Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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μέν 2895

μέν was originally an asseverative, emphatic particle (surely, certainly, indeed) and a weaker form of μήν. Cp. Epic ἦ μέν, καὶ μέν, οὐ μέν in asseverations and protestations. Asseverative μέν survived as μέν solitarium and in combination with other particles. Antithetical (concessive) μέν owes its origin to the fact that, as emphasis. may indicate a contrast, the clause in which μέν stood was felt as preliminary to an adversative member of the sentence. Through association with this adversative member μέν gradually lost its primitive asseverative force.

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2896

μέν solitarium occurs when a clause with μέν is not followed by a clause with δέ. This is especially common when the antithetical clause is to be supplied in thought, as when μέν emphasizes a statement made by a person with reference to himself as opposed to others (often with a tone of arrogance or of credulity). Here any possible opposition or difference of opinion, however justifiable, is left unexpressed. Thus, ἐγὼ μὲν οὐκ οἶδα I for my part do not know (though others may) X. C. 1.4.12, ἀπέπλευσαν, ὡς μὲν τοῖς πλείστοις ἐδόκουν, φιλοτι_μηθέντες they sailed away since they were jealous as it seemed to the majority at least X. A. 1.4.7. So in such phrases as δοκῶ μέν, ἡγοῦμαι μέν, οἶμαι μέν.

2897

Sometimes μέν solitarium merely emphasizes a word in its clause and does not imply a contrast. Thus, ἐμοὶ μὲν οἰστέα τάδε this must be borne by me on my part S. O. C. 1360.

2898

μέν solitarium is commonest after personal pronouns; but occurs also after demonstrative pronouns (L. 25.16), after relatives (Aes. 3.209), after substantives without the article (D. 9.15), or after the article and before its substantive (L. 29.1), after adjectives (L. 1.27), after adverbs (L. 12.91), after verbs (D. 19.231). In questions μέν alone is rare (P. Men. 82b).

2899

In combination with other particles, especially δή and οὖν, asseverative μέν either has a simple confirmatory force or is used adversatively. The following cases must be distinguished from those in which μέν is correlative to δέ.

2900

μὲν δή expresses positive certainty, especially in conclusions. It is common in summing up and in transitions, and is used either alone or with other particles (sometimes it is followed by ἀλλά or δέ). Thus, ταῦτα μὲν δὴ τοιαῦτα so much for that A. Pr. 500. So also, e.g. ἀλλὰ μὲν δή but certainly in fact (ἀλλ' οὐδὲ μὲν δή in rejecting an alternative); ει' μὲν δή if indeed in truth; καὶ μὲν δή and in truth, and in fact (often in transitions); ου' μὲν δή certainly not at all, nor yet, in truth (often used adversatively).

2901

μὲν οὖν lit. certainly in fact, μέν being a weaker form of μήν. μὲν οὖν has two common uses, according as the particles have a compound force, or each has its own force.

a. The compound force of μὲν οὖν is seen in affirmations; as in replies: πάνυ (μάλιστα) μὲν οὖν yes, by all means; certainly, by all means; aye truly, εὖ μὲν οὖν οἶδα nay, I am sure of it, οὐ μὲν οὖν indeed not, ἆρ' ου' τόδε ἦν τὸ δένδρον ἐφ' ὅπερ ἦγες ἡμᾶς; τοῦτο μὲν οὖν αὐτό isn't this the tree to which you were bringing us? To be sure this is it P. Phae. 230a.

b. The compound force appears also when μὲν οὖν indicates a correction; nay rather (imo vero); as λέγε σύ· σὺ μὲν οὖν μοι λέγε do you say. Nay, rather you Ar. Eq. 13, ἄτοπον τὸ ἐνύπνιον, ὦ Σώκρατες. ἐναργὲς μὲν οὖν the dream is strange, Socrates. Nay rather, it was distinct P. Cr. 44b.

c. Each particle has its own force especially where μὲν οὖν indicates a transition to a new subject. Here μέν points forward to an antithesis to follow and indicated by δέ, ἀλλά, μέντοι, while οὖν (inferential) connects with what precedes. Here so then, therefore may be used in translation. Thus, Κλέαρχος μὲν οὖν τοσαῦτα εἶπε. Τισσαφέρνης δὲ ὧδε ἀπημείφθη such then were the words of Clearthus; and on the other hand Tissaphernes answered as follows X. A. 2.5.15

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Sometimes μὲν οὖν (like igitur) shows that a subject announced in general terms is now to be treated in detail (P. Ph. 70c).

2902

Common collocations are ἀλλὰ μέν (ἀλλὰ . . . μέν) but for a fact, γὲ μέν, ἦ μέν, καὶ μέν.

2903

Antithetical (concessive) μέν distinguishes the word or clause in which it stands from a following word or clause marked usually by δέ or by other particles denoting contrast, such as ἀλλά, ἀτάρ, μέντοι, μήν; and even by copulative τέ, καί (Hom. ἠδέ). μέν never connects words, clauses, or sentences.

2904

μὲν . . . δέ serves to mark stronger or weaker contrasts of various kinds, and is sometimes to be rendered by on the one hand . . . on the other hand, indeed . . . but; but is often to be left untranslated. The μέν clause has a concessive force when it is logically subordinate (while, though, whereas, cp. cross2170). Thus, ἡ μὲν ψυ_χὴ πολυχρόνιόν ἐστι, τὸ δὲ σῶμα ἀσθενέστερον καὶ ὀλιγοχρονιώτερον the soul lasts for a long time, the body is weaker and lasts for a shorter time P. Ph. 87d, καὶ πρόσθεν μὲν δὴ πολλοὶ ἡμῶν ἦρχον μὲν οὐδενός, ἤρχοντο δέ· νῦν δὲ κατεσκεύασθε οὕτω πάντες οἱ παρόντες ὥστε ἄρχετε οἱ μὲν πλειόνων, οἱ δὲ μειόνων and whereas in fact many of us hitherto commanded no one, but were subject to the command of others, now however all of you who are present are so placed that you have command, some over more, others over fewer X. C. 8.1.4.

a. So ἄλλοτε μὲν . . . ἄλλοτε δέ, ἅμα μὲν . . . ἅμα δέ at once . . . and, partly . . . partly, ἔνθα μὲν . . . ἔνθα δέ, ἐνταῦθα μὲν . . . ἐκεῖ δέ, πρῶτον μὲν . . . ἔπειτα δέ (or ἔπειτα alone). On ὁ μὲν . . . ὁ δέ see cross1107. Instead of (οἱ) δέ we find e.g. ἄλλος δέ, ἔνιοι δέ, ἔστι δ' οἵ. So τοῦτο μὲν . . . τοῦτ' ἄλλο (or αὖθις).—μέν may stand with a participle, δέ with a finite verb, in an antithetical sentence. Example in 2147 c.

b. εἰ, οὐ (μή) standing before μὲν . . . δέ exercise their force on both opposed clauses.

2905

When several verbs referring to the same person or thing are contrasted, or when several attributes are contrasted, the first has μέν, the others δέ. Cp. Lyc. 5, X. A. 3.1.19. But μέν is sometimes omitted.

2906

μέν . . . δέ is used in successive clauses which contain either the same word (anaphora) or a synonymous word; as ἐγὼ δὲ σύνειμι μὲν θεοῖς, σύνειμι δὲ ἀνθρώποις τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς quoted in 1159, ἦλθε μὲν καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς Ἐρυθραία_ς ἀγγελία_, ἀφι_κνεῖτο δὲ καὶ πανταχόθεν news came from the district of Erythrae itself and arrived also from all quarters T. 3.33. But μέν is sometimes omitted, as στήσω σ' ἄγων, στήσω δ' ἐμαυτόν I will bring thee and stablish thee, and I will stablish myself S. O. C. 1342.

2907

If more than two clauses are contrasted, only the first clause has μέν, while each of the following clauses has δέ (X. A. 1.3.14, X. C. 4.2.28).

2908

A contrast indicated by μέν and δέ may stand inside another contrast indicated in the same manner, as ὁ μὲν ἀνὴρ τοιαῦτα μὲν πεποίηκε, τοιαῦτα δὲ λέγει· ὑ_μῶν δὲ σὺ πρῶτος, ὦ Κλέαρχε, ἀπόφηναι γνώμην ὅ τι σοι δοκεῖ the man has acted thus, and speaks thus; but do you, Clearchus, be the first to make known what you think best X. A. 1.6.9.

2909

Two relative (or conditional) clauses each with μέν may be followed

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by two demonstrative clauses each with δέ; but the second δέ is usually omitted, and there are other variations. Thus, ὁπόσοι μὲν . . . οὗτοι μὲν . . . ὁπόσοι δὲ . . . τούτους ὁρῶ X. A. 3.1.43, cp. X. O. 4.7, P. A. 28e.

2910

A clause with μέν is often followed by a contrasted clause without δέ but with a particle containing an element of opposition, as πρῶτον μὲν . . . ἔπειτα . . . εἶτα.

2911

A shift in the construction may cause δέ to be omitted (S. Ant. 1199).

2912

μέν after an emphatic demonstrative may resume μέν of the antecedent clause (D. 2.18).

2913

μὲν . . . τε (and even καί) is used where the second clause is merely added instead of being coördinated by means of δέ. Thus, ταχὺ μὲν ὅποι ἔδει περιγιγνόμεθα ἀθρόοι τε τῷ ἄρχοντι ἑπόμενοι ἀνυπόστατοι ἦμεν we have quickly reached the places to which we had to go, and by following our leader in a compact body we have been invincible X. C. 8.1.3.

2914

Position of μέν (and δέ).—μέν and δέ are commonly placed next to the words they contrast, and take precedence over other postpositive particles. But when two words belong closely together, μέν and δέ are placed between. Thus, when nouns with the article are contrasted, μέν and δέ stand after the article; if the nouns depend on prepositions μέν and δέ stand after the preposition and before the article.

a. But this rule may be neglected in order to emphasize the preceding word, as τὰ μὲν ἀνθρώπινα παρέντες, τὰ δαιμόνια δὲ σκοποῦντες neglecting human affairs, but speculating on things divine X. M. 1.1.12, ἀνὰ τὸ σκοτεινὸν μέν in the darkness T. 3.22.

b. If the noun has no article and is governed by a preposition, δέ usually takes the third place.

c. Postponement of δέ (and some other postpositive particles) to the fourth place is only apparent after an introductory vocative, which is not regarded as forming an integral part of the sentence.

2915

μέν and δέ are sometimes referred to the entire clause or to the predicate and not to the words that are opposed to each other. This arrangement is often adopted to preserve the symmetry of the juxtaposed clause. μέν and δέ are thus often placed after personal or demonstrative pronouns. Thus, ἔλεγε μὲν ὡς τὸ πολύ, τοῖς δὲ βουλομένοις ἐξῆν ἀκούειν Socrates for the most part was wont to talk, while any who chose could listen X. M. 1.1.10, πῶς ἂν πολλοὶ μὲν ἐπεθύ_μουν τυραννεῖν . . . ; πῶς δὲ πάντες ἐζήλουν ἂν τοὺς τυράννους; why should many desire to possess despotic power? why should everybody envy despotic rulers? X. Hi. 1.9 (for πάντες δὲ πῶς ἐζήλουν ἄν). Cp. ἐν μὲν τούτοις . . . ἐν ἐκείνοις δέ Lyc. 140, περὶ αὑτῶν μὲν . . . περὶ δὲ τῶν δεσποτῶν L. 7.35, etc.

a. The transposition is often designed to produce a chiastic ( cross3020) order, as ἔπαθε μὲν οὐδέν, πολλὰ δὲ κακὰ ἐνόμιζε ποιῆσαι he suffered no loss, but thought that he had done a great deal of damage X. A. 3.4.2 (here οὐδέν and πολλά are brought close together).

2916

In poetry μέν and δέ often have a freer position than in prose. δέ may often come third when an emphatic word is placed before it, and even fourth.

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Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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