Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

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lysis56
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Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by lysis56 »

Can someone who knows more about this stuff than I, give the appropriate form for "Hephaistion" in "ancient Greek. I have both Hefestion and Hefastion. I do not want the Latinized versions, I hate them!


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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by Paralus »

Ἡφαιστίων / Hēphaistiōn. In classical Greek it would be 'ephaistion' and, so they say, in Attik Koine 'aphaistion' (as in late). It is rendered, in English, as an aspirated vowel hence the 'he'.
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Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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hiphys
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by hiphys »

The spelling 'haphaistion' wasn't proper of the Attic Koinè, but rather Doric, or even Macedonian (where probably the name was spelt 'Habhastion', like Philip was spelt 'Bhilippos') . Long \a\ becomes \e\ in Attic pronunciation, but remains \a\ in all other ancient Greek dialects.
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by agesilaos »

Hi, Hiphys I think you mistake pronounciation and spelling; Philippos still begigins with a phi, but the Macedonians pronounced it Bhilippos (there is no letter for an aspirated B), when it comes to vowels, though, they were spelled differently viz Leonidas(Doric) is Leonides (Attic/Ionic in Herodotos), Attic also replaces alpha with eta in 'elochagein', for instance (meaning 'to command an armed body'); this is not too difficult to understand since eta was pronounced 'air' rather than 'ee', alpha I think is short as in 'Attic'; and just to muddy things thoroughly there is a chance that Hephaistion was of Athenian extraction !

My advice would be 'Hephaistion' (phi is an aspirated p rather than an f - Hep-hai-stion, or Hep'aistion) but one might have him get annoyed at the Hacedonians callying him Hebbaistion, but if you want people to read your book don't get too clever about the pronouciation, worry about the plot and characterisation.
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by hiphys »

Your remark is sound, but more in theory than in practice, because in Archaic alphabets the spelling follows from close up the pronunciation whenever it's possible. But aftewards the form of written words became more stabilized and even if people called Krateas 'Kratias' (as in Boeotia) only few inscriptions showed the change (the best example is now the distance we find between written and spoken English). As for Philip, Plutarch tell us the Macedonian pronunciation (Moralia 292 e: as Greek language hasn't anymore the occlusive voiced aspirate consonants he is obliged to spell the noun imperfectly, ie. without /h/), but we haven't (till now) any inscription with this spelling, perhaps because people felt it too dialectal to be fixed in letters (especially after the end of V cent. b.C.). Another big question is the strictness of the rules for transformation of panhellenic long /a/ in Attic Greek: in Solon's famous poem to the Muses there is much debate between scholars around the word 'our': it must be 'hemetera' or 'hemetere'? Perhaps each of them is right, so we cannot become more Catholic than the Pope. Therefore you are right, the best thing is to write something interesting, not the exact form (if ever existed) of the name Hephaistion!
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by agesilaos »

Everything in my life seems to be more in theory than practice :lol: As usual a most enlightening comment.
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by Paralus »

The real (sole, in my view) determinant of language is "usage". Any group, at any time, can put a meaning or 'colour' to a word (and, indeed, change its spelling - look at the US with its version of English'). It is a matter of whether it sticks. Greek, as any other language, changed over time. Modern Greek is not something Perikles will have understood. Give him some months.

I do not think that we have any real knowledge of the Makedonian 'dialect'. That it was clearly different to, say, Attik Greek is plain in the sources we have. That it was all part of the same language is, I think, unarguable.
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Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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agesilaos
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by agesilaos »

modern Greek is not as different from Classical Greek as modern English is from Shakespearean, say,pronounciation has changed more than the substantive vocabulary; Aischylos et al are still performed in the original, forinstance, and the modern audience understand them (with modern pronounciation, as I say). We do know quite a bit more about 'Makedonisti', thanks to the increased amount of epigraphy coming from the region in recent years, though we are nowhere near having a sizeable lexicon. I don't think anyone on this thread has suggested that Macedonian was not just a Greek dialect (with affinities to both Doric and Western Greek and Illyrio-Thracian loan words; much as one would expect).

Perikles, I fancy, would give us a few months to undestand him!

The question is how to deal with dialect in a literary context; now, I have read a fair amount of literature that writes it like wot it is spoke, and sometimes the author, Kipling maybe, pulls it off but usually it just gets in the way of the story as in H G Wells' 'The Invisible Man' (did I say literature back there,mmmh...books). In 'An elephant for Aristotle' L Sprague de Camp has each city state speak with a different modern accent, much as Stone attempted in his film, needless to say it is not a successful technique IMHO.
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by Alexias »

In science fiction or fantasy novels, made up names can act as hieroglyphs so that the reader recognises the shape rather than the sound as no one (except the author) may know how to pronouce them. To an extent this can hold true for historical novels, but with well-known names, the author needs to be wary of irritating the reader with idiosyncratic spellings and, as I am sure I have pointed out before, breaking the dramatic spell they are trying to weave by making the reader more aware of the author than the character they are creating.

PS anyone know anything about this new board that has appeared, and which appears to be locked unless you are logged in?
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by amyntoros »

Alexias wrote:
PS anyone know anything about this new board that has appeared, and which appears to be locked unless you are logged in?
It shouldn't be "locked". Perhaps it appears that way because there are no posts yet? I have yet to take the time to compose an introductory post/thread on the forum. So sorry. I requested the forum back in February but we have had a few problems and delays since then. There are two main reasons for its existence. One is that this year is the 20th anniversary of the founding of Pothos and I'm sure everyone agrees that it is cause for celebration and new contributions. The other reason is that we've noticed most of the forums which formed after the release of the Oliver Stone movie have either disappeared or faded. We thought it would be nice to have a place where discussions will not be lost and where all aspects of Alexander in the media can be discussed separately from the historical forum. For example, unless things have changed (and I must chase this up) there was a series on Alexander planned for European production this year. So, it's our hope that the new forum will encourage contributions and debate without fear that the focus will constantly be turned to historical accuracy. There's room for everyone on Pothos. :)

I'll try to post an introductory thread on the new forum as soon as possible. (Probably a mash up of my words above.) If the forum still appears to be locked then please do send me a PM.

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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by Alexias »

Thank you.
So, it's our hope that the new forum will encourage contributions and debate without fear that the focus will constantly be turned to historical accuracy. There's room for every one on Pothos.
Very much agree :D
Would it be alright if I reposted some stuff on the movie from Livejournal?
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by amyntoros »

Alexias wrote: Would it be alright if I reposted some stuff on the movie from Livejournal?
Absolutely! Post and repost away. It's your (Pothos members) forum after all. :)

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lysis56
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by lysis56 »

i recently caught up with this thread, and found the various comments interesting, and somewhat amusing. I am not a student of ancient Greek lanaguage, wish I were, but I have only so many hours in the day, and had a hard enough time with Latin and German, so Greek, well... Maybe in another life... Still, I am curious, well, more than that regarding many things about the ancient world of Alexander, et al. One of them is to get as clear a grasp as I can with my limited resources and mind on the language(s), whether Attik, Doric or whatever Macedonian might have had it's origins in. If such a thing is even known or possibly considered. I believe I have read possibly closer to Doric. I won't engage in any debate on this topic, the language(s), as I could never do so, I don't know enough, but am always eager to learn new things.

When engaged in something so mundane as story telling, It's clear that deviation from the norm in one's stories is not always the best course. I recognize the importance of this, as most people who read my little stories on various 'Net sites, know Alexander as such or Alexandros, and Hephaistion as such, and I know enough as a writer to recognize the importance of sticking with the form of names that are familiar with most readers. However, as a personal interest I want to delve as deeply as possible into that world, and that includes wanting to know, as clearly as one might in this modern world so far removed from that historical one what was what, and how it might historically, if even possible to know, names, etc., might have been pronounced. I am a bit of a nutcase for all things historic, I want to see, feel, eat, breathe as they did. Yeah, I know not possible, but nice to dream about, but not always realistic when it comes to writing, etc.

One thing that is disconcerting when coming on Pothos is the overabundance of feeling unprepared that grasps one, causing instant anxiety akin to walking into a oral graduate exam. I love this site, it fascinates me, but I have to say it does make me queasy at times! This is great resource, but at times it can give one the sense of being surrounded by heavy scholarship and, can be off putting. I often feel I need to do research just to ask a question about something I am researching before I can even post here. Clearly, that's my own neurosis showing, but ah, well, such is the life of a history buff - full of unexpected twists and turns, and more neurosis.

Anyway, can someone suggest an easy (ha!) course of study for a novice studying modern Greek who wishes to learn more about ancient Greek? One of my fantasies is to some day read the Illiad in ancient Greek. Rosetta Stone is my current method of study, and it's great for modern. Oh, and btw, has anyone used Rosetta Stone for Arabic?

Thanks much,

Lysis
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by agesilaos »

I think I posted a link on a thread called learn a little Greek to the JACTOR starter course i started with at Uni, I 'll check exactly where and edit the link in http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/greek/
; Macedonian is generally thought to belong to the Western Greek family i think, Hiphys is more up to speed on these matters than myself, it is more akin to Doric than Attic but still different from pure,whatever that means, Doric.

When it comes to how things were pronounced we have several strands of evidence aside from direct comments from grammarians and sources like the Suda, poetry has certain rules of metre which can demonstrate the quantity of vowels (Greek verse worked on rhythm rather than rhyme and specific patterns that we call feet based on the length of a sound - in English we normally represent the long sound as tum and the short as ti so a dactyl is tum-ti-ti, a spondee tum-tum and anapaest ti-ti-tum, trochee tum-ti and a ti-tum a iamb etc look up metrical feet for a fuller explanation. Also playwrights might adopt an accent, I can only think of Lysistrata, of hand which has sections in Doric, 'Nai saw tior' is the Doric for By the Twin Gods! For example. There are also notices about pronounciation in the historians, so that we know Philippos in Attic was pronounced Bhilippos in Macedonia and then there are the diacretic marks introduced by the Byzantines which assist with stress and pitch, it is odd but a stress for a Byzantine is thought to represent a higher pitch in Classical Greek making a line of Aischylos sound more like Michael Jackson than Sir John Geilgud!

Homeric Greek is not Attic and is more like Chaucer's Middle English as compared to Shakespearean, i would not start there get a feel for the Attic then the variants (paedologically rather than strictly linguistically speaking) will be more comprehensible and ultimately memorable; I can get on well enough with koine, doric etc, but tend to blank when I get Homer in the raw the curse of an unpoetic soul perhaps.
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Re: Appropriate Ancient Spelling for Hephaistion...

Post by hiphys »

I wish I could hear even few words spoken by an ancient Greek! Perhaps I'd been able to understand nothing, perhaps only a word out of ten, but it would be so exciting! I remember the first time I went in Greece and asked to a driver were was his coach going and he answered : 'Dhelphoùs' (ie. to Delphi); I felt almost upset, because he used still the ancient form of the accusative of motion! As for Homer and Greek poetry we can only approximately imagine the sound of an exameter: once I heard a song in Crete and believed it was a bit like the epic poems, performed by an Homeric rhapsode! But we know almost nothing of ancient Greek music and all Greek poetry was performed with music: therefore we can't really represent ancient poetry, because we have only words and metre, but half of the sound is missed, and we don't really understand what is a musical stress.
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