Of what kind

He is such a kind, sort of.

The likes of τοσοῦτος/ὅσος “so many/much” and τοιοῦτος/οἷος “such” predict the likelihood of at least one sentence in any subsequent reading which I’ll probably find incomprehensible. I’ve never been disappointed on other occasions, and I certain wasn’t disappointed this time. The sentence is

οἵῳ τις ἂν τὸ πλεῖστον τῆς ἡμέρας συνῇ, τοιοῦτον ἀνάγκη γενέσθαι καὶ αὐτὸν τοὺς τρόπους.

The first part isn’t so dire. It runs something like “Whoever is with a certain sort of person most of the day”.

The dark corners

I guessed that τοὺς τρέπους “in habit” was accusative of respect. Initially, I came to the same conclusion about τοιοῦτον…αὐτὸν because there isn’t a transitive verb in sight. I actually have no idea what αὐτὸν is doing there and whether I’m even right to assume that it has a connection with τοιοῦτον. It shouldn’t have any connection to ἀνάγκη [ἐστί] “must” because that takes a dative and infinitive.[1] It looks like the second clause means “he must also become such a person in his habits”.

A light is shone into the dark corners

The notes in the book shed no light on this. The meaning appears to be obvious and even if the translation can’t be literal, I still want to know what the grammar is up to. Consulting Weir Smith (see fn. 1) reveals that αὐτὸν is probably the subject of ἀνάγκη [ἐστί], and τοιοῦτον, therefore, is probably the complement of γενέσθαι “become” because with this particular verb, the complement agrees in case with the subject (cf. archaic English it is I; I am he etc.). But without this additional piece of information, the reader is going to be baffled. It’s possible that somewhere in TY Ancient Greek there’s a note which says that ἀνάγκη [ἐστί] can also take an acc/inf. construction, but that’s buried somewhere.

So if I’m right about this, I can now see what the mechanics of the sentence are instead of merely knowing what the words mean and then arranging them intelligibly in English. The point is that a piece of information which is necessary for the reader to know to understand this sentence properly is missing or hidden.

I can at least say from an online search that it’s a fragment of Antiphon (c. 485-390 BC).


1. According to the glossary in TY Ancient Greek. On the other hand, Weir Smith (1920:442, §1985b.) says that it can take the accusative or dative and infinitive.


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