"from X to Poseidon" (offering writing)

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by Jessila, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. Jessila

    Jessila Senior Member

    France, french
    I read that in ancient Greek temples, when someone was making an offering to a God/dess, they would usually carve an inscription on it saying from who it was, to Whom it was meant and why.

    I've tried translators (though I've got no faith in them ^^') but I get confusing answers...
    It seems that to say "from", it would be "από". The name of the Divinity would be in the dative mode (?), so if I'm not mistaken in my example: Ποσειδώνα

    But the "to", I can't seem to get right, so far I've found: στη, στην, σε, του, τον, να, or ειξ
    I've tried replacing "X" with different names of Greek Deities that crossed my mind, and the translator would use a different translation for "to" depending on the name, and sometimes even got rid of the "to" altogether, as in :
    από Αμφιτρίτη Ποσειδώνα

    So what is the rule here? And what would the offering inscription really be like?
  2. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece
    Hello Jessila,

    Online translators translate to modern Greek and quite a few things have changed in the past two millennia in Greek :D

    If I was to inscribe something to denote my offering to Poseidon (Irene to Poseidon) it would probably look like this in ancient Greek : Είρήνη (that's my name, in nominative) Ποσειδῶνι (the name of the deity in dative) (Ειρήνη Ποσειδώνι with modern Greek diacritics in case your monitor doesn't render the letters with ancient Greek diacritics). Mind you, my name would inlcude my patronymic and probably the town I'm from and maybe other information to identify me further.

    So, in ancient Greek, the name of the person would be in nominative and the person of the deity in dative, usually without an article before it. In modern Greek it would be Η Ειρήνη στον Ποσειδώνα (My name in nominative + article, his name in accusative plus a sort of compound article; σε + τον = στον).
  3. Jessila

    Jessila Senior Member

    France, french
    Thanks for your answer Ireney :)

    That was my guess but I didn't find any translator to ancient Greek. Is there any?

    That's very interesting, it totally makes sense but I hadn't thought about it. And how would you write your patronymic then? I mean, would both your first name and your family name be in the nominative? And what about the place you live in: where would you place it in the "sentence" and in what declination would it be?
    Can you give me an example with any made-up patronymic and any town name you wish, please?

    This makes me think of another question about articles so I'll open another thread :)
  4. sotos Senior Member

    In ancient Gr. the god is Ποσειδών and the dative is Ποσειδόνι or Ποσειδώνι (I am not sure, but in ancient Gr. there were no strict spelling rules). So, an offering would be:
    ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΣ ΠΟΣΕΙΔΟΝΙ (from Demetrios to Poseidon). No articles needed, but normally the father's name or other "surname" should be included.
  5. Jessila

    Jessila Senior Member

    France, french
    I there a particular reason you wrote it all in capital letters? Did ancient Greeks never use lowercase letters?

    Also, you said that the patronymic would be included, and ireney suggested the same but where would it placed: before or after the first name?
  6. sotos Senior Member

    Yes, the ancient Greeks were writting only in capitals. The patronym (or place of origin) comes after the name.
    For example: ΑΡΙΣΤΟΞΕΝΟΣ ΑΠΟΛΛΟΔΩΡΟΥ ΠΟΣΕΙΔΟΝΙ ΑΝΕΘΗΚΕΝ. (Aristoxenos, son of Apollodoros, dedicated (this) to Poseidon).
  7. Jessila

    Jessila Senior Member

    France, french
  8. sotos Senior Member

    Yes. In mid byzantine period, I think.
    Greek grammar is a disaster and renders dictionaries useless to the uninitiated. It's from the v. ΑΝΑΤΙΘΗΜΙ (ανατίθημι) http://m.katabiblon.com/lexicon.php?search=ανεθηκεν The basic v. is τίθημι and is irrecular. From this the word "thesis".

    Here is the picture of a dedication to Artemis. See the last word ΑΝΕΘΗΚΕΝ.

    Googling for ΑΝΕΘΗΚΕΝ or ΑΝΕΘΕΚΕΝ should lead you to several sites of greek epigraphy.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014

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