Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spirited: Sallust "Bellum Catilinae 2"

I am finally back to my Sallust paper after my Plato paper. It's going to be quite a rush to get it done. Anyway, as I'm working on the paper I thought I would post Chapter 2 of the Bellum Catalinae. It's been a while since I read this the first time and I found that English, in places, was more restrictive than I would like-- or maybe I'm just having problems with my Latin.

Igitur initio reges (nam in terris nomen imperi id primum fuit) divorsi pars ingenium, alii corpus exercebant: etiam tum vita hominum sine cupiditate agitabatur; sua cuique satis placebant. Postea vero, quam in Asia Cyrus, in Graecia Lacedaemonii et Athenienses coepere urbis atque nationes subigere, lubidinem dominandi causam belli habere, maxumam gloriam in maxumo imperio putare, tum demum periculo atque negotiis compertum est in bello plurumum ingenium posse. Quod si regum atque imperatorum animi virtus in pace ita ut in bello valeret, aequabilius atque constantius sese res humanae haberent neque aliud alio ferri neque mutari ac misceri omnia cerneres. Nam imperium facile iis artibus retinetur, quibus initio partum est. Verum ubi pro labore desidia, pro continentia et aequitate lubido atque superbia invasere, fortuna simul cum moribus inmutatur. Ita imperium semper ad optumum quemque a minus bono transferetur.

Quae homines arant, navigant, aedificant, virtuti omnia parent. Sed multi mortales, dediti ventri atque somno, indocti incultique vitam sicuti peregrinantes transiere; quibus profecto contra naturam corpus voluptati, anima oneri fuit. Eorum ego vitam mortemque iuxta aestumo, quoniam de utraque siletur. Verum enim vero is demum mihi vivere atque frui anima videtur, qui aliquo negotio intentus praeclari facinoris aut artis bonae famam quaerit. Sed in magna copia rerum aliud alii natura iter ostendit.

And so in the beginning, kings -- for this was the name of power first in the land-- kept busy pursuing opposite courses, some with the mind, others with the body; even then the life of men was conducted without desire, his own things were sufficiently pleasing to him. But at last, after Cyrus in Asia and the Lacadamonians and the Athenians in Greece began to subjugate cities and peoples, lust was deemed to be a cause of subduing, they thought that the greatest glory is in the greatest power, then at last knowledge was obtained through experiment and affairs that  the mind is the most able in war. But if the virtue of the minds of kings and rulers were strengthened by peace in this way as by war, the human affairs would be situated more similarly and more constantly, neither would you discern one thing be carried by another nor all things be mixed. for power easily is easily retained by those arts with which it was obtained at first. But where idleness instead of labor, and equally desire and arrogance instead of self-restraint has burst in, at the same time fortune changes with the mores. In this way, power always is transferred from a less good man to whomever is best.

These things which men [do when they] plow, sail, build, all depend upon virtue. But many mortals, having given [themselves over] to appetitive and sleep, pass through life ignorant and uncultured just as wanderers. To whom, certainly, against nature the body has pleasure while the life-force is a burden. For them, I estimate that life and death are equal, because about both there is silence. But truly he alone seems to me to live and to delight in his life-force, who being intent upon some occupation seeks famous deeds or reputation through good conduct. But in the great abundance of these things, nature shows one path to one, one path to another.
Paper is due in just over 24 hours.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Reasoning/Spirited: Gone Philosophizing

This weekend I'm working on a paper I am supposed to give on Tuesday. Although I outlined it over a week ago, I am still far behind the gun. It is on Plato's views on emotion in the context of the Athenian courtroom. While I was reading, I happened upon this (long) quotation in an essay by Josiah Ober and Barry Strauss [1] and it opened up a whole slew of thoughts unrelated to present topic:
"Demosthenes sets about proving this by point out that in the course of his speech Aiskhines quoted from Euripides' Phoinix, which he had never performed onstage himself. Yet Aiskhines never quoted from Sophocles' Antigone which he had acted many times. So, 'Oh Aiskhines, are you not a sophist...are you not a logographer...since you hunted up [zētēsas] a verse which you never spoke onstage to use to trick the citizens' (19.250)
The argument that underlies Demosthenes' comment says a good deal about Athenian attitudes toward elite useof literary culture. According to Demosthenes, Aiskhines is a sophist because he "hunts up" quotes for a play with which he had no reason to be familiar in order to strengthen his argument. Clearly the average Athenain would not be in a position to search out quotes when he wanted them; if the ordintary citizen ever wanted toquote poetry, he would rely on verses that he had memorized, and his opportunity to memorize tragic poetry was limited" (Ober & Strauss 251).
Although this seems obvious, it had never occurred to me that access to tragic texts might have been limited for much of the Athenian populace. In Book III of the Republic, Plato discusses a number of different passages of poetry. All of them come from the Iliad or the Odyssey and not a single one from tragedy, although the critique here extends explicitly to tragic drama. The choice of those specific passages from the Iliad and the Odyssey is an interesting topic, and one I explore thoroughly in my thesis. However, it had always baffled me  that not a single line of the tragic poets appeared in the text. The quotation above illuminates this question.

It also makes the character of Socrates more believable. Although it seems likely that Plato would have had the ability to seek out (ζητεῖν) quotation from tragedy, Socrates [2] was engaging in conversation and would have to rely on his memory in order to quote. Furthermore, Plato's Socrates is not particularly wealthy (although he has countless wealthy friends and associates) and spends most of his time walking or in conversation, not reading, writing, or researching. As such, he might not even have access to texts of plays and would have to rely on quotations from common knowledge. Thus, the omission of tragic quotation makes the character more believable, even as it renders the critique of tragedy a bit lopsided.

  1. Ober, Josiah and Barry Strauss. "Drama, Political Rhetoric, and the Discourse of Athenian Democracy," Nothing to do with Dionysos? Athenian Drama in Its Social Context ed. John J. Winkler & Froma I. Zeitlin. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990. pp. 237-270.
  2. Whenever I say Socrates, I mean Plato's character and not the historical Socrates.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reasoning: Introducing Classical Greek Principal Parts

No where that I have found is there a definitive list of principal parts in Greek. Many textbooks, including Ἀθηναζε the textbook from which I learned Greek, does not have a full list of principal parts and expects students to intuit some of principle parts. While there are paradigms for certain types of verbs, even when completing these paradigms a student (like myself) sometimes runs into trouble. For that reason, I thought I would make my own list. I am planning on starting a page on my blog that will work as a list of principle parts. I will put it up in the next few days, although it will probably be under major construction for quite a while.

The page, now up on the website (see left-hand column) looks something like the following:

Please note: I am a student of Greek myself and do not have an authoritative view of Greek at all. If I am wrong, which is certainly possible (especially factoring in typos), please comment with a correction (and if possible a source for the correction) and I will fix it.

My goal is as follows: as I am finish my prose composition class, I am planning on adding the verbs from Eleanor Dickey's unpublished prose composition book (which is what we are using so this will be part of the studying for my final). After that, I will add the verbs from Malcom Campbell's Classical Greek Prose: A Basic Vocabulary, as this is a standard text book for prose composition classes and verbs I should know.

As a key: "---" means that the principal part does not exist for this verb. "-" in front of a form means it is usually paired with a prefix of some sort.

ἀγγέλλω ἀγγελῶ ἤγγειλα ἤγγελκα ἤγγελμαι ἠγγέλθην (to) announce
ἀγείρω ---- ἤγειρα ---- ---- ---- (to) gather, collect
ἀγω ἄξω ἤγαγον ἦχα ἦγμαι ἦχθην (to)drive, go
ᾄδω ᾄσομαι ᾖσα ---- ᾖσμαι ᾔσθην (to) sing
Works Referenced
Dickey, Eleanor. Greek Prose Composition (draft). Completed at the Columbia University Classics Department, 2003. Unpublished.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spirited: Sallust's Bellum Catilinae

I have not posted in a while because I have been rather busy with school and teaching. At the moment, I am writing a paper on the much-derided proem of Sallust's Bellum Catilinae (which I really like). I thought I would type out the sections of the proem and post them as I will be using them for my paper. Here is the first installment:
[1] Omnis homines qui sese student praestare ceteris animalibust summa ope niti decet ne vitam silentio transeant veluti pecora, quat natura prona atque ventri odoedientia finxit. Sed nostra omnis vis in animo et corpore sita est; animi imperio, corporis servitio magis utimur; alterum nobis cum dis, alterum cum beluis commune est. Quo mihi rectius videtur ingeni quam virium opibus gloriam quaerere et quoniam vita ipsa qua fruimur brevis est, memoriam nostri quam maxume longam efficere. Name divitiarum et formae gloria fluxa atque fragilis est, virtus clara aeternaque habebetur.
Sed dium magnum inter mortalis certamen fuit vine corporis an virtute animi res militaris magis procederet. (Name et prius quam incipias consulto et, ubi consulueris, nature facto opus est. Ita utrumque per se indigens alterum alterius auxilio eget. (Sallust, BC, 1).
[1]To strive becomes all men who apply themselves with the utmost of their power to surpass the rest of the animals [and] not pass through life in obscurity like cattle, which are inclined by nature and formed by obedience to their appetite. But our strength on the whole is situated in the mind and the body; we use more the authority of the mind and the servility of the body; one of ours is in common with the gods, the other is in common with the beasts. Consequently, it seems to me that to seek glory with the resources of innate nature rather than strength and, we delight in this life since it is brief, to produce a memory of ourselves as long as possible. For glory of wealth and bodily beauty is flowing and fragile, manly virtue is famous and eternal.

But for a long time there was a great contest between men whether military affairs turn out successfully because of body or virtue of mind. (For both before one begins deliberation and when one has deliberated, there is a need for a mature act. In this way and in another way through lack one requires the aid of the other.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Reasoning: JSTOR Thematic Index

For those who have access to JSTOR through a university, this is pretty cool. I discovered in an AWOL post this morning that JSTOR has created a thematic index for classics. This is a little weird because it automatically generates groups of terms and then articles that relate to them, but it's also really interesting.

Two thematic lists I am browsing are:
  1. First:  plato, republic, dialogues, socrates, platonic, laws, phaedo, dialogue, timaeus, ideas, phaedrus, parmenides, sophist, aristotle, taylor, philosophy, philebus, philosophical, theaetetus, cratylus, platon, cornford, burnet, doctrine, gorgias, dialectic, critias, method, symposium, passage
  2. Second: soul, body, plotinus, plato, matter, intellect, souls, timaeus, universe, evil, divine, doctrine, things, intelligible, principle, bodies, cosmos, power, proclus, demiurge, cause, passage, forms, platonic, nous, sense, idea, rational, myth, immortal
From there, I generated the list of articles to browse one by one.