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Classical Greek Online

Lesson 4

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

Herodotus, often referred to as the father of history, provided no information about himself. He is said to have been born about 484 B.C. in Caria, Asia Minor, and died about 430 B.C. in southern Italy. The aim of his history is stated in the first sentence, which is considered one of the greatest ever written; it is broken up here for ease of treatment. In my view, this sentence provided the pattern of the first sentence of Luke's Gospel. In the course of setting out to provide a history of the conflict between the Greeks and the Persians he not only describes the rise of the Persian Empire but also that of Egypt and Greece. His description is based on wide travels that took him throughout the countries on the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea and also into Scythia, the area north of the Black Sea. That area he visited before his travels in Egypt, where he went as far south as Assuan. The nine books of his History include highly interesting accounts such as that of Solon with the Lydian ruler, Croesus, which was formerly included in elementary grade school readers. Recalling Solon's accounts of fortunate men, Croesus repeated Solon's name when he was to be burned at the stake by his Persian conqueror, Cyrus; on his explanation for recalling Solon he was freed. While some of these are considered mythical, his unparalleled accounts provide information about Greece, Asia Minor, and Persia that is not recorded elsewhere.

Reading and Textual Analysis

Section 3 of Book I ascribes the initial enmity between the Greeks and the Persians to the rape of Helen by Paris. The previous section tells of other rapes, including that of Medea by the Greeks, which by his account led Paris to abduct Helen. In a sense then, Herodotus begins his history from the epics of Homer.

Hêrodotou Halikarnêsseos historiês apodexis hêde, # History I.1

  • Hêrodotou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Hêerodotos> Herodotus -- of Herodotus
  • Halikarnêsseos -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Halikarnêseus> Halicarnassian -- the Halicarnassian
  • historiês -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <historia> inquiry, history -- of the history
  • apodexis -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <apodexis> exposition, publication -- exposition
  • hêde -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hode> this -- this

hôs mête ta genomena ex anthrôpôn tô chronô exitêla genêtai,

  • hôs -- conjunction; <hôs> as, thus -- so that
  • mête -- adverb; <mête> and not, neither -- neither
  • ta -- article; nominative plural neuter of <ho> the -- the
  • genomena -- participle used as substantive; nominative plural neuter of present participle middle of <gignomai> happen, become -- events
  • ex -- preposition; <ex> from, out of -- by
  • anthrôpôn -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <anthrôpos> human being -- by humans
  • -- article; dative singular masculine of <ho> the -- the
  • chronô -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <chronos> time -- in time
  • exitêla -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <exitêlos> fading, forgotten -- forgotten
  • genêtai -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist middle of <gignomai> happen, become -- become

mête erga megala te kai thômasta, ta men Hellêsi ta de barbaroisi apodechthenta, aklea genêtai,

  • mête -- adverb; <mête> and not, neither -- nor
  • erga -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <ergon> work, deed -- deeds
  • megala -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <megalos> great -- great
  • te -- conjunction; <te> and -- and
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • thômasta -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <thômastos> wonderful -- wonderful
  • ta -- article; nominative plural neuter of <ho> the -- those
  • men -- particle; <men> on the one hand -- on the one hand
  • Hellêsi -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <Hellên> Greek -- by Greeks
  • ta -- article; nominative plural neuter of <ho> the -- those
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- on the other hand
  • barbaroisi -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <barbaros> foreigner, non-Greek -- others than Greeks
  • apodechthenta -- verb; nominative plural neuter of aorist participle passive of <apodeiknumi> propose -- performed
  • aklea -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <akleos> without fame -- without fame
  • genêtai -- deponent verb; 3rd person singular aorist middle of <gignomai> happen, become -- may be

ta te alla kai di' hên aitiên epolemêsan allêloisi.

  • ta -- article; nominative plural neuter of <ho> the -- and
  • te -- conjunction; <te> and -- and
  • alla -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <allos> other -- other
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • di' -- preposition; <dia> through, by -- because
  • hên -- possessive pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <hos> his -- the
  • aitiên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <aitia> cause, reason -- reason
  • epolemêsan -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <polemeô> fight, be at war -- they fought
  • allêloisi -- pronoun; dative plural masculine of <allêlôn> one another -- with one another

Deuterê de legousi geneê meta tauta Alexandron ton Priamou, akêkoota tauta, ethelêsai hoi ek tês Hellados di' harpagês genesthai gunaika, # History I.3

  • deuterê -- adjective; dative singular feminine of <deuteros> second -- in the second
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- then
  • legousi -- verb; 3rd person plural present of <legô> say -- they say
  • geneê -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <geneê> family, generation, race -- generation
  • meta -- preposition; <meta> after, with -- after
  • tauta -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural neuter of <houtos> this -- these things
  • Alexandron -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <Alexandros> Alexandros -- Alexandros = Paris
  • ton -- article; accusative singular masculine of <ho> the -- the (son)
  • Priamou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Priamos> Priam -- of Priam
  • akêkoota -- verb; nominative plural neuter of perfect participle of <akouô> hear, listen -- having been heard
  • tauta -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative plural neuter of <houtos> this -- these things
  • ethelêsai -- verb; infinitive aorist of <ethelô> wish, want -- wanted
  • hoi -- reflexive pronoun; dative singular masculine of <spheis> they -- for himself
  • ek -- preposition; <ek> from, out of -- out of
  • tês -- article; genitive singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • Hellados -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Hellas> Greece -- Greece
  • di' -- preposition; <dia> through, by -- through
  • harpagês -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <harpagê> abduction -- abduction
  • genesthai -- deponent verb; infinitive aorist of <gignomai> happen, become -- become
  • gunaika -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <gunê> woman -- wife

epistamenon pantôs hoti ou dôsei dikas.

  • epistamenon -- deponent verb; accusative singular masculine of present participle of <epistamai> know -- knowing
  • pantôs -- adverb; <pantôs> altogether -- fully well
  • hoti -- conjunction; <hoti> because, that -- that
  • ou -- particle; <ou> not -- not
  • dôsei -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive of <didômi> give -- he would...make
  • dikas -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <dikê> custom, right -- amends

outô dê harpasantos autou Helenên.

  • outô -- adverb; <outô> thus -- and so
  • -- particle; <> indeed -- indeed
  • harpasantos -- verb; genitive singular masculine of <harpazô> carry off -- carried off
  • autou -- pronoun; genitive singular masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- he
  • Helenên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Helenê> Helen -- Helen

toisi Hellêsi doxai prôton pempsantas aggelous apaiteein te Helenên kai dikas tês harpagês aiteein.

  • toisi -- article; dative plural masculine of <ho> the -- the
  • Hellêsi -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <Hellên> Greek -- Greeks
  • doxai -- verb; aorist infinitive of <dokeô> seem, think -- it was resolved
  • prôton -- adverb; <prôton> first -- first
  • pempsantas -- verb; accusative plural masculine of aorist participle of <pempô> send -- sent
  • aggelous -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <aggelos> messenger -- messengers
  • apaiteein -- verb; infinitive of <apaiteô> request -- to demand back
  • te -- conjunction; <te> and -- and
  • Helenên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Helenê> Helen -- Helen
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • dikas -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <dikê> custom, right -- reparations
  • tês -- article; genitive singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • harpagês -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <harpagê> abduction -- abduction
  • aiteein -- verb; infinitive present, of <aiteô> request -- to request

tous de, proisomenôn tauta, propherein sphi Mêdeiês tên harpagên.

  • tous -- article; accusative plural masculine of <ho> the -- these
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- but
  • proisomenôn -- verb; genitive plural neuter of aorist participle of <propherô> bring forth -- when they proposed
  • tauta -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural neuter of <houtos> this -- these things
  • propherein -- verb; infinitive of <propherô> bring forth -- (the Trojans) brought up
  • sphi -- reflexive pronoun; dative plural masculine of <spheis> they -- they
  • Mêdeiês -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <Mêdeia> Medea -- of Medea
  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • harpagên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <harpagê> abduction -- abduction

hôs ou dontes autoi dikas oude ekdontes apaiteontôn bouloiato sphi par' allôn dikas ginesthai.

  • hôs -- conjunction; <hôs> as, thus -- so that
  • ou -- particle; <ou> not -- not
  • dontes -- verb; nominative plural masculine of aorist participle of <didômi> give -- (they had...) given
  • autoi -- pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <autos> oneself, he -- themselves
  • dikas -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <dikê> custom, right -- satisfaction
  • oude -- particle; <oude> not -- and...not
  • ekdontes -- verb; nominative plural masculine of aorist participle of <ekdidômi> give up -- having given up
  • apaiteontôn -- verb; genitive plural neuter of present participle of <apaiteô> request -- (what was) requested
  • bouloiato -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist optative of <boulomai> wish, request -- they wished (that)
  • sphi -- reflexive pronoun; dative plural masculine of <spheis> they -- for themselves
  • par' -- preposition; <para> from, of -- by
  • allôn -- adjective; genitive plural masculine of <allos> other -- others
  • dikas -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <dikê> custom, right -- reparations
  • ginesthai -- deponent verb; aorist infinitive of <gignomai> happen, become -- be provided

Mechri men ôn toutou harpagas mounas einai par' allêlôn. # History I.4

  • mechri -- preposition; <mechri> until -- up to
  • men -- particle; <men> on the one hand -- indeed
  • ôn -- verb; present participle nominative singular masculine of <eimi> I am -- being
  • toutou -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular neuter of <houtos> this -- this point
  • harpagas -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <harpagê> abduction -- abductions
  • mounas -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <mounos> alone -- only
  • einai -- verb; infinitive of <eimi> I am -- (there) were
  • par' -- preposition; <para> from, of -- by
  • allêlôn -- pronoun; genitive plural masculine of <allêlôn> one another -- one another

to de apo toutou Hellênas dê megalôs aitious genesthai.

  • to -- article; accusative singular neuter of <ho> the -- in regard to this
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- and
  • apo -- preposition; <apo> from -- from
  • toutou -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular neuter of <houtos> this -- this point
  • Hellênas -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <Hellên> Greek -- the Greeks
  • -- particle; <> indeed -- indeed
  • megalôs -- adverb; <megalôs> greatly -- greatly
  • aitious -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <aitios> blameworthy -- blameworthy
  • genesthai -- deponent verb; infinitive aorist of <gignomai> happen, become -- became

proterous gar arxai strateuesthai es tên Asiên ê spheas es tên Eurôpên.

  • proterous -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <proteros> first, before -- before
  • gar -- conjunction; <gar> for -- for
  • arxai -- verb; infinitive aorist of <archô> begin -- (they) began
  • strateuesthai -- verb; infinitive middle of <strateuô> take the field, attack -- make war
  • es -- preposition; <es> towards -- against
  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • Asiên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Asia> Asia -- Asia
  • ê -- conjunction; <ê> or, than -- than
  • spheas -- reflexive pronoun; accusative plural masculine of <spheis> they -- they
  • es -- preposition; <es> towards -- against
  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • Eurôpên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Eurôpê> Europe -- Europe

Hellênas de Lakedaimoniês heineken gunaikos stolon megan sunageirai kai epeita elthontas es tên Asiên tên Priamou dunamin katelein.

  • Hellênas -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <Hellên> Greek -- the Greeks
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- and
  • Lakedaimoniês -- adjective; genitive singular feminine of <Lakedaimonios> Lacedemonian, Spartan -- Lacedemonian
  • heineken -- preposition; <heineken> because of -- because of
  • gunaikos -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <gunê> woman -- woman
  • stolon -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <stolos> army -- army
  • megan -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <megas> great -- great
  • sunageirai -- verb; infinitive aorist of <sunageirô> assemble -- assembled
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • epeita -- adverb; <epeita> thereupon -- thereupon
  • elthontas -- verb; accusative plural masculine of aorist participle of <erchomai> come, go -- went
  • es -- preposition; <es> towards -- to
  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • Asiên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Asia> Asia -- Asia
  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • Priamou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Priamos> Priam -- of Priam
  • dunamin -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <dunamis> power -- power
  • katelein -- verb; infinitive aorist of <kathaireô> take down, destroy -- destroyed

apo toutou aiei hêgêsasthai to Hellênikon sphisi einai polemion,

  • apo -- preposition; <apo> from -- from
  • toutou -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular neuter of <houtos> this -- this (time)
  • aiei -- adverb; <aiei> always -- always
  • hêgêsasthai -- deponent verb; infinitive aorist of <hêgeomai> lead, regard, rule -- (we have) regarded
  • to -- article; accusative singular neuter of <ho> the -- the
  • Hellênikon -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <Hellênikos> Greek -- Greeks
  • sphisi -- reflexive pronoun; dative plural masculine of <spheis> they -- to us
  • einai -- verb; infinitive of <eimi> I am -- to be
  • polemion -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <polemios> hostile, inimical -- hostile

tên gar Asiên kai ta enoikeonta ethnea barbara oikêieuntai hoi Persai, tên de Eurôpên kai to Hellênikon hêgêntai kechôristhai.

  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • gar -- conjunction; <gar> for -- for
  • Asiên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Asia> Asia -- Asia
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • ta -- article; accusative plural neuter of <ho> the -- the
  • enoikeonta -- verb; accusative plural neuter of present participle of <enoikeô> dwelling in -- inhabiting
  • ethnea -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <ethnos> nation, people, tribe -- nations
  • barbara -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <barbaros> foreign, not Greek -- foreign
  • oikêieuntai -- verb; 3rd person singular present middle of <oikêieuô> claim -- claim (for themselves)
  • hoi -- article; nominative plural masculine of <ho> the -- the
  • Persai -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <Persês> Persian -- Persians
  • tên -- article; accusative singular feminine of <ho> the -- the
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- but
  • Eurôpên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Eurôpê> Europe -- Europe
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • to -- article; accusative singular neuter of <ho> the -- the
  • Hellênikon -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <Hellênikos> Greek -- Greeks
  • hêgêntai -- deponent verb; 3rd person plural present of <hêgeomai> lead, regard, rule -- they consider
  • kechôristhai -- verb; infinitive perfect passive of <chôrizô> separate -- to be separate

Lesson Text

Hêrodotou Halikarnêsseos historiês apodexis hêde, hôs mête ta genomena ex anthrôpôn tô chronô exitêla genêtai, mête erga megala te kai thômasta, ta men Hellêsi ta de barbaroisi apodechthenta, aklea genêtai, ta te alla kai di' hên aitiên epolemêsan allêloisi. Deuterê de legousi geneê meta tauta Alexandron ton Priamou, akêkoota tauta, ethelêsai hoi ek tês Hellados di' harpagês genesthai gunaika, epistamenon pantôs hoti ou dôsei dikas. outô dê harpasantos autou Helenên. toisi Hellêsi doxai prôton pempsantas aggelous apaiteein te Helenên kai dikas tês harpagês aiteein. tous de, proisomenôn tauta, propherein sphi Mêdeiês tên harpagên. hôs ou dontes autoi dikas oude ekdontes apaiteontôn bouloiato sphi par' allôn dikas ginesthai. Mechri men ôn toutou harpagas mounas einai par' allêlôn. to de apo toutou Hellênas dê megalôs aitious genesthai. proterous gar arxai strateuesthai es tên Asiên ê spheas es tên Eurôpên. Hellênas de Lakedaimoniês heineken gunaikos stolon megan sunageirai kai epeita elthontas es tên Asiên tên Priamou dunamin katelein. apo toutou aiei hêgêsasthai to Hellênikon sphisi einai polemion, tên gar Asiên kai ta enoikeonta ethnea barbara oikêieuntai hoi Persai, tên de Eurôpên kai to Hellênikon hêgêntai kechôristhai.

Translation

This is the exposition of the history of Herodotus, the Halicarnassian, (produced) so that neither the events be forgotten by humans in time, nor the great and wonderful deeds done by Greeks and foreigners may be without fame, and especially the reason why they fought with one another.
Then in the second generation after these things, they say that Paris, the son of Priam, having heard these things, wanted to get for himself a wife out of Greece through rapine, believing full well that he would not make amends. And so indeed he carried off Helen. It was resolved first by the Greeks that messengers that were sent should demand back Helen and request reparations. When they proposed these things, the Trojans brought up the rape of Medea, and they reminded the Greeks that they had not given satisfaction nor given what was requested but asked that reparations be given to them by others. Up to this point there were only robberies from one another. But after this (the Persians say) the Greeks became greatly blameworthy. For they began to make war against Asia before they themselves did against Europe. --- The Greeks for the sake of a Lacedaemonian woman brought together a great army and then coming to Asia destroyed the power of Priam. From this time on we have always regarded the Greeks as hostile us. The Persians claim Asia and the foreign nations living there for themselves and consider Europe and the Greeks to be separate.

Grammar

16. Nouns ending in -êr.

The basic relationship terms, among other nouns, end in -êr, and have no -e- in the genitive and dative singular, and the dative plural. The following are examples.

    father   daughter   man
Nom. sg.   ho patêr   hê thugatêr   o anêr
Gen. sg.   tou patros   tês thugatros   tou andros
Dat. sg.   tô patri   tê thugatri   tô andri
Acc. sg.   ton patera   tên thugatera   ton andra
             
Nom. pl.   hoi pateres   hai thugateres   hoi andres
Gen. pl.   tôn paterôn   tôn thugaterôn   tôn andrôn
Dat. pl.   tois patrasi   tais thugatrasi   tois andrasi
Acc. pl.   tous pateras   tas thugateras   tous andras
17. Irregular nouns.

Some of the more frequent nouns are irregular in inflection; four of them are given here.

    woman   ship   fire   Zeus
Nom. sg.   hê gunê   hê naus   to pur   Zeus
Gen. sg.   tês gunaikos   tês neôs   tou puros   Dios
Dat. sg.   tê gunaiki   tê nêi   tô puri   Dii
Acc. sg.   tên gunaika   tên naun   to pur   Dia
                 
Nom. pl.   hai gunaikes   hai nêes   ta pura    
Gen. pl.   tôn gunaikôn   tôn neôn   tôn purôn    
Dat. pl.   tais gunaixi(n)   tais nausi(n)   tois purois    
Acc. pl.   tas gunaikas   tas naus   ta pura    
18. Demonstrative pronouns.

There are three demonstrative pronouns. hode, hêde, tode points to the present or future, and corresponds to 'this,' 'this one here.' houtos, autê, touto points to the former, and corresponds to 'that.' ekeinos, ekeinê, ekeino points to things remote or absent, and corresponds to 'that there.' hode is based on the definite article. The forms of ekeinos are like those of autos. The forms of houtos are given here.

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom. sg.   houtos   hautê   touto
Gen. sg.   toutou   tautês   toutou
Dat. sg.   toutô   tautê   toutô
Acc. sg.   touton   tautên   touto
             
Nom. pl.   houtoi   hautai   tauta
Gen. pl.   toutôn   toutôn   toutôn
Dat. pl.   toutois   tautais   toutois
Acc. pl.   toutous   tautas   tauta
19. The uses of infinitives.

Infinitives are often used after verbs to complement their meaning, as in Iliad 18-19: doien ... ekpeersai 'may they grant (you) to destroy...' But in this passage of Herodotus, they also correspond to finite verbs. In the first sentence of section 3, the infinitive ethelêsai functions in this way to provide the verb for the noun Alexandron 'Alexander wished ...' This clause corresponds to a subordinate clause after the verb legousi 'they say'; relatively frequent, it is known as the Accusative with Infinitive Construction, often labeled AcI.

A further sentence simply has the infinitive with a dative indicating the subject, and in turn is followed by two two AcI constructions: toisi hElleêsi doxai 'it was resolved by the Greeks = the Greeks resolved.' Grammars simply label such constructions. Readers of the texts must accept their presence, and interpret them appropriately.

20. The Present system of the Middle and the Passive.

The Greek verb has a full set of Middle and Passive forms corresponding to those of the Active. In the Present System, the forms of the two Voices are the same.

When used as Middle, the forms indicate an action or situation reflecting on the subject; thus the first singular indicative paideuomai means 'I educate (for my sake)'. When used as Passive, the meaning corresponds to that of passives in English, so that the Passive paideuomai means 'I am (being) educated.' The forms must be interpreted from the context.

The forms of the Present System (first, second, and third person, singular and plural) are as follows:

    Indicative   Imperfect   Subjunctive   Optative   Imperative
1s   paideuomai   epaideuomên   paideuômai   paideuoimên    
2s   paideuê   epaideuou   paideuê   paideuoio   paideuou
3s   paideuetai   epaideueto   paideuêtai   paideuoito   paideuesthô
1p   paideuometha   epaideuometha   paideuômetha   paideuoimetha    
2p   paideuesthe   epaideuesthe   paideuêsthe   paideuoisthe   paideuesthe
3p   paideuontai   epaideuonto   paideuôntai   paideuointo   paideuesthôn

Infinitive:   paideuesthai
Participle:   paideuomenos, paideuomenê, paideuomenon