Plato's Protagoras, a translation
June 30, 2010 6:20 PM   Subscribe

An attempt at a collaborative translation of Plato’s Protagoras. Every day for a few months, Dhananjay Jagannathan will post roughly a page of the dialogue, side by side in Greek, in his own translation, and in Jowett’s classic 1871 translation. He's invited readers to comment and offer suggestions to improve the translation. Jagannathan's goal is to communicate Plato in English the way readers of his would have interpreted his Greek.
posted by unliteral (11 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Awesome, thanks.
posted by Fizz at 6:33 PM on June 30, 2010

My knowledge of ancient Greek is essentially nill. So, this may be a clueless observation. However, I notice that the text has punctuation marks. I thought ancient Greek didn't have punctuation marks (nor ancient Latin). Can someone offer some illumination?
posted by oddman at 6:38 PM on June 30, 2010

... And here's the news of the week, in the Plato-as-Covert-Pythagorean Dept.:

posted by darth_tedious at 6:45 PM on June 30, 2010

darth_tedious, incidentally I was in the midst of making a post about that before you wrote that.

It can be found here.
posted by resiny at 6:59 PM on June 30, 2010

Basically it sounds like there are themes repeated at certain specific intervals in the work. That's hardly a code. There's no secret encoded information
posted by delmoi at 7:04 PM on June 30, 2010

If I recall correctly, oddman (and I may not), truly ancient Greek didn't even have spaces. I think the punctuation and diacritics -- not to mention the lowercase -- we're used to seeing came later (later than Plato, at least).
posted by uosuaq at 7:22 PM on June 30, 2010


(Also, I thought that punctuation and capitalization were Medieval inventions. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. ANCIENTTEXTGENERALLYLOOKEDLIKETHISIDONTKNOWWHYITTOOKSOLONGFORPEOPLETOBELIKEOHSPACESAREAGOODIDEA)
posted by oinopaponton at 7:25 PM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

posted by joe lisboa at 7:32 PM on June 30, 2010

Delmoi -- you're right, not a code (in the sense of "we can learn new things Plato believed"), and a couple articles I saw before the Guardian one above seemed to really oversell the discovery (if it is one). But if this were true it would still be a huge deal. And I'd really like to see Kennedy's reconstructions of the original 35-letters-a-line text.
However, I think this thread was originally about a collaborative translation of Protagoras. Which is a nice idea, and I hope the guy gets some valuable input (although Plato in ancient Greek seems like one of the harder things to "crowdsource").
posted by uosuaq at 7:49 PM on June 30, 2010

Protagoras was my favorite of the dialogs. I can't wait to read this.
posted by wobh at 8:38 PM on June 30, 2010

This is good.
posted by MarshallPoe at 7:21 AM on July 1, 2010

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