giovedì 16 aprile 2015

A history of humanity through the higly coloured lens of hyperbaton (conflicts between logical and rhetorical precedence)

Much of the effectiveness of Greek prose depends upon a non-logical development of the thought. A bare logical development would kill the effect (“striking colours, placed side by side, kill each other” – Denniston). This is quite obvious in a reading of any Greek text. Hyperbaton is what strikes most. Whenever a word refuses to wait it will either press to the fore taking its turn in the logical development or be placed late by dislocation of natural order. 

Ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦτο ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν (Plat., Prot., 360a)
(but that too if we admit)
instead of

 Ἀλλὰ ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν καὶ τοῦτο
 (but if we admit that too).

Τρέφεται δέ, ὦ Σώκρατες, ψυχὴ τίνι; (Prot., 313c)
(nourished, Socrates, is a soul with what?)

 instead of 

ψυχὴ δὲ, τίνι τρέφεται, ὦ Σώκρατες;
(with what, Socrates, is a soul nourished?)

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