An easy selection?

Did you bump your head, Arthur?

Last night’s selection from the Apology was fairly straightforward with no major difficulties. I’ve been doing what I’ve always done – copying out the sentences and then translating them. 

But today’s selection (36b in the Apology) begins with a few short remarks and then dumps this 110-word monstrosity on you:

Τί ἄξιός εἰμι παθεῖν ἢ ἀποτεῖσαι, ὅτι μαθὼν ἐν τῷ βίῳ οὐχ ἡσυχίαν ἦγον, ἀλλ᾽ ἀμελήσας ὧνπερ οἱ πολλοί, χρηματισμοῦ τε καὶ οἰκονομίας καὶ στρατηγιῶν καὶ δημηγοριῶν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἀρχῶν καὶ συνωμοσιῶν καὶ στάσεων τῶν ἐν τῇ πόλει γιγνομένων, ἡγησάμενος ἐμαυτὸν [36c] τῷ ὄντι ἐπιεικέστερον εἶναι ἢ ὥστε εἰς ταῦτ᾽ ἰόντα σῴζεσθαι, ἐνταῦθα μὲν οὐκ ᾖα οἷ ἐλθὼν μήτε ὑμῖν μήτε ἐμαυτῷ ἔμελλον μηδὲν ὄφελος εἶναι, ἐπὶ δὲ τὸ ἰδίᾳ ἕκαστον ἰὼν εὐεργετεῖν τὴν μεγίστην εὐεργεσίαν, ὡς ἐγώ φημι, ἐνταῦθα ᾖα, ἐπιχειρῶν ἕκαστον ὑμῶν πείθειν μὴ πρότερον μήτε τῶν ἑαυτοῦ μηδενὸς ἐπιμελεῖσθαι πρὶν ἑαυτοῦ ἐπιμεληθείη ὅπως ὡς βέλτιστος καὶ φρονιμώτατος ἔσοιτο, μήτε τῶν τῆς πόλεως, πρὶν αὐτῆς τῆς πόλεως·

And that’s just to a semicolon. In another edition of the text there are another 16 words to go before you see the end of the sentence. I have a reasonable idea what it means, but if Socrates thought that he might persuade the audience to vote in his favour, this is where he probably lost them.

He’s wondering about what a suitable punishment might be. He wonders why he didn’t keep his trap shut and engage in the activities which everyone else in the city does. He didn’t turn up to save himself, but tried to benefit people privately, making them better for it and the city in the same way.

That is a rough paraphrase at best, but there’s quite a bit there which leaves me baffled possibly because there may be things I’m meant to understand. For example, I assume that οἱ πολλοί needs to be supplied with a suitable finite verb. I’m not sure what ἢ is doing between εἶναι and ὥστε, unless, again, there’s some sort of ellipsis. I’m not even sure how ὥστε fits. I only now discover that οἷ is an adverb meaning “to where”. The notes say that the presence of ἰὼν is difficult (in fact, it’d seem safe to ignore it), but what about ἐπὶ δὲ τὸ ἰδίᾳ ἕκαστον…εὐεργετεῖν? Is this an infinitive as a verbal noun? Is τὴν μεγίστην εὐεργεσίαν accusative of respect?[1] () μήτε…μήτε at the end is obviously forms parallel clauses, the second clause requiring ἐπιμελεῖσθαι “to take care of”, which takes a dO in the genitive, to be supplied.[2] Is τῶν ἑαυτοῦ μηδενὸς “none of his own things”? That is, μηδενὸς is the actual dO of the verb (though what’s the deal with τῶν? Genitive of respect?).[3] Is the following clause πρὶν ἑαυτοῦ ἐπιμεληθείη “before he cared for himself”? The final two clauses would seem to be something about someone caring for the city before the city cares for itself.

But this doesn’t constitute an easy selection without a great deal more annotation and even trying to break it down into smaller pieces doesn’t help.

Ugh. I’m feeling frustrated and stupid, and feel that hemlock might’ve been too kind a punishment for Socrates.

1. No. It seems that μηδενὸς is neuter.
2. I assume that the infinitive is dependent on πείθειν.
3. Nope, it’s a cognate accusative according to LSJ, thus making the clause something like “and I came here, as I said, to do each the greatest service”.

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