Tuesday, April 13, 2021

21st Century Classical Greek -- review 2

So we’ve done another 20 lessons and here is what you should know about Classical Greek because of them.

Some initial vowels in Greek have a sort of “open quote” mark above them meaning that you huff a little before saying them. This is why they are transcribed with an “h” before them. Rho is always pronounced with the “h” after it, that’s why “rhythm” is spelled the way it is.

Conjugation of faino.

Conjugation of poeio.

Eventive verbs starting in alpha, whether it’s a prepositional prefix or not, do not take augment.

There is no “future perfect” tense and there is no perfective future aspect. The “future perfect” label was applied to imperfective conceptual passive voice, and it was dubbed “perfect” only because in Attic Greek it had reduplication. This basically means that in Classial Greek you can’t say “by that time I shall have finished.” If you have a contrary example in your favorite author, give us the citation – first making sure it’s in Classical Greek, not koine.

Passive voice exists only for -mai verbs and for imperfective non-mai verbs.

Executive voice exists only for non-mai verbs.

Everything else is base voice.

-mai verbs and non-mai verbs that mean similar things are used in different contexts. The -mai verb will be in a context that evaluates something; the non-mai verb will be in a context that can use a direct object.

Oblique modality is the modality label of the verb “mood” formerly known as “subjunctive”. It is the second level of certainty, indicative being the top level. There is a third level but we’ve had no examples of it yet. Oblique is used for a fair certainty that evidence exists or an action will occur.

Indicative must be used in the protasis of conditionals if there is evidence that it is contrary to fact.

Future indicative is a promise and in a conditional has the nuance “if you can promise me that…”

Autos is not reflexive; it’s an intensifier or refers to a previously mentioned person, or it’s a version of a 3rd person pronoun.

Eautou is more like a reflexive pronoun.

Comparatives and superlatives in adjectives, including the irregular malista and elakhista.

Adverbs derived from adjectives have omega sigma at the end instead of the adjectival masculine singular omicron sigma.

Noun case labels are confusing since they do not have uniform functions in all languages. The labels I will use are based on the plural endings. Nevertheless, you need to study each noun to be sure you know the conjugation.

1)         The -on case is used for negations like “is not there,” or “does not exist” or “does not have”.

2)         hupo plus the -on case for an animate noun is the instrumental for that noun.

3)         The -on case is applied to a noun that modifies a preceding noun, what they call “construct state” in Hebrew and idafa in Arabie.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

21st Century Classical Greek -- passive

This is I 2.6, and it has some great grammar in it.

καὶ παράδειγμα τόδε τοῦ λόγου οὐκ ἐλάχιστόν ἐστι διὰ τὰς μετοικίας ἐς τὰ ἄλλα μὴ ὁμοίως αὐξηθῆναι: ἐκ γὰρ τῆς ἄλλης Ἑλλάδος οἱ πολέμῳ ἢ στάσει ἐκπίπτοντες παρ᾽ Ἀθηναίους οἱ δυνατώτατοι ὡς βέβαιον ὂν ἀνεχώρουν, καὶ πολῖται γιγνόμενοι εὐθὺς ἀπὸ παλαιοῦ μείζω ἔτι ἐποίησαν πλήθει ἀνθρώπων τὴν πόλιν, ὥστε καὶ ἐς Ἰωνίαν ὕστερον ὡς οὐχ ἱκανῆς οὔσης τῆς Ἀττικῆς ἀποικίας ἐξέπεμψαν.

Notice the ouk elakhisto, meaning “not least”. If you have been using the translations, specifically, Jowett, he turns this backward. He does that a lot with meanings; he also moves words and clauses out of the position in which Thucydides has them. So sometimes you have to go hunting all over his version to see what Thucydides means, and it is a waste of time, as well as destroying structures Thucydides uses to make his material memorable, such as parallelism.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about for this subsection. I want to talk about auksithinai. Translating the Word Tool labels into our schema, we have an imperfective impersonal gerundive in a passive structure. The phrase also has a negation, mi.

In a sense this is an i.g. in a result clause, and the aspect we normally use for results is perfective. However, Thucydides’ meaning required that he use an intransitive phrase – which we would also do in English – and you can’t do that in perfective aspect in a non-mai verb, unless the verb itself has an intransitive meaning.

Now let’s look at that mi. It’s used with an adjective, mi omoios. As we know, that is supposed to mean “any likeness that might have existed, didn’t exist.” If Thucydides had used ouk, that would have meant “there could have been no likeness at all.”

Continuing the theme of migrations in this section, Thucydides is specifying that population increases in Athens occurred from an influx of refugees, strongmen who were thrown out of their polises after uprisings. The unstated alternative is that the other polises replaced population some other way, such as through reproduction.

Jowett gives the impression that this influx made the Attikan population larger than other places but Thucydides is saying that the increase occurred by a different mechanism. If Jowett is considering overpopulation as a reason for sending out colonies, well, we will soon see that Thucydides fails to make overpopulation a concern when he talks about the colonies of various metropolises. In fact, colonies in Greece were much like colonies set up by Britain, a way to ensure control of resources which became a source of money in trade and taxes. Besides, I’m just about to give still another reason why Athins sent these refugees out to colonies.

Notice the superlative dinatotatoi, “the strongest”. If the refugees coming to your city-state are deposed strongmen, do you let them stay?

So the first thing the Athinaians did was grant these people honorary citizenship, politai gignomenoi, turn them into citizens. It was a two-edged sword. It kept them from feeling resentment toward Athins. It also brought them under Athins’ laws, and Athins shipped them out to colonies for the sake of the city’s peace.

Eventually Thucydides does say that the number of refugees was too much for the city to handle. That says something about how many cities hated the strongmen that ruled them.

Notice the structure of the first phrase. Thucydides brings forward paradeigma to tell his audience what this subsection is about. From that he hangs what he is giving an example of, “this claim” and says it’s ouk elakhiston, which a lot of Victorian writers could have translated as “not inconsiderable”. Now that he has raised audience expectations, he gives the topic he will use for the rest of the section, metoikias es ta alla, people expelled into other polises. Then he says that this is not the way polises outside of Attika expanded.

Then he tells why these rejects were rejects, and how they were treated in Athins. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Fact-Checking the Torah -- no surprises here.

In 2016 I wrote about a religious controversy manufactured by the press to fill out their bucket list on covering religion. 


I said there that the mass media publications did not cover radiocarbon data. Here is the first test. The dates, as the paper notes, are anomalous, so there was probably a contaminant. 


At any rate, you can't write about "Jesus" 200 years before he supposedly lived. It doesn't even fit the dates of Yehuda ibn Perachiah's student who was called Yeshu ha-Notsri and lived in the time of King Alexander Jannai, the Hasmonean.

The next year a new test showed that the papyrus (separately from the ink) dated between 600 and 900 CE, that is, during the so-called dark ages. 


To save the concept invented by the mass media, which at least supports that Jesus was a real person, articles then suggested that the fragment was part of a copy of something of the right age. 


The problem is, nobody has ever been able to establish a chain of custody because, as I said in the original post, nobody really knows who the people are whose names are associated with the "find". (See the More Questions section.)


Some of you who haven't read my blog are saying in disgust that the Talmud refers to the  Christian Jesus. I can send you my total study of that urban legend but I do cover it on the blog.  The Reader's Digest version is it was invented by a Jew hater who never read Talmud and the concept has been a tool of Jew haters ever since.




I'm writing about this today because 11 people read that top blog entry in the last 24 hours and I thought I ought to tell the rest of the story about the papyrus. I found a long blog post by somebody else that goes through all the urban legends about Jesus, including the Da Vinci Code, but that writer did not give direct links to the science. I sent them to him (?) after I found them. Before I published this. 

I appreciate the interest and it gave me the impulse to do the rest of the research. Enjoy!

Friday, April 2, 2021

Knitting photo album

 You can't tell which posts show which examples so here's an album with links to the posts.

Fair Isle

reproduction Shetland lace Queen Susan shawl  (I didn't make one but..)

Retro 1929 tuxedo knit  


Norwegian gensers
Mariusgenser (Setesdal tradition)

Fana (Bergen tradition)  

Sirdal tradition  

Lofoten tradition (?)  

Others to come: Taking My  Own Advice; Brioche raglan; Another British tradition; Another Celtic tradition; and whatever else I dig up to do.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

21st Century Classical Greek -- dia

This week we have short, straightforward sections, I 2.3-5.

μάλιστα δὲ τῆς γῆς ἡ ἀρίστη αἰεὶ τὰς μεταβολὰς τῶν οἰκητόρων εἶχεν,

ἥ τε νῦν Θεσσαλία καλουμένη καὶ Βοιωτία Πελοποννήσου τε τὰ πολλὰ πλὴν Ἀρκαδίας, τῆς τε ἄλλης ὅσα ἦν κράτιστα.

Learn malista and ελάχιστα elakhista as “most [of all]” and “least [of all]”. They are irregular superlatives.

The first clause has the verb at the end, so the order is SOV. This is very common in Greek, so always identify the subject or topic and verb; what’s in the middle is going to be the object of the verb or an appositive to the subject/topic.

διὰ γὰρ ἀρετὴν γῆς αἵ τε δυνάμεις τισὶ μείζους ἐγγιγνόμεναι στάσεις ἐνεποίουν ἐξ ὧν ἐφθείροντο, καὶ ἅμα ὑπὸ ἀλλοφύλων μᾶλλον ἐπεβουλεύοντο.

Meizous is the comparative of mega, “big”.

The regular comparative of both adjectives and adverbs is -tera and the superlative -taton, as in aksiologotaton from section 1.

And finally, learn poieo, “make, do”, a high frequency verb both alone and with prefixes as in subsection 4.

The structure here is a prepositional phrase as the topic. Where is the verb? It’s enepoioun. The subject of that verb is eggignomenai, and so we have TSOV. The topic links this subjsection to the previous one.

Eftheironto is a problem. The morphology is base voice, the aspect progressive. It is not a -mai verb, yet Middle Liddell gives us mostly passive – that is, intransitive – meanings for it. But look at II and the example ei mi ftherei, “if you don’t depart”. That’s intransitive, but it suits our context.  What does this subsection discuss except reasons why people left their turf?

Jowett follows Middle Liddel to destruction – or rather, “ruin”. The communities weren’t ruined, a true passive concept. They did depart their turf, and the subject of migrating away from one’s home is also covered in subsection 5:

τὴν γοῦν Ἀττικὴν ἐκ τοῦ ἐπὶ πλεῖστον διὰ τὸ λεπτόγεων ἀστασίαστον οὖσαν ἄνθρωποι ᾤκουν οἱ αὐτοὶ αἰεί.

Learn dia, “through, because of”. You’ll mostly see it with the -on case, but notice that it sometimes shows up with the -ous case. It means pretty much the same thing regardless of the noun case, which causes a problem for the old grammars. Ek can also mean “because of”, as you saw in subsection 3.

All of the old grammars try to generally define oblique noun cases, the -on case being a departure from something and the -ous case being the approach to something, while the -ois case is supposed to mean within a space or time.

However when you study dia you find it it means “during” with both cases. This is close to the claimed nuance of the -ois case.

Old grammars also describe the -ous case as being part of an expanse, but with dia the -on case certainly takes on that nuance.

Finally, notice that dia plus either case is a kind of instrumental.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Knitting -- bottom-up raglan

I won't be posting Sunday, the first day of Passover, so I thought I would put this out there today

Some time back I gave hints on working a top-down raglan jumper, which is good for using up leftover yarn.

Bottom-up raglan is good for yoke sweaters. The increases working top down leave fairly obvious traces, and have to be coordinated with the ribbing of the neck to look neat and tidy. Working a motif across the increases can be funky unless the pattern is specifically designed to work with a top-down raglan. In a bottom-up raglan, you do invisible decreases at strategic rounds and then one or two final decrease rounds above the pattern to fit the neck.

You will need a circular needle with a 24 inch tether for the body and one with at least a 32 inch tether for when you join the sleeves on. You need DP needles to start each sleeve and a circular with a 16 inch tether for when you have too many sleeve stitches for your DPs.

Work the body normally to the armpits. At the back middle, start working in the 32 inch circular; when you get to the left side, put the stitches of the first armpit on a holder.

Now knit one sleeve to the armpit, bottom up, and put the stitches of the armpit on a holder. Now pick up the rest of the sleeve stitches with the 32 inch circular needle.

Work across the body and put the armpit stitches on the other side on a holder.

Work the other sleeve like the first one and put the free stitches onto the 32 inch needle.

At this point you have to deal with two things.

One is that you now have as many as 480 stitches to work with. It’s heavy. You need strong hands even if you are using fingering weight yarn.

Second, the stitches at the armpits are tight. They have a habit of getting dropped. Work carefully at the armpits for 4 rows, making sure not to miss any stitches that drop.

Then decrease evenly around so you end up with a multiple of the number of stitches at the bottom of the pattern where it is the widest. If you have a yoke pattern, decrease where the pattern indicates from here on out, using a SSPO.

If you are not working a pattern, use the number of stitches left, the number of stitches you want in the neck, and the number of rows from here to the neck to figure out how many decrease rows you need and how many stitches you have to decrease. I keep telling you, knitting requires math.

For example, when I use fingering weight for myself, sleeves have 120 stitches of which 16 are the armpit, and the body has 300 stitches, 14 of which on each side are armpits. (The difference in stitch numbers helps loosen things up, making dropped stitches less likely.)

When I have sleeves and body on the same needle, I have 480 stitches on the needle. In the 5th round, I decrease every 12 stitches for 24 stitches lost. I need 65 rounds between armpit and neck, and 132 stitches at the neck. The math says to repeat the 12-stitch decrease round every 4 rounds. The last round before the neck ribbing has to have no decreases and be 132 stitches around so the last decreases should be no higher than the next to last round. A mid-back elevation goes before the last decreases. Knit the armpits together and close off the cuffs, tie in the tails of yarn and you're done.

The Periwinkle pattern on DROPS is a bottom-up raglan.  I also found a bottom-up raglan on Dale Garn (409-04). Both are something like the floral pattern on the Lofoten Yarn website.

This yoke is 60 rows high and used about 220 yards of the blue fingering weight yarn. If you are knitting for a chest size less than 40 inches, you'll need less yarn for the yoke. Also those two dark bands between the little bottom motif and the floral, between the floral and the top motif, have no decreases in them. You could leave out some of those rounds if you have less than 220 yards of your second color; to get the yoke the right height you would work more of the white between the yoke and neck. 

You could also use up multiple colors of leftover yarn in either Nordic or Fair Isle motifs. So once again, raglan is your go-to technique for using leftovers.

If you want to design your own pattern for the yoke, go to the Periwinkle pattern and make a reproduction of their chart -- blank of course -- in your spreadsheet, including the bars where the decreases go. This requires a multiple of 20 stitches where you START decreasing and comes out to a multiple of TEN stitches at the top. Plug in blocks for your design, check the look in a mockup in the spreadsheet, and away you go. Also notice that the chart for the smaller sizes will be useful with worsted or bulky yarn, while the chart for the larger sizes works well with fingering and sport/DK.

I suspect that working bottom up raglan in brioche is a good idea. Working in two colors, be careful that the body and sleeves have their armpits on the same half of the pattern so that the join doesn’t wreck things. And notice that, since you are putting the sleeve stitches on the same needle with the body stitches, you continue working in the round so you don't have to worry about purling.

You think I've done it all now? Nope. I still have some major projects to go.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

21st Century Classical Greek -- perfective passive

Thucydides I 2.2 is another long piece of text. What is its structure?

τῆς γὰρ ἐμπορίας οὐκ οὔσης, οὐδ᾽ ἐπιμειγνύντες ἀδεῶς ἀλλήλοις οὔτε κατὰ γῆν οὔτε διὰ θαλάσσης,

νεμόμενοί τε τὰ αὑτῶν ἕκαστοι ὅσον ἀποζῆν

καὶ περιουσίαν χρημάτων οὐκ ἔχοντες οὐδὲ γῆν φυτεύοντες,

ἄδηλον ὂν ὁπότε τις ἐπελθὼν καὶ ἀτειχίστων ἅμα ὄντων ἄλλος ἀφαιρήσεται,

τῆς τε καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ἀναγκαίου τροφῆς πανταχοῦ ἂν ἡγούμενοι ἐπικρατεῖν,

οὐ χαλεπῶς ἀπανίσταντο, καὶ δι᾽ αὐτὸ οὔτε μεγέθει πόλεων ἴσχυον οὔτε τῇ ἄλλῃ παρασκευῇ.

1)         The antecedent for the bolded gerundive is the hekastoi of the preceding subsection. Note oud’ negating the deliberate habit of mixing with each other, as well as the ouk negating the existence of trade, and oute…oute, “neither…nor” relative to land and sea.

2)         The next clause has its own subject, again, hekastoi, with nemomenoi as the verb substitute, which is at the start, not the middle. That makes this a verbal clause, parallel to verbal sentences in Arabic and Biblical Hebrew. Why the verbal expression is at the start, instead of the middle, I don’t know but this is something to watch out fot to see if Thucydides has specific habitual uses for it.

3)         periousian has a pink bar in the word tool for the -ous case, but the ouk ekhontes says that it’s an -on case object of negated possession.

4)         All the negations in this subsection use forms of ou not mi. Thucydides is negating whole classes, not parts that might or might not exist. This first clause is SVO but the clause after oude is OV.

5)         The clause that ends in afairisetai starts with adilon. In the lexicon, the first subentry is wrong for the context. You want the next thing down. It reflects uncertainty, and that almost requires an oblique which, nevertheless, is conjugated and therefore definite.

6)         The bolded conjugated verb is progressive eventive, formerly known as “imperfect tense”, and is not interrupted by any other action. Note the negation applies to khalepos, the adverb. It does not negate the removal, it negates the nature of the removal, like ou palai which we had previously.

In the next to last phrase, click on higoumenoi. This has a non-mai counterpart in ago. However, when you study the verb higeomai, you find that the lexicon entry is incomplete. All the meanings require the -ois or -ous case, and we have nouns and adjectives in the -on case. But they are inanimate nouns and they can’t fit with part II of the lexicon entry.

The meaning that we want to fit into this place is “anywhere that they were led,” and this is allowed with a -mai verb. But Wiktionary claims that there’s only a middle-passive or base voice in progressive conceptual. It shows the same thing for perfective.

Now think about it. Progressive and perfective have no passive in non-mai verbs. What the Wiktionary entry shows us is that there’s also no separate passive morphology in -mai verbs for progressive and perfective. The base voice and passive are identical in -mai verbs.

One more clue. In the word tool, click on LSJ and go down to IV where it says “pf. in pass. sense.” Without knowing it, LSJ also says that this -mai verb has no separate spelling for passive voice that can be distinguished from base voice.

So when I said some time ago that progressive and perfective non-mai verbs have no passive morphology, it was an incomplete statement. In -mai verbs, they also have no passive morphology.

How do you distinguish the voice?

It’s the context. If the context is intransitive, you must have a passive voice verb. Otherwise you have base voice.

And that’s why the old grammars cripple modern readers. They don’t tell you how to tell what voice you have when the morphology is all the same, because they recognize only morphology, not context, as the driver of meaning.

So in this context we’re perfectly safe with a passive translation.