1. If your aim is to read Greek, you don't need to have a complete mastery of the accents, although having at least a superficial, passive familiarity with the rules is helpful. I don't think it's unreasonable, given the difficulties of mastering Greek, to devote less attention to the accents and concentrate on grammar and vocabulary. Incidentally, the accents were added to texts long after the texts were written, at a time when the accentual system was changing from a tone accent to a stress accent and readers needed help with the older system. The main rules are clear, but even in antiquity there were disputes about some of the finer points, and it's not always clear that the grammarians who wrote treatises on accentuation knew what they were talking about.
2. Personally, I think it's easier to learn Homeric Greek (and other dialects) once you've learned Attic Greek than the other way around. (One of the permanent threads at the head of this forum advises you to learn Homeric Greek first even if your interest is philosophical Greek. Frankly, I think this is advice is couldn't be more wrong.) When you've learned Attic Greek, Homeric Greek seems very strange and difficult at first, but I think you quickly get used to the differences. Homeric Greek has an even more confusing proliferation of verb forms than Attic, and a lot of obscure vocabulary, but the syntax is actually much easier than Attic. Once you've got some reading in Homeric Greek under your belt, you build up momentum very quickly. If your interest lies exclusively in reading the Homeric poems, then by all means learn Homeric Greek first, but if you're interested in eventually reading Attic prose and drama, I think you'd be better served by starting with Attic and then moving to Homer. Others may disagree.
Last edited by Qimmik
on Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.