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What poetry to read for a Greek beginner?

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What poetry to read for a Greek beginner?

Postby Kasper » Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:52 am

I've just finished J. W. White's First Greek Book and am about a quarter way into North and Hillard's Greek Prose Composition. I'd really like to start reading some poetry in Greek.

Being a little bit further in latin I've taken to Cattulus and find it quite do-able; I'm looking for something similar in Greek.

Recommendations anyone?
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
Kasper
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Postby chad » Tue Sep 21, 2004 4:20 am

hi karl, i'd recommend sappho. her poetry was ranked supreme in its class by ancient critics, and it brings across life directly just like catullus' songs. the poems are short enough that you get a sense of completion once you finish them. in particular if you've read catullus you prob. know that he translated sappho: here's an excellent commentary on sappho 31 by will:

http://www.aoidoi.org/texts/sappho/sappho-31.pdf

you shouldn't have any difficulty reading this with your experience.

here's a link to a commentary of sappho 1:

http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/Sappho.101.pdf

and there's a fuller analysis of the poem (and other major sappho fragments) on the same website:

http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/Sappho.pdf

the only thing is that they're not in attic, which is what it looks like you've been training in: but lots of the best greek poetry is not in attic. :)
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Postby Kasper » Tue Sep 21, 2004 4:40 am

Wow - I just followed your links and they are fantastic Charl! (I assume this is a common declension of names in your country). Thanks a lot!
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
Kasper
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Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:01 am
Location: Melbourne

Postby chad » Tue Sep 21, 2004 4:46 am

hehehe hi kasper, sorry i hallucinated the name karl instead of your name: i don't know where i got that from. :) :)
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Postby Kasper » Tue Sep 21, 2004 4:48 am

No worries mate :wink:
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
Kasper
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Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:01 am
Location: Melbourne

Postby annis » Tue Sep 21, 2004 12:26 pm

Well, I hate to disagree with chad, but I'm not sure you want to start your reading of Greek poetry with Sappho. The dialect and syntax can be a bit tricky for starting, though I agree it's nice reading poems that are brief; coming to the end is satisfying. Of course, I try to ease the way on that for the Aoidoi.org poems, but I've only got a few of those up.

But the numero uno, very best place to start reading Greek poetry is: Homer. All subsequent Greek poetry falls under his shadow (even Sappho, though rather less), in terms of vocabulary, phrasing and even sometimes grammar.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby Kasper » Tue Sep 21, 2004 10:37 pm

Sappho does look at bit tricky, but I think it is partly due to my largely military vocabulary, further to my lack of experience.

I'd LOVE to read Homer, but because, as Charl pointed out, I am only 'trained' in Attic. Will this be a problem? Do you think I might try joining the Homer Reading Group or would this be too advanced for me?

Your advise (as anyone else's) is much appreciated.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
Kasper
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Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:01 am
Location: Melbourne

Postby chad » Wed Sep 22, 2004 12:18 am

hi, moving to homer from attic won't be a problem for you: lots of people do it: it's just that you won't recognise straight away homeric forms of words. 2 good ways to move to homer would be (a) working through pharr here on textkit (either on your own or with a reading group) and (b) getting draper's or pulleyn's (but draper's is better i think) fully annotated Iliad 1s. i finished draper last week: it's designed for people coming from attic: each double-page contains about 1/2 page of the iliad (i.e. about 10 lines) and about 1 and a 1/2 pages of annotations, explaining grammar, word forms for most words (other than the completely basic), and lots of homeric info and trivia to set the lines in context. draper culled this info from hundreds of secondary sources on iliad book 1 cited in the back. there's also a full iliad 1 vocab. i bought it in sydney at abbey's for $50; i'm sure you could get it in melbourne from a similar store. i think you'd be able to use it now, given that you've slogged through 1/4 of north and hillard.

to answer your original question though, i still think sappho (among the major greek poets who have been annotated for learners) is a good choice: you don't have to choose sappho or homer, you can do both, because only a few big fragments of sappho have been found: because sappho resembles catullus in writing short, emotionally direct poems. callimachus might be more similar to catullus technically but i haven't seen any readily-available annotated versions of his fragments; there might be some though. hope this helps kasparl :)
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Postby annis » Wed Sep 22, 2004 3:26 am

What chad said. :)

I'd recommend grabbing Pharr and working through that. The introductory chapters will go quickly for someone who already has Attic, and is a nice intro to the differences between Homeric and Attic. Once you hit lesson 13, you're reading unaltered Homer.

So far no one has come forward to guide a new run through Pharr. You might find the upcoming Odyssey-a group a bit intense or frustrating at first.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
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Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA


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