Tuesday, December 7, 2021

21st Century Classical Greek -- impersonal gerundive subject in -oi case!

Book I section 13.2 gives us a good look at impersonal gerundives and I will go over what Goodwin says compared to how Thucydides uses them.

πρῶτοι δὲ Κορίνθιοι λέγονται ἐγγύτατα τοῦ νῦν τρόπου μεταχειρίσαι τὰ περὶ τὰς ναῦς, καὶ τριήρεις ἐν Κορίνθῳ πρῶτον τῆς Ἑλλάδος ναυπηγηθῆναι.

So the bolded words are imperfective eventive impersonal gerundives. The first is executive voice and the second is passive voice.

In our aspectual paradigm, these are substitutes for conjugated verbs. Further, the second one is an intransitive structure.

Note that the first one has a logical subject. It’s not a grammatical subject, despite being in the -oi case; it’s not the subject of legontai, “they say”, which is in base voice, not executive voice. The three English translations on Perseus, and the Smith translation for the Loeb Classics Library, agree that the Korinthioi didn’t say whatever it was. Legontai is an idiom for other people saying something.

So it is the Korinthians who metakheirisai’d, deliberately to bring about having ships. When Goodwin says that the subject of an “infinitive” is in the accusative, he’s wrong.

Smyth allows as how the subject of an infinitive can be in the -oi case but he has requirements, none of which apply here:

1)         The subject of the infinitive is also the subject of a conjugated verb in the same sentence. We don’t have any conjugated verbs here.

2)         The i.g. is substantivized with an article in an oblique case (not -oi). The definite articles in this sentence have noun complements; the i.g.s are not substituting for nouns, they are substituting for conjugated verbs.

Smyth deals with this subject in section 1973 on page 439; his discussion of the -ous subject of an i.g. is in section 936 on page 260. This is one of the many pitfalls of the old grammars: segregating information that should be addressed in the same place, even if that means repeating information. And, as I said, neither of these conditions applies to 13.2.

The other i.g. is passive voice and triireis is the grammatical subject and logical object.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

DIY -- healthier and still delicious

I love to play with my food. Once I got my new toy and could bake again, I started doing some research on the web.

We all need more whole grains in our diet. What if it could be delicious?

In anything you bake, you can substitute whole wheat flour for white, cup for cup. There's even a butter cake recipe out there which uses all whole wheat flour. Add in some dried fruit and chopped nuts, and you can hardly get a healthier snack. Take anything you bake and start by replacing half the white flour with whole wheat. When you're used to it, go a little further, until you're using all whole wheat flour.

But wait, it gets better. In anything you make (not just bake), you can substitute plain fat-free yogurt cup for cup for milk, sour cream, heavy cream, and even butter. I use it instead of sour cream and buttermilk in ranch dressing. I used it to make a peanut butter frosting for the whole wheat cake.  It's great for things with baking powder in them, where you might normally use buttermilk to activate the baking powder. 


So here is a pan of scones, made with yogurt instead of milk. (Although I did use butter for shortening.) Looks nice and brown while it cools on the range top. I didn't cut the scones out into rounds. I cut a plus sign, then a circle, then outside the circle I cut the quarter moons in half. 



And here's some taken out of the middle. See how nice and fluffy it looks? (The little dark things are currants, I had part of a bag to use up.) Scones are another thing you can put dried fruit into, although if you want to use anything larger than a raisin you ought to chop it up. You can also put in carob morsels or chopped nuts, or a tablespoonful of some kind of extract like maple. I have seen recipes with icing but I won't be doing that. The beaten egg glaze on the top is traditional and adds protein.

You can also make these gluten-free. They use baking powder, not yeast, so they will rise even without gluten.

Remember, buy the right yogurt and you can incubate more from a bottle of milk. I have a dehydrate feature on my toy that is perfect for incubating yogurt.

Now. My toy includes air frying. Here's how you make that healthy. For both veggies and nuggets, use batter. Use a fat-free batter. Find a recipe for General Tso's chicken, leave out the garlic and soy sauce from the batter, use whole wheat flour not white, and add whatever seasoning you like. I have dozens of them, berbere and balti, cajun and Italian. Roll your bits in the batter and pop into your air fryer. Less fat, tastes great.

Play with your food!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Gibbon -- the urban legend pt 3

The last post was about how urban legends never update their information. During their life, they may acquire greater exaggeration because that's exciting and promotes transmission. But it's too boring to go back and try to correct the falsehoods they contain, and the corrections never catch up with the urban legend in the minds of people who love urban legends. That's why urban legends persist despite the best efforts to debunk them.

This time, we're up to chapter 3 of Gibbon which has one major fault. Gibbon describes the early empire as sowing the seeds of decline. It's not true; everything that grows has a decline at some point. Human cultures are no different from human beings in that way. What Gibbon says about the start of the decline is a classic example of misunderstanding or willfully misinterpreting his sources, one of the features of urban legends that contributes to their falseness.

Gibbon's description is something I've seen before: a pretense that Gibbon's description is accurate. Where I've seen it before is in the behavior -- or at least statements -- of the prosecution in the Mendel Beilis trial. The prosecutors pretended that they were working under a system similar to that in Britain or even the U.S. While Tsarist Russia adopted the 1813 nullum crimen principle, in fact Beilis was tried in 1913 for a "murder out of religious fanaticism" charge that was wiped out of the criminal code in 1906. Much to the chagrin of the Black Hundreds and in particular civil prosecutor Aleksey Shmakov. It's possible that Andrey Yushchinsky's death was whomped up into a federal case so as to justify passing a new law criminalizing this charge. But the evidence was all forged, the testimony perjured; the jury knew it by day 8 of a 34 day trial, and Beilis was acquitted specifically on that charge (though the bigoted urban legend pretends otherwise).

Gibbon is falsifying his testimony as to Roman government. He continues his pretense that Rome had a free constitution in the same terms as Britain of his own times, and provided liberty in the same terms. No doubt this is what has led the Online Library of Liberty to host his text, and they operate under a similar misapprehension. I talked about this in a footnote to chapter 1 but let me say it here. 

In Gibbon's time, liberty as opposed to non-liberty was the freedom to enjoy one's property without fearing that government would confiscate it without justification. This was the difference between the Stuart monarchies, and the Glorious Revolution followed by the Hanoverians.

Nevertheless, Gibbon was a friend of Lord North, the prime minister at the time of the American Revolution. Not only did the colonists have no representation in Parliament, but they -- and Britons who supported them -- were prosecuted for sedition. But Gibbon had a horror of real democracy and it shows throughout his work.

Gibbon's government was a thing of patronage, privilege, and jobbing. Gibbon got into Parliament for St. Germains, a rotten borough (nobody lived there so he represented no actual Britons) in Cornwall, under the patronage of the 1st Baron Eliot, Edward Craggs-Eliot. Eliot only needed Gibbon to pass legislation; Gibbon never made a speech or did anything noteworthy. Again, Alexander Wedderburn's patronage named Gibbon to the Board of Trade when Gibbon's finances were shaky. Gibbon had ignored Eliot; he lost his patronage -- and his parliamentary seat and position at the Board.

But Gibbon is hypercritical of patronage, privilege and jobbing in the Roman Empire. He pretends that Augustus destroyed a free government with real elections, when the Roman Republic was run by the patricians and equites. When it degenerated into the civil war between Sulla and Marius, the stage was set for somebody to use the army for a takeover. Julius Caesar got the blame and was assassinated. Revenging him, Octavian made it possible to actually run the unwieldy structure that Rome had become after conquering western Europe and northern Africa. Northern Africa, including Egypt, was crucial to feeding an Italy that dispossessed farmers in favor of slave labor, pushing lots of people into the cities where they might not be able to make a living wage. Getting food to these people required big government. The upper classes were too busy fighting their rivalries to provide big government. 

Idle hands also were lent to crime. Gladiatorial games would distract the jobless population, but gladiatorial games were expensive; good gladiators needed good training, good food, housing, and a little cash for drink and prostitutes because gladiator survival rates meant they were not good marital prospects. It took big government to run good gladiatorial games. In the 1984 version of Last Days of Pompeii, when the nouveau riche candidate tries to buy votes by paying for games, that's one of the most realistic things in the whole miniseries.

What's more, the experience of the social war showed that if you tied your allies up in your armies, you could move them where they were no danger to Rome. If they rebelled or disobeyed, they were subject to death under military discipline. This set the stage for putting the "barbarians" of conquered territory into legions that were sent far from their homes to serve and, upon retirement, settle. 

This all rested on Augustus making himself paterfamilias of the empire, instead of just the head of the senate. Whatever the paterfamilias ordered, the familia had to do. He even had the right to sell his children into slavery. Once the Emperor was a Christian, his troops and population were highly motivated if not required to follow suit. When Constantine supported the Council of Nicaea in 325, it was a foregone conclusion that the outcome would become the law of the Empire.

Gibbon writes about the concept of paterfamilias, He shows that he knows Augustus took on this role. But even after chapter 2, he continues to argue that his own attitudes toward government applied to the Roman Republic and were suppressed by Augustus in the Roman Empire. 

There's a disconnect there, which I describe as "the left side of the brain is not talking to the right side." I've known people trained in a given field who, when they leave the office, leave behind everything they learned and do the exact opposite in their personal life, with the same outcome their training prevents for their employer. I've known scientists go haring off after unproven concepts in a field not their own; Linus Pauling is probably the most famous example. I've known people with college educations falling for every urban legend they meet up with, because they simply have no critical thinking facility outside their own field.

In this chapter Gibbon tells outright lies about what was going on in the empire. He claims that all was peace with the exception of the Year of the Four Emperors, until 192 CE. His sources would have showed him differently. He either suppressed an inconvenient truth, or he didn't read the sources that give the information, as I have said before. I'll say more about this a couple of posts from now.

Gibbon is writing about a culture he does not live in. He can't use his sources adequately -- some he can't access at all. And he makes up his mind as to what he thinks, rejecting all information suggesting that he's wrong, some of which he actually records. 

There is more ahead and I will keep posting. But as a spoiler, I recommend you start reading my blog of urban legends about Judaism. Then when you get to the point where Gibbon is what they call "not even wrong", you will understand why I would say that.

If you want to know about Roman government, especially the history of it, you are better off reading

Abbott, Frank Frost (1901). A History and Description of Roman Political Institutions. Elibron Classics  https://ia800309.us.archive.org/18/items/historydescripti00abbouoft/historydescripti00abbouoft.pdf

To the PDF

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

21st century Classical Greek -- benefit, topic order

Book I section 13.2 lets me show how translators ruin themselves, by disrupting structures in the source document.

φαίνεται δὲ καὶ Σαμίοις Ἀμεινοκλῆς Κορίνθιος ναυπηγὸς ναῦς ποιήσας τέσσαρας: ἔτη δ᾽ ἐστὶ μάλιστα τριακόσια ἐς τὴν τελευτὴν τοῦδε τοῦ πολέμου ὅτε Ἀμεινοκλῆς Σαμίοις ἦλθεν.

You can see that the bolded word is in the -ois case. This is what Goodwin calls “benefit”; Ameinoklis built ships for the Samians. It’s another example of how case labels don’t work for every language. In Russian you would say dlya X and X would be in the genitive. In Biblical Hebrew, the preposition for benefit, l’, is also the marker for a purpose clause using an aspectless verb (formerly known as “infinitive”). And it is used in the “have” idiom, yesh l’X, which in Russian is u nego X.

Here is that note that I said showed that Thucydides edited his work at the end of the war. When he started writing, he could not know when the end of the Peloponnesian war would be. Granted that even though the war lasted 30 years, it’s a negligible percentage of 300, nearly as negligible as if the war had ended in only a couple of years as most people probably thought it would at the time. Thucydides tries to be precise, although his grammar shows he can’t be precise everywhere. I doubt he wrote this line sequentially with everything else. He was re-reading his material at the end of the war and, careful as he is, he put this note in to make sure people knew that he knew that Ameinocles didn’t build ships for the current war but for a much earlier one.

Thucydides is speaking of the Lelantine war of the 700s BCE between Miletus and Samos. Despite having the latest in military technology, the Samians lost. “Everybody knows” the Trojan War happened before that and so we are closing in on the replacement of kings by tyrants as happening before the 700s. Cypselus took power in Korinth in the 600s BCE. This is why Thucydides has to use progressive aspect in subsection 1.

The second clause in this subsection, eti d’ esti, is in topic order. Thucydides tells you the important fact and then tells you how it relates to the start of the subsection.

Topic order material is a sign of oral presentation; this is the order in which Thucydides thinks of things. Jowett the literate says “he went to Samos” first and then gives the chronological inforrmation.

This disrupts Thucydides’ well-rounded period, a term in a 1766 letter by an educated man named Beattie. Educated men were prone to copy the word formations in the Greek and Latin they studied at university, and it lead to some of those sentences in British  prose that sound so strange today because the ends of the “period” match but the middle seems to introduce something anomalous. Use of well-rounded periods was recommended in a book called Oratory Made Easy by Charles Hartley, a teacher of elocution and oratory (1870), but he also warns against too many of them because they are long sentences and tire the listener.

So Jowett’s transposition in this case is sort of a comment on the quality of his education – not up to the standards of his grandfather’s.

In subsection 4 Jowett does something even worse.

ναυμαχία τε παλαιτάτη ὧν ἴσμεν γίγνεται Κορινθίων πρὸς Κερκυραίους: ἔτη δὲ μάλιστα καὶ ταύτῃ ἑξήκοντα καὶ διακόσιά ἐστι μέχρι τοῦ αὐτοῦ χρόνου.

 ]Thucydides says that a prior war between Korinth and Kerkyraea (the significance of which will become clear in later sections) happened 260 years before tou autou khronou, before Mr. T is writing.

Jowett says it happened “about forty years later” than the Lelantine war. Tsk tsk. The math comes out the same but what Jowett does is why we are learning to read Greek for ourselves, now isn’t it?

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

21st Century Classical Greek -- subject of an impersonal gerundive

Book I section 13.2 gives us a good look at impersonal gerundives and I will go over what Goodwin says compared to how Thucydides uses them.

πρῶτοι δὲ Κορίνθιοι λέγονται ἐγγύτατα τοῦ νῦν τρόπου μεταχειρίσαι τὰ περὶ τὰς ναῦς, καὶ τριήρεις ἐν Κορίνθῳ πρῶτον τῆς Ἑλλάδος ναυπηγηθῆναι.

So the bolded words are imperfective eventive impersonal gerundives. The first is executive voice and the second is passive voice.

In our aspectual paradigm, these are substitutes for conjugated verbs. Further, the second one is an intransitive structure.

Note that the first one has a logical subject. It’s not a grammatical subject, despite being in the -oi case; it’s not the subject of legontai, “they say”, which is in base voice, not executive voice. The three English translations on Perseus, and the Smith translation for the Loeb Classics Library, agree that the Korinthioi didn’t say whatever it was. Legontai is an idiom for other people saying something.

So it is the Korinthians who metakheirisai’d, deliberately to bring about having ships, but Thucydides can’t be definite because he’s repeating information from up to 300 years before he was born.

When Goodwin claims that the subject of an “infinitive” is in the accusative, he’s wrong. It’s a categorical claim that only needs one contradictory example to defeat it, and that’s what we have here.

The other i.g. is passive voice and triireis is the grammatical subject and logical object. That’s two contradictory data points.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Knitting -- heels with short rows again

 So I gave you two videos on German short rows for sock heels.

They were in my posts on toe-up socks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVVveGqrUCI

There were several links here.

Recently I found a short row sock heel that is not German short rows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZahZE4GREr0

You don't have to worry about the funny little stitches. 

You do have to do something special so all the wraps don't show on the outside.

When you do that, you create the gusset.

So here's a photo of a pink sock with my old favorite way of doing the heel,

alongside a photo of a sock with the short rows in the white yarn for the heel.

It was the first time I tried this. I still had holes where the heel and gusset join, and if I do this again, I'll try and follow the instructions better. But you may like it because it seems less fussy than my old stand-by pattern, and it works top down or bottom up.





Friday, November 19, 2021

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- "can/could"

I'm working on something I call Narrating the Nakh, a companion to Narrating the Torah with similar features: Olrik’s principles; 21st century Bible Hebrew; modern archaeology. And I came across a structure that looks like an oblique with an imperfect aspect verb.

In Biblical Hebrew, use of vav plus a perfect aspect verb has several functions, one of which is the oblique. In a subordinate clause, preceded by a statement of a general or specific truth, the oblique is immediately accepted as true, whether it’s a result, purpose, cause, effect, or condition.

Vav plus imperfect aspect is a narrative past in most cases, but I started to find it in non-past contexts and because the context is different, it’s not a narrative past.

See Samuel I 11:1.

וַיַּ֗עַל נָחָשׁ֙ הָֽעַמּוֹנִ֔י וַיִּ֖חַן עַל־יָבֵ֣ישׁ גִּלְעָ֑ד וַיֹּ֨אמְר֜וּ כָּל־אַנְשֵׁ֤י יָבֵישׁ֙ אֶל־נָחָ֔שׁ כְּרָת־לָ֥נוּ בְרִ֖ית וְנַֽעַבְדֶֽךָּ:

So we have our certainty epistemic followed by its narrative past. After the etnach we have a narrative past, an imperative, and v’naavdekha. Is it a true future tense promise to serve Nachash?

Well, no it’s not. The men of Yavesh Gilad have set a condition “make a covenant with us, and [then] we can serve you.” Remember, avad and eved are an exclusive personal services contract between two Jews or a Jew taking on a Canaanite servant. The men of Yavesh Gilad want Nachash to promise the same rights as they would have if they contracted their personal services to a Jew. Well, the condition he sets is unacceptable, consisting specifically of an injury which would release a Canaanite from an exclusive services contract. So the men of Yavesh Gilad send for help. Also see Samuel I 12:10 for the same verb; once Shmuel saves the men of Yavesh Gilad they will be able to be eveds to Gd again.

Samuel I 12:1:

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל֙ אֶל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הִנֵּה֙ שָׁמַ֣עְתִּי בְקֹֽלְכֶ֔ם לְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־אֲמַרְתֶּ֖ם לִ֑י וָֽאַמְלִ֥יךְ עֲלֵיכֶ֖ם מֶֽלֶךְ:

So, “I could set up a king over you” because of obeying according to all you have said to me.

The old Latin grammars would want me to call this the potential aorist but I refuse to do that because it’s based on a tense grammar and Biblical Hebrew is an aspect grammar. Besides, it’s not just potential; it’s about conditions being fulfilled and then this form is used for something that hasn’t happened yet. That’s not a real future tense, which is a promise to do something unconditionally.

Notice that this is not the duplicate conditional, which requires an introductory aspectless verb from the same root and binyan as the imperfect verb; it states what will happen when the action becomes due and owing. That rests on Jewish law.

This new structure does not rest on Jewish law, it rests on things happening which probably no Jewish law addresses. The Law of Kings in Deuteronomy is about how the king has to behave once he is anointed. Here we have what has to happen before Shmuel will anoint a king.

Aside from this new structure, the grammar in Nakh is identical to Torah. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Nakh is part of the Jewish oral tradition. The fact that it is in Biblical Hebrew means it was written down during the first part of the 70 years of the captivity, while enough people still knew the grammar. The use of Biblical Aramaic in Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and Daniel confirms that Biblical Hebrew literally died out toward the end of the Captivity.

This is different from the Sumerian Kings List which was copied from centuries-old lists of kings in the various city-states, after the 200 years of the Gutian takeover. The scribes of the Ur III dynasty no longer understood the old grammar – probably because of some hybridization with the Gutian Indo-European language – and they made mistakes that show the problem.

So once again, CONTEXT IS KING. The context is non-past, so the verb form can't be classed as narrative past. And the cultural context tells us what the difference is between this and a duplicate conditional.