Tag Archive: Hellenistic



CRITICAL POST: The active middle voice template, akeomai = I repair or I make amends for...  in the five major tenses in Mycenaean Linear B & ancient Greek:

In all of the ancient East Greek dialects, right on down from Mycenaean Linear B to Arcado-Cypriot, its closest cousin (ca. 1100-400 BCE), through to Homeric Greek (ca. 800 BCE, a hodgepodge amalgam of various early ancient Greek dialects), to Ionic and Attic Greek (ca. 500-400 BCE), right on through to Hellenistic Greek (ca. 300-100 BCE) to New Testament Koine Greek (ca. 100 AD) and even to modern Greek, the active middle voice was extremely common, playing an indispensable role in the expression of verbal actions. In fact, it was probably even more common than the standard active voice, which we have already covered under the verb kauo = to burn.

In Mycenaean Linear B and in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects, the template for active middle voice is here represented by the verb, akeomai = I repair -or- I make amends (for myself). The 5 major indicative active tenses represented are, once again:

the present active middle voice
the future active middle voice
the imperfect active middle voice
the aorist (or simple past) active middle voice
the perfect active middle voice

all conjugated in full in this table:

mycenaean-linear-b-active-middle-verbs-akeomai-620

What is the function of the active middle voice in Mycenaean Linear B & ancient (as well as modern) Greek?

It is a very good thing to ask — in fact, it is crucial to the proper understanding of the critical difference between the standard active voice and the middle voice of verbs in Greek. The two voices are simply not the same. The standard active voice, as in the verb, kauo (present), kauso (future), ekauon (imperfect), ekausa (aorist or simple past) & kekausa (perfect) simply indicates something that someone does, will do, was doing, did or has done, with no further qualifications.

The active middle voice is quite another kettle of fish. It is much more active (quite literally!) and much more dynamic. The active middle voice denotes any of the following activities:

1. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject takes a powerful personal interest in whatever action he or she is undertaking;
2. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject acts strictly on his or her own behalf, without any direct influence of or consideration of whatever anyone else may think or adjudge about said action;
3. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject acts independently, of his or her own volition, regardless;
4. Any action undertaken by the subject, which is of a reflexive nature, ie. by means of which the subject does something for or to oneself.

It goes without saying that an active present voice as so utterly complex as the active middle voice exists in no modern language, except for the fourth (4th.) application. The middle voice was of primal importance to the ancient Greeks because they were highly individualistic and egocentric (as opposed to being egoistic, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the active middle voice, except in rare instances). Reflexive verbs (4) are common in practically all modern languages. Thus, we have:

in English: I wash myself, you wash yourself, we wash ourselves etc.
et en français : je me lave, tu te laves, nous nous lavons – et ainsi de suite,
to cite just two examples.

On the other hand, the strict emphasis on personal responsibility for one’ s actions which is the preeminent characteristic of the active middle voice in Mycenaean Linear B and in ancient and modern Greek is nowhere to be found in modern Centum (Occidental) Indo-European languages such as English, French, Italian, Spanish, German etc. etc. In order to express the emphasis on direct personal responsibility innate to the active middle voice in ancient and modern Greek, modern languages have to resort to (sometimes cumbrous) circumlocutions. For instance, to express the first (1.) function of the active middle voice in ancient Greek, English has to resort to this circumlocution:

I am taking a powerful personal interest in repairing... etc.

And for the second (2.) function, this is what English has to resort to:

I am acting strictly on my own behalf in repairing (regardless of what anyone else thinks of it)

And for the third (3.) function:

I am acting entirely on my own (or independently) to repair etc.

Quite the circumlocutions in comparison with the active middle voice in ancient Greek, which is always so compactly and eloquently expressed by a single word, regardless of tense!

Consequently, it is virtually impossible to grasp the several meanings (at least 4) inherent to the active middle voice in ancient Greek, unless one has a firm grasp on the 4 principal functions I have outlined here. I repeat, the distinction between the simple active voice and the active middle voice in both ancient and modern Greek is fundamental to a proper understanding of the divergent functioning of these two active tenses, the simple active and the active middle.

The virtual invariability of the most archaic athematic MI verbs in ancient Greek from 1200 BCE (Linear B) – New Testament Koine Greek (ca. 100 AD):

The following table clearly illustrates that the most archaic of ancient Greek verbs, namely, athematic verbs in MI, underwent only barely perceptible changes over a span of 1,700 years.

didomi-linear-b-archaic-new-testament

This is because these verb forms were already fully developed even as early as in the Mycenaean Greek dialect, written in Linear B (ca. 1600-1200 BCE). This phenomenon falls under the purview of diachronic historical linguistics, whereby the term diachronic means “linguistic change or lack of it over an extended period of time”. The importance of the minimal changeability of archaic athematic MI verbs cannot be over stressed. Regardless of the period and of any particular dialect of ancient East Greek (early: Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot, middle: Homeric Epic, an amalgam of various dialects, Classical: Ionic & Attic) & late (Hellenistic & Koine Greek), very little change occurred.  In fact, only the second & third person singular underwent any change at all. In Mycenaean Greek alone, the second person singular was didosi & the third person singular was didoti. In all subsequent dialects, the form of the 2nd. person singular became that for the third, while the second person singular itself morphed into didos in all ancient East Greek dialects pursuant to Mycenaean. This was the one and only change the conjugation of the present tense of archaic athematic verbs such as didomi underwent diachronically from 1,600 BCE to 100 AD. The verb didomi effectively serves as the template for the conjugation of the present active of all athematic verbs in MI throughout this historical period.  This is just one notable aspect of progressive (D) derived Linear B grammar. There are many others, which of course we shall address in the gradual reconstruction of ancient Mycenaean Greek grammar over the next few months. 

Just added to my academia.edu: Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do! An amusing read too!
Click on the banner to read, bookmark or download the article:

Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek

To my utter astonishment, in the first two weeks alone I have been present on academia.edu, my little research corner has already been visited 552 times, and I now have 75 followers.

EREPA PORUPODE  
I would be delighted if you were to follow me on academia.edu, and if you yourself are already a member, please be sure to send me a message on site, and I shall follow you back.  

Richard


 


Our own Page in PARTNERSHIP on Koryvantes, The Association of Historical Studies (Greece)

Click here to visit our own page in our professional partnership with Koryvantes, Koryvantes, The Association of Historical Studies:

KORYVANTES Category Linear B & The Iliad

Koryvantes has done an extremely professional job of designing our page on his magnificent site, and we hope we have done the same for his Association on ours, here:

Koryvanteslogopng

We URGE all of our visitors to visit Koryvantes, The Association of Historical Studies, in Greece, as often as possible, since their research into ancient Greek warfare and weaponry is of the very highest order. Koryvantes discusses Greek warfare and weaponry from all historical eras, right down from the Mycenaean to the Byzantine, accompanied b magnificent illustrations of Greek warriors and weapons. His site is a must see! 

Koryvantes is a MAJOR contributor and attendee at numerous International Conferences and Meetings all over Europe!

Richard


MAJOR Announcement! PARTNERSHIP with KORYVANTES: Association of Historical Studies: A World-Renowned Historical Greek site: Click to visit KORYVANTES:

Koryvanteslogopng

KORYVANTES: Who we are

KORYVANTES”, The Association of Historical Studies, is a Cultural Organization, researching and applying experimentally the Military Heritage of the Greeks from the Bronze Age to the late Byzantium.Koryvantes” has participated in Academic conferences of Experimental Archaeology (University of Warsaw 2011, Academy of Pultusk 2012, University of Belgrade 2012, Organization Exarc / Denmark 2013 ), while our studies have been published in academic literature (British Archaeology Report Series) and Special International Journals (Ancient Warfare Magazine ).Koryvates” has participated in International Archaeological Festivals (Biskupin / Poland 2011 , Lyon / France , 2012 ) and International Traditional Archery Festivals ( Istanbul 2013 Amasya 2013 , Biga 2013 , Kiev 2013) , presenting high quality shows to thousands of viewers.Koryvantes” has participated in major international TV Productions (History Channel, BBC2, BBC 4, ITV), on the thematics of warfare and culture of ancient Greece.

Since 2008, we have spearheaded research and the practical study of Greek Warfare at an international level, reconstructing and testing weapons, armour and fighting techniques of 3,300 years of Greek History.

The Major Concerns & Areas of Research of our Site are: Experimental Archaeology, Academic Research, MYCENAEAN EQUETA, Archaic Hoplite, Classical Hoplite, Byzantine Vandon, Traditional Archery, 33 Centuries of History (CAPS for MYCENAEAN EQUETA by Richard Vallance Janke) Click on this banner to visit ALL CATEGORIES:

ourcategories

For photos of people arrayed in the armour of the Mycenaean Equeta, Click on this photo to visit the page:


Equeta
Text minimally revised by Richard Vallance Janke to reflect Canadian English. 

TO CONTACT US:

contactus

For more information on the KORYVANTES, visit WIKIPEDIA: Korybantes

Kadmos_dragon_Louvre_E707

You may also visit KORYVANTES on Twitter here:

Koryvantes Twitter

and follow them if your are a student, researcher, professor or an aficionado of Mycenaean History and Linear B, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, ancient Greek Military History, and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. I fully expect that KORYVANTES will be profoundly interested in my translation of the entire Catalogue of Ships, which I expect to finish by spring 2015.

KORYVANTES IS WITHOUT QUESTION THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTNER SITE LINEAR B, KNOSSOS & MYCENAE HAS EVER PARTNERED WITH! We shall be reblogging a great many posts from KORYVANTES, and we are certain that they shall be doing the same with many of ours.

English-Myceneaen Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C Greek Lexicon:

My research colleague, Rita Roberts and I, shall soon be compiling the first major LEXICON of our all-new, extremely comprehensive English-Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C Greek Lexicon which is to be published in its entirety sometime in 2018. When it is published, it will be by far the largest and most comprehensive Linear B & Linear C Lexicon on Mycenaean Linear B and the first ever on Arcado-Cypriot Linear C ever published.  Published FREE in PDF format, it is bound to at least double the currently attested (A) Mycenaean vocabulary of some 2,500 words, logograms and ideograms to at least twice that many attested (A) and derived (D) lexical entries, to at least 5,000, if not 6,000 – 7,000 words.

The Military section of this Lexicon is to be published first, meaning that KORYVANTES, The Association of Historical Studies, will benefit fully from the largest vocabulary of Mycenaean Linear B Military Terminology ever assembled online or in print. It will be published on its own sometime later this year as a prelude to our full lexicon, under the title, An English-Mycenaean Linear B/Mycenaean Linear B-English Lexicon of Military Terminology (PDF).      

Richard 


Fantastic new Blog on the Internet all about #ancient #Greek #warriors & #weapons including #Mycenaean. You simply HAVE to check it out! Richard

KORYVANTES Association published work

Thank you so much, Adonis Koryvantes, for not only inviting me to
join your blog, but for allowing me to be an author. I sincerely
hope I can contribute some really useful posts. PS I hope you got
my invitation to my blog!
In case you are not already following me on Twitter, here is my
account:

https://twitter.com/vallance22

I am already following you on Twitter.

I shall soon post some of the lovely photos of Mycenae I took when
I was there in early May, 2012.

Richard

Meanwhile, you may wish to check out this post on Linear B, Knossos
& Mycenae: Click on the composite of the Frescoes to read this post
the composite is much larger on my blog)

composite of frescoes at Knossos10 of the Loveliest Frescoes from Knossos (Composite): Choose your Favourite(s)! Click to ENLARGE: These frescoes are as follows: [1] The Fresco of the Dolphins in the Queen’s Megaron…

View original post 252 more words


The Amazing Antikythera Mechanism: the First Analog Computer in History?

To read this article in its entirety, please click on the Wikipedia logo below:

Wikipedia

The “Antikythera mechanism” was recovered from a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1900-1901, at the precise time the city of Knossos was being excavated by Sir Arthur Evans. Its significance and complexity were not understood until a century later when it was analyzed with modern X-ray technology. Its construction has been attributed to the Hellenistic Greeks. Technological artifacts approaching its complexity and workmanship did not appear again until the fourteenth century, when mechanical astronomical clocks were first constructed in Western Europe.  Professor Michael Edmunds of Cardiff University, who led a 2006 study of the mechanism, said, “This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of its kind. The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right. The way the mechanics are designed just makes your jaw drop. Whoever has done this has done it extremely carefully ... in terms of historic and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa.” Illustration of the Antikythera archeological mechanism, with radiographic details of its intricate gearing system (Click to ENLARGE):

Antikythera Mechanism archaeological find
The mechanism was housed in a wooden box approximately 340 × 180 × 90 mm in size and comprised 30 (!) bronze gears(although more could have been lost). The largest gear, clearly visible in fragment A, is approximately 140 mm in diameter and has 223 teeth. 

You may also wish to consult The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project. Click on the logo:

Antikythera Muserum

http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/project/publications

from which I draw this résumé. The Antikythera Mechanism is a Hellenistic astronomical machine with bronze gearing system, made about the second century B.C, preserved in fragments only. In 2005, new data considerably enhanced our knowledge of its functions, being as it is an instrument measuring geocentric cosmology, portraying the stars, Sun, Moon, and all five planets known in antiquity.

Here are images of the gearing system and a modern reconstruction of the truly elegant Antikythera Mechanism (Click to ENLARGE):

Antikythera front gears and B&W cutaway & modern recon
and again, in Scientific American 2009. Click on the logo to read the article:

ScientificAmerican

Résumé: The Antikythera mechanism is a unique & highly sophisticated mechanical analog calculator from the second-century BCE. Advanced imaging tools have enabled researchers to reconstruct how the device predicted with such astonishing accuracy lunar and solar eclipses and the motion of the moon in the sky.

To read about the much earlier Minoan Disc (so-called Analog Computer) see the previous post. It is almost as mind-blowing! 

Richard

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