Well, I think this is the last question I have from my present reading. I have mostly teased out the meaning of this passage, but there is just one word (in bold) that confuses me.

Ἤδη οὖν καὶ αὐτὸς μαλθακίζομαι, καὶ ἐκεῖνα μὲν ἐπιθῡμῶ ἀναβαλέσθαι καὶ ὕστερον σκέψασθαι ᾗ δυνατά, νῦν δ᾽ ὡς δυνατῶν ὄντων θεὶς σκέψομαι, ἄν μοι παρῑῇς, πῶς διατάξουσιν αὐτὰ οἱ ἄρχοντες γιγνόμενα, καὶ ὅτι πάντων συμφορώτατα ἂν εἴη πρᾱχθέντα τῇ τε πόλει καὶ τοῖς φύλαξιν. ταῦτα πειράσομαι σὺν σοὶ πρότερα σκοπεῖσθαι, ὕστερα δ᾽ ἐκεῖνα, εἴπερ παρῑεῖς.

Ἀλλὰ παρίημι, ἔφη, καὶ σκόπει.

Plato's Republic, Book 5, section 458b

My take:

"And therefore I myself have become lazy, and desire to postpone those things and examine later their feasibility, but now, making the assumption that they are possible, I will, if you allow me, inquire how the archons will arrange these things as they happen, and that they are done most advantageously of all for both the city and the guards. I will try to examine these former things with you, and then those later things, if you will allow it."

"I do allow it," he said, "proceed with the inquiry."

I am confused about the word πῶς, which is either the direct interrogative adverb ("how?") or the enclitic adverb ("somehow"). Wouldn't you expect ὅπως instead of πῶς? I thought that πῶς was only used, in the definite sense, in direct questions, and that ὅπως should be used in contexts like this. What are your thoughts? Does the choice of πῶς make sense to you?

1 Answer 1


πῶς is widely attested as an alternative for ὅπως in indirect interrogative clauses. Here are some examples of this use with the verb σκέπτομαι:

  • Isocr. 1,35: σκόπει πρῶτον πῶς τὰ ἑαυτοῦ διῴκησεν

  • And. 124,2: σκέψασθε πῶς γέγονε, καὶ πῶς ἐποιήσατ’ αὐτόν

  • Xen. mem. 2,1,16: σκεψώμεθα δὲ καὶ τοῦτο, πῶς οἱ δεσπόται τοῖς τοιούτοις οἰκέταις χρῶνται

  • Pl. Prot. 360e: σκέψασθαι βουλόμενος πῶς ποτ’ ἔχει τὰ περὶ τῆς ἀρετῆς καὶ τί ποτ’ ἐστὶν αὐτό, ἡ ἀρετή

  • [Dem.] 35,54,2: σκοπεῖτε δέ, ὦ ἄνδρες δικασταί, πῶς οὐκ ἀδικεῖσθε

  • Arist. EN 1123a: σκοπῶν πῶς ἂν ἐλάχιστον ἀναλώσαι

  • Aristid. or. 9,12 L.-B.: φέρε δὴ κἀκεῖνο σκέψασθε πῶς αὖ πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἶχον κατ’ ἐκείνους τοὺς χρόνους οἱ Ὀλύνθιοι

Some other examples with different verbs:

  • A. Eum. 677: ἄγγειλον ἡμῖν πῶς τὸ πρᾶγμ᾽ ἠγωνίσω

  • Xen. mem. 1,2,36: μένω δ᾽ ἀκοῦσαι πῶς ἀγὼν κριθήσεται

  • Ar. eq. 614: πῶς δὲ νῦν βλέπει οὐκ οἴδαμεν

  • 3
    And more generally, the "direct" interrogatives are often used in indirect questions too, e.g. τί for ὅτι and so on.
    – TKR
    Feb 23, 2017 at 22:50

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