5

I have two questions about the following sentences (Herodot, Histories, 2.124.3) :

The workers working for the pyramid of Cheops... ἐργάζοντο δὲ κατὰ δέκα μυριάδας ἀνθρώπων αἰεὶ τὴν τρίμηνον ἑκάστην. χρόνον δὲ ἐγγενέσθαι τριβομένῳ τῷ λεῷ δέκα ἔτεα μὲν τῆς ὁδοῦ κατ᾽ ἣν εἷλκον τοὺς λίθους, τὴν ἔδειμαν ἔργον ἐὸν οὐ πολλῷ τεῳ ἔλασσον τῆς πυραμίδος. ὡς ἐμοὶ δοκέειν.

[my translation]

They worked in teams of 100,000 people, continuously, each team working for 3 months. As for the time spent by the people exhausting themselves, the time necessary to make the road along which they pulled stones, it seems to me that it was 10 years; they built the road, a structure that was not, by far, less than the pyramid.

my two questions

  • (question #1) "αἰεὶ" in "αἰεὶ τὴν τρίμηνον ἑκάστην" may modify "ἐργάζοντο" (→ "They worked continuously") but also "τὴν τρίμηνον ἑκάστην" ("→ "... each team working continously for 3 months"). Is there a way to choose between these two interpretations?
  • for the sake of completeness, the singular "ἑκάστην" in "αἰεὶ τὴν τρίμηνον ἑκάστην" is normal; see e.g. Iliad 18.495-496.
  • (question #2) Why is "ἔργον" an accusative ? Is it an apposition to "τὴν" in "τὴν ἔδειμαν ἔργον ἐὸν" (→ "They builed this [road], [it was] a work being...") ?
  • For the sake of completenesse, see here for "πολλῷ τεῳ" (dative of τις).

Any help would be appreciated !

2
  1. In sense, αἰεί naturally goes with τὴν τρίμηνον ἑκάστην. αἰεί can mean something like "each time", here meaning that each team of 100,000 worked for three months. It's hard to take it with ἐργάζοντο partly because of the placement, but more because "they always worked" doesn't seem to mean anything in this context, and αἰεί doesn't really mean "continuously" (which might be e.g. συνεχῶς).

  2. Yes, ἔργον is in apposition to the relative pronoun τήν. "The road which they built, being a work not much less..." Logically one might expect ἐόν to agree in gender with its subject τήν, but it's normal for it to agree with the predicate in cases like this.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.