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I have been researching Zeus' throne, and have found several sources that say the throne was made of black marble. One source, Robert Graves, was even more specific, saying it was Egyptian black marble. I am now trying to find out how that would have been written out. The nearest I have been able to decipher was the individual corresponding words: Aigýptios mélās mármaros (Αἰγύπτιος μέλας μάρμαρος) I am not fluent in ancient greek, Hellēnikḗ (Ἑλληνική), so I don't know if this is correct, grammatically, or if there is a more nuanced way to say it. I've also found the term mávro marmárino (μαύρο μαρμάρινο), but I think that is modern Greek. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Are the sources you're referring to texts by ancient Greek writers? If so, if you share them we can try to see what the original phrasing is.
    – TKR
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 18:56
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    @TKR See this thread on Myth, too: mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/10240/…
    – cmw
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 23:48

2 Answers 2

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Greek word order is fairly free, so other orders are possible, but I think the most natural choice would be μάρμαρος μέλας Αἰγύπτιος.

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  • All my grammars are quite reserved about the semantics of multiple adjective attributes. Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 18:44
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Αἰγύπτιος μέλας μάρμαρος sounds good to me. 'Egyptian marble that is black'. I could not find any ancient use of this term.

Edit: Initially I offered definitive forms here but I cannot find such examples, and none of my grammars have examples of definitive nouns with multiple adjectives. (Forms like ὁ μάρμαρος ὁ Αἰγύπτιος ὁ μέλας would indeed sound clumsy.)

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    I'm not sure either of these options is syntactically sound -- the second seems to be missing a ὁ (ὁ μάρμαρος ὁ Αἰγύπτιος ὁ μέλας is presumably technically grammatical, if very clumsy), and I don't know if there are instances of the construction "ὁ Adj Adj N" as in the first. It's an interesting question how Greek would form definite NPs with more than one adjective, or if these are simply avoided.
    – TKR
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 18:45
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    This seems such a simple thing that there should be a clear answer. I can't find one, though. Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 19:02
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    FWIW, my sense is that if there are two adjectives in a definite NP the construction used would be to place one before the noun and one after, e.g. ὁ μέλας μάρμαρος ὁ Αἰγύπτιος. The other options feel wrong to me, but I don't have any evidence for this.
    – TKR
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 19:06

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