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Headword: Πτώσεις
Adler number: pi,3049
Translated headword: inflections, cases
Vetting Status: high
The philosophers use this term rather generally both for declensions[1] of any kind and for [grammatical] constructions. Nowadays, of course, they do not use the term this way, but [they call] inflections[2] and derivatives[3] 'coordinates',[4] which, though they seem to be related to each other, are [actually] different. They also call 'inflections' those things that are configured particularly, not according to [other] things, such as γραμματικῶς ['grammatically'].[5] For this is an inflection of γραμματικόν ['grammatical']. Similarly [in the case of] δικαίως ['justly'], μουσικῶς ['musically'], φρονίμως ['prudently'], ανδρείως ['courageously'], for these are inflections of δίκαιον ['just'], μουσικόν ['musical'], ανδρεῖον ['courageous'], φρόνιμον ['prudent']. And the traditional rule is as follows. If the inflection of something of any sort has multiple meanings, the thing itself also [has] multiple meanings, and if the thing itself [is that way], the inflection [is] as well. For example, since the inflexion of 'just' is 'justly', if 'justly' has multiple meanings, so, accordingly, does 'just'.[6] 'Justly' has multiple meanings, for he who decides according to his own understanding is said to have decided justly by revealing that which seems just to him, even though this is not just in that sense. [In a different manner] he is also said to have decided justly who decides as he ought to. But he who is obedient to the law is also [said to have decided justly], even if what is just is not truly like that. Therefore, 'just' is included among the things that have muliple meanings and [has] just as many meanings, in accordance, that is, with each [of the meanings] of 'justly': 'in accordance with one's understanding' and 'as one ought' and '[as is] legal'. It is clear that the rule is convertible,[7] for if 'just' itself also has many meanings, the inflection deriving from it, the [adverb] 'justly', also [has] many meanings.
According to grammarians an inflexion is an alteration occuring in the ending of a noun or noun-form.
Also [sc. attested is] πτώσσοντες ['they cowering'], [meaning they] being afraid.[8]
Also [sc. attested is the corresponding feminine accusative singular] πτώσσουσαν , ['cowering']: [meaning] being afraid, hiding herself. "When walking by the well-wooded entirety of a tree, I drew it out with my hand as it cowered [πτώσσουσαν ] in the leaves of the Bacchic vine."[9]
Greek Original:
Πτώσεις: οὕτω λέγουσι κοινότερον οἱ φιλόσοφοι καὶ τὰς ὁπωσοῦν ἐγκλίσεις τε καὶ ἐκφοράς, οὐ μὴν καὶ νῦν οὕτως, ἀλλ' ἐστὶ σύστοιχα καὶ πτώσεις καὶ παρώνυμα, παρακεῖσθαι μὲν ἀλλήλοις δοκοῦντα, διαφέροντα δέ. καὶ πτώσεις λέγουσι τὰ ἰδίως οὐ παρά τινα ἐσχηματισμένα, ὡς τὸ γραμματικῶς: πτῶσις γὰρ τοῦτο τοῦ γραμματικόν: ὁμοίως τῷ δικαίως καὶ μουσικῶς καὶ φρονίμως καὶ ἀνδρείως: πτώσεις γὰρ ταῦτα τοῦ δίκαιον, μουσικόν, ἀνδρεῖον, φρόνιμον. ἔστι δὴ ὁ παραδιδόμενος τόπος τοιοῦτος: ἂν ἡ πτῶσις τινὸς ᾖ ὁπωσοῦν λεγομένη πλεοναχῶς, καὶ αὐτὸ πλεοναχῶς, καὶ εἰ αὐτό, καὶ ἡ πτῶσις. οἷον ἐπεὶ τοῦ δικαίου τὸ δικαίως πτῶσις, ἂν τὸ δικαίως πλεοναχῶς, καὶ τὸ δίκαιον, καὶ ἔμπαλιν. λέγεται δὲ τὸ δικαίως πλεοναχῶς: ὅ τε γὰρ κατὰ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γνώμην κρίνας καὶ τὸ δόξαν αὐτῷ δίκαιον εἶναι ἀποφηνάμενος δικαίως λέγεται κεκρικέναι, κἂν μὴ οὕτως δίκαιον ᾖ τοῦτο. λέγεται δικαίως κεκρικέναι καὶ ὁ ὡς δεῖ κρίνας: ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁ τῷ νόμῳ πεισθείς, κἂν μὴ τὸ ταῖς ἀληθείαις δίκαιον οὕτως ἔχῃ. καὶ τὸ δίκαιον οὖν τῶν πλεοναχῶς λεγομένων καὶ τοσαυταχῶς: καθ' ἕκαστον γὰρ τῶν δικαίως: τό τε γὰρ κατὰ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γνώμην καὶ τὸ ὡς δεῖ δίκαιον τοιοῦτον καὶ τὸ νόμιμον. καὶ δῆλον, ὅτι ἀντιστρέφει ὁ τόπος: καὶ γὰρ εἰ αὐτὸ πάλιν πλεοναχῶς τὸ δίκαιον, καὶ ἡ πτῶσις ἡ ἀπ' αὐτοῦ, τὸ δικαίως, πλεοναχῶς. κατὰ γραμματικοὺς πτῶσις ἐστὶν ὀνόματος ἢ ὀνοματικοῦ τινος κατὰ τὸ τέλος κίνησις γενομένη. καὶ Πτώσσοντες, δειλιῶντες. καὶ Πτώσσουσαν, δειλιῶσαν, κρυπτομένην. πᾶν δὲ κατ' εὔδενδρον στείβων δρυός, εἴρυσα χειρὶ πτώσσουσαν Βρομίας οἰνάδος ἐν πετάλοις.
The first and principal paragraph of this entry is taken (with some variations and omissions) from Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentaries on Aristotle's Topica 103.30-104.28, which is commenting on Aristotle, Topica 106b29ff.
[1] The Greek is ἔγκλισις , 'declension', 'inflection' or 'any derivative form', such as the mood of a verb. See Apollonius Dyscolus, Syntax 248.14, and especially Dionysius Thrax, Grammar 1.1.48-53. The latter interestingly maintains that the verb (ῥῆμα ) is accompanied by: (1) eight 'moods' (ἐγκλίσεις ): the verbal moods themselves, which are divided into (a) indicative (ὁριστική ) (b) imperative (προστακτική ), (c) optative (εὐκτική ), (d) subjunctive (ὑποτακτική ), and (e) infinitive (ἀπαρέμφατος ); (2) dispositions (διαθέσεις ), which are divided into: (a) active (ἐνέργεια ): 'I beat'; (b) passive (πάθος ): 'I am beaten', and (c) middle (voice) (μεσότης ): 'I have fixed in/on' (πεπήγα ), 'I made/created' (ἐποιησάμην ), 'I wrote' (ἐγράψαμεν ); (3) forms or types (εἴδη ): 'I furnish drink for' (ἄρδω or ἀρδεύω ); (4) figures (of speech) (σχήματα ), which can be simple, composite, or formed from a composite; (5) numbers, which can be singular ('I beat'), dual ('both of you beat'), and plural ('we beat'); (6) persons: first, second, third; (7) times: present, past, future; (8) conjugations.
[2] The examples of πτῶσις that can be found in Aristotle are both nominal inflections ("'Philo's' or 'to Philo', and all those things that are of this sort are not names [ὀνόματα ], but inflections [πτώσεις ] of a name"; De interpretatione 16a32-16b1) and verbal inflections ("Every declarative enunciation must exist out of a verb or out of its inflection. For even the enunciation of man is not yet a declarative enunciation unless 'is' or 'will be' or 'was' or something of this sort is added"; De interpretatione 17a9-12). For Aristotle an 'inflection' is any set of forms derived from the same lexeme. In Topica 114a33ff Aristotle says that inflections are things like 'justly', 'courageously', 'healthily', and such as are said in this way. He also adds that the forms that correspond to inflections are 'coordinates'; for example, 'justly' is coordinate in relation to justice, 'courageously' in relation to courage, and so on (Topica 114a34-36).
[3] According to Aristotle, things that get their names from something but differ in their inflection are called 'derivative' [παρονύμους ]; for instance, the grammarian gets his name from 'grammar', the courageous person gets his name from 'courage' (see Categories 1a12-15).
[4] By 'coordinates' (σύστοιχα ) Aristotle means things such as the following: just actions and the just person are coordinate with 'justice', courageous actions and the courageous person are coordinate with courage (Topica 114a27-29).
[5] Alexander's text (104.13-14) reads "Inflections are those things that are particularly configured thus [rather than 'not'] along with [other] things, such 'grammatically'", which makes a better sense.
[6] This is so, Aristotle says, because according to each person who acts 'justly' there will be a just person (Topica 106b31).
[7] For this expression in Aristotle, see Topica 109b25; 115a33; b17.
[8] Likewise or similarly in other lexica; references at Photius pi1495, where Theodoridis tentatively follows Naber's view that this participle is quoted from Homer, Iliad 7.129. However, it is masculine accusative plural there; for a nominative see a phrase of Tyrtaeus (fr.11.36) preserved in Stobaeus.
[9] Greek Anthology 7.193.1-2 = Sim(m)ias of Rhodes (sigma 431) fr.19 Powell. Reading with Powell τήνδε for πᾶν δέ and δρίος for δρυός produces a more satisfactory translation: "walking through this well-wooded grove I drew it out ...".
Uhlig, G., Hilgard, A., Schneider, R. (eds.) Grammatici Graeci (Leipzig 1878-1910; reprinted Hildesheim 1965)
Vol. I: G. Uhlig, Dionisii Thracis Ars Grammatica (1883)
Vol. II: A. Hilgard, Scholia in Dionisii Thracis Artem Grammaticam (1901)
Vol. III: G. Uhlig, De constructione (1910)
Vol. IV: R. Schneider, Librorum Apollonii deperditorum fragmenta (1890)
Keywords: botany; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; ethics; imagery; philosophy; poetry
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 17 October 2002@08:05:26.
Vetted by:
William Hutton (Modified translation and notes, added keyword) on 17 October 2002@12:22:07.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 16 January 2003@07:42:48.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 23 October 2013@05:45:36.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 12 December 2014@01:16:18.


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