The earliest extant evidence for the Greek language are lists written in a syllabic script called Linear B; these short, non-literary texts were written on clay tablets in the major Greek Mycenaean Centers (Mycenae, Pylos, Thebes, and Knossos) from c. 1450 to c. 1200 BCE. There is no archaeological evidence of writing after the collapse of the Mycenaean world until the 8th c. BCE, when we find short Greek inscriptions written in alphabetic form, The earliest works of Greek literature that survive until today date most probably to the 8th c. BCE and include the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems by Homer, as well as Hesiod’s Theogony. The ancient Greeks produced an impressive literary corpus of prose and poetry expressed in a variety of dialects. Rich in vocabulary and expressive force, the ancient Greek language is the key to understanding the intellectual achievement of the Greek writers who set the stage for the development of such diverse fields of literature and learning as philosophy (e.g. Plato, Aristotle), rhetoric (e.g. Lysias, Demosthenes), historiography (e.g. Herodotus, Thucydides), biography (Plutarch), tragedy (e.g. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides), and comedy (e.g. Aristophanes).
“Classical Greek” refers mainly to the Greek dialect spoken in Athens in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE (Attic Greek). As such, Classical Greek was the language of the first great democratic state; eventually, it became the standard dialect that was read and studied for more than a thousand years down through the era of the Roman and Byzantine empires. After the Classical period, the Greek language continued to evolve, forming a standard common dialect (koine Greek) that was used throughout the Hellenistic world of the eastern Mediterranean and beyond. This was the dialect used by the writers of the New Testament to make it accessible to the widest literate audience. The modern Greek language is its descendant, though greatly changed after more than a thousand years of linguistic development.
Following a first-year sequence introducing students to the grammar and vocabulary of standard Attic Greek, we offer reading courses that typically alternate between poetry and prose, and introduce students to a variety of dialects and literary genres. Given the difficulty of the language and the rich variety of its literary corpus, the student who wants to gain a command of ancient Greek should plan to study it for at least five to six semesters.
Those who are considering graduate study in any area of classical studies (Greek and Latin) are strongly advised to consult with a CAMS faculty member as to graduate school expectations and should plan to take as much Latin as possible and at least two years of Greek in their undergraduate curriculum.
GREEK 101: Introductory Ancient Greek Fundamentals of classical Greek grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.
GREEK 102: Intermediate Ancient Greek Intermediate study of classical Greek grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Prerequisite: GREEK 101
GREEK 401: Introductory Reading in Greek Literature Analysis of selected passages of ancient Greek literature; attention will be paid to gra mmatical as well as literary details. Prerequisite: GREEK 102
GREEK 420: Greek Prose Authors Readings in representative authors.
GREEK 425: Greek Historians Translation and study of one or more of the ancient Greek historians. Prerequisite: GREEK 102
GREEK 430: Greek Poetry Translation and analysis of selected readings in Greek poetry. Prerequisite: GREEK 102
GREEK 440: Greek Drama Translation and study of a selected play. Prerequisite: GREEK 102
GREEK 494: Research Project Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis.
GREEK 494H: Research Project Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis.
GREEK 496: Independent Studies