Gr 111 Elementary Attic Greek

fall 2017

Prof. Rosivach

The object of this course is to develop a reading knowledge of Attic Greek, the principal dialect of ancient Greek. By the end of the semester students should be able to:

1. translate with reasonable accuracy with the help of a grammar and dictionary previously unseen texts of moderate difficulty;

2. follow along and understand when a previously unseen text is translated in class.

Gr 111 is a three-credit course meeting for 150 minutes a week. The first eight or nine weeks of class are devoted to grammar lectures that focus on the broader patterns of Greek inflection and grammatical usage. Each grammar point is supported by a written English-to-Greek exercise that the student does for homework. There is no required memorization, and students are encouraged to use their notes as reference tools when preparing the homework. The assumption of the course is that the actual learning takes place in the doing of the homework, when students are required to manipulate the material of the grammar lectures. The homework is carefully corrected with explanations provided when students make mistakes. Emphasis through all this is on grammar. Exercises and classroom examples are based for the most part on a rather limited basic vocabulary which students master, as they master the grammar, through repeated use rather than memorization. The homework is in effect cumulative, requiring students to review continually material previously covered. The metaphor used to describe the course is that of a roughly built scaffold continually reinforced by repeated use of the grammar, as opposed to a conventional structure carefully built up one stage at a time, brick by brick.We should complete this grammar work in early November, and we will spend the rest of the semester reading excerpts from a classical Greek text to be chosen later.

There is no regular textbook for the course. Prepared materials will be distributed as needed.


There is a separate written exercise for most topics on the topic list. Usually there will be several exercises per class. The exercises for all topics completed in a given class are due by noon on the day before the next scheduled class. The written exercises are a standing assignment that will not be repeated from class to class.

Similarly, in the latter part of the semester, a section Greek text from Sophokles' Antigone will be assigned to be translated for review in the next class.

You can lose credit only by not doing the assignments or by doing them in a rushed and careless manner. You will not be penalized if you miss an assignment for a legitimate reason, but you will be expected to arrange with the instructor to make up missed assignments as soon as possible thereafter. I will leave it to you to decide if you have a legitimate reason for missing an assignment. Simple absence without a legitimate reason does not excuse you from that day's assignment.


Three-fourths of the semester grade will depend on the daily assignments described in the previous section. A final exam will account for one-fourth of the semester grade. The final, take-home exam will consist of Greek-to-English translations of previously unseen texts; an on-line dictionary will be available, and grammar notes, etc. may be used.


According to the Catalogue (p. 26) "All students are expected to attend every scheduled class session. The impact of attendance on grading is specified in the syllabus." Because of the importance of classroom work in this course no more than six absences for any reason whatsoever will be allowed. Students with more than six absences may apply for a "Withdrawal" from the course (see p. 20 of the Catalogue); students with more than six absences who are not permitted to withdraw from the course will receive a failing grade.


The website for this course is: My office hours and other information relevant to the class will be posted there.


If you have any questions on any topic related to class, e-mail me and I will answer your question as soon as I am able. My e-mail address is If you have to communicate with me for any reason, I would prefer that you use e-mail, not voice-mail. If you do use voice-mail, please do not expect me to return your call.