Reading Latin and Greek Sentences

[January 2021. I have made some relatively minor edits to the original text.]

The Problem

The ideas in this post grew out of reading Livy and Polybius this winter/spring term.  Livy is the master of the Latin periodic sentence (a single sentence that packs a large quantity of information into multiple and in Livy’s case artistically varied clauses). Polybius wrote with a verbosity criticized in his own day. If you want to read Livy or Polybius with fluency, you better be able to read Latin and Greek without constantly having to bail mid-sentence. Yet, as William Dowling puts it, “The problem about Latin [and Greek] is that you can study it for six years and still not be able to read a Latin sentence.”

Why is that? William Gardner Hale put his finger on it a long time ago, in his 1886 lecture “The Art of Reading Latin: How to Teach It”:  The Latin [and Greek] sentence is constructed upon a plan entirely different from that of the English sentence. Until that plan is as familiar to the student as the English plan, Hale observes, and until a single steady reading of the sentence carries the student’s mind through the very same development of thought that took place in the mind of the writer, the student will not read Latin otherwise than slowly and painfully. Yet we do not teach that plan. We didn’t in 1886, as far as Hale was concerned, and astonishingly, as far as I can tell, we don’t today. (I want to thank Seumas Macdonald for calling my attention to this little classic from Hale. You can find Hale’s published lecture at multiple sites on the web, e.g., Perseus and in archive.org.)

The fundamental difference in the Latin and Greek plan is, of course, the degree of inflection in those languages. In English the relation between words, and hence meaning, is largely determined by word position, in Latin and Greek by word ending. English syntax dictates that in “man bites dog,” man is the biter. In Latin the endings o and em dictate the same in homo mordet canem, but depending on what you want to emphasize, you can just as easily say homo canem mordet, mordet homo canem, mordet canem homo, canem homo mordet, or canem mordet homo. In Greek, ἄνθρωπος δάκνει κύνα, κύνα δάκνει ἄνθρωπος, etc. As they composed their sentences, Latin and Greek authors took full advantage of this inherently flexible word order. They were writing according to a totally different plan.

Hale’s statement of the problem hints at the solution: a “single steady” reading of the sentence. “Single steady” is later spelled out: First, you must read the sentence from the first word to the last in the order written. With each new word, you must learn on the one hand to anticipate the set of possible meanings it contributes to the unfolding sentence, what Hale calls “anticipatory parsing.” On the other hand, and this is the key, you must learn to suspend judgement about those possible meanings until you reach those points in the sentence where, per the Latin and Greek plan, they crystallize.

Read a Latin or Greek sentence any other way, and there are two guaranteed results: First, frequent mid-sentence “brain crashes”; second, even if you’re able to stitch the parts of the complete sentence together, a failure to grasp and appreciate its full meaning.

On the other hand, the fact that word order per the Latin and Greek plan is flexible does not mean it is random. This was nicely demonstrated by Dexter Hoyos in his 1997 pamphlet “Latin: How to Read it Fluently: A Practical Manual.” I have already written about ‘Fluently’ in my 2013 “OTC moment” post, where I recommended it as a means of bridging the final gap to a fully satisfactory experience reading a naked OTC or Teubner text. (Unfortunately, I discovered as I was writing this that this pamphlet is either temporarily or permanently out of stock on Amazon. Try ordering it from the publisher, CANEpress.) [January 2021: Fortunately it was republished in 2016 and is available on Amazon.]

It may seem in 2014 like Hale and Hoyos were setting out to slay two dragons that no longer exist. The first dragon is reading the words of the sentence out of order. This was an intentional approach in some popular Latin textbooks Hale was aiming his lance at. These textbooks taught student to seek out the main clause first, then, within it, first the subject then the predicate, or vice-versa, and the like. One hundred ten years later, whether they had been taught this way intentionally or not, Hoyos was still encountering college students “reading by decoding,” “hunting the verb,” etc.

In the introductory Latin and Greek texts I have used over the last few years, I don’t recall any explicit instruction to read out of order. To the contrary, though they may contain many sentences to exemplify vocabulary and grammar, these textbooks provide no guidance whatsoever on how to read these sentences, no hint of the initial difficulty that the entirely different Latin and Greek plan will present to the English-speaking student. The very absence of such guidance, the treatment that strictly limits itself to what Mark Lightman calls the three ur-skills, vocabulary, forms (aka accidence, aka morphology), and syntax — this method implies and indirectly encourages such an “out of order” approach to reading (‘Here’s a grammatical construct. Look for it in the sentence.’). See Hoyos, page 19. Some of the ideas in this post I tried out in an ancient Greek online forum (I wish to especially thank Seumas Macdonald and Mark Lightman for their input and fresh views), and I conclude this dragon still lurks.

The second dragon, sister to the first, is reading by translating. I guess just about every foreign language instructor recognizes the fallacy here. If you are translating as you go, you are reading as if the author mentally composed in English but for the convenience of his contemporaries translated his thoughts into their native language. And in the case of Latin and Greek you quickly become hopelessly ensnared in the total incompatibility between Latin or Greek word order and English word order. If you persist in trying to translate, you inevitably start jumping out of order — the first dragon. There is a role for translation, but usually it is just an instructor’s lazy and not very effective way of “proving” that the student understands the passage. I can testify from my own experience, this dragon too still exists. (I can tell you exactly how much the student understands by simply having her read the passage out loud.)

So here is my proposition: The art of reading a Latin or Greek sentence fluently should be taught as a fourth ur-skill, at the outset and simultaneously with the other three. As an autodidact, you will have to figure out a way to teach this skill to yourself. In this post, I offer a method based on the complementary approaches of Hale, who shows how to read word by word, and Hoyos, who shows how to read word-group by word-group. I will call this method ‘Hale Anticipatory Parsing then Hoyos Structured Analysis’ (HAPHSA), or ‘Hale then Hoyos,’ or simply HH (no trademark pending!).

If you’re just learning Latin or Greek, think of this method as an exercise program. Incorporate it early into your learning routine in order to develop a healthy reading skill. If you need this method remedially, think of it as medicine. Ugh! But no two ways about it, the different Latin and Greek plan does present a genuine difficulty, and it takes real effort to surmount it and achieve fluency. It won’t just happen by working through the standard introductory texts and intermediate readers. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to take the medicine for very long. To change metaphors, it is like the tortoise and the hare. It will even slow you down at first, but you will win the race.

I strongly encourage you to take the time to read Hale and Hoyos and work through their carefully chosen examples. If you do, you can develop your own exercise routine or brew your own medicine in a way that is suitable to your own self-diagnosis and likes and dislikes.

Perhaps you are already reading Latin or Greek and aren’t sure whether or not you suffer from the ailment. I suggest the following. Because I am going to demonstrate how to read certain Latin and Greek sentences in order, a word and then a word-group at a time, I don’t want to display their full texts in advance. But I reproduce them at the end of the post, so if you wish, scroll to the bottom and try them out now. If you honestly have no problem reading and understanding them beginning to end and with reasonable speed, ¡salud! — but I am surprised at how many people can’t.

The Solution

Follow these steps until you are unconsciously reading the unabridged sentences of ancient authors according to their plan, with a fluency approaching what it is like reading English according to the English plan:

  1. Always read out loud. This firmly plants and nourishes the Latin and Greek in your brain.
  2. Never translate while reading. Focus on understanding the meaning in Latin or Greek.
  3. Read the words and word-groups in order. Adopt a technique for preventing your eyes from darting ahead in the sentence. The most obvious way to do this in the twenty-first century would be an app that displays your text a word at a time, subject to your command. For more manual but practical methods, see the video below.
  4. Apply Hale’s anticipatory parsing until you have warehoused in your brain an inventory of the language-specific finite possibilities of meaning of key words and syntax (as richly illustrated in Hale’s examples) and can consult this inventory rapidly and unconsciously when reading. This is painfully slow at first, but remember the tortoise and the hare. As you do anticipatory parsing, treat syntax not as the seemingly arbitrary rules of a grammar book but as the conveyors of meaning deeply embedded in that language (the shoemaker’s lasts of the language, in Kató Lomb’s metaphor — see ‘Kató Lomb (Read a Book!’)’ at the end of my ‘OTC moment’ post.
  5. As you get better at anticipatory parsing at the word by word level, and as you are beginning to deal with more complex sentences, apply Hoyos’s guidance for recognizing word-groups and their relationships, his “embracing principle” and Reading Rule 6 and, with the degree of formality you find appropriate, his Structured Analysis.
  6. As you master in the above manner sentences that you find especially interesting for any reason, rehearse the sentence out loud as if you were speaking to someone else. Occasionally memorize it. This is a reinforcing mechanism.

♪ There ain’t no way to hide your dartin’ eyes ♪

Is this guy serious?

So now let me describe HH in more detail. But first let me say that it is of course just common sense that in any language we process sentences word by word in order. We must do so aurally (and in most speech contexts there is no rewind button), we are trained to do so when learning to read. (Note by the way the priority Hale puts on dictating rather than writing sentences in class.) We would have a good laugh, as Hale notes, if we eavesdropped on a Roman magister teaching his students to read the words of an English sentence out of order. It’s just that for us it takes a special discipline to do this with the plan of a Latin or Greek sentence, especially if the pedagogy implicitly or explicitly stands in our way.

Hale

The “anticipatory parsing” Hale illustrates for Latin is exactly what we do in English without thinking about it. Each new word in a sentence is an indicator of meaning. We use our knowledge of syntax and idiom as well as content and context to determine, and with each new word re-determine and narrow, the possible meanings, but we remain in some level of suspense until the sentence completes. Because of the vastly more flexible word order in the Latin and Greek plan, we often have to wait much longer for the meanings to resolve.

To warm up to Hale, it’s a good idea to rehearse anticipatory parsing with English. For example:

TheThe definite article indicates that a particular thing will be denoted. Since this is English, the position of this particular thing at the beginning of its clause indicates it will most likely be the clause’s subject. Is it a main clause or a subordinate clause? Most likely the former, but we don’t know for sure (for example, ‘The first clause having been read, we can proceed to the main clause’).
The ideasThe subject of the clause is the abstract concept ‘ideas.’ The word ending indicates the noun is plural (word endings play a role, but a much more minor one, in English). But since it is a particular set of ideas – the ideas – we expect some further qualification, unless the context provides a clear antecedent.
The ideas inThe preposition ‘in’ confirms our expectation of further qualification and in turn indicates the qualification will be by way of identifying the source or location of the ideas.
The ideas in thisThe demonstrative pronoun ‘this’ indicates the source or location of the ideas is close at hand.
The ideas in this postNow we have the full qualification and we know the ideas are in this very post. Context indicates ‘post’ refers to posting on a web blog.
The ideas in this post grewEnglish syntax indicates this is a main clause whose subject is the plural concept ‘the ideas’ — ‘grew’ has no word ending to distinguish its use with a singular vs. plural noun. English idiom indicates we will be told the ideas grew ‘from’ or ‘out of’ something.
The ideas in this post grew out‘out’ confirms our guess that the idiom might be ‘out of.’ ‘grow out of’ is intransitive, indicating the clause will not have a direct object.
The ideas in this post grew out ofOut of what? A garden? The writer’s rear end? Familiarity with the content of this blog will indicate out of some instructional context.
The ideas in this post grew out of readingThe ideas grew out of a process, expressed by the gerund ‘reading.’ The gerund could function as a noun, and the sentence end here, but the lack of punctuation indicates otherwise. As a verbal construct, ‘reading’ may be transitive (e.g., ‘reading books’) or intransitive (e.g., ‘reading in the morning’).
The ideas in this post grew out of reading LivyHe (assuming ‘Randy’ is a male) was reading Livy. We have no idea what is to follow, only that something will, as indicated again by the absence of punctuation.
The ideas in this post grew out of reading Livy and‘and’ indicates one of three possibilities. It could introduce a coordinate clause (e.g., ‘and occurred to me …’), a coordinate prepositional phrase (e.g., ‘and out of discussions …’), or a coordinate object of the now known to be transitive gerund (e.g., ‘and Horace’).
The ideas in this post grew out of reading Livy and PolybiusKnowledge of content indicates the author was reading a Roman and a Greek, both historians. The overall meaning of the sentence is narrowed, but we once again have no idea what will follow.
The ideas in this post grew out of reading Livy and Polybius thisContext, the use of a demonstrative pronoun, English syntax and idiom, the lack of a comma after ‘Polybius’ — these all indicate ‘this’ is probably introducing an adverbial phrase specifying a current or just expired period of time. But we don’t know this for sure.
The ideas in this post grew out of reading Livy and Polybius this winter/springThe absence of punctuation indicates ‘winter/spring’ is adjectival.
The ideas in this post grew out of reading Livy and Polybius this winter/spring term.The period indicates the end of this boring sentence.
anticipatory parsing in English

Not only has each new word in the sentence a dictionary definition, it has a finite set of possible meanings syntactically. For example, the gerund ‘reading’ above could be used substantively, verbally, transitively, or intransitively. In our native language we process these possible meanings unconsciously and at lightning speed. Then we proceed. The next word tells us it is being used verbally and transitively. We draw that conclusion unconsciously and at lightning speed.

Anticipatory parsing is about cultivating the same ability in Latin or Greek, following their plan. For example, if we read homo canem …, we not only know that canem means ‘dog,’ we know that it is in the accusative, and we know that the accusative has a finite set of possible meanings. Some of these we learn to reject under certain circumstances. canem is not going to express duration of time or space (what kind of Latin words do?). On the other hand, it is equally possible at this juncture in the sentence that canem is a subject accusative of an infinitive in indirect discourse, that it is an object accusative of an infinitive in indirect discourse, or that is is an object accusative of a finite verb or of a participle. As you will see in the examples, with the exercise of anticipatory parsing you begin to organize these inventories of possible meanings in your brain. It is not a bad idea to even write some of them out initially.

By the way, Hoyos’s pamphlet called my attention to an article by John Arthos entitled “Reading Virgil with Gadamer’s heremeneutics” (The Classical Outlook, 1995 vol. 72.4, 117-121). Arthos uses a poem by e.e. cummings to help illustrate “how meaning is created out of the tension between expectations we bring to a text and the unique response to those expectations of the unfolding text itself.” I can’t resist reproducing it here just for the fun you may have with it, even if it produces a tear:

Me up at does

out of the floor
quietly Stare

a poisoned mouse

still who alive

is asking What
have I done that

You wouldn't have

Hoyos

As anticipatory parsing begins to serve its purpose, you will get tired of halting at every word in the sentence. The exercise will have diminishing returns, as intended. You will have acquired the discipline of reading the words in order and of keeping your eyes from darting ahead. You will be processing the inventory of possible meanings increasingly rapidly and unconsciously. You will have learned to wait for word relationships and meaning to resolve according to the Latin and Greek plan. As a result of this very success, you will find yourself starting to seek meaning more in clusters of words than in individual words. But what clusters? Does Latin or Greek read to you as if the words are strung together entirely arbitrarily? This is where Hoyos comes in.

Hoyos deals in what he calls word-groups. His definition of a word-group is any one [his emphasis] syntactical construction. Word-groups are main clauses, subordinate clauses, and phrases of any kind (participial, prepositional, ablative absolutes, …). Each word-group is syntactically correct and contributes a single idea, action, or description to the developing sense of the sentence. Yes, word-groups are the familiar constructions of syntax we study, but Hoyos is focused on how to read these word-groups and understand their relationships. Again, don’t think syntax. Word-groups are “sense units” that form the true building-blocks of the sentence.

To read correctly, you must learn to recognize the word-groups and how they relate to one another. There are plenty of signposts to help you. The signposts Hoyos illustrates are essentially the same as the indicators of meaning illustrated by Hale. Hale and Hoyos indeed overlap. See Hoyos’s Reading Rule 2: “As you read, register mentally the ending of every word so as to recognize how the words in the sentence relate to one another.” And see the discussion page 13: Knowing the dictionary definition of the word is not the initial need. The initial need is to recognize how the words of the sentence are shaped in Latin, and how they relate to one another to form phrases and clauses.)

Word-groups follow in sequence and do not overlap, with the important exception that one word group may embrace another. This is the “embracing principle.” These ideas are formalized in Hoyos’s all-important Reading Rule 6:

6a. A Main Clause must be completed before another Main Clause can start.

6b. Once a subordinate clause or phrase is begun, it must be completed syntactically before the rest of the sentence can proceed.

6c. An embraced clause or phrase must be completed before the embracing one can proceed.

Dexter did not find this “rule” carved in stone somewhere. It is just an observation based on a great deal of experience reading and teaching Latin. When you have internalized this rule through your own practice reading, you will appreciate that, while Latin word order is very flexible, it is far from arbitrary.

A complex periodic sentence is just a longer sequence of word-groups. Each still contributes a single idea, action, or description to the developing sense of the sentence. If you are correctly recognizing and comprehending each word-group as you proceed, there is no reason to get lost mid-sentence. Complex periodic sentences are a style of writing, not an attempt to be difficult. Always remember, every ancient author wanted to be understood.

To help you learn to read a Latin sentence fluently by correctly processing its word-groups, Hoyos describes a technique he calls Structured Analysis (SA). Actually, the pamphlet describes two analytical techniques, one called Line-Analysis and one called Arch Diagrams. Dexter has dropped Arch Diagrams in his own teaching as too cumbersome in practice, and he now prefers the more accurate term Structured Analysis to Line-Analysis.

Hale’s anticipatory parsing is meant to be done on sentences you have not already read (in the context of Hale’s lecture, that means sentences your instructor is dictating to you in class). As far as I am concerned, Hoyos’s SA is equally valuable on a sentence you are reading for the first time and on a sentence you have read through completely enough times to at least get the gist of it (Hoyos Reading Rule 1: A new sentence or passage should be read through completely, several times if necessary, so as to see all its words in context). For me, HH was a remedial medicine, and I normally only do SA either on complex sentences I have read several times but whose structure still eludes me or on sentences that have dazzled me and that I want to analyze more deeply.

To do SA, learn to recognize word-groups and put each one on a new line. Number each line to show the sequence of word-groups as well as the embraced word-groups. Do this with as much formality as you find useful.

Examples: Latin

I have picked two sentences from the start of Livy’s narration of the Battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 BCE.

Anticipatory Parsing

For several days, the armies of Philip II and the Roman proconsul Titus Quinctius Flamininus have been feeling each other out as they march around Pherai and Scotoussa in Thessaly. Finally, on a  cloudy and dark day with limited visibility, Flamininus and Philip both send out reconnoitering troops from their respective camps at Thetideion and the hills of Cynoscephalae (for the locations, check out the Barrington Atlas described in my recent post). The Greeks and Romans are surprised to encounter one another, but after an initial panic they send messages back to their commanders, and …

First Sentence
LatinAnticipatory Parsing
PrincipioPrincipio may be an adverb. If so, it will qualify an upcoming adjective, adverb, participle, or verb. Or, its word ending indicates, it may be a dative or ablative singular of the substantive Principium. As an ablative, we might expect it to be governed by a preposition, a principio or ex principio. If it is a substantive, it might be followed by a genitive specifying the beginning of what. In any case (this and all similar puns intended), its emphatic position at the beginning of the sentence indicates a pending contrast between an initial and a later stage in the battle.
Principio aPrincipio is an adverb and will qualify the verb of the clause. a is a preposition and indicates an ablative will follow. a indicates a wide range of possible meanings, including separation in time or space, a perspective, or agency with a passive verb.
Principio a paucisThe word ending confirms the expected ablative, in this case masculine or neuter plural. If masculine, is paucis used as a standalone adjectival substantive or an adjective with a following noun? We don’t know.
Principio a paucis procurrentibuspaucis is used as an adjective, and the completed prepositional phrase is about a few troops running ahead, but we still don’t know the specific meaning of a.
Principio a paucis procurrentibus lacessitaThe perfect passive indicates it is extremely likely the prepositional phrase expresses agency. The word ending of lacessita indicates it will be a nominative singular feminine, a nominative or accusative neuter plural, or an ablative feminine singular. All of these are possible, and each has a set of possible meanings.
Principio a paucis procurrentibus lacessita pugnaThe ending of pugna indicates lacessita pugna is singular feminine, but we still don’t know for sure if pugna is nominative or ablative. The past participle lacessita serves here either as an adjective or as a component, combined with esse, of a perfect passive verb (in Latin, these two components of a perfect passive verb can be separated by other words). If the sentence were spoken, we might well be able to distinguish between lacessitā pugnā (the long a indicating ablative) and lacessită pugnă. Notice the many temporary uncertainties the highly inflected language creates compared to English. Don’t jump ahead to resolve those uncertainties, rather wait for their resolution as the Roman reader did. 
Principio a paucis procurrentibus lacessita pugna est,est resolves the clause: It is a main clause; pugna is the nominative subject of the perfect passive verb lacessita est, which principio modifies; a paucis procurrentibus expresses agency. The comma indicates the clause is complete, but not the sentence. We have no idea what will follow, but a pending contrast with principio still hovers.
Principio a paucis procurrentibus lacessita pugna est, deindeOur anticipation of a contrast is confirmed. We also note that deinde is parallel to principio in part of speech (adverb) and placement (the emphatic first position in its clause).
Principio a paucis procurrentibus lacessita pugna est, deinde subsidiisThe dictionary definition of subsidiis makes it almost certain that it represents help for the procurrentibus. The neuter plural noun subsidia could be the troops bringing help or the help the troops bring. The word ending indicates dative or ablative, each with a set of possible meanings.
Principio a paucis procurrentibus lacessita pugna est, deinde subsidiis tuentiumThe word ending indicates this is a genitive plural present participle masculine or neuter, but tuentium clearly refers to people. It looks to be a possessive genitive qualifying the preceding subsidiis by specifying who is bringing the help. But there are three uncertainties here: The use of a participle for a possessive genitive may strike us as unusual, though it is perfectly grammatical; tuentium could qualify what follows rather than what preceded; and tueor is an active verb that requires an explicit or implied object.
Principio a paucis procurrentibus lacessita pugna est, deinde subsidiis tuentium pulsosThe word ending indicates a masculine plural accusative, and the accusative strongly suggests pulsos (sc. procurrentes) is an explicit object of tuentium. But it is still possible tuentium has an implied object and pulsos has an accusative role in an entirely different construction. We do not know how this clause will end.
Principio a paucis procurrentibus lacessita pugna est, deinde subsidiis tuentium pulsos aucta.It ends abruptly. Everything crystallizes. This is a parallel main clause, and the parallelism we noted in deinde is maintained throughout. The word ending of aucta relates it to pugna (sc. pugna est); the battle has gone through two stages, first lacessita then aucta. tuentium pulsos qualifies subsidiis, and subsidiis tuentium pulsos is an instrumental ablative phrase paralleling the prepositional expression of agency a paucis procurrentibus.
This is a very simple start to anticipatory parsing for Latin. Hopefully by the time you are tackling Livy you know the case endings in your sleep, as if you had grown up with them. Sometimes a word ending indicates several possibilities of gender, number, and case, and you have to wait for other developments in the sentence to see which one it is. Word endings play the major role in telling you which words relate to one another. In addition, develop a mental (and initially even written) inventory of possibilities of meaning for things like prepositions, cases, the past participle form, etc.
Second Sentence
LatinAnticipatory Parsing
InThe sentence begins with a prepositional phrase. In indicates an ablative or an accusative will follow, specifying a location at or towards, respectively. The first position usually indicates some degree of emphasis; does a preposition seem like it would be emphatic?
In quaThe word ending indicates qua is an ablative singular. quis/qui, quae, quod can be adjective interrogative pronouns, indefinite pronouns (after si, nisi, ne, num), relative pronouns, or exclamatory. After a preposition, qua will not be indefinite. Content and context rule out an exclamatory use. So qua indicates either an adjective interrogative pronoun in an indirect question, in which case it will be followed by a feminine singular ablative noun, or a relative pronoun, in which case it relates to pugna from the preceding sentence. In Latin, a relative pronoun often stands at the beginning of an independent sentence connecting it with the previous sentence, equivalent in this case to in hac pugna. Hearing the sentence spoken would tell us certainly; if interrogative, qua would be stressed, if relative, in.
In qua cumNo noun follows, so qua is relative = in hac pugna.

cum can be a preposition, with a set of possible meanings (of accompaniment, of circumstances, etc.), followed by an ablative. It can also be a subordinate temporal conjunction introducing a clause whose action is at a particular time in the past, present, or future (or, in the past, whose action is a recurring one) and whose mood will be indicative. It can be a subordinate conjunction introducing a clause with a circumstantial, concessive, or causal meaning whose verb will be (in the narrative sequence of tenses) an imperfect or pluperfect subjunctive. cum could also be the first part of a cum … tum pair (usually with the indicative). These are all possibilities.
In qua cum haudquaquamNo noun follows, so cum is a conjunction introducing a subordinate clause, but whether with a meaning requiring an indicative or one requiring a subjunctive, we do not know yet.

The emphatically negative haudquaquam will modify a verb, participle, adjective, or adverb.
In qua cum haudquaquam pareshaudquaquam modifies the adjective pares (rhetorically, this equals valde impares and is an example of μείωσις, or understatement), whose word ending indicates masculine nominative or accusative plural. If accusative, its meaning could be as object of a finite verb, or as accusative subject, object, or predicate of an infinitive.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares RomaniSince per its word ending and per the context Romani is almost certainly nominative plural (though it could be genitive singular), it is equally almost certain, as indicated by sense and placement and compatible word endings, that pares modifies Romani. If pares were modifying an accusative object of a finite verb, it wouldn’t be separated from its noun by Romani. However, pares could still turn out to be modifying an accusative subject, object, or predicate of an infinitive (e.g., cum haudquaquam pares Romani Macedones esse credidissent).
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani aliosThe word ending of alios indicates a masculine plural accusative noun will follow. pares alios wouldn’t make any sense, so we upgrade it to a 99% certainty that pares modifies Romani. Another indicator of that is that it looks very much like this clause has the common Subject-Object-Verb word order. alios in turn can be the object of a finite verb or the accusative subject, object, or predicate of an infinitive. It’s going to depend on the type of verb Romani takes. Are the Romani seeing? thinking? carrying out an action? etc. (There are other possible meanings of the accusative, such as expressing duration of time or space, but we reject these possibilities as inapplicable to alios, i.e., to persons.)
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios supersuper can be an adverb or a preposition followed by an ablative or by an accusative. I have no idea what super is doing here, so I move on.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super aliossuper is a preposition governing an accusative. alios super alios seems to be idiomatic. Let’s wait to see what alios modifies.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntiosThe word ending of nuntios relates it to alios super alios. We now have the accusative phrase alios super alios nuntios, for which all the possible meanings of the accusative with finite verb or infinitive mentioned above are still possible.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem As you progress with anticipatory parsing, you will begin to take shortcuts. How many times do you have to ask yourself the possible meanings of ad, which can only take the accusative? The motion expressed in ad ducem increases the probability that Romani will take a verb that acts directly on nuntios. In fact at this point we may very well anticipate it will be mittere.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterentVoilà. The mood of mitterent indicates the possibility of a temporal cum clause with indicative has dropped out and that the cum clause will have a circumstantial, concessive, or causal meaning. The tense of mitterent indicates the action of this clause is contemporaneous with or just preceding that of the main clause. This could easily have been the ending of the clause, in the common Subject-Object-Verb word order, but the absence of a comma indicates otherwise. Does the sense of the clause thus far suggest anything that might follow?
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi The dictionary definition of premi adds to the picture of desperation painted by haudquam pares and alios super alios. Syntactically, the word ending indicates premi is a present passive infinitive. What does that indicate? Most likely that in nuntios ad ducem mitterent there is an implied speech to the dux, reported in indirect discourse. Assume that is true. The subject accusative of premi could be omitted if easily understood, but that omission would seem to be ambiguous here, and since there is no comma after premi, we are not surprised to read, as we drag the Hale card along:
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, sese,. The comma indicates the introductory subordinate cum clause is now complete. Only the meaning of the main clause it is subordinate to will make clear whether its contribution to the sentence is circumstantial, concessive, or causal. In other words, all these remain possible meanings: ‘When their condition was thus reported, the commander proceeded to …’; ‘Though their condition was reported as such, the commander …’; ‘Since their condition was reported as such, the commander …’. Since the subordinate clause came first, keep these possibilities in mind and continue. (I’m not suggesting here that you should translate. Speaking to yourself in English about what you think the meaning thus far is is not the same thing as translating. As part of anticipatory parsing, though, it’s actually a good exercise to work out possible developments of the sentence in Latin.)
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingentiThe word ending indicates quingenti is a nominative plural modifier of the subject of a new clause.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites The word ending of equites indicates nominative or accusative, but we relate it to quingenti, which is nominative. (In cases like this, it is always theoretically possible that equites is accusative and that quingenti modifies a noun to follow after equites. See the discussion on pares Romani above. But a Roman speaker or prose writer — poetry is something else — would never do this if the only thing between the modifier and the noun it modifies is another noun, as opposed to an embraced phrase that acts as a modifier. Structured Analysis will hone your instincts for this.)
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et The copulative conjunction et can connect two sentences or clauses. Because of its position, we reject that possibility here. Here it might connect a second noun representing a second type of troop (a very distinct possibility in Roman battle narration), possibly as part of a sequence of et‘s naming multiple contingents. Or it might be the first et in a pair or more that connect several modifiers of equites (e.g., et Romani et sociorum) or that connect several verbs (e.g., et subvenerunt et deinde recesserunt).
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia In this case, et connects a coordinate nominative subject (while duo milia can decline as accusative, that is obviously not the case here). The Latin idiom makes us expect milia will be qualified by a partitive genitive.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum,The usual pairing, horse and foot.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum,A phrase in apposition to peditum, indicated clearly by the punctuation.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum cum can be a preposition followed by an ablative, or a conjunction with all the possible meanings enumerated above.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus cum is a preposition.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militumBecause of the military context, we expected tribunes in this case would be tribunis militaribus or tribunis militum.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere propere is an adverb that will modify an adjective, adverb, participle, or verb.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa The word ending of the passive participle missa indicates, as we have already rehearsed, that it can be feminine nominative singular, feminine ablative singular (missā), neuter plural nominative or neuter plural accusative. Can missa modify a following third nominative member (feminine singular or neuter plural) of the subject? No, because there is no copulative conjunction. Can missa modify a following neuter plural accusative that would then probably be the object of the main clause verb? That doesn’t feel likely, though I can think of sentences with implausible meaning where that would be grammatically the case (e.g., quingenti equites et duo milia peditum … cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa subsidia auxerunt). That leaves two possibilities. Either missa will modify a following feminine ablative singular noun, most likely in an ablative absolute construction, or we relate it to the preceding milia. The sense of the clause thus far and the modifiers cum duobus tribunis and propere strongly suggest this latter case. In that case, it shows how far apart in the Latin plan a noun and its adjective can be. Also in that case, missa modifies the entire subject of the clause, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, following the Latin convention of agreement with the nearest noun (because of the different inflections, Latin has to have such conventions).
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa remThe word ending indicates rem is feminine singular accusative and cannot relate to missa, so the sentence has now reduced the possibilities to one: propere missa modifies quingenti equites et duo milia peditum.

With respect to rem, what are the possible meanings of the accusative? It may be directly acted upon by a transitive verb in this clause. It may be a cognate accusative, a predicate accusative, an accusative of specification, of exclamation. It may express duration of time or space. It may be the accusative subject, object, or predicate of an infinitive. Eliminate possibilities that don’t work here, e.g., expression of duration or exclamation. We know that Subject-Object-Verb is a common word order in a Latin main clause. Is that a distinct possibility here?
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatamThe word ending indicates inclinatam relates to rem.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt,We know we have now seen the complete main clause, the first of possibly several in the sentence (a possibility indicated by the comma). Several  meanings crystallize: rem inclinatam is directly acted upon by the clause’s finite transitive verb; the subordinate cum clause feels circumstantial/causal with respect to the main clause, not temporal. You don’t have to decide between circumstantial and causal, which would be taking the “rules” of descriptive grammar too literally.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt, versaque The enclitic –que indicates a combining of two members, in this case two clauses, usually into a closer unity than et would. We already know the possible meanings of the word ending a. As the first word in the new clause, these are all equal possibilities. If we are sharp, we will guess that something is versa as the result of rem inclinatam restituerunt. Can you guess what it is that is versa?
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt, versaque fortuna Did you guess fortuna? We are reduced to two possibilities for the a ending: The feminine singular versa fortuna indicates either the nominative subject of this coordinate clause or an ablative. Again, hearing the sentence spoken would probably resolve this, because the ablative would be revealed not only by a long ā but by the accent versáque (feminine singular nominative would be vérsăque).
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt, versaque fortuna MacedonesThe sentence up to this point has been about the Romani. The Macedones now enter the scene. The word ending of Macedones indicates nominative or accusative. If nominative, versaque fortuna will be ablative absolute. If accusative, then with the set of possible meanings of the accusative that we have enumerated above.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt, versaque fortuna Macedones laborantes The word ending indicates laborantes relates to Macedones, and Macedones laborantes can then be nominative or accusative. It is grammatically possible laborantes relates not to Macedones but to a following noun, but the sense of the sentence — the Macedones are now taking the beating — makes that highly unlikely. Nevertheless, be willing to wait.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt, versaque fortuna Macedones laborantes opem The word ending of opem indicates feminine singular, which cannot relate to laborantes, which now definitely modifies Macedones. The word ending of opem also indicates accusative, with its set of possible meanings. One strong possibility is that we have the common Subject-Object-Verb word order here, and opem will be acted on by a transitive verb. But it is still possible that Macedones laborantes is a subject accusative of an infinitive (e.g., vérsăque fortună Macedones laborantes opem petere exegit).
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt, versaque fortuna Macedones laborantes opem regisThe word ending of regis indicates a genitive singular, therefore a possessive genitive telling us whose ops. The Romani have a dux, the Macedones a rex.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt, versaque fortuna Macedones laborantes opem regis perper indicates an accusative will follow.
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt, versaque fortuna Macedones laborantes opem regis per nuntios Syntax-wise, per nuntios doesn’t contribute to the resolution of whether the subject of this clause is fortuna or Macedones, but sense-wise it makes it feel an awful lot like Macedones is the subject. Can you guess what the verb will be?
In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt, versaque fortuna Macedones laborantes opem regis per nuntios implorabant.The period indicates the conclusion of the sentence. Notice the meaning of the tense of implorabant, which adds to the picture we are given in this sentence of desperately repeated actions (besides alios super alios nuntios, mitterent represents what in an independent clause would have been mittebant).
This sentence extends your inventory of possible meanings to things like the pronoun qui/quae/quod, the preposition/conjunction cum, and the infinitive. It turned out to be considerably longer than the preceding sentence, so we had to work harder at waiting for meanings to resolve and not jumping out of order. In the end, the introductory subordinate clause and the two coordinate main clauses all used the common Subject-Object-Verb word order, but we had to entertain other possibilities until the clauses ended. Note that when reading correctly it is ok to make a guess – good guesses are part of being fluent – but you must be willing to stay in suspense. Altogether, this sentence is as good an example as any of how different the Latin is. Its full meaning and drama — one event following upon another — would be totally lost by trying to lift out, out of order, the main clause (it turns out there were two of them), the verbs, or anything else.
SPOILER ALERT: The Macedonians lost the battle, the Romans found themselves by design or by accident inextricably entangled in the East, the Roman Empire happened, and more than two thousand years later here we are wanting to learn Latin.

Reading Word-Groups In Order

Next I am going to do SA on the same two Livy sentences. I will tell you in advance the results are anticlimactic, because these are not very complex sentences. But always start simple. Better yet, study Hoyos’s well-chosen examples from Cicero, Caesar, Livy, and Tacitus.

First Sentence
#Word-GroupProcessing the Group
1APrincipiostart of a clause and of the first word-group (a word-group can be a main clause, a subordinate clause, or a phrase)

The first word or words in a word-group and in a sentence signpost their importance. Principio, especially in a battle narrative, signposts a pending contrast.
2a paucis procurrentibusthe clause — on the first read, we do not yet know if this is a main clause or a subordinate clause — embraces a prepositional phrase, the second word-group in sequence

An embraced clause or phrase must be completed before the embracing one can proceed, so a signposts an embraced prepositional phrase that has to complete before the embracing clause continues. This is an observable constraint on word order; the word order is not arbitrary.
1Blacessita pugna est,resumption and completion of (what we now know to be the the main) clause and first word-group

The comma is a signpost that a second clause will follow.

An embraced word-group adds to the sense of the embracing group. Sometimes what it adds is equally or more important than that of the embracing group. Without this prepositional phrase of agency in this clause, Principio lacessita pugna est would be almost meaningless.
3Adeindestart of (a parallel main?) clause and a third word-group

The lack of a subordinate conjunction is a signpost that this will probably be a second main clause, though subordinate conjunctions like cum don’t have to be the first word in their clause. Furthermore, deinde confirms our expectation of a contrast in time with principio and signposts by its initial  position in its clause and by its part of speech a structure for this clause parallel to the first main clause.
4subsidiisan embraced instrumental ablative phrase, parallel to word-group 2
5tuentium pulsosan embraced participial genitive phrase following 4 sequentially

The phrase is a subjective or possessive genitive qualifying the subsidiis of the preceding phrase.

In your first time reading this sentence, it is not immediately obvious whether subsidiis is 4 or 4A, since we could have a phrase such as subsidiis tuentium pulsos mittendis.

Strictly (grammatically) speaking, 4 and 5 are separate phrases in sequence. But once you realize tuentium pulsos modifies subsidiis, there is nothing wrong with thinking of subsidiis tuentium pulsos as a single word-group. In fact I find it a little ambiguous whether genitive, dative, and ablative expressions that function as modifiers should be treated as stand-alone phrases or as components of the phrases in which the things they modify fall.
3Baucta.resumption and completion of the (now obviously coordinate main) clause that is the third word-group, and of the sentence

Again, without the embraced phrases (4, 5), deinde aucta would be grammatically correct but meaningless.
The structure of the first sentence is quite simple, consisting of two syntactically parallel main clauses (word-groups 1 and 3) with parallel structures, each embracing one or more word-groups that are indispensable in this sentence to the meaning of their embracing clauses.
Second Sentence
#Word-GroupProcessing the Group
1In quaa prepositional phrase

Latin frequently uses the relative pronoun to connect to the previous sentence, in this case equivalent to in hac pugna.
2Acum haudquaquam pares Romani alios {super alios} nuntiosan introductory subordinate clause

This is signposted by cum once haudquaquam eliminates the possibility of cum being a preposition. Latin frequently lifts a key word or phrase out of an introductory subordinate clause  — the connecting in qua in this case — and places it before the subordinate conjunction. The clause also embraces a prepositional phrase (super alios) that I haven’t bothered to break out into its own line. We know from anticipatory parsing that the cum clause may be temporal, circumstantial, concessive, or causal, but that we will have to wait to see the mood of its verb and, if the mood is subjunctive, for the completion of the main clause, to know which. pares Romani signposts that the finite verb of this clause will be third-person plural. pares Romani alios … also signposts the likelihood of the common (but by no means obligatory) Subject-Object-Verb word order.

Once a subordinate clause or phrase is begun, it must be completed syntactically before the rest of the sentence can proceed.
3ad duceman embraced prepositional phrase
2Bmitterentresumption of the of cum clause

The word ending of mitterent relates it in number to the plural subject Romani. Its mood in conjunction with cum signposts that its meaning is circumstantial, concessive, or causal. The subordinate cum clause is now a complete, syntactically self-contained word-group, but the absence of punctuation signposts that there is still something pending before another subordinate or main clause commences. An experienced reader paying close attention may anticipate that that something is an implied speech in indirect discourse.
4premi sese,indirect statement — an independent clause in indirect form and, as a clause, a word-group

The comma signposts the conclusion of the introductory subordinate clause. Pause to consider the meaning this clause has contributed to the sentence thus far. The sentence is explicitly linked to the previous one, and its introductory clause advances the battle two more stages (the Romani become impares, then inform their dux). This action will be circumstantially, concessively, or causally important to what follows.
5Aquingenti equitesstart of (an almost certainly) main clause
The nominative signposts that this is a main clause, unless a subordinate conjunction is being delayed by a few words.
5Bet duo milia peditumcoordinate subject of what is increasingly certain to be a main clause
6,maxime Aetolorum,an embraced phrase in apposition to peditum
7cum duobus tribunis milituman embraced prepositional phrase in sequence after the preceding
8propere missaan embraced participial phrase sequentially following the preceding embraced prepositional phrase

The word ending of missa signposts its agreement with milia (guaranteed by rem, which can’t go with milia) and, by Latin convention, its applicability to the entire compound subject of which milia is the nearest member. This demonstrates how far apart the Latin plan allows a noun and its modifier to be.
5Crem inclinatam restituerunt,resumption and completion of main clause

The clause begins with its compound subject, interrupts itself to embrace an appositional, a prepositional, and then a participial phrase in sequence, each of which must complete before the next one begins, and resumes with its object and verb.

The punctuation signposts that although we’ve had a main clause, the sentence is not complete. Pause to consider what we know so far. At the repeated request of the Roman troops for help in an engagement they were losing — a fact we now know was circumstantial/causal — the battle advances yet another stage: Horse and foot contingents, especially from the Aetolian allies, quickly arrive and turn things around for the Romans. But there is something more Livy wants to tell us. (Notice that playing back the meaning in conversation with yourself in English is not the same as translating. But the more you can think of the sentence’s possibilities iin Latin, the better.)
9versaque fortunaablative absolute phrase and the beginning of a new main clause

The enclitic –que signposts a coordinate main clause tightly linked to the preceding one. Doing participatory parsing a word at a time, we didn’t know for sure until the last word of this new clause whether versa fortuna was an ablative absolute or a nominative subject. That remains technically true, but seeking meaning a word-group at a time helps us see that the words versaque fortuna repeat the thought rem inclinatam restituerunt and scream out as being an ablative absolute serving as a pivot.
10AMacedones laborantes opem regiscoordinate main clause

The subject and accusative object signpost that a third-person transitive verb follows.

I treat laborantes adjectivally and not as a participial phrase to be broken out into its own word-group. However, by itself it is syntactically correct and by itself contributes a particular meaning to the sentence — it is now the Macedonians who in turn are taking the beating — and thus I believe by these (Hoyos’s) criteria it qualifies as a word-group. This is an arbitrary choice. When I started SA, I broke out sentences into the smallest word-groups possible.
11per nuntiosan embraced prepositional phrase
10Bimplorabant.resumption and completion of coordinate main clause and sentence
The final clause advanced the battle one more stage.
This is not a complex sentence, but it is just long enough for a novice reader to conceivably get lost. SA helps us recognize each of its “sense units” in order, relate them to one another, and stay on track. There are plenty of signposts to guide us along the way. The sentence explicitly continues the narrative of the previous one: in qua = in hac pugna. The lack of punctuation after mitterent, the comma after sese, the nominative quingenti equites and the enclitic –que are especially important signposts to the structure of the sentence, which consists of an introductory subordinate cum clause followed by two tightly linked main clauses. Each of the three clauses is in the common SOV word order and embraces phrases between the beginning subject and ending verb that add additional meaning. However, in this sentence, as opposed to the first one, the main action is in the clauses and not in the embraced phrases.

By the way, another signpost that mitterent ends a word-group is simply that word-groups are usually only a few words long. Word-group 2 contains seven words (not counting {super alios}). If a word-group seems to be going on past five or six or seven words, that may be a sign something has gotten off track in your reading.

SA on these two sentences also helps illustrate Hoyos’s Reading Rule 9: “All the actions in a sentence are narrated in the order in which they occurred.” By my count Livy has compressed six stages of battle in their chronological order into two sentences.

As you progress with SA, you may find diminishing returns in breaking out every phrase as a separate word-group. A more compact analysis in this case is achieved by not breaking out simple embraced prepositional phrases, phrases in apposition, or separate members of simple coordinate expressions:

1In qua
2cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios {super alios} nuntios {ad ducem} mitterent
3premi sese,
4Aquingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum,
5cum duobus tribunis militum
6propere missa
4Brem inclinatam restituerunt,
7versaque fortuna
8Macedones laborantes opem regis {per nuntios} implorabant.

It’s a good idea to rehearse and occasionally memorize sentences you find interesting. Here is my humble attempt:

Ecce Livius!

Examples: Greek

For the Greek examples, I have selected the first two sentences of Polybius’s The Histories. It seems many people find these sentences difficult. I certainly needed to read them a number of times. Let’s see if HH helps. Afterwards, I will discuss possible reasons for the perceived difficulty of these sentences.

It was discussing these two sentences in an online forum that led me to try Hoyos’s Structured Analysis on them in the first place. And in that discussion Seumas Macdonald pointed me to the Hale lecture. This is an experiment, since Hale and Hoyos were writing about Latin (though Hale said he believed his method applied to Greek too).

Antcipatory Parsing

First Sentence
GreekAntcipatory Parsing
ΕἰIn its most common use, εἰ indicates the protasis of a conditional clause. Sometimes the force of εἰ (and εἴπερ) can be more causal than conditional. And εἰ in combination with other words has special meanings. For example, in independent clauses, εἰ γὰρ + optative expresses a wish, εἰ γὰρ + a past tense in the indicative, an unattainable wish. εἰ καὶ introduces a concessive clause (a type of conditional clause).
If you now drag your Hale card to the right and expose the next word in the text …
Εἰ μὲνΕἰ is conditional and subordinating; it indicates here the protasis of a conditional clause. What kind of condition? This will be indicated by the tense and mood of the finite verb. What can μέν indicate? It can be emphatic, though this is common in Homer and Pindar, rare later. μέν or μέν in combinations μὲν δή can be adversative. In its most common, antithetical or preparatory role, it distinguishes with varying degrees of strength the word or clause in which it stands from a following word or clause, or succession of words or clauses, marked most commonly by δέ, but also by ἀλλά, ἀτάρ, etc., by  non-adversative particles (e.g., μὲν … τε), by a non-particle (e.g., ἔπειτα), or sometimes by nothing (“μέν solitarium“). In a conditional statement, such as here, μέν may distinguish the condition itself, or it may distinguish one of two or more parts of the condition, the force of εἰ then being distributed over each part. The former: εἰ μὲν <condition>, <consequence>. εἰ δὲ, ἐπεὶ δὲ, etc. The latter: εἰ μὲν <condition 1>, <first word of condition 2> δέ<remainder of condition 2>, <consequence>. μέν in combination with other particles takes on special meanings, e.g., μὲν δή, μὲν οὖν.

We know at this point in the sentence that μέν distinguishes something in the context of a condition. What specifically it distinguishes, and whether that will be expressed, and whether or not μέν will be combined with another particle, we have to wait to see.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖςFrom the set of possible meanings of μέν we eliminate combinations of μέν with other particles. The word ending of τοῖς indicates a masculine or neuter dative plural substantive will follow. What does the dative indicate? The so-called dative proper may indicate that thing to or for which, or that person to or for whom, something is or is done, serving as the required or optional indirect or direct complement of a verb (for example, verbs of benefiting or injuring, pleasing or displeasing; verbs of meeting, approaching; verbs of obeying, pardoning, trusting, advising; verbs of being like or unlike) or of an adjective, adverb, or substantive with kindred meaning to the types of verbs just mentioned. Such a dative may modify the sentence (1) as a dative of interest, expressing the person for whom something is or is done, for example, a dative of the possessor, of advantage or disadvantage, of feeling (the so-called ethical dative), of agency (with passive verbs, usually in the perfect and pluperfect, and with verbal adjectives in -τός and -τέος); or (2) as a dative of relation, expressing, for example, the person to whose case the statement of the predicate is limited, or the person in whose opinion a statement holds good (dative of reference). The so-called instrumental dative may indicate that by which (instrumental: means, manner, cause) or with which (comitative: dative of association, of accompaniment, of accompanying circumstance, of space and time in a comitative sense) an action is done or accompanied. The action governing an instrumental dative may be given either by a verb or by an adjective, adverb, or substantive of kindred meaning. The so-called locative dative may indicate place and time. Sometimes a verb governs the dative because it is compounded with a preposition (e.g., regularly with σύν). The entire set of possible meanings for the dative is possible at this point in the sentence.

Wow, you’re thinking, we are only three words in so far! Does doing anticipatory parsing mean you have to memorize all of Smyth’s Greek Grammar, Denniston’s Greek Particles, Goodwin’s Syntax of Greek Moods and Tenses? Of course not! The point is to learn to read a sentence a word at a time in the order in which it was written and mentally assess what possibilities of meaning each new word opens up or closes down. Develop a mental inventory (or initially even a written inventory) of the most common possibilities of meaning for things like the conjunction εἰ, the particle μέν, and the dative case, as you have learned them or are learning them in your introductory texts. As you encounter each new word in the sentence, draw on that inventory to consider the possible meanings the word contributes to the sentence as it has unfolded thus far. With practice, refine that inventory by learning under what circumstances you can eliminate some of those possible meanings. Most importantly, learn to wait for these possible meanings to resolve as the sentence progresses — that is the Greek plan.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ πρὸ indicates two possibilities. Probably the definite article τοῖς modifies a substantive, and the prepositional phrase introduced by πρὸ will function as an attributive adjective standing between the article and the substantive. But possibly we will have the common idiomatic use of the definite article for creating substantive expressions like οἰ πρὸ ἡμῶν (‘those before us’). In either case, πρὸ indicates a genitive will follow.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν The expected genitive is confirmed, but we still don’t know if τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν is a standalone substantive.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσιThe word ending of ἀναγράφουσι indicates two possibilities. In either case it is third-person plural present tense, but is it a verb or a dative participle? The word sequence strongly suggests the latter, but something like τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι ἐς στήλην οἰ πολῖται τὸ … is possible. In either case ἀναγράφουσι is transitive and indicates an accusative object will follow.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς τὰς indicates a feminine plural accusative. We itemized above the lengthy set of possible meanings of the dative case. The accusative likewise has its own set of possible meanings, but here it is clearly the direct object of ἀναγράφουσι. ἀναγράφουσι is most likely a participle, but something like τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς ξυνθήκας οἰ πολῖται is still possible.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις Our knowledge of content informs us Polybius is a writer of history. Since the object of ἀναγράφουσι is πράξεις rather than, say, ξυνθήκας, the sense more than the syntax makes it clear τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι are previous writers of history: ἀναγράφουσι is a dative participle.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαιWhat does the infinitive indicate? Both an anarthrous and an articular infinitive (an anarthrous infinitive is one without an article) may be used as a verbal subject of another verb (especially with quasi-impersonal verbs like δεῖ, χρή, δοκεῖ, συμβαίνει), as a predicate (with ἐστί), in apposition, and as an object not in indirect discourse after verbs of, for example, will, desire, ability, fitness, necessity and their opposites. Or the infinitive may be used to define the meaning of adjectives, adverbs, and substantives with a kindred meaning to the types of verbs just mentioned. Also outside of indirect discourse there are infinitives of purpose (usually with verbs taking the accusative) and result (after ὥστε/ὠς), and infinitives of miscellaneous idiomatic phrases and expressions. Finally, the infinitive is used as object in indirect discourse of verbs of saying and thinking.

What does the anarthrous infinitive παραλελεῖφθαι here indicate? Remember that in Greek an infinitive is in part a verb, in part a substantive. As a verb, παραλελεῖφθαι has a voice (passive) and a tense (perfect). It is also transitive. These things together indicate it must have a subject, that subject will be in the accusative, and that subject is in a permanent state of having been ‘παραλείπω’d.’ Most of the possible meanings of the dative are still in play, but the passive perfectness of παραλελεῖφθαι indicates a good possibility that τοῖς ἀναγράφουσι expresses agency. With respect to the set of possible meanings of the infinitive, is a transitive perfect passive verb likely to be an object of a verb outside of indirect discourse? No. Might it be an object in indirect discourse? Possibly (for example, ἐι μὲν τοῖς … ἀναγράφουσι … παραλελεῖφθαί τί φημι …). Might it be a verbal subject of another verb? Possibly (for example, ἐι μὲν τοῖς … ἀναγράφουσι … παραλελεῖφθαί τι δοκεῖ …).

Several things awaiting resolution are piling up: the type of condition, the correlative if any to μὲν, the meaning of the dative, the meaning of the perfect passive infinitive.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε The quasi-impersonal verb συνέβαινε definitively resolves two of these things. It indicates that the anarthrous infinitive παραλελεῖφθαι is its verbal subject and that τοῖς ἀναγράφουσι is a dative of agency: The yet-to-be-seen subject accusative of the infinitive has been ‘παραλείπω’d’ by τοῖς ἀναγράφουσι. The tense (imperfect) and mood (indicative) of συνέβαινε also reduce the possible types of condition in this sentence to either ‘past true’ or ‘present unreal.’
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν The accusative has its own set of possible meanings, but the clause to this point has made it clear that τὸν <something> is going to be the subject accusative of παραλελεῖφθαι. The word ending of τὸν indicates that <something> will be a masculine singular accusative noun.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ But, to prolong the suspense, a prepositional phrase will stand between the article and its noun in the role of attributive adjective, as indicated by ὑπὲρ. In the Greek plan, we have to wait for the subject of παραλελεῖφθαι to complete. ὑπὲρ indicates either a genitive or accusative substantive will follow, each with its own set of possible meanings (which are?).
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς The word ending indicates αὐτῆς is feminine singular genitive. The specific possible meanings of ὑπὲρ are now limited to those that can be expressed by a genitive. What are the possible meanings of αὐτῆς? It could stand by itself, a pronoun meaning ‘her’, but since this is the first sentence in Polybius, there is nothing in the context to suggest that. The absence of an article indicates αὐτῆς cannot be a modifier meaning ‘same.’ So by process of elimination αὐτῆς indicates an intensive pronoun (‘self’).
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίαςWhat is the (masculine singular) subject of παραλελεῖφθαι!? The possibilities are limited by ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας. Can you guess? What concerning history itself may have been ‘παραλείπω’d’ by τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις?
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον,The comma indicates the completion of the sentence’s introductory protasis clause. We still don’t know whether the condition is ‘past true’ (for example, ‘If it happened that such was done by earlier writers, as was sometimes the case, other writers were quick to point it out’) or ‘present unreal’ (for example, ‘If it were true, as we speak, that such had been done by earlier writers, though it wasn’t, then I would have to compensate’). Pause to digest the meaning of the sentence thus far. It’s ok to play back the meaning to yourself in English, which is not the same as translating. But focus on the Greek meaning: ‘If it was or were [to be determined] ‘συνέβαινε’d’ that ἔπαινος ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας was ‘παραλείπω’d’ by τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις, …’.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως We know an apodosis will follow. It begins with an adverb, which we know will modify another adverb, adjective, participle, or verb.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖονThe word ending indicates ἀναγκαῖον is either a neuter singular in the nominative or a masculine or neuter singular in the accusative. It may be used as an attributive adjective with a masculine or neuter noun to follow, which does not feel likely in the absence of a definite article, or as a predicate adjective with an expressed or implied form of εἶναι to follow.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦνἀναγκαῖον is predicate. Since we now have the main verb of the apodosis, with its tense (imperfect) and mood (indicative), what type of condition is indicated for the sentence, ‘past true’ or ‘present unreal’? The absence of the particle ἄν with an imperfect indicative verb would normally indicate this is a ‘past true’ condition. That could be true if the subject of ἦν is a noun, for example, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ κακὸν ὅ/οὗ/ᾧ …, or a neuter articular infinitive functioning as a noun, especially if the infinitive is in the past tense, for example, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ ποιῆσαί τι. But in the apodosis of ‘unreal’ conditions ἄν may be omitted with imperfect verbs of obligation, propriety, or possibility like ἔδει, χρῆν, εἰκὸς ἦν, δίκαιον ἦν, ἀναγκαῖον ἦν, etc., followed by an infinitive. That is also possible here.

In truth the discussion in the grammar books is pretty nuanced, and grammar may not give us our answer here. Educated Greeks were steeped in rhetoric and argumentation. Does that suggest anything? Do you think praise of history was in fact neglected by previous historians? Would Polybius have modified ἀναγκαῖον ἦν with ἴσως if he were referring to a past true condition? What antithesis do you now think the μὲν at the beginning of the protasis is setting us up for?
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ The word ending of τὸ indicates the subject of ἦν will be a neuter singular noun or an articular infinitive.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαιThe subject of the apodosis is the present tense articular infinitive τὸ προτρέπεσθαι. The present tense refers to action now, not in the past. That makes it pretty darn sure this is a ‘present unreal’ condition.

I know from consulting the dictionary that προτρέπω and the middle προτρέπομαι are transitive, and that their accusative object is frequently combined with ἐπὶ τι, ἐς τι, πρὸς τι, but I am not suggesting you can’t figure that out just by working your way through the sentence. In any case, the word ending of προτρέπεσθαι indicates either a middle or a passive infinitive. To complete its meaning, προτρέπεσθαι will need a subject accusative if it is passive or an object accusative if it is middle. (Middle vs passive is a common ambiguity in Greek.)
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας The word ending of πάντας indicates masculine plural accusative, which could be a subject or an object accusative. However, there is an implied contrast by now between previous writers of history and Polybius. So in all likelihood Polybius, or the historical work he is introducing, is the implied subject of the middle προτρέπεσθαι, with πάντας the object. πάντας may be being used as a substantive or as an adjective with a following masculine plural accusative noun.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς πάντας is a substantive. The idiom indicated is προτρέπεσθαί τινα πρὸς τι, though πρὸς can also govern a genitive or a dative, each with its own set of possible meanings.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν Yes, it is πρὸς τι, and the possible meanings of πρὸς are reduced to those possible with the accusative. The word ending of τὴν indicates a following feminine singular accusative noun.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσινThe word ending indicates that αἵρεσιν relates to τὴν. αἵρεσις of what? The sense indicates an objective genitive will follow.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶBut for now we get καὶ instead. καὶ indicates either a copulative conjunction connecting words, clauses, or sentences or an adverb with a meaning like Latin etiam. αἕρεσιν hasn’t been qualified yet, otherwise, καὶ could indicate a coordinate clause here or an adverb (for example, ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι … καὶ ἔτι καὶ νῦν). As it is, καὶ indicates a coordinate accusative object of πρὸς will follow.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν The word ending of παραδοχὴν relates it to τὴν, hence it does not need a separate definite article. It is the dual expression that now needs qualification, αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν of what?
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν Our expectation of a qualifying objective genitive is met. The word ending of τῶν indicates a plural masculine, feminine, or neuter substantive will follow.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων The word ending of τοιούτων relates it to τῶν. The sense of τοιούτων relates it to something already said. To what? That isn’t necessarily clear yet.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτωνThe word ending of ὑπομνημάτων relates it to τῶν τοιούτων. ὑπόμνημα, plural ὑπομνήματα, is a type of remembrance, and τοιούτων must refer to the type of historical writing done by τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι. But this is getting into a level of exegesis beyond the basic understanding of the structure and meaning of the sentence that anticipatory parsing is intended to accomplish.

If you are reading carefully, you will have noticed that the sentence could have ended here, but the lack of a period indicates otherwise. We have no idea what will follow, but the lack also of a comma (in modern editions) hints that it will not be a new main or subordinate clause.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ Indeed what extends the sentence is not a new main or subordinate clause but a prepositional phrase. διὰ indicates that a genitive or an accusative will follow, each with its own set of possible meanings. διὰ with accusative has an explanatory or causal meaning, and the sense of the sentence so far would make that the likely bet here.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ In case, the word ending of τὸ indicates the accusative (the nominative not being possible here) and confirms our expectation of the explanatory or causal sense of διὰ. In gender, τὸ indicates a neuter singular substantive will follow, quite possibly an articular infinitive.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν For two reasons, μηδεμίαν indicates we have an articular infinitive: (1) Its word ending does not agree in gender with and so cannot relate to τὸ, and (2) The negative of the articular infinitive is μή.

The word ending of μηδεμίαν indicates a feminine singular accusative noun will follow.

Let’s take this occasion to inventory the possible meaning of the accusative. It can be the internal direct object (e.g., a cognate accusative, an accusative of result, of extent in space and time) or external direct object of a verbal construct (a finite verb, an infinitive, a participle). It can be the subject, object, or predicate of an infinitive in indirect discourse. Some verbs take two accusatives, for example, in a compound expression, in cases where the verb has both an internal and an external object; where the second accusative is a predicate to the direct object; where one is a person, the other a thing. “Free” uses of the accusative include the accusative of respect, which limits the scope of a verb or adjective, and accusatives that function like adverbs to limit the verbal action with respect to, for example, manner, measure and degree, motive, and time and succession. With different degrees of probability, most of these meanings of the accusative are possible with μηδεμίαν here.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν The word ending of the comparative ἑτοιμοτέραν relates it to μηδεμίαν. The lack of an article indicates this is a predicate adjective and that the infinitive will be εἶναι. The sense of ἑτοιμοτέραν indicates a qualification ‘with respect to whom’ in the dative may follow, and the comparative indicates the second half of the comparison will follow, signaled either by ἢ or by a genitive.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναιεἶναι confirms what we were already certain of, that the construction governed by διὰ is an articular infinitive, and it confirms our guess that ἑτοιμοτέραν is a predicate adjective. We are still waiting for the feminine singular accusative subject.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναι τοῖς We must wait a little longer.

Of all the possible meanings of the dative (see the discussion with τοῖς in the first sentence), a dative of interest seems indicated here, as contemplated in conjunction with ἑτοιμοτέραν. The word ending of τοῖς indicates a masculine or neuter dative plural will follow.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποιςThe word ending of ἀνθρώποις relates it to τοῖς. Confirmed, something is ἑτοιμοτέραν with respect to good old us. We are still waiting to find out what that something is.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις διόρθωσιν The word ending of διόρθωσιν relates it to μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν and supplies us our feminine singular accusative subject. In the Greek plan, the noun can be separated from its modifiers by arbitrarily many — in this case three — words. The sense requires, and the lack of punctuation here indicates, we will be told more ἑτοίμη than what?
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις διόρθωσιν τῆς The word ending of τῆς indicates that the expected comparison will be expressed by a genitive (rather than by ἢ). The word ending indicates a feminine singular genitive noun will follow.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις διόρθωσιν τῆς τῶν The word ending of τῶν indicates a plural genitive that cannot relate to τῆς. Therefore, for the third time in this sentence, what follows is a phrase in the role of an attributive adjective standing between the article and noun. The word ending indicates the noun in the attribute phrase will be masculine, feminine, or neuter plural.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις διόρθωσιν τῆς τῶν προγεγενημένων The word ending of προγεγενημένων relates it to τῶν. The context of the sentence thus far is history and therefore stuff in the past. What stuff?
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις διόρθωσιν τῆς τῶν προγεγενημένων πράξεων The word ending of πράξεων relates it to τῶν προγεγενημένων. πράξεων here picks up the πράξεις in τοῖς ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις.
Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις διόρθωσιν τῆς τῶν προγεγενημένων πράξεων ἐπιστήμης.The word ending of ἐπιστήμης relates it to τῆς. This completes the comparison, and the punctuation indicates (thankfully!) the conclusion of the sentence. There is just one thing left dangling. The μὲν never saw its antithesis within the sentence (the εἰ was not distributed over the μέν and a subsequent δέ). This indicates the antithesis comes in the next sentence, unless it goes unexpressed.
Welcome to anticipatory parsing for Greek. Let us summarize. Anticipatory parsing is in part a discipline: Read one word at a time in the order in which they were written, no eyes darting ahead. Anticipatory parsing is a painfully slow motion version of the correct way to read according to the Greek plan. Determine what specific possibilities of meaning each new word creates or eliminates and be willing to wait for those possibilities to resolve. When weighing possibilities, note that it is ok to make a guess — good guesses are part of being fluent — but you must be willing to stay in suspense. As an exercise, count the number of times in this sentence you had to wait for a particular meaning to resolve, and jot down how that resolution occurred. Word endings play the major role in telling you which words relate to which. In addition, develop a mental (or initially even written) inventory of the set of possible meanings for things like — to take examples from this sentence — εἰ, tense and mood in conditional statements, prepositions, cases, particles like μέν and ἄν and ἢ, and infinitives. With practice refine your inventory by noting under what conditions you can rule out some of those possibilities. Besides word endings and syntax, use punctuation as an indicator of meaning; the commas in modern editions are usually very helpful.

Let’s look at some key moments in the above sentence. Think about what you already know from the first two words, εἰ μὲν. You know the sentence states a condition, beginning with the protasis, so you know to look for the indicators of what type of condition. You know the sentence begins with a subordinate clause, so you know to look for the indicator that the subordinate clause is complete and the indicator of what type of clause follows and whether it is a main clause. You know you must anticipate an antithesis to the μέν. So keep those things in mind but don’t jump ahead for instant gratification. With the next word, τοῖς, you know you are not going to be dished up the clause’s subject, verb, or direct object, if there is one, just yet. That’s cool. You will just have to take mental stock of the full gamut of possible meanings of the dative, since all of them are possible at this point. You drag your Hale card along a word at a time until παραλελεῖφθαι is revealed. I think this is where some people begin to bail on first reading. What is an infinitive doing here, much less a perfect passive infinitive? We’ve worked through the dative phrase, and now it seems we’re being given yet another “thing” before getting to see the clause’s subject, verb, or direct object, if there is one. Don’t panic. Run through your inventory of the possible meanings of the infinitive. Why indeed, one of the possible meanings is that the infinitive can be the verbal subject of another verb! What kinds of verb? Also, the perfect passive is frequently used with a dative of agency! συνέβαινε) nails it, along with reducing the possible types of condition — all that remains is to know the subject of παραλελεῖφθαι.

Let’s look at just one other moment. If you are thinking carefully about the unfolding meaning of the sentence, when the movement of your Hale card reveals the word ὑπομνημάτων you should sense that you have had a complete thought at this point and perhaps be a little surprised there’s no punctuation indicating the end of this main clause or the sentence. Hmm, I wonder what comes next. διὰ. That should immediately tell you Mr. Polybius has decided to extend the sentence with a διὰ + acc. explanatory prepositional phrase. As long as you understand this, the fact that the prepositional phrase ends up going on at some considerable length because of its articular infinitive should not be a problem.

For purposes of illustrating HH for Greek, I happen to have chosen two advanced sentences. I say “advanced,” and not “difficult.” For anticipatory parsing to be useful, it assumes a commensurate level of the three ur-skills, vocabulary, inflections, and syntax. These sentences happen to use syntax that from the modern student’s perspective is considered advanced, but at least to the educated Greek contemporary perfectly normal. There were two pieces of syntax in this sentence I definitely had to bone up on, the anarthrous infinitive as a verbal subject and the apodosis without ἄν in unreal conditions. A particular value I find in anticipatory parsing is that it forces me to be very precise about what I don’t understand. I’ve understood the sentence up to the point of this word. What is it idiomatically or syntactically I haven’t learned yet?
Second Sentence
GreekAnticipatory Parsing
ἐπεὶἐπεί indicates the start of a subordinate causal or temporal clause usually denoting time prior to that of the principal verb. In both cases, ἐπεὶ normally takes the indicative (often with the aorist, with the force of the English pluperfect), but causal clauses denoting an alleged reason take the optative after secondary tenses. Cause may also be expressed by ἐπεί with the ‘unreal’ indicative or the potential optative with ἄν. Sometimes with the indicative ἐπεὶ has the force of although. The negative of ἐπεί is οὐ (though not always in later Greek). Causal, temporal, concessive; indicative with or without ἄν, or optative; positive or negative — these are all possibilities.
ἐπεὶ δ’ What can (postpositive) δέ indicate? It can be in a non-connective role, such as apodotic δέ in the apodosis (principle clause) of a conditional sentence. That is clearly not the case here. Otherwise it is a connective with a continuative or adversative force, sometimes without a preceding μέν. But here δέ is the anticipated antithesis to the εἰ μὲν condition in the first sentence (see the discussion under εἰ μὲν in the first sentence).
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐThe negative particles οὐ/μή are generally placed before the word they negate. οὐ here indicates the following word may be the clause’s verb. Sometimes οὐ + verb is ‘adherescent’ (for example, οὔ φημι = I deny; similarly, proceeding adjectives and adverbs, for example, οὐκ ὀλίγοι = πολλοί). οὐ is also common in combinations like οὐ μόνον, οὐ γὰρ …, οὐ μὴν …, and οὐ μέντοι, and in series such as οὐ … οὐδέ, οὐ … οὔτε, οὐ μή, not all of which would fit after ἐπεί.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς As it turns out, οὐ negates not the verb of the clause but the indefinite pronoun τινές. οὐ τινὲς has an ‘adherescent’ feel to it (= πάντες, or something like that). The word ending of τινὲς indicates a nominative plural phrase that will be the subject of the clause.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ The combination οὐ … οὐδέ indicates a negative series. For what it is worth, οὐδ’ also indicates the following word will begin with a vowel.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ἐπὶ indicates a genitive, dative, or accusative will follow, each with its own possible set of meanings. The preposition also indicates the negative series is not grammatically parallel.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν,The comma coming before any verb indicates something is about to follow that complements, contrasts with, or is in apposition to the idiomatic phrase οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ A contrast is indicated, likely a nominative in contrast to οὐ τινὲς.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες The word ending of πάντες relates it to οὐ τινὲς. πάντες may be used as a substantive or as an adjective to a following nominative plural masculine noun. In either case, πάντες indicates the verb will be third-person plural.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς There are too many uses of ὠς as adverb of manner, as conjunction, before participles, prepositions, and as preposition, and in other miscellaneous uses to enumerate here. Some can be eliminated here, such as the uses of ὠς in independent sentences (e.g., exclamatory) and ὠς as conjunction (since we are in a clause already introduced by ἐπεί), unless in a parenthetical expression. It looks like πάντες is a substantive.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος For experienced readers, the parenthetical expression ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν is indicated, especially with πᾶς and οὐδείς.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ The word ending of ἀρχῇ indicates it is dative. Pretty much all the possible meanings of the dative are possible here.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ The ἐπεὶ clause is not complete, so καί cannot be connecting a new clause or sentence here. Since ἀρχῇ ungoverned by a preposition and left by itself here wouldn’t make any sense, it’s also difficult to see an adverbial use of καί here. So καί must be a copulative conjunction connecting ἀρχῇ with something.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει The dative word ending of τέλει as well as sense relate it idiomatically to ἀρχῇ.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνταιThe word ending of κέχρηνται indicates it is the third-person plural verb we expected. χράω/χράομαι has a wide range of meanings, but the middle perfect usually indicates either to desire or to be in want of something expressed in the genitive, or to enjoy, have, use, experience something expressed in the dative, or to treat someone as, or to be intimate with someone in the dative. So κέχρηνται could govern ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει, but what would that mean? Since there is no punctuation, let’s proceed, not without noting κέχρηνται is indicative stating a fact, as was likely after ἐπεί.

As you can tell, I have consulted the dictionary for definitions and constructions of χράω/χράομαι. However, I was able to intuit its meaning fairly accurately just by proceeding with the sentence and seeing it in context. Generally, you should avoid the “dictionary instinct” until you have read and reread the sentence several times.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ,Several things crystallize. Its word ending indicates τούτῳ is masculine or neuter singular dative, and it is clearly the indirect complementary object of κέχρηνται, rather than ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει, which is now clearly just an idiomatic phrase contrasting with ἐπὶ ποσόν, just as πάντες did with οὐ τινὲς. A demonstrative pronoun refers to something at hand, and in context you will realize τούτῳ is neuter and refers to the ‘praising of history itself’ in the first sentence. If there was any doubt left, Polybius has now told us the condition in the first sentence is not true. Finally, the comma indicates the end of the subordinate ἐπεὶ clause, and the meaning, especially given the perfect tense, is explanatory/causal, not temporal.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες The word ending indicates the present participle is masculine nominative plural and relates to πάντες. So rather than continue on to the main clause or to a second subordinate clause, Polybius is going to interject an account of what the earlier historians said about their praising history itself. As a verb of saying, φάσκοντες indicates its object will either be a dependent statement after ὅτι/ὠς or indirect discourse.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην The word ending of the superlative adjective ἀληθινωτάτην indicates a feminine singular accusative noun will follow. The accusative and the absence of ὅτι/ὠς indicate indirect discourse after φάσκοντες. The lack of a definite article and the superlative indicate the noun modified by ἀληθινωτάτην will be a predicate noun.

In the interests of my own time, I am going to leave off the ‘Hale with Greek’ at this point except for a few scattered remarks at key moments in the sentence and a summary of this sentence below. I will leave the rest as “an exercise for the student,” as the textbooks say.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν,
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ The word ending of τοῦ indicates a masculine or neuter singular genitive. What is the meaning of the genitive? As we have already done for the dative and for the accusative (τοῖς and μηδεμίαν respectively in the first sentence), create a mental inventory for yourself of the possible meanings of the genitive. A substantive in the genitive limits the meaning of another substantive on which it depends. Grammars classify these variously as genitive of possession, partitive genitive, genitive of quality, of explanation, of material or measure, subjective or objective genitive, or genitive of value. A genitive may serve as the immediate or secondary complement of a verb. These are variously classified as partitive genitive, genitive of price and value, of crime and accountability, of connection, and genitive with certain compound verbs. The above are examples of the so-called genitive proper. The so-called ablatival genitive is used with various verbs as a genitive of separation, of distinction and of comparison, of cause, and of source. The genitive is used with many adjectives and adverbs with kindred meanings to verbs taking the genitive, similarly, of adverbs derived from adjectives which take the genitive. The genitive may denote time or place within which, as opposed to duration as expressed by the accusative. A genitive absolute is a genitive noun + circumstantial participle phrase standing outside the main construction of the sentence (like ablative absolute in Latin).

What does the genitive τοῦ here indicate? It will limit the noun διδάσκαλον by defining teacher of whom or of what. We don’t need to label it, but for purposes of discussing it, I will call it an objective genitive, the verbal notion of teaching being contained in διδάσκαλον.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαιWhat does δύνασθαι indicate? First, that the objective genitive limiting διδάσκαλον is a neuter articular infinitive. Second, that the meaning of δύνασθαι requires a complementary infinitive to be complete.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρεινWhat does ὑποφέρειν indicate? It is the complementary infinitive we knew we must have with δύνασθαι.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν The word ending of τὴν indicates a feminine singular accusative. What does this relate to? If you have done the anticipatory parsing on the sentence thus far, you will remember that ἐναργεστάτην {sc. εἶναι} καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον was a predicate still awaiting its subject accusative, but interrupted by the objective genitive phrase τοῦ … ὑποφέρειν. Furthermore, since διδάσκαλον can be masculine or feminine but Polybius chose to modify it with two feminine adjectives, we had a good hint that the accusative subject would be feminine. τὴν relates to διδάσκαλον. It is an example of how in the Greek plan words that relate to one another to complete a meaning may be separated by quite a few words, in this case by a fairly lengthy articular infinitive phrase, and how you must wait for the resolution and use the word endings to relate the one word to the other.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν,
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ What does καθήκειν indicate? It is the verbal subject infinitive, in this case anarthrous infinitive, expected after the quasi-impersonal δοκέω. Does καθήκειν in turn require a subject? Yes. Can that subject also be an infinitive? Yes.
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ τῶν
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ τῶν καλῶς
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ τῶν καλῶς καὶ
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ τῶν καλῶς καὶ πολλοῖς
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ τῶν καλῶς καὶ πολλοῖς εἰρημένων
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ τῶν καλῶς καὶ πολλοῖς εἰρημένων ταυτολογεῖν,What does ταυτολογεῖν indicate? It is the required subject, in this case verbal subject, of καθήκειν.

I have to admit that in my first pass through this sentence (or first one hundred passes), the succession of three verbs (δόξαι καθήκειν … ταυτολογεῖν) unsettled me a bit. But if you think about the dictionary definition and syntax of each verb as it is unveiled, it makes perfect sense. Cf. Lysias 23 (Against Pancleon).5: περὶ πολλοῦ ποιούμενος μηδενὶ δόξαι ὑβρίζειν βούλεσθαι. In English there is nothing strange about saying “it wouldn’t seem to be appropriate to tautologize.”
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ τῶν καλῶς καὶ πολλοῖς εἰρημένων ταυτολογεῖν, ἥκιστα
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ τῶν καλῶς καὶ πολλοῖς εἰρημένων ταυτολογεῖν, ἥκιστα δ’
ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ τῶν καλῶς καὶ πολλοῖς εἰρημένων ταυτολογεῖν, ἥκιστα δ’ ἡμῖν.
As I said after the first sentence, doing anticipatory parsing on a given sentence assumes a commensurate knowledge of vocabulary, forms, and syntax. For me, the only syntax in this sentence that I needed brushing up on was the use of the anarthrous infinitive as subject (δόξαι καθήκειν). But I had managed that by developing my inventory of possible meanings of the infinitive while doing anticipatory parsing on the first sentence. In the online Greek forum where I put these two sentences up for discussion, one of the correspondents wrote, “the many uses of ὠς or the many uses of δέω [evidently not referring to these sentences in particular] tend to throw me off.” “Throw me off” is a symptom of the malady I have been discussing, namely, most of us have not been taught the fourth ur-skill of how to read a Greek sentence. “The many uses of ὠς or the many uses of δέω” is a reality of the language and suggests the remedy. As tedious as it is, develop a mental (or even initially written) inventory of the set of possible meanings of ὠς and δέω (especially the possible constructions δέω can participate in). Consult that inventory when you encounter these words reading a sentence a word at a time in the order in which they were written, eliminate those possible meanings that wouldn’t work in the given context, and then wait for the sentence to unfold further until something resolves the particular meaning. For example, in the context of an incomplete subordinate (ἐπεὶ) clause in the sentence above, ὠς could not indicate a conjunction unless it were introducing a parenthetical expression, which two words later is exactly what turned out to be the case.

I found anticipatory parsing on this lengthy sentence especially valuable for the enforcement of the discipline of reading and processing the sentence’s meaning a word at a time in order and for forcing me to be precise in the discovery of what I simply hadn’t learned yet about Greek idiom or syntax, which is an occasion for joy, not despair.

Before I plunged into the Latin and Greek examples above, I wrote “As you do anticipatory parsing, treat syntax not as the seemingly arbitrary rules of a grammar book but as deeply embedded conveyors of meaning in that language (the shoemaker’s lasts, in Kató Lomb’s metaphor).” My examples of anticipatory parsing may seem to belie that, since I was rather particular about “dative of this,” “genitive of that,” “past true” condition, etc. I did that by design, because I didn’t know how else to make my point (nor did Hale, evidently, who happens in any case to be the coauthor of Hale and Buck’s A Latin Grammar). But I am fully cognizant that “grammar” is simply our modern attempt to dissect, deconstruct, formalize and attach “rules” to the shoemaker’s lasts, the things that we observe work or don’t work in the language. I’ve worked hard in the last few years to develop a natural feel for the shoemaker’s lasts of Greek and Latin. But one way or the other, to read fluently you have to have an inventory of what works and what doesn’t, of what is used and what isn’t. How you formulate that inventory doesn’t in the end really matter.

Reading Word-Groups In Order

First Sentence
#Word-GroupProcessing the Group
1AΕἰ μὲνstart of introductory subordinate conditional clause

Εἰ signposts that this is a conditional clause, or protasis, in a conditional statement whose type will be resolved by the tense and mood of its finite verb in both the protasis and apodosis. μὲν signposts a likely but not obligatory antithetical clause, not necessarily in this sentence, marked by δέ, ἀλλά, etc.

Εἰ μὲν suggests Polybius will commence his work in a rhetorical or argumentative vein, which may serve as a clue to further developments in the sentence(s). As I progress from seeking meaning in individual words to seeking meaning in word-groups, I find myself also engaging with the sentence at a higher level of analysis.
2Aτοῖςdative phrase embraced by the embracing conditional clause

Since the dative phrase is embraced by the conditional clause, it must complete before the conditional clause resumes (Reading Rule 6c).
3πρὸ ἡμῶνprepositional phrase embraced by the dative phrase

Likewise, the embraced prepositional phrase must complete before the dative phrase can resume. Here the embraced phrase functions as an attributive adjective.
2Bἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξειςresumption and completion of dative phrase

The word ending of ἀναγράφουσι relates it to τοῖς and signposts that the embraced prepositional word-group has finished and the embraced dative phrase word-group has resumed. The dative phrase signposts that something in the embracing clause, an individual word or phrase or the entire clause, will be qualified as being to or for (in the interest of) those writing history before us.
1Bπαραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸνresumption of conditional clause

παραλελεῖφθαι is the verbal subject of συνέβαινε. Its perfect passiveness means τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι is specifically a dative of agency (a subspecies of dative of interest). The word ending of τὸν means that it is the subject accusative of παραλελεῖφθαι and signposts that a masculine singular accusative noun will follow. The imperfect tense and indicative mood of συνέβαινε mean that the type of condition is either a true one in the past or an ‘unreal’ one in the present and limit the possible corresponding constructions in the apodosis.
4ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίαςembraced prepositional phrase

ὑπὲρ signposts that the conditional clause word-group, which is not a complete syntactically self-contained word-group yet, is being interrupted by an embraced prepositional phrase. The prepositional phrase must complete before the embracing conditional clause can resume. An embraced word-group adds meaning to the word-group that embraces it. Here the embraced prepositional phrase modifies as an attribute adjective a word in the embracing clause.
1Cἔπαινον,resumption and completion of introductory conditional clause

The word ending of ἔπαινον relates it to τὸν. The conditional clause is now a complete syntactically self-contained word-group, and the punctuation further signposts the completion of the clause. It is a lengthy clause, and the use of παραλελεῖφθαι τὸν ἔπαινον as verbal subject of συνέβαινε may be unfamiliar syntax to an inexperienced reader. But reading the clause a word-group at a time in order shows it to be perfectly logical. It embraces a dative phrase (which embraces a prepositional phrase) and then a prepositional phrase. Each embraced phrase contributes a single idea, action, or description to the embracing clause, as the clause does to the developing sense of the sentence. Absorb these contributions a word-group at a time, pausing if necessary to do so.
5ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάνταςmain clause

The finite verb signposts this as a main clause. In this case the verbal subject of the finite verb is an articular infinitive with object accusative. The indicative verbal idiom ἀναγκαῖον ἦν means the conditional statement in this sentence is present unreal (in unreal conditions, verbs like ἀναγκαῖον ἦν, ἔδει, χρῆν, etc. in the apodosis may omit the ἄν). προτρέπεσθαι signposts a following object accusative, possibly in the idiom προτρέπεσθαί τινα ἐπὶ, ἐς or πρὸς. The main clause is at this point a complete syntactically self-contained word-group and therefore complete, but clearly it needs some more qualification for it to make sense.
6πρὸς τὴν αἕρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴνprepositional phrase in sequence

πρὸς signposts a prepositional phrase that will at least in part supply the desired additional qualification of the main clause. What is the difference between αἕρεσιν and παραδοχήν? (I’m not saying there isn’t one.) Is there a whiff of Polybius’s oft-criticized verbosity here? The nouns signpost an objective genitive to follow, since they wouldn’t make any sense without one.
7τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτωνobjective genitive phrase

τῶν signposts the expected objective genitive.
The main clause has now had sufficient qualification to make sense, and this could easily have been the end of the sentence, but the absence of punctuation is a signpost that Polybius has something more to say, as he usually does.
8Aδιὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναιa second prepositional phrase in sequence

διὰ + accusative signposts an explanatory phrase that will add further qualification to the main clause. τὸ signposts a likely articular infinitive. μηδεμίαν signposts a following feminine singular accusative noun, qualified as being ἑτοιμοτέραν. ἑτοιμοτέραν signposts a possible dative of advantage and as a comparative an object of the comparison expressed by a genitive or by ἢ.
9τοῖς ἀνθρώποιςdative phrase of advantage embraced by the prepositional phrase
8Bδιόρθωσινresumption and completion of prepositional phrase

The word ending of διόρθωσιν relates it to μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν, which completes the prepositional phrase as a syntactically self-contained word-group. But the sense of an incomplete comparison lingers. Compared to what?.
10Aτῆςgenitive phrase of comparison

The word ending of τῆς signposts a genitive phrase of comparison.
11τῶν προγεγενημένων πράξεωνan embraced noun phrase in the role of objective genitive in the attributive position

The word ending of τῶν does not relate to τῆς and therefore signposts an embraced phrase that will have to complete before the embracing genitive phrase resumes.
10Bἐπιστήμης.resumption of the genitive phrase of comparison and completion of the phrase, apodosis, and sentence
The overall structure of this sentence is simple: protasis/subordinate clause, apodosis/main clause (word-groups 1 and 5). However, it contains enough sequenced and embraced phrases that someone not well practiced in correct reading technique may get lost. For example, the apodosis starts out simply enough, but it gets extended considerably because its articular infinitive subject takes an object accusative governing in turn a prepositional phrase followed by an objective genitive phrase. And just when you get through that, Polybius tacks on an explanatory ‘διὰ τὸ’ phrase that becomes quite lengthy in its own right, with an articular infinitive rather than simple noun as the object of the preposition, followed by a dative of advantage and by a genitive of comparison that in turn embraces a three-word noun phrase. In fact the ‘διὰ τὸ’ phrase is a good illustration of the fact that the most important information in a sentence is not always in its primary clauses. But keep in mind that each word-group is small and is self-contained syntactically and in sense (each is a sense unit). Read and absorb each sense unit in order, and the length of the sentence should not throw you off.

From a student’s perspective, it must also be conceded that the sentence contains several “advanced” grammatical constructs, for example, types of conditions, multiple uses of the anarthrous and articular infinitives, phrases in the role of attributive adjective, and the use of the genitive in comparisons. In fact it undoubtedly took a well-educated Greek or Roman to read Polybius. But these constructs are routine and must be mastered in order to read real, unabridged Greek.

We saw that the infinitive with subject accusative phrase παραλελεῖφθαι τὸν ἔπαινον is the verbal subject of συνέβαινε. A subject by itself does not qualify as a word-group (it is not syntactically complete). Since παραλελεῖφθαι τὸν ἔπαινονis a phrase, we might be tempted to count it as a word-group, but then we would get a violation of Reading Rule 6 as illustrated below (word-group 3, which is not embraced by word-group 1, begins before word-group 1 completes).

1AΕἰ μὲν
2τοῖς {πρὸ ἡμῶν} ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις
3Aπαραλελεῖφθαι
1Bσυνέβαινε
3Bτὸν {ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας} ἔπαινον,
Second Sentence

[January 2021: I have changed the grouping from the original text.]

#Word-GroupProcessing the Group
1Aἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς start of introductory subordinate clause

δέ supplies the antithesis to the μέν from the beginning of the first sentence. ἐπεὶ signposts either a causal or a temporal clause, in either case with a finite verb most likely in the indicative mood. The meaning of the first sentence, the μέν/δέ antithesis to it introduced here, and the rhetorical style make it highly likely the clause is causal and not temporal (i.e., we are dealing in ideas, not narrative).
1Bοὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν,οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν is an idiomatic expression that can certainly be regarded as a single sense unit [January 2021: as I did in the original text], but technically οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν is a prepositional phrase and counts as a word-group.
1Cἀλλὰ πάντεςthe grammatically coordinate (with τινὲς) but in sense true subject of the subordinate clause

The word ending of πάντες signposts a third-person plural verb.
2ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖνa parenthetical, embraced idiomatic phrase

ὠς signposts some kind of embraced phrase. This is a common idiom, especially with πᾶς and οὐδείς.
1Dἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει a dative phrase that modifies κέχρηνται

[January 2021: In the original text I had ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ as a single word-group, but the dative phrase is technically a distinct word-group.]
1Eκέχρηνται τούτῳ,resumption and completion of the introductory subordinate clause

The introductory subordinate clause is now a complete thought, further signposted by the comma. In sense it is clearly causal (as opposed to temporal). κέχρηνται (χράομαι) governs a possible dative (in certain meanings it governs a genitive). Reading a word at a time may make it initially seem that that dative is the preceding ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει (whatever that might mean), but reading a word-group at a time makes it clear κέχρηνται goes with the following demonstrative pronoun τούτῳ. The demonstrative refers to the first sentence.
3φάσκοντεςparticipial phrase

The word ending of φάσκοντες relates it to πάντες. φάσκειν, as a verb of saying, signposts that its object will either be a dependent statement introduced by ὅτι/ὠς or an infinitive in indirect discourse. In either case, it has the potential to be lengthy, so you must keep in mind that the participial phrase qualifies the subject of the introductory subordinate clause and that we are still in “subordinate mode” here.
4Aἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίανfirst correlative indirect statement as object of φάσκοντες

The word ending of ἀληθινωτάτην (accusative) and the absence of ὅτι/ὠς signpost that the object of φάσκοντες is in indirect discourse. The word ending of ἀληθινωτάτην also signposts that a feminine singular accusative noun will follow. μὲν signposts that the indirect discourse will have two correlated statements. The word endings of παιδείαν and γυμνασίαν relate them to ἀληθινωτάτην. The superlative, εἶναι, and the lack of an article with παιδείαν are signposts that this is a predicate statement with παιδείαν and γυμνασίαν as predicate nouns and an accusative subject with definite article to follow.
5πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξειςprepositional phrase embraced by the first correlative indirect statement

πρὸς signposts that the first correlative indirect statement, which is still missing its (accusative) subject and is therefore incomplete, is being interrupted by an important announcement. The embraced prepositional phrase contributes an important qualification to the statement embracing it.
4Bτὴνresumption of the first correlative indirect statement

The definite article and its word ending (accusative) signpost that this is the anticipated accusative subject of the first correlative indirect predicate statement and that that subject will be a feminine singular (accusative) noun.
6ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίαςembraced prepositional phrase in the role of attribute adjective
4Cμάθησιν,resumption and completion of the indirect statement

The word ending of μάθησιν relates it to τὴν. The first correlative indirect statement is now a complete syntactically self-contained word-group, whose completion is further signposted by the comma.
7Aἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλονsecond correlative indirect statement as object of φάσκοντες

Both the postpositive δέ and the parallelism (in degree of comparison, case, number, and gender) of ἐναργεστάτην to ἀληθινωτάτην signpost this as the anticipated second correlative indirect statement. εἶναι is understood after ἐναργεστάτην δὲ; that, the superlative, and the lack of a definite article again signpost this as a predicate statement with διδάσκαλον as predicate noun and an accusative subject with definite article to follow. Since διδάσκαλον can be masculine or feminine, the word endings of ἐναργεστάτην καὶ μόνην signpost that the subject accusative noun will be feminine singular. διδάσκαλον of whom or of what?
8τοῦ δύνασθαιarticular infinitive phrase as objective genitive embraced by the second correlative indirect statement

The word ending of τοῦ signposts an embraced objective genitive modifying διδάσκαλον. δύνασθαι signposts a complementary infinitive to follow, δύνασθαι what? The embraced articular infinitive phrase must complete before the embracing second correlative indirect statement can resume.
9Aτὰς complementary infinitive phrase in sequence

The word ending of τὰς (accusative) signposts that the complementary infinitive will probably be a transitive verb that takes an object and that a feminine plural accusative noun will follow. The infinitive ὑποφέρειν, preceded by its direct object, signposts that the embraced complementary phrase word-group and the preceding embraced objective genitive phrase word-group are complete.
10τῆς τύχηςa genitive phrase modifying the phrase that embraces it
9Bμεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρεινthe completion of the complementary infinitive phrase
7Bτὴνresumption of the second correlative indirect statement

The definite article and its word ending signpost that this is the anticipated feminine singular accusative subject of the second correlative indirect predicate statement.
11τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶνembraced objective genitive phrase in the role of attribute adjective
7Cὑπόμνησιν,resumption and completion of the second correlative indirect statement
The word ending of ὑπόμνησιν relates it to τὴν. The second correlative indirect statement is now a complete syntactically self-contained word-group, whose completion is further signposted by the comma.

Furthermore, the entire indirect discourse as object of φάσκοντες is now complete, which means in turn that, finally, the entire ἐπεὶ introductory subordinate causal clause is now complete … unless, Zeus forbid, Polybius adds a second participial phrase parallel to φάσκοντες!.

The greatly extended participial phrase (φάσκοντες) is another example of how the most important part of the sentence is sometimes elsewhere than in the subjects and verbs of the primary clauses. Pause to consider the meaning of the entire ἐπεὶ clause.
12δῆλον main clause (ἐστι understood, as often)

It is remarkable that after such a lengthy introductory subordinate clause, the main clause is only one word long! How unappreciated this would go if you started reading the sentence by looking for its main clause.
13Aὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκεινdependent statement, as signposted by ὠς

καθήκειν is an anarthrous infinitive verbal subject of the quasi-impersonal δόξαι. καθήκειν itself requires a subject. μὲν distinguishes οὐδενὶ and signposts a probable antithesis.
14περὶ τῶν καλῶς καὶ πολλοῖς εἰρημένωνprepositional phrase embraced by the dependent statement
13Bταυτολογεῖν,resumption and completion of the dependent statement

ταυτολογεῖν is the verbal subject of καθήκειν. The dependent statement is now a complete syntactically self-contained word-group, as signposted additionally by the comma.
15ἥκιστα δ’ ἡμῖν.a correlative dependent statement governed by the preceding ὠς and as previously signposted by οὐδενὶ μὲν

We noted the main clause word-group consisted of the pithy δῆλον. Its extension (the dependent statement it governs) also ends with a snappy ἥκιστα δ’ ἡμῖν (sc. ἂν δόξαι … ταυτολογεῖν). Also observe how the first two sentences come full circle. The first sentence begins with a self-referential πρὸ ἡμῶν, but the remainder of it and the bulk of the second are about the earlier historians. The final word ἡμῖν circles back to ἡμῶν and refocuses attention on the author himself. These are carefully crafted, classically balanced sentences (for example, with plenty of μὲν/δὲ pairs).
Here is what it looks like with indentation, which sometimes helps:
1A     ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς                 start subordinate clause
1B     οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν,
1C     ἀλλὰ πάντες
2             ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν
1D          ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει
1E     κέχρηνται τούτῳ,              faux ending to subordinate clause
3        φάσκοντες                         participial phrase parallel to and extending subordinate clause
4A     ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν
5             πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις
4B     τὴν
6             ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας
4C     μάθησιν,
7A     ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον
8             τοῦ δύνασθαι
9A          τὰς
10                τῆς τύχης
9B          μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν
7B     τὴν
11           τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν
7C     ὑπόμνησιν,                          end participial phrase, end subordinate clause
12      δῆλον                                  main clause
13A    ὡς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἂν δόξαι καθήκειν                   start direct statement
14            περὶ τῶν καλῶς καὶ πολλοῖς εἰρημένων
13B    ταυτολογεῖν,
15      ἥκιστα δ’ ἡμῖν.                                               end direct statement, end main clause
Structured Analysis on these two sentences of Polybius helps illustrate Hoyos’s Reading Rule 10: “Analytical sentences are written with phrases and clauses in the order that is most logical to the author. The sequence of thought is signposted by the placing of word-groups and key words.” This is in stark contrast to the two narrative sentences of Livy. In analytical sentences, the order that is most logical to the author may not be obvious to us, and as a result such sentences, Hoyos notes, are usually harder to follow than narrative ones. In these two sentences, Polybius put the arguably most important information in the ’διὰ τὸ’ phrase tacked on to the end of the first sentence and in the φάσκοντες participial phrase sandwiched into the middle of the second. If you try to read these sentences out of order, you don’t have a prayer.

As I said earlier, it seems many people find these two sentences of Polybius difficult, and they certainly weren’t a piece of cake for me. A number of reasons come to mind. These are the introductory sentences of Polybius’s Histories, so there is no context. The content is analytical rather than narrative and therefore strictly the product of Polybius’s hard-to-predict train of thought. Polybius’s metalanguge for discussing history will be unfamiliar to many, as it was at first to me, though I don’t think there is anything you cannot figure out in context if you are reading correctly. The sentences use what students may regard as advanced grammatical constructs, though these are quite normal and must be mastered if one wants to read ancient Greek. For example, Polybius sure piles on the infinitives. Stylistically, Polybius wasn’t going for brevity.

Nevertheless, I have concluded the main reason for the difficulty is the premise I stated at the beginning of this post: We have simply not been taught to read Greek or Latin sentences. If you have had a good introduction to the other three ur-skills, nothing in any single word-group of these sentences should present a difficulty. If with practice you have learned to recognize the word-groups and how they relate to one another, and you have disciplined yourself to read them in order, the sentences may require several re-readings, but they should not occasion a mid-sentence shipwreck. They may even be appreciated.

Again, it’s a good idea to rehearse and occasionally memorize sentences you find interesting or challenging. Here’s my humble attempt at the Greek:

Congratulations, Romans, but I side with the Greeks!

Please remember that diamonds are forever, but not HH. HH is a method for learning what should be the fourth ur-skill, how to read a Greek and Latin sentence following the Greek and Latin plan. You can apply this method while you are learning the languages or apply it remedially, but you only need do so until you get the hang of it. Once you are reading correctly, fluency comes from reading as much as you possibly can.

Complete Livy and Polybius Texts

Livy 33.7.6-7 (1) Principio a paucis procurrentibus lacessita pugna est, deinde subsidiis tuentium pulsos aucta. (2) In qua cum haudquaquam pares Romani alios super alios nuntios ad ducem mitterent premi sese, quingenti equites et duo milia peditum, maxime Aetolorum, cum duobus tribunis militum propere missa rem inclinatam restituerunt, versaque fortuna Macedones laborantes opem regis per nuntios implorabant.

Polybius 1.1.1-2 (1) Εἰ μὲν τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν ἀναγράφουσι τὰς πράξεις παραλελεῖφθαι συνέβαινε τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱστορίας ἔπαινον, ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον ἦν τὸ προτρέπεσθαι πάντας πρὸς τὴν αἵρεσιν καὶ παραδοχὴν τῶν τοιούτων ὑπομνημάτων διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν ἑτοιμοτέραν εἶναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις διόρθωσιν τῆς τῶν προγεγεγημένων πράξεων ἐπιστήμης. (2) ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐ τινὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὠς ἔπος εἰπεῖν ἀρχῇ καὶ τέλει κέχρηνται τούτῳ, φάσκοντες ἀληθινωτάτην μὲν εἶναι παιδείαν καὶ γυμνασίαν πρὸς τὰς πολιτικὰς πράξεις τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας μάθησιν, ἐναργεστάτην δὲ καὶ μόνην διδάσκαλον τοῦ δύνασθαι τὰς τῆς τύχης μεταβολὰς γενναίως ὑποφέρειν τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων περιπετειῶν ὑπόμνησιν, δῆλον ὠς οὐδενὶ μὲν ἄν δόξαι καθήκειν περὶ τῶν καλῶς καὶ πολλοῖς εἰρημένων ταυτολογεῖν, ἥκιστα δ’ ἡμῖν.

Randy Gibbons

Published by Randy Gibbons

I am retired. I have several strong interests, in particular classical studies (Greek and Latin); a lifelong passion for music, especially jazz; and more recently, dabbling in philosophy. For more information about me, click on About Me.

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