English to Greek Translator
Learning Greek Language
Quotes About Greek
Type Greek Alphabet
"It seems to be impossible to live in constant communion with the first minds of antiquity and not imbibe something of the spirit of moderation, of self-control, of cautious wisdom, that breathes through their counsels" (Gildersleeve, 22).
"Perhaps the greatest legacy of the Greeks was their belief in the goodness of what they were and what they had to give the the rest of the world" (Simmons, 61).
""Letters are the beginning of wisdom." So one Greek maxim had it, with "letters" standing for knowledge of language, the ability to convey the complexity and subtlety of thought and sense with words. The Hellenistic age strengthened the consensus that mastery of language defined the highest reaches of cultivation. As Marrou has reminded us, when we speak of "classical education" today, we really mean "Hellenistic education." For it was during the Hellenistic age, roughly from the death of Alexander in 322 to the first century BC, that curricula throughout the Mediterranean congealed. The Word was in the ascendant. The cultivated man was, in a real sense, the literary man, the man of words. It was during this period too that the "conscious ideal of human perfection" made itself felt more widely as a culturally shaped force. One was moved, Marrou wrote, to recreate one's self from unmolded clay and "to produce from the childish material ... the man who is fully man, whose ideal proportions one can just perceive: such [became] every man's lifework, the one task worthy of a lifetime's devotion"" (Simmons, 63).
"Ancient Greek, though destined for hibernationn as the language of deep learning in the West from the end of the Roman period to the fifteenth century, had claimed the crown long before as the queen of philosophical and literary languages. The koine, or common, dialect was spoken by much of the Roman world, including many in early Christian settlements dotting the Mediterranean. The Gospels were penned for that world in Greek, as were the Epistles of St. Paul" (Simmons, 83).
"If anyone wishes to understand grammar, rhetoric, mathematics, history, or Holy Scripture, let him learn Greek. We owe everything to the Greeks" (Alexander Hegius, 15th century head of the College of Deventer).
"Within the two literatures of Greece and Rome are contained all the knowledge that we recognize as vital to mankind" (Desiderius Erasmus, late 15th century)."
"You live a new life for every new language you speak. If you know only one language, you live only once." (Czech proverb)
I have found the above quote very true. I have studied many languages. It is a hobby. And with every language comes different viewpoints and ideas. (Colby)
"The limits of my language are the limits of my universe." (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
"Today when few can read the ancient languages, we neglect the surviving texts, that even now could astonish and instruct" (Why Study Classics article by Karl Maurer).
"In learning a language, the chief difficulty consists in making acquaintance with every idea which it expresses, even though it should use words for which there in no exact equivalent in the mother tongue; and this often happens. In learning a new language a man has, as it were, to mark out in his mind the boundaries of quite new spheres of ideas, with the result that spheres of ideas arise where none were before. Thus he not only learns words, he gets ideas too.
"This is nowhere so much the case as in learning ancient languages, for the differences they present in their mode of expression as compared with modern languages is greater than can be found amongst modern languages as compared with one another. This is shown by the fact that in translating into Latin, recourse must be had to quite other turns of phrase than are used in the original. The thought that is to be translated has to be melted down and recast; in other words, it must be analyzed and then recomposed. It is just this process which makes the study of the ancient languages contribute so much to the education of the mind.
"It follows from this that a man's thought varies according to the language in which he speaks. His ideas undergo a fresh modification, a different shading, as it were, in the study of every new language. Hence an acquaintance with many languages is not only of much indirect advantage, but it is also a direct means of mental culture, in that it corrects and matures ideas by giving prominence to their many-sided nature and their different varieties of meaning, as also that it increases dexterity of thought; for in the process of learning many languages, ideas become more and more independent of words. The ancient languages effect this to a greater degree than the modern, in virtue of the difference to which I have alluded" (from Arthur Schopenhauer, "On the Study of Latin" at http://www.udallasclassics.org/whyClassics.html#a).
"I have gone back to Greek literature with a passion quite astonishing to myself. I have never felt anything like it. I was enraptured with Italian during the six months which I gave up to it; and I was little less pleased with Spanish. But, when I went back to the Greek, I felt as if I had never known before what intellectual enjoyment was. Oh that wonderful people! There is not one art, not one science, about which we may not use the same expression which Lucretius has employed about the victory over superstition, "Primum Graius homo--." (from Thomas Babington Macaulay, "On the Greeks, especially Thucydides" at http://www.udallasclassics.org/whyClassics.html#b).
"Even as mere languages, no modern European language is so valuable a discipline to the intellect as those of Greece and Rome, on account of their regular and complicated structure. Consider for a moment what grammar is. It is the most elementary part of logic. It is the beginning of the analysis of the thinking process...
"But the superiority of the literature itself, for purposes of education, is still more marked and decisive. Even in the substantial value of the matter of which it is the vehicle, it is very far from having been superseded... the treasure which they accumulated of what may be called the wisdom of life: the rich store of experience of human nature and conduct, which the acute and observing minds of those ages, aided in their observations by the greater simplicity of manners and life, consigned to their writings, and most of which retains all its value The speeches in Thucydides: the Rhetoric, Ethics, and Politics of Aristotle, the Dialogues of Plato: the Orations of Demosthenes: the Satires, and especially the Epistles of Horace, all the wntings of Tacitus: the great work of Quintilian, a repertory of the best thoughts of the ancient world on all subjects connected with education: and, in a less formal manner, all that is left to us of the ancient historians, orators, philosophers, and even dramatists, are replete with remarks and maxims of singular good sense and penetration, applicable both to political and to private life. and the actual truths we find in them are even surpassed in value by the encouragement and help they give us in the pursuit of truth" (from James Stuart Mill, "On the Study of Classics" at http://www.udallasclassics.org/whyClassics.html#c).
"Practically every era of Western civilization has at one time or another tried to liberate itself from the Greeks, in deep dissatisfaction because whatever they themselves achieved, seemingly quite original and sincerely admired, lost color and life when held against the Greek model and shrank to a botched copy, a caricature" (from Friedrich Nietzsche, "On the Greeks." at http://www.udallasclassics.org/whyClassics.html#e).
"ON THE NEED TO READ A WRITER IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE. The acquisition of Greek was of course fundamental for my later work, not only so far as my knowledge of Greek philosophy was concerned, but: for understanding fundamentally that one cannot deal with materials unless one can read them.
"That sounds trivial, but as I later found out, it is a truth not only neglected but hotly contested by a good number of persons who are employed by our colleges and who, with the greatest of ease, talk about Plato and Aristotle, or Thomas and Augustine, or Dante and Cervantes, or Rabelais or Goethe, without being able to read a line of the authors on whom they pontificate. (From Collected Works, vol. 34 p. 39) (from Eric Voegelin, "On the Classics." Found at http://www.udallasclassics.org/whyClassics.html#l)
"The best thing would be to get rid of the MCATs, once and for all, and rely instead, wholly, on the judgment of the college faculties.
"You could do this if there were some central, core discipline, universal within the curricula of all the colleges, which could be used for evaluating the free range of a student's mind, his tenacity and resolve, his innate capacity for the understanding of human beings, and his affection for the human condition. For this purpose, I propose that classical Greek be restored as the centerpiece of undergraduate education. The loss of Homeric and Attic Greek from American college life was one of this century's disasters. Putting it back where it once was would quickly make up for the dispiriting impact which generations of spotty Greek in translation have inflicted on modern thought. The capacity to read Homer's language closely enough to sense the terrifying poetry in some of the lines could serve as a shrewd test for the qualities of mind and character needed in a physician...
"If everyone had to master Greek, the college students aspiring to medical school would be placed on the same footing as everyone else, and their identifiability as a separate group would be blurred, to everyone's advantage...
"Latin should be put back as well, but not if it is handled, as it ought to be, by the secondary schools. If Horace has been absorbed prior to college, so much for Latin. But Greek is a proper discipline for the college mind" (from Lewis Thomas, "How to Fix the Premedical Curriculum (with classical Greek)" found at http://www.udallasclassics.org/whyClassics.html#m -- Lewis Thomas (1913-1993) was a physician, poet, etymologist, essayist, administrator, educator, policy advisor, and researcher. He was born in Flushing, New York and attended Princeton University and Harvard Medical School. He became Dean of Yale Medical School and New York University School of Medicine, and President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute.)
“Until the twentieth century, anyone in England who had any kind of education at all had an education in the classics,” [Jasper] said. “Until the university reforms of the eighteen-seventies, all education at Oxford and Cambridge was in that tradition. And, yes, it is true that a lot of English literature is influenced by the classics. Dr. Johnson wrote poems in Latin. Marlowe translated big chunks of the Aeneid, and his ‘Dido, Queen of Carthage’ contains bits out of its fourth book. Milton wrote a lot of poems in Latin, and the whole style of ‘Paradise Lost’ is really unintelligible unless one knows Latin and is familiar with Latin epics. Dryden and Pope were the greatest of translators from the Latin and Greek. Pope made his name and fortune translating Homer, and his best poems are explicit imitations of classical poets. He wrote these marvellous poems called ‘Imitations of Horace.’ People like Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley were all very keen on Greek. Keats was perhaps an exception. He wasn’t a gent—he was mostly self-educated—but he picked up as much Greek as he could. In fact, it may have meant more to him because he learned it himself. Tennyson was tremendously keen on Virgil and wrote a very fine poem on him. Arthur Hugh Clough wrote English poems in hexameters. Matthew Arnold was a considerable scholar of the classics, and Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote poems in Latin, which you have no doubt seen in the back of the collected poems. Eliot knew the classics pretty well, too. He was very much interested in Heraclitus and Virgil. There’s not much Greek and Latin in his poems, though—there’s more French. Louis MacNeice read Greats at Merton. The truth is that if you want to study English literature at all, even that of the twentieth century, you have to know some of the classics...
"...a good classical education will produce a mind that is capable of stretching itself. A less rigorous education will produce a less elastic mind...
"Studying that world [Greece and Rome] is bound to be educational, because most people are imprisoned in the tyranny of the present; they imagine that things must always have been the way they are now" (From Jasper Griffin, "On a Classical Education." Found at http://www.udallasclassics.org/whyClassics.html#n --- Jasper Griffin is an Oxford classicist, educated at Christ's Hospital and Balliol College, Oxford [founded by one of my ancestors-Colby] and the author of (among other things) a splendid book called Homer on Life and Death).
"You asked me what is the good of reading the Gospels in Greek.
(from Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) found at http://www.udallasclassics.org/whyClassics.html).
"But I have never gone away from them. How can an educated person stay away from the Greeks? I have always been far more interested in them than in science." —Albert Einstein
"All the more strange, then, is it that we should wish to know Greek, try to know Greek, feel for ever drawn back to Greek, and be forever making up some notion of the meaning of Greek, though from what incongruous odds and ends, with what slight resemblance to the real meaning of Greek, who shall say?" — Virginia Woolf
"I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honor, and Greek as a Treat." — Sir Winston Churchill
"I continue to keep myself busy with Greek and Latin, and perhaps I'll always keep myself busy with them. I love the perfume of those beautiful languages; Tacitus is for me like bronze bas-reliefs, and Homer is beautiful like the Mediterranean: both have the same pure blue waves, the same sun, and the same horizon." — Gustave Flaubert
"We are all Greeks! Our laws, our literature, our art, have their roots in Greece." — Percy Bysshe Shelley
"To read the Latin and Greek authors in their original is a sublime luxury...I thank on my knees him who directed my early education for having in my possession this rich source of delight." —Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Joseph Priestly January 27, 1800.
"I think myself more indebted to my father for this than for all the other luxuries his cares and affections placed within my reach." — Thomas Jefferson, on his classical education.
"The Romans were a notoriously practical culture. In comparison the Greeks were highly inquisitive of the world about them almost to the point of being interested in the mathematical method of this or that problem rather than its actual result. Great deals of knowledge were also amassed in Egypt which with its thousands of years of investigation had gathered a considerable body of knowledge in a number of scientific areas, including the heavens. The greatest library of the age was at the famous city of Alexandria in Egypt (see image) (from Maria Milani, at http://www.mariamilani.com/ancient_rome/ancient_roman_libraries.htm).
"To love Homer, as Steele said about loving a fair lady of quality, "is a liberal education."" (Andrew Lang, quoted in Pharr).
Gildersleeve, Basil Lanneau. Essays and Studies. Baltimore: N. Murray, 1890.
Marrou, H. I. The History of Education in Antiquity. Translated by George Lamb. NY: Sheed and Ward, 1956.
Pharr, Clyde. Homeric Greek. Boston: D.C. Heath, 1920.
Simmons, Tracy Lee. Climbing Parnassus: A New Apologia for Greek and Latin. Wilmington, Delaware, ISI Books, 2012.
Online Greek Lexicon Univ. of Chicago... consolidating the dictionary databases of Perseus into an easily-searchable dictionary program that includes the big LSJ Greek Lexicon, the full Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary, and (important for medievalists) DuCange
LexiLogos ancient Greek dictionary
Textkit. Free Latin and Greek textbooks and dictionaries for the autodidact. Read them online or download them.
Loeb Classical Library all the classics in English and Latin/Greek on facing pages.
Advice for Learning Foreign-Language Vocabulary This is for learning Latin, but it has a lot of great tips.
Aristarchus.it a set of working tools for research and teaching in the subject area of Greek and Latin ancient world. Available in English
Attic Greek by Mastronarde. Many free online guides and tutorials. Pronunciation audios.
Vis-Ed Review These are vocabulary study cards for French, German, Spanish (generally, choose the bilingual Spanish-English edition rather than the classical Spanish edition), Greek (both classical and biblical), Hebrew (biblical), Italian, Latin, and Russian. Each, very inexpensive set includes about 1,000 flash cards (1 1/2"x 3 1/2" each) and a study guide containing simple instructions and a mini-dictionary, all packaged in a sturdy box. Extra helps, such as the principal parts of irregular verbs, are shown on the cards. Many words (in the Spanish set reviewed) have related forms that appear as nouns, verbs, and adjectives, so all are shown on the cards. For instance, the noun "el calor" (heat) has an adjectival form—"caluroso/a" which is also on the card. The foreign language is printed in black on one side, and the English equivalent is printed on the reverse in green. Use these cards to review and expand vocabulary for any of the above languages.
Plato’s Symposium Greek and Latin Texts with Facing Vocabulary and Commentary
5 lines per day habit — you need routine
If you wish to become a life-long reader of Latin or Greek outside of the university environment:
* Set up a very easy-to-reach goal that you can meet daily, e.g. 5 lines of Greek/Latin per day.
Even if you are a student with regular assignments, follow this regimen on holidays and breaks. You can always read more than five lines, but maintain the five lines of prose or poetry as a minimum goal for each day. The minimum goal is intended to encourage you to maintain the habit even on those days when you are exhausted or overly busy. If the goal is too high, you are likely to skip a day and break the habit. It is the development of the habit–not the quantity of lines–that matters. Once you develop a daily routine, the number of lines that you read will increase accordingly.
Celebrate your successes daily — you need positive reinforcement
Find some way to celebrate your daily progress and make it known to others:
*Announce to family and friends that you are reading a particular Greek or Latin work.
To develop a habit, you need not only routine but also positive reinforcement. In a school environment, this reinforcement comes readily in the form of feedback from teachers, regular quizzes and exams, and eventually your degree. Outside of school, however, you have to be proactive and create your own opportunities for positive reinforcement.
First, announce to everyone that you are in fact reading a particular Greek or Latin work. You can do this verbally, but it is also good to note your goal online: for example, on Facebook. If the people you encounter daily are aware of what you are doing, they will more likely ask about your progress and give you that extra encouragement that you need.
Second, write out your translation. As you meet your daily reading goal, you need something physical to show how much progress you have made. Fitness bands and apps are popular among athletes for the same reason. These bands monitor an athlete’s daily progress and provide a physical reminder of just how many steps, repetitions, miles, etc. one has completed. We need similar reminders as we read Latin and Greek. That internal ‘wow’ that you express to yourself as you look over your written translation may be all the reinforcement that you need to sustain your habit.
Third, set intermediate goals every week or every two weeks and reward yourself when you meet those goals. If, for example, you are reading at a rate of 10 lines per day (again, keep the minimum at 5-per-day), reward yourself after every 100 lines. Splurge on coffee. Treat yourself to a movie. In short, give yourself something to look forward to as you strive to meet each intermediate goal. Again, the aim is positive reinforcement.
Finally, when you meet your overall goal, celebrate and create a trophy to remind yourself of your accomplishment. Do not separate your inner life of the mind from your social life. Tell everybody about your achievement and take a victory lap. If you want Latin and Greek to be part of who you are, make your reading known to others. Moreover, treat yourself to something truly special, perhaps a night at your favorite restaurant, and make sure that everyone knows why you are celebrating. The anticipation alone will keep you motivated as you work towards your goal.
Don’t these books spoon-feed students Latin and Greek in the classroom?
I take this criticism very seriously. Since traditional methods and commentaries have played a large part in my own intellectual, aesthetic, and moral development, it is reasonable that I would want the next generation of readers to follow in my footsteps and cultivate strong work habits. We forget, however, how much time is wasted in page-flipping and unnecessary dictionary work and fail to imagine how that wasted time could otherwise be spent.
Latin and Greek teachers are able to uphold higher standards and demand more challenging assessments of students from these new commentaries than from traditional ones. These new books allow instructors to isolate high frequency vocabulary, morphology and grammar from the reading and ask that students use the time saved from dictionary work to review and learn the material for a quiz at the beginning of class, for example. Instead of having students flounder–often painfully–to decipher 2nd aorist or perfect stems, teachers can can give students a list of principal parts or a verb synopsis to memorize in the same period of time. Alternatively, they can ask that students use the accumulated time saved from dictionary work to write essays, read secondary literature, or (dare I say it?) read more Greek and Latin.
Educational psychology has shown–and Latin and Greek teachers know from experience–that direct instruction in vocabulary, principal parts, and morphology is more efficient and preferable to the indirect methods of learning vocabulary and forms that are currently employed in intermediate and advanced-level Latin and Greek classrooms. Asking students to use traditional methods and look up word after word which will occur only once or twice in the entire course is both inefficient and irresponsible.
Faenum Publ. classical texts & commentaries
Greek Prose Composition memrise course
Lukeion Project Great video on Latin--60% of our vocabulary in English. Also Greek. Gives student a large vocabulary and the ability to think more logically.
Why take Latin or Ancient Greek?Learning Latin or Greek is well worth the effort. Studies conducted by the Educational Testing Service show that Latin students consistently outperform all other students on the verbal portion of the SAT based on data from the past decade. Latin learners even outperform other language students by a fairly large margin. Classics majors tend to have a higher GPA at the college level and have accelerated performance in nearly all other subjects such as math, music and history. This makes them appealing as first choices for law and medical schools. While there are advantages to taking any language, Classical languages pay the highest dividends.
Ancient Greek Key Words memrise course--began 7/8/15
Ancient Greek Basic Vocabulary memrise course; words chosen by frequency
Koine Greek memrise course
Ancient Greek OCR Word List memrise course
Ancient Greek Fundamentals memrise course - A reference grammar for the Ancient Greek language, including paradigm verbs, irregular verbs, pronouns, cardinal and ordinal numbers, and noun declension separated by: masculines, feminine, and neuter; and by stem. Derived from the "Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek."
Odyssey Vocabulary memrise course - Some of the tougher vocab from the Odyssey - all books now covered.
Athenaze Bk.1 memrise course
Athenaze Bk.2 memrise course
50 Ancient Greek Phrases memrise course - The following course is based off of the list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Greek_phrases. Each level has seven items in it. I think that this is a little much, but that's how it is because the course creation tools are mind numbingly moronic.
Ancient Greek Grammar memrise course
Active of the Greek Verb λυω memrise course - Active indicative forms of the regular verb λυω in the present, future, imperfect and aorist.
Greek: An Intensive Course memrise course
Euripides Vocabulary memrise course - Some common words found in Greek Tragedy
Intermediate Ancient Greek memrise course - A vocabulary list compiled from the harder words in the Basic Ancient Greek Vocabulary book.
Greek Prose Vocabulary memrise course - Vocabulary list for A2 Greek Prose Composition.
Mastronarde's Intro. to Attic Greek memrise course
Latin and Greek Roots memrise course
Active of φιλεω memrise course
Odyssey Vocabulary memrise course - Vocabulary for Homer's Odyssey 21: 288-423
Gen. Attic Greek memrise course - vocabulary
Croy Vocabulary memrise course
3rd Declension memrise course
Ancient Greek First Vocabulary memrise course
Homeric Vocabularies memrise course - Vocabularies as presented by Owen and Goodspeed with a few additions
Reading Greek memrise course - Reading Greek vocabulary and principal parts. Levels ask you to type English and Greek. I recommend using a Greek keyboard (found in Windows' settings). Breathings are included, but I have left out accents. (Smooth breathing: press apostrophe ('), then the vowel. Rough breathing: press shift + apostrophe, then the vowel.) Declension and gender are found in brackets as part of the English meaning, but are optional.
Ancient Greek Infinitives memrise course - Ancient Greek infinitives. When typing in, writing (aor)/(pres) is not necessary for correct answer recognition. The brackets are there to distinguish between the aorist and present, as both aorist and present are translated as present, with the difference being aspect. The present indicates that the action is continuous, e.g. "he intended to live in glory", while the aorist conveys a sense of definiteness, e.g. "that man wants to kill you".
A Small Guide to Greek memrise course
From BartGr. at Learning Ancient Greek group in Library Thing:
Reading Greek is of course both the goal of studying ancient Greek and the most important tool for the intermediate student -I mean, by reading a lot you get better at it-, but lately I'm thinking that having some active command of the language might help too. There is perhaps no better way for gaining insight in grammar and syntax than actually using the language (writing, even speaking). So I'm planning to work through North & Hillard's Greek Prose Composition. If anyone is up for joining me, please do! We could compare translations, discuss alternatives and keep eachother motivated.
I have the actual book and answer key, but the text is freely available here: http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/51/author_id/11/ Also, all the vocabulary of the book has been integrated into a memrise course : http://www.memrise.com/course/17735/greek-prose-composition-north-and-hillard-2/
Another from BartGr.:
After having done most of my readings in Attic, I'm brushing up on epic Greek by going at a high pace through a Reading Course in Homeric Greek. I have to say, if I had to start again learning ancient Greek from scratch, I would prefer this textbook quite a bit to Mastronarde's Introduction to Attic Greek.
On Textkit I found this excellent resource, an Attic paraphrase of the Iliad by Theodorus Gaza, a Byzanthine scolar writing around 1400: http://books.google.be/books?id=vSY-AAAAcAAJ&redir_esc=y or http://www.lulu.com/shop/homer-and-theodorus-gaza/iliad-with-paraphrase-of-theod... Very nice if you want to make the jump from Attic to Epic or vice versa
Another from BartGr.:
At the moment I'm reading only Homer. I started the Iliad tree months ago and am now in the middle of book VI. I plan to read the entire Iliad from beginning to to end. Homer really isn't that difficult Greek once you get the hang of it. The syntax is actually pretty light, compared to some Attic prose I read. The main difficulty lies in the massive vocabulary and the sometimes overwhelming multitude of forms (5 ways to say 'to be'' for instance).
Anyone else reading/ studying Greek?
Aoidoi "Aoidoi" is classical Greek for "bards," like Homer, or just "poets." This site is dedicated to the study of ancient Greek poetry from the Epics to Anacreontics. Most of the work is directed at producing versions of Greek poems with vocabulary, grammar and dialect notes for beginners.
Scholia This is a collection of prose texts in various historical languages which I have marked up with notes on grammar, vocabulary (lots of vocabulary), text criticism and history. The model is similar to the poetry texts at Aoidoi.org. The main difference is that the prose texts here may be in a less complete stage of commenting. It is hoped others will find them useful, but they are probably less useful for beginners than for intermediate and advanced readers.
Enchiridion of Epictetus with scholiae
Epicurus: Principal Doctrines with scholiae et voc.
Greek Grammar in Greek grammar voc.
: Paula Safire, Ancient Greek Alive (wonderfully entertaining stories)
Frank Beetham, Reading Greek with Plato (he's the only guy who admits how hard Greek is. He spoon feeds you, but Plato, like cheesecake, tastes good when eaten with a spoon. He has an answer key.)
Schoder/Horrigan, A Reading Course in Homeric Greek (more complete and systematic than Pharr or Beetham. First half has good made up exercises, then you read real, heavily annotated Homer)
Christophe Rico, Polis (best Greek audio ever. He teaches you to speak Greek.)
Learning Greek on Your Own So my first piece of advice is this: Make sure you want to learn ancient Greek. If you don't, you won't. So go ahead and buy a book if you want to, you might pick up a little bit and satisfy linguistic curiosity--it certainly won't hurt you. But unless you have a reason for studying Greek, that book probably won't get a lot of use. One way of motivating yourself? Read good translations of Greek literature. They will let you know what you're working toward. Trust me, if you love Euripides (or Plato, or Homer, or the Church Fathers, or whomever) in English, you'll go simply crazy for him in Greek where he's so much better. And he really is that good. Most of them are that good.
Introduction to Attic Greek Paperback – March 19, 1993, by Donald J. Mastronarde -- This is a no-holds-barred approach to ancient Greek, written by a professor who got tired of seeing students coming to graduate school with huge gaps in their basic knowledge. You can guess what happened. He wrote a book that filled those gaps. The result is something a bit daunting and very grammar oriented, but of the highest quality. If you are a mature, motivated student, I cannot see going wrong here. On the other hand, I wouldn't recommend it if it didn't have an answer key. Bonus: web-based tutorials and exercises. (This book is also particularly attractive for those with experience in other languages or a background in linguistics.) Ancient Greek Tutorials, by Donald J. Mastronarde
Reading Greek: Text (Joint Association of Classical Teachers Greek Course) (Pt. 1) (English and Greek Edition) Paperback – December 29, 1978, by Joint Association of Classical Teachers -- The above is a great way to jump right into Greek and focus on reading without having the grammar behind it all remain a mystery. It is one of a set of books, however, and it must be purchased alongside its companion volume Reading Greek : Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises. Once again this would be hard to recommend without a tool that makes it all even more worthwhile for self-learners, namely An Independent Study Guide to Reading Greek. Another advantage to this volume is that there are several readers in the series designed for those who have finished these beginning books. Generally speaking I would call this series more "user friendly" than Mastronarde's book, but this most definitely isn't "Greek for Dummies" or watered down.
Suggestion #3: Fact: Classicists are suckers for those who like antiquity. Use this to your advantage. We certainly don't become professional teachers of Greek and Latin because the pay is great. If you have a college or university nearby, you might try contacting someone in the Classics Department (it may well be hidden as a program in a general Foreign Language Department) who teaches Greek. Although people might be too busy to give you much time, most classicists are unable to resist the lure of an intelligent and interested audience. You will probably be able to get some questions answered and some friendly advice. You may even be able to sit in on a few classes. Fact: Classicists are strangely attracted to the internet. Who would've thought that a discipline interested in all that old stuff would be so heavily wired (for the internet that is, though caffeine is a reasonably interpretation as well). Of course there are some holdouts who have refused to move beyond IBM Selectrics (you'll get their special Greek type "ball" thing when you pry them out of their cold dead hands), and even some who think anything but good quality paper is an unworthy medium, but as a field we have embraced computers and technology as tools to help us research and teach about antiquity. That means you'll find a fair number of helpful cyber-resources. Use them!
You're not alone. Really you aren't. If you look around enough, you'll find others who share your interest. They may be living next door and part of a reading group, or they may be across the globe but running an email list dedicated to people trying to get some knowledge of Greek. There may not be millions of them, but numbers aren't everything.
Edizioni Accademia: Vivarium Novum has two pages with links to downloadable books to learn Greek (and Latin) in alternative ways:
Greek & Latin BookstoreBedwere's Store (self-published)
Europeana: Think Culture Les auteurs grecs expliqués
Christophe Rico. Polis. Helmut Buske, 2011.
It is strange that an English version has not yet appeared. Can we take this to mean that Europeans are more supportive of Living Language Methods than Americans and Canadians and Australians, not to mention Brits? On the other hand, I've heard that a second edition, with new material, is forthcoming, and this will be available in English.
Your are correct that intermediate Greek learners don't need an English translation anyway, since the whole idea is to stick to the target language.
Suggested by akhnaten in textkit blog on resources:
Suggested by icet4t in textkit blog on resources:
Ancient Greek Tutorials suggested source from Textkit blog
One's first twenty or forty minutes of the study of Greek should be devoted to the pronunciation exercises of S. G. Daitz. —
Suggested by Lucretius2327 in textkit blog on resources:
The student should listen through the twenty practice words. Daitz's enunciation of the sounds of the alphabet (including diphthongs) and his twenty practice words (with aspirations and pitch clearly sounded) provides a solid foundation for a living approach to Ancient Greek. (The reading from the Iliad is fine until Chryses speaks: at which point, of Montana children at least, one could well ask — What dying animal does this sound like?).
But let it be asserted with ever so much force: BEST, BEST, BEST practice is to read the Latin or Greek words OUT LOUD as you peruse them — so that the English meaning imbues itself to the SOUND of the Greek or Latin word. For them, language was first and foremost ACOUSTIC, AUDIBLE and ARTICULATED. (Aristophanes' word for snore in the opening of the Clouds (?????) was thought to mimic the sound of a snorting horse.) The more senses one involves in the process of learning, the deeper the roots of assimilation are struck. Attempting to learn Greek or Latin without employing the mouth and ears, is like fighting a heavyweight bout with both hands tied behind one's back!
(from Textkit blog http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12640).
Poetry Recital includes recording of Nagy reading Homer - requires Apple's Quicktime 3.0. Has recordings of Latin and Greek materials.
Classical language project requires Shockwave/Flash plugins.
Suggested by Paul Derouda in textkit blog on resources:
Are you aware of Stefan Hagel? He has done a stunningly good reconstruction of what Homer's singing just might have sounded like, perhaps more to the liking of Montana children. The song of Demodokos from the book 8 of the Odyssey. Homeric Singing - An Approach to the Original Performance
There's also some extracts of reconstructed Greek that are not sung, also very good. The Sound of Ancient Greek - Classical Pronunciation
Suggested by mwh in textkit blog on resources:
Scholia D in Iliadem. Proecdosis aucta et correctior 2014. Secundum codices manu scriptos Thiel, Helmut van (2014) Scholia D in Iliadem. Proecdosis aucta et correctior 2014. Secundum codices manu scriptos. Elektronische Schriftenreihe der Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek Köln, 7. Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek, Köln. ISBN 978-3-931596-83-5
Die D-Scholien zur Odyssee. Kritische Ausgabe. Ernst, Nicola (2004) Die D-Scholien zur Odyssee. Kritische Ausgabe. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.
Suggested by brunapogliano in textkit blog on resources:
The Greek Language and its Dialects easy to access, it runs smoothly and quickly.
Arepo Books offers books in Latin and other foreign languages such as German, French and Italian. We bring rare and out of print books back at reasonable prices.
http://www.librarything.com/topic/190424 LT add book problem 7/3/15
Wyner, Gabriel. Fluent Forever: How To Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It. NY: Harmony Books, 2014. The best book I have ever encountered on learning a language. Incorporates the following links:
Fluent Forever cover to homepage
Google Images bottom "Switch to Basic Version"
Anki SRS automated Space Repetition System. It's free and can be used on almost any computer... Can also be done manually with a Leitner box.
Forvo how to pronounce words in multiple languages
TYPING ANCIENT (POLYTONIC) GREEK in a Windows environment This is a practical guide to setting up Windows to type ancient (polytonic) Greek. It does not require you to purchase or install any software, just to activate a feature in Windows
April 6, 1178 BC. Solar eclipse. Odysseus arrives in Ithaca.
Derveni Papyrus an ancient Greek papyrus roll that was found in 1962. It is a philosophical treatise that is an allegorical commentary on an Orphic poem, a theogony concerning the birth of the gods, produced in the circle of the philosopher Anaxagoras, it was composed near the end of the 5th century BC, making it "the most important new piece of evidence about Greek philosophy and religion to come to light since the Renaissance" (Janko 2005). It dates to around 340 BC, during the reign of Philip II of Macedon, making it Europe's oldest surviving manuscript. It was finally published in 2006.
Reconstructing (again) the Opening of the Derveni Papyrus by R. Jango, U. of Michigan. The author holds the remarkable belief that God is Mind, and is also identical with the physical element Air.
Images of the Derveni Papyrus
An online edition of the Derveni papyrus
The Derveni Papyrus (PDerveni)
A Survey of the Manuscripts of some Ancient Authors Greek and Latin
Roger Pearse's Pages
Paleography: Interpreting Ancient Manuscripts Greek New Testament
Adamantios Korais (27 April 1748 – 6 April 1833) was a Greek humanist scholar credited with laying the foundations of Modern Greek literature and a major figure in the Greek Enlightenment. His activities paved the way for the Greek War of Independence and the emergence of a purified form of the Greek language, known as Katharevousa. Encyclopædia Britannica asserts that "his influence on the modern Greek language and culture has been compared to that of Dante on Italian and Martin Luther on German".
Advanced Papyrological Information System Greek and Roman documents
AKROPOLIS WORLD NEWS the site of world news in Ancient Greek
Akrotiri Ministry of Culture in Greece: It is one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean. The first habitation at the site dates from the Late Neolithic times (at least the 4th millenium B.C.). During the Early Bronze Age (3rd millenium B.C.), a sizeable settlement was founded and in the Middle and early Late Bronze Age (ca. 20th-17th centuries B.C.) it was extended and gradually developed into one of the main urban centres and ports of the Aegean.
Akrotiri from Wikipedia: a Minoan Bronze Age settlement on the volcanic Greek island of Santorini (Thera). The settlement was destroyed in the Theran eruption about 1627 BCE and buried in volcanic ash, which preserved the remains of fine Frescoes and many objects and artworks
Akrotiri Digs from the Santorini Website: The large extent of the settlement (ca. 20 hectares), the elaborate drainage system, the sophisticated multi-storeyed buildings with the magnificent wall-paintings, furniture and vessels, show its great development and prosperity
Akrotiri Dig Photos
American Classical League founded in 1919 for the purpose of fostering the study of classical languages in the United States and Canada
Amphipolis skeleton from Alexander's time found in Greece Archaeologists in northern Greece have found a skeleton inside a tomb from the time of Alexander the Great, during a dig that has enthralled the public.
Ancient Scripts: Greek
Ancient Writings Revealed! the story of the discovery in 1906 of Archimedes' writings
Anotek--Greek learning tools
Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287 BC – c. 212 BC) was an Ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity... Generally considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time, Archimedes anticipated modern calculus and analysis by applying concepts of infinitesimals and the method of exhaustion to derive and rigorously prove a range of geometrical theorems, including the area of a circle, the surface area and volume of a sphere, and the area under a parabola. Other mathematical achievements include deriving an accurate approximation of pi, defining and investigating the spiral bearing his name, and creating a system using exponentiation for expressing very large numbers. He was also one of the first to apply mathematics to physical phenomena, founding hydrostatics and statics, including an explanation of the principle of the lever. He is credited with designing innovative machines, such as his screw pump, compound pulleys, and defensive war machines to protect his native Syracuse from invasion.
Archimedes "In the hearts and minds of scientists Archimedes occupies the same respectable position as Newton and Gauss. In his ancient Greek days he was known as the "the wise one," "the master" and "the great geometer". His works such as the "Death Ray" gained him popularity and fame that lasts till this day. He was one of the last great Greek mathematicians."... "The tomb of Archimedes is famous for it depicts his famous diagram, a sphere in a cylinder of the exact height and diameter. Archimedes had earlier proved that the volume and surface area of the sphere would be two thirds that of the cylinder. In 75 B.C., 137 years after the death of Archimedes, it was Cicero who was responsible for giving respect and attention to Archimedes' tomb, which had been long neglected. Cicero had heard about the tomb of Archimedes, but it took him a long time to find it, as the local populace were unable to help. Ultimately he found it at the Agrigentine gate in Syracuse, covered in bushes. He cleaned up the tomb and gave it its due respect."
Archimedes Home Page This site is a virtual book about Archimedes, who is widely regarded as the greatest mathematician and scientist in antiquity. Here I have compiled knowledge about Archimedes’ inventions, the numerous fields of science and mathematics he created, discussions of many of his finished works—and my own research that extends and applies Archimedean principles to 21st century problems. - Chris Rorres
THE ARCHIMEDES PALIMPSEST "The Archimedes Palimpsest is a medieval parchment manuscript, now consisting of 174 parchment folios. While it contains no less than seven treatises by Archimedes, calling it the Archimedes Palimpsest is a little confusing. As it is now, the manuscript is a Byzantine prayerbook, written in Greek, and technically called a euchologion. This euchologion was completed by April 1229, and was probably made in Jerusalem... However, to make their prayer book, the scribes used parchment that had already been used for the writings of other books... Firstly, and most importantly, they used a book containing at least seven treatises by Archimedes. These treatises are The Equilibrium of Planes, Spiral Lines, The Measurement of the Circle, Sphere and Cylinder, On Floating Bodies, The Method of Mechanical Theorems, and the Stomachion. [Contains pictures and a video of the palimpsest.]
Aristophanes of Byzantium (c. 257 – c. 185/180 BC) a Hellenistic Greek scholar, critic and grammarian, particularly renowned for his work in Homeric scholarship, but also for work on other classical authors such as Pindar and Hesiod. Born in Byzantium about 257 BC, he soon moved to Alexandria and studied under Zenodotus, Callimachus, and Dionysius Iambus. He succeeded Eratosthenes as head librarian of the Library of Alexandria at the age of sixty... Aristophanes is credited with the invention of the accent system used in Greek to designate pronunciation... He also invented one of the first forms of punctuation in the 3rd century BC
Aristophanes Of Byzantium Aristophanes was the producer of a text of Homer and also edited Hesiod’s Theogony, Alcaeus, Pindar, Euripides, Aristophanes, and perhaps Anacreon. Many of the Arguments prefixed in the manuscripts to Greek tragedies and comedies are ascribed to Aristophanes... He revised and continued the Pinakes of Callimachus, a biographical history of Greek literature... In editing the work of lyric and dramatic poets he introduced innovations in metrical analysis and textual criticism that were widely adopted by later scholars.
Attalus - Over 25,000 links to Greek & Latin authors on the web Greek and Roman history 322 - 36 B.C. - site contains detailed lists of events and sources for the history of the Hellenistic world and the Roman republic. It includes links to online translations of many of the sources, as well as new translations of some works which have not previously been easily available in English... detailed information about the written sources for Greek and Roman history in the period between the conquests of Alexander the Great and the start of the Roman Empire. Its geographical scope is Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East
Bibliotheca Graeca in Bibliotheca Augustana
Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents
Classical Language Instruction Program audio clip of scholars reading classical works in Latin and Greek; excellent way to learn about hexameter
CLASSICS page of links
Classics, a definnition Wikipedia
Ctesibius or Ktesibios or Tesibius (285–222 BC) was a Greek inventor and mathematician in Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt. He wrote the first treatises on the science of compressed air and its uses in pumps (and even a cannon). This, in combination with his work on the elasticity of air On pneumatics, earned him the title of "father of pneumatics."
Ctesibius and the Tantalus Cup "While Ctesibius may not be as famous as Archimedes, Aristotle, and Pythagoras, he certainly deserves recognition as one of the world’s first and best engineers. A prolific inventor living in the third century BC, Ctesibius is often referred to as “the father of pneumatics.” He created the first truly accurate water clock, a compressed-air catapult, a water pump, a musical organ that ran on water, and a number of remarkable machines that made use of siphons."
Electronic Resources for Classicists
Evolution of Alphabets shows the evolution of Cuneiform, Phoenician, Greek, Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Cyrillic and Latin alphabets into their modern versions
Greco-Roman Authors, Classics Archive "Select an author from the list below to see a list of works by that author. Then, select one of the titles to view the work or follow the "Read discussion" link to participate in a discussion about the work" -- large selection of authors available, including Aeschylus, Aesop, Homer, Horace, Josephus, Livy, Aristotle, Ovid, Julius Caesar, Cicero, Plutarch, Tacitus, many more
GREECE, ANCIENT page of links
GREECE, MODERN page of links
Greek Literature links to full text works
Greek Through the Internet modern Greek lessons
Greek Word covers ancient and modern greek history, places, texts, and tools for learning greek.
Hero of Alexandria ( c. 10 – c. 70 AD) was a Greek mathematician and engineer who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt. He is considered the greatest experimenter of antiquity and his work is representative of the Hellenistic scientific tradition... Hero published a well recognized description of a steam-powered device called an aeolipile (sometimes called a "Hero engine"). Among his most famous inventions was a windwheel, constituting the earliest instance of wind harnessing on land. He is said to have been a follower of the Atomists. Some of his ideas were derived from the works of Ctesibius.
Heron of Alexandria "Heron of Alexandria (c. 10 CE - c. 70 CE) is one of the most fascinating figures in Greek history, standing alongside mathematicians such as Pythagoras, Archimedes and Euclid as a major contributor to the history of science. This fascinating man was a brilliant geometer and mathematician, but he is most commonly remembered as a truly great inventor... This genius built steam engines, programmable computers, robots and surveying instruments, many of which show the workings of a keen and insightful mind, and he is certainly worthy of being mentioned alongside Archimedes, Leonardo Da Vinci and Edison as one of the greatest inventors in human history."
Heron of Alexandria by Michael Lahanas. "Known as Michanikos, the Machine Man, Heron invented the world's first steam engine, developed some sophisticated surveying tools, and crafted handy gizmos like a self-trimming oil lamp. Technically speaking, Heron's clever inventions were particularly notable for their incorporation of the sorts of self-regulating feedback control systems that form the bedrock of cybernetics; like today's toilets, his "inexhaustible goblet" regulated its own level with a floating mechanism. But what really stirred Heron's soul were novelties: pneumatic gadgets, automata, and magic theaters, one of which rolled itself before the audience on its own power, cranked through a miniature three-dimensional performance, and then made its own exit."
Homeric scholarship the study of Homeric epic, especially the two large surviving epics, the Iliad and Odyssey. It is currently part of the academic discipline of classical studies, but the subject is one of the very oldest topics in all scholarship or science, and goes back to antiquity. Purely in terms of quantity it is one of the largest of all literary sub-disciplines: the annual publication output rivals that on Shakespeare... see Scholia.
Kokino "Kokino is a Bronze Age archaeological site in the Republic of Macedonia... It was discovered by archeologist Jovica Stankovski, director of the national museum... The oldest archaeological finds date from about the 19th century BC, corresponding to the early European Bronze Age. It shows signs of occupation for the period from the 19th to the 7th centuries BC. Finds from the Middle Bronze Age (c. 16th to 14th centuries BC) are the most numerous (mainly ceramic vessels, stone-mills and a few molds). An agglomeration from the Iron Age was discovered in 2009."
Kokino, Ancient Observatory has a cool gallery of photos
Korais, Adamantios (27 April 1748 – 6 April 1833) was a Greek humanist scholar credited with laying the foundations of Modern Greek literature and a major figure in the Greek Enlightenment. His activities paved the way for the Greek War of Independence and the emergence of a purified form of the Greek language, known as Katharevousa. Encyclopædia Britannica asserts that "his influence on the modern Greek language and culture has been compared to that of Dante on Italian and Martin Luther on German"
Okeanos ancient near eastern studies [okeanos means primeval ocean in ancient Greek)
People of Ancient Greece Includes playwrights, Epic Poets, Philosophers, Political Leaders, Historians, Sculptors, Mythical Characters, and Mathematicians.
*Perseus Online Dictionary best according to Benny Lewis
*Perseus Digital Library, Primary Texts in original languages
Reading Classics Gateway
Study Guide for Homer's Odyssey
*Textkit resources for studying Latin and Greek... aimed at autodidacts... the books cannot be browsed online, only downloaded... see Perseus Digital Library for many of the same titles.
"In her provocative essay The Iliad or the Poem of Force, Simone Weil treats Homer's epic as a tableau depicting the disasters and torments of battle. Weil argues that in passage after passage, Homer never tires of showing how the use of force reduces people to nameless things" (John Palattella. "The War of Words." The Nation, Jan. 12, 2004: 34-5).|
The Erechtheion temple of the Athenian acropolis was constructed between 421 and 406 BCE under the supervision of the architect Philocles. The temple was built to house the ancient cult wooden statue of Athena and as a shrine to other local gods such as the early Athenian kings Erechtheus and Kekrops, and Boutes and Pandrosos. Poseidon and Zeus also had sacred precincts within the building.
The Ancient Minoans of Crete The Minoan civilization flourished on the Mediterranean island of Crete during the height of the Bronze Age (c. 2000-c. 1500 BCE). By virtue of their unique art and architecture, the ancient Minoans made significant contributions to the subsequent development of Western civilization. However, we still know less about the Minoans than the civilizations of Egypt or Mesopotamia.
Hellenic Bookservice the largest collection of Classics and Modern Greek books in the world,,, Our Classics department covers ancient history, culture, mythology, religion, as well as literature. Located in London.
Has Latin Scrabble, with game rules in English, French and German as well as Latin. 25 pounds. Has Latin and Greek games, crosswords, posters, wall maps, bumper stickers
Adrianus Turnebus (1512 – 12 June 1565) a French classical scholar.. " the greatest Greek scholar of the time."
Adrien Turnèbe (1512 – 12 June 1565)
Montaigne wrote that he "knew more and better, what he knew, than any man in his age or of many ages past"
His works chiefly consist of philological dissertations, commentaries (on Aeschylus, Sophocles, Theophrastus, Philo and portions of Cicero), and translations of Greek authors into Latin and French. His son Étienne published his complete works in three volumes (Strassburg, 1600), and his son Adrien published his Adversaria, containing explanations and emendations of numerous passages by classical authors (Gaia Clementi, La filologia plautina negli Adversaria di Adrien Turnèbe. Studi e ricerche 76.
"Better known as Turnebus (long penult), the Parisian professor Adrien Turnèbe (1512-1565) bequeathed us a gigantic miscellany of observations and interpretations of classical texts titled Adversaria, "random notes" (vols. I/1564, II/1565, III/1573). The most recent reprint, the 1604 Geneva edition, comprises 694 double-columned quarto pages plus indices (available online [at Adriani Turnebi Adversariorum libri xxx). All the good information in the Adversaria has long since been absorbed into our dictionaries, commentaries, grammars, and handbooks, the bad long since discarded. The book's chief claim on our interest today is that in it Turnebus makes repeated reference to a valuable manuscript of Plautus that is no longer extant. This is the famous "codex Turnebi" (also called codex Senonensis or fragmenta Senonensia), designated T, which antedated our earliest representatives of the Palatine family of manuscripts (B, C, and D)." 10 Insane Ways Spartan Boys Were Made Into Warriors The Spartan army was the toughest in the world. Every Spartan man was enlisted, and they were feared around the world. Sparta did away with city walls, believing its men strong enough to make walls useless. It was the only country that Alexander the Great saw and left unconquered—and he never even had the courage to march his men into their land.
Spartan men were warriors because Spartan boys suffered through some absolutely incredible experiences. A child raised in Sparta wasn’t raised by his mother. He was raised by the state, and he was put through an education unlike any other in history.
10 Common Misconceptions About the Ancient Greeks The age in which the Ancient Greeks flourished remains an incredibly revered part of history; they’re known for laying the foundations for much of our modern knowledge of medicine, mathematics, philosophy, politics, and culture.
there is no reason to believe that the Trojan War ever happened... Historians—after much research—have found remnants of what they believe might have once been Troy, and believe that the city could have been attacked and possibly pillaged at some point—but there is no evidence to support all of the popular mythology in regards to the war story.
Trojan War / Battle of Thermopylae
The movie depicts only three hundred brave Spartans standing up to the entire Persian army, which is also inaccurate. When the battle started the Spartan force actually had seven thousand people backing them up. On the last day of the battle they were still fourteen hundred strong—three hundred of them were Spartans, sure, but there were also four hundred Thebans, seven hundred Thespians and eighty Mycenaeans.
The modern idea of a Spartan soldier is one who does absolutely nothing else but train to fight and kill people, preferably coming home either with their shield or upon it. Many people get the idea that young Spartan warriors spent all their time training and never really had any exposure to women while young, but this is not true.
Young Spartans, while engaged in their military education, still spent much time in activities around girls their age while growing up. The truth is also that Spartan warriors did not just fight and train; they also sang, danced and performed in plays. Spartan men also educated young Spartans when they got too old to fight themselves; their lives weren’t merely an endless fight until they died.
Spartan Warriors / Queen Gorgo of Sparta
Many people think of women in the ancient world as being subservient to men, but nowhere was this less true than in Sparta. Spartan women had to do pretty much everything while the men were off fighting, and they were incredibly respected and powerful in Spartan society. Aristotle even wrote mockingly in regards to the high place women had in Spartan society, and their ability to own land.
Spartan women were expected to do most of the child raising, were encouraged to be intellectual and to learn about the arts—and in fact they owned a very large portion of the land in Sparta. It is the stuff of legend that an Athenian woman once asked a Spartan queen why Spartan women were the only women allowed to rule men. The Spartan queen responded: “Because we are the only women who give birth to men.”
The Greeks—especially the Athenians—were well known for being “boy lovers,” or at least that’s what many seem to think. It’s become a common trope to equate pedophilia with the men of Ancient Athens. But the issue is quite a complicated one, certainly much less simple than saying that they either “did” or “didn’t” make love to young boys.
Some believe that pederasty—the relationship between an experienced man and a young one—may have been more of an intellectual mentor relationship, whereby the elder male helped a younger one find his place in society.
Athenian / Ancient Greek Theatre
Many people have misconceptions about Ancient Greek theatre, which often entertained very large groups of people, usually during important festivals. A lot of people misunderstand what the ancient dramas were actually like.
The truth is that the theatre productions in Ancient Greece were very symbolic; to understand a play, you had to have some knowledge of the symbolic significance and mythical background underlying nearly every part of the dialogue. The plays actually included audience participation—much like modern stand-up comedy—and were originally part of religious rites in honor of the Gods.
The Ancient Olympic Games were so popular that they are still held (in a slightly different form, it must be said) around the world today. But there are some common beliefs about these games which are inaccurate.
For starters, many people think of them as existing only in very ancient times—but they were still played even during Roman rule for many years, until Theodosius did away with them in an effort to ensure that Christianity triumph as the religion of the Roman Empire.
Also, women were actually not allowed to watch the Olympic Games at all. The Olympians usually competed while completely nude, and would cover themselves in olive oil to improve the quality of their skin and to make themselves more visually appealing.
Olympic Games / Greek Statues
Many of the Greek statues were actually taken from Greece and put in the British Museum in the 1800s, and many of the rest have been damaged either by violence or simple wear and tear, making them hard to recognize.
The common conception of Greek statues—and architecture, for that matter—is that they appeared unpainted, and that civic squares would flash in the sunlight with brilliant white marble.
But it turns out that the statues and temples are only white because the paint faded from them over time; originally, they were incredibly bright and vibrant. Many of these statues also had bronze attachments and black stone inlaid in white to make eyes stand out more. You can see a variety of other statues in what is likely to be their original form here.
While we all know that the Ancient Greeks were skilled at art, mathematics, philosophy, and many other pursuits, many of us don’t realize how technologically advanced they were.
In the early 1900s, a diver exploring near the island of Antikthyera found several old green lumps of stone that had once been part of a mechanical device. Scientists studied the device, which they have dubbed the “Antikthyera Mechanism,” and discovered that it was capable of quite a few interesting feats.
The device could predict solar eclipses, and was capable of keeping track of the Olympiad calendar cycle. It seems to have had complicated dials and to have kept in sync with both the moon and the sun—making it the first computer. Recent findings suggest that it may have been built by Archimedes, who is well-known for being a mathematical genius.
Greek Technology / Athenian Democracy
Many people have the mistaken notion that Greeks invented modern democracy, and this belief has become incredibly pervasive. But Athenian democracy was very different from any democratic institution today. It was actually one of the few examples of direct democracy in history, in which nearly all matters of policy were voted on (in theory, at least) by all Athenian citizens.
If that sounds reasonable, bear in mind that the citizenship excluded women and slaves, and that foreign-born citizens were also ineligible for the vote. Many among the poor were also unable to take the time away from work necessary to get involved. This effectively meant that only free, adult, and relatively well-off males born in Athens were able to participate—which isn’t exactly representative of the whole population’s interests.
Athenian democracy did have its good points, though, especially when you consider the tyrannous political systems which existed in other parts of Greece at the time. It was an important political innovation, that those who voted did not have to be particularly rich or aristocratic to take part in the most important decision-making.
Colby Glass, MLIS
http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?t=8147 Chrestos Adamantios (1908) Lexicon Greek-Latin http://www.typegreek.com/ http://www.tavultesoft.com/keyman/