Qimmik wrote:...they can start reading Homer in the second year (Homer occupied most of the second-year curriculum in my day...
Clyde Pharr argues that Homer is easier than the Anabasis. He points to Homer's short sentences and relatively simple syntax, and the fact the formulas provide lots of repetition that makes the texts easier for beginners. But many of Xenophon's sentences are also short and simple, and he also provides many repetitive formulaic phrases. I think Homer is harder than the Anabasis because of the massive vocab and the volume of forms and the fact that the lack of the article makes it harder to quickly identify the cases.
But, of course, Homer is also massively better literature than the Anabasis, so he is in the running for a good second year text.
Plato's Apology is relatively easy--easier than the dialogues--...
Well, I think the Apology is significantly harder than the Anabasis, but, again, it is significantly better writing, so I have no problems with it as a second year text.
I think Lysias isn't as hard as he's made out to be...
Agreed, the Murder of E. is probably only a little harder than the Anabasis and a little better written, so it is also a good choice.
I picked up a copy of Xenophon's Hellenica the other day and found it's written in a very straightforward Greek and reads easily.
This one goes in the other direction. The Hellenica is a little easier than the Anabasis, but not as well written. I also think the unified, simple story of the Anabasis is easier to follow. But other Xenophon is certainly in the running for a good second year text. The Banquet is harder than the Anabasis but maybe a little better written.
But again, is there a text that is easier than the Anabasis AND better written?
I think that students ought to be engaging with more difficult material in the second year, and getting used to the ways Greeks expressed themselves, even if it means something of a struggle--because ancient Greek will always be something of a struggle.
I won't necessarily disagree, but I think that the Anabasis is sufficiently difficult. It is in no way "dumbed down" Greek, and it produces enough challenging syntax and forms, but I also think that simplicity in style can be the mark of a good writer. All of this is to say that I maybe the Anabasis, having once been over-rated, maybe is now being under-rated. It may deserve its spot in the second year cannon after all.