνατος -> the bow is called life, but its work is death (Heraclitus)  (Read 5110 times)

Strika85

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I have found more than one version of this phraze in logos and I need to know which is the correct translation or rather which is the best one...I would be very thankful for any help.  I will give each version, and what I think the phrase is in english.

1.   τῶι οὖν τόξωι ὄνομα βίος, ἔργον δὲ θάνατος.

2.   βιός τῷοὖντόξῳ ὄνομα βίος, ἔργον δὲ θάνατος.

3.   τῷ οὖν τόξῳ ὄνομα βίος, ἔργον δὲ θάνατος.

English: "The bow is called life, but its work is death."

There are some slight differences in each version that concern me, as I was unable to choose the correct one alone....

Thank youa ll in advance.

~Strika
« Last Edit: 20 Nov, 2006, 10:18:57 by wings »


billberg23

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Nos. (1) and (3) represent Heraclitus' exact words.  The only difference is that in (3) the final iota of the dative case is written below the line as a "subscript," because it was no longer pronounced when most of our manuscripts were written.  In (1), it's written above the line, just as it would have been in Heraclitus' time.
No. 2 should have a colon after the first βίος;  it's simply the lead word in an ancient etymological dictionary.  And what follows βίος should have been divided into three words.
Your English translation is fine.
« Last Edit: 20 Nov, 2006, 06:53:50 by billberg23 »
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

banned8

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Oh clever me. It'd been answered already...


billberg23

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Oh clever me. It'd been answered already...
Να με συγχωρείς, φίλε μου Νίκο.  Νόμισα που κοιμήθηκες.  Λάθος, φυσικά.
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

banned8

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Μα τι λες! Εγώ νιώθω ότι μπαίνω στα χωράφια σου!

banned8

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I'll tell you what's keeping me awake (with the good company of The Classical Album 2007). This chap here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Onfray
You'll find him interesting.


billberg23

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The bibliography looks delicious.  Good thing there's an English translation or two;  saves work. I'm in the mood for this stuff, having just reread Huisman's A Rebours (Against Nature).  Yes, life is there to enjoy!
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

elena petelos

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I'll tell you what's keeping me awake (with the good company of The Classical Album 2007). This chap here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Onfray
You'll find him interesting.

Άσε τα "keeping me awake" και στείλε. Μόνο να παίρνεις είσαι!!
:)))

Strika85

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Thank you, though I am not a student of this language...I have some understanding of it.  So I was sure I had the right idea, but knowlege of the difference between how it was written in his time, apposed to how it has been translated and recorded now was way beoynd my scope.  Also I was glad to see that others know whos words these are.  Sadly, it seems that my generation is not interested in what we can learn from the wisdom in his texts.

~Strika

Strika85

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Also, I thought Life and death were only different due to an accent, but still spelled Bios...

Life - βίος

Death - βιός

Am I wrong, I was led to believe that was part of the word play in Heraclitus's text...which confused me, as it was not in the original:

"τῷ οὖν τόξῳ ὄνομα βίος, ἔργον δὲ θάνατος." ---> The bow is called life, but its work is death

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No, they are two absolutely different words:

life = βίος

death = θάνατος

billberg23

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The "word play," Strika, comes from the fact that Greek bios meant both "life" and "bow" (which brings death).  It's true that they were accented differently, but in Heraclitus' time accents were not written, so the two words were spelled the same.
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

Strika85

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Well, that was eye opening and exactly what I needed to know...thank you :)

~Strika