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30 Reading Passages: Classical

Reading Passages

 

Assignment

1. Read the entire passage aloud in Greek.

2. Vocabulary and commentary is provided for each sentence. For words that do not appear in the vocabulary, please use your dictionary.

3. Translate the passage. As you translate the sentences, pay careful attention to words that go together, such as prepositional phrases and relative clauses. Breaking the sentences up into logical units is oftentimes a better first approach than attempting to translate all the words in succession.

To download this assignment as a pdf, click here: AGE Readings 10.

 

Classical Readings

1. In his history of the Peloponnesian War (fought primarily between the πόλεις of Athens and Sparta), Thucydides documents the terms of a treaty made between the Spartans and the Persians in 412 BC. βασιλεύς here always refers to the King of Persia.

Ἐπὶ τοῖσδε ξυμμαχίαν ἐποιήσαντο πρὸς βασιλέα καὶ Τισσαφέρνην Λακεδαιμόνιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι.

ὁπόσην χώραν καὶ πόλεις βασιλεὺς ἔχει καὶ οἱ πατέρες οἱ βασιλέως εἶχον, βασιλέως ἔστω· καὶ ἐκ τούτων τῶν πόλεων ὁπόσα Ἀθηναίοις ἐφοίτα χρήματα ἢ ἄλλο τι, κωλυόντων κοινῇ βασιλεὺς καὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι ὅπως μήτε χρήματα λαμβάνωσιν Ἀθηναῖοι μήτε ἄλλο μηδέν. καὶ τὸν πόλεμον τὸν πρὸς Ἀθηναίους κοινῇ πολεμούντων βασιλεὺς καὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι· καὶ κατάλυσιν τοῦ πολέμου πρὸς Ἀθηναίους μὴ ἐξέστω ποιεῖσθαι, ἢν μὴ ἀμφοτέροις δοκῇ βασιλεῖ καὶ Λακεδαιμονίοις καὶ τοῖς ξυμμάχοις.

Thucydides 18.8

 

Sentence One

Ἐπὶ τοῖσδε ξυμμαχίαν ἐποιήσαντο πρὸς βασιλέα καὶ Τισσαφέρνην Λακεδαιμόνιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι.

Vocabulary:

ἐποιήσαντο (3rd pl) they made

Λακεδαιμόνιοι (nom pl); Λακεδαιμονίοις (dat pl) ὁ Spartans

ξυμμαχίαν (acc sg) ἡ alliance

ξύμμαχοι (nom pl); ξυμμάχοις (dat pl) ὁ allies

Τισσαφέρνην (acc sg) ὁ Tissaphernes (the Persian official representing Persia in this treaty)

Comments:

ἐπὶ:  Translating prepositions can be tricky. In this case, when ἐπὶ is used with τοῖσδε, it literally translates as “on these things,” but in the sense of “based upon these things (terms).”

πρὸς: Another preposition that may initially elude translation. Use context to come up with the best meaning. What nouns does this preposition govern?

καὶ… καὶ: Note that here, the first καὶ links two accusatives, and the second καὶ two nominatives. It is not a “both…and” construction.

 

Sentence Two

ὁπόσην χώραν καὶ πόλεις βασιλεὺς ἔχει καὶ οἱ πατέρες οἱ βασιλέως εἶχον, βασιλέως ἔστω·

Vocabulary:

εἶχον (3rd pl) held

ἔστω let it be

ὁπόσην (acc sg) ἡ however much, all that

χώραν (acc sg) ἡ territory

Comments:

ὁπόσην χώραν καὶ πόλεις βασιλεὺς ἔχει καὶ οἱ πατέρες οἱ βασιλέως εἶχον: This is a relative clause. ὁπόσην is a relative pronoun that here functions as an adjective. What noun does it modify?

οἱ πατέρες οἱ βασιλέως: The οἱ that modifies πατέρες is repeated. Why?

 

Sentence Three

καὶ ἐκ τούτων τῶν πόλεων ὁπόσα Ἀθηναίοις ἐφοίτα χρήματα ἢ ἄλλο τι, κωλυόντων κοινῇ βασιλεὺς καὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι ὅπως μήτε χρήματα λαμβάνωσιν Ἀθηναῖοι μήτε ἄλλο μηδέν.

Vocabulary:

Ἀθηναῖοι (nom pl); Ἀθηναίοις (dat pl); Ἀθηναίους (acc pl) ὁ Athenians

ἄλλο (nom/acc sg) τό other

ἐφοίτα (3rd sg) accrued

κοινῇ (adv.) in common, together

κωλυόντων (3rd pl) Let them prevent

λαμβάνωσιν ~ λαμβάνουσιν

μηδέν (nom/acc sg) τό nothing

ὁπόσα (nom/acc pl) τό however much, all that

ὅπως so that

τούτων (gen pl) these

Comments:

ὁπόσα Ἀθηναίοις ἐφοίτα χρήματα ἢ ἄλλο τι: This is a relative clause. ὁπόσα is a relative pronoun that here functions as an adjective. What noun does it modify? Note the accent on τι. Is this an interrogative or indefinite pronoun?

ἢ: Note the accent! This is a conjunction.

κωλυόντων: This form is an imperative. We cover imperatives in a later chapter. For now, translate the verb as “Let them prevent.” The “them” of this imperative is rendered in the nominative case in Greek.

ὅπως: This is a conjunction that introduces a Purpose Clause. Purpose clauses indicate the reason or purpose for which an action is done.

μήτε…μήτε: These negatives tend to link or join single words or clauses. What words are being linked in this sentence?

 

Sentence Four

καὶ τὸν πόλεμον τὸν πρὸς Ἀθηναίους κοινῇ πολεμούντων βασιλεὺς καὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι·

Vocabulary:

πόλεμον (acc sg) ὁ war

πολεμούντων Let them make war

Comments:

τὸν πόλεμον τὸν πρὸς Ἀθηναίους: The τὸν that modifies πόλεμον is repeated. Why?

πολεμούντων: As with κωλυόντων, above, this is an imperative that translates “Let them make war.” The “them” of this imperative is rendered in the nominative case in Greek.

 

Sentence Five

καὶ κατάλυσιν τοῦ πολέμου πρὸς Ἀθηναίους μὴ ἐξέστω ποιεῖσθαι, ἢν μὴ ἀμφοτέροις δοκῇ βασιλεῖ καὶ Λακεδαιμονίοις καὶ τοῖς ξυμμάχοις.

Vocabulary:

ἀμφοτέροις (dat pl) ὁ both

δοκῇ ~ δοκεῖ

ἐξέστω let it be possible

ἤν ~ εἰ

κατάλυσις –εως ἡ truce

ποιεῖσθαι ~ ποιεῖν

πολέμου (gen sg) ὁ war

Comments:

ἐξέστω: This verb takes a complementary infinitive.

δοκῇ ~ δοκεῖ: This form of δοκέω is often used impersonally. The subject of an impersonal verb is not rendered in Greek, and often is too vague to render from context. Translate as “it seems,” or “it seems best.” Other common examples of impersonal verbs include συμβαίνει “it happens,” ἔξεστι “it is possible/permitted,” and δηλοῖ “it is clear” (S 932-933). Many impersonal verbs take a dative, as here.

 

– τὸ τέλος –


 

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Reading Passages: Classical by Wilfred E. Major and Michael Laughy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.