[OPE-L:7781] Re: Re: Re: "Hic Rhodus, hic salta!"

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Wed Oct 09 2002 - 13:27:55 EDT

Allin, thanks for your interesting and informative post.  (By the way,
excuse my ignorance, but who is Henry Hardy, and where is this passage

Hardy suggests that Hegel and Marx "were evidently intent on turning it
[the proverb] to other purposes," although he is not clear on what their
other purposes were, and whether their purposes were the same or different
from each other.  So Marx's intended meaning may remain unclear.

In the 18th Brumaire, which Hardy also mentions, Marx's use of the proverb
seems to be the original meaning - demonstrate what you can do here and
now.  So maybe this suggests that Marx's meaning in Chapter 5 was also the
original meaning.  But Chapter 5 was written 20 years later, so maybe not. 

Thanks again.


On Mon, 7 Oct 2002, Allin Cottrell wrote:

> Henry Hardy has a nice (and seemingly authoritative, but what do I
> know?) discussion of this:
> Hic Rhodus, hic salta.
> "The origin of this odd saying, whose currency is largely due to Hegel
> and Marx, takes a little explaining. Its original form is 'Hic Rhodus,
> hic saltus' ('Rhodes is here, here is the place for your jump'), a
> traditional Latin translation [see, e.g., Erasmus, Adagia 3. 3. 28] of
> a punchline from Aesop. In the fable 'The Braggart' an athlete boasts
> that he once performed a stupendous jump in Rhodes, and can produce
> witnesses: the punchline is the comment of a bystander, who means that
> there is no need of witnesses, since the athlete can demonstrate the
> jump here and now.
> "The epigram is given by Hegel, rather out of the blue, first in
> Greek, then in Latin (in the form 'Hic Rhodus, hic saltus'), in the
> Preface to his Philosophy of Right. [Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel,
> Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts [Sa"mtliche Werke, ed. Hermann
> Glockner, vol.  7] (Stuttgart, 1928), p. 35.] He does not explain what
> the proverb meant in its original context (without which it can hardly
> be understood);  indeed a comment he makes about jumping over Rhodes
> suggests that he may not have fully understood it himself. At any
> rate, he then offers an adapted German version with a different
> meaning, 'Hier ist die Rose, hier tanze' ('Here is the rose, dance
> here', an allusion to the rose in the cross of rosicrucianism,
> implying that fulfilment should not be postponed to some Utopian
> future), punning first on the Greek (Rhodos = Rhodes, rhodon = rose),
> then on the Latin (saltus = jump [noun], salta = dance [imperative]).
> Marx adopts the saying in the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
> [Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Werke (Berlin, 1956-83), vol. 8, p.
> 118.], where he first gives the Latin, in the form 'Hic Rhodus, hic
> salta!', a garbled mixture of Hegel's two versions, and then
> immediately adds 'Hier ist die Rose, hier tanze!', as if it were a
> translation, which it cannot be, since Greek Rhodos (despite what all
> the standard commentators say to the contrary), let alone Latin
> Rhodus, does not mean 'rose'.
> "The confusion, both deliberate and inadvertent, does no credit to
> either Hegel or Marx as classical scholars, and the epigram loses much
> of its original power - as well as its original meaning - in their
> hands.  They were evidently intent on turning it to other purposes,
> but it seems doubtful whether their attempts to improve on Aesop have
> been of much use to their readers."
> Allin Cottrell.

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