Greek and Latin. Expressions of Meaning
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Greek and Latin. Expressions of Meaning

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Verbs and nouns of meaning in ancient Greek and Latin are polysemous, just as in the case of the English verb “to mean". Andreas T. Zanker considers how the ancient vocabulary could be used in different ways and investigates its development over time. In the first part of the book, Zanker argues for the role of metaphorical and metonymical transference in the creation of expressions of meaning; Greek and Roman authors used the same verbs to describe what inanimate things, including words and texts, meant/signified as they did of human beings in the act of meaning/signifying something. In the second part of the book, the author focuses on certain metaphorical extensions of this vocabulary and argues that they have implications for modern discussions of meaning, particularly in literary criticism.


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Greek and Latin. Expressions of Meaning The Classical Origins of a Modern Metaphor
Andreas T. Zanker
DOI: 10.4000/books.chbeck.1609 Publisher: C.H.Beck Year of publication: 2016 Published on OpenEdition Books: 5 October 2017 Serie: Zetemata Electronic ISBN: 9782821897106
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Printed version ISBN: 9783406688454 Number of pages: 274
Electronic reference ZANKER, Andreas T.Greek and Latin. Expressions of Meaning: The Classical Origins of a Modern Metaphor.New edition [online]. München: C.H.Beck, 2016 (generated 02 November 2017). Available on the Internet: . ISBN: 9782821897106. DOI: 10.4000/books.chbeck.1609.
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Verbs and nouns of m eaning in ancient Greek and Latin are polysem ous, just as in the case of the Eng lish verb “to m ean". Andreas T. Zanker co nsiders how the ancient vocabulary could be used in different ways and investig ates its developm ent over tim e. In the first part of the book, Zanker arg ues for the role of m etaphor ical and m etonym ical transference in the creation of expressions of m eaning ; Greek and R om an authors used the sam e verbs to describe what inanim ate thing s, including words and texts, m eant/sig nified as they did of hum an being s in the act of m eaning /sig nifying som ething . In the second part of the book, the author focuses on certain m etaphorical extensio ns of this vocabulary and arg ues that they have im plications for m odern discussions of m eaning , particularly in literary criticism .
Verben und Substantive des Bedeutens sind m ehrdeuti g auf Altg riechisch und Latein. Andreas T. Zanker überleg t, wie das antike Vokabula r in unterschiedlicher Weise benutzt werden konnte, und untersucht seine Entwicklung im Laufe der Zeit. Im ersten Teil des Buches arg um entiert Zanker für die Rolle von m etaph orischer und m etonym ischer Übertrag ung bei der Entstehung von Ausdrücken des B edeutens; g riechische und röm ische Schriftsteller benutzten die g leichen Verben, um di e Bedeutung en von unbelebten Geg enständen (einschließlich Wörtern und Texten) wie auch die Absichten und Intentionen von Menschen zu artikulieren. Im zweiten Teil des Buches fokussiert der Autor auf g ewisse m etaphorische Ausdehnung en des Wortschatzes und beh auptet, dass sie Im plikationen für m oderne Diskussionen über Bedeutung haben – insbeso ndere in der Literaturwissenschaft und Philolog ie.
ANDREAS T. ZANKER
Andreas T. Zanker is Assistant Professor at Am herst Colleg e in Massachusetts.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface
Introduction I. The Problem II. The Roles of “Meaning ” in Literary Criticism III. Influences IV. The Book
Chapter 1: The Polysemy of Expressions of Meaning I. “sibi uelle” (1) II. “sibi uelle” (2) III. The Polysemy of Expressions of Meaning IV. “hoc uult dicere...V. Expressions of Meaning and Quotation Marks VI. Conclusion
Chapter 2: Greek and Latin Expressions of Meaning (I) I. Expressions of Desiring and Wanting II. Expressions of Thinking III. Expressions of Speaking IV. Passive Constructions V. Expressions of Equivalence VI. Conclusion
Chapter 3: Greek and Latin Expressions of Meaning (II) I. “σηµαίνεινII. “significareIII. Further Expressions IV. Conclusion
Chapter 4: Metaphor, Polysemy, and Meaning Extension I. Polysemy and Metaphor II. Polysemy, Metaphor, and Classical Expressions of Meaning III. The Role of Economy IV. Polysemy, Metaphor, and Modern Expressions of Meaning V. Conclusion
Chapter 5: Evidence from Early Greek Poetry I. The Interpretation of Ordinary Phenomena in Homer II. The Interpretation of Divine Sig ns in Homer III. The Interpretation of Lang uag e in Homer IV. The Interpretation of Dreams in Homer V. Development in the Archaic and Classical Ag es VI. Conclusion
Chapter 6: The Metaphor of text = person I. Epig ram II. Books as Children III. Address to the Book IV. Prose and Technical Writing V. Conclusion
Chapter 7: The Metonymy of author for text I. Metaphor and Expressions of Reading II. The Metonymy of AUTHOR for TEXT III. Artistic Use of the Metonymy AUTHOR for TEXT IV....disiecti membra poetae V. Conclusion
Chapter 8: The Classical Metaphors for Metaphor I. The Spatial Metaphor of “µεταφορά” and “translatioΙΙs of Words. Proper and Improper Meaning III. Ancient Awareness of Metaphors for Metaphor IV. Modern Metaphors V. Conclusion
Chapter 9: Expressions of Meaning and Modern Literary Criticism I. The Metaphor TEXT = PERSON in Modern Criticism II. The “Intentional Fallacy” in the Ancient World? III. The Meaning s of “Meaning IV. Conclusion
Epilogue
Appendix I: Expressions of Inanimate Signification in Herodotus
Appendix II: Further Nouns of Meaning
Appendix III: Ancient Theories of Meaning
Abbreviations
Bibliography
Index locorum
Index verborum
Preface
This book g rew out of two articles, the first co-wr itten with Geir Thorarinsson, the second reappearing here in a som ewhat altered form in m y f irst and ninth chapters; this m aterial has been adapted with the perm ission ofQuarterly. Classical the course of (co-)writing In these shorter pieces, I beg an to investig ate the relevant classical vocabulary in earnest, and ultim ately realized that there was m ore on the topic that I wanted to say; the result is the book in front of you. The m anuscript was written over a num ber of years a nd institutions. My first thoug hts on the topic cam e tog ether in g raduate school at Princ eton University, where I was lucky enoug h to find advisors such as Andrew Feldherr, De nis Feeney, and Bob Kaster, as well as teachers such as Harriet Flower, Andrew Ford, Constanze Guthenke, Joshua Katz, and Brent Shaw. After g raduation, I m oved to Harvard University as a Colleg e Fellow, later becom ing a Lecturer; I am deeply g rateful to the faculty the re for g iving m e the tim e to use the resources of Widener library and the rem it to teach courses on a rang e of subjects. After four years at Harvard, I m oved to the Ruprecht-Karl s-Universität Heidelberg as an Alexander von Hum boldt Postdoctoral Fellow; to m y h ost, Jürg en Paul Schwindt, I owe a g reat deal: besides benefiting from his intellectua l g enerosity, I g ained m uch from his vibrant weekly colloquium , where I encountered num e rous ideas and intellectual currents that were new to m e. This year in Germ any was form a tive for m e m any ways, and I m ust sincerely reg ister m y thanks to the Alexander von H um boldt Foundation itself for the g ift of tim e to read and think: indeed, this project could not have been com pleted without it. In 2015, I took up the position of Assistant Professor at Am herst Colleg e, and it is there that I write these words; m y thanks g o out to m y new colle ag ues – Chris van den Berg , Laurie Cantor, Rick Griffiths, Becky Sinos, and Dale Sinos – for their warm welcom e and aid in the final phases of the preparation of the m anuscript. Friends and advisors helped m e at every stag e, and individual debts are acknowledg ed in the footnotes. Tim Barnes, Isabella Tardin Cardoso, Lauren Curtis, Tiziana D’Ang elo, Andrew Feldherr, Christian Haß, Luuk Huitink, Bob K aster, Christopher Krebs, Mark de Kreij, Sarah McCallum , Liz Mellyn, Rebecca Miller, Micah Myers, Nandini Pandey, Michael Putnam , Jerem y Rau, John Schafer, Richard Thom as, G eir Thorarinsson, Jeff Ulrich, Athanassios Verg ados, and Kathrin Winter all read m aterial in draft form . Elem ents were presented at the MACTe m eeting s for junior faculty in New Eng land, as well as at events in Am herst (MA), Budapest, Cam bridg e (MA), Heidelberg , Lisbon, Nijm eg en, and Rostock. József Krupp, Marie-Charlotte von Lehsten, Tim Perry, and m y father, Graham Zanker, read the entire m anuscript. I would like to stress that not all of those m entioned ag ree with m y ideas, and that none should be held accountable for them . I would also like to thank Charles Martindale for his g raciousness at an early point in the project. In the late sum m er of 2015, the book was accepted by Jonas Grethlein for Zetemata; I am g rateful to him for his confidence and encourag em ent.
To all those who have accom panied m e along this path, m y everlasting thanks are due. My brother, Hug o, has always been an inspiration; while g eog raphically distant, we will always be close. Leyla Koç rescued m e from m yself during t he spring of 2015. This book is dedicated to m y parents, Ruth and Graham Zanker; only they know how m uch went into it. My love and g ratitude g oes out to them for their ca lm counsel, sense of hum or, and for always being there. My texts have been checked ag ainst theLinguae Graecae Thesaurus the and  Library of Latin Textshave taken the liberty of addingA). I note where I use a different text. I  (Series quotation m arks to the Greek and Latin where I feel they are useful. Quotation m arks them selves are used slig htly differently from the n orm al convention in classical studies: a description of m y rationale is g iven in the Introduction, the reasoning behind it in Chapter 1. Translations are m y own, except where otherwise specified. Titles of Greek works have been translated (save where this m ig ht be confusing ), but Latin ones have not. For uniform ity across different lang uag es, I cite verbs by their infinitive.
Introduction
I. The Problem
tertius ille modus transferendi uerbi late patet, quem necessitas genuit inopia coacta et angustiis, post autem delectatio iucunditasque celebravit. “The third manner of speaking – transferring a term [metaphor] – has abroad rang e of applications. It arose from necessity, imposed by the poverty and constraints of lang uag e; later on, however, the pleasure and the charm it broug ht rendered it popular” (Cicero,De Oratore3.155). his illa potentiora, quod res plurimae carent appellationibus, ut eas necesse sit transferre aut circumire: etiam in iis, quae denominata sunt, summa paupertas in eadem nos frequentissime reuoluit... “More seriously than this, many thing s lack names, with the result that either transference [metaphor] or circumlocution is necessary. Even in the case of those thing s that have been named, our extreme poverty of vocabulary bring s us back ag ain and ag ain to the same expressions” (Quintilian,Institutio Oratoria12.10.34). One of the m ost interesting aspects of the Eng lish noun “m eaning ” is that it is itself polysem ous: the word m eans different thing s at diff erent tim es, and this has been an undeniable force in the history of philosophy and literary criticism . The sam e can be said of the associated verb, “to m ean”: we can, for exam ple, talk about both (a) what authors m ean by their words and (b) what their words m ean to the ir readers. On the face of it, there is som ething odd about the fact that the very words we em ploy to determ ine the sig nification of other term s can them selves be em ployed in m ultip le ways. This book is an attem pt to survey the archaeolog y of this particular area of o ur vocabulary – to look at how the term s “m eaning ” and “to m ean” are reflected in the term in olog y of the ancient lang uag es, and to consider how the latter resem bles, differs from , and possibly influenced our own expressions. In addition, I consider how the classi cal expressions of m eaning developed over the course of tim e, and dem onstrate that ancient authors could exploit the polysem ies of their vocabulary of m eaning for effect. But m y intent is in fact broader than this; I hope to show that the polysem y of a num ber of prom inent ancient expressions arose ultim ately from m etaphorical and m etonym ical transference, and , g iven that the m odern European lang uag es derive to a larg e extent from the classical ones, that this phenom enon has played a role in m odern discussions of what thing s, and m ost im portantly texts, sig nify. It is a cliché to say that m uch of subsequent intellectual inquiry is a foot note to Plato, but it certainly holds true for the subject of this book. Towards the m iddle of theEuthydemus, we find Socrates em broiled in a battle of wits ag ainst two sophists, Euthydem us and his brother, Dionysodorus. Their g oal is to win the arg um ent by any m eans possible, and one of the m odes by which they attem pt to confound Socrate s is by quibbling over the different m eaning s of words. At one point, the word in questi on is the verb “νοεῖνhly, “to” (roug apprehend”, “think”, “intend”), which Socrates em pl oys in the following passag e in the
sense of “to m ean” or “to sig nify”; Dionysodorus im m ediately pounces, taking issue with Socrates’ application of the word to an inanim ate g ram m atical subject: 1.ἐπεὶεἰπέ,τίσοιἄλλονοεῖτοῦτοτὸῥῆµα,τὸ “Οὐκἔχωὅτιχρήσωµαι τοῖςλόγοις”;Ἀλλ᾽σὺλέγεις,ἔφη, [τούτῳγ᾽οὐπάνυχαλεπὸνχρῆσθαι·] πεὶπόκριναι. ... Πειστέοντοίνυν,ἦνδ᾽ἐγώ,καὶἀνάγκη,ὡςἔοικενσὺγὰρἄρχειςἀλλ᾽ ἐρώτα. Πότερονοὖνψυχὴνἔχοντανοεῖτὰνοοῦντα,καὶτὰἄψυχα; Τὰψυχὴνἔχοντα Οἶσθαοὖντι,ἔφη,ῥῆµαψυχὴνἔχον; ΜὰΔίαοὐκἔγωγε Τίοὖνἄρτιἤρου,ὅτίµοινοοῖτὸῥῆµα; Τίἄλλογε,ἦνδ᾽ἐγώ,ἐξήµαρτονδιὰτὴνβλακείαν; “Socrates. Tell me then, what else can that phrase (‘ῥῆµα’) of yours intend (‘νοεῖ’), ‘I am not able to deal with the arg uments’. Dionysodorus. But it is not particularly hard to deal with the phrase that you mention; just answer this question first. [Socrates and Dionysodorus wrang le over whether it is fair for Dionysodorus to pose his question first, and Socrates ultimately bows to his adversary]. Socrates. Well then, I must obey, and it appears out of necessity – for you are in control here. Ask away! Dionysodorus. Do, then, those thing s that intend (‘τὰνοοῦντα’) have life when they intend (‘νοεῖ’), or do lifeless thing s do so too? Socrates. Only those thing s that have life. Dionysodorus. Do you think that any phrase (‘ῥῆµα’) has life? Socrates. No I do not, by Zeus. Dionysodorus. Why, then, did you ask me just now as to what my phrase intended (‘νοοῖτὸῥῆµα’)? Socrates. For what other reason than that I blundered on account of my stupidity?” (Plato,Euthydemus287c-e). In this excerpt, Dionysodorus m akes an intrig uing , albeit clearly devious, point concerning the polysem y of “νοεῖνndeed be used o”. By the late fifth century the Greek verb could i f (a) what a phrase or word m eant,1from Hom althoug h arilyer onwards it had been prim (b) a verb of thinking and perception and therefore appropriate to anim ate subjects. Dionysodorus latches onto the latter usag e of the v erb, dem anding that Socrates explain how phrases can intend thing s when they are not in fact living creatures. In the passag e that follows, Socrates proceeds to im pale the sophi st on his own arg um entative com m itm ents, and both Dionysodorus and his brother com e away looking distinctly unprincipled by the end of the dialog ue; as Crito, Socrates’ com panion, puts it, it is better to be refuted oneself than to refute others by m eans o f such arg um ents (Euthydemus 304c-d). The issue that Dionysodorus raises concerning “νοεῖν” is, however, an im portant one: why is a verb of m ental activity here applied to an inanim ate conveyor of intentionality, that is, a phrase (“τὸῥῆµα”)? The phenom enon becom es all the m ore interesting when one realizes that this double-usag e is not restricted to “νοεῖν” but appears to be reflected in other expressions of m eaning as well – in lang uag es both ancient and m odern. In a sense, this entire book is an exploration of Plato’s insig ht, althoug h I hope to be m ore constructive in m y handling of it than Dionysodorus.
This episode from theEuthydemusprovides a basis for the investig ation of a broade r aspect