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A Remark on 'Periphrastic' Constructions in Greek

Author(s): J. Gonda
Source: Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, Vol. 12, Fasc. 2 (1959), pp. 97-112
Published by: BRILL
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A REMARK ON 'PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS
IN GREEK
J.
GONDA
In a recent article
*)
Prof. H. B. Rosen of
Jerusalem
drew
attention to the Greek constructions of the
type
???? . . .
?st?,
???? . . .
??,
???? . . . e??a? beside
??e?, ???e,
??e??.
Basing
himself
especially
on a
complete
research of the relevant
passages
in Hero-
dotus he arrived at the conclusion that these
periphrastic
con-
structions
were,
by
this historian and other ancient Greek
authors,
used when the idea
expressed by
the verb is
not,
logically speaking,
the
predicate
of the
sentence,
but the
subject,
and when at the same
time the
'logical' predicate
is not the
agent
of the
verb,
but a
complement
to the
latter,
the term
complement being
taken in a
large
sense
including
inter
alia,
object,
an
adjunct,
etc.
Rosen's
argument,
however
interesting,
could,
in
my opinion,
be
clarified if this conclusion were restated as
follows2).
A sentence
such as Hdt. IX
15, 4 (16) ??
d? t? de?p???
p??e??e???
??
T???s?
does
not
exactly
mean "the meal took
place
at
Thebes",
but rather "it
was at Thebes that the meal took
place",
and
similarly
I
146, 3
ta?ta d?
?? ?????e?a
??
????t??
"it was at Milete that those
things
came to
pass".
That is to
say,
in
translating
these sentences into
English (or
French and other
languages)
a "cleft sentence"
(phrase
coup?e)
must as a rule be
preferred
if the sense is to be rendered
as
exactly
as
possible.
Even K?hner-Gerth
3)
who whilst
giving
a
mere enumeration of
periphrastic
structures did not notice this
point,
translated the former
passages:
"der
Ort,
wo das Mahl ver-
anstaltet
wurde,
war Theben". This means that it is the contents of
the verb which is the thema of the
sentence,
not the
subject proper
from the
logical point
of view. The idea contained in the verb is the
thema i.e.
starting-point
of the
speaker's
or author's
argument
or
?)
H. B.
Ros?n,
Mus. Helv.
1957, x33
ff?
2)
I limit
my
observations to the
type
of sentence discussed
by
Rosen.
3)
R. K?hner-B.
Gerth, Ausf?hrliche
Grammatik der
griechischen Sprache*,
I. 38,
?.
3.
Mnemosyne,
XII
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98
A REMARK ON 'PERIPHRASTIC' CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
communication. The
adjuncts (or objects
etc.,
in
general
'the
complements')
are the
propos,
that
is,
that which the
speaker
or
author wants to
bring
forward with
regard
to the
thema,
'the
predication'.
In the first sentence the
taking place
of the meal is
the
thema,
the fact that this event took
place
at Thebes is the
propos.
The context had made it clear that a dinner would be held.
The new fact which is
brought
to the reader's notice
with,
perhaps,
some
emphasis
is that the
place
where it took
place
is Thebes. This
frequent
construction is often found in sentences
expressing
an
'antithesis' : II
134,
2 ?at?
"??as?? ?as??e???ta ?? a??????sa
'??d?p??,
a??' ?? ?at?
t??t??,
in contradistinction to the mere
statement of a historical fact in III
57,
? ta d? t??
S?f???? p????ata
???a?e
t??t?? t??
??????.
Not
rarely ???
... d? . . . are added to
underline the contrast: II
99,1
;
VII
3, 3;
or the idea of
opposition
is
expressed by
antithetic
pronouns (e.g.
I
112,
3)
or
?????
(e.g.
II
48,2).
In the same
way, Soph.
O.R.
968
ff. wrote
e??
d' dd' ????de
/
??a?st?? e?????
-
e? t?
?? t????
p????
/ ?at?f???'
?
??t? d' a? ?a???
e??
'? ????,
words rendered
by Storr1)
as follows: "and here am I
who ne'er unsheathed a sword
;
unless the
longing
for his absent son
killed him and so / slew him in a sense". It is the words
??
e???
which are thrown into
relief,
also
by
the
position
of
emphasis
in
which
they appear.
It is well known that in
spite
of the
general
principle by
which
emphatic
words tend to an
initial,
or at least
early, position they
are,
in certain
cases,
also
placed
at the end of
a clause or sentence
2).
K?hner-Gerth made the
attempt
to
express
this nuance
by interpreting
"dann w?re er freilich ein von mir
get?teter" ("dann
w?re ich sein
M?rder").
It is clear that the succinct treatment of these constructions
by
Schwyzer-Debrunner 3)?who say
that
they
are "eine
expressive
Umschreibung
des verbum finitum"?is not
complete
and exhaust-
ive. K?hner and Gerth's
statement4):
"Soll der
Verbalbegriff
?) Sophocles,
with an
English
translation
by
G. F. Storr
(Loeb),
London-
Cambridge,
Mass., 1956.
2)
For
particulars
see
J.
D.
Denniston,
Greek Prose
Style (Oxford, 1952),
45
ff-
3)
E.
Schwyzer-A.
Debrunner,
Griechische
Grammatik,
I
(M?nchen, 1939),
812,
sub a
4;
II
(M?nchen, 1950), 407
f.
4) K?hner-Gerth,
I.e.
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A REMARK ON 'PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
99
selbst?ndiger
und nachdr?cklicher
hervorgehoben
werden,
so tritt
an die Stelle des einfachen Pr?dikatsverbums eine
Umschreibung
durch das
Partizip
Pr?sentis,
Perfekti oder Aoristi
(letzteres
fast
nur
dichterisch)
mit der
Kopula
e??a?" is
highly
inaccurate,
if not
incorrect : it is not the idea
expressed by
the verb which is thrown
into relief but the
complements
added to it. In
Soph.
O.R.
90
there is a
slight
antithesis between the
preceding
sentence est?? d?
p????
t??p??
which
may imply uncertainty
or even?notwithstand-
ing
the
reassuring
words of Creon in
87 f.-?apprehension,
and the
last
part
of
89
and
90
??te
??? ??as??
??t' ?d?
p??de?sa? e???
t??
?e
???
?????
"thus far
thy
words
give
me no
ground
for confidence or
fear". In Hdt. II
10, 3
it is not the
'Verbalbegriff' ?p?de???e???
that is
emphasized:
e?s? d? ?a? ?????
p?ta???,
?? ?at? t?? ?e????
???te? ?e???ea, ??t??e?
???a ?p?de???e??? ?e???a
e?s?. Another
attempt
to formulate the difference between the
synthetic
and the
analytic
construction was made
by
Rehdantz and other commen-
tators: "die
Umschreibung
des Verb, finit, durch e??a? mit dem
Partizip
ist eine
Abl?sung
der
Kopula
von dem
Pr?dikatsbegriff,
durch welche beides
selbst?ndig hingestellt
und der Ausdruck
gewichtiger
wird"
x).
This definition would for instance
apply
to
Xen. Anab. II
2, 13;
III
3, 2;
IV
3, 5;
IV
5, 15.
In Anab. IV
1, 3
the words ?a? est??
??t??
????
are
according
to the same authorities
"st?rker als
??t??
??e?".
The
question may
however arise
why
this
"gewichtiger
Ausdruck" should have been
preferred
and what it
was intended to
express.
What, however,
seems to be essential is that the author
prefers
a semi-nominal construction to a verbal sentence. Whereas from
prehistoric
times verbal sentences were
mainly
used in narratives
and accounts of successions of
facts,
drawing
attention to the ever
changing
events and occurrences
described,
nominal or semi-
nominal sentences were
largely preferred
in
descriptions,
statements,
elucidations, explications,
characterizations, exclamations,
in-
dications of time or
circumstances,
transitional formulas etc.
2)
?)
Thus C. Rehdantz and O.
Carnuth, Xenophons
Anabasis,
II6
(Berlin,
1905), 17.
2)
See
e.g.
A.
Meillet,
La
phrase
nominale en
indo-europ?en,
M?m. Soc.
Ling. 14, iff.;
B.
Delbr?ck,
Vergleichende Syntax,
III
(Strasburg, 1900),
III, ii7ff. ;H. Hirt,
Indogermanische
Grammatik,
VII
(Heidelberg, 1937), 19
ff.
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100 A REMARK ON PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
in which the attention of the hearer is drawn to the static nominal
predicate.
Whereas the
predicate
of a verbal sentence focusses
the hearer's
thoughts
on what
happens,
the
predicate
of a nominal
sentence directs his attention to what is. This is
especially
evident
in combinations of
participial groups
and
adjectives: ?
6?
?e??a????
t
?s??es?a
?a? ??
deda???te? ????? ("knowing nothing
of,
nichts
verstehend
von") 1).
"Es wird durch den nominalen Stil der Vor-
gang,
das
Ereignis
des Geschehens aus der zeitlichen
Atmosph?re
in die r?umliche verschoben"
2).
For instance in ?
488
where a
semi-nominal
participial
construction is
preferred
:
????a?
d' ?? t???
f??? pef??????? e??e?a? a?d???,
it is the situation or state of affairs
which is thrown into relief rather than an event or occurrence.
Being
more
graphic
in character and
distracting
the attention of
the audience from an individual
point
of time at which
something
narrated
happens,
the semi-nominal
expression
is
apt,
on the one
hand,
to create the
impression
of
being
more
forceful?compare
in
English
: who was she to be
refusing
what
might prove
to
be,
perhaps,
the last
request of
her
dying
husband??and on the other
hand,
to
bring
out the
object
or
adjuncts amplifying
the
predicate.
The
transition from the 'narrative verbal
style'
to the
'descriptive
semi-
nominal
style' may
be illustrated
by
Xen. Anab. IV
5, 15
d?a
ta?
t??a?ta?
?d?
?????a?
?pe?e?p??t?
t??e?
t??
st?at??t??
?a?
?d??te?
???a?
t?
??????,
d?a t? ???e???p??a? a?t???
t?? ????a, ??a??? tet????a??
?a?
?tet??e?
d?a
??????
t???
? p??s??? ?? ?t?????sa
??
??p??.
??ta??'
??t?ap??e??? ??????t?
. . . and IV
3> 5
a^ d?
???a?
a?ta?,
ef'
??
pa?ateta??????
??t??
?sa? t??a ? t?tta?a p????a
?p? t??
p?ta???
?pe???? ?d??
d?
??a ??????? ?? ????sa
???
?spe? ?e???p???t???
ta?t?
?
?pe????t? d?a?a??e??
??
'?????e?.
With
regard
to ?
269
??d?
?a?
??d'
??? f??? ?e?as????? ?'??e?a? a????
"for I deem that I too
am not
forgetful
of valour" Ameis-Hentze observed that "die
Umschreibung
die
Charactereigenschaft
bezeichnet". It would
perhaps
be somewhat more to the
point
to
say
that a static idea of
being forgetful
of valour
is,
in this
verse,
negated
rather than a
?)
See G.
Bj?rck,
?? ????S?O?. Die
periphrastischen
Konstruktionen
im
Griechischen,
Skr. Vet. Samf.
32,
2
(Uppsala, 1940), 17 ff.; 32.
2)
M.
Deutschbein,
Neuenglische
Stilistik
(Leipzig, 1932), 140.
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A REMARK ON PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK IOI
dynamic process
of
forgetting valour1).
Hence also the sudden
transition from a finite form in a relation of a succession of events
in a 'narrative'
passage
to a
periphrasis
in a reference to a state of
affairs: Hdt. V
77, 3 t??
d?
p?da?
a?t?? . . .
??e????asa? ??
t??
????p????
a?
pe?
et? ?a?
??
??? ?sa? pe??e??sa?.
The difference between
periphrasis
and the finite verb is
especially
obvious when both constructions occur in the same context: in
Hdt. II
95,
I the words
p???
d?
t??? ????pa?
. . . t?de
sf?
?st?
?e-
???a?????a
are
purely 'descriptive' stating
that the
Egyptians
have definite contrivances
against
the
gnats,
but the sentence
t??s? d?
pe??
ta e?ea ??????s? t?de . . .
?e??????ta?
means,
in a
'narrative'
style
of
expression,
that some
people
had contrived
some defence.
Compare
also VI
65,
2. It
may
be of some interest
to make a
comparison
between Hdt. Ill
133,
2 . . .
de?ses?a?
d?
??de???
t?? dsa
??
a?s?????
?st?
f????ta
and ?
??,
2 . . . ?a?
??d?a
?f???a? ?????? ??
a?s????? ?e????? f??e?.
A transition from a narra-
tive of
'doing'
to a statement of
'having'
involves a
change
of con-
struction in Hdt. II
37, 4
??te t?
?a?
t??
??????? t?????s?
??te dapa-
???ta?,
???a ?a? s?t?a
sf?
?st?
??? pess??e?a
... "...
they
have
bread viz. baked
grain grown
on the sacred domains". It
might
easily
be
imagined
that the words ?. p. are a
stereotyped ampli-
fication or
'epexegesis'.
References to a state of
affairs,
to a
per-
manency,
or a static
representation
of the
process expressed by
the verb occur
e.g.
also Hdt. IX
27, 5 ????
d? e?
??d??
???? ?st?
?p?dede??????
. .
.,
a??? ?a? ?p? t?? ??
?a?a???? ?????
????? e??e?.
Compare e.g.
also
Soph.
Tr.
446.
The
similarity
to semi-nominal
adjective
constructions and the semi-nominal character of the
periphrasis
is also clear in instances such as Hdt. I
45,
?
????? t??
te
p??t????
???t??
s??f????,
?a?
??
?p'
??e????
t??
?a???a?ta
?p????e???
e??,
??d? ??
e?? ???s????. Participles may
indeed more or less in-
cidentally
fulfil the function of
adjectives:
Hdt. Ill
39, 3
. . . t??
???????te??
t?
p????ata a??et?
?a?
?? ?e?????a
??? te
t?? ??????
. .
.,
where
?.
is
pe?????ta
"celebrated".
The retardative force of the
periphrastic
form is also clear in the
?)
The Homeric instances seem to have
escaped
the attention of P.
Chantraine,
Grammaire
hom?rique,
II
(Paris, 1953), 201,
who mentions
only
?
257.
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102 A REMARK ON PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
sentence
type
Hdt. I
112, 3
?a? ??t? ??te s? ???sea? ?d????? . . .
??te
????
?a???
?e????e????a
esta?? d te
???
te??e??
?as??????taf??
????se?
?a? ?
pe??e??
??? ?p???e?
t?? ?????,
the clause ??te
?.
?.
?.
e.
being explained by
the next sentence. In IV
128,
2 t?
?e????e????a
is
equivalent
to t?
????e??ata.
Another case of
periphrasis by
means
of a
participle
which is not
only
in
frequent
use,
but also
employed
as a substantive occurs II
170,
2
?????
te ?st?
???????
....
;
cf.
e.g.
I
134
??
????e???
"the
neighbouring people".
Iri a similar
way
beside Hdt. VII
in,
2 ??t?? t?
?a?t????
e?s?
?e?t??????
we find ?
?e?t??????
"the owner". The same retardative force of the con-
struction under discussion is also obvious in cases such as Hdt.
II
i55> 3
where a
description
o? a
sanctuary
is
interrupted by
the
words t? d?
???
t??
fa?e??? ?? ????a ????st?? pa?e???e??? f??s?.
It seems worth
noticing
that translators whilst
resorting
to a
cleft sentence to render the
meaning
of the
original
Greek as
exactly
as
possible preferred
also a nominal
equivalent
of the Greek
participle
to a French or
English
verb: Hdt. I
86, 3
t?? d?
????-
s?? . . . ?se??e?? . . . t? t??
S??????, ??
??
e??
s?? ?e??
e????????,
t? ... . : "that there was a divine
warning
in the words . . ."
(Rawlinson)
;
"qu'il y
avait une
inspiration
divine dans ce mot
que
S. lui avait dit"
(Legrand).
That the sudden transition to a state of
rest,
the arrest of the
course of events narrated
is, however,
a suitable means of
bringing
other elements of the sentence to the fore
may appear
from Xen.
Anab.
Ill, 3,
2
???st?p?????????
d? a?t??
?'??eta?
M. . . . ?a? . . .
???e?
?de*
???
. . . ?a?
?????
p?st??
??
. . . ?a? ???
????
e??????
?a?
????de d'
e???
s?? p?????
f???? d?????.
An instructive
comparison
may
be made between E
383
ff. and E
873.
In E
383
a statement
is made about a
fact,
the hearer's attention is focussed on a
pro-
cess: p?????
??? d? t???e?
. . .
/ ??
a?d???.
In substantiation of this
statement
examples
are adduced and the form
t???the
aorist
emphasizing
the mere verbal idea?is three times in succession
anaphorically repeated: 385 t?? ??? "????
?te ... "so suffered
Ares,
who...",
392,
and
395 t??
d'
??d??..
. ????
??st??,
drawing special
attention to the
processes.
In E
873,
on the other
hand,
the
peri-
phrastic
construction describes a situation or state of affairs extant
at the moment of
speaking?"fasst
alle einzelnen F?lle bis zur
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A REMARK ON PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
IO3
Gegenwart
zusammen"
x)?,
but in so
doing
it does not divert the
attention from the words
amplifying
the verbal
phrase,
that is to
say
from the
object ????sta
which comes
already
to the fore
by
its
very position
and the
opposition
in which it is to
?????
in
874.
It is of course true that a 18 ??d' ???a
pef??????? ?e?
??????
/
?a?
?et?
??s?
f????s?
a situation is
described,
and the course of succes-
sive events referred to
by
the
preceding
verbs
f????,
?sa?,
e???e,
???e
is
arrested,
but it is the idea
expressed by
??d' ???a reinforced
by
its initial
position
and
by
the
anaphorically
added
explanation
which is thrown into relief. In ?
455
the
pith
of the matter is from
the
psychological point
of view the idea
expressed by
??
p?,
not
that of
escaping
or
being
in
safety,
whatever other motives there
were for
preferring
a static
expression
to a
dynamic
verbal sentence :
?dt??,
d? ?? p?
f??? pef???????
e??a?
??e????.
Some other
examples may
be
subjoined
here:
Soph.
At.
1324
????se? a?s???? d??? ?a? ??
t??a?ta
?e
"I had reviled
him;
for vile
were his deeds toward me"
2)
;
Plato
Soph. 217C ??
t?????,
?
???e,
???? t?? ?e p??t?? a?t?s??t?? ????? apa????e?? ?????,
t?s??de d'
????
f???e
"veuille
donc, ?tranger,
? la
premi?re
faveur
que
nous te
demandons,
ne
point opposer
de refus. Mais
plut?t,
dis-nous"
(Di?s).
There
remains, however,
another remark to be made. As is well
known,
it is in
translating
Latin or Sanskrit
participles
sometimes
necessary
to substitute infinitives or nouns of action: Plaut.
Epid.
144
ante solem
occasum;
Bhagavadg?t? 3, 35 ?reyan
svadharmo
vigunah / paradharm?t
svanusthit?t "it is better
(to perform)
one's
own
duty (norm) imperfectly
than to
perform
the
duty
of another
perfectly";
Pa?catantra,
Intr.
3 kanyd.
. .
janit?
"the birth of a
daughter" 3).
That means that the nucleus or central element of the
word
group
is contained in the
participle. Passages
such as the
above Hdt. IX
15, 4
which retard the
progress
of the narrative and
in which the initial e??a?
may
be taken to have
meant,
or to have
developed
from,
"there
is,
it
happens",
admit of the same inter-
?)
?. F. Ameis-C.
Hentze,
Homers Iliass
(Leipzig
t
Berlin, 1927),
100.
2)
Cf. R. C.
Jebb, Sophocles,
VII
(Cambridge, 1907), 197.
3)
For other
examples
see
J.
S.
Speyer,
Sanskrit
Syntax (Leyden, 1886),
2Q2
f.
;
the
same,
Vedische und
Sanskrit-Syntax (Strassburg, 1896), 97.
Latin
syntax
has exerted its influence
upon,
for
instance,
Modern
German;
see O.
Behaghel,
Deutsche
Syntax,
II
(Heidelberg, 1924), 408
f.
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104
A REMARK ON PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
pretation1).
Thus Xen. Anab. II
2, 13 ??
d?
a?t? ? st?at???a
??d??
????
d??a???? ? ?p?d???a? ? ?p?f??e?? may
be translated
by:
"the
signification
of that
piece
of
strategy
was
nothing
else but
running
away
. . ."
("es
bedeutete diese
Heeresf?hrung
. . .
"2)). Compare
also instances such as Hdt. I
57,
1 f.
??t??a
d?
???ssa?
?esa?
(narra-
tive
style,
event,
process)
??
?e?as???,
???
??? ?t?e????
e?pa? . . .
(but
if we
may judge by
some data we
possess) ?sa?
??
?e?as???
????a??? ???ssa? ???te?
"... then it was a
foreign language
that
the P.
spoke",
or ". . . then the
language
of the P. was a
foreign
one"
3)
;
Thuc. I
99,
2
4).
Now the
question
arises whether Rosen's view of these con-
structions is in
harmony
with the line of
thought developed
in
connection with
periphrasis
in Greek
by Bj?rck 5).
In a
publication
which in
spite
of its title is
chiefly
concerned with the
syntax
of the
New Testament and other texts of the later
period,
and which does
not
appear
to have been noticed
by
Rosen,
the Swedish scholar
while
sharply distinguishing
between
"improper periphrasis"?in
which the
participle
is no
predicate,
or e??a? no
copula?, adjectival
periphrasis?in
which the
participle
has the character of an ad-
jective?,
and real
periphrasis?which
is the
subject
of his book-
makes an
attempt
to show that the
type
e??a?
+
present participle
may
be
fairly
considered the Greek
counterpart
of the well-known
English "progressive
tenses"
6).
Thus NT. Ev. Luc.
19, 47
?a?
??
d?d?s??? t? ?a?'
????a?
?? t??
?e????
?? d?
a???e?e??
?a? ??
??a??ate??
???t???
a?t?? ?p???sa? ... is the
syntactic counterpart
of the
English:
"and he was
teaching daily
in the
temple.
But the chief
priests
and the scribes . . .
sought
to
destroy
him" in that
??
d?d?s??? as well as he was
teaching
characterises the
process
(action
or
state)
as
being
conceived as a
temporal
frame encom-
?)
See
J. Gonda,
Remarques
sur la
place
du verbe . . .
(Utrecht, 1952),
67
ff.
2)
C. Rehdantz-O.
Carnuth,
Xenophons
Anabasis I7
(Berlin, 1912), 133.
3)
D.
Barbelenet,
De la
phrase
? verbe ?tre dans Vionien d?H?rodote
(Thesis
Paris, 1913), 92,
has missed the
point
in
limiting
himself to the remark that
the sentence contains a
commentary.
4)
These cases should be
distinguished
from the constructions discussed
by Bj?rck, o.e., 14 (Arist. Eq. 225 etc.).
5)
G.
Bj?rck,
?? ????S?O?.
6)
See
especially Bj?rck,
o.e.,
41
ff.
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A REMARK ON 'PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
I05
passing something
else which is often
expressed
in the
context,
but
may
also be understood from the whole
contextx).
The
purport
of
these forms
is,
according
to
Bj?rck,
not to
express
duration in it-
self,
but relative
duration,
compared
with the shorter time
occupied
by
some other
process.
There
is, however,
room for the observation that
Bj?rck
has,
on
the one
hand,
too
onesidedly
focussed his attention on this function
of the
English
construction
which,
however
important,
is not the
only
one,
and on the other hand has laid too much
emphasis
on
the above character of the
type ??
d?d?s???,
while
drawing,
some-
what
inconsiderately,
conclusions as to the classical
period
from an
examination of the later facts. Whereas Rosen has
paid
no attention
whatever to the function and the
particulars
observed
by Bj?rck,
the latter
has,
like
many
other
scholars,
entirely
missed the con-
siderable element of correctness in the
argument
of the former.
There are indeed ancient
examples,
even in
Herodotus,
of the
phenomenon
discussed
by Bj?rck.
Hdt. VIII
137, 4
???a?ta ?
?as??e??
t??
??s??? p???
????sa?
?
?? ?a?
?at?
t?? ?ap??d????
??
t??
?????
?s????
?
?????
?
e?pe . . .
??s???
de
???? ??? ?????
?????
t??de
?p?d?d???, de??a?
t??
?????:
". . . now it
happened
that the sun was
shining
down the
chimney
into the room"
(Rawlinson). Bj?rck 2)
is no doubt
right
in
stating
that "die
progressive
Form
ausge-
zeichnet f?r die
parenthetisch eingef?hrte 'Rahmenhandlung'
passt".
Cf. also I
152,1;
VI
103,4 (t????a?ta); Soph.
Tr.
578
f.
t??t'
?????sas',
?
f??a?,
?
d????? ?a? ?? /
. . .
???e????????
?a???,
?
/ ??t??a
t??d'
??a?a.
That this
phenomenon
is not
foreign
to
other authors either
may appear
from Thuc. VII
50, 4
?a? ?
????a?
?
?? ???
t? ?a?
??a? ?eas???
te ?a? t?? t????t??
p??s?e??e???
?
??d'
a?
d?a????e?sas?a?
et?
ef?, p???
. .
.,
where Marchant observes that
"the tense of
e???
must
precede
the
participle
in this
periphrasis,
as it is
emphatic, representing
a state of
things existing
at the
time referred to"
3).
There is on the other hand no
denying
that in cases such as Hdt.
?
)
See
especially
O.
Jespersen,
A Modern
English
Grammar,
IV
(Heidel-
berg, 1931), 164
ff.,
and
especially, 180;
the
same,
The
Philosophy of
Gram-
mar
(London, 1935), 277
^?
2) Bj?rck,
o.e.,
71.
3)
E. C.
Marchant, Thucydides,
VII
(London, 1952), 171.
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??6 A REMARK ON 'PERIPHRASTIC' CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
VIII
137, 4;
I
152,
I the
adjuncts (??
t??
?????;
?at? . . .
t????)
are
to receive some
special
attention. Cases are however not
wanting
in which the clause or sentence
containing
the construction under
consideration does
not,
properly speaking,
constitute a
parenthesis:
Thuc. I
47, 3
. . . ?a? a? ?tt??a? d??a
pa??sa?
. . .
?sa?
de ?a? . . .
p????? t??
?a?????? pa?a?e???????te?
;
I
gg,
2;
II
12,
2.
There are however
exceptions
to the rule that the
periphrastic
construction
represents
a
process
as a
temporal
frame
encompassing
another event : Hdt.
??3?,2?d? ??t?? a?t? ?
t??
??f?p????
... ap?-
?a?e
t??
?e??a?,
?a? ???
t?? e????a?
a?t??? e??a?
pep?????a?
t?
pe?
a?
??a?
?pa???. Whereas in the above sentence the
periphrastic phrase
refers to a
present
state of
affairs,
it is elsewhere used to indicate
continuance in the
(relative) past:
I
103,
1 . . .
p??t??
te
?????se
?at? t??ea
t???
??
t?? ?s???
?a?
p??t?? d??ta?e
?????
e??st???
e??a?
. . .
?
p??
t?? d?
??a??? ??
p??ta
?????? ??apef?????a.
Another
passage
to which the
explication proposed by Bj?rck
does not
apply
is Hdt. II
134,
2
(see above) ;
II
99,
?
????? ?e?
t??t??
????
te
???
?a?
?????
?a?
?st????
ta?ta
?????sa
?st?,
t? d? ap?
t??de
????pt???? ?????a? ?????? ?????
"thus far I have
spoken
of
Egypt
from
my
own observation . . ."
(Rawlinson),
or "thus far
it is
my
own observation on which the
story
is based . . .". Other
passages might
indeed be adduced
by
both scholars in favour of
their theories. Thus Hdt. VII
190
???' ?
???
t???a ???
e?t?????
e????as? ???a
p???s??? ????et?? ?? ??? t??
?a? t??t??
??a??? s??f???
??pe?sa
pa?d?f???? *).
Here
also,
the
present
author would however
point
out the nominal
?
and hence 'static5
?
character of the
second
part
of the communication from which the
phenomenon
detected
by
Rosen as well as the character of the sentence described
by Bj?rck
seem to be
easily explainable.
See also Hdt. IV
78, 3
?
S????? d?a?t?? ??? ??da??? ???s?et? S?????? ?,
???a p?????
p???
ta
???????? ?????? tet?a?????? ??
. . . ?p??e? te
t????t?,
and in addi-
tion: I
102, 2;
I
146, 3;
I
175,
1;
V
47, 7;
IX
49, 3.
In a
description
of the valuable
products
of the far-off countries Herodotus III
107,
1
after three times
?st?,
f??e?, ?????ta?
and another ?st? wrote: ?? d?
?)
"Denn kein Mensch
geniesst
eines
ungetr?bten
Gl?ckes"
(H.
Stein,
Herodotus
IV, Berlin, 1861,
177);
"der
hervorgehobene
Satzteil mit ?a?
eingeleitet5* (Rosen, o.e., 144).
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A REMARK ON PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
IO7
ta?t?? ???a??t??
t? ?st?
?????? ??????
pas???
f????????
?a?
s?????
?a?
?as??
. .
.,
continuing:
ta?ta p??ta
p??? t?? s??????
d?spet???
?t???ta? ??
%???????.
The retardative force of the
'descriptive*
semi-
nominal construction
indicating
that the
process
continues at the
moment of
writing helps
to throw
??????
into relief
(Rosen)
as well
as to denote the
larger compass
of time within which the
process
?t???ta? takes
place (Bj?rck).
Besides
being
one-sided Rosen's
explication
has,
if I am not
mistaken,
sometimes overreached itself. Too often he has
given
the
impression
of one who is too subtle in
attempting
to show that the
construction was chosen in order to
emphasize
one of the elements
of the sentence other than
subject
and
predicate.
A
type
worth
mentioning
in this connection is Hdt. V
1, 3
??? a?
e??
?
???s???
?p?te?e?
????? ????,
???
???te???
t?
?'????.
I must confess that there is
something
to be said for Stein's comment: "?p. im
Begriffe
sich
zu erf?llen"
appears
to be more
convincing
than the view that the
construction chosen is due to the
emphasis
laid on the
pronoun.
It is for instance difficult to believe that in Hdt. VII
65
it is
??t??
which conditions the occurrence of a
periphrasis:
the sentence
?sta?????? ??? d? ?sa? ??t??
??d?? is a transitional formula which
brings
a
descriptive passage
to an
end;
the
following
finite verb
p??setet??at?
resumes the course of the events which are the
subject
of the narrative. Rosen's
explication
of VI
65,
2
*)
is
right
as far as it
goes,
but the motive
inducing
the author to
prefer
the
periphrastic
construction was not the
necessity
to
emphasize
the
words d?a
p????a
t????de,
but the
'parenthetical'
character of the
sentence which whilst
interrupting
the course of the narrative
informs the reader of a
past
event
explaining
a state of affairs.
Among
the
examples quoted by
Rosen is also Hdt. Ill
28,
? e'?
?e??
t??
?e??????? ?p??????? e?? ????pt???s?
"si c'?tait un dieu traitable
qui
?tait venu aux
Egyptiens"
which exhibits a verbal form which
he elsewhere excluded from the 'second
tenses',
2)
because it does
not occur beside a
synthetic
form. This
passage
however shows that
the
phenomenon
vindicated
by
him is not limited to 'second
tenses'.
i)
Rosen, o.e.,
145.
2) Rosen, 147; 137.
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??8 A REMARK ON 'PERIPHRASTIC' CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
As neither author has dealt with the
'origin'
of this construction
some further observations
bearing upon
this
point may perhaps
find
a
place
here.
Passages
such as Hdt. Ill
105,
2 are of
special
interest
because
they may perhaps
throw some
light
on the
history
of this
construction. After
having
told the famous
story
of the
gold-
digging
ants,
Herodotus observes: t??
??? d?
p??? t??
???s??
??t?
?? '??d??
?t???ta?, ?? ???sa? fas??
?????
d?
spa???te???
?st? ??
t??
????? ???ss??e???.
There is?it is true?an antithesis
and, hence,
some
'emphasis'
laid on the
adjunct. Legrand *)
is however no doubt
right
in
suggesting
?st? to have been a
complete
verb and
???ss?-
?e???
an
appositive participle?or
rather: in
suggesting
that this
type
of sentence
may
have
developed
from ?st? "il
y
a" etc.
?
: "ils
en ont
d'autre,
en moindre
quantit?, qu'ils
extraient des mines".
Hdt. VII
179
while
exemplifying
the
tendency
discussed
by Bj?rck
may
be considered to
represent,
or to
go
back
to,
an
appositional
type
of
expression:
? d?
?a?t????
????e? st?at??
. . .
pa???a?e ???s?
t??s? ???sta p?e??s??s?
d??a ???
S??????,
???a
?sa? p??f???ss??sa?
??e? t?e?? ??????de?
. . . There can be
hardly any objection
to a
translation: "... where
were,
being
on
guard,
three Greek vessels
. .
.";
compare
also
Legrand's rendering:
"l? se trouvaient de
garde
en
avant-poste
trois vaisseaux
grecs".
It is on the other hand true
that,
???a
being
the
starting-point
of the clause introduced
by
that
word, ??e?
t. ?. are the
propos
which is thrown into some
relief;
and that there is also room for the contention that the
process
expressed
in this clause was
continuing
at the time when the acti-
vity
denoted
by pa???a?e
occurred.
Although
Rosen
is,
from his
point
of
view,
right
in
regarding
Hdt. VII
2,
2
?sa? ?a? ?a?e???
?a?
p??te??? ? ?as??e?sa? ?e????te?
t?e??
pa?de?
??
t?? p??te??? ???a????
... as an instance of a
'Gegen-
satzkonstruktion' it is
possible
to take this
passage
as an exact
counterpart
of the Dutch "er waren
D.,
al voordat
hij koning
werd,
drie zoons
geboren
uit
zijn
eerste vrouw" : if
?e?.
?? t. p.
?.
is con-
sidered an
apposition?cf. e.g.
Thuc. II
67,
? ??
?? st??te??a
t??
'????a??? p?????????
?
?sa?
is the initial "il
y
avait". It must
in this connection be borne in mind that in a considerable number
of the instances
quoted by
Rosen the form of e??a?
occupies
the
?)
H?rodote
(coll. Bud?).
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A REMARK ON PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
I09
initial
position;
cf.
e.g.
IV
165, 2;
VII
190.
The sense of "il
y a;
there is" is still
clearly perceptible
in cases such as I 210 as well:
?? e?? ???? ???s?? ?e?????,
dst??
t??
?p?????e?se?e
"... that there
should be a Persian
living" (Rawlinson).
In accordance with
Legrand's
felicitous translation the words Hdt. I
160, 5 ??
d?
??????
??t??
???
?????? ?e???e???,
dte . . . mean "et il
y
eut un
temps,
un
temps qui
fut assez
long
..." : i.e.
??
is "es war"
x).
We
may
indeed
easily imagine
that sentences of the
type
Hdt.
Ill
60,
1 reflect an older construction with the verbum existentiae:
??????a
d?
pe?? Sa???? ??????,
dt?
sf? t??a
?st?
????sta
ap??t??
??????? ??e??as???a: Legrand's
translation
"parce que
c'est chez
eux
qu'ont
?t? ex?cut?s les trois
ouvrages
les
plus grands" might,
then,
be
slightly
modified. And
why
should I
51,
1 . . .
??
t?? ??s??
???a?
?
?
d? ?st? ?p? t?? '?s?p?? . . . d??a
stad????
ap????sa
not have
originated
in: "and that
(island)
was
(away)
from
2)
the
?.,
(lying)
at a distance of ten s." ?
It
may
be remembered that to indicate a
process
which extends
over a
period
of time that
began
in the
past
and includes the
pre-
sent,
and
usually
to indicate that the
process
referred to
may
continue in future the
English language
uses the
present perfect
progressive
tense: it has been
raining
since
early morning.
The
sentence he has been
taking
violin lessons this
year implies
that he
continues to take these lessons. An
example
of a Greek construction
with a
perfect participle
is Hdt. IV
22,
2
s??e??e?
d? t??t??s? . . .
?at?????????
e?s? t??s?
?????a
?e?ta?
????a?:
the
implication
is that
the state described still continues.
In a considerable
frequency
of cases Herodotus combines a form
of e??a? and a
perfect participle,
almost
always
to
express
a state or
situation?resulting
from a
previous process?continuing
to occur
at the moment when some event or other is
being
narrated to
occur,
and hence
representing
that situation as
being,
to a certain
extent,
in
opposition
to,
or different
from,
other occurrences.
Compare e.g.
VI
44,
1... t??
pe??? ?a?ed??a?
p???
t??s?
?p?????s?
d??????
p??s-
e?t?sa?t??
ta
???
e?t??
?a?ed???? ?'??ea p??ta
sf? ?d? ?? ?p??e???a
?)
Cf. also
Stein, o.e., I, 131.
2)
For ?p?
compare e.g.
?
292;
?
53;
Thuc. I
7;
I
99, 3,
and
especially,
Xen. H. G. II
4, 4.
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HO A REMARK ON 'PERIPHRASTIC' CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
?e????ta
". . . car en
de??
de la M. tous les
peuples
?taient
d?j?
rang?s
sous leur domination"
(Legrand). Similarly
VI
33,
?. To
indicate that a state was still
continuing
at a
point
or
period
of
past
time referred to in the context a
perfect participle may
be connected
with a
past
finite form of e??a?: Hdt. VII
212,
2 . . .
s????a????.
o?
d?
'?????e?
?at?
t????
te ?a? ?at? ?'??ea
?e??s??????? ?sa?,
?a? ??
???e?
??ast??
??????t?,
a construction suitable to direct the hearer's
attention to the words ?at? . . . e??ea. There is therefore room
for the
assumption
that the
tendency
to avoid the old form in
-ata?,
-at? etc.
x)
has not been the
only
factor in the
process
which led to
a
greater
use of
periphrastic
forms
2).
Among
the
examples
adduced
by
Rosen?who does not
disting-
uish between e??a?
+
pr?s. part,
and e??a?
+
perf. part.?is
also
the
passage
Hdt. Ill
89, 3 which, however,
may
bear another
interpretation:
?p?
?a? ????? ?????t??
. . .
?? ?atest????
??d??
f???? p???,
???a
d??a ????e??.
As
?atest????
is not
rarely elliptic-
ally
used to denote the idea of "the
existing
laws or
usages" (Hdt.
I
59;
Plato
Leg. 798
B;
Isocr.
7, 56)
the sentence
may
rather be
considered an
example
of
'improper periphrasis'. However,
??
?.
constitutes the
'temporal frame',
and the co-existence of combi-
nations
containing participles
of various
degrees
of
substantivation
may
have stimulated
speakers
and authors to resort to a
peri-
phrasis.
A
parenthesis containing
a
perfect participle
such as IX
102, 3 '????a???
. . .
(?dt?? ?a? ?sa?
??
?pe??? teta??????)
s??ep?sp?-
?e???
s??es?p?pt??
??
t?
te????
does not
essentially
differ from the
inserted clauses examined
by Bj?rck.
Other
passages exhibiting
a
perfect participle
with
??
which refers to a state of affairs
existing
at the moment at which the events narrated came to
pass
are
e.g.
Hdt. I
68, 6;
II
168,
1. Without
questioning
the correctness of
Legrand's
translation of IV
32 e?e??? ?a?
?? ?a? S???a? . . . ???'
?s??d??
???
est?
pe?? ?pe??????? e??????a,
est? d? ?a?
??????
("c'est
chez ?.
qu'il
est
question
des
H.,
c'est aussi chez
H.")
there seems to be room for the observation that an
interpretation
?)
See P.
Chantraine,
Histoire du
parfait grec (Paris, 1927), 247
f.
;
Schwy-
zer, Griech.
Grammatik, I,
617;
812.
2)
Cf. also B. L.
Gildersleeve, Syntax of
Classical
Greek,
I
(New York,
1900),
122 ff.
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A REMARK ON PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK III
of this
sentence,
or of its
'prototype'
as nominal would not be
illegitimate1).
A similar remark
applies
to the 'durative' con-
struction
containing
those forms of e??a? which were as a rule
not omitted :
Soph.
Tr.
941
f. ??a??? ?????e?' ?? d???? es???'
??a /
. . .
??fa??s????? ????. Periphrasis by
means of a
perfect participle
seems to be
equivalent
to an
adjective
in cases such as Hdt. I
199, 5
6sa?
???
???
e?de??
te
?pa????a?
e?s? ?a?
?e???e??, ta??
apa?-
??ss??ta?,
dsa? de
????f??
a?t??? e?s? . . .
p??s?????s? ;
Thuc. II
4, 5?
The sentence Hdt. I
103,
?
p??
t?? d?
??a??? ??
p??ta
??????
??apef?????a?which
was
explained by
Stein as: pa. ?.
??
?. ??ap.?
may
at least
partially go
back to an
Original'
construction
p??
t. d. ?.
(predicate) ??
p.,
?. ?.
(apposition).
It is moreover a serious
imperfection
of both
studies,
that
by
Rosen as well as the book of the Swedish
author,
that
they
have
practically
disconnected their observations about the
periphrastic
forms from the
history
of the
perfect.
In ancient times the
plus-
quamperfect
not
only
was a
past
tense beside the ancient
perfect
:
?????e
"is
glad": ?e???e?
"was
glad"; t?????e
"is dead":
?te????e?
"was
dead",
but it could also indicate that a state or situation had
commenced in the
past
and continued to exist while other
pro-
cesses came to
pass
:
? 410
???' ?
??? ?d? ???? da?e??
??d?sde
?e???e?, /
??st??
ad t?t'
?f??e Ge??????
;
t
539
0<? d'
??????t? / a?????
e?
?e??????,
? d'
??
a????a
d?a?
????? 2).
As soon
as, however,
the
plusquamperfect
became usual to describe
pregnantly3),
or
rather,
in a 'fait-ac-
compli Darstellung' 4)
an occurrence
belonging
to the
past
as if
it had
already pre-existed
as the result of a former
process?cf.
Hdt. I
79
??
d? ??
(Cyrus)
ta?ta
(a rapid
march to
Sardes) ed??e,
?a?
?p??ee ?at?
t????
?
???sa?
?a?
t??
st?at??
?? t?? ??d???
a?t??
???e???
????s?? ??????ee ("he
had
already
come there and was
there");
Xen. Hell. VII
2,
9;
Anab. V
2, 15
?ste
??as???
. . .
?????,
?a?
?)
For the construction
compare
also
Schwyzer-Debrunner,
Griechische
Grammatik, II, 119.
2) Compare
also contexts such as E
696
t?? d' ???pe
????,
?at? d'
?f?a???? ????t* ?????
"was
already shed";
e
294;
see also ??
Chantraine,
Grammaire
hom?rique,
II, 200; J.
Humbert, Syntaxe grecque2 (Paris, 1954)
150; K?hner-Gerth, o.e., I, 152.
3) Schwyzer-Debrunner,
o.e., II,
288.
4)
W.
Havers,
Handbuch der erkl?renden
Syntax (Heidelberg, 1931), 41 f.;
219
f.
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112 A REMARK ON 'PERIPHRASTIC CONSTRUCTIONS IN GREEK
?????
e???e,
?a?
?????
??e?e???e?,
?a?
????e?
t?
?????? *)?,
it
began
to lose its fitness to fulfil the function
studied,
as far as the
peri-
phrastic
forms are
concerned,
by Bj?rck 2).
In his desire to
give
a
vivid and
graphical description
of the historical events an author
sometimes tends to
pass beyond
the limits of the above case of the
perfect participle
with the
past
of e??a?. The
type represented by
Hdt. IV
137, 3
'?st?a??? de
?????? ta?t?? ?p?de?????????
a?t??a
p??te? ?sa? tet?a?????? p??? ta?t?? t?? ??????, p??te??? t??
???t??-
de?
a??e??e??? may
be considered to have
originated
not
only
in the
trend to
replace
the 'difficult'
3)
forms in -ata? or
-at?,
but also in
the
tendency
to
substitute,
in a vivid narrative and under the
influence of the
anticipative activity
of
phantasy,
a resultative
or static verbal
category
for a narrative historical
past 4).
It
should, moreover,
be borne in mind that a
periphrastic
con-
struction was a
necessity
in those
frequent
cases in which the
author wanted to
express
a modification of the idea
expressed by
the
copula e??a??e.g. ''prove
to
be,
turn
out"?,
for instance
Soph.
Tr.
386 ??
??? ?????? /t???
???
pa???s?? ??pep??????? ????; 399>
413
? These combinations have no doubt
promoted
the
spread
of
periphrases
with
e??a?,
the more so as
???e??
etc.,
like
e??a?,
occurs
also without a
participial complement.
Utrecht,
van
Hogendorpstraat 13.
?)
"Die
lebendigste,
durch das
Polysyndeton
der kurzen S?tze noch
gesteigerte
Form der das Resultat
vorweggreifenden Erz?hlung;
denn das
Plqpf.
bezeichnet
T?tigkeiten
oder
Zust?nde,
welche vor anderen der
Vergangenheit angeh?rigen
schon vollendet und
eingetreten
und bis auf
den
Zeitpunkt
dieser ihre
Wirkung
erstreckt hatten"
(Rehdantz-Carnuth,
o.e., 71 f.).
2)
For
particulars concerning
the
history
of the Greek
perfect
see
J.
Wackernagel,
Studien zum
griechischen Perfektum (G?ttingen, 1904);
Chan-
traine,
Histoire du
parfait grec (see above).
3) Rosen, o.e., 136,
n.
g.
4)
Cf.
Havers,
I.e.
;
for the Latin
periphrasis
with habeo see
(M. Leumann-)
J.
B.
Hofmann,
Lateinische Grammatik
(M?nchen, 1928), 561.
E.
Schwyzer,
Griechische
Grammatik, I,
does not mention this
aspect
of the
development.
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