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Ancient Greek for Everyone:
A New Digital Resource for
Beginning Greek
Units 3 part 3:
Neuter Nouns
Classical Reading
2013 edition
Wilfred E. Major
[email protected]
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• This class
– Unit 3 Classical reading.
– Be able to:
• read the sentences aloud
• parse each verb and noun (with article where it appears)
• translate the sentences into English.
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• All the sentences here come from Classical Athenian Greek
writings from the fifth and fourth centuries BC. They are
unchanged, except where … indicates a short omission.
• There are brief introductions the first time that an author is
quoted and information that provides context for the quotation.
• At the bottom of each slide are vocabulary entries and notes.
These supply vocabulary and information for any words that
have not yet appeared in the required vocabulary.
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• Euripides wrote many turbulent tragedies and is reported to
have lived a comparably turbulent life. During his career, he
seems to have generated controversy with his plays, an artist
both captivating and disturbing.
• Among his more controversial plays was Hippolytus. It
involves the family life of the mythological hero and king of
Athens, Theseus. In it, Theseus’ wife, Phaedra, falls in love
with Hippolytus, Theseus’ son from an earlier relationship.
The way Euripides handled Phaedra’s passion for her stepson
was apparently too much for the play’s original audience in
428 BC and Euripides had to revise the play. Only the revised
version survives today.
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• In the surviving version of the play, Phaedra has fallen in love
with Hippolytus, but Hippolytus himself hates all women.
• When Phaedra reveals her love to Hippolytus, he rejects her
completely, but swears never to reveal what she has said.
• Phaedra commits suicide, but leaves a note claiming that
Hippolytus had tried to seduce her.
• When Theseus finds Phaedra’s body and the note, he flies into
a rage against Hippolytus, who maintains his innocence but
cannot violate his oath.
• Theseus exiles his son and orders him killed. At the end of the
play, Hippolytus is brought back, nearly dead, and Theseus
learns of his error.
Poseidon + Aethra
+ Antiope (Amazon)
+ Phaedra
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• In the final conversation between father and son, the dying Hippolytus
forgives his father for the murder. Theseus replies:
τί φῄς; ἀφίης αἵματός μ’ ἐλεύθερον;
Euripides Hippolytus 1450
ἐλεύθερον (acc sg) ὁ free
μ’ = με (acc sg) me
τί what?
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• Euripides also wrote a tragedy about Hercules.
• When the play opens, Hercules is away, engaged in his famous
Twelve Labors. Back home at Thebes, Hercules’ wife, children
and stepfather (Amphitryo) are being terrorized by a usurper
named Lycus (whose name means “wolf”).
• Lycus charges that Hercules is in fact a cowardly fraud, in part
because he uses a bow and arrows rather than fighting like a
warrior with sword and shield.
• Amphitryo, of course, defends Hercules and his use of the bow
and arrows.
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• As part of his defense, Amphitryo argues that archers are smarter fighters
than hoplites (who use sword and shield), saying that:
τὸ σῶμά τ’ οὐ δίδωσι τοῖς ἐναντίοις.
Euripides Hercules 200
ἐναντίοις (dat pl) ὁ opposition
τ‘ = τε and
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• When Euripides died in 406 BC, he left behind several scripts
of plays that were never performed during his lifetime.
• One of these is Iphigenia at Aulis. It is set at Aulis, where the
collected forces of Greece are ready to sail to Troy to start the
Trojan War.
• Agamemnon, the leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War, is
called upon to sacrifice his oldest daughter to the goddess
Artemis so the Greek forces can sail to Troy.
• The play chronicles the controversy that ensues over whether
Agamemnon’s daughter, Iphigenia, should be sacrificed.
Pelops + Hippodamia
+ Clytemnestra + Helen
Iphigenia, Electra, Orestes
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• When the controversy reaches a crisis, Iphigenia herself says:
...δίδωμι σῶμα τοὐμὸν Ἑλλάδι.
Euripides Iphigenia at Aulis 1397
Ἑλλάς, -άδος ἡ Greece
τοὐμὸν = τὸ ἐμὸν my
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• When Euripides died in 406 BC, he left behind several scripts
of plays that were never performed during his lifetime.
• Another of these is Bacchae. It is set in the distant past in the
city of Thebes, at a time when the young god Dionysus is
spreading his worship.
• Dionysus arrives at Thebes and the king of the city, Pentheus,
denies the god. Dionysus in turn drives the women of the city
into a frenzy (the βάκχαι of the title).
• Dionysus manipulates Pentheus into dressing as a women and
going to watch the activities of the frenzied women. In the
ensuing madness, Pentheus’ own mother, Agave, tears her son
to pieces and carries his head back to the city as a trophy,
although she thinks that she is carrying the head of lion.
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• Agave gradually learns the truth from her father, Cadmus. After she comes
to recognize her son’s head, she asks:
τὸ φίλτατον δὲ σῶμα ποῦ παιδός, πάτερ;
Euripides Bacchae 1298
δέ and
πάτερ father!
ποῦ where?
φίλτατον (nom/acc sg) τό very dear, my beloved
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• In Aristophanes’ comedy Birds, two Athenians, Peisetaerus (whose
name means something like “persuasive”) and Euelpides (whose name
means something like “hopeful”) go to the land of the birds.
• They meet the ruler of the birds, who then calls out dozens of other
birds. The leader identifies and names many of the birds. For example:
ὄνομα τούτῳ Μῆδός ἐστι.
Aristophanes Birds 1122-23
τούτῳ (dat sg) ὁ this
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• In Aristophanes’ last surviving comedy, an honest poor
Athenian meets the god of Big Money (Πλοῦτος, usually
translated “Wealth”). The poor man has a plan so that good,
honest people will get Big Money rather than cheats and
• A chorus of grumpy old men have heard about the discovery
of Big Money and race to the scene. A clever slave named
Cario is standing guard when they arrive.
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• Cario mocks the chorus for being so old. He declares at one point that
they have been sentenced to coffins and that:
ὁ δὲ Χάρων τὸ ξύμβολον δίδωσιν.
Aristophanes Wealth 279
δέ and
ξύμβολον (nom/acc sg) τό ticket
Χάρων, -οντος ὁ Charon
(the ferryman who transports souls to
the underworld)
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• In one of Plato’s dialogues, Socrates jokingly refers to a paradox among
the Orphics (those who adhered to the sacred writings of Orpheus). They
say that we are all now dead and Socrates quotes a standard saying
among them:
τὸ …σῶμά ἐστιν ἡμῖν σῆμα.
Plato Gorgias 493a
ἡμῖν (dat pl) us
σῆμα -ατος τό tomb
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• The actual relationship between words and that to what they refer was
a topic of lively debate among intellectuals in ancient Greece. Aristotle
here briefly mentions his position on the issue:
τὰ …ὀνόματα μιμήματα ἐστίν.
Aristotle Rhetoric 1404a21
μίμημα -ατος τό imitation
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• Aristotle is alluding to his teacher, Plato, whose dialogue Cratylus
explores the problem of language in detail. When Socrates introduces the
doctrine of imitation, he gives the example of showing someone their
portrait (an imitation of them). Socrates explains that he could next say:
Τουτί ἐστιν σὸν ὄνομα.
ἔστι δέ που καὶ τὸ ὄνομα μίμημα
ὥσπερ τὸ ζωγράφημα.
Plato Cratylus 430e
δέ and
ζωγράφημα -ατος τό painting
καί also
μίμημα -ατος τό imitation
που somehow
σον your
τουτί (nom/acc sg) τό this here
ὥσπερ just like
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• Aristotle is here discussing what stars are made of. He believes that
stars are made up of the same substance as their surroundings. He then
mentions that others similarly believe that stars are made up of upper
air (ἀήρ), which is fiery, so that:
τὸ ἄνω σῶμα πῦρ εἶναί φασιν.
Aristotle On the Heavens 289a17
ἄνω up
πῦρ, πυρός τό fire
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• Aristotle is discussing the consistency of blood in animals, when he
defines a term:
Ἰχὼρ δ’ ἐστὶν ἄπεπτον αἷμα.
Aristotle History of (= Research into) Animals 521b2
ἄπεπτον (nom/acc sg) τό uncooked, undigested
δ’ = δέ and
ἰχώρ, ἰχῶρος ὁ ichor
Ancient Greek for Everyone
• The Greeks used water clocks to time speeches in the courtroom. This is
the last line of a legal speech made by one of a team of prosecutors:
παραδίδωμι τὸ ὕδωρ τοῖς ἄλλοις κατηγόροις.
Dinarchus Against Demosthenes 4.114
ἄλλοις (dat pl) ὁ other
κατηγόροις (dat pl) ὁ prosecutor
ὕδωρ, ὕδατος τό water
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