These sayings above were collected by Miriam Schüttler. If anyone would like to offer additions they can send email them to me here.
ΟΥΔΕΙΣ ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΙΚΩΝ ΔΥΝΑΤΑΙ ΠΟΤΕ ΟΛΒΙΟΣ ΕΙΝΑΙ (Anthologia Graeca XI 279 - cited (not very seriously!) by Thomas Coloniensis)
Two very useful resources for the basics are:
Mastronarde's University of California site for classical Greek, which covers alphabet and pronunciation (with sound files added),
accentuation and the main grammatical paradigms, including both tables and drills. The Institute of Biblical Greek, which, while focusing on the language of the New Testament, also includes details of the pronunciation used by most students of the classical language, as well as that of modern Greek. They provide clear grammatical charts of their own plus multiple links to other
sites on the same topic. There are also details of the Institute's own on-line course, which uses
Athenaze (see below) as textbook.
There are links to many other resources on the Greek Language and Linguistics site and, for those who read German, Gerhard Salomon's 1933 course has been made available on-line by E. Gottwein. This course is rather old-fashioned in approach but well set out and with a large number of sentences and passages presented both in Greek and in German translation. Also available in German is guidance on writing Greek letters in electronic formats on Thomas Ihnken's site..
Most of the standard ancient texts are available both on the Perseus site and in the Bibliotheca Augustana, which, whilst not providing the hyper-linked help offered on Perseus, has a much more attractive typeface. Compared with Latin, there is relatively little contemporary writing in classical Greek but Acropolis World News, run by Catalan scholar Juan Coderch from St. Andrew's University in Scotland, provides news bulletins in the language on similar lines to Finnish Radio's Nuntii Latini, though without any recordings. His site also has a short list of suggested translations for modern concepts, whilst Woodhouse's English-Classical Greek dictionary (restricted to words and phrases attested in ancient authors) is also available on-line.
A good overview of ancient Greek culture and its relationship to the modern world is provided by Cambridge professor Paul Cartledge in a November 2010 article in the Guardian newspaper.
There is conversational material in the books by W. H. D. Rouse and Anne Mahoney discussed in the `Introductory courses' section below. A phrasebook for t ancient Greek is also currently being uploaded by Louis Sorenson and others. This is based on the 1902 2nd. edition of a German-Attic phrasebook, to which English is now being added. The first few phrases are given below:
Ah, Guten Tag! Well, Hello there! ὦ χαῖρε! Guten Morgen, Karl! Good morning, Charles! χαῖρ’ ὦ Κάρολε! Guten Morgen, Gustav! (Erwiderung). Good morning, Gustav! (in response) καὶ σύγε, ὦ Γούσταβε! Seien Sie mir schön willkommen! I’m delighted to see you! ὦ χαῖρε, φίλτατε! Ah! freue mich außerordentlich! Well, I welcome you heartily! ἀσπάζομαι! Freue mich außerordentlich, Herr Müller! I welcome you warmly, Mr. Miller! Μύλλερον ἀσπάζομαι! Ganz auf meiner Seite! The pleasure’s all mine! κἄγωγέ σε!
Another aid to conversation, published in 1871 and written by a Scottish university professor, John Blackie, can be read on the Archive.org site and also downloaded in various formats (the pdf version is provided by Google books and not available to users in Hong Kong).
Probably the best known beginners' course in the UK is Athenaze, featuring the story of an Attic farmer and his family in the 5th century A. D. and with the emphasis on reading rather than rapid presentation of grammar. `Ariadne: resources for Athenaze', a collection of pages on the Cornell College site, includes background information and suggestions for activities, including scripts for oral practice, as well a recordings of the vocabulary - up to chapter 12 in June 2011.
Another course book well established in the UK but also available on the American Amazon site is the Joint Association of Classical Teachers' Reading Greek, which is intended for learners in the upper forms of schools or in universities as well as for independent adult learners. The student has to use both the Text and Vocabularyand the Grammarand Exercises volumes and, if working alone, will also require the Independent Study Guide.
Ancient Greek Alive starts with lessons introducing both the Greek alphabet and simple dialogues, with the teacher, for example, getting students to ask each other's names in Greek. Subsequent lessons use reading passages drawn from folk tales around the world, as well as covering the basic grammar and emphasising vocabulary review. An extensive preview is available on Amazon and a comprehensive account in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
Here is one of the stories reproduced from the downloadable sample on Paula Saffire's own website:
Another introductory course, relying on a reading approach but also covering all the basic grammar, is C. Peckett and A.D. Munday's Thrasymachus: Greek through Reading (not to be confused with Rouse's reader, discussed below, whose central character is also called Thrasymachus!). Because this textbook, written in the 1960s, assumes a familiarity with Latin and the basic categories of an inflected language which many beginners in Greek now lack, school teachers, Alison Barker and Ann Thomas Wilkins, have provided additional explanations on a companion website, `Greek with Thrasymachus'. Their approach is outlined in an article in the 2001 issue of the on-line CALICO Journal
There is no introductory course written totally in ancient Greek but the Italian edition of Athenaze has been adapted by Luigi Miraglia to make it more similar to Oerberg's direct method Latin course and a preview is available on the Vivarium Novum website (click on `Sfoglia'), from where the book can also be ordered.
W.H.D. Rouse wrote a beginners' reader, A Greek Boy at Home, which can be freely downloaded from the Internet (see sample pages below) and is narrated in the person of a a Greek boy, Thrasymachus, living on a farm with his parents. brother, sister and nurse. The book, published in 1909, includes dialogues easily adaptable as comprehension exercises and intended to promote active use of the language by both teacher and students. The reader was meant to be used together with the author's First Greek Course (also downloadable as a pdf but with the text on its side and so only easily readable if printed out). The vocabulary for the reader is given in a second volume which can also be downloaded.
Anne Mahoney has recently (February 2011) brought out a substantially revised edition of First Greek Course adapted for college courses (extracts viewable on the Focus site), and also a slightly modified version of the reader, with both passages and vocabulary in a single volume - Rouse's Greek Boy (2010) . There is an online review of the re-issued reader in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
Anne Mahoney has also brought out a revised edition of Francis Morice's Stories in Attic Greek, which was originally published in 1879 and intended to serve as a transitional reader for intermediate students who had already covered basic grammar but might still find unadapted Greek authors difficult. The stories themselves are, however, often based on ancient materials.
Kendrick's 1851 textbook, Greek Ollendorff, which includes some conversational material with a systematic presentation of grammar, in a somewhat similar fashion to Adler's Practical Grammar of the Latin Language, can be read on-line or down-loaded in various formats from archiv.com Evan Millner is currently recording and uploading the exercises and vocabulary t0 his Ancient Greek podcast site. Kendrick's text can also be ordered as a facsimile reprint from Amazon.
Schroder and Horrigan's A Reading Course in Homeric Greek, Book 1 of which a 3rd edition, revised by Leslie Collins Edwards, was issued in 2004, introduces the student to Greek as used by its best-known poet, who probably wrote in the 8th century B.C., employing rather simpler syntax than the classical language of the 5th and 4th centuries on which most introductory courses are based. The student is reading short extracts of genuine Homer from lesson 11 onwards and the book concludes with the stories of the Lotus Eaters and the Cyclops from Book 9 of the Odyssey. A pdf including the introduction and some sample pages is down-loadable from the Focus Publishing site but a rather more pages of the actual text are available in the preview on Amazon. There is a largely favourable evaluation in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Edward's 2005 edition of Book 2 is considerably shorter than Schroder and Horrigan's original, providing the complete texts of Books 6 and 12 of the Odyssey with commentary, vocabulary and further information on grammar but no extracts from the Iliad (despite what is stated on the Amazon page)! There is finally a shorter volume, Transition to Attic Greek to aid those who have completed the Homeric course and wish to move on to read texts by later authors.
Cynthia Sheldermine's Introduction to Greek, based on Wilding's Greek for Beginners, uses adaptated texts from Herodotus, the 5th century historian (see sample below), as well as from Xenophon, Thucydides and Plato. There is an evaluation in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review. and sample pages on the Focus Publishing site. The approach is traditional, with presentation of grammar followed by practice sentences for translation into as well as from Greek, a reading passage and a vocabulary list for memorisation. The same publisher has also brought out Anne Groton's From Alpha to Omega: a Beginning Course in Classical Greek.
Texts for intermediate learners
There are many readers available to ease the learner's task in beginning to tackle authentic Greek texts. Geoffrey Steadman's self-published Wordpress series supplies vocabulary and grammatical commentary on a facing page or below the text and also a list of the commonest words for the student to study before he or she begins reading. Works available include Books 6-12 of Homer's Odyssey, Book 1 of Herodotus's Histories, and the Symposium and first book of The Republic by Plato. His site provides free downloads of Powerpoint flashcards for the core vocabularies and also the complete texts of Odyssey 6-8 and Lysias 1. Previews are also available on Amazon.com
Another series of texts with similar extensive support for the learner is being produced by Evan Hayes and Stephen Nimis of the University of Miami. The first volume is Lucian's Ἀληθῆ Διηγήματα (`A True Story'), written
in the 2nd. century A.D. and telling the story of a ship swept up to the moon is
the first in a series of editions of Greek and Latin texts planned by
Evan Hayes and Stephen Nimis. A preview of the book is available on
Amazon and sample pages can also be downloaded as a 24-page pdf file. The books are very reasonably priced as they are being self-published on a `print-on-demand' basis. Stephen Nimis is currently (April 2011)asking for suggestions on which Greek and Latin texts to work on next and can be contacted via his home page .
Ancient Greek poetry and music
We do not know for certain what ancient Greek music sounded like but an interesting attempt at reconstruction is available on the CD `Musique de la Grèce antique' by Atrium Musicae de Madrid. This recording is currently (February 2013) also available on YouTube, which also has a number of other versions of what is claimed to be ancient Greek music, including in particular performances of the `Song of Seikilos', believed to have been composed somewhere between 200 B.C and 200 A.D. and an album lasting almost an hour posted by `ThoughtTraveller'. Martin West, the most distinguished British classical scholar of his generation, wrote a comprehensive survey, Ancient Greek Music, intended to be accessible to to those without musical training, and also co-edited a collection of all extant fragments, Documents of Ancient Greek Music . Stefan Hagel, author of the most recent comprehensive study of the topic (Ancient Greek Music. A New Technical History, Cambridge 2009) has electronic renditions of the main surviving melodies on his Ancient Greek Music site. An episode in RTHK Radio 4's `Early Music' series features recordings from the Atrium Musicae CD and elsewhere - make sure you are downloading the 3 July 2011 episode, which appears from the site description to be part of the `Oratorio' series but is not! A brief survey, What Song the Sirens Sang, is provided by Oxford musician and classicist Armand d'Angour, who is currently (February 2014) conducting a two-year research project into the whole field.
As well as being used in the chorus sections of Greek plays, music may also often have accompanied the recitation of other poetry. Φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν (`He seems to me the equal of the gods'), the most famous of the lyric poems by Sappho of Lesbos, who was writing around the beginning of the 6th century B.C., has been set to modern music and can be heard on YouTube with the original text with English and German translations shown on the video The singer in this performance adds the words alla pan tolmaton (``everything must be taken') at the end of the song . Sappho describes her intense feelings as she watches a girl with whom she is herself in love talking with a boyfriend. In the transcription given below, `h' is written after long vowels, `ou' is similar to the English `oo' in `soon', ` ü' is the rounded high front vowel in French `tu' and `ch' should be pronounced as in Scottish `loch' or German `auch'. The trans- lation has been adapted from that of Constantine Trypanis in The Penguin Book of Greek Verse, a bilingual anthology, which covers the whole period from Homer to the 2oth century :
Φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν Phainetai moi kehnos isos theoisin He seems to me the equal of the gods ἔμμεν᾽ ὤνηρ, ὄττις ἐνάντιός τοι emmen'ohnehr, hottis enantios toi that man who opposite you ἰσδάνει καὶ πλάσιον ἆδυ φωνεί- isdanei kai plasion adü phohnei- sits and close up your sweet speech σας ὐπακούει sas upakouei hears
καὶ γελαίσ‹ας› ἰμέροεν, τό μ᾽ ἦ μάν kai gelaisas himeroen, to m'eh man and lovely laughter, which my καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόαισεν. kardian en stehthesin eptoaisen. heart in my breast has set pounding. ὢς γὰρ ἔς σ᾽ ἴδω βρόχε᾽, ὤς με φώνη- ohs gar es s'idoh broche', ohs me phohne- For when I see you just for an ins- σ᾽ οὖδεν ἔτ᾽ εἴκει, s'ouden et'eikei, tant, it's as if I've lost my voice,
ἀλλὰ κὰμ μὲν γλῶσσα ἔαγε, λέπτον alla kam men glohssa eage, lepton but while my tongue is frozen, a δ᾽ αὔτικα χρῶι πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμακεν, d'autika chroh- pür üpadedromaken, delicate fire has at once run under ὀππάτεσσι δ᾽ οὖδεν ὄρημμ᾽, ἐπιρρόμ oppatessi d'ouden orehmm', eporrom- my skin, I see nothing with my eyes βεισι δ᾽ ἄκουαι, beisi d'akouai and my ears are ringing
ἀ δέ μ᾽ ἴδρως κακχέεται, τρόμος δέ a de m'idrohs kakcheetai, tromos de sweat pours down me and trembling παῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας pa-isan agrei, chlohrotera de poias seizes me all over, paler than grass ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ᾽ ὀλίγω ᾽πιδεύης emmi, tethnakehn d'oligoh 'pideuehs I am, and little short of dead φαίνομ᾽ ἔμ᾽ αὔται· phainom'em'autai I seem to myself
A musical setting of another of Sappho's poems (or rather of an expansion of a surviving fragment) is also available on YouTube, sung by Nena Venetsanou:, and another version (with English subtitles) here
`Agni Parthene' is a hymn to the Virgin Mary written around the beginning of the 20th century by the Greek Orthodox bishop St. Nektarios of Aegina. though the transcription given here represents the Byzantine pronunciation, word forms are almost all identical to those used in classical Greek and the phrasing echoes a long tradition of chant going back to the cult of the Mother Goddess of the Mediterranean region. Note that the couplets below were written as single lines in the source from which the text is taken (Wikipedia) as were the second and third lines of the quadrains; the alteration was purely to facilitate displaying the text, transcription and translation in parallel columns. The translation has been modified to make it more literal. The hymn can be heard with accompanying slides on YouTube and the video is also embodied below. For more information on pre-classical Greek religion see volume 22 of Aegaeum, downloadable as a series of PDF files.
There are a number of other performances available on Youtube including one by the monks of Simonopetra Monastery.
Αγνή Παρθένε Δέσποινα, Agni parthene Despoina, Holy Virgin, Lady Άχραντε Θεοτόκε, ahrante theotoke Spotless Bearer of God
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Παρθένε Μήτηρ Άνασσα, Parthene mitir anasa, Virgin Mother Queen Πανένδροσέ τε πόκε. panedrοse te poke and all-dewy fleece Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed
Υψηλοτέρα Ουρανών, Ipsilotera ouranon, Higher than the Heavens ακτίνων λαμπροτέρα aktinon lamprotera Brighter than the sunbeams
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Χαρά παρθενικών χορών, hara parthenikon horon, Delight of the virginal choirs αγγέλων υπερτέρα, aggelon ipertera loftier than the angels Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed
Εκλαμπροτέρα ουρανών Eklamprotera ouranon More radiant than the heavens φωτός καθαροτέρα, fotos katharotera Purer than light
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Των Ουρανίων στρατιών ton ouranion stration than the Heavenly armies πασών αγιωτέρα pason ayiotera all holier Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed
Μαρία Αειπάρθενε Maria aeiparthene Maria Ever-virgin κόσμου παντός Κυρία kosmou pantos kiria Mistress of all the world
Μαρία Νύμφη Άνασσα, Maria nimfi anassa Maria Bride Queen χαράς ημών αιτία. haras imon etia cause of our delight
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Κορή σεμνή Βασίλισσα, kori semni vasilissa maiden sacred Queen Μήτηρ υπεραγία, mitir iperagia Mother all-holy Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte
Τιμιώτερα Χερουβείμ Timiotera herouvim More worthy than the Cherubim υπερενδοξοτέρα iperendoxotera and more glorious
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Των ασωμάτων Σεραφείμ ton asomaton serafim Than the non-material Seraphim των Θρόνων υπερτέρα, ton thronon ipertera Than the Thrones higher Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed
Χαίρε το άσμα Χερουβείμ Here to asma herouvim Rejoice song of the Cherubim χαίρε ύμνος Αγγέλων here imnos aggelon Rejoice hymn of the angels
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Χαίρε ωδή των Σεραφείμ here odi ton serafim Rejoice chant of the Seraphim Χαρά των Αρχαγγέλων hara ton arhaggelon Delight of the archangels Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte
Χαίρε ειρήνη και χαρά Here irini kai hara Rejoice peace and delight λιμήν της σωτηρίας limin tis sotirias harbour of salvation
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Παστάς του Λόγου pastas tou logou Salt of the Word ιερά άνθος της αφθαρσίας iera anthos tis aftharsias sacred flower of immortality Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed
Χαίρε Παράδεισε τρυφής, Here paradise trifis Rejoice Paradise of luxury ζωής τε αιωνίας, zois te eoinias and of life eternal
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Χαίρε το ξύλον της ζωής, Here to xilon tis zois Rejoice tree of life πηγή αθανασίας, pihi athanasias fountain of immortality Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride unwed
Σε ικετεύω Δέσποινα, Se iketevo Despina I beseech you Lady Σε, νυν, επικαλούμαι, se nin epikaloume I now call upon you
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Σε δυσωπώ Παντάνασσα, Se disopo pantanassa I look to you Queen of all Σην χάριν εξαιτούμαι. sin harin exetoume I beg your favour Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice bride unwed
Κορή σεμνή και άσπιλε, Kori semni kai aspile Maiden sacred and unstained Δεσποίνα Παναγία Despina Panagia Lady All-holy
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Θερμώς επικαλούμαι Σε, Thermos epikaloume se , fervently I call upon you Ναέ ηγιασμένε, nae igiasmene See [me], sanctified-one Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed
Αντιλαβού μου, ρύσαι με antilavou mou, rise me Take hold of me, save me από τού πολεμίου, apo tou polemiou from the enemy
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride Unwed Και κλήρονομον δείξον με, Ke klironomon deixon me and receive me as a sharer ζωής της αιωνίου, zois tis eoniou in life eternal Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε. Here nimfi animfefte Rejoice Bride unwed
Ancient Greek had a pitch accent whose exact nature is still disputed by scholars but which by the early centuries A.D. had turned into the stress accent which modern Greek retains. Sean Gabbs of Guildhall University provides a useful survey of the different ways in which the accentuation markings introduced in the Hellenistic period and still retained in modern printed texts are pronounced - or not pronounced - by classicists today.