The wise king: A passage from Philo’s Questions on Genesis (4.76) in Armenian   1 comment

(Preface: Some time ago I came across the passage below in Armenian. I don’t remember the trail that led me to it, but in any case, it’s an interesting passage for its content and vocabulary and for the fact that both the Greek original and the Armenian survive and can thus be readily compared.)

Most of Philo’s Quaestiones in Genesim survives only in Armenian. Here is part of § 4.76 on Genesis, which is on Gen 23:6. This passage = Chrysippus, Fragmenta Moralia, № 681 (SVF 3, p. 170; available here). The Armenian text was edited and translated into Latin by Aucher/Awgerean, a copy of which from Google Books is accessible at Robert Bedrosian’s site here; unfortunately, some pages were improperly scanned, resulting in an almost surreal stretching of the text, but this particular excerpt (pp. 304-305) is still legible. There is an ET of the Armenian by Marcus, in LCL Philo, suppl. 1, p. 354 (available here).

It happens that the fragmentary Greek evidence for this work of Philo includes part of this text. The Chrysippus fragment cited above is given in SVF in Aucher’s LT. The Greek fragment, of course, would be closer to Chrysippus’ own language. The fragment appears in J. Rendell Harris, Fragments of Philo Judaeus, p. 36 (available here), alongside Aucher’s slightly modified LT.

Fruitful observations would, no doubt, result from a close comparison and dual reading of the Greek and the Armenian version — NB e.g. the Armenian doublet զհմուտն եւ զտեղեակն for τὸν ἐπιστήμονα at the end — yet nothing so involved is given here, only a basic initial meeting with the two texts. So here is the Greek fragment (but nothing for the first sentence), the Armenian text (Aucher, pp. 304-305), and Marcus’s ET, with vocabulary and notes for the Armenian. For comparison and completeness Aucher’s LT follows at the end.

Եւ երկրորդ՝ օրէնս դնէ բնաւորականագոյն. զոր ոմանք յայնցանէ որ միանգամ իմաստասիրականքն եղեն՝ վտարեցին. And, in the second place, (Scripture) lays down a most natural law, which some of those who philosophize have rejected.
  • երկրորդ, -աց second(ly)
  • օրէն, օրինի law, rule, regulation, custom (later in pl.)
  • դնէ pres 3sg դնեմ, եդի to lay, put, establish
  • բնաւորականագոյն natural (Nor baṙgirk’ 498b)
  • ոմն indef. adj./pron.
  • յ-այնցանէ abl. pl. short form of այն that
  • որ միանգամ whoever
  • իմաստասիրական philosophical
  • եղեն aor 3pl եղանիմ to become
  • վտարեցին aor 3pl վտարեմ, -եցի to remove, expel, banish
Τῶν μὲν ἀφρόνων βασιλεὺς οὐδείς, καὶ ἂν τὸ πάσης γῆς καὶ θαλάσσης ἀνάψηται κράτος· μόνος δὲ ὁ ἀστεῖος καὶ θεοφίλης, καὶ ἂν τῶν παρασκευῶν καὶ τῶν χορηγιῶν ἀμοιρῇ, δι᾽ ὧν πολλοὶ κρατύνονται δυναστείας. եւ օրէնքն են, զի յանզգամացն թագաւոր ոչ ոք, թէպէտ զամենայն երկրի եւ զծովու զօրութիւն առցէ. բայց միայն իմաստունն եւ ա՟ծասէրն. եւ եթէ կազմածոցն եւ պատրաստութե՟ցն մասն իցէ, ի ձեռն որոց բազումք զօրանան բռնութեամբ զօրութեամբք։ This law is that no one of the foolish (is) a king, even though he should be master of all the land and sea, but only the wise and God-loving man, even if he is without the equipment and resources through which many obtain power with violence and force.
  • են pres 3pl եմ to be
  • անզգան, -աց knavish, wicked; foolish, mad
  • ոչ ոք no one, nobody
  • թէպէտ even if, although
  • զօրութիւն power, force
  • առցէ aor subj 3sg առնում, առի to take, occupy, carry off
  • միայն only, alone
  • իմաստուն, -տնոց wise, intelligent, prudent, skillful
  • աստուածասէր god-loving, pious
  • կազմած, -ոց apparatus, preparation, equipment
  • պատրաստութիւն preparation, disposition, attention
  • մասն, -սին, -սանց part, portion, share, lot (this and the following word for Greek ἀμοιρῇ)
  • իցէ pres subj 3sg եմ to be
  • ձեռն hand, power, strength, etc. ի ձեռն by, by means of, through
  • զօրանան pres 3pl զօրանամ to grow stronger, reign
  • բռնութիւն violence, tyranny
Ὥσπερ γὰρ τῷ κυβερνητικῆς ἢ ἰατρικῆς ἢ μουσικῆς ἀπείρῳ παρέλκον πρᾶγμα οἴακες καὶ φαρμάκων σύνθεσις καὶ αὐλοὶ καὶ κιθάραι, διότι μηδενὶ τούτων δύναται χρῆσθαι πρὸς ὃ πέφυκε, κυβερνήτῃ δὲ καὶ ἰατρῷ καὶ μουσικῷ λέγοιτο ἂν ἐφαρμόζειν δεόντως· Եւ քանզի որպէս նաւաստականին, կամ բժըշկականին, կամ երաժշտականին անփորձի՝ տարացոյց իրք են, քեղիք, եւ դեղոց եւ սպեղանեաց խառնուածք, եւ փողք, եւ քնարք. վասն զի ոչինչ յայսցանէ ի կիր առնուլ կարէ՝ առ որ բնաւորեցաւն. բայց նաւաստոյն եւ բժշկի եւ երաժշտականի ասասցի յարմարել եւ պատկանել։ For whereas the man ignorant of the art of the pilot or of the physician or of the musician has trouble with the rudders or with the compounding of drugs and ointments or with flutes and lyres, since he is unable to use any of them for its natural purpose, to the pilot, on the other hand, and the physician and the musician they may be said to be fitting and suitable.
  • նաւաստական, -աց sailor (Nor baṙgirk’ 408b)
  • բժըշկական medical
  • երաժշտական musical; musician
  • անփորձ, -ից inexperienced, untried
  • տարացոյց example, model, idea, design, paradigm (Nor baṙgirk’ 855c)
  • իր, -ի, -աց thing, affair
  • քեղի, -ղւոյ, -ղեաց rudder
  • դեղ, -ոց/-ից remedy, medicine
  • սպեղանի poultice, salve, ointment
  • խառնուած, -ոց mixture, compounding
  • փող, -ոց trumpet, horn, reed, pipe
  • քնար, -աց/-ից lyre, harp (cf. Syr. kennārā, Geo. ქნარი)
  • ի կիր առնուլ to put to use
  • կարէ pres 3sg կարեմ, -րացի to be able
  • բնաւոր natural, innate
  • նաւաստ, -տւոյ, տեաց sailor
  • բժիշկ, բժշկի, բժշկաց physician
  • ասասցի aor subj m/p 3sg ասեմ to say
  • յարմարել inf յարնարեմ, -եցի to adapt, accommodate, arrange
  • պատկանել inf պատկանեմ to adapt, adjust, suit, apply
οὕτως, ἐπειδὴ τἐχνη τίς ἐστι βασιλικὴ καὶ τἐχνων ἀρίστη, τὸν μὲν ἀνεπιστήμονα χρήσεως ἀνθρώπων ἰδιώτην νομιστέον, βασιλέα δὲ μόνον τὸν ἐπιστήμονα. Յիրաւի այսպէս. վասն [305] զի արուեստ իմն է թագաւորականն, եւ արուեստից առաքինին. քանզի այն որ անգէտն է եւ անտեղեակ պիտոյից մարդկան, տգէտ համարելի է, եւ գեղջուկ. բայց թագաւոր՝ միայն զհմուտն եւ զտեղեակն։ And this is proper, since there is a certain kingly art, and it is the most noble of the arts. For he who is ignorant and unversed in the needs of men must be considered a layman, while only he (can be considered) a king who is knowing and experienced.
  • յիրաւի justly, deservedly, in truth
  • արուեստ, -ից art, trade, study
  • թագաւորական royal
  • առաքինի, -նւոյ, -նեաց virtuous, honest (also valiant, courageous)
  • անգէտ ignorant, unlearned, stupid
  • անտեղեակ ignorant, unlearned, unskillful
  • պէտք, պիտոյից needs, necessity, use, business
  • մարդիկ, մարդկան people, the human race
  • տգէտ ignorant, unlearned, untaught, illiterate
  • համարելի counted, considered (< համարեմ, -եցի to count, consider, reckon, esteem; on the adjectival form derived from the infinitive, see Meillet, Altarm. Elementarbuch, § 105e)
  • գեղջուկ, -ջկի, -ջկաց peasant, villager, rustic
  • միայն, -ոյ, -ով only, sole
  • հմուտ well-versed, learned, experienced, skillful
  • տեղեակ well informed, skilled, expert

Aucher’s LT of the Armenian:

Secundo vero legem statuit nimis naturalem, quam nonnulli philosophorum sibi conciliarunt. Lex autem est, ut ex insipientibus nullus sit rex, quamvis terrae et maris totam vim subiugarit, sed solus sapiens et dei amans, praeter partes apparatuum armorumque, quibus multi proficiunt per vim violentam. Etenim sicut nauticae vel medicinae vel musicae si quis imperitus sit, pro argumento sunt ei clavus et medicaminum commixtura et tibia et lyra (nullum enim istorum usurpare potest ad usum destinatum, at nauarcho et medico ac musico dicatur omnino convenire) ita profecto, siquidem ars est quaedam regium hoc munus et artifex homo virtute praeditus. Nam qui imperitus est et nescius rerum homines iuvantium, rudis atque rusticus est censendus, rex autem dicendus solus peritus gnarusque.

More bibliography

On Philo in Armenian generally, see R.W. Thomson, Bibliography of Classical Armenian Literature to 1500 AD, pp. 75-76; and “Supplement to A Bibliography of Classical Armenian Literature to AD 1500: Publications 1993–2005″, Le Muséon, 120 (2007), 163–223, here, p. 177. More recently, several important studies appeared in:

Lombardi, Sara Mancini and Paola Pontani, eds. 2011. Studies on the Ancient Armenian Version of Philo’s Works, Studies in Philo of Alexandria 6. Leiden: Brill.

Earlier work by Marcus remains important. These are available at Bedrosian’s site mentioned above.

Marcus, Ralph. 1930. “The Armenian Translation of Philo’s Quaestiones in Genesim et Exodum.Journal of Biblical Literature 49: 61-64.

Marcus, Ralph. 1933. “An Armenian-Greek Index to Philo’s Quaestiones and De Vita Contemplativa.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 53: 251-282.

Marcus, Ralph. 1948. “Notes on the Armenian Text of Philo’s Quaestiones in Genesin, Books I-III.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 7: 111-115.

One response to “The wise king: A passage from Philo’s Questions on Genesis (4.76) in Armenian

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