My daughter learned a series of neologisms at school this year, including the clever but cloying “hangry”. What is a classically trained pedant to do but look for ancient precedents for a newly coined term?
Phrynichus, fr. 75
“In the grumpy rages of old men with rotting lives.”
ἐν χαλεπαῖς ὀργαῖς ἀναπηροβίων †γερόντων
Aristophanes, Knights 706-7
“You’re so cranky! Come on, what can I feed you?
What do you munch on most happily? Is it a wallet?”
“The first thing philosophy promises is a shared communion, humanity and friendship with others. Our differences from others will keep us from this promise. We must examine that those very values through which we hope to create admiration do not become laughable and hateful”
Hoc primum philosophia promittit, sensum communem,humanitatem et congregationem. A qua professione dissimilitudo nos separabit. Videamus, ne ista, per quae admirationem parare volumus, ridicula et odiosa sint.
Orphica fr. 334
“I will sing to those who understand: blockheads, close your doors.”
ἀείσω ξυνετοῖσι, θύρας δ᾿ ἐπίθεσθε βεβήλοι
“Nature’s wealth is the finest and easiest to obtain. But the ‘wealth’ of empty beliefs trails endlessly away.”
“It seemed to him that all of creation was boundless, unchangeable, unmoveable, and a single thing, uniform and multiple. That there was no actual movement, only the appearance of motion. He also thought we should not talk about the gods since we have no knowledge about them.”
“There are only two paths of investigation to contemplate:
First, how something is and how it is possible not to be.
This is the way of belief for truth accompanies it.
The other is that it is not and how it is necessary that it not be.
This is a path I am showing you is completely useless to pursue.”
“Akhilleus: [this name comes from] lessening grief, for Achilles was a doctor. Or it is because of the woe, which is pain, he brought to his mother and the Trojans. Or it is from not touching his lips to food [khilê]. For he had no serving of milk at all, but was fed with stag-marrow by Kheiron. This is why he was hailed by the Myrmidons in the following way, according to Euphoriôn:
He came to Phthia without ever tasting any food
This is why the Myrmidons named him Achilles.”
“The name Odysseus has been explained through the following story. For they claim that when Antikleia, Odysseus’ mother, was pregnant she was travelling [hodeuousan] on Mt. Neritos in Ithaka, and it began to rain [husantos] terribly Because of her labor and fear she collapsed and gave birth to Odysseus there. So, he obtained is name in this way, since Zeus, on the road [hodon] rained [hûsen].”
It is more typical to derive Odysseus’ name from the verb odussomai, which means something like “being hateful, being hated”. Autolykos, Odysseus’ maternal grandfather, is reported to have named him in the Odyssey (19.407–409).
“I have come to this point hated [odussamenos] by many—
Both men and women over the man-nourishing earth.
So let his name be Ody[s]seus…”
“A different kind of question arises when the argument depends on a word which comes from a written text. This does not happen in courtrooms unless the words shape the legal outcome: is killing oneself a homicide? Is the one who compels a tyrant to kill himself a tyrannicide? Are magical spells like poisoning?
The matter is clear. Suicide is not understood as being the same as killing another person; it is not the same thing to kill a tyrant and compel him to die. Spells are not the same thing as mortal poison. The issue is whether they should be referred to with the same legal name.”
Diversum est genus cum controversia consistit in nomine quod pendet ex scripto, nec versatur in iudiciis nisi propter verba quae litem faciunt: an qui se interficit homicida sit, an qui tyrannum in mortem compulit tyrannicida, an carmina magorum veneficium. Res enim manifesta est sciturque non idem esse occidere se quod alium, non idem occidere tyrannum quod compellere ad mortem, non idem carmina ac mortiferam potionem, quaeritur tamen an eodem nomine appellanda sint.
A student recently asked me how to say “don’t let the bastards grind you down” in Greek (and in my head I changed it to the ‘variant’ “wear you down”). I think the request stems either from the rather famous fake Latin illegitimi non carborundumor the appearance of the only slightly less problematic. Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum in Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”. Whatever the provenance of this question, it distracted me.
There are various Greek verbs and constructions one could use: prohibitive subjunctive or 2nd person imperative; third person imperative; impersonal constructions of obligation (δεῖ/χρή). The verbal adjective (to imitate the fake Latin Passive periphrastic seems unwieldy.
Someone also suggested a future wish construction:
I would perhaps turn it away from the disallowing towards a future wish: "May they not grind you down, these bastards" – μή + optative. Maybe that de-activates the person refusing the grinding a bit though.
Another fine suggestion from twitter was to use ἐπιτρίβειν (as I did above). I think we could use the verb ἐάω + infinitive, but that construction is not as common, I think, as prohibitives and third person imperatives.
Tense: for the imperatives and infinitives I have stayed with the present tense forms to express a durative or progressive ongoing resistance against bastards getting one down. I do think that the aorist could be substituted gnomically to express the timeless truth of the necessity of avoiding the burden of bastards.
Number: I have also mostly used the 2nd person plural in Greek. Although I think that if this were actually an archaic Greek sentiment it would likely use the second person singular to express something of an intimacy with the recipient, I wanted to keep it plural for general applicability in English.
Particles: Most of the statements above have insufficient flavoring for Ancient Greek. I kept the common ἄγε δή for strengthening commands, but I think there is probably more I could do.
No dejes que los bastardos te aplasten لا تدع الأوغاد يسحقونك Lass dich nicht von den Schurken zermalmen אל תתנו לנבלים לרסק אותך 不要让坏人粉碎你 Kötü adamların seni ezmesine izin verme https://t.co/BaL2U4UiTV
There has been some uncertainty about my obsession with the ancient nothos (“bastard”) and some fine suggestions for other nouns. Beyond the fact that I like the Greek word, nothos does function metaphorically in ancient Greek as “spurious” or “illegitimate”.
A small contribution from Modern Greece: "επιτριβειν" is most appropriate vs the other options, but I would consider "αχρείος" instead of "νόθος" to better capture the wider connotations of this sentence.