Μὴ ἐλπίζετε θησαυροῖς εὐδαίμονας ἔσεσθαι

netimen · 15 · 2983

netimen

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Why Θησαυροῖς is in the dative case?

Why εὐδαίμονας is feminine, while θησαυρός is masculine?
« Last Edit: 18 Jun, 2011, 06:14:18 by billberg23 »


vbd.

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Hi. The dative case here shows the instrument (=through treasures). (see instrumental dative)

εὐδαίμονας isn't connected to θησαυροῖς, which means there is no need for them to agree in gender.
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rnylk

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How do we know it's feminine?
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vbd.

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Right, of course, we don't and it probably isn't; I should have said "no need for them to agree in gender, case or number".
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billberg23

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How do we know it's feminine?
Good point for netimen to keep in mind:  third-declension adjectives like εὐδαίμων have -ας (short alpha) in the accusative plural, whether they're masculine or feminine — unlike first-declension adjectives, which always end in -ας (long alpha) in the accusative plural.
« Last Edit: 08 Apr, 2010, 17:30:51 by billberg23 »


netimen

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Thank you!

Yeah, εὐδαίμονας doesn't have to be feminine — stupid of me ) So, the translation is: don't hope to be happy through treasures?


billberg23

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So, the translation is: don't hope to be happy through treasures?
If it meant that, I think we'd have nominative εὐδαίμονες, wouldn't we?  This seems to say "Don't expect (them) to be happy with treasures."  It's artificial Greek, isn't it, from a grammar book? 


netimen

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Antigone

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I'm getting more and more uncertain what to think of this ;) In classical Greek, the "default" case for a predicative standing with an infinitive is the accusative case (probably so because of omnipresence the of AcI construction, where subjects of infinites and their predicatives have the accusative, too). A predicative without antecedent will naturally drop into the accusative, one with an antecedent in the dative or genitive is likely to do so. It typically takes native speakers of German and English a while to get used to that.

Examples:

Ἐλείπετο τῆς νυκτὸς τοσοῦτον, ὅσον σκοταίους διελθεῖν τὸ πέδιον. (Xenophon, Anabasis 4.1.5) ("Enough of the night remained to allow them to cross the plain in darkness", lit. "as dark ones").
Οὐκ ἦν πρὸς τοῦ Κύρου τρόπου ἔχοντα μὴ ἀποδιδόναι. (Xenophon, Anabasis 1.2.11) ("It was not like Kyros not to pay when he had money.")
Tὸ γάρ τοι θάνατον δεδιέναι οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἐστὶν ἢ δοκεῖν σοφὸν εἶναι μὴ ὄντα. (Plato, Apology 29a) ("Fear of death is nothing else but to believe one is wise while one is not.")
Οὐδενὶ τρόπῳ φαμὲν ἕκοντας ἀδικητέον εἶναι; (Plato, Crito 49a) ("Do we say that we must in no way do wrong intentionally?", lit. "as willing ones". Even here, where we might expect a dative for the agens of the verbal adjective, Plato has the accusative.)

Now in your example, of course, the subject remains the same and it stands in the nominative, so yes, we would expect its predicative to stand in the nominative, too. But could it be that in biblical Greek the accusative rule has been loosened and extended to expressions like this in which the subject stays the same? The example sentence sounds rather biblical to me. Which grammar book is it from?
« Last Edit: 03 Oct, 2010, 12:16:46 by Antigone »
καλῶς δρῶν ἐξαμαρτεῖν μᾶλλον ἢ νικᾶν κακῶς.


mavrodon

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Quote
Now in your example, of course, the subject remains the same and it stands in the nominative, so yes, we would expect its predicative to stand in the nominative, too. But could it be that in biblical Greek the accusative rule has been extended to expressions like this in which the subject remains the same? The example sentence sounds rather biblical to me. Which grammar book is it from?

A quote from the New Testament(*Matthew, 6:19) "Μη θησαυρίζετε υμίν θησαυρούς επί της γης" (Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth) has a similar meaning.


Antigone

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I found an example in classical Greek with accusative instead of nominative, although the subject remains the same:

Πεισθὲν τὸ πλῆθος ὑπὸ τοῦ Βρασίδου δέξασθαί τε αὐτὸν μόνον καὶ ἀκούσαντας βουλεύσασθαι δέχεται. (Thuc. 4.84.2) "The people, persuaded by Brasidas to admit him alone and to make their decision after hearing him, admitted him."

Formally, τὸ πλῆθος is the subject throughout, so we might expect ἀκούσαντες. Still this accusative may be explained by the implied (active) πεῖσαι done by Brasidas, in which case we have two different subjects again - mmmh.
« Last Edit: 03 Oct, 2010, 14:05:43 by Antigone »
καλῶς δρῶν ἐξαμαρτεῖν μᾶλλον ἢ νικᾶν κακῶς.


billberg23

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The examples you cite, Antigone, reflect constructions that are impersonal, not personal, so of course always take the accusative as “subjects.”  In such cases, we understand such literal renderings as “(it was possible) for the dark ones to cross,” “the to fear death is the to seem wise,” “it is to be done wrong (by us) willing,” etc.  Your last example (Thucydides) is, as you suggest, of uncertain relevance;  and if the "subjects" were the same, wouldn't ἀκούσαντας have to be ἀκοῦσαν?

We would look for a genuinely personal construction — ideally, one that also uses a verb of hoping — and we find it e.g. in Plato, Republic  573c:  ἐλπίζει δυνατὸς εἶναι ἄρχειν, “he expects to be able to rule.”  The personal subject is clearly in the nominative case, as it should be.

We don't know (didn't ask) what grammar book netimen was using, but I've seen plenty in my years of teaching that are sloppily written, with awkwardly composed sentences like his that no Greek would have written.  Obviously, we need an αὐτούς for clarity, or εὐδαίμονας is simply a mistake.  Such things happen with college textbooks.  (-;
« Last Edit: 03 Oct, 2010, 18:47:19 by billberg23 »


Antigone

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and if the "subjects" were the same, wouldn't ἀκούσαντας have to be ἀκούσαν?
It doesn't have to, does it, as the example itself shows, for ἀκούσαντας, as it stands, does refer to the singular πλῆθος anyway. It's just a common construction κατὰ σύνεσιν. But ἀκοῦσαν would be possible, of course.

So you can exclude that this can happen in biblical Greek (of which I know next to nothing)? Then I think you're right, it must be a typo or a misapplication of the accusative rule from non-personal expressions to personal ones. And yes oh yes, that is why I love grammars which are completely based on genuine examples :)
καλῶς δρῶν ἐξαμαρτεῖν μᾶλλον ἢ νικᾶν κακῶς.


billberg23

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It doesn't have to, does it, as the example itself shows, for ἀκούσαντας, as it stands, does refer to the singular πλῆθος anyway.

Yes, and as you say, the accusative could be explained by the "implied (active) πεῖσαι done by Brasidas," — sort of an indirect discourse construction.

Quote
So you can exclude that this can happen in biblical Greek (of which I know next to nothing)?

Yes.  And thanks, by the way, for correcting my accent (talk about "sloppy" (-:)!


Antigone

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Yes.
Thank you very much! Small things like this can get me wondering whether I've been believing and teaching wrong things for years :-)
καλῶς δρῶν ἐξαμαρτεῖν μᾶλλον ἢ νικᾶν κακῶς.


 

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