Tag Archives: Greek

Fascinating Article on Latin Imperfect Subjunctive

Jay H. Jasonoff, “The Origin of the Italic Imperfect Subjunctive,” Historische Sprachforschung / Historical Linguistics 104 (1991): 84-105.

If you’re into the history of languages or morphological development, this article is a great resource. It’s quite dense, and is thus a slow read, but it’s well worth the effort to unpack it. Some highlights:

Italic languages originally had two ways of placing the action of a verb in the future. One was based on the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) subjunctive, which was formed with a vowel between the verb’s stem and the personal ending (like the Greek subjunctive λύῃς, which came from λύ + ε + εις) and the other was based on the PIE present desiderative, which was formed with an between the verb’s stem and personal ending (like the Greek future tense, λύσω). Ultimately, the PIE subjunctive form won out and became the primary way of forming the future tense in Italic languages.

Similarly, Italic languages expressed the pastness of an action in two ways. One came from the PIE perfect tense, which reduplicates the first syllable in a verb (Greek λέλυκα; seen in Latin perfect forms like tetigi). The other came from the PIE aorist, which adds an s between the verb’s stem and personal endings (Greek ἔλυσα; reflected in Latin perfect forms like dixi). Ultimately, the old PIE perfect and aorist were combined into a single verb form, the perfect, which explains why in Latin, the perfect tense carries both a perfective/resultative sense (“I have run three miles”) and an aoristic/undefined sense (“I ran three miles”).

When Italic lost the subjunctive form, which went to form the future tense, the only non-indicative mood it had left was the optative. The optative form, then, was co-opted for duty as the subjunctive. Ultimately, though, because the old optative became the subjunctive mood, Italic needed to fill in the gap left by the optative. Thus, it kept the non-past subjunctive (that is, the present and the perfect subjunctive forms) as true subjunctives (one degree separated from reality; “I would go running if it weren’t raining”), and it made the past subjunctives (the imperfect and the pluperfect subjunctives) into wanna-be optatives (two degrees separated from reality; “I might have gone running if it weren’t raining”).

Or, for those who are more visually-minded, here’s the same information, but as a picture:

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Greek Wednesday: Non-Past-Referring Aorist Indicatives

Note: This post is adapted from F. Beetham, “The Aorist Indicative,” Greece & Rome 42 (2002): 227-236, Frank Stagg, “The Abused Aorist,” JBL 91 (1972): 222-231, Herbert Weir Smyth, Greek Grammar (rev. Gordon M. Messing; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1956), 429-434, and Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 

A good many aorist indicative verbs should not be read as a past tense; in fact, D. A. Carson has estimated that perhaps 15% of the finite aorists in the New Testament do not refer to the past.[1] On the face of it, this number might not seem significant, but it means that, to take Carson literally, somewhere around 900 aorist indicatives in the NT do not refer to the past. So, obviously, understanding this phenomenon is very important for understanding the text of the NT. I’ll use examples from Classical Greek to illustrate the phenomenon, which can then be applied back to the NT.

1) Substituting for the future tense, in order to intensify the action of the verb.

Classical examples:

εἴ περ γάρ τε καὶ αὐτίκ’ Ὀλύμπιος οὐκ ἐτέλεσσεν,
ἔκ τε καὶ ὀψὲ τελεῖ, σύν τε μεγάλῳ ἀπέτισαν
σὺν σφῇσιν κεφαλῇσι γυναιξί τε καὶ τεκέεσσιν.

If he that rules Olympus fulfill it not here and now,
he will yet fulfill it hereafter, and they shall pay dearly
with their lives and with their wives and children.

(Homer, Iliad 4.160-162)

εἰ μέν κ’ αὖθι μένων Τρώων πόλιν ἀμφιμάχωμαι,
ὤλετο μέν μοι νόστος, ἀτὰρ κλέος ἄφθιτον ἔσται·
εἰ δέ κεν οἴκαδ’ ἵκωμι φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν,
ὤλετό μοι κλέος ἐσθλόν, ἐπὶ δηρὸν δέ μοι αἰὼν
ἔσσεται, οὐδέ κέ μ’ ὦκα τέλος θανάτοιο κιχείη.

If I stay here and fight, I shall lose my safe homecoming but I will have a glory that is unwilting: whereas if I go home my glory will die, but it will be a long time before the outcome of death shall take me.

(Homer, Iliad 9.412-416)

ἀπωλόμην ἄρ’, εἴ με δὴ λείψεις, γύναι.

I am lost, then, if you are going to leave me.

(Euripides, Alcestis 386)

NT examples:

πάντα ὅσα προσεύχεσθε καὶ αἰτεῖσθε, πιστεύετε ὅτι ἐλάβετε, καὶ ἔσται ὑμῖν.

Whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received [it], and it will be yours.

(Mk 11:24)

λέγει Ἰησοῦς· νῦν ἐδοξάσθη ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἐδοξάσθη ἐν αὐτῷ.

Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him.”

(Jn 13:31)

2) Using the aorist to express a general truth (like a proverb or a maxim) or to make a general description.

Classical examples:

παθὼν δέ τε νήπιος ἔγνω.

A fool learns by experience.

(Hesiod, Works and Days 218)

οἱ τύραννοι καὶ οἱ τὰς ὀλιγαρχίας ἔχοντες μάλιστα δύνανται τιμᾶν· πλούσιον γὰρ ὃν ἂν βούλωνται παραχρῆμ’ ἐποίησαν.

Tyrants and oligarchs have an immense advantage in that they can make anyone they choose instantaneously rich.

(Demosthenes, Speeches 20.15)

φᾶρος δὲ αὐτημερὸν ἐξυφήναντες οἱ ἱρέες κατ’ ὦν ἔδησαν ἑνὸς ἑωυτῶν μίτρῃ τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς

On the day of the festival, the priests weave a cloth and bind it as a headband on the eyes of one of their number.

(Herodotus, Histories 2.122)

This aorist is also often equivalent to a conditional statement.

ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἀθυμοῦντες ἄνδρες οὔπω τρόπαιον ἔστησαν, ὦ Κριτία

But men of faint heart never yet set up a trophy, Critias.
(= If there is a disheartened man, he has never yet set up a trophy.)

(Plato, Critias 108c)

And it also occurs in similes pretty frequently in Homer.

ὡς δ’ ὅτε τίς τε δράκοντα ἰδὼν παλίνορσος ἀπέστη
οὔρεος ἐν βήσσῃς, ὑπό τε τρόμος ἔλλαβε γυῖα,
ἂψ δ’ ἀνεχώρησεν, ὦχρός τέ μιν εἷλε παρειάς,
ὣς αὖτις καθ’ ὅμιλον ἔδυ Τρώων ἀγερώχων
δείσας Ἀτρέος υἱὸν Ἀλέξανδρος θεοειδής.

As one who starts back affrighted, trembling and pale, when he comes suddenly upon a serpent in some mountain glade, even so did Alexander plunge into the throng of Trojan warriors, terror-stricken at the sight of the son Atreus.

(Homer, Iliad 3.33-37)

NT examples:

ἑπὶ τῆς Μωϋσέως καθέδρας ἐκάθισαν οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι.

The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat.

(Matt 23:3)

ἐξηράνθη ὁ χόρτος, καὶ τὸ ἄνθος ἐξέπεσεν.

The grass withers and the flower falls off.

(1 Pet 1:24)

3) The aorist with τί οὖν οὐ and τί οὐ takes the place of the present tense to express surprise that something hasn’t been done.

Classical examples:

εἴ τινα ἔχεις τῶν ῥητόρων τοιοῦτον εἰπεῖν, τί οὐχὶ καὶ ἐμοὶ αὐτὸν ἔφρασας τίς ἐστιν;

If you have any orator of this kind that you can mention, without more ado tell me who he is!

(Plato, Gorgias 503b)

Τί οὖν, ἔφη ὁ Ἱέρων, οὐχὶ καὶ σύ, ἐπεὶ νῦν γε ἔτι ἰδιώτης εἶ, ὑπέμνησάς με τὰ ἐν τῷ ἰδιωτικῷ βίῳ;

Why, then,” said the Priest, “don’t you, since you are still your own person, remind me about what happens in private life?”

(Xenophon, Hiero 1.3)

NT examples:

καὶ διελογίζοντο πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς λέγοντες· ἐὰν εἴπωμεν· ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, ἐρεῖ· διὰ τί [οὖν] οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ;

And they discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why don’t you believe him?'”

(Mk 11:31; par. Matt 21:25; Lk 20:5)

Τότε προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ κατ᾿ ἰδίαν εἶπον· διὰ τί ἡμεῖς οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτό;

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why can’t we cast it out?”

(Matt 17:19)


1. D. A. Carson, “An Introduction to the Porter/Fanning Debate,” in Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics. JSNTSS 80 (1993), 25.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Greek Wednesday: Conjunctions in the NT

Here’s a guide I made a couple of years ago to help translate the conjunctions of the Greek NT. I based it off of the discussion of conjunctions in Dan Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, though I expanded on Wallace’s treatment to include all the conjunctions in the NT, not just the more common ones. I hope you find it useful.


Filed under Uncategorized

Greek Wednesday: A Question

Didache 2:7 is an interesting sentence, and it’s puzzling me quite a bit. Here’s the Greek, followed by a published translation and then my own:

οὐ μισήσεις πάντα ἄνθρωπον, ἀλλὰ οὓς μὲν ἐλέγξεις, περὶ δὲ ὧν προσεύξῃ, οὓς δὲ ἀγαπήσεις ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν σου

You shall not hate any one; instead you shall reprove some, and pray for some, and some you shall love more than your own life.

Do not hate any person. Instead: on the one hand, reprove them, and on the other hand, pray for them and love them more than you love your own soul.

I’m pretty sure that the translator, in talking about three different groups, is trying to convey the force of the μὲν . . .  δὲ . . . δὲ (“on the one hand . . . on the other hand . . . and on the other hand”) with the plural pronouns, with the plural pronouns being distinct from the singular ἄνθρωπον (anthrōpon; “man,” “person”). I think it might make better sense to take the plural relative pronouns as depending on the plural πάντα (panta; “all”); in that case, the three pronouns would be referring to the same group, which is “all people.”

Jude 22-23 has a nearly identical construction. Here’s the Greek, followed by the ESV, then my translation:

22 Καὶ οὓς μὲν ἐλεᾶτε διακρινομένους,  23 οὓς δὲ σῴζετε ἐκ πυρὸς ἁρπάζοντες, οὓς δὲ ἐλεᾶτε ἐν φόβῳ μισοῦντες καὶ τὸν ἀπὸ τῆς σαρκὸς ἐσπιλωμένον χιτῶνα.

22 And have mercy on those who doubt;  23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

22 On the one hand, have mercy on those who are in doubt, 23 and on the other hand, deliver them by snatching them from the fire, and have mercy on them with fear, by hating even the garment that has been stained by the flesh.

I looked around this afternoon, and I couldn’t find anything in any grammars (Wallace, Robertson, BDF, Funk, or Smyth) about this construction referring to different groups. I suppose it could be one of those things that’s just generally known, but that’s not a very satisfying category.

What do you think? Do you have an insight into this sort of construction? Do you know where I could read more about it, if someone has written about it?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Greek Wednesday: εἴ γε in Paul

I’m working on a paper, so today’s Greek Wednesday will be short. The paper is on the Adam tradition in 2 Cor 5:1-10, and I ran across this interesting quote while I was researching:

In Pauline usage, εἴ γε introduces a statement that makes explicit an assumption that lay behind some preceding assertion (Rom 5:6, if the true reading; Gal 3:4; Col 1:23; Eph 3:2; 4:21) and may thus also guard against a possible misinterpretation (Gal 3:4; Col 1:23).

Murray J. Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 2005), 384.

Here are Harris’s examples, because you’re busy people and don’t have time to go looking them up yourselves (English is the NRSV; I omit Rom 5:6, because the reading is dubious):

Galatians 3:3-4:
3 οὕτως ἀνόητοί ἐστε, ἐναρξάμενοι πνεύματι νῦν σαρκὶ ἐπιτελεῖσθε;  4 τοσαῦτα ἐπάθετε εἰκῇ; εἴ γε καὶ εἰκῇ.
3 Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?  4 Did you experience so much for nothing? — if it really was for nothing.

Colossians 1:21-23:
21 Καὶ ὑμᾶς ποτε ὄντας ἀπηλλοτριωμένους καὶ ἐχθροὺς τῇ διανοίᾳ ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς πονηροῖς,  22 νυνὶ δὲ ἀποκατήλλαξεν ἐν τῷ σώματι τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ διὰ τοῦ θανάτου παραστῆσαι ὑμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους καὶ ἀνεγκλήτους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ,  23 εἴ γε ἐπιμένετε τῇ πίστει τεθεμελιωμένοι καὶ ἑδραῖοι καὶ μὴ μετακινούμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ εὐαγγελίου οὗ ἠκούσατε, τοῦ κηρυχθέντος ἐν πάσῃ κτίσει τῇ ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν, οὗ ἐγενόμην ἐγὼ Παῦλος διάκονος.
21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,  22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him —  23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

Ephesians 3:1-3:
1 Τούτου χάριν ἐγὼ Παῦλος ὁ δέσμιος τοῦ Χριστοῦ [Ἰησοῦ] ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν τῶν ἐθνῶν  2  εἴ γε ἠκούσατε τὴν οἰκονομίαν τῆς χάριτος τοῦ θεοῦ τῆς δοθείσης μοι εἰς ὑμᾶς,  3 [ὅτι] κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν ἐγνωρίσθη μοι τὸ μυστήριον, καθὼς προέγραψα ἐν ὀλίγῳ,
1 This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—  2 for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you,  3 and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words,

Ephesians 4:20-24:
20 ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν Χριστόν,  21 εἴ γε αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδάχθητε, καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ,  22 ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς κατὰ τὴν προτέραν ἀναστροφὴν τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν φθειρόμενον κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τῆς ἀπάτης,  23 ἀνανεοῦσθαι δὲ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν  24 καὶ ἐνδύσασθαι τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ὁσιότητι τῆς ἀληθείας.
20 That is not the way you learned Christ!  21 For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus.  22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts,  23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Moral Instruction in Didache 3

Inspired by yesterday’s post about γίνομαι with a predicate substantive, here’s a passage with quite a bit of that construction, and with quite a bit of interesting moral instruction:

My child, flee from everything evil — even  flee from everything similar to evil. Do not prove to be quick to anger (since anger is the path that leads to murder), or jealous, or contentious, or hot-tempered, because each and every one of these things gives birth to murder.

My child, do not prove to be lustful (since lust is the path that leads to illicit sex), or foul-mouthed, or someone who lets their eyes roam, because each and every one of these things gives birth to adultery.

My child, do not prove to be a fortune-teller (since it is the path that leads to idolatry), or use charms and incantations to get what you want, or practice astrology, or use magic to try and purify people — or even wish to see such things — because each and every one of these things gives birth to idolatry.

My child, do not prove to be a liar (since untruthfulness is the path that leads to theft), or fond of money, or conceited, because each and every one of these things gives birth to theft.

My child, do not prove to be a grumbler (since it is the path that leads to blasphemy), or be arrogant and stubborn, or evil-minded, because each and every one of these things gives birth to blasphemy.

But be humble, since the meek will inherit the earth. Become patient, and compassionate, and innocent, and quiet, and good, and continually in awe of the things that you heard.

Do not exalt yourself, and do not admit arrogance into your soul. Do not let your soul be united with the arrogant; rather, associate with the righteous and the lowly. Receive the things that happen to you as if they were good things, since you know that nothing happens apart from God.

(A note about this translation: this is from a translation of the Didache that I did a year or so ago. I use italics to represent emphasis in the Greek that is normally lost in English translation; Greek emphasizes words and phrases through changing word order, while in English, we have to change the formatting of the text to achieve the same effect.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Greek and Latin, in Authentic Pronunciation

Real quick post about a resource that I (and I hope others) have found really interesting and even useful: the Society for the Oral Reading of Greek and Latin Literature. They have quite a few recordings on their site of famous selections of ancient Greek and Latin, recited in authentic historical pronunciation. The ones I’ve found most interesting are Homer, Demosthenes, and AristophanesCicero, and Catullus, though all the others are also really informative. The only thing cooler than this site in regards to ancient Greek pronunciation, I think, is W. B. Stanford’s The Sound of Greek (which comes with a 33 1/3 record in the back!).

Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Γίνομαι + predicate substantive

This post riffs off of something I read in Mastronarde’s commentary on Medea (which, by now, is familiar from several editions of Greek Wednesday). Here’s the quote:

“Proves to be” or “shows itself to be” or the like is frequently the best English equivalent for γίγνομαι followed by a predicate noun or adjective.

[Donald J. Mastronarde, Euripides: Medea (Cambride: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 165.]

I think this idea holds water in later Greek, as well as the Classical Greek Mastronarde is referencing. Take several examples from the NT:

(N.B.: I have limited these examples to γίνομαι in the imperative, but only to make the search easier for me; the rule applies to γίνομαι in any mood.)

Matthew 10:16  

  • Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς ὡς πρόβατα ἐν μέσῳ λύκων· γίνεσθε οὖν φρόνιμοι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις καὶ ἀκέραιοι ὡς αἱ περιστεραί.
  • Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (ESV)
  • Look, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves, so prove yourselves to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Personal translation)

Luke 12:40

  • καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι, ὅτι ᾗ ὥρᾳ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται.
  • You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (ESV)
  • You also — show yourselves to be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not know. (Personal translation)

John 20:27

  • εἶτα λέγει τῷ Θωμᾷ· φέρε τὸν δάκτυλόν σου ὧδε καὶ ἴδε τὰς χεῖράς μου καὶ φέρε τὴν χεῖρά σου καὶ βάλε εἰς τὴν πλευράν μου, καὶ μὴ γίνου ἄπιστος ἀλλὰ πιστός.
  • Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” (ESV)
  • Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; put your hand here and push it into my side. Don’t prove to be faithless; rather, show yourself to be faithful.” (Personal translation)

1 Corinthians 7:23

  • τιμῆς ἠγοράσθητε· μὴ γίνεσθε δοῦλοι ἀνθρώπων.
  • You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. (ESV)
  • You were bought at a price; do not prove yourselves to be slaves to men. (Personal translation)

In each case, the change in meaning is subtle but significant. Translating γίνου/γίνεσθε as “prove to be” or “show yourself to be” implies a personal development, a là sanctification, that is simply not present with a simple command to “be” something.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Interesting Article on “Fear” in Ancient Greek

Here’s a quote:

By now we have seen that the primal emotion of collective fear, as conveyed by the word ekplēxis, transcends other emotions in the realm of theatrical performance. . . . This transcendent emotion of primal fear is the primary emotion of ancient Greek theater, and the emotions of sorrow and anger and hate and love and even of happiness are all secondary to it.

Gregory Nagy, “The Subjectivity of Fear as Reflected in Ancient Greek Wording,” Dialogues 5 (2010): 29–45.

(HT: rogueclassicism)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Greek Wednesday: Structural Elements in Greek Tragedy, pt. 3

[This guide is adapted from Donald J. Mastronarde, Euripides: Medea (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 74-75. All links in citations point to Perseus.]

Note: This is part three in a series. See parts one and two.

Normally, the lyric portions of tragedies — particularly, choral songs — are written in antistrophic composition. In antistrophic composition, stanzas are grouped in pairs. The two stanzas in the pair have the same metrical pattern, but the form of each pair is unique. The first stanza of the pair is called the strophe, and the second stanza, with a metrical pattern corresponding to the first, is called the antistrophe.

The number of pairs may vary, but in mature tragedy, the majority of choral songs have two or three pairs. For instance, in Euripides’ Medea, the stasimons each have two such pairs:

410 ἄνω ποταμῶν ἱερῶν χωροῦσι παγαί,
καὶ δίκα καὶ πάντα πάλιν στρέφεται·
ἀνδράσι μὲν δόλιαι βουλαί, θεῶν δ’
οὐκέτι πίστις ἄραρεν.
415 τὰν δ’ ἐμὰν εὔκλειαν ἔχειν βιοτὰν στρέψουσι φᾶμαι·
ἔρχεται τιμὰ γυναικείῳ γένει·
οὐκέτι δυσκέλαδος
420 φάμα γυναῖκας ἕξει.

μοῦσαι δὲ παλαιγενέων λήξουσ’ ἀοιδῶν
τὰν ἐμὰν ὑμνεῦσαι ἀπιστοσύναν.
οὐ γὰρ ἐν ἁμετέρᾳ γνώμᾳ λύρας
425 ὤπασε θέσπιν ἀοιδὰν
Φοῖβος ἁγήτωρ μελέων· ἐπεὶ ἀντάχησ’ ἂν ὕμνον
ἀρσένων γέννᾳ. μακρὸς δ’ αἰὼν ἔχει
πολλὰ μὲν ἁμετέραν
430 ἀνδρῶν τε μοῖραν εἰπεῖν.

σὺ δ’ ἐκ μὲν οἴκων πατρίων ἔπλευσας
μαινομένᾳ κραδίᾳ διδύμους ὁρίσασα Πόν-
435 του πέτρας· ἐπὶ δὲ ξένᾳ
ναίεις χθονί, τᾶς ἀνάν-
δρου κοίτας ὀλέσασα λέκτρον,
τάλαινα, φυγὰς δὲ χώ-
438b ρας ἄτιμος ἐλαύνῃ.

βέβακε δ’ ὅρκων χάρις, οὐδ’ ἔτ’ αἰδὼς
440 Ἑλλάδι τᾷ μεγάλᾳ μένει, αἰθερία δ’ ἀνέ-
πτα. σοὶ δ’ οὔτε πατρὸς δόμοι,
δύστανε, μεθορμίσα-
σθαι μόχθων πάρα, σῶν τε λέκτρων
ἄλλα βασίλεια κρείσ-
445 σων δόμοισιν ἐπέστα.

(Euripides, Medea 410-445)

Usually, the antistrophe follows immediately after the strophe, but a short stanza called a mesode occasionally intervenes (an innovation by Aeschylus, which Euripides takes up in his late plays; source):

800 οἵ τ’ ἔσω δωμάτων
πλουτογαθῆ μυχὸν νομίζετε,
κλῦτε, σύμφρονες θεοί·
ἄγετε τῶν πάλαι πεπραγμένων
λύσασθ’ αἷμα προσφάτοις δίκαις.
805 γέρων φόνος μηκέτ’ ἐν δόμοις τέκοι.

τὸ δὲ καλῶς κτίμενον ὦ μέγα ναίων
στόμιον, εὖ δὸς ἀνιδεῖν δόμον ἀνδρός,
καί νιν ἐλευθερίας
λαμπρὸν ἰδεῖν φιλίοις
810 ὄμμασιν δνοφερᾶς καλύπτρας.

ξυλλάβοι δ’ ἐνδίκως
παῖς ὁ Μαίας, ἐπεὶ φορώτατος
πρᾶξιν οὐρίαν θέλων·
815 πολλὰ δ’ ἄλλα φανεῖ χρηίζων κρυπτά.
ἄσκοπον δ’ ἔπος λέγων
νύκτα πρό τ’ ὀμμάτων σκότον φέρει,
καθ’ ἡμέραν δ’ οὐδὲν ἐμφανέστερος.

(Aeschylus, Libation Bearers 800-818)

Or the response may be at considerable distance:

ἄιες ὤ, ἔκλυες ὤ,
ἀνήκουστα τᾶς
τυράννου πάθεα μέλεα θρεομένας;
ὀλοίμαν ἔγωγε πρὶν σᾶν, φίλα,
365 κατανύσαι φρενῶν. ἰώ μοι, φεῦ φεῦ·
ὦ τάλαινα τῶνδ’ ἀλγέων·
ὦ πόνοι τρέφοντες βροτούς.
ὄλωλας, ἐξέφηνας ἐς φάος κακά.
τίς σε παναμέριος ὅδε χρόνος μένει;
370 τελευτάσεταί τι καινὸν δόμοις.
ἄσημα δ’ οὐκέτ’ ἐστὶν οἷ φθίνει τύχα
Κύπριδος, ὦ τάλαινα παῖ Κρησία.
. . .
τάλανες ὦ κακοτυχεῖς
γυναικῶν πότμοι.
τίν’ ἢ νῦν τέχναν ἔχομεν ἢ λόγον
670 σφαλεῖσαι κάθαμμα λύειν λόγου;
ἐτύχομεν δίκας. ἰὼ γᾶ καὶ φῶς·
πᾷ ποτ’ ἐξαλύξω τύχας;
πῶς δὲ πῆμα κρύψω, φίλαι;
675 τίς ἂν θεῶν ἀρωγὸς ἢ τίς ἂν βροτῶν
πάρεδρος ἢ ξυνεργὸς ἀδίκων ἔργων
φανείη; τὸ γὰρ παρ’ ἡμῖν πάθος
πέραν δυσεκπέρατον ἔρχεται βίου.
κακοτυχεστάτα γυναικῶν ἐγώ.

(Euripides, Hippolytus 362-372, 669-679)

Sometimes, a choral ode will end with an additional stanza that is not part of a pair; this unpaired stanza is called an epode:

205 ἰαχὰν ἄιον πολύστονον
γόων, λιγυρὰ δ’ ἄχεα μογερὰ
βοᾷ τὸν ἐν λέχει προδόταν κακόνυμφον·
θεοκλυτεῖ δ’ ἄδικα
παθοῦσα τὰν Ζηνὸς ὁρ-
κίαν Θέμιν, ἅ νιν ἔβασεν
210 Ἑλλάδ’ ἐς ἀντίπορον
δι’ ἅλα νύχιον ἐφ’ ἁλμυρὰν
Πόντου κλῇδ’ ἀπέρατον.

(Euripides, Medea 205-12)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized